RAVENSWOOD, Casa del Rio and Casa del Mar were conceived in 1930 as part of a group of four apartment buildings, or “flats”, around a common courtyard, with a tennis court, gardens and a garage, to be built in the thirties. Today a tennis court has been reinstalled, but is now owned by the more recently built Casa de la Vista apartment block at number 38. The fourth block of flats was never built.
The buildings all share Mediterranean and Spanish Mission styles, especially Casa del Mar, while Casa del Rio has some English arts and craft features – heraldic leadlight windows and garlanded plaster-moulded ceilings. Ravenswood has an almost Tudoresque street appearance.
Magazine articles show that such flats were built for professional working people, both single and married. The flats were built as two bedroom apartments for rent, six per block, with the latest modcons – communal hot water, refrigeration, telephones, ducted garbage incineration and fitted bathrooms and kitchens. Ravenswood was designed by architect John Patrick Donoghue, who also built Holy Spirit church in Villiers Street. Casa del Mar was designed by the brilliant young architect George Rae, who designed Greystaines (Hamilton) and Green Gables in Julius Street. The architect for Casa del Rio is not known.
Ravenswood was built around 1930, and is named after the property of the same name owned by solicitor Daniel Foley Roberts, which extended from Bowen Terrace to the river. Casa del Mar was built in 1934, as was Casa del Rio which was finished around March and advertised for rent in April of that year. Casa del Rio was originally called Glenster Court, and advertised as unfurnished brick flats each with two bedrooms, lounge, breakfast room, kitchen, sun porch, garage, hot water service and refrigeration (Courier Mail 17th April). The flats are spacious and comfortable, in good repair and retain many original features, such as the leadlight windows, plaster ceilings and original bathroom tiles in Casa del Rio. These tiles have the same appearance as those on the floor of Gertie’s Bar at 699 Brunswick Street (maybe a coincidence?).
Casa del Rio was strata-titled in the nineties as was Casa del Mar around 2001, whereas Ravenswood is not yet strata-titled.