325 Victoria Street

325 Victoria Street
West Melbourne VIC 3003
State Library of Victoria

Also known as R. A. Ekman & Sons Source: from the old photo
Previous Address
Constructed 26/7/1886
Architect Mr. Jowett
Builder Robert Lemon – Barry Street Carlton

Timelapse Building Images


La Cassa Del Bambino.

North Melbourne Library, Karl Halla photographer


Image held by North Melbourne Library. Possibly from an illustrated magazine. Ekman’s importers, drapers and coffee palace was located on the corner of Victoria and Roden Streets in West Melbourne. It became a guest house and was scheduled for demolition in the 1970s before being burnt down.

North Melbourne Library


Photograph of Victoria Street, North Melbourne, ca. 1880. Shows shops including R.A. Ekman & Sons and the North & West Melbourne Coffee Palace, as well as horse drawn vehicles on both sides of road.

State Library of Victoria http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/69376

Land Details

  1. 1895 MMBW map
  2. Compiled Crown Record Plan
  3. First crown land purchaser – Mr. E. Greig, lot 7 section L of Hotham.

Building Details

Notice of intent to build.

Street: Victoria & Roden.

Number: 2302. Date 26/7/1886

Owner: R. A. Ekman

Builder: Robert Lemon

Fee: 7.7.0

Type: Buildings.

Other significant building works carried out by Robert Lemon.

Burchett Index

Subsequent Building Alterations

This image was taken c 1972. Around this time the building was to be demolished but was burnt down in fairly suspicious circumstances.

The site is currently owned by Melbourne City Council and used as a public car park.

North Melbourne Library

Architectural Features

    No Entries Found

Heritage Significance and Listings

Heritage Listings and Explanatory Notes


No Entries Found


No Entries Found

Social History

1888 Reinhold Alexander Ekman and Sons, advertisement.

North Melbourne Advertiser

Mr. Reinhold Alexander Ekman was baptised in Stockholm Sweden on the 5th of May 1833.

He emigrated to the Port Phillip district sometime before marrying his wife Bridget Mary Hogan in 1861.

Bridget Mary Hogan is believed to have arrived onboard the ship “Ocean Home” that sailed from Liverpool England in August 1860 with 264 government assisted, female immigrants from Ireland. Bridget was listed in the ship’s records, being 21 years of age, a servant.

There was a Mary Hogan baptised in Kilcommon, Tipperary, Ireland on the 14th of July 1840 to parents Patrick Hogan and Johanna Kennedy from Irish records. Bridget Mary Ekman nee Hogan’s record at death in 1920 only stated her mother’s name as Johanna, it is believed the above were her birth parents.

The Ekman’s lived and operated their first furniture business venture in Little Collins and Russell Streets Melbourne.

At that time the colony expanded from the enormous wealth created during the Victorian Gold Rush. Reinhold’s business prospered to such an extent that he contracted the architectural services of Mr. J. G. Jowett, to design a flagship 3-story furniture factory, drapery warehouse, coffee palace and retail store on the corner of Victoria & Roden Streets in West Melbourne in July 1886.

One might say Ekman was the “Harvey Norman” of his day.

The builder was Mr. Robert Lemon of Barry Street Carlton.

Reinhold and Bridget Ekman had seven children in Melbourne.

Mr. James George Jowett, of Stanley Street West Melbourne is noted for designing the Railway Hotel at 118-126 Ireland Street West Melbourne as well as other notable buildings in Carlton and West Melbourne.

PROV, www.bdm.vic.gov.au, Burchett index, The Argus and Sands & McDougall Directory

Context and Streetscape



Other Information


Copyright status: This work is in copyright.
Conditions of use: Use of this work allowed provided the creators name and Hotham History Project Inc are acknowledged.

If you or someone you know has any more to add either by old photos or stories of this area, please contact us today. Email info@hothamhistory.org.au