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George Hotel, 125 Fitzroy St, St Kilda, VIC, Australia
List: Register of the National Estate
Legal Status: Registered (14/05/1991)
Place ID: 11992
Place File No: 2/11/046/0027
Statement of Significance:
The building is one of the few large nineteenth century terminus hotels surviving in Melbourne and is one of St Kilda's oldest hotels (Criterion B.2). The circular tower is extremely rare and it, together with the remainder of the 1889 building, and the stained glass window in the 1924 section, are all architecturally significant (Criteria B.2 and F.1) This very large hotel is a local landmark and is important to the local streetscape (Criterion E.1). The hotel's size and its situation immediately opposite St Kilda's 1857 railway station reflect the development of the suburb during the second half of the nineteenth century and the role that the railway played in this process of growth. In addition to this, the five storey Fitzroy Street refacing of 1924 illustrates St Kilda's popularity as a holiday resort during the earlier decades of this century (Criterion A.4).
Official Values: Not Available
The four storey corner building is of brick construction with rendered facades and face brick rear walls. The principal features of the facades are the arcaded balconies, window rails, main entrance arch supported on columns and the circular corner tower. The tower originally had a pointed roof. The adjoining wing is an austere building of five storeys which employs Oriel window bays to relieve the facade. Strips of rectangular windows maintain the horizontal line of the Victorian building and the parapet is balustraded in a similar manner to the adjoining corner section of the hotel. The porte cochere, or entrance way, on the Fitzroy Street elevation is of note. Originally known as the Terminus Hotel, the building's name was changed in 1867 to the George Hotel, new owner Charles Forster naming it after after a Ballarat pub. The three storey original building survived in its original external form until 1975, when it was demolished for the drive in bottle shop entry. This first section was progressively added to throughout the nineteenth century, extending the complex towards the corner. One extensive addition was designed by Robert Rusby Cowl in 1873 for the proprietor, Frederick Wimpole, who owned the hotel from 1870 to well into the present century. The building had reached the corner by 1889 with completion of the towered wing. This four storey wing was designed by architect, Harry B Gibbs and the hotel reputedly now had 250 rooms. The 1920s hotel letterhead gives an indication of the size and appearance of the hotel, though it is not known how accurate the detailing of the building in the sketch is. The older wings, though not the original building, were refaced in 1924, to bring the hotel to its present appearance.
History: Not Available
Condition and Integrity:
The building is in quite good condition and is reasonably intact. The ground floor of the older wing has been variously altered and the tower roof and parapet balusters removed. The principal ground floor rooms in the 1924 refaced wing have been altered. The intactness of the interior is not known in detail. (August 1987)
125 Fitzroy Street, corner Grey Street, St Kilda.
DAVISON G (ED), "MELBOURNE ON FOOT" PG 128, MELBOURNE 1980.
SMITH J (ED) "THE CYCLOPEDIA OF VICTORIA" MELBOURNE 1903, VOL 1,
NIGEL LEWIS AND ASSOCIATES, ARCHITECTS AND CONSERVATION PLANNERS,
"ST KILDA CONSERVATION STUDY AREA 1" PG 115.
COOPER,J.B., "THE HISTORY OF ST KILDA FROM ITS FIRST SETTLEMENT TO A
CITY AND AFTER, 1840 - 1930", MELBOURNE, 1931, VOL 1, P.318, VOL 2