Friday, July 9, 2010

Then and Now: The City of Melbourne Building

Address: 112-118 Elizabeth Street (corner of Little Collins Street) 
Built: 1888
Then: Photographed ca. 1890
Now: Photographed 2010 

This Victorian building in the Queen Anne style still stands on the corner of Elizabeth and Little Collins Streets. It was built in 1888 for the City of Melbourne Building Society and its elaborate facade is indicative of the wealth which abounded in Melbourne at this time. I have always been fascinated by the building's incredible array of turrets, balconies and irregular windows.  I would love to see this building given a proper clean!  Equally as fascinating is the photo itself. Taken in 1890, you can see some Melburnians of the late 19th century, a horse and cart, and a moving tram (which I have tried to capture myself in the photo below!)  

The old photo reveals an interesting building to the left of Little Collins Street which has since been demolished.  Unfortunately, I cannot find any information on it! The new photo shows that it has been replaced by a more modern grey building. On the top of the building reads the sign 'Hoddle House.' This no doubt refers to Robert Hoddle, the Surveyor General of Victoria 1851-53, to whom we owe the grid layout of the CBD. If anyone has information on either the demolished building or its replacement 'Hoddle House' please let me know!

Inside Hoddle House near the Lifts (enter from Little Collins Street)

The City of Melbourne i-Heritage Database 

Photo Credits 
Above: Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria
Below: My own 


Anonymous said...

The sculptural figures that frame the doorway to this building, still exist I think - and are in the grounds of Melbourne University. I think they were incorporated into the underground car park entrance. And what fine sculpture they are...

Gillian said...

Good pick up. The statues, known as the Atlantes, are just visible on the left side of the 1890 photo and formed part of the entrance to the Colonial Bank of Australasia. When the building was demolished in 1932, they were donated to Melbourne Uni and then integrated into the car park entrance in 1972. Thanks!

Alice said...

Great comparison! And such a shame that the beautiful building on the left no longer exists...

rohan said...

This is one of my all time faves too ! It was designed by Elleker & Kilburn, who were also co-designers of the fabulous but long gone Federal Hotel cnr Collins & King Street. Love the over the top Victoriana !

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