551 Spencer Street

551 Spencer Street
West Melbourne VIC 3003

Also known as
Previous Address

Timelapse Building Images

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Land Details

1. 1895 MMBW Map

2. Compiled Crown Record Plan

3. First crown land purchaser – James Hemphill, lot 7 & 9 in section 56.

Hemphill, James (1820-1862) Merchant and Melbourne City Councillor


Building Details

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

In 2020 buildings still extant from Leslie Baden Woodland’s 1912 Memories.

From the amazing memory of Leslie Baden Woodland who wrote a letter to HHP Member, Jenny Cook in October 1982 when he was 82 years of age.  He was the second youngest child of seven who lived with his family at 551 Corner Spencer and Roden Streets, West Melbourne. This was a family grocery shop / home run by his father for 55 years, from 1886-1941. Leslie was able to relate so many of the shops and people who lived along Spencer Street in 1912.

Here are his memories of the buildings – some still standing albeit altered.

 “In Spencer St there was old Billy Wenlock’s Grocery, opposite to White Crow. Is W.C. still there? It was originally another sauce factory. Reid’s I fancy.”

600 Spencer Street, (Eastern side).

In 1912 it was William Wenlock’s Grocery Shop

“Then down to the old Recreation Hotel. Hoopers in my day. Next door was Hugie MacBean’s Hairdresser…”

(577  (573-579) Spencer Street (Western side). Recreation Club Hotel / Moomba Hotel / McMahon’s Hotel

“…then down to our corner. H.B. Smith was not there in those days. Big advertising hoarding there. Next door to our shop was a chinese laundry which before my time was a butcher’s shop. Same side of Spencer St [Western Side] opposite corner to our shop was the Union Hotel which was run by the Godfrey family for many years. It was run later on by a family whose name escapes me for the moment. After that, well! you wouldn’t guess! It was turned into a funeral parlour and a family from Seymour district named Diggle? Eunice was the daughter. Nice lady but rather stout. One day whilst she was running to catch the cable tram at the Stanley St stop when the elastic from “you know what” broke so Eunice did not catch that tram. Same side of Spencer St, next door to the Hotel was Cheetham’s Chaff Cutting Works. Over the years I wonder how many tons of best oaten chaff was cut in that mill.”

“Next business Mead Bros Plumbers, there for years. Next was O’Briens Hotel, corner of Stanley St. Very old residents the O’Briens.”

521 Spencer Street, Mead Bros., Plumbers is the eastern edge of building, which has now been incorporated into the hotel.

Royal Mail Hotel 519 Spencer Street

“Two more shops fairly modern the other corner …”

509 and 511 Spencer Street

“…then Doyle’s bakery and shop. Next Wilkie Bros Grocers, they used to work for Mr B.J. Kemp further down.”

505 (505-507) Spencer Street, Samuel Doyle’s Bakery. Perhaps half of this building housed Wilkies Bros. Groceries too in 1912.

“Then there was another Chinese laundry and another plumber forgotten the name just now.”

503 Spencer Street, Kwong Wah, Chinese Laundry.

“Hotel on the corner of Rosslyn St then a butcher’s shop and old Mrs Adie’s old fruit shop.”

The James Watt Hotel / Hotel Spencer, 475 Corner of Spencer and Rosslyn Streets

441 Spencer Street, Barber / Hairdresser Shop, Robert G. Douglas.

“Then to corner of Dudley St. Barber’s shop on to corner of Batman St. Bennett’s Bakery. “

405 (405-407) Corner of Spencer and Batman Streets, Henry Bennett Bakery.

“Opposite corner a blacksmith and wheelwright, then Sands & McDougalls. I suppose they are still there.”

355 Spencer Street, Sands & MacDougall Ltd., Manufacturer Stationary Factory.

“Now we will cross the street to the corner of Jeffcott St [Eastern side] where Mr R.J. Edwards had a grocer’s and wine and spirit’s shop. Went to school with Jean his daughter.”

360 (362-364) Corner Spencer and Jeffcott Streets, R.J.Edwards, Grocer, Wine & Spirits Shop.

“Back to Batman St. corner to the newsagents and on to Dudley St. corner. Mr Rufin has his shop there. Leave me think, wasn’t there a coffee palace arrangement on the other corner. Next shop was Matt George’s grocery, Prouts Chemist, a dairy produce shop and Mr B. J. Kemp’s grocery, which was sold on B. J.’s death to Montgomery’s. Then on the corner of Rosslyn St was Rex’s. Wally was their son and I well remember how well he used to sing “Harrigan, that’s me”. He used to do the act at school concerts etc.”

470 Corner Spencer and Rosslyn Streets, George Rex, Fruiterer.

“Another newsagent on the other corner then Mr Jackson’s fruit shop and then a shoe shop which was run in my early days by Mr Tom Tunnecliffe. He later entered State Parliament and was State Treasurer. Tom was a fine man.”

504 Spencer Street, W. Armstrong, Bootmaker.

“Furniture removalist on Stanley St. corner then on to the other part of Cheetham’s Grain and Fodder Store. All that part to Stanley St is I think taken over by Woolworths stores. Cheethams used to have beautiful Clydesdale horses.

There were good stables up at the back. We used to stable our shop pony up there too.

Next was Leonard’s Fruit shop then Purkiss’s butchery. Juicy Lemon used to work there. There was another butcher shop built on corner of Roden St. I think when Purkiss’s went out of business.”

544 Corner of Spencer and Roden Streets.

“Well that has taken you on a small “History Walk” down Spencer St. as I knew it. I hope this gives you a little pleasure as I have had in going back over the years.

Dad left the old shop around 1941 after being a grocer for 69 years, about 55 of which were spent at 551 Spencer St, West Melbourne. He died in East Brunswick at the age of 87 years. Mum lasted out until she had lived on earth about the same number of days as Dad did. This was my reckoning at the time of her death.”


Jenny Cook

Context and Streetscape




Other Information

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