Control Data Australia Memories compiled by Brian Membrey

Albert Park Hotel

83 Dundas Place, Albert Park

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Location

83 Dundas Place, Albert Park (alternatively 334 Montague Street)  South-western corner of Montague Street and Dundas Place.

Memories :

Strangely as it has been the closest hotel to where I've lived for over thirty years, I cannot recall Control Data ever visiting the Albert Park, but John Baxter at the July, 2014 lunch remembered it being used fairly regularly in the mid to late seventies, presumably after I had left.

History :

The Albert Park Hotel opened under the control of Thomas and Mary Walsh in August, 1883.  

The couple were well-known in the district, having run a much smaller establishment, the Wexford Arms in Park Street for about 15 years prior.  The immediate family at various times also owned and operated the O'Connell Centenary (included) and Meagher's Hotel in City Road.

Like the other large hotels built under new licensing regulations - the  Middle Park (Canterbury Road), Hotel Victoria  an Bleak House (Beaconsfield Parade) and and Windsor (in recent decades, the Red Eagle Victoria Avenue) - the Albert Park concentrated on providing accommodation in favour of a roaring bar trade, but being some distance from the beach front, it appears to have aimed at a city-based clientele rather than those seeking the pleasures of the ocean and the many baths then dotted along Beaconsfield Parade:

"Private Families or Single Gentlemen who may desire a residence near the city will find accommodation in every way satisfactory".

Under the experienced management of the Walsh family, the Albert Park Hotel maintained an almost clean slate insofar as convictions were concerned, the one exception being a charge against Margaret Walsh of selling inferior liquor in March, 1897. An excise officer entered the hotel and despite Miss Walsh's co-operation, a barmaid attempted to hide a bottle of whisky bearing a Walker's label, found to be of inferior quality (this was a fairly common offence, but somewhat unusual in this case in that the spirit was tested as being overproof).

Although never under threat during the Licenses Reduction Board hearings of 1926, the hotel was modernised during the 1930s and patronage must have received a huge boost around that time when the Hoyts Theatre chain acquired several properties immediately opposite and constructed the Park Theatre at a cost of £50,000 and seating over 1,500 patrons, believed to have been the largest cinema outside of the central Melbourne area.

Today :

The hotel was again modernised in the late 1990s with the earlier iconic display of the name and grille effect of the exterior removed.

Like most in the area, it now relies as much on restaurant takings as much as bar trade - the usage of the upper floors is unknown, and in around March, 2016 closed down for further re-modelling scheduled for completion in August, but at the time of this update (November, 2016) permits have just been issued.

After the advent of television, the Park Theatre was demolished for a service station and since the early 1980s has been the site of the Albert Park branch of Port Phillip Libraries.


Albert Park Hotel, circa 1884 (above) The Park Picture Theatre and Albert Park Hotel, circa 1940.  The image was taken  from an upper level of the Biltmore Temperance hotel, now residential apartments (below, circa 1980) (above left) The Albert Park, today (below left) The Wexford Arms, the previous premises of the Walsh family, long since converted to a private residence