STOP PRESS: Kew Cottages Online Public Meeting: 7pm Wed 31st March 2021 – Registration required – All Welcome.

Newsletter March 2021

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From the Archives

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From the Archives

Labor of love for the children
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From the Kew Cottages Archives

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STOP PRESS: Kew Cottages Public Meeting: 7pm Wed 26th Feb 2020 – Important Information Update – All Welcome.


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Vale Max Jackson, Former CEO of Kew Cottages

201703019_maxjcottages_theagePhoto: Max Jackson , The Melbourne Age, Mar 2017

Sad news from Kew Cottages Coalition

Max Jackson, Former CEO of Kew Cottages, and a founding member of the KCC has died of cancer at Cabrini Hospital in Melbourne.

“Max was a lovely guy and terrific advocate for the intellectually disabled. Max was a fantastic supporter of the KCC and all that we are fighting for,”  said Brian Walsh, President, Kew Cottages Coalition.

“Max never complained about his illness. He was always there when others needed help. The Kew Cottages Coalition will forever be in his debt,” Brian said.

When The Sunday Age ran its  front page story , “Where’s the Money from Kew Cottages” in March 2017, Max was there among the dilapidated heritage buildings to tell The Age and Victorian taxpayers how they had all been dudded by successive governments.

Max explained that, “The Kew project was supposed to be the revitalisation of disability services.”

“However, standing on the periphery of the redevelopment it appears that transparency has been the loser, and Walker the big winner.”

“This government has an opportunity to rectify a lack of transparency by successive governments and ministers,” Max  said.

He called on the Andrews government to “come clean”.

The Sunday Age Editorial said Max was right on the money..

” ….If the government truly wishes to learn from the experience of the development at Kew Cottages, an independent inquiry should be established into the outcome. At the very least, the auditor-general should be asked to examine the circumstances surrounding the deal.”

>Read More






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30 April 2019 – Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, says proposed apartments completion due by 31 Dec 2020

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Walkers gets a warning for breaching the Heritage Act yet again…

20190225Gmail_HV2KCC_Response_to unauthorised_works_at_Kew_Cottages

20190225Gmail_HV2KCC_Response_to unauthorised_works_at_Kew_Cottages

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STOP PRESS: Kew Cottages Public Meeting: 7pm Tues 26th Feb 2019 – Important Information Update – All Welcome.


Download Print Version here 
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Parks under pressure.

Kew Cottages Coalition Media Release
Release Date: 26 April 2018
Renewed threat to Kew Cottages Parkland

Heritage Victoria’s second formal Permit refusal to allow a developer’s plans to build within the tree lined avenue approach to the former Willsmere Hospital is set to be reviewed by Heritage Council Victoria. (See Herald Sun / Progress Leader 31 Oct 2017)

Sydney billionaire developer, Lang Walker, has lodged an appeal against Heritage Victoria’s insistence that the whole of the avenue approach to Willsmere must be properly restored as parkland.

Brian Walsh, President, Kew Cottages Coalition, said today that, “Walker Corporation now appears to have spent over a decade trying to find ways to legally encroach upon this fabulous piece of public parkland.”

This is the Sydney developer’s fourth attempt to overcome the long standing Heritage permit conditions imposed on the Main Drive Kew housing estate development.

“It’s now gone beyond a joke”, Mr. Walsh, said. “Nothing surprises me any more.

“It appears to me that if developers have enough money, and access to Government bodies then they can go on appealing against the umpire for ever !

“One problem appears to be that although all of the land in question is still public land Walker has been permitted to use a temporary site office on part of it.

“Now Walker appear to be acting as though that temporary site office gives them ‘squatters rights’ !

” This is very strange, because I understand both the developer and the Government gave an undertaking to Heritage Victoria over a decade ago that they would remove the site office, and fully restore the parkland by 2012.

” Perhaps Walker are hoping that the Andrews Government has quietly forgotten all about that promise made to the people of Victoria way back in 2005 ?” Mr. Walsh said.
“This application is also frustrating because it directly stops the creation of the new Kew Arboretum that has been proposed by the Kew Cottages Coalition and mirrors the initial vision of Baron Sir Ferdinand von Mueller who designed this area (and the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria).”

The Heritage Council will hold a Public Hearing commencing on the 18th June 2018 to review Heritage Victoria’s rejection of Walker’s application to build private apartments on the parkland.

For more information:
Brian Walsh
Kew Cottages Coalition
M. 0414 979 300

Heritage Council of Victoria
T. 03 9651 5061

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Fraud and Corruption Control


The Victorian Auditor General, Andrew Greaves,  has reported to Parliament on

Fraud and Corruption Control

The Report includes  recommendations following his assessment of Major Projects Victoria (MPV)

The Auditor General says that:

“… MMRA and MPV were included in this audit because their work involves high-risk factors for fraud and corruption, including:

• high levels of procurement
• use of contractors
• partnerships with the private sector.”


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Political donation standards may change in Victoria | The Age

Political donation standards may change in Victoria

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An Open Letter to the Minister for Major Projects

20170703_An Open Letter to the Minister for Major Projects

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STOP PRESS: Editorial

Call for independent Inquiry into Walker Development

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ENotice: Invitation to ‘Round the Bend’ Exhibition Opening 6pm Fri 3 March – Kew Court House RSVP M. 0438 370 967

KEWfest 1974-2017
3-19 MARCH

Kew Festival Program​

For further information on KCC ENotices please contact:
Brian Walsh,
Kew Cottages Coalition
T: 0414 979 300

If you do not wish to receive further email information from KCC please reply to with the words ‘CANCEL EMAIL’ in the subject line.

If you have friends who do wish to receive KCC ENotices please ask them to email

* with the word "SUBSCRIBE’ in the subject line.

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STOP PRESS: Kew Public Meeting: 7pm Thurs 23rd Feb 2017 – Important Information Update


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Major Projects Victoria (MPV) Revives Walker Contract: 9 December 2016


Kew Residential Services Development Agreement:  Expired 27 October 2016

Sixth Deed of Variation Signed: 9 December 2016

Published Vic Gov CPS:  January 2017

Link: Victorian Government Contract Publishing System Website (CPS)

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Walker Kew Cottages Contract Expired 27 Oct 2016


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Walker Corporation withdraws its high-rise Heritage Permit Appeal: Public Hearing Cancelled

Wooden Horse

Wooden Horse

The Heritage Council of Victoria has cancelled the final day of their Kew Cottages appeal Public Hearing that was scheduled to be held tomorrow Friday 6th May 2016. The cancellation follows Walker Corporation’s sudden withdrawal of their Permit appeal to the Heritage Council. (Link: here)

Kew Cottages Coalition President, Brian Walsh, said today,”There has been an enormous amount of public opposition to Walker’s proposal. The message is clear. ‘Building high-rise on Melbourne parkland is just not on.’

“It appears now that Walker Corporation finally realised they were not going to win their appeal to the Victorian Heritage watchdog. So they have made a sensible decision to withdraw.

“I sincerely hope the Andrews Government has also made a sensible decision, and told both Walker and Major Projects Victoria (MPV) to stop wasting more time, and to now just get on with the job of properly restoring the State Heritage listed buildings and parkland at Kew Cottages before the Government Contract with Walker Corporation expires in October this year.

“It is time for MPV and Walker to finally deliver on the Government’s long standing State Heritage commitments at Kew Cottages, for the sake of all Victorians” Mr. Walsh said.

Last year Sydney based developer, Walker Corporation, was refused heritage approval to build blocks of high-rise apartments on the parkland next to Main Drive Kew and Willsmere.

Walker appealed the decision to the Heritage Council. The Council appointed a Panel to hear Walker’s Appeal. Public Hearings commenced, and were due to resume in February. However, Walker claimed that it wasn’t getting a fair hearing. Walker applied for the Heritage Council to be reconstituted, and for the whole Appeal process to be re-started.

On 24 February 2016, the day after the Progress Leader broke this story, a packed Public Meeting at the Kew Civic Centre called on the Andrews Government “to direct Walker Corporation to withdraw its application for the Heritage Council to be reconstituted.”

On March 10 2016 the Heritage Council announced that it had rejected Walker’s application for the Panel to be reconstituted, reset the Permit Appeal Public Hearing date to 6th May, and requested final submissions be lodged by 28th April.


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Kew Cottages developers claim Heritage Council of Victoria panel ‘lacked planning law expertise’ | HeraldSun

Brian Walsh

Kew Cottages Coalition president Brian Walsh said if the Heritage Council panel considering the cottages’ redevelopment was thrown out it would have set a “terrible precedent”. Picture: Susan Windmiller

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Kew Cottages project decision delayed | HeraldSun

Brian Walsh, head of Kew Cottages Coalition. Picture: Susan Windmiller.

THE fate of a controversial building proposed for the former Kew Cottages site will remain unknown for a while longer after the developer applied to change the make-up of a Heritage Council of Victoria panel…  More..

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STOP PRESS: Kew Public Meeting: Wed 24 Feb 2016 – Important Information Update

KCC 2016 Feb Newsletter

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Kew Cottages Heritage Council Hearing Postponed

Monday 15th February 2016

Walker Corporation/Kew Development Corporation
have submitted an Application
for the Heritage Council to be Reconstituted.


Public Hearing Postponed
The Heritage Council has, therefore, determined to adjourn the final day of the hearing scheduled for today  Monday 15 February 2016, to allow time for consideration of the application, and any material submitted by parties in relation to it. (More… )

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Kew Cottages Coalition Heritage Submission: The Constant Gardner – Abraham Morrison


 Links: Including Print and Visual Materials.

  1. KCC  Heritage Submission: The Constant Gardner_Feb 2016_pp18 (PDF File)

2. Melbourne Leader,   Gardens of  The Kew Asylum,  1881-1885 (PDF File)

3. Impact of  The Proposed Development – Visual Materials:

a) Kristian Grayson, Balloon-Assisted Building Visualisation (PDF File)

b) KCC,  Drone-Assisted Main Drive Kew Visualisation  (YouTube Video 4:36m)

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Heritage Council: Kew Cottages Coalition Submission in Reply (Email 1 of 2)

To: Rhonda McLaren, Heritage Council Victoria
Re: Permit appeal Kew Cottages (H2073)
From: Brian Walsh, President, Kew Cottages Coalition.
Date: 30 Nov 2015

Dear Ms. McLaren,

I enclose the Kew Cottages Coalition reply to the Permit Appellant.

Yours sincerely,

Brian Walsh
Kew Cottages Coalition

M. 0414 979 300



1. Introduction.

We understand that:

  • Major Projects Victoria (MPV) own the Kew Cottages Government Heritage site that is the subject of the current appeal, and that as owner MPV is ultimately responsible for all works on the site to be undertaken in accordance with the Heritage Act;
  • MPV have contracted Walker Corporation to develop the site on their behalf, and lodge this appeal.

According to the Appellant’s submission, MPV “remains supportive of the project”. [PP01(3)]

At the outset, therefore, we wish to make clear that while we have the greatest respect for the Appellant, their sub-contractors, counsel, and expert witnesses, in our submission MPV’s support for this project is not in the accordance with Government Heritage policy, is not in the public interest, and can only serve to bring the management of Victorian Government Heritage into disrepute.

2. Potential Breaches of S74A and S160.

Indeed, as detailed in our earlier submission, on the basis of the documentation made available to this appeal, and our own inquiries, the owner of the site appears to have potentially breached both S74A and S160 of the Act by

a) Non compliance with Permit 9639 by undertaking the Stage 1 and Stage 2 works, without first obtaining the Executive Director’s written approval for the Comrpehensive Landscape Management Plan and drawings as required by Condition 9 of Permit P9639;

b) Non Compliance with Permit 9639 by demolishing Heritage Building B2 Cottage (House Hostel), B4 Cottage (Unit 11) , and B5 Female Hospital Block (Unit 9) in a manner other than that prescribed in Permit P9639, i.e.: without satisfactory completion of the owner’s undertaking provided in their P9639 Application by Ms. Helen Gardner. (HLCD Pty Ltd, May 2005,HIS S.6.3) including:

c) Failing to obtain the Executive Director of Heritage Victoria’s written approval for drawings to show any works required to the land between Main Drive and Oak Walk (i.e.: Stage 8, the subject site of the current appeal). (P9639. HCLD Pty Ltd HIS 6.3 see Extract below)

Conditions specified in S.6.3 include:

Detailed drawings to show any works required to the road or pathway alignment of F4 Main Drive, F5 Boundary Drive, F6 Lower Drive and F7 Oak Walk or their vicinity, including measures to be taken to lessen the impact on significant landscape features, including avenues, trees, concrete lamp posts and lights, and glazed spoon drainage tiles on Oak Walk. [Permit Application P9639 (HIS6.3)


d) Allowing the remaining heritage buildings to fall into disrepair; and
c) Allowing the Appellant to ‘squat’  on the subject site of this appeal, to the extent that the conservation of the Main Drive and Oak Walk Avenues  has been threatened by this Permit Application and Appeal.
We say this is a fundamental issue, and respectfully request that it  be dealt with first as a matter of urgency, because if we are correct, then this whole appeal is based on a false assumption, namely that a breach of the Act has not already taken place.
If we are wrong regarding the above matters. then we submit as follows:

3. Chronology [5]

It appears that the Appellant has failed to provide an accurate and complete Heritage Permit Inventory. For example no Permits are listed supporting the commencement of the re-development in 2006. This is significant because it goes to the question as to whether the owner breached Condition 9 of P9639 by commencing the re-development in mid 2006.

Indeed, we note that the owner and Appellant were actually prosecuted by Boroondara Council in 2006 for effectively “jumping the gun” and commencing building works in Stage 1 without first obtaining the necessary permits. (VCAT 2006)

We request, therefore, that an adequate and comprehensive chronology be provided listing all relevant events regarding the commencement of re-development on the site, including applications, permits, and approvals that were in force at the time redevelopment commenced in Stage 1 and/or elsewhere on the site, plus an explanation as to:

  1. What permit conditions had not been satisfied, and why ? (Ref P9639 Condition 9)
  2. What required permits had not actually been obtained when the re-development commenced and why ? (Ref VCAT 2006)
  3. What were the grounds for the subsequent sacking of the KDC Project Manager, Kevin Hunt, by Walker Corporation ?
  4. On whose authority was the redevelopment commenced ?
  5. Did redevelopment commence before the Appellant signed the KRS Redevelopment Contract with the Victorian Government on 27 October 2006 ?
  6. If so, why ? And who was responsible for ensuring all Heritage Permit Conditions were properly complied with prior to 27 October 2006 ?

Reason. It appears the re-development commenced during a time of great confusion before the Walker KRS Contract was even signed, and before significant permit conditions had been properly complied with.

As a consequence the comprehensive Landscape Management Plan for the land between Main Drive and Oak Walk that the owner had undertaken to prepare and submit for the approval of the Executive Director of Heritage Victoria before re-development commenced in 2006 was not submitted and, therefore, not approved.

4. The Application

The Appellant makes reference [para 18] to Boroondara Council and the recent VCAT decision and “a large parcel of privately owned land to the south of the Kew Cottages site, 48 Wills Street.

However, we understand from Boroondara Council that most of the Appellants assertions regarding 48 Wills Street are essentially wrong.

We respectfully request, therefore, that any errors or omissions be corrected by the Appellant in concert with Boroondara Council, and that parties be advised accordingly.

5. Status of the Site Concept Plan.

The Appellant makes reference [paras 20-29] to the expiry of Permit 9639 and asserts:

….that the Site Concept Plan should not be given any more relevance than simply an

indication as part of a set of endorsed plans of an intended form of development more than

10 years ago…. [Para 25]

We say, however, that compliance and NOT currency is the issue that needs to be addressed.

We submit that as the owner appears to have significantly failed to comply with the terms and conditions of Permit 9639 at the outset, i.e.: before commencing re-development, significant weight should be given to that potential breach of the act.

Similarly, as Government Heritage Assets are involved, the Heritage Council should have regard to Government Heritage Management Policy. (HC46, 3,4,5)

We recommend that the Heritage Council seek an explanation for the Government’s failure to comply with Permit Condition 9 (P9639) from the responsible Government parties, including DHS, MPV, and the Secretary of the Department of Economic Development, before making a ruling on this matter.

Pending a decision on the latter we say:

That if the owner had acted responsibly and properly complied with Condition 9 of Permit P9639 then:

A comprehensive Landscape Management Plan, that included the island site between Main Drive and Oak Walk would have been produced by the owner and submitted for approval by the Executive Director, Heritage Victoria, before Stage 1 works commenced in 2006;

For approval the Plan was required to incorporate:

  • All the significant trees between Main Drive and Oak Walk, including Tree 160 (subsequently removed without a permit by the owner)
  • The hard landscape elements of F4 main Drive and F7 oak Walk, including the gutters and lampposts
  • All other retained trees
  • A proposal for removing the former Administration Building, and proposals for
  • Re-instatement Avenue planting in the gap left by the latter building
  • Any fencing treatments fronting F4 Main Drive, and F7 Oak Walk and the Public Open space areas
  • Full details of the proposed landscape treatment of the public open spaces, including the landscape treatment of the heritage core area, and proposed play equipment, furniture, lighting…

Reason. To ensure that the proposed landscape treatment of the public open space, re-instatement of trees, and fencing is appropriate and sympathetic to the existing landscape, and to ensure the existing trees and proposed landscaping for the site is maintained into the future. (P9639 Condition 9)

An endorsed Comprehensive Landscape Management Plan would have thereby precluded any new buildings on the island site between Main Drive and Oak Walk in accord with Permit P9639

However, such a Plan could have reasonably provided for the re-instatement of the original Main Drive Gateway at the entrance from Princess Street, as envisaged in the Kew Cottages Coalition Nomination (2004).

Moved to Victoria Park, Kew circa 1940, the Gateway is now being restored in situ. Our attempts to have the historic Gateway returned to Main Drive having fallen on deaf ears. We understand that neither the owner or the Appellant had any interest in restoring the Gateway to Main Drive. (See Appendix)

6. Location of the Proposed Apartment Building

The Appellant asserts that:

… there is simply no support for the proposition that

the development of a single apartment building, with a much smaller overall footprint and at

an overall height less than contemplated in the Site Concept Plan, could be said to be more

detrimental to the significant cultural heritage values of both Kew Cottages and Willsmere

merely by reason of it being located adjacent to the realigned access road which did not

exist at the time of operation of Willsmere and the Kew Cottages. [29 emphasis added]

However, in our submission the Appellant’s assertion that Main Drive is a

... realigned access road which did not exist at the time of operation of Willsmere and the Kew Cottages.

is simply wrong.

This is a significant error and should be corrected in accordance with the Kew Cottages Statement of Significance (F4 Main Drive).

Similarly, the Appellant appears more than somewhat confused regarding the significance of Main Drive when they assert that the Heritage Victoria officer is “misdirected” in his statements regarding Main Drive access to the Kew Asylum [31]

Suffice here to say that we support the officer’s comments, and submit that the Appellant’s assertions have no substance. [31,32]

7. Material and Expert Evidence.

We have the highest respect for the professional competence of the experts referred to by the Appellant.

However, the suggestion by the Appellant that John Patrick and Bryce Rayworth have had no previous involvement in the application appears disingenuous to a degree.

As the Appellant will be aware, both consultants were engaged by their Kew Cottages PPP partner, i.e.: the owner, the State Government, over a decade ago when the Planning Minister ‘called in’ the project and removed planning responsibility from Boroondara Council.

That in turn then meant that the Government became the owner, the developer, and the regulator of the Kew Cottages re-development.

Which as a former Mayor of Boroondara, Mr. Jack Wegman, said at the time was like, “putting Dracula in charge of the Blood Bank !”

We, therefore, include here for completeness the original Kew Cottages reports prepared by John Patrick and Bryce Rayworth for the Government

. (See attached)

Both reports refer to Main Drive and its significance with respect to re-development.

8. Conclusion.

On the one hand the Appellant appears to have made a number of unhelpful and mischievous assertions with regard to the competence of Heritage Victoria’s Permit Application assessment process.

However, on the other hand the Appellant now appears keen to cultivate and promote a degree of ignorance about not only how Permit P9639 came into existence, but also of the chaotic circumstances which surrounded the redevelopment at the time.

For example the Appellant appears to have conveniently forgotten that they supported the owner’s argument made to Heritage Victoria at the time that to re-develop the site it was necessary for financial reasons to not only:

  1. Demolish 50% of the Heritage Buildings; but also
  2. Build apartment blocks at, and only at, the specific locations shown on the ‘Site Concept Plan’ (Masterplan) prepared by the Appellant.

Similarly, when by way of objection, the Kew Cottages Coalition submitted alternative proposals for the location of the proposed apartment blocks, both the Government and Walker Corporation were adamant that the proposed apartment blocks could not be moved from the specific locations shown on the Site Concept Plan that they themselves had prepared.

The Government and Appellant themselves, therefore, were the ones responsible for the island site on Main Drive being excluded from the specific locations proposed by them for apartments in the Site Concept Plan.

The Government, as owner, was successful in its permit application, and the Site Concept Plan was endorsed as part of Permit P9639.

The Government, as owner of the Heritage Assets was thereby given permission to demolish 50% of the remaining Heritage Buildings, but only on the specified terms and conditions as discussed in our submission.

We have concluded that the Government subsequently not only failed to abide by the terms and conditions set out in Permit P939, but has also:

  1. Allowed the remaining Heritage Buildings to fall into disrepair; and
  2. Failed to maintain that part of the Main Drive and Oak Walk Avenues occupied by the Appellant’s administration office, to the extent that the conservation of this island site is now seriously threatened. (See Attached images plus Google Streetview )

We respectfully submit, therefore , that the Heritage Council should:

  1. Reject the current Appeal; and
  2. Take action pursuant to S.66 of The Act to ensure this ‘island site’ is returned to its former appearance in accordance with Permit P9639 without further delay.



Links to:

Attachments 1 -10

Please see Email 2 of 2.


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