511 Queensberry Street

511 Queensberry Street
North Melbourne VIC 3051
Also known as The Lalla Rookh Hotel
Previous Address
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Social History

The Lalla Rookh [1] 1853- 1862 on the site of 470-8 Queensberry Street, 1862-1925 in the building identified, deprived (of its licence) 1925, now used for commercial purposes

Graded B (of regional or metropolitan significance) in the Melbourne City Council’s North and West Melbourne Conservation Study 1983.

The name

The name comes from a work of the Irish poet Thomas Moore, The Theme of the Journey of Lalla Rookh, princess of Delhi to her bridegroom Prince of Bucharia. The poem reads as an oriental romance but was popular because of its underlying meaning as a patriotic work. Written in rhyming couplets in 1817, it earned the highest price paid for a poem – and that without a single line being first seen by the publisher.

Thomas Moore (1779-1852), patriot and songwriter, prided himself on being known as ‘the poet of the people of Ireland’. His songs include ‘Oft in the stilly night’, ‘Believe me of all those endearing young charms’, ‘The last rose of summer’, ‘The minstrel boy’ and ‘The young May moon’.

The buildings

The first Lalla Rookh building was on the site of 470-8 Queensberry Street. Its second site was here, behind the austere bluestone façade we still see. The Lalla Rookh was licensed in 1853, a year after the death of Thomas Moore. It opened as a stone house with a bar, cellar, 10 rooms and stables also in stone. According to an early historian, Charles Daley, dances were regularly conducted here in the 1860s.It was deprived of its licence in 1925.

The present building bas a rather unusual appearance for a hotel but the two entrances on to the street would have been one for the bar and one for residents. It was already in the street at the time of the first North Melbourne Town Hall and so is a remnant of the earlier streetscape.

Historic Pubs of North Melbourne by Hotham History Project.



Context and Streetscape

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