Heritage disrepair at 22 Kangerong Rd
As you walk down this quiet street off Whitehorse Rd with the Box Hill Police station on the western side and the Little Jiang Nan restaurant on the eastern side, you can see interesting houses from the early development of Box Hill. Many of these houses have been proudly maintained and restored unlike the house at 22 Kangerong Rd, Box Hill.
The ‘City of Whitehorse Heritage Properties Review – Gem of Box Hill & Mates’ Housing Development Precinct, 2006’ mentions ‘Development of the estate seemed assured when William Williams, a carpenter immediately built a house there on lot 18 but in reality few houses existed by the turn of the century. An exception was this place at no 22 built by Charles Ragg in 1889 on lot 19’.
Charles Ragg was born in Boroondara in 1855; his later occupation was listed as ‘dairyman’. In 1877 he married Annie Carson. Annie’s parents Richard and Mary Carson lived at 22 Kangerong Rd from 1896 until Richard’s death in 1900, but Mary continued living in the house until c1910; her occupation was listed as ‘dairywoman’. Mary later moved to Watts St, Box Hill where she died in 1919.
William Sloan and his family lived in the house after the Carson’s. Both William Sloan Snr and his wife Elizabeth were born in Scotland in 1871. In 1913 William, Elizabeth and their nine children sailed on the Themistocles from London to Melbourne and in 1914 were living at 22 Kangerong Rd.
In 1915 William Snr enlisted in the Australian army but was discharged a year later as being ‘over military age’. Their sons Thomas and James worked at the Mitcham Pottery factory before they also enlisted in the Australian army in 1915 and served in WW1. James was ‘under age’ but obtained his parents’ consent to enlist. Both Thomas and James died together after their troopship Southland was torpedoed off the coast of Lemnos in September 1915; they were buried on Lemnos. The Memorial Honour Board in the foyer of the Box Hill Town Hall includes their names, as does the War Memorial is the Box Hill Gardens.
Another son, William Sloan Jnr also enlisted in 1915 and served at Gallipoli and then the Western Front with the 7th Division AIF. At Hollebeke, Belgium, the Australians overwhelmed the defenders and captured a section of the German line before withdrawing. Melbourne historian Jim Claven states that William Jnr was ‘Mentioned in Despatches’ “for participation in a very successful raid on the enemy trenches on 30 September 1916”. Returning to Box Hill in 1918, he continued working as a ‘farmer’.
Early pioneers arrived in what was known as the Nunawading District (Whitehorse) as early as 1837 and their stories are a fascinating insight into how Whitehorse developed. Some of their stories can be read on a new website at www.whitehorseheritage.com
The house at 22 Kangerong Rd, Box Hill has a Council Heritage Overlay (HO 186).
Between 2012 and 2019 a number of planning applications have been lodged in regards to the development of this site, but no development has occurred since the last application in 2019.
As of June 2022, the house is in a very neglected state with smashed windows, slate tiles missing from the roof, the front door has been removed, part of the rear of the house has been demolished leaving the interior of the house exposed to the elements and the interior plaster walls, ceilings and fittings have all been removed. The gardens are not covered by a heritage or vegetation overlay and the site has been cleared of all vegetation.
In March 2021 the state government passed ‘Amendments in relation to heritage protection’ of the Planning and Environment Act 1987. These include provisions ‘to deter persons from unlawfully demolishing heritage buildings; or allowing heritage buildings to fall into disrepair’ and ‘to prevent persons from obtaining a benefit from unlawfully demolishing heritage buildings or allowing heritage buildings to fall into disrepair’.
To read the amendments please click on the following link: Planning and Environment Amendment Act 2021 (legislation.vic.gov.au)
It is concerning to see this ‘Council heritage protected house’ in such a sad state of disrepair and I am hopeful that the owners, Whitehorse Council and the State government will work together to fully restore this very important piece of our early built heritage.
Hasan Hassan is a local resident who has lived in Whitehorse for over 20 years. Go to his website Whitehorse Heritage here to read more of his research and writing.