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PostPosted: 30 Apr 2006, 18:06 
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Hotel Australia

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Hotel Australia ~ 1957.

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The ceiling of Hotel Australia Dining Room.

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The Tatler newsreels Theatre and cinema foyer in the hotel basement.

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PostPosted: 30 Apr 2006, 18:07 
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The Federal Hotel

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A postcard of the Federal Hotel ~ 1950s.

From Historic Melbourne sketchbook

The gold rush left Melbourne with huge investment wealth which swelled the boom years of the 1880s. The boom soared to a peak in 1888, when Collins Street land prices reached levels higher than they would be for the next fifty years, and when the city staged a wildly extravagant £250,000 Centennial Exhibition which lured visitors from around the world.

Most lavish of the fifty hotels waiting to pamper sightseers was the Federal Coffee Palace, built between 1886 and 1888 at a cost of £150,000. A bemused contemporary wrote: “It comprises a little of everything – Corinthian, Ionic, Doric, Early English, Late English, Queen Anne, Elizabethan, Australian – in fact, it may be called the last.” A later visitor put it more succinctly: “A castle built for a Norman earl by an architect who had been dreaming of Doré’s illustrations to Balzac.”

Guests were greeted by an inscription over the main entrance: RESTEZ ICI. SOYEZ LE BIENVENU (Stay here. You’ll be welcome), and two huge plaster dowagers, surrounded by a flutter of cherubs, guarding an inner hall which led to a great hall paved with black, white and red marble. Out of a central pediment rose “Venus, a nude figure of full life-size, drawn on the waters in a cloud chariot by four sea horses and accompanied by several other figures, the whole representing the Aurora Australis.”

Six “accident-proof” lifts carried guests to more than 500 rooms. But only eighteen months later many of the rooms were being let as offices and, in the recession of the 1890s, the Federal had to seek a liquor licence to woo back guests from the near-by Menzies Hotel. It survived until February 1972, when it closed its doors for the last time.
Demolition of The Federal Hotel was completed in 1973.

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The interior vestibule.

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PostPosted: 01 May 2006, 09:35 
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^^ Looks like the queen walking up the steps there ...


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PostPosted: 01 May 2006, 14:20 
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The thirsty Melburnians in 1870-71 were well catered for.
Amongst the many hotels that have now been demolished, we see above The Rigby’s Council Club Hotel at the north-east corner Queen and Lonsdale Streets and the Crown Hotel at the south-east corner of Queen and Lonsdale Streets.
Below we see The Harp of Erin Hotel at the north-east corner of Queen and Little Bourke Streets and The New Excelsior Hotel at the south-east corner.
Notice the lamps above the entrances of the hotels which were compulsory back in the dimly lit streets of that era.

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PostPosted: 06 May 2006, 18:10 
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I found this rather interesting……

Text from Melbourne, The Biography of a City

Until 1915 the trading hours of hotels were 6 a.m. to 11.30 p.m. In that year they became 9 a.m. to 9.30 p.m. as a wartime measure, and twelve months later six o’clock closing was introduced as a temporary wartime measure. In 1919, like many temporary measures, six o’clock closing was made permanent. The public by referendum in 1956 overwhelmingly voted against an extension of hours until 10 p.m.

The licencing Reduction Board, later the Licencing Court, was set up in 1905 and within ten years had closed more than a thousand hotels, many of them in the metropolitan area. In 1856, however, 136 hotels, inns and taverns crowded into an area one mile long and half a mile broad, bounded by Flinders, Spencer, Latrobe and Spring Streets, The hours were 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the warmer months of the year, with special licences available until midnight. Beer for ‘off the premises cosumption’ could be bought on Sundays for two hours after 1 p.m.

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PostPosted: 11 Jan 2007, 17:14 
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I thought I would revive this great thread by posting some history of some of the illustrated hotels:

SCOTTS HOTEL

‘The city home of country people’ stood opposite the Western Market (from where Market Street derives its name) at 444 Collins Street.

In 1852 William Morton partially demolished the Lamb Inn and remodeled it as the Clarendon Family Hotel. Edward Scott, previously of the Port Phillip Club Hotel in Flinders Street (from where the Port Philip Arcade derives its name), purchased the Clarendon in 1860 and constructed the much grander Scott’s Hotel on the site. He then sold it to William C. Wilson in 1868.

After Wilson’s death in 1903, Scott’s remained in the family and Charles W. Wilson was licensee for well over thirty years, substantially rebuilding the hotel between 1913-14. Scott’s always maintained a prodigious reputation for the standard of the hotel table and cellar, rivaling Menzies Hotel. It was renown for the pastoral property auctions held there, as the gathering place for racing horse owners and breeders, as the Melbourne residence of English Test cricketers such as W. G. Grace, and as Dame Nellie Melba’s favourite hotel.

After being purchased by the Royal Insurance Company in 1961, Scott’s was demolished the following year to make way for offices. It was claimed at the time to be the oldest continuously licensed freehold in Victoria.


ROYAL MAIL HOTEL

Built in 1848 at the south-east corner of Bourke and Swanston Streets, this hotel gained its name because its owner, E. B. Green, held the contract for carrying the mail via stagecoach throughout Victoria. William Johnston Sugden became the second licensee when he resigned in late 1848 as Melbourne’s Chief Constable and founder of the city’s first plain-clothes detective force. However, he remained in his position as the first fire chief of the city’s original publicly-funded fire brigade from 1845 to 1850. Sugden obtained one of the few city night licences enabling him to remain open after 9 pm.

In 1888, when Paddy Reynolds was licensee, the custom began at the hotel of presenting a gold-mounted whip to the winning jockey on the night of the Melbourne Cup. About this same time, the city’s hansom cab drivers made the hotel their headquarters, stationing their timekeeper there with his clock and whistle.

The hotel was sold at auction in early 1960 to the British company Hammerson Property and Investments Trust for 455,000 pounds and demolished later that year to make way for an office and retail development that was known for many years as Royal Mail House.

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