Federal Coffee Palace, gone but certainly not forgotten

Original post 15 March 2020

I can see why #WilliamPitt didn’t win the competition for the #FederalCoffeePalace in 1888 with this elevation, I mean it looks like a cartoon design ! Maybe Wes Anderson. But his plan did win, so maybe that amazing three level atrium was his design, and it’s as elaborate and eclectic as his normal output, like the Princess Theatre and Stock Exchange. The exterior also looks like his design, but it’s actually #EllerkerAndKilburn, who did the wonderfully elaborate but diminutive by comparison #cityofmelbournebuilding

Some #MelbourneFragments – these ladies once graced the exterior of the OTT #FederalCoffeePalace that once stood on the corner of Collins & King streets, one of those things that just seems unreal that it ever existed, and what’s more it was here ! Built in 1888 it had 500 rooms, and a lookout in the dome. The exterior was designed by #EllerkerAndKilburn, while the interior was by William Pitt (they both won a competition then had to work together). The ladies were sculpted by Charles William Scurry, and were snatched up by hotel entrepreneur George Frew when it was demolished in 1973 and squished into the foyer of the then new #ChateauCommodore in #LonsdaleStreet, which changed hands in 1996 and fortunately they didn’t throw them away, and equally fortunately the #McLellandGallery took them in. I had to search around to find them though almost hidden under an overhang at the back. Protection I suppose but they were designed for an exterior position (they wrongly say they were in the foyer). There were four, presumably Mr Frew only had room for 3.

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