The Glenferrie Road shopping precinct has certainly been a trail blazer for Street Art, with high quality works in various styles. Hawthorn Football club supporters have been treated over recent years, to see at least three large murals relating to the club, whose spiritual home is the nearby local Glenferrie Oval.

You can’t miss the current 2019 creation, Always Hawthorn. The club commissioned the muralist Justine McAllister to create this iconic Hawk image on the side wall of the Readings building. However, the building, situated on the corner of Linda Crescent and Glenferrie Road, was once Percy Silk Dance studio, The debonair dancing master Percy Silk, who lived a short stroll away at 17 Chrystobel Crescent, ran a hugely popular dance studio from the 1920s through the 1940s. This venue was where many of our Hawthorn ancestors happily recall, either meeting their future partners on the dance floor or learning to dance at Percy’s. 

The Herald Monday 13th Feb, 1934 p. 20

Just across the road is another work by Justine McAllister. This mural was commissioned about 18 months ago to coincide with the launch of the trendy upmarket Coles Local store. This renovated store augments your regular grocery shopping experience with enticing options like a dessert station with gelato and macaroons, a pasta bar, fresh squeezed orange juice and coffee and it even has a highly recommended dog-treat bar for those furry friends.  Justine’s mural extends around the side of the building to the rear entrance and also adorns some of the internal walls.

Bright and cheerful, these images not only hint at the great array of produce inside but also acknowledge many of the features we love about living in Hawthorn, the architecture, streetscape, cycling, leafy parks, areas for walking the dog, the café culture and the lively student vibe of the area. A little noted element is the addition of the name Blake high on one panel. Justine added this at the request of the Coles Local staff to honour the memory of one of their fellow workers who died suddenly.

Yet if you were standing on this corner in June 1917, perhaps you were holding tickets to the movies and waiting to see the double bill of Lionel Barrymore starring in His Father’s Son and the strangely named, A Saintly Sinner. Bothwere screening to packed houses here at the Palace Theatre. The theatre was one of two within 200 metres of each other on Glenferrie Road. The building had a handsome renaissance façade and a marble staircase at the entry.  It was designed by well-known architect Christopher Cowper and opened on this corner from 1916 and was a magnet for Hawthorn locals for many years. The theatre finally closed its doors on Jan 5th 1963.

Whilst the firm Open Windows at 635 Glenferrie Road, might not be a familiar name to the passing Glenferrie shopper or car commuter, nearly everyone has noticed the hauntingly beautiful woman at rear of this heritage building. The building was once the prestigious Commercial Bank of Australia designed in 1891 by the architect E G. Kilburn and sits on Hawthorn’s most prominent intersection. Since its banking days, the building has also been utilised as an antique showroom and cigar shop but is now occupied by the aptly named The Kilburn, whisky and cocktail bar and Open Windows, Procurement and Contract Management Software Company.

The latter company commissioned Rone to paint this evocative artwork. Rone, the non de plume, for Tyrone Wright, was born in Geelong and has an exceptional reputation as a street artist. He likes to explore concepts of beauty and decay and has become known for major installations that have transformed abandoned spaces.

However, this stunning image, which appears as though it has been sculptured from the wall of the building, will hopefully endure for a long time into the future. To listen to Rone talk about the creation of this work, the challenges in finding a design which responded to the architecture of the building, choosing the colour palette and deciding when the work was finished when looking for that perfect harmony of beauty and decay, go to

In 2020, the City of Boroondara in consultation with the Grace Park Association, contracted with the internationally acclaimed, Melbourne based artist, James Price to create two murals, on each side of the 11 metres by 2.7 metres brick rebound wall. James’s interpretations of soccer and tennis uses bold colours as well as stylised shapes and figures to draw the viewer’s gaze to multiple view points within the murals. Each mural took five days to complete. It is exciting to have this work created in such a public space and during the Covid—19 lockdown, the beautiful Grace Park, like our other parks, has been a welcome haven for mostly house bound residents of all ages.

Hit up walls in Grace Park.

Historically, Grace Park was a part of the extensive estate of publican Michael Lynch, which stretched from Glenferrie Road to Power Street and Burwood Road to near Kinkora Road. The Grace Park Compnay was formed after his death to sell land on leasehold in the Grace Park Estate, now a heritage precinct. The low-lying land beside the creek and adjacent to Linda Crescent was offered to Hawthorn Council in 1891 for £80 and ten acres were bought in 1904 for the sports ground and swimming pool. The Council purchased the rest of ‘Lynch Gardens’ in 1908 for £600 to add to the Lynch family’s gift of seven acres earlier in 1906.

It was Michael Lynch who also gifted a corner of his land to the Catholic church, to build the Church of Immaculate Conception at the Burwood and Glenferrie Road intersection in 1867, and the foundation stone of the church was laid, on December 8th of that year. Lynch’s heritage listed house designed by John Gill in 1858 can still be seen nearby at 21 Chrystobel Crescent.

Grace Park House, 21 Chrystobel Crescent, for a period also became The location of grace park ladies College opeated by Mrs Colvin Clarke.

The City of Boroondara has embraced street art as a way to revitalize areas, improve the appearance and functionality of laneways and increase community confidence. It hopes to entice traders and pedestrians to use the neglected spaces in more vibrant ways. Hopefully we will see these results as residents begin to embrace opportunites after Covid enduced restrictions on activities are lifted. This mural can be found in Glenferrie Place a walk way leading between Tea More Internet Cafe and Ninety Nine Pancakes to Gleneferrie Station.

Glenferrie Place laneway Mural. City of Boroondara

Historically this area was part of the Serpell family’s holdings. They arrived in Melbourne in1851, settling on a virgin block of eight acres which was then covered with red gums and wattles. In fact they called this property on the corner of Glenferrie and Burwood Roads Wattle Park. They built an early ironmongery buisness on the corner with a news brick shop in 1869 (still in present location) as well as the four adjacent shops in 1885. The corner shop became Morrrisons and later still the antique showroom of Oscar Prouse.

For an extensive period prior to the development of more extensive retail premises there were several villa residences in this location. Historical researcher and current hawthorn Historical Society presidents writes

1915 to 1917 saw the demolition of three villa residences including Allendale on the north corner of Glenferrie Place and the erection of several brick shops with five or six rooms. Allendale was a ten-room brick gentleman’s villa built probably in the late 1870’s by iron-founder Peter Johns (1830 – 1899). The land from the railway line to this property on the corner of what would become Glenferrie Lane, was held be Mr Johns, his estate or his wife until 1915.

The artist, Abbey Rich was commissioned to create the work which features a hand and various native plants all or which can be found in Boroondara.

Abbey’s bio on states

Abbey Rich is a multidisciplinary artist residing in Melbourne. Australia. Working across canvas, walls, the body. Spending most of her days hand poking tattoos, painting murals, or developing new ideas for works. Rich is an exhibiting artist managing an impressive list of freelance contracts, painting murals for the likes of Monash University, Bailey Nelson and countless retail spaces. Specialising in bold, abstract and illustrative works that bring life to the spaces they inhabit.

For further information about Abbey’s art inspiration

Another lively mural commissioned by the City of Boroondara for Anderson Park in East Hawthorn, is the work of illustrator and artist Yan Yan Candy Ng from Melbourne via Hong Kong. Candy from Thoughts Come True, worked in 2019 to incorporate in the design, concepts from students from the nearby Auburn South Primary School which highlight the importance of keeping our waterways clean. She has created a vibrant colourful design for the hit up wall which is often used by the local children.

Anderson Park covering 6.6 ha, falls dramatically south west and so offers spectacular views across Gardiner’s Creek and the city skyline. It was once part of a plant nursery, run by the Cole family known for their prize apples, strawberries, plums and pears in the 1860s.  

The Cole family’s land was subdivided later as the Mt Ida Estate and some of it was purchased by the Hawthorn Council in November 1911 for £2,275. Initially neglected, in more recent years it can be genuinely described as one of East Hawthorn’s treasures.

Mount Ida Estate. (1890). [Melbourne]: [Melbourne] : [publisher not identified]. State Library of Victoria.

Several talented graffiti artists have now become noted urban artists. This striking mural by DVate was commissioned by Eddie Tamir, owner of the Lido theatre complex. Growing up in Frankston near the trainline, graffiti writing was a large part of the life of the artist’s life, Jimmy DVate has also trained in graphic design and visual arts at Monash University and subsequently this contemporary artist has become well-regarded for his larger-than-life photo realism, murals of endangered flora and fauna in numerous Melbourne suburbs and across country Victoria.

However, the next mural shows the diversity of his work with its bright colours and shapes reflecting the colours and internal architectural features of the Lido Theatre.

The history of this Hawthorn site is very interesting.  As development occurred along Glenferrie Road the first building here was the St John’s Catholic school but it was sold in 1912 and it was followed by the first Hawthorn theatre, The Glenferrie Theatre. However, it suffered from the fierce competition with the new Palace Theatre down the street, so it later closed and reopened as the Glen Palais de Danse before having a major renovation and reappearing again as the new Glen Theatre in 1939.  When this theatre closed in 1956 the building then saw various occupants come and go, including the Naughty Nighties and the Lido cabaret. Finally, after sitting abandoned for a decade, the Lido cabaret and restaurant was bought in 2013 by Eddie Tamir, who transformed the maze of spaces into The Lido with eight indoor cinemas, jazz room and a roof topcincema. this renovation has achieved a modern vibrant feel whilst retaining many of the art deco design features from the theatre’s revamp in the late 1930s.

The Glenferrie Theatre

Just a few steps away at the rear of 881 Glenferrie Road, and at the entrance to the Lido arcade, is Vaporetto bar and eatery. Affectionately named after the public ferry service in Venice, Italy, the café’s name makes an appropriate link not only with the theatre’s name but also the barrier island of Lido, in the venetian lagoon.

Described as where Venice meets Melbourne, the eatery’s warm authentic interior and inviting homely façade certainly conjure up images of entering a small atmospheric Italian restaurant to share a delightful meal with friends, whilst la Mamma et Nonna, watch the passers-by and call greetings through the open upstairs window. 

Commissioned by the three owners David, Greg and Kim, about four and half years ago, the mural has been created from a photograph printed onto a steel plate and installed over a window on the upper floor.

The most recent street art to emerge in the heart of Hawthorn has been revealed a few weeks ago, opposite Kent Street on Burwood Road. The Swinburne University of Technology has commissioned three large scale murals to be featured around their campus. The most noticeable is a large work by Matt Adnate, on Burwood Road. Locals have enjoyed viewing the stages of its creation and now get the chance to view the final product. It takes up most of four-storey western side wall of the Chemistry building and gives a tired looking building a new modern flourish, whilst also making a siginifcant statement or respect and acknowledgement of Australia’s first people. The mural is one part of Swinburne University’s long standing Reconciliation Plan and it’s wish to expand the indigenous spaces across the campus.

Featured below, the mural is a tribute to Professor Andrew Peters, descendant of the Wurundjeri and Yorta Yorta people, who has won the 2012 Vice Chancellor’s Education Award for innovative curriculum development. Professor Peter’s work has helped shape Swinburne in fundamental ways, by broadening the awareness and understanding of indigenous culture within the university.

On the Swinburne University website, Swinburne Stories, Professor Peters is described as a

Swinburne Bachelor of Business graduate, lecturer in indigenous Studies and the driving force behind Swinburne’s Reconciliation Action Plan.

The artist, Matt Adnate who works internationally, was born in Melbourne and is well known for his portraiture of indigenous people. In 2018 he painted reputedly the tallest mural in the Southern hemisphere, on the 20-storey wall of the Collingwood Housing Estate.

Adnate is an artist that realises his portraits in spray paints, he has moved past his roots in Street Art, utilising the medium to carry his realist style into the fine arts realm.

Working closely with indigenous peoples, Matt Adnate’s large-scale murals make a statement about reclaiming land that was always theirs. He hopes that works like this will contribute to changing society’s views and educate the public, for as long as the murals and canvases he creates, can stand.

Mural of Professor Andre Peters.

With special thanks to the David, Greg and Kim from Vaporetto and Robert More from Coles Local.

Elizabeth Love