A City Lost & Found: Whelan The Wrecker's Melbourne

A City Lost & Found: Whelan The Wrecker's Melbourne

Language: English

Pages: 428

ISBN: 145967670X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


'Old landmarks fall in nearly every block ... and the face of the city is changing so rapidly that the time is not too far distant when a search for a building 50 years old will be in vain.'' - Herald, 1925. The demolition firm of Whelan the Wrecker was a Melbourne institution for a hundred years (1892 - 1992). Its famous sign - 'Whelan the Wrecker is Here' on a pile of shifting rubble - was a laconic masterpiece and served as a vital sign of the city's progress. It's no stretch to say that over three generations, the Whelan family changed the face of Melbourne, demolishing hundreds of buildings in the central city alone. In A City Lost and Found, Robyn Annear uses Whelan's demolition sites as portals to explore layers of the city laid bare by their pick - axes and iron balls. Peering beneath the rubble, she brings to light fantastic stories about Melbourne's building sites and their many incarnations. This is a book about the making - and remaking - of a city.

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the bar and counter trade. Born in gold-rush times as the Union Hotel (a name still extant in the lane alongside), the place was run-down in roof and reputation by the time Hosie took it over in the 1870s. At the height of the boom he sold it, revivified, to James Rubira, and Rubira’s Hotel it would remain until Whelan the Wrecker flattened it, in 1938, for the enlargement of Coles department store. But before any of that – before Spaniards, pies or monkeys – a theatre, Melbourne’s first,

interest in the retention of old architecture. Some architects would not retain even a flawless stone example of a past architectural style. They claim that construction in stone has been ended by the march of steel and concrete … Sure enough, the architects of the new building on the Royal Bank site had received ‘no instructions’ about the old columns. And the University didn’t want them. So they were felled and carted off in pieces to the wrecker’s pit – or whatever hole needed filling just

Street and its owner had plans to join the two buildings and transform Quirk Alley into an extension of the fashionable Queen’s Walk. Ellis’s old building was pulled down and its replacement, Cathedral House, linked in an Lshape to Surrey House. But Quirk Alley – named after early resident, James Quirk – was never pushed through and so never went up in the world. Surrey–Cathedral House was bought and renamed by the Chandris shipping line in 1965, just a year before the council announced its

Cottage was relocated in the 1960s across the river, to the outskirts of the Botanic Gardens. * Hermione Hobhouse, Lost London: A Century of Demolition and Decay, Macmillan, London, 1971. † Noel McLachlan, ‘The Whelan Frontier’, Meanjin, June 1968, pp. 251–56. * Australian, April 1966. * And complicit, anyway, in the case of the city square. 1. Collins Place site 2. Union Bank 3. St James’ Buildings 4. Board of Works CHAPTER 13 All Buildings Removed Collins Place development ~ 13–15

new owners, though, were more cluey than their predecessor as to ways of revivifying the Oriental without a million pounds and foreign labour. Eating and entertainment became their focus. Two years after the Olympics, the Oriental finally got its boulevard café. It may have helped that Leon Ress was a city councillor; even so, the café was on three-months’ trial to begin with, and no liquor was to be served outside. The hotel’s broad frontage meant there was room between the plane trees at the

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