Peter Johnson discusses 16 Acland St

Peter Johnson’s family roots extend as far as Perth, where his great-grandfather George R. Johnson designed the Cremorne on Hay St in 1896. Hay St, Perth, is the equivalent of Bourke, St, Melbourne, and Pitt St, Sydney, in that they all, in part, are the city’s central mall. This photo is by Ken Hotchkin in 1965

On this first day of 2019, we thank all who either joined our email list or—for those who went one step further—have become members of Artefact Church Square (Artefact CS) in support of the alternative redevelopment of an Arts Library. In particular, we thank you for the wonderful messages of encouragement you have included in your sign-up submissions that, by the way, work.

It is on one of these sign-up occasions that a discussion developed between Artefact CS and Julie Watkins and Philip Meyer who live at the curious address of 16 Acland St, St Kilda, next door to the Christ Church Complex (Church Square). It is curious since the address suggests it fronts Acland St when, in fact, it fronts Church Square at the corner of St Leonards Avenue.

To discuss this, we are fortunate to introduce Peter Johnson into the conversation, who not only discovered this curiosity some time ago while delving into the historical relevance of the address, but is also an architect of long standing in St Kilda whose family tree extends far into St Kilda’s streets in the form of the buildings we walk past every day. The architect of the Gatwick Private Hotel at 34 Fitzroy St recently purchased for the televised series The Block is, for example, Harry Raymond Johnson (1892-1954), Peter’s grandfather.

It is, therefore, our greatest delight to present this video of Peter discussing 16 Acland St with Maggie Macdonald. With it, we welcome new members to Artefact CS and thank present members for recognising the role the alternative redevelopment of an Arts library played in staving off the development of a carpark behind Christ Church. By showing support as, now, a community for the alternative redevelopment in both its past role and future hoped-for realisation, we aim to uphold Heritage Victoria’s 01 October ruling in the upcoming Heritage Council Review on 02 April 2019 in a constructive, communally inclusive and effective a manner as possible. So please—if you haven’t already—join us.