36 Courtney Street

36 Courtney Street
North Melbourne VIC 3051
photographer: Felicity Jack

Also known as The Australian Clubhouse 1854-60s; used as a school 1864-1869, demolished circa 1875, rebuilt as The Metropolitan Hotel [29] 1880
Previous Address
Style Victorian, Late: 1875-1901

Timelapse Building Images


View of hotel from Courtney Street

Felicity Jack

Contents / Summary
Looking across intersection of unmade roads towards large corner building, sign above corner door reads: Metropolitan Hotel, Sign along roofline reads: Metropolitan Meat Market. Busy street in foreground filled with horse-drawn vehicles such as trademen’s carts, sulkies and buggys.
1 painting : watercolour on paper ; 51.5 x 73 cm.

More information


State Library of Victoria

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Land Details

Building Details

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Subsequent Building Alterations

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Architectural Features

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Heritage Significance and Listings

Heritage Listings and Explanatory Notes


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Social History

36 Courtney St comer NW Blackwood and Courtney Streets

The Australian Clubhouse 1854-60s; used as a school 1864-1869, demolished circa 1875, rebuilt as The Metropolitan Hotel [29] 1880 in association with the Metropolitan Meat Market.

A building on the Victorian Heritage Register and considered to be of state importance.

The Metropolitan Meat Market building was the home of the Meat Market Craft Centre between 1975-1999 and is to be re-developed by Arts Victoria.

The first building

The first building on this site was the Australian Clubhouse, a large prefabricated wooden building 102 feet by 36 feet and 30 feet high, built as a boarding house and intended for the middle classes during the gold rush years. There was apparently room for some 200-300 people. Early in its life, the managers applied for an indoor publican’ s licence to supply people who lived there without having a bar. Because of its shape and appearance, it was known locally as Noah’s Ark.

Between its closing down as a boarding house and being pulled down some time in 1875, it was used by Mrs. Hare’s Academy for Young Gentlewomen.

The present building

The next building on site was the complex that included both the Metropolitan Meat Market and the 30-room Metropolitan Hotel. Compared with other North Melbourne hotels, the Metropolitan Hotel was built late and is one of the few elaborate hotel buildings in the area. It was designed by the notable architect George Johnson, who also designed the Meat Hall of the Queen Victoria Market and the North Melbourne Town Hall.

The Metropolitan Meat Market, unlike the nearby Queen Victoria Market, was privately owned and operated. A leading butcher in this group William Reynolds, one-time mayor of North Melbourne. The complex had a lively period into the early twentieth century.  For example, funerals of master butchers set off from here and ‘market couples’ returning from their honeymoon were ‘tin kettled ‘ through the meat hall and into the hotel.

Like the Town Hall, the building is in the Italianate style favoured in the Victorian period. It is essentially a large brick building decorated with elements of Roman architecture adapted during the Italian Renaissance. It uses the so-called giant order, which refers to the pilasters being two storeys high. The effect is to give it the proportions of a single storey building whilst housing two storeys within. The capitals at the top of the pilasters are Corinthian and there are various classical ornaments around the windows.

Historic Pubs of North Melbourne by Hotham History Project.

Context and Streetscape




Other Information


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