The Cairo apartment building on Nicholson St is one of Melbourne’s art deco treasures. In exploring the historical photo archives I found two images of the building when relatively new, and thought these would make an interesting comparison to how it looks now.
The original photos are from a Fitzroy municipal rating study, which states that the multiple unit dwelling project would transform the city. Set in extensive and well-kept lawns and gardens, the flats front to Nicholson Street. There are 37 flats and a cafe (presumably long since closed or converted to another flat). Twenty years before these photos were taken (1948) the site was occupied by a single old house of 14 rooms.
Courtesy of Fitzroy local history photograph collection / ID: 15199 / photographer: unknown / copyright: expired – image is in the public domain
After 60 years the gardens have grown enormously, and threaten to overwhelm the building, rather like a pyramid lost in a south American rainforrest.
Another blogger has posted a short review and some photos from within the courtyard.
Courtesy of Fitzroy local history photograph collection / ID: 15200 / photographer: unknown / photographer: unknown / copyright: expired – image is in the public domain
Flats in the building appear in local real estate listings from time to time (photos are available on these real estate websites of apartments 12, 19 and 27). When I have a chance I will make an inspection.
Update 22 January 2009: while browsing the photo collection of Picture Australia and the State Library of Victoria (SLV) pictures catalogue I found another image of the Cairo building focusing on the amazing staircase taken in 1951.
Courtesy of the SLV / ID: a40655 / photographer: Lyle Fowler / copyright: expired – image is in the public domain