Tales of Black Rock House

Tales of Black Rock House: Pictures of the pastNew!

5th April 2021. Reading Time: 5 minutes General, Tales of Black Rock House. 160 page views. 0 comments.

A pictorial look at some of the history of Black Rock House with photographs from the past. What extra buildings used to be on the property and who were some of the previous tenants?

Built in 1856 for Victoria's first Auditor-General: Mr. Charles Hotson Ebden, there is much mystery that surrounds Black Rock House.  It is nestled in the bayside suburb of Black Rock in Melbourne Victoria. Throughout the years, I have been documenting experiences and research through my series Tales of Black Rock House.  You can check out some of the articles I have written concerning the history and figures attached to the property here:

Tales of Black Rock House - Local Legends

The famous faces of Black Rock House

What has been missing, however, has been photographs from the past that help to tell the story.  So let's take a look at what Black Rock House was like in the 1920s onward through historical photographs.

Mr and Mrs Stubbs - Previous owners

While the house was built for Mr Ebden, he didn't spend a huge amount of time at the property.  While it stayed in the family for many years, it went through several owners.  One of these owners were the Stubbs who acquired Black Rock House around 1919/1920 where it was used as a guesthouse/boarding house.  

About eight years ago the property was acquired by Mr. G. Stubbs, of Riversdale-road, Hawthorn. and has since been used as a holiday guest house. The spacious grounds have been subdivided, and modern dwellings now stand on the allotments.  Some of the original pear trees in the orchard still stand, although the vinery and fine garden have disappeared. The large cellar also remains in tact, but there is no evidence of the subterranean passage which was said to have run from it to the beach about 150 yards away. Most of the legends associated with it are also said to have no truthful foundation.

Wednesday 6th July 1927  Daily Telegraph

Image Source: Sandringham Historical Society

This photo was taken sometime in the 1920s.  Mr G. Stubbs and Mrs Emily Stubbs with a large group of guests at Black Rock House.  The Stubbs marked with crosses (seated centre) who owned Black Rock House 1919-1930 and used it as a guesthouse accommodating 60–70 guests.  It is likely these were all guests who stayed/lived at Black Rock House.

Mr Stubbs (front row, extreme right), Mrs Stubbs (centre)

Image Source: Sandringham Historical Society

Then and now ...

When reading the above and seeing that the house would accommodate 60-70 people, you may think, where did they all sleep?  There were 'extensions' applied to Black Rock House which included bungalows and sleepouts to house guests.  This extension was situated in the 'castle court'.

Situated between the Beach-road and Ebden-street, Black Rock, it resembles a miniature old-world castle, with parapets and ramparts and ancient courtyard that appear strangely odd among the tea-tree, gums, and native shrubs, and the motley collection of bungalows, sleep-outs, and more modern buildings that surround it .

Wednesday 6th July 1927  Daily Telegraph

Photo of extension in courtyard 1973.  Image Source: Sandringham Historical Society

The courtyard today at Black Rock House (Photo by Sarah LLIFS - Black Rock House Paranormal Tours)

Extensions seen from the back with clothes hoist from 1973.  This extension was attached to the door in the hallway leading to the bedrooms which today overlooks the bus stop.

Image Source: Sandringham Historical Society

The same view today at Black Rock House (Photo by Sarah LLIFS - Black Rock House Paranormal Tours)

The extensions photographed above remained even in 1973 and were soon removed as a part of the restoration of the property once the Bayside city council took ownership.

Many people also wonder if the Castle gates that sit there today are original.  The answer is no.  As you can see, in the early 1900s, the gates were quite different.

Castle gates 1914.  Image Source: Sandringham Historical Society

You can see there is also an extra extension attached at the side of the house.  This photo is from 1942.

Image Source: Sandringham Historical Society

This is how it stands today at Black Rock House (from a slightly different angle) 

(Photo by Sarah LLIFS - Black Rock House Paranormal Tours)

One of the more curious quirks of Black Rock House is the original wallpaper that was found on the walls behinds years of wallpaper and paint in the Children's bedroom depicting illustrations from the book Uncle Tom's Cabin

Image Source: Sandringham Historical Society

The wallpaper was recreated as a part of the restoration of Black Rock House.  (Photo by Sarah LLIFS - Black Rock House Paranormal Tours)

The people of Black Rock House

One of the things that are both intriguing yet frustrating is that there is not a lot of information about the people that lived at Black Rock House.  As it was used as a boarding/guest house, hundreds if not thousands of people have lived through this property.  What stories and secrets does the house hold inside?  Perhaps some of these folk may just know ...

Small group in grounds (includes pupils of St Marys) 1959

Image Source: Sandringham Historical Society

Black Rock House seen through the trees with people on the verandah in 1924

Image Source: Sandringham Historical Society

Young couple in the yard of Black Rock House. Photo by Alan Grant sometime between - 1914 - 1917

Image Source: Sandringham Historical Society

Young couple by the gateway and man in the garden. Featuring a high stone wall.  Photo by Alan Grant between 1911-1917

Image Source: Sandringham Historical Society

Small boy in the courtyard at Black Rock House.  Taken sometime after 1910.

Image Source: Sandringham Historical Society

I hope you have enjoyed this small glimpse into the past.  Black Rock House is an amazing location and one I highly recommend visiting. 

Check out the Friends of Black Rock House who run open days with historical tours and Devonshire teas on the first Sunday of each month.  If you want to explore the spooky side, Black Rock House Paranormal tours (which I am one-half of) runs monthly paranormal investigations.

Here are some more installments of Tales of Black Rock House that uncover the 'spooky side'.

Tales of Black Rock House - The Nursery

Tales of Black Rock House - The Hallway

Tales of Black Rock House - The Dining Room

Tales of Black Rock House - The Children's Bedroom

Tales of Black Rock House - The Death Room

Tales of Black Rock House - The Drawing Room

Tales of Black Rock House - The Living Quarters

Tales of Black Rock House - Underground Tunnels

Tales of Black Rock House - Looks Can be deceiving

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