Control Data Australia Memories compiled by Brian Membrey

Argo Inn

64 Argo Street, South Yarra

Location

South-western corner of Argo and Hyland Streets (about mid-way between Punt Road and the Railway Line

Memories

This was one of a couple of hotels which those of us living around the Prahran-South Yarra-Armadale area used for a few Saturday afternoon get-togethers.  Like most of them, there rarely any official call to arms, it was usually just someone suggesting "Argo, two o'clock?" when leaving the College Lawn or Light Car Club.

As per the history, it was fully modernised at the time we used it in the mid-1970s.  I can't recall ever having eaten there.

History

The Argo Inn has a fairly unique history.

Dozens of hotels in the 19th century carried the names of the licensee - Smith's Hotel or Johnson’s Railway Hotel, etc - but more often than not, the name only lasted as long as the publican was in tenure of the premises with new tenants usually introducing a new name.

Just who Timothy Sheppard of 1866 was remains largely unknown, but remarkably, the name of Sheppard's Hotel remained for over 100 years until 1971, when the humble hotel was modernised and become the Argo Inn.

The premises may well have been expanded - earlier directories have another building on the corner of Hyland Street which appears to be incorporated into the current structure.

Today

Mainly due to its somewhat out-of-the-way location, it's not one I've sighted recently, but some Web magic tells me it is now called Vin (not “The Vin” or “Vin Hotel”, just Vin, saves on printer cartridges, folks).

Although there is reference on their Web sight to a bar, the venue now appears to be one of those functioning more as a restaurant than a traditional hotel and certainly not a spot where a few people would get together for a sherbet or four on a Saturday afternoon.

Don’t know whether it is coincidence or perhaps the original owners of the Argo headed in a slightly different direction, but the premises we knew and loved ass Pepe’s Pizza in Commercial Road is now the Argo Wine Bar.

Footnote :

Argo

1. Greek Mythology The ship in which Jason sailed in search of the Golden Fleece.

2. Formerly, a constellation in the Southern Hemisphere, lying between Canis Major and the Southern Cross, now divided into four smaller constellations, Carina, Puppis, Pyxis, and Vela

(... just in case you thought it was short for "arrgh-go and get ......".


[1] Bell's Hotel in South Melbourne is another interesting exception. It was Freer's Family Hotel when established by Henry Freer in 1874, and retained the name after the Bell family took it over in 1935. It didn't become Bell's Hotel until 1974 when "Billy" Bell took over; it retains the name despite being sold in 2013.


UPDATE