Monday, 11 February 2013

The Grange, Harkaway

The Grange was built  for the Honourable William Arthur Callandar A'Beckett, M.L.C., J.P. (1833-1901) in 1862 or 1866 (depending on sources). It was designed by local architect George Washington Robinson. The house had views over Port Phillip Bay and was off A'Beckett Road, even though the original entrance was from Halleur Road as A'Beckett Road was made after The Grange was built.  A'Beckett married Emma Mills in 1855 and one of their daughters, Emma Minnie (1858-1936), who was an artist married fellow artist, Arthur Merric Boyd (1862-1940).  In 1948, The Grange  was purchased by Arthur and Minnie's son, the author, Martin A'Beckett Boyd (1893-1972) and his nephew, Arthur Boyd (1920-1999) painted murals in the house. Sadly, this grand house was sold in 1955 and then re-sold in 1963 to a Quarry.

On November 26, 1967  photographer, Richard Dunbar, took some photographs of The Grange and the murals and his widow, Margaret has kindly allowed us to reproduce them here. This is a rare opportunity to see the murals, in situ

Peter Freeman, the author of Brick Homes of Berwick* saw The Grange before it was demolished and wrote (possibly circa 1963)  It is now owned by the quarry - which owns the whole property, and it is slowly being surrounded by overburden, cracked by heavy blasting work and is bound to be demolished in the near future. It is  a tragic end to a beautiful and historic house. I do not know the exact date The Grange was demolished, but as it was standing in November 1967, then 1968 would be  a likely date. We have a 1970 aerial photograph in the collection and it has certainly been demolished then.

Along with the photographs was this, undated, newspaper article from The Age, written by Geoff Maslin,  about the murals.  In the article, Melbourne Art dealer, Joseph Brown, says that when they removed the murals steel frames had to be made to fit around each section of the four walls and a mobile crane and a semi-trailer were needed to cart them away. At the time the article was written (circa 1990) the murals were being stored at a Canberra warehouse by the National Gallery.

*Brick homes of Berwick by Peter Freeman. We have a photocopy of this typed manuscript in the Archive, it is undated, but written possibly circa 1963.  Mr Freeman looks at The Grange and other early brick homes of Berwick, Harkaway and Narre Warren North.


Fran Henke said...

love to read the mss of 'Brick Homes of Berwick', my parents owned and named 'Kilkieran'. We moved to Harkaway after that and a friend and i on horseback, explored The Grange. Too late for The Grange but dearly hope Kilkieran is protected.

Unknown said...

I lived ang grew up in A'Beckett Road Narre Warren North. I visited the Grange a number of times which was up the road from us. We were friends of the quarry care taker
Whp lived there. It had a hugh ball room. You could see Port Phillip Bay from the verandah out side the ball room. The lounge room had the murals on the walls. Really spooky as a child sitting in that room watching TV. There were also a number of "ghost" stories related to the Grange. I won't go into this now. A few years ago I found a book on Boyd which had pictures of the murals. Brought back a lot of memories.
Ron King 6November2018