78 Curzon Street

78 Curzon Street
North Melbourne VIC 3051
Also known as Curzon Hotel 1862-1881, renamed the Souter Johnny [4] 1881-1904
Previous Address
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Social History

Curzon Hotel 1862-1881, renamed the Souter Johnny [4] 1881-1904,

deprived (of its licence) in 1904, subsequently a private residence, since 1999 the lnstitute of Postcolonial Studies.

The names

The first name, Curzon, was taken from the street name. The second name, Souter Johnny, is that of a character in Robert Bums ‘Tam 0 Shanter published in 1790.

And at his elbow Souter Johnny

His ancient trusty drouthy crony

Tam lo ‘ed him like a very brither,

They had been fou for weeks theigher.

 

‘Souter’ is a Scottish word for shoemaker. The Burns’ characters Johnny the shoemaker and Tam 0 Shanter had a reputation as drinkers that people in the pub trade liked to be associated with. A hotel named the Tam 0 Shanter, licensed in 1855. was nearby on the comer of Lothian and Little Lothian Streets.

The site

Hotels in the newly proclaimed Colony of Victoria were required by law to provide both accommodation and stables. As you can still see, the site of the Curzon Hotel stables, now the lnstitute’s lecture room, opened onto a lane and led straight into Queensberry Street.

The street

For a few years, Curzon Street, which was on a popular direct route north from the wharves, was a main road leading from the port of Melbourne to the goldfields. The road coming downhill from the Benevolent Asylum, North Melbourne’ s first building, was quite steep. At a public meeting reported in The Argus 27 July 1857, local residents complained about the dangerous and filthy conditions of their streets. Although it does not look so any more, the grade at the intersection of Curzon and Queensberry Streets was said to be so abrupt that persons were frequently thrown out of their vehicles.

The Hotham History Project has published a detailed history, Melbourne Benevolent Asylum by Mary Kehoe, which is available from the Hotham Project or from the North Melbourne Branch of the Yarra-Melbourne Library.

Historic Pubs of North Melbourne by Hotham History Project.



Context and Streetscape

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