3 posts in this thread / 0 new
Last post

The Victoria Hotel (former Victoria Coffee Palace)

Peter Maltezos's picture

The Victoria Hotel (former Victoria Coffee Palace)

215 Little Collins Street

The Victoria Hotel is one of Melbourne's original hotels, established 125 years ago, opening its doors for business on 1 November, 1880, just 45 years after Melbourne was established in 1835.

The Victoria Hotel was originally known as the Victoria Coffee Palace, founded by a Temperance League as an alternative to the rowdy, bawdy pub accommodation on offer during the late 19th century.

The original lobby is still in use today, minus the skylight dome, removed during WWII to blackout the hotel as a security precaution.

At one stage, The Vic, as it became known, was advertised as the largest hotel in the Commonwealth. Today it remains the largest three star hotel in Australia.

Known as a luxury hotel in the 20's and 30's, The Vic prided itself on its guest service, including porters being sent to meet guests arriving at Port Melbourne Docks and Spencer Street Train Station.

A coffee palace differed from the regular hotels in Melbourne in another important way - it was a dry hotel - no alcohol! Instead, patrons imbibed beef tea, mineral waters and, of course, coffee. Fortunately, things have changed and guests can now enjoy a drink in Vic's Bar.

The Victoria Hotel was the first in Melbourne to offer electric lights in its rooms.

The founder of the hotel was the Honourable James Munro, a former premier of Victoria.

During WW2 the American army occupied a large section of the hotel for many months

The 1956 Olympics in Melbourne saw the Victoria Hotel feature as the main meeting place for the IOC, many of its functions and banquets being held here.


Below, in the postcard and photograph, the Victoria Coffee Palace with its incredible elegant verandahs on Collins Street. It was established in leased premises, known as “Clyde House” taken over from The Victoria Club, which was in liquidation after having been one of the earliest institutions in Melbourne. In 1924 the lease of the Collins Street premises expired and the building was vacated and later demolished to make way for an expanded Melbourne Town Hall.

In 1911 the new building on Little Collins Street was completed, one can see the Little Collins Street building in the two old postcards below and after that, two of my own photographs.


Back to top
Peter Maltezos's picture

A prized possession of mine, a postcard with message from the coffee palace.

I collect, therefore I am.

Back to top
MelbourneGuy's picture

I like your collection of old photos Peter. I find them extremely interesting.

Back to top

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.