Fine Examples of Decorative Buildings Lost to Melbourne

The art of decorative moulding on buildings has been around for a long, long time. Melbourne sadly has demolished many examples of beautiful buildings greatly enhanced by intricate, decorative architectural mouldings. Most of the buildings featured in this blog by the Finishing Touch would be unknown to people today. One of the earliest built of these classic, old buildings was the Oriental Bank in 1856 on the corner of Queen Street and Flinders Lane.

Melbourne Oriental Bank

The city was only twenty years old and Queen Street was a muddy track. A competition was held by the bank amongst Melbourne’s architects and the winner was this Greek temple themed design. Unfortunately, the bank went out of business in 1884 and the building was demolished.

Scott’s Hotel was the destination for Melburnians who enjoyed the finest food and wine and became Melbourne’s oldest continuously operating hotel. Built at 444 Collins Street in 1860, and substantially remodelled between 1910 and 1914.

Melburne Scotts Hotel

Dame Nellie Melba and English cricket legend W.G.Grace were among many notable people who stayed there until it was sold to the Royal Insurance Co in 1961. It has since been demolished and office blocks put up in its place.

Built in 1867 at 140 William Street to accommodate the visit of the Duke of Edinburgh, the Menzies Hotel was another of Melbourne’s most impressive luxury hotels.

Melbourne Menzies Hotel

Sarah Bernhardt, Mark Twain, Alexander Graham Bell, Herbert Hoover and General Douglas Macarthur all stayed there. In 1969 it was demolished to make way for the BHP Plaza.

The grand Federal Hotel and Coffee Palace was built in 1888 to coincide with the Melbourne Centennial Exhibition (marking 100 years of Australian white settlement). Once known as one of the world’s largest and most opulent hotels.

Melbourne Federal Hotel & Coffee Palace

The first two floors housed impressive dining, reading, smoking and billiard rooms, with 5 stories of luxurious guest accommodation. The interior was so striking that the building became a tourist attraction.

Melbourne Federal Hotel & Coffee Palace int

Demolished in 1973, the site sold for redevelopment despite pleas to have it saved as a heritage building.

The Queen Victoria Building on Swanston Street between Bourke and Collins Streets was built in 1888, opposite the town hall. A rare local example of French Second Empire architecture, the elaborate facade and roof of the building was further ornamented by a number of statues, including one of Queen Victoria herself.

Melbourne Queen Victoria bldg

Housing high end retail shops it featured a glass topped arcade that ran between Bourke and Collins, named The Queens Walk. In the late 1960’s the Melbourne City Council demolished this and several other buildings to create City Square.

The Fishmarket building was built in 1890, situated between King Street and Spencer Street. It was probably the most spectacular of these lost buildings. Built in 1890 it was used as a commercial market for fish and other fresh produce.

Melbourne fishmarkets

Prior to the Olympic Games held in Melbourne in 1956 a number of Melbourne’s older buildings were demolished to ‘modernise’ the look of the city. This building was a casualty and was replaced by a carpark!

These buildings are delightfully decorative with the addition of decorative mouldings created from stone. These days, with the introduction of lightweight, decorative mouldings suburban homes can carry a touch of the splendour and grandeur of these classic designs. The Finishing Touch are the go-to supplier for builders of homes in Melbourne who want quality, long lasting, lightweight architectural mouldings.


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