Doonisde in Burnley Street, Richmond, an inner suburb of Melbourne, was built by David Mitchell prior to his marriage to Isabella Dow on June 11, 1857.
Earlier, he had purchased the property and established a brickworks for his contacting business.
The substantial home has been described as “a bow-fronted two-storey house, stucco on brick with a squat yellow tower.” (1)
While he owned other properties throughout Victoria, Doonside remained David Mitchell’s home all his life.
His son and daughter-in-law Frank and Isobel Mitchell lived at Doonside after David Mitchell died and remained there until Frank died on October 20, 1921.
Referring to the sale in May 1930 the Argus newspaper report said the home would be demolished and the 16 acre site subdivided into factory sites.
“On the property Mr Mitchell erected the first cement factory in Victoria. The bricks used in the building of the Exhibition Building, for which Mr Mitchell was the contractor, were also made in a kiln on the property.” (2)
The site was bound by Burnley Street, the Yarra River and Appleton Street.
The home was demolished in February 1931. The Age reported that by co-incidence, Melba’s fatal illness began about the same time as the workmen started to demolish Doonside and the last load of bricks were carted away the day that Melba died – February 26, 1931. (3)
The land subdivided into 34 factory sites. There were also 2 cottages and the Doonside home site to be sold. The estate roads were built by Richmond Council and names Doonside and David Street at the request of the trustees of David Mitchell’s estate. (4)
The auction was held on May 26, 1931 and much interest was shown in the factories and cottages but there were no bids for the Doonside site. (5)
1. Hethrington John, Melba: A biography, F.W. Cheshire Melbourne, 1967, p 15.
2.Argus, May 10, 1930 pg21.
3. The Age March 3, 1931 pg 6.
4. The Age March 3, 1931 pg6.
5. Argus May 27, 1931 pg6.