Saturday, 24 February 2007

My Melbourne

Inspired by Sarala at Blogaway, who shares her impressions of Chicago with her readers, I thought I'd show you a bit more of western Melbourne. I've blogged a little on the West Gate Bridge and the Maribyrnong River. Here's a place in Yarraville that I drive past almost every day but know next to nothing about.

Coffee palaces were established by the Temperance League to provide alternative meeting places to those dens of iniquity, the hotels. Many coffee palaces were rather grand buildings, designed during the economic boom of the late 1800s. This more modest venue dates from the beginning of World War I.

It appears to be a private residence now. But the good folk of Yarraville don't have to go without coffee. Although the area hasn't quite reached the density of cafes enjoyed by Carlton and Fitzroy, it is approaching them. And did I mention the bakeries?


budak said...

i enjoyed a nice two weeks in Melbourne (and Victoria) couple of years ago... urbane and relaxed place.

Snail said...

It's not a bad place to live. I especially love the food.

sarala said...

I had never heard of coffee palaces. Although the U.S. went through prohibition they must have used other venues.
It looks like an interesting building to turn into a private home. I'm glad they kept the facade intact.
Thanks for the mention.

Snail said...

The Temperance League tried very hard to wean people off alcohol. They succeeded in getting the government to reduce the number of hotel licences but I don't think they managed to introduce prohibition.

It's a small irony that some of the more ostentatious coffee palaces are now licenced venues!

Anonymous said...

I can tell you a little about its current state - as far as I know it is still owned (and lived in) by the guy who runs Transit Lounge, a great new small publishing company that specialises in travel books. Different kinds of travel books such as "Sing and Don't Cry" by Cate Kennedy (Mexico as an aid volunteer) and a collection of short stories set in India by Liz Gallois - "India Vik".
I have only been inside the house once, quite a few years ago, but I do remember that they've kept it "vintage", i.e. with a lot of original fittings and decor.

Snail said...

So the Yarraville - Footscray area is becoming the centre of the universe for travel publishing! (With the Lonely Planet offices not far away.)

I remember reading about Cate Kennedy's time in Mexico.