The area where Norman Avenue now lays was originally part of an Estate named “Bonnington” which had 198 foot frontage to Toorak Road and a depth of 534 feet to the south. “Bonnington” was sold in the 1850’s from the original Crown allotment by the Hobson family and the house was built by John Moore, a civil servant in 1855. The Hobson family bought it back in the 1870’s and resold to Arthur Hope who rebuilt the house and laid a formal garden with a drive at the east side to Toorak Road. Hope was an engineer with a stone breaking business at Falls Bridge, his father in law was a hydropathic doctor who in later years operated a hydropathic clinic at the house.

The back section of “Bonnington” was sold off as the “Bonnington Estate” and Norman Avenue was formed in 1904 with one builder constructing all of the homes. Following the 1890s depression major building in Melbourne didn’t really recommence until around 1910 and by this stage the Queen Anne style of architecture was the flavor of the month featuring complex roof forms, asymmetrical floor plans and elaborate decorative trimmings. Norman Avenue features much of this design but it also features heavily in the pre-depression Late Victorian architecture and illustrates a bridge between the styles.

In the 1920’s the Prahran Valley Road Scheme was prepared and this planned a road from Kooyong Road to Darling Street with 400 homes demolished including all of Norman Avenue. Luckily this did not proceed.

Norman Avenue was the main section of the “Bonnington Estate”, to the south became the Hawksburn Tennis Club and the old home remained and was renamed “Stanhope” (now in Stanhope Court).

Norman Avenue was originally Norman Street and it was named after Norman McLean who developed the street and built all the houses. He lived at 47 Howitt street and he was a plasterer.

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1 Norman Avenue South Yarra $2,715,000 16 June 2013

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