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Former Brunton Chambers (later Altson’s Corner)

Peter Maltezos's picture

From Walking Melbourne

The National Trust Guide to The Historic and Architectural Landmarks of Central Melbourne.

Former Brunton Chambers (later Altson’s Corner)

298 – 304 Collins Street, north-east corner of Collins and Elizabeth Streets


Designed by Nahum Barnet and built in two stages in 1904 and 1908, this lively Edwardian design, with its corner turret, features Art Nouveau ornamentation – the flowing tendrils under the balconies, and the balcony railings themselves. The turret, corner bay windows, and cornice were all removed in the 1950s, and reinstated as part of conversion to apartments in 2000 under the guidance of conservation architect Nigel Lewis.


A couple of old turn of last century shots below, and two recent shots of mine after that.


Stage 1.


Stage 2 with extension along Collins Street.


From Elizabeth Street

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Peter Maltezos's picture

B H Altson Tobacconist, on the north-east corner of Collins and Elizabeth Streets ~ 1890s.

This was the original building that housed B H Alton's tobacco business, and according to the family, was the first brick building in Melbourne. It was replaced by Brunton Chambers in 1904.

The photograph below shows the window display of B H Altson Pty ltd Tobacconists in the Brunton Chambers building ~ 1950s. 'BH' stands for the owner's initials, Barnett Hyman. 'BH' as he was known by his family, came to Australia in 1870 from Yorkshire. He set up the tobacconist on the corner of 300 Collins & Elizabeth Street. This shop was referred to as 'No 1 Melbourne', because it was originally owned by John Batman and was then later bought by Altson. 

One can understand why Brunton Chambers is sometimes referred to as Altson's Corner.

I collect, therefore I am.

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Development & Planning

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 12:00
The swirl of development activity in Footscray has found another gear as new projects are submitted for approval, or are on the verge of beginning construction. Two separate planning applications have been advertised by Maribyrnong City Council; their subsequent addition to the Urban Melbourne Project Database has seen the overall number of apartment developments within Footscray in development swell to 40.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Monday, November 20, 2017 - 12:00
The marriage of old and new can be a difficult process, particularly when the existing structure has intrinsic heritage value. In previous times Fitzroy's 237 Napier Street served as the home of furniture manufacturer C.F. Rojo and Sons. Taking root during 1887, Christobel Rojo oversaw operations though over time the site would become home to furniture manufacturer Thonet.


Visual Melbourne

Friday, August 25, 2017 - 07:00
The former site of John Batman's home, Batman's Hill is entering the final stages of its redevelopment. Collins Square's final tower has begun its skyward ascent, as has Lendlease's Melbourne Quarter Commercial and Residential precinct already. Melbourne Quarter's first stage is at construction and involves a new 12-storey home for consultancy firm Arup along with a skypark.

Transport & Design

Friday, December 15, 2017 - 11:00
Infrastructure Victoria unveiled a new round of research into its larger programme of work dealing with managing transport demand. The authority contracted Arup and KPMG to produce the Melbourne Activity Based Model (MABM) and while it is new, it is considered fit for purpose in the strategic context.

Sustainability & Environment

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 12:00
Cbus Property's office development for Medibank at 720 Bourke Street in Docklands recently became the first Australian existing property to receive a WELL Certification, Gold Shell and Core rating. The WELL rating goes beyond sustainable building features with a greater focus on the health and well-being of a building's occupants.