Justine Costigan June 24, 2012
Comfy bungalows are a feature of tree-lined Lucknow Street, Travancore. Photo: Craig Sillitoe
Median house price: No reliable statistics available*
Travel time to CBD: 7 mins car, 29 mins tram. Schools: 0.
Travancore has an interesting history. Originally a large estate, first called Flemington House (1857), it was renamed Travancore in 1871 after it was purchased by Henry Madden, a wealthy exporter with links to India.
When Travancore was eventually subdivided in the 1920s, the new suburb was named after the house and many of the streets were given Indian names. The main house was demolished in 1947, and in its place comfortable suburban bungalows were built, giving the tiny suburb an architectural heritage that can be traced from the 1920s through to the 1950s. Lucknow Street is just one lovely example of Travancore’s charming tree-lined streetscape.
There are many original between-the-wars houses in this street and after so many decades, they still exude a comfortable, attractive personality, perfect for families. Front gardens, some formally laid out, add to the effect.
Lou Rendina, director of Rendina Real Estate, says double-fronted bungalows can sell for more than $1 million, with single-fronted homes selling from$600,000 up to $900,000 depending on their size and condition.
Turn off busy Mount Alexander Road into Mangalore Street and you enter a peaceful pretty suburb that, like the story of Brigadoon, feels a little like a mirage. Wedged between CityLink and Mount Alexander Road, Travancore shouldn’t be so green and peaceful, but it is .Maybe it’s because there’s no traffic.
Travancore doesn’t take you anywhere, so there are few cars and the only people you’re likely to see are residents. Mangalore Street features many double-fronted brick bungalows with decorative porches, large front gardens and neat nature strips.
A narrow street with parking reserved for one side only, the established trees make it green and shady. Mangalore Street becomes Cashmere Street at the corner, where Arthur Calwell Reserve offers a small children’s playground. Lou Rendina says the suburb is always very tightly held.
Few sales mean price statistics are not reliable and Mr Rendina says those that do come up are often executors’ sales. New apartments in the developments along Mount Alexander Road come up for sale more often, but family homes are harder to find.
Large double-fronted brick bungalows with pretty front gardens and carefully tended nature strips typify Cashmere Street. Elevated homes on the Mount Alexander Road side of the street look down towards Travancore Park, while the houses on the north side cling to the gently sloping hill.
Many of the houses are lovely family homes but a few extend into grand territory with double garages and houses set far back from the street. There aren’t many apartment blocks in Cashmere Street, but only one block away in Mooltan Street are fine examples of art deco apartment architecture complete with polished hardwood floors and high ceilings.
There are architectural gems throughout the suburb. Around the corner from Cashmere Street at 56 Baroda Street is a wonderful example of early Travancore architecture. If you’re a fan of this era of architecture and design there are plenty of interesting properties throughout the suburb, and being so compact, it’s perfect for a walking tour.
If you’re after a property to buy, however, you’ll need to be patient. Few residents contemplate leaving one of Melbourne’s best-kept suburban secrets.
* 12 months to February 2012. Postcode also includes Maribyrnong and Ascot Vale. Population (source 2006 census), price and school statistics for Travancore only.