Federal Coffee Palace

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Federal Hotel and Coffee Palace
Federal Coffee Palace Melbourne.jpg
General information
LocationMelbourne, Australia
Address555 Collins Street
Design and construction
ArchitectWilliam Pitt
Other information
Number of rooms370

The Federal Hotel and Coffee Palace was a large elaborate Second Empire style hotel in the city centre of Melbourne, Victoria, built in 1888 at the height of Melbourne's Boom era, and controversially demolished in 1973. It has gained posthumous fame as the building Melburnians most regret having lost.

Design & construction[edit]

In 1885, the local businessmen James Mirams and James Munro held a contest for the design of a hotel that would be the finest in the city. It was to be built at 555 Collins Street, on Melbourne's premier thoroughfare, on the corner of King Street near the wharves and Spencer Street Station. Two winners were declared, the elevations of Ellerker & Kilburn, and the planning of William Pitt, who then worked together to design 'the massive edifice'.[1] The exterior stucco facades included sculpted figures, and multiple setbacks to relieve its great bulk, dominated by a lofty corner domed turret and topped by Second Empire mansard roofs. The interior had a huge, four storey marble lobby with a grand staircase, and impressively appointed dining and entertaining rooms. The hotel had 370 guest bedrooms, with a penthouse suite in the tower at the top of the building. The construction took five million bricks and cost £110 000.[2]


When opened, the hotel was named "The Federal Hotel and Coffee Palace", the latter phrase indicating that the hotel, like a number of establishments in Melbourne at the time, was not licensed to serve alcohol. This was deliberate, because the hotel's original owners were associated with the temperance movement. The hotel was the grandest of the city's alcohol-free establishments, but not selling liquor limited its financial success. In 1923, it became licensed, and was renamed The Federal Hotel.[3]


Renovations in the late 1960s did not save the hotel from declining popularity, and Federal Hotels P/L sold it to developers in 1971. Closure and demolition for an office development was announced in 1972,[4] and the 23 storey Enterprise House was completed by 1975. In 2017 approval for the replacement of that building with a 46 level hotel and apartment tower was granted.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Federal Hotel". Australian Building and Contracting News. 27 August 1887.
  2. ^ "Federal Coffee Palace". Encyclopaedia of Melbourne. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  3. ^ "Architecture — Federal Coffee Palace". Museum of Victoria. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  4. ^ "The Federal Hotel will be pulled down soon". The Age. 20 January 1972.
  5. ^ "Enterprising Singaporean developer starts work on 555 Collins Street". The Age. 9 June 2017. Retrieved 24 January 2018.