85 Curzon Street

85 Curzon Street
North Melbourne VIC 3051
Also known as Commercial Hotel [5] 1867-1925
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Building Details

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Owners

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Residents

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Social History

Commercial Hotel [5] 1867-1925, later a boarding house, now used for commercial purposes

The gold rush period led to a proliferation of pubs along Curzon Street. The area around Provost Street was settled early and until the 1950s a concentration of small houses and a big population of children kept up enrolments in local primary schools.

Women publicans

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, women were prominent in North Melbourne as shopkeepers and in the pub trade. In the 23 years between 1872 and l 895, The Commercial was owned by Mrs. Margaret Daly and had among its licensees a number of women with Irish nanaes including Bridget Minogue (1880), Johanna Griffen (1895-1898), Mary Ann Brennan (1902), Ellen Cavanagh (1906, 1911), Johanna Cudmore (1914) and Teresa O’Connell (1918). The owner in its final years as a pub was the wife of Sir David Hennessy, one of Melbourne’s Lord Mayors. In 1925, it ceased to be a pub and became a boarding house that was subsequently known locally as Mrs. Herbert’s Residential.

The 1930’s and 1940’s

During the I930s, there were two stables and a dairy on the south side of Provost Street. On the north side, next to the former Commercial Hotel (by then a boarding house) was George Hendley’s carrier business, Horses were kept in the adjacent paddock and Mrs. Evans from the dairy organised a horse-drawn van for beach picnics for the children and adults who lived in nearby Provost and Little Baillie Streets.

Some older people who grew up in North Melbourne have told the Hotham History Project about the busy street life of the 1930’s & 1940’s with people coming and going from each other’s houses and congregating on the footpaths on summer evenings. Television, the car and new patterns of housing brought that era to an end. Later in the 20th century, the area was quite industrial. Now it is a mixed-use area including a warehouse, taxi service and fruit and vegetable wholesalers.

Look down towards several Curzon Street hotels or walk down to Haines Street and back.

Historic Pubs of North Melbourne by Hotham History Project.



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