Tivoli Road

The first sale of Crown lands in Prahran, 1840, Lot 8 (20 acres) was purchased by George Augustus Robinson, who had been appointed Chief Protector of the Aborigines. Upon this site he built a house of stone, employing Aborigines to carry the rough stones up the steep hill from the Yarra Bank.

The name of “Tivoli” was taken from that of a town of Italy, east of Rome, on the slope of Sabine Hills. The name owed its selection to the “Protector”, George Augustus Robinson, who built the house. It contained eleven rooms and was a spacious solid and comfortable home with a wonderful view of the surrounding country, it had hay fields, vineyards, bee hives, poultry, rabbits, birds and gardens while in its vicinity bush nature was represented by snakes, wild cats and 0-possums.

It 1852 Robinson, who had come from Tasmania, resigned his position and was given a pension of two hundred and twenty pounds. He went to England, settled at Bath, named his house “Prahran” and died 1866 at the ripe old age of 78.

It was Robinson who created a rough road (now River Street) to facilitate transport of men and supplies and a cross road then called Victoria Street, which served all three houses that he built.

The location of the three houses is clearly shown in an MMBW map for 1896. “Blairgowrie” was on the north side and “Rosemont” on the south side, they faced each other with access to River Street. “Tivoli” lay at the eastern boundary of Robinson’s land with a driveway to the intersection to the two roads. Tivoli Estate which included farm land covered about 25 acres while the river frontage, which sloped sharply down and was of little use to Robinson, became part of the Estate of Little Rockley giving its occupiers access to River Street.

In 1855 a year or so after Robinson left Melbourne, the house and its 25 acres of land was at first let to William Montgomerie Bell for eight hundred pounds a year. Bell a wealthy merchant who had recently sold “Avoca” further along the river, was a strict Presbyterian who had followed Rev. James Forbes to the Know Church.

The Bell family lived at “Tivoli” for many years. William Bell died in 1867, but his wife Barbara was still listed as resident in the 1870’s. The family went to church in those days by boat taking lunch with them and drinking from the clear waters of the Yarra. The girls regarded it as a picnic.

“Tivoli” was like a small country farm. They dried their own hay, made their own wine, kept animals, poultry and bees and managed to be part of the polite Melbourne society at the same time. By the time the Bells came to “Tivoli” Gardiners Creek Road had been surfaced and sealed (now Toorak Road) and their carriages could easily drive down the hill to visit friends except when the lower reaches of River Street flooded.

The “Tivoli” property from the line of Malcolm Street to Toorak Road was subdivided in the 1880’s and Tivoli Road and River Street were both listed in the directories as suburban roadways and soon filled with houses. “Tivoli” itself was subdivided in 1926 and when Alexandra Avenue was extended from Chapel Street eastward in the late 1930’s the area developed very rapidly.

Want to live on Tivoli Road? We currently have for sale a beautiful Victorian terrace – number 56 Tivoli Road for more information please contact Philippe Batters on 0418 992 103

Recent Property Sales up Your Street

2/72-74 Tivoli Road South Yarra $1,090,000 16 June 2018
10/10 Tivoli Road South Yarra $360,000 14 April 2018
58 Tivoli Road South Yarra undisclosed 3 April 2018
9 Tivoli Road South Yarra $6,150,000 16 March 2018

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