Original post 13 April 2020
Just mad – both the building, next to the Town Hall, and that it was demolished in 1974 – by the #MelbourneCityCouncil. It was built in 1888-89 as the HQ of higher rapidly expanding #TemperanceAndGeneral Mutual Life Assurance, and the architect was #AlfredDunn. They moved up to the Collins Street site in 1928, and the City bought it as offices to rent, and they added a couple of floors on the back half. I’ve just discovered it wasn’t demolished until 1974, when it was photographed just as the #WhelanTheWrecker signs went up. Not sure why it was demolished, I recall there was some idea of a plan for towers all along the east side of Swanston, but maybe it was just a desire by Council to clear crazy old stuff like this, and make some space around the #TownHall, along with the #MelbourneCitySquare, mostly cleared already. The first image is from @heraldsunphoto_retro from 1962, and it’s the best there I’ve seen so far, most others seem to be not the whole building. Another example of my theory that the more wild the building was, the more like to be demolished, eg the Federal Hotel, #APIbuilding, Tivoli Theatre, but I guess anything was fair game, even the high class #MenziesHotel.
One of the more insane designs from the mind of #WilliamPittArchitect – this was his entry for the #TemperanceAndGeneral society HQ competition in 1887, but he didn’t win, in fact neither second or third ! Can’t have been because it was toooo elaborate considering what won, but maybe the thought of giant winged unicorns on top a bit too much ? [update : it’s a #Wyvern, though the use elevation has a stork option] And its just a bit #topheavy if you ask me. Pitt was only in his early 30s, having arrived with a splash winning the comp for the Melb Coffee Palace in 1881 when he was 24 (!) and the of course doing the #PrincessTheatre in 1885-6.