Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Albert Park Manor

Some time ago I noticed what I thought was 'boutique accommodation' across the road, Albert Park Manor, had closed. Quite a while ago we saw a planning permit application notice that the owner wanted to build six storeys of accommodation  behind the hotel. Where we wondered? There is not much space.

Well, the rear portion has just been demolished. Underground car parks will go in and the six storeys on top of that. Given modern two storeys are almost equal to one old storey, the addition to the rear shouldn't be much taller than the existing building.

It is quite a handsome building but after looking at some reviews on Trip Advisor, it think it must have been pretty shabby inside. Some people are terribly fussy about accommodation and expect a lot for a little. Once you learn the price, then adjust your expectations accordingly.

There is little about original building online that I can find. Judith Buckrich's book Melbourne's Grand Boulevard informs me that it was once the Misses Quinlan Private Hospital, then by 1918 called Coonara Hospital. I am guessing there was more than one Miss Quinlan.

Most of what I can see in digitised newspapers are death notices of people who died at the hospital. As I read on, I gained a suspicion that the hospital had a connection to the Catholic church. Many nuns and priests spent their last hours at the hospital. This adds further: According to the Argus, the owner and matron, Miss Mollie Quinlan, died in 1934 and a requiem mass was conducted at St Josephs Church, South Yarra. Miss Quinlan was also the head of the Private Hospitals Association.

This photo by Antoinette Birkenbeil shows the building in 1994. By the front fence, I would suggest it wasn't a hotel then.


You can't really see while comparing the photo above with mine below, but there are some differences. Of course the garden has gone and at the base of the building modern windows and doors have been added.


Up the top are second windows that would have acted like double glazing against the noise of cars and trams in St Kilda Road. Yes, there is some photo bombing skywriting. It dissolved before the words were finished.



A few broken pots and dying plants sat on the front terrace. The modern doors led to a convenience store the owners opened a few years ago. This was after the nearby Kings Cross Plaza 711 closed and it was very useful to have the convenience store there for us.


But then another 711 opened at Illoura on the other side of the road and down a bit. Then almost next door, this B convenience store opened and killed off the one at Albert Park Manor. There was a last day sale where remaining stock was sold off for a quarter to half shelf price.


Work began with removing part of the rear roof. I wondered if they were just replacing the roof.



The back ceiling has been removed now.


 Brickwork is starting to come down. Note the dark construction site wall built at the front.


Well, they are getting serious about this. How much is being demolished?


 Even with watering, there is lots of dust as very old brickwork comes down. Some back roof remains.


Take two. There back roof has gone entirely, with just dormer windows sticking up.


Not much left now, just some shabby blinds and a lot of rubble behind the fence.


All that remains now is the big machine with the site cleared of rubbish and ready to hand over to the builders.



I wonder what Matron Mollie Quinlan would have thought.

27 comments:

  1. It looked like it was a grand building in it's day.
    Merle...........

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    1. Merle, St Kilda Road was once full of much more grander buildings than that. I don't know how it survived. It is one of just a few.

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  2. Replies
    1. Why John? Do you think if you lived there you can even more animals?

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  3. I go past Albert Park Manor in the evening on route home from the City. And comparing it now to the photo of the building in building back in 1994, I must admit that the original design still looks rather good.

    But that still leaves two questions. Why did they remove the white rendering, or whatever it was? Small red bricks aren't a good look. And the building was Edwardian by date, but it is a very strange Edwardian design by Australian standards. Was there a Dutch architect, perhaps?

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    1. Hels, I think it just the old photo that makes it look like it was rendered, but really, it may have been. I would happily go with Edwardian/Federation, with Dutch influences. Amazingly I can't find any mention of it at Heritage Victoria or the National Trust.

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  4. It is a shame to see history destroyed. I ope they keep some of it.

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    1. Diane, the front section will be kept. There is a height restriction there, even if it is what is called a variable height restriction. So big time developers are not really interested in the site as they can't build a highrise there.

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  5. What a grand old house. I'm glad they're not tearing it down completely. I hope it ends up maintaining some of its earlier dignity.

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    1. I think it will Mitchell. Someone is clearly prepared to spend a lot of money.

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  6. If they're keeping the front and just refurbishing the inside along with a whole new back section, it will probably be a pretty nice hotel when it is finished.

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    1. I think it will be pretty nice River. I could afford to stay there in its old guise. I doubt I would be able to once it is finished.

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  7. You know what building I have always wondered about. The one on the corner of Punt & Commerial, opposite the Alfred. 3 storeys high, seems to be shabby now, maybe druggies/alchos living in there.

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    1. Fen, it was accommodation for nurses at The Alfred. It is not much of a building but I did know something about it, meaning I will get back to you with more detail.

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  8. Some beautiful architecture. I really need to visit Australia someday - I see so many beautiful buildings in your posts.

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  9. Keith, Melbourne has lots of Victorian buildings (any many destroyed). It has been likened to Boston, but I haven't been there, so I am just repeating what I have heard.

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  10. Damn their eyes!
    Stupid, insensitive, twats!

    Looking closely at the original photo (under microscope for mine eyes) it was painted, not rendered, as the lines of the bricks are still visible.
    *sigh*
    More history gone...hope the ghosts of those who've gone before haunt the buggers!

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    1. Jayne, you may be right. There was a time when brickwork was seen as ugly and was painted, or at times stuccoed too.

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  11. Anonymous12:34 am

    I remember this building. It was a private hospital when I was a kid.

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    1. That would be in the 70s Wombat? I suppose it was Coonara then still. I vaguely remember it.

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  12. Hi Andrew - my grandmother was in this building when it was still a hospital in about 1963 and I remember visiting her there. From what I could find out, it seems to have been the private wing of the Alfred by the end. It was actually started by two sisters Marg and Mary Kelly, who'd originally run a hospital on the corner of Spring and Flinders Streets. I don't think it had any specific link to the Roman Catholic church. As the Coonara Hospital, perhaps it's biggest claim to fame is that it was where CJ Dennis the Australian poet died in 1938, seemingly from complications caused by his life long asthma. It's sad that it's become a mere facade on the front of the inevitable 'apartments'.

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    1. Very interesting history, especially about C J Dennis. There is another Irish name, Kelly. It seems to have an Irish Catholic connection somewhere along the line. Yes, it is sad but something had to be done with it and I think the need for the old fashioned so called 'boutique' hotels has passed.

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    2. It is more than just a fa├žade. The original building is still there and it was only the later additions at the rear that were removed.

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  13. Hi Brian - my grandmother was in the Coonara Hospital in about 1963, and I remember visiting her there. From what I could find out it seems to have been the private wing of the Alfred in its latter days, and specialized in orthopedic care. It was actually started by two sisters, Marg and Mary Kelly, who'd originally had a hospital on the corner of Flinders and Spring Streets. I don't think there was any specific connection to the Roman Catholic church; just a lot of nurses have always been Irish! It's greatest claim to fame that it's where CJ Dennis, the Australian poet, died in 1938, from complications from his life long asthma. It's sad that it's now just the facade on the inevitable 'apartments'.

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    1. Sorry you had to write twice, but I have comment moderation on older posts to prevent spam attacks.

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  14. Anonymous11:23 pm

    Coonara Private Hospital was a small busy hospital specialising primarily in orthopaedics. Many well known people where treated there, such as Australian Ballet dancers , footballers from the South Melbourne & Fitzroy clubs, athletes, politicians etc.when I worked there in the early 1980s. Managed by the English family M

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    1. Thanks for more recent information about the hotel. That was in my time of being in the area, well passing by and while I knew it was a hospital, that was all I knew. It certainly does have an interesting history.

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