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Mornington Historical Walk
1. The State Savings Bank - 787 Esplanade
The State Savings Bank was constructed by Mr JC Caudwell at a cost of £939 and was completed on 27 September, 1912. Electricity was installed in 1923 and further improvements made in 1935. The State Bank was promoted as "The Farmers Bank" because they were a key financing source for farmer. In 1954 the bank moved to new premises and sold the site to N.S.L. Egan Accounts. Later, in the 1980's it was owned by a Dr Francis Corry who leased the building to the Mornington Police Detectives, CIB division. When a new Police Station was built, the CIB were relocated leaving the old bank building vacant. It was then occupied by a variety of different tenants and is now a restaurant and tea rooms.
2. Post Office and Telegraph Office - Cnr Main Street & the Esplanade
Built in 1863, this building was constructed using local bricks and covered with in cement slurry. The mail arrived from Melbourne by boat and was taken by horse and cart from the pier to the post office for sorting. In 1905 Mornington's first telephone exchange was built at the rear of this building. The Post Office relocated in 1964 and 4 years later the Mornington Historical Society in conjunction with the Mornington Shire opened the Old Post Office Museum which houses displays and photographs of early Mornington. Today, inside, you can still lean on the beautiful original wooden counter! At the time of writing, entry is by gold coin donation. The Museum is open Sundays and Public Holidays 2pm-5pm and from December to April and school holidays, Wednesdays 2pm-5pm.
Turn right into Main Street
3. Federal Coffee Palace - 11 Main Street
From the information I have read, this was built around 1900. It was originally a general store and bake house but later became the Federal Coffee Palace. Later again, in the 1930's it was converted to the Federal Guest House to cater for the large influx of tourists visiting Mornington.
4. RSL Memorial Hall - 19 Main Street
The Memorial Hall was built to commemorate those who served in the Australian Imperial Forces during the First World War (1915-1918). A public subscription was started to raise funds. The building was completed in 1922.
5. Mechanics' Institute - Shire Offices - 21 Main Street
Many Mechanics' Institutes were built throughout Victoria during the gold rush years. The idea originally started in Scotland and the idea quickly spread throughout the world providing a place for education of the working man. The foundation stone was laid by George H Webb QC, a local resident, James Balfour, a member of the Victorian Legislative Council, and Reverend James Caldwell. At this ceremony Rev. Caldwell gave particular mention to the generosity of the Grice family (Manyung) who gave a considerable sum. The Mornington Mechanics Institute was opened with a Gala Concert on New Years Eve 1885. It housed the original Mornington public library (with over 2500 books) and reading room plus there was a large hall with seating for up to 300 people that was used as the cultural and entertaining centre for over 70 years. The building was paid for by public subscription and cost approximately £900. The Mornington Shire took over the property in 1940 converting it to shire offices.
6. The Westminister Bollard - Corner Main Street and Queen Street
Under the 2 large trees is the Westminister Bollard. This was given to the Mornington Shire by the City of Westminister, London to mark the centenary of the Shire in May 1993. The bollard originally stood at the head of the steps leading down to the River Thames opposite Millbank Prison, where prisoners condemned to transportation to Australia began their journey.
Turn right into Queen Street and walk a few metres along until you reach St Peters Church
7. St Peter's Church of England - 3 Queen Street
This site was purchased by Alex Balcombe, Edward Lintott and Harry Goodall (church trustees) from John Armstrong for £70 who donated the money back to the church building fund. A public subscription was started and by 1860 £260 had been raised. A grant was given to the building fund by the government which allowed Mr William Glover, a local contractor, to build the church. The bricks were locally at Thomas Allchin's Brickworks by Mr R Brown. The church was opened on 19 May 1861 with a service by the first vicar, Reverend James Glover. The porch window was donated by Caleb Joshua Jenner, a member of the Victorian Legislative Council and the church organ was a gift from CP Fairbairn Esq of Mt Martha.
Walk back to Main Street and turn right
8. Drapery Shop - 35 Main Street
Built around 1930 this was originally a shop and residence. the significance of it today are the original leadlight windows showing Kookaburra's, parrots and gum leaves. Quite stunning.
9. Shop and residence - 37 Main Street
Built around the late 1890's this was again an original shop and residence as were many businesses along Main Street. Down the lane way alongside the shop was once a popular billard hall.
10. Males Butchery - 39 Main Street
Originally owned by Mr Doherty, this fine double story building was typical of shops of this era with a residence built above. Bought by the Males family in 1907 they ran the business for over 50 years. The Males bought their stock in by road and later rail to their slaughter yards in Bentons Road Moorooduc. Horse stables at the rear of the shop were used for their delivery horses and carts. Later they used a bright red Dodge utility truck. In later years the Boy Scouts used the loft as a meeting place.
11. Allchin's General Store - Cnr Main & Albert Streets
Thomas and Sarah Allchin started building this store in 1859 and added to it progressively until 1872 when a second story was added. The couple and their four children lived at "Sutton Grange" 12 Tanti Avenue. Goods were transported to the store from Melbourne by way of Allchin's ketch "Maggie". This building was also built with bricks from the Allchin's clay pit which was located near Gordon Street , behind Mornington Centro Shopping Centre. The clay pit was later used as a rubbish tip. This is considered the first store to be built at Mornington, then known as Schnapper Point. In 1994 it was still on this corner, however by 2008 it has unfortunately been demolished.
12. Oriental Bank - 51 Main Street
This building was built and owned by Mr. Thomas Allchin, one of Mornington's most prominent and successful businessmen. He owned a clay pit and brickworks on his estate, Sutton Grange, located on Tanti Street behind the Mornington Centro Shopping Centre. Originally opened on 18 February 1875 as the Oriental Bank, by 1880 it was taken over by the Colonial Bank. It is the oldest bank in town. The first floor was used as the Manager's residence. Today, it resemblance is nothing like it was originally but the building still has historical interest due to the link to Thomas Allchin.
13. Pratt's Cash Grocery Store - 65 Main Street
This was the second store owned by JWR Bill Pratt who later established the Safeway and Woolworth's chain of supermarkets throughout Australia .
14. Empire Mall - Main Street
Empire Mall, a closed off part of Empire Street features the Balcombe Water Fountain. This was a gift to the town of Mornington from Jane Balcombe Murphy in 1924 in memory of her father Alex Balcombe. Originally the fountain stood in Mornington Park but was later relocated to Empire Mall.
15. Bradford 's Pine Dairy - 79 Main Street
From the 1920's through to the 1950's this was a local meeting place. Outside, you can still see the original tiles and inside the shop is the original plaster ceiling.
16. Walter's Café - 115 Main Street
In the 1930's this was a well known café for cinema goers in Mornington. Located adjacent to the Plaza Cinema the original press metal ceiling is still inside the store.
17. The Fire Station - 137 Main Street
The Mornington Urban Fire Brigade was formed at a meeting held at the Mechanics Institutes Hall in December 1916. Funds were raised by the community to build the fire station. It was designed by a local architect L.J. Flanagan and built by Thomas Green in 1920. The grand opening was held on the 29 th September 1920. The volunteers were summoned by a bell that was erected on a tower at the side of the building. The first Captain was Mr G Darling, a coach driver. The first Fire Engine was a horse drawn vehicle. It was used by the local fire brigade until 1969.
Turn right into Albert Street
18. St Andrews Church - 51 Barkly Street
This building had significant heritage to the area but unfortunately in the 1980's was been turned into a retail precienct. The church was built in 1867 by William Grover using bricks supplied by Thomas Allchin from his local brickworks. The church trustees were John Barrett, Alex Morrison, John Connell and James Butchart owner of Beleura. Reverend Caldwell came to Mornington in 1874 and commenced a long tenure with the church and town, being one of the more influential citizens. In 1979 the Mornington Historic Society applied to the National trust to preserve the church. The National Trust failed to find the building significnat on a Statewide basis. In 1984 the church was convereted to a restaurant.
Return to Main Street and cross over. Walk back down towards the water.
19. The Grand Hotel - 124 Main Street
The Grand Coffee Palace was designed and built by architect William Pitt for Mr. Cornelius Crowley in 1892. Opulent coffee palaces sprang up across Australia in the 1880's in response to the temperance movement which sought to promote alcohol free hotels. Crowley owned the Cricketers Arms Hotel next door and shortly after the opening of the Grand, he transferred the liquour license from the Cricketer's Arms to the Grand. The Grand Hotel was a two story brick building with a central tower. Originally a carriage way went through to the rear with stables to the west side and accommodation built over the stables. The hotel undertook extensive renovations in 1978. In the lounge Bar off Main Street original brickwork can be seen and throughout the rooms on the ground floor a display of photographs of early Mornington lines the walls.
20. Railway Store - 70 Main Street
Situated on the corner of Blake Street , the Railway Store was the longest surviving general store in Mornington. It was named because of it's proximity of the Railway Station and stocked groceries, drapery, footwear and crockery. Wilson & Co purchased the business in 1918 and in 1922 a partnership was formed with Jack Livock who managed the store as Wilson Livock and Co. for over 30 years. In its day, the grocery store had tins of biscuits on shelves behind the large wooden counter. Blocks of butter and whole round cheeses were cut with wire to the required amount. Bags of grain were stacked on the floor. Everything was weighed out as required. In the early days, a horse and cart were used to deliver groceries. Crofts, a retail grocery store chain purchased the store sometime after World War 2.
21. Greenlands Shops - 64/68 Main Street
In the 1903's Wilson Livock and Co. moved its drapery, haberdashery and Manchester department to the store opposite on the corner of Blake Street . These shops were built in 1931. The other 2 shops were occupied by Standard Newspapers at number 66 and the SEC at number 64. Samuel Butler, a prominent member of the RSL Club and honorary secretary of the Presbyterian Church was the owner of the Greenland shops. Beneath the veranda you can still see the original pressed metal canopy and stained glass windows - see insert in the top left corner of photo.
22. Commercial Bank of Australia Ltd. - 62 Main Street
Built in 1889, this highly ornamented Italian Renaissance Revival styled building is typical of banks built in the 1880's and 90's. The first floor was the manager's residence. The Commercial Bank of Australia Ltd was the first owner until 1918 when they were taken over by the National Bank of Australia , later becoming the National Australia Bank. They sold the property in 1986 when it was converted to a restaurant.
23. Mornington Coffee Palace - 32 Main Street
This was built in the 1880's as a guest house. In the late 1890's it was converted to a Coffee Lounge with the first floor becoming a residence. Later, for over 50 years it was Mornington's news agency.
Turn right into Ross Street and walk a few metres down to the corner of Drake Street .
24. St Peter's Vicarage - 1 Ross Street
The Parsonage, as it was called was built around 1863. It was a gift from the Balcombe family of The Briars. Consisting of 4 bedrooms this large house is unique with its "fret sawn" gable fascias and stuccoed finish.
Return to Main Street along Ross Street and turn right
25. Schnapper Point Courthouse and Lock up - 2 Main Street
The courthouse, built in 1860 is the oldest "public" building in Mornington, and the first permanent courthouse on the Mornington Peninsula . In 1862 Alex Balcombe (the Briars) was chairman of the local magistrates who include Mr. J Barker, Mr. Edward Lintott and Mr. W.P. Cobb. Typical cases heard included misdemeanours for drunkenness, larceny, civil disputes and later, motoring offences. One of the most notorious cases was the "Mornington Scandal" concerning John Blacker in 1919. Blacker had been Shire President and was a prominent store owner. He was charged with forgery and falsification of accounts but was let off lightly, leading to accusations of improper influence by the Solicitor General. The lock up was declared a gaol in 1862 but discontinued as such in 1882. It was then mainly used to hold prisoners overnight or during court sessions.