Built Heritage Consultants Melbourne
Dictionary of Unsung Architects   return to DUA index
WALTER G EMBLETON (1928-1970)

Biographical Overview

Born in Glenhuntly (Victoria) in 1928, Walter George "Wally" Embleton was the son of George Francis Embleton, a factory manager, and his wife Vera.  By the late 1940s, the Embleton family had relocated to Wolloongong on the south coast of New South Wales, where, according to electoral rolls, young Walter was employed as a draftsman.  In 1950, he married Marea Winifred Chalker (1926-2008). Within a few years thence, the entire family - Walter, his wife and his parents - had returned to Melbourne, where they settled in the Moorabbin area.  It was there that Embleton commenced his own practice as an "architectural designer" (as he described it), with an office above a shop in Station Street.  

From the mid-1950s, Embleton fostered an notable association with the emerging field of project housing, which would sustain his career.  His earliest foray into this field was a design known as the Spaceline, which was exhibited at the 1956 Building Industries Fair and later gave its name to a project housing firm, Spaceline Homes, that would dominate the field in the 1960s.  In 1959, he designed the Sun-Star house for the Moorabbin Builders Bureau, for which a much-published prototype was erected on the Nepean Highway (and another, later, in Watsonia).  Embleton went on to designed project houses for other local pioneers of the field, including Metron Pty Ltd, K G Putt Pty Ltd and Exposition Homes.  While his designs were highly regarded within the building industry (and won several awards at trade shows), they appear to have been rather less highly regarded by the architectural profession (a member of which was once moved to point out that Embleton was merely a draftsman, as the title "architectural designer" was misleading, even dangerous, if one was neither qualified nor registered as an architect).  

Notwithstanding his nebulous professional status, Embleton undertook a small number of private residential commissions a
mongst his extensive catalogue of project house designs.  In 1962, he designed a house in Studley Park and, two years later, did another at Beaumaris for a friend who was an entomologist with the Department of Agriculture.  One of his most interesting private residential projects - a Spanish-style residence in Toorak for Melbourne's Norwegian Consul, completed in 1970 - was also his last.  Embleton died suddenly, following a heart attack, on 26 October that year.  He was survived by his wife, Marea, and their six children, then aged between four and nineteen years.  His widow remained in Melbourne until the late 1970s, when she returned to her native Wolloongong and later remarried.  


Select List of Projects

1956
1959

1960
1962
1963
1964

1965
1967

1969


1970
Project house (Spaceline)
Project house (Sun-star) - example at 1027 Nepean Highway, Moorabbin
Project house for Metron Pty Ltd - example at Taranta Drive, Noble Park
Project house (Avonfor K G Putt Pty Ltd
Residence, 6 Yarra Street, Kew
Project houses for Exposition Homes Pty Ltd - examples at Springvale and Burwood
Residence, 83 Pellat Street, Beaumaris

Project house (Nevadafor K G Putt Pty Ltd
Project house (Tania) - example at Vermont
Project house (Unitary) for Timber Development Association
Project house (Polynesian) for Timber Development Association
Project house for Exposition Homes Pty Ltd - example at Notting Hill
Project house (Casablanca) for Spaceline Homes Pty Ltd - example at Doncaster
Project house (Lancaster) for Spaceline Homes Pty Ltd - example at Doncaster
Residence for Norwegian Consul, 55 Grange Road, Toorak

top
Sunstar House by Walter G Embleton 1956
The "Sun-Star" project home at Moorabbin (1956)


Beaumaris House by Walter G Embleton 1964
Residence at 83 Pellatt Street, Beaumaris (1964)
(Source: Australian House & Garden; Reeves Collection)


Unitary House by Walter G Embleton 1967
The "Unitary" project house designed for the Timber Development Association of Victoria (1967)


Toorak House by Walter G Embleton 1970
Residence at 55 Grange Road, Toorak (1970)