Moss Cass House

North Carlton

The conversion and renovation of a former bakery and stables, for Dr Moss Cass, the former Whitlam government minister, Mrs Shirley Cass, son Daniel Cass (upstairs), and their friend Margaret Holding (in the separate 2-storied stables). It is a site of about 1,000 m2 behind the Rathdowne Street shops and the Drummond Street houses, accessed only from lanes off Pigdon Street. The work involved schematic design, costing, model-making, design development, planning and building permits, contract documentation, contract supervision and construction on site by Urban Spaces, Builders, $220,000 (1986-87). Dr Cass (b 1927) was the former Minister for Environment and Conservation 1972-75, in the Whitlam government. He was succeeded by in that position by Dr Jim Cairns. Moss was unsuccessful in attempting to prevent the flooding of Lake Pedder in Tasmania, but did lay the groundwork to end sand-mining on Fraser Island and achieved government protection, and Australia’s first World Heritage listing, for the Great Barrier Reef. He retired from politics in 1983. Margaret was separated from Clyde Holding, former Victorian Labor Opposition Leader. I met them through their son-in law, the artist Geoff Lowe, who was then married to their daughter, Naomi Cass, now director of the Centre for Contemporary Photography.