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 Post subject: Southern Cross Hotel
PostPosted: 11 Jan 2007, 17:46 
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Located at the south-west corner of Bourke and Exhibition Streets, Australia’s first modern American-style, international-class, five-star hotel was built on the site of the former Eastern Market for Southern Cross Properties Ltd, which included Pan American World Airways and their subsidiary Intercontinental Hotels and the Australian sharebrokers Potter Partners.

Pan Am had been attracted to business and property investment in Melbourne following the success of the 1956 Olympic Games and the vigorous marketing of Melbourne by the Victorian Promotions Committee, led by Sir Bernard Evans. Pan Am wanted either the Western or the Eastern Market sites. National Mutual already had the option for the Western Market site and another company held the Eastern option. Pan Am Vice-President Clarence Young was on his way home, saying they would have to build in Sydney, when the company that held the Eastern site withdrew. Young was telegraphed in Hawaii with the news and flew straight back to Melbourne. The freehold of the property remained with the City Council and was leased to SCP for 99 years.

The 426-room hotel cost £5.25 million and included an underground car park, a shopping arcade and a bowling alley. Opened on 24 August 1962 by Prime Minister Robert Menzies, its guest list included The Beatles in 1964, Judy Garland, Rock Hudson, John Wayne, Marlene Dietrich, and Sammy Davis Jr. For many years the hotel hosted the annual Logie and Brownlow Awards and was Liberal Party headquarters for election night functions. Over the years it was the Southern Cross that was responsible for reviving a part of town that had become very neglected.

Pan Am sold its interests in the hotel in 1977, leaving it in Australian ownership until the site was sold to the Republic of Nauru in 1994. The hotel was closed on 1 April 1995 (an appropriate date, as it proved) and partially demolished in order for it to be extensively remodelled. The plan was to close for 18 months, strip the façade and replace with glass curtain walls, extend the floors, and build a 27 floor executive apartment suite tower behind the hotel, eventually making up a 527 room hotel renamed the Grand Southern Cross costing some $250 million. Features would include the country’s largest hotel lobby, a **** lounge, a 3000 capacity ballroom, and a convention center.

However, this project was never completed. Somebody out there neglected to ensure that Nauru would be able to meet their future financial obligations, and when they couldn’t the ruined building stood derelict until finally being resold to another company and completely demolished in 2003 to make way for an office development.

From an historical point of view, it would be interesting to know what became of the Eastern Market’s foundation stone which was reset into the Bourke Street wall of the Southern Cross, the many bricks from the Market which were re-used in the downstairs Club Bar, and the 1878 Market time capsule which was discovered under the foundation stone by Whelan when the complex was demolished in 1960. It was suggested at the time that the capsule be re-buried in the foundation of the hotel.

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 Post subject: Oriental Hotel
PostPosted: 11 Jan 2007, 22:48 
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The Oriental began as The Bedford in 1846, named after the Duke of Bedford which was a ship turned into a floating hotel off Port Melbourne during the gold rush. That building, originally the townhouse of Sir Charles Ebden, was then rebuilt in the 1870’s.

Mr Pearson Tewksbury, a wealthy gold dealer, bought the hotel in 1910 as the result of his wife falling into an argument with the manager over poor service, surely a case of, “I disliked the company so much I bought it.” Tewksbury had dreams of building a new 13 floor, 600 room hotel on the site but died before his plans could become reality.

Eventually the hotel came into the hands of the Ress family after which the hotel became known as the Ress Oriental. They also had the Ress Astoria and the Ress Motor Inn at Mornington. The Oriental developed a reputation for fine dining and elegant accommodation and with its outdoor café did have the legendary reputation of having given the nickname of the “Paris End” to the top of Collins Street.

The hotel closed on Christmas Eve, 1970, to make way for Collins Place. The contents were auctioned in March the following year and the building demolished soon after. The Ress family went on then to run the Mitre Tavern in Bank Place at the other end of Collins Street. The story was that the entire old Rib Room went into the Ress Motor Inn at Mornington.

Incidentally, the name of the elegant old two-storey Duke of York hotel on the opposite side of Collins Street was later changed to The Occidental as an opposite pairing to the already established Oriental.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: 13 Jan 2007, 16:20 
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Again, thankyou George Nipper. :D

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PostPosted: 14 Jan 2007, 21:20 
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Yarra Family
In 1837 John Batman paid 75 pounds for the allotment on the NW corner of Flinders and William Streets. On the western half of this land William P Snow erected 1853-4 the Yarra Yarra Steam Packet Hotel in 1840. In 1848 Eugene McLaughlan bought the freehold of the entire property and then constructed an adjoining hotel in 1853 to the east on the corner that he named the Yarra Family Hotel. It had two floors of stone and the upper of brick. He transferred his licence there in 1854 and the hotel stood for the next 100 years, falling to the wreckers’ hammer in 1964.


Queens Arms / Champions.
In 1840 Melbourne’s first Wesleyan Chapel was built on the NW corner of Swanston St. and Flinders Lane. Seven years later Thomas Monaghan purchased the property for the grand sum of 59 pounds and built a hotel there called the Queen’s Arms adjoining the old chapel which became the kitchen. William Hawkins had it from 1854 until 1860 when Benjamin Champion took over and it then remained in the Champion family’s hands for some 56 years. In 1916 Claude Kerr took over and rebuilt the hotel as it appears in the photograph, but it was sold to the State Bank in 1923 for 160,000 pounds and probably demolished not long after that.


Carlyons
Named after a famous hotel family who originated with a retired River Murray paddle steamer captain who opened a riverside tavern. There were Carlyon’s hotels at St Kilda, at Hampton and at Ballarat. The first hotel on the site was The Mechanics’ Hotel in the 1870’s. Incidentally, it was Norman Carlyon who partnered with Fred Matear to build the Hotel Australia in Collins Street.

Later bought by Carlton and United, the three story building was deemed unprofitable and demolished in 1971. By 1973 CUB had opened the single-story Savoy Tavern (now there was a drinking hole where the carpets never dried out) on the site to cater to the large numbers of postal and railway shift workers in the area. Soon after, however, they sold it to Federal Pacific Hotels who had bought the neighboring Savoy Plaza hotel (previously the American-style Hotel Alexander designed by Leslie M. Perrot) some twenty years previously but who immediately after purchasing the Tavern sold the hotel to the Victorian Government for use as the Police Academy. It was the sales of the Savoy and their flagship Federal hotels that provided capital for Federal Pacific’s Wrest Point Casino venture.

The Tavern closed some years ago, and the corner site has recently been sold for redevelopment.

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PostPosted: 15 Jan 2007, 17:39 
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George Nipper wrote:
Queens Arms / Champions.
In 1840 Melbourne’s first Wesleyan Chapel was built on the NW corner of Swanston St. and Flinders Lane. Seven years later Thomas Monaghan purchased the property for the grand sum of 59 pounds and built a hotel there called the Queen’s Arms adjoining the old chapel which became the kitchen. William Hawkins had it from 1854 until 1860 when Benjamin Champion took over and it then remained in the Champion family’s hands for some 56 years. In 1916 Claude Kerr took over and rebuilt the hotel as it appears in the photograph, but it was sold to the State Bank in 1923 for 160,000 pounds and probably demolished not long after that.


I can assure you that the State Bank building (Champion's Hotel) stood until the early 1970s.
I remember seeing it in my childhood. :D

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: 27 Mar 2007, 14:29 
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The Yarra Family Hotel at the north-west corner of Flinders and William Streets, in December 1959.

Image

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