Williamstown history buffs have not one, but two chances to buy pieces of the suburb’s past.
A 1910 house that rose from the ashes of Williamstown’s worst fire and an 1850s hotel converted into a home are both on the market.
The former was built at 1 Verdon St in place of an original house that was destroyed along with 25 others by an inferno, which swept through the residential street in 1909.
An article from The Williamstown Chronicle newspaper, dated Christmas Day 1909, stated that “Williamstown’s disastrous conflagration … bore down” on Verdon and Parker Sts between 10-11am, leaving as much as £12,200 worth of damage in its wake.
The house had 1 Verdon St had been valued at £360.
An “industrious dame” was hanging her washing outside her Verdon St home when flames “(began) to assert what in a few minutes proved to be an uncontrollable sway”, the article said.
“Almost everything of wood fell victim in the end,” it read.
“Undoubtedly it was the most disastrous fire that has ever occurred in the history of Williamstown.”
The Chronicle reported that the Newport and Williamstown Fire Brigades were “in prompt attendance”, but their fight against “the fiend (was) badly handicapped by the low water pressure”.
“At no period during the morning could the volume exuding from the taps be designated more than ‘a trickle’,” the newspaper said.
A new house was built at 1 Verdon St the following year. That residence is now due to be auctioned on April 6 with a $1.95-$2.05 million price guide, following a thorough renovation.
Greg Hocking Elly Partners sales manager Leigh Melbourne said the vendors had extended the house — right around the corner from the Williamstown Historical Society base — at the rear and by adding a second storey.
It offered buyers plenty of accommodation, a low maintenance garden, period flourishes amid modern conveniences, and a “Golden Triangle” location within the prized Williamstown High School zone and near the beach, train station and botanic gardens.
Meanwhile, a five-bedroom house created inside the former Napier Hotel at 52 Stevedore St is asking $3.2-$3.5 million.
The 1858 pub is considered of “historic, aesthetic and social significance to the City of Hobsons Bay” as “one of (Williamstown’s) oldest hotels”, according to the Victorian Heritage Database.
Raine & Horne Williamstown director Rosemary Jamonts said the top-notch conversion had accordingly kept elements of the original building intact, including the facade (minus the Napier Hotel signage), triple-thickness bluestone walls, the wine cellar and front bar.
Fireplaces have been restored and reinstated, while remnants of a ballroom are also evident in the large living and dining zone upstairs.
“The current owners have, top to tail, done a full restoration,” Ms Jamonts said.
The versatile floorplan suited to multi-generational living offers two kitchens and multiple living zones, including a theatre room and Mediterranean-style outdoor entertaining area.
“You could be somewhere in Greece, out there,” the agent said.
“This will attract a lot of attention in Williamstown and beyond, perhaps even interstate — it’s an iconic sort of place.”
The property’s expressions of interest campaign closes April 23.