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Beaumaris Modern has grown organically from a facebook page into a thriving community association.

Prior to the formation of the association, Beaumaris Modern was a facebook blog, produced by Fiona Austin. The aim of the blog was to match local mid-century gems with sympathetic buyers.

In mid 2017, we officially launched Beaumaris Modern as a not-for-profit, incorporated community association.

Mission Statement

Beaumaris Modern is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to celebrate,
educate and promote public awareness of the importance of preserving the
mid-century architecture of Beaumaris.

Our inaugural event, A Celebration of Beaumaris Mid Century Architecture was an outstanding success with a full house in our Beaumaris Community Hall of around 200 locals attending. The keynpote speaker was our inaugural patron, Tim Ross (A.K.A Modernister),  who had recently seen his ABC TV series Streets of your Town aired.

Tim Ross, keynote speaker at our inaugural event, A celebration of Beaumaris Mid-Century Architecture

We were fortunate to get some great media reporting at our launch and we celebrated Bayside City Council announcing in July 2017 that they were undertaking a Heritage Study to specifically review Mid-Century architecture in Beaumaris and Black Rock.

We then participated in the very successful Beaumaris Concourse Vintage Car Show. Shortly followed by Beaumaris Modern members attending Tim Ross’s Man about the House show in South Yarra at a Roy Grounds house.

We were then fortunate to get legendry modernist architect, Peter McIntyre down to Beaumaris to visit a house he designed in the 1950’s for a story in The Age newspaper.

At the end of 2017 we celebrated our achievements with our inaugural A Very Mid Mod Christmas Party.

Beaumaris Modern group who visited Marimekko exhibition at Bendigo Art Gallery

Some of our committee travelled to Palm Springs for Modernism Week, where they gained great inspiration for Beaumaris Modern, as well as plans for our own Beaumaris Modern Modernism group tours to Palm Springs in subsequent years.

We then had another successful Beaumaris Modern member outing, on the train to Bendigo to the Marimekko exhibition.

We were then invited by the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) to host an event for the Australian Heritage Festival. Our event, Let’s Talk MCM Heritage, featured a panel discussion including Peter McIntyre, Peter Maddison, Tricia Callan and Professor Philip Goad, moderated by Emma Telfer from Open House Melbourne.

Let's Talk MCM Heritage host Emma Telfer, with Peter Maddison and Peter McIntyre

Now we were on a roll and we realised our long-held dreams of hosting our inaugural OPEN event, which showcased some of our suburbs most interesting houses and a church. Expecting 250, our 2018 OPEN attracted an attendence of over 450, with Melbourne’s weather providing a perfect spring day.

Beaumaris Modern OPEN 2018

We enjoyed two amazing launch events for the release of the Beaumaris Modern book by Fiona Austin.

And cap things off for the festive season we celebrated our successful year with an even bigger and better Christmas Party in December, featuring Benny & the Flybynighters.

A Very Mid-Mod Christmas Party 2018

For 2019, we hosted two events for the Australian Heritage Festival:

Our 2nd annual OPEN event in October 2019 featured 5 more Beaumaris homes, including a recently built home designed with a mid-century aesthetic. Over 650 attendees were again impressed by the quality and diversity demonstrated in our local design vernacular.

The popularity of our events demonstrate the appetite in the community for Mid-Century Modern architecture and design and proved how important it is to preserve and appreciate the unique streetscape of Beaumaris.

Unfortunately we’ve also had a rollercoster ride as we lost an irreplaceable gem by Chancellor & Patrick at 27 Mariemont Avenue. And the bitterest moment was when our community was betrayed by Bayside City Council when in April 2018 they completely backflipped on their own heritage study, the centrepiece of their own 2017 Heritage Action Plan.  In vetoing the study and a traditional heritage process, Bayside Council’s Voluntary Nomination Heritage scheme has been a political farce and in choosing this path Council have even admitted that they fail to meet their statutory obligations.

Therefore Beaumaris Modern, with support from the National Trust, Heritage Victoria and other advocacy groups, have renewed their efforts to fight for the protection of our most significant heritage.

Whilst there is now a huge groundswell of interest in these Beaumaris classics. But unfortunately, owners & developers without any knowledge of mid-century design, have demolished many of these beautiful homes, not understanding their long-term value nor potential for sympathetic renovation.

So now, along with alerting people of properties for sale, we are also keen to share information about mid-century architecture. Through celebration and education, we hope to save as many of these properties as we can. And in doing so, bring like-minded people together to share their passion for mid-century architecture. The tide seems to be turning with 2018 & 2019 seeing a number of significant MCM homes purchased by sympathetic buyers and others nominated for protection.

We are indebted to our wonderful members and our committee, who have worked tirelessly to organise all our events and speak at Counci meetings and VCAT.

We are all united in our passion for celebrating, educating and promoting the importance of preserving the mid-century architecture of Beaumaris.

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2 days ago

Beaumaris modern

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN #26

Stephenson House
2 Stayner Street, Beaumaris

Even within the broad closed-set of architect-designed modernist houses in Beaumaris, the work of one particular firm looms large and lavish: the triple-threat triumvirate of Grounds, Romberg & Boyd. Once cannily dubbed by an unnamed contemporary wag as Gruff, Homberg & Boyish, but more readily abbreviated by the catchy portmanteau of Gromboyd, the firm was responsible for at least half a dozen individually-commissioned residences in Beaumaris and Black Rock, to say nothing of perhaps the same number of specimens of its standardised Peninsula House, arguably Australia’s first true blue project house.

While the indefatigable Robin Boyd helmed most Gromboyd projects in Beaumaris and environs, today’s installment revisits a late lamented dwelling that emanated instead from the drafting-pen of Boyd’s mercurial and mustachioed colleague, the redoubtable Roy Grounds. This house, hailing from the firm’s late 1950s acme (ie, prior to its spectacular dissolution circa 1962), was commissioned by newsagent-about-town W J Stephenson (1911-1975). The son of a builder, Stephenson grew up in Caulfield but, after marrying in the 1944, he and wife Jean edged steadily closer to the bay, residing in Brighton and then Mentone before snapping up a site for a new house in Stayner Street, Beaumaris.

We should pause to mention a crucial fact: W J’s wife, June Stephenson (1917-1999) was an easel painter of repute; she worked in a lively and engaging modern style that might be described as post-Post-impressionist (think, semi-Cezanne with a teasp of Matisse). June was a founding member of the Beaumaris Art Group when it sprung forth in 1953, and her artwork featured in the club’s maiden exhibition that year. More trenchantly, she was one of a handful of early BAG members whose penchant of visual delight was such that they commissioned houses in Beauy from top-rung architects. Enter Roy Grounds. Befitting June’s aesthetic tastes, she and her husband received a smartly modern dwelling with low-pitched roofline and vast window walls. Way ahead of its time, it included a number of features that, while boringly ubiquitous now were startling back then, such as double garage and a master bedroom with en suite bathroom. There were three more bedrooms for the large-ish Stephenson family, and a dedicated studio for dedicated artist June.

The Stephensons resided therein for over a decade before retiring to Queensland in the early 1970s. Fortuitously, this at least coincided with the recent ennoblement of the home’s architect, so when the family offered the place for sale, it could be shamelessly plugged as “unique and attractive brick house designed by Sir Roy Grounds”. It had several subsequent owners and, latterly tenanted, still remained extant in 2008, when the local authority embarked upon a long-overdue heritage survey of mid-century marvels. The consultant on that project was perhaps the last person ever to photograph the house in the flesh, as it was quietly demolished before more detailed research and assessment could be undertaken. Ashes to ashes, grounds to grounds.

Research and text: Simon Reeves
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Mission Statement

Beaumaris Modern is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to celebrate, educate and promote public awareness of the importance of preserving the mid-century architecture of Beaumaris.