Historical information

Comparatively few weatherboard houses in Kew survived from the early years of settlement into the second half of the 20th century. One such property was ‘Reno’, which once stood on the east side of St John’s Parade. Its earliest recorded owner was the architect Samuel Cocking who lived there from c.1865 until his death in 1888. The original landholding was bordered by Cotham Road, Glenferrie Road, Wellington Street, and Charles Street. The southern portion of this land included a fine orchard, with many imported trees. The old summer house, at first in the orchard, was later removed to the house garden. The MMBW Detail Plan No.1576 (1904) shows the remaining portion of the original land holding, including a semi-circular pathway at the front, and garden features such as an aviary, a fountain and grotto, and a fernery. None of these are apparent in photographs dating from the 1960s, where the garden, which once included rare plants provided by Baron Von Mueller, surrounds the cottage in a tangled frenzy. Despite a ‘local significance’ classification by the National Trust, the house was demolished in 1977.


Original sample of nineteenth century wallpaper from one of the earliest homes in Kew (Victoria).

Physical description

Wallpaper fragment from ‘Reno’. These two samples of light brown Victorian-period wallpaper were overprinted with flowers and leaves that are outlined in maroon. Flowers and foliage are painted in blue of varying intensity, giving the impression of being hand painted. The style of this wallpaper would have been suited to a bedroom or drawing room.