Melbourne may be a young city by World standards but it is still steeped in a rich and culturally diverse history and some of her homes are a visual tribute to that past.
So when Supa Group was asked to extend a workers cottage in Miller street, Alphington we were mindful of preserving a 'little bit of History' and research uncovered some very interesting history about the Miller family
The scope of works included the demolition of an extension that was constructed some twenty years ago, leaving the original front four rooms of the early 20th century workers cottage. A kitchen with open plan living area were added, along with a bathroom, laundry, and master bedroom with ensuite and robes.
In addition to the works on the extension, the remaining part of the original structure was renovated including a beautiful red gum floor throughout, and the roof replaced.
The works commenced in January 2015 and were completed in mid June 2015.
The house is located on part of Crown Allotment 119 Parish of Jika Jika. That whole allotment was sold by the Crown to Richard and Godfrey Howitt in 1840. The Howitt’s were not land speculators and intended to turn the property into a working farm, but as anyone from that area could imagine, the massive river red gums created quite an obstacle.
The property was purchased by the Miller family. As the original title was issued as a “General Law” title it is not easy to determine exactly when this occurred. The Miller’s original holding was one hundred and fifty three acres and three roods. The original Torrens title is in the name of Albert Miller of George St, Fitzroy. It extended in a North/South direction from the Yarra River to the Darebin Creek. Heidelberg Road and the Clifton Hill to Alphington Railway line were excised from that property.
Picture of Henry Miller M.L.C (1809-1888) and son Albert Miller (1845-1915)
Much of this land must have been sold off and Albert Miller, now of “Whernside” in Albany Road, Toorak had a new title issued in 1909. It then consisted of twenty two acres, one rood and twenty four perches “or thereabouts”. The remaining property ran between Heidelberg Road and the railway line from Lowther Street to Miller Street. There was also an access road from Heidelberg Road to the Yarra River included on that title.
Other notable properties close by included “Lucerne Farm” owned by Thomas Wills (ever heard of Willsmere?). This was situated where the La Trobe Golf Club is now located. On the other side of Heidelberg Road to the Millers property was Knockando Farm, owned by Dr Allan Ranald McDonald, which is the site of the Alphington Paper Mills, currently, being demolished.
Millers were a well connected and prosperous family. Albert’s Grandfather, Henry Miller was a veteran of the battle of Waterloo who came to Australia with a detachment of convicts.
Albert’s father was also Henry Miller, known as “Money” Miller. Born in Londonderry, Ireland, Henry was involved in finance and insurance, being a leading promoter and Chariman of the Bank of Victoria and founded the Victorian Life and General Insurance Co. He was also prominent in the Victorian Government as a parliamentarian and was president of the Board of Land and Works.
Albert Miller used the property at Alphington as a horse stud, and later purchased a property at South Morang which was known as Mill Park. He was a keen supporter of the Victorian Amateur Turf Club. From the Mill Park stables he had many successful steeplechasers and hurdlers including Redleap which won several notable races in 1892. Other family members followed Albert’s passion in breeding and racing horses and they were active members of the Findon Harriers Hunt Club.
The Alphington stables were subdivided and the title for property in its current form was issued to Ernest Hill, Engineer in 1926.
The property has had several owners over the past 100 years:
1931 – Veronica Mary Hickey, Married Woman 1932 – Douglas George Askew, Boot Finisher 1936 – John Alfred Naylor, Carpenter 1958 - Kathleen Rose Neville, Married Woman 1967 – Frank Cusmano, Shopkeeper 1972 - Robert Payne, Driver 1972 - Soloman Kurtz, Manufacturer 1976 – Valerie Jean Case, Nursing Sister 1984 - Kenneth McKoy, Technical Officer 1995 – Belinda Elizabeth Heyward 2001 – Nicolas and Fiona Heyward 2003 – Current owners
“The quality of tradesmen Supa Group employ are very good. Our original home was built by a volume builder and doesn't compare to the workmanship displayed by Supa Groups tradesmen.”Steve and Anna of Pascoe Vale South
“The works commenced in November and as promised the second storey was at lock up well before Christmas.”John and Grazie of Box Hill North
“Our previous experience of builders has not been great, however we immediately experience a far more professional, friendly and reliable approach.”David and Kathryn of Wantirna
“A big Thank You for a smooth project throughout all its stages, which did not interfere with our busy household of seven.”Naso and Eva of Bulleen
“Thank you for working with us over the last year to make our dream of renovating our much loved home a reality.”Mark and Catherine of Hampton
“Wez and I were very touched by the kind thoughts and flowers we received for our family loss, we warmly thank you so very much...and this is Supa Group!!!”Wez and Pina of Rowville
“You get results that make you smile every time you come home and open the front door. You get a home that brings you joy.”Steve and Jenny of Watsonia
“The Design process was like no other we have experienced. We were excited from day one and we are still smiling from ear to ear.”Kleanthis and Emma of Oakleigh East
“Our building supervisor Braidon Marshall was absolutely fantastic. He was friendly, approachable and accessible when we had a few issues out of hours. We sprung a leak on one rather rainy night, and he came to the rescue after his birthday dinner no less!”Danny and Melissa of Coburg
“The pleasant demeanor, accommodation of questions and assistance through the process has provide us with a feeling of a priority client. ”Peter and Louise of Alphington
“What was really impressive was that the building works were completed in an incredible 6 weeks!!!!”Chris and Michelle of Camberwell
“I highly recommend anyone to consider Supa Group for an extension on their home. I am absolutely delighted we chose Supa Group to make our dreams come true!”Tony and Claire
“We are very happy in our new home and we would like to thank all the staff at supagroup.”Dale and Cristina, Port Melbourne
“Supa Group has done a great job capturing our vision with the original ideas and plans we had in mind and the result is better than we would have expected.”Con and Daniella, East Keilor
“From initial plans right through to the end Supagroup have been polite, professional and super efficient and well organised. Thanks to everyone at Supagroup for helping realise my dreams.”Claudia, West Footscray
“We have no hesitation in recommending Supa Group and we have already started in our Church community, neighbourhood and Tin's work place.”David and Tina, Gladstone Park
“We would not hesitate to recommend Supa Group to any family or friends who may consider a house extension.”George & Elizabeth, Maidstone
“The end result has exceeded my expectations. Not only is the end result stunning but also the manner in which it was achieved was exemplary. I would have no hesitation in recommending Supa Group to others considering extending their homes.. ”Jane, Blackburn
“...we were looking for a no fuss solution, which would require as little input from us as possible. We certainly found that with the Supa Group. We found you professional and timely right throughout the building phase.”Peter and Rose, Taylors Lakes
“My family and I would like to thank you for your excellent quality of work done on our second level extension. It's been an exciting six months watching our house turn into the home we were hoping for.”Tom and Vicky, Mill Park
“We have found the whole experience of a new extension something interesting and exciting and are delighted to recommend Supagroup to our friends and neighbours.”Tim and Kathy, Beaconsfield
“Every day we look around and are amazed at what has been achieved. ...our journey with Supa Group has been amazing to say the least. ”Damian and Anthea
“We would not hesitate in recommending Supa Group to others that are thinking of renovating or extending.”Maria and Vince