The History of The Gables
Built in 1902 by local property developer Lawrence Alfred Birchnell. The Gables is considered one of the most prominent houses in the Gascoigne and Waverley Estates. Renowned Queen Anne architects Ussher and Kemp celebrate Australian flora and fauna in the intricate plasterwork and leadlight throughout the mansion. William Guilfoyl the master landscape architect of the Royal Botanical Gardens designed the garden which retains much of it original structure today.
Boasting wide verandahs overlooking the magnificent garden,
Famous Finch Street in East Malvern is lined with huge historic plane trees. While The Gables, set on an acre of land, still retains many of the original trees, including the original hedge and two enormous cypress trees in the front. The garden is immaculate, with a rose-covered gazebo for wedding ceremonies, a pond and fountain, as well as the tallest Norfolk Island pine in the area, which can be seen from the Rialto in the city.
A private residence, then rooming house until 1930, the first wedding reception held was a breakfast in the formal dining room, followed by dancing to Melbourne’s first jukebox in the upstairs rooms. The notorious Squizzy Taylor was reputed to have thrown a 21st birthday party for his girlfriend in the main ballroom. The Gables was very famous for 21st birthday parties from the 1920s to the 1940s.
With its easy proximity to the Caulfield Race Course, The Gables ran an underground speakeasy gambling room upstairs and sold beer from the back door during Melbourne’s prohibition era.
Throughout its history, The Gables has been a Melbourne icon, celebrating generation after generation of Melbourne’s wedding receptions and parties. Lovingly restored, the atmosphere and charm of The Gables have been retained for the future generations.
We are so proud to be still operating a business that has been running continuously since the 1920s and to still be available for to our past bride and grooms for wedding anniversaries 90 years on. Never in its long history has The Gables been open to the public before now.
Recent weddings include Cal Wilson, the Nova DJ, and Chris Wood, as well as Tessa James of Home and Away fame and Nate Myles, NRL star. We are also so proud to have hosted many third-generation weddings over our time here.