The design of this flight of fancy was decided by an architectural competition ; the owners hankered after the exterior drafted by the firm W.H Ellerker and E.G Kilburn (first prize) but second prize went to W. Pitt, who had a bit of nouse about how a hotel actually functioned, for his interior designs and the two different firms worked together.
The dirty digging and foundation - performed with elan and flair by N.Kingston of Richmond and which signalled the start of the
It was originally meant to lodge up to 600 bodies in beds but the small issue of an economic depression kinda kicked that detail to the kerb, leaving just 400 beds and rooms for the poor people to lounge, write (that thing we did with our fingers before computers, kids), read, relax, smoke and play billards while the ice plant in the basement cooled the delicious foodstuffs and
Fire regs were starting to bite so stone stairs at each corner and in the centre were thrown in for good measure while fire hoses - with their own water supply from tanks on the roof - stood ready at every landing, oil lamps were kept lit just in case the gas lighting gave up in an emergency and a couple of porters trotted about the hallways each night, all night keeping a beady eye out as an early warning system along with those 'new fangled electric bells'.
Source: The Australian Pub by J.M Freeland
I won't post a photo of it here as there are many availble in the following links showing what a gorgeous creation once graced our skyline.
Further details and photos on this lost architectural beauty available in the following links -
Marvellous Melbourne; Federal Coffee Palace.
Walking Melbourne ; Federal Hotel and Coffee Palace.
Walking Melbourne; Melbourne's Lost Hotels.
Australian Postal History; Federal Palace Hotel to Battle Creek.
eMelbourne; Federal Coffee Palace.