Heidelberg Historical Society

Mr Eiseman's shops

Posted on Friday, 24th July 2020 by Janine Rizzetti

Ever wondered about this building as you’ve been making your way through the Ivanhoe Shopping Centre? On the corner of Upper Heidelberg Road and Ivanhoe Parade, number 218-224 is an example of the Spanish Mission style of architecture that became popular in Australia in the 1920s and 1930s. Although there are many residential examples of this style in Ivanhoe and Heidelberg, this is a rare example of its commercial use. The style is characterised by textured render, reddish Marseilles-pattern roof tiles, window boxes, timber shutters and arched gables. Although considerably altered on the lower level, the upper level remains much as it was built in 1932-33.

Ivanhoe resident, Henry Theodore Eiseman (1870-1942), commissioned the building which cost £3,200. The 1935 Sands & McDougall directory lists businesses in the four shops as WG Carson (Confectioner), Mrs I Davy (Dressmaker), NS Stone (Cakes) and NJ Williams (Ironmonger).

Eiseman was a very active figure in local community life. He helped establish the Ivanhoe Dramatic Club (1910) and was also a founding member of the Ivanhoe Bowling Club (1912). With “Skipper” Wilson he organised a public subscription to buy Yarra River frontage land as public open space which was then donated to the Heidelberg Council (1924). He and Cr Nellie Ibbott failed in their 1937 bid to establish a public swimming pool, however he did get the children’s library started in a room beneath the Town Hall.

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