Built for William and Anna-Maria Greenlaw in the early 1880s, and with interiors decorated by the Paterson Bros, Villa Alba remained in private ownership until 1949. From 1950, the house was owned by a number of institutions. By 1984, the Villa Alba Preservation Society had been formed, and three years later, the Mount Royal Hospital granted a 25-year lease to Kew Council. In 2004, the title to Villa Alba was passed by the Victorian Government to The Villa Alba Museum Incorporated. The Museum, at 44 Walmer Street, Kew, is now a cultural institution committed to the collection, study and display of 19th century interior decorative finishes, and the components of 19th and 20th century interior decoration.
This is one of a number of historically and aesthetically significant photos of the interiors and exterior of Villa Alba when it was still owned by the Mount Royal Hospital, showing twentieth century accretions and deterioration of the historic fabric of the building. This was a benchmark survey against which future conservation and restoration activities can be measured.
In December 1987, Mockridge Stahle & Mitchell Pty Ltd Architects prepared ‘Villa Alba Survey: A Report on the fabric for Mount Royal Hospital’ of which this photograph is a part. Photo of numerous pipes, all installed during the period when the house was owned by the Royal Women's Hospital as a home for nurses (1950-1974). The pipes extended from the roof and from rooms used as washrooms on the first floor.