Control Data Australia Memories compiled by Brian Membrey

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Post Office Club Hotel

304 High Street, St. Kilda

Location

North-eastern corner of High and Inkerman Streets

Memories

None from my perspective, but Ron Bird suggested it was favourite lunch spot for the Accounts Department.  

History

The hotel opened early in 1872 - some references have it as Buck's Hotel, others as the Buck's Head Hotel.

It was first licensed in January, 1872 to James Farmer, with a meeting of the St. Kilda Licensing Court in March refusing Farmer's application to transfer the license to Ann Fitzpatrick as it was not legal to transfer a license within three months of its first issue.

Although he spent just three months as licensee, Farmer actually owned the freehold until his death late in 1883. January, 1884 saw his executors advertise no less than three hotels for sale - the Britannia on the corner of Swanson and Lonsdale Streets, the Bayview Hotel, also in High Street St. Kilda (corner of Argyle Street), and the Buck's Head, the latter described as 35 feet frontage to High Street and 85 feet to Inkerman Street. Two other blocks of land, one 39 feet, the other 99 feet facing High Street were also offered.

It continued under the name of the Buck's Head until 1893 when it became the Post Office Club Hotel (generally just the "PO").

The change of name was somewhat belated - the post and telegraph office on the southern side of Inkerman Street in 1888.had operated for at least fifteen years.  

The licensee at the time was a Patrick Guaran, who had a long association with Farmer's hotels, having had leases on the Bayview for at least ten years.

Guaran appears to have purchased the freehold. He died in July, 1900 and the license was transferred to his widow, Rita -  the hotel was extended and modernised as part of the Licensing Reduction hearings of the early 1920s, tenders suggesting the work was to the account of "Mr Guaran".  (Patrick junior, who served as a Lieutenant during the First World War; a sister Nancy also embarked with the Australian Army Nursing Service).

One account of the hotel from the St. Kilda Historical Society suggests that during the 1950s and 60s, it was (along with the Queen's Arms) a favourite spot of several local characters who can best be described as "colourful"; a long-time barman remembering putting guns belonging to the clientele in paper bags with their names clearly marked, and placing them behind the bar in the 1960s! 

Memo :  TO :  Accounts Department.

             FROM : Post Office Club Hotel

             SUBJECT :Please collect all paper bags by 10.00 p.m. closing time.


Today

The hotel continues to function today in pretty much the same fashion as in the 1970s with the addition of a T.A.B. outlet in Inkerman Street.








The “PO” as I gather it was known locally is a late withdrawal at the barrier.

Colin Elliott suggested at the September, 2013 lunch that the pub used by the Accounts Department was actually the Queen's Arms on the same side of the Nepean Highway but a block further south on the north-eastern corner of Pakington Street. He remembers a minor uproar when the price of steaks rose to a dollar!

We'll leave the PO in place just in case somebody needs to use it!