Historical information

Built in 1953, the Rice House was leading Melbourne architect Kevin Borland's first commssion and was one of two houses of its kind. The design of the shell-like structure was inspired by the Arch of Ctesiphon, built in the second century south of Baghdad. Cement with a waterproofing agent was applied in layers to a form of regularly spaced timber arches covered in hessian. This ctesiphon system was developed in the United Kingdom by engineer J.H. de Waller in 1947.

Commissioned in 1951 by Harrie and Lorna Rice, after Harrie, then an art student, met Borland at The Age Small Homes Service. Borland suggested they buy land in Eltham because at that time it was the only council in Melbourne that would grant a permit for such an innovative house.

Covered under Victorian Heritage.

Published: Nillumbik Now and Then /​ Marguerite Marshall 2008; photographs Alan King with Marguerite Marshall.; p157


This collection of almost 130 photos about places and people within the Shire of Nillumbik, an urban and rural municipality in Melbourne's north, contributes to an understanding of the history of the Shire. Published in 2008 immediately prior to the Black Saturday bushfires of February 7, 2009, it documents sites that were impacted, and in some cases destroyed by the fires. It includes photographs taken especially for the publication, creating a unique time capsule representing the Shire in the early 21st century. It remains the most recent comprehenesive publication devoted to the Shire's history connecting local residents to the past.

Physical description

Born digital image file