Melbourne’s most perfectly preserved streets are found here…

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Long before Toorak was even a twinkle in Melbourne’s eye, East Melbourne was the home base for a developing city’s wealthy elite.

Laid out in Hoddle’s original plan in 1837, the earliest of East Melbourne’s houses date from the late 1850s with its heyday occurring in the 1880s.

The suburb developed at a similar time but on a grander scale to its working-class, industrial neighbours such as Richmond, Fitzroy and North Melbourne. Where Richmond and Fitzroy were developed with narrow streets and mostly poor housing, East Melbourne was laid out with wide streets, large blocks, grand houses and around elegant English-style squares.

Today, East Melbourne is probably the closest Melbourne has to a London-like suburb with almost perfectly preserved streets of grand mid-late Victorian housing. Hotham, Grey, Darling, George and Gipps are a particular feast for the period-lovers’ eyes.

With a population of fewer than 5000 people, set in a park-filled 1.9 square kilometres, East Melbourne offers an amazingly spacious, restful and green address within 1-2 kilometres of the city centre. Richmond, by contrast, has five times the population on only twice the land.

East Melbourne is blessed with Powlett Reserve and Darling Square, English-style squares overlooked by the terraces in the four streets surrounding them. To the south of the suburb is the large Yarra Park, which flows on to the MCG, and to the west is the glorious Fitzroy Gardens.

And for those who can’t afford the century-old terraces, there are new and old apartments at more affordable prices. 116 Hotham Street

About $5 million 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 4 car spaces

Dorset Terrace is a row of four with twin cast-iron verandahs and ornate lacework. Number 116 sits beneath the name plate and has period features and a contemporary open-plan kitchen, living and dining room. There’s also a 130-year-old pomegranate tree.

EOI closing 5pm, March 27

Agent:Kay & Burton 9820 1111, Monique Depierre 0407 881 327 50 Hotham Street

About $12 million 7 bedrooms, 4 bathroom, 2 car spaces

Shrewsbury House is a delightful 1880s Gothic revival on a 1000-square-metre block. There are four levels with glorious living areas, including a charming breakfast nook, and outside is a pool, a large garden and a studio apartment/bedroom above the garage.

Agent:Marshall White 9832 4724, Marcus Chiminello 0411 411 27