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Monday, December 21, 2015

Albion Hotel, 329-333 Lonsdale Street, Dandenong, between 1889-1891

The Albion Hotel stands on the site of Alexander Bowman’s store, which he started in 1852, possibly Dandenong’s first store. Bowman owned every street corner but one of Lonsdale Street in the very early days, and was said to have ‘owned half the township at one period’.

James Clarke bought the store erected by A. W. Bowman, and converted it into a hotel, which he named the “Mornington Arms.” Clarke took advantage of a rumor about the establishment of a permanent market to invest in this hotel, and it turned out to be a very profitable move. At first the house was merely a “beer shop.” However, Clarke did not live long to enjoy his prosperity, as, coming home from Melbourne one night, he was thrown from a cart and killed.

Alfred Pope (son of David Pope), conducted the house for a time, but was succeeded by Charles Dobson, who transferred from the “Shamrock Hotel" on the corner of Scott and Lonsdale Street. Charles Dobson purchased it in 1882 and re-named it the ‘Albion’ alter the hostelry in Bourke street, Melbourne, from whence the coaches left for Dandenong and Gippsland.

Peter McQuade was the proprietor in 1889 and the McQuades replaced the early one-storey timber building with the present two-storey building in 1891. Peter James McQuade was born in Ireland, and when he first arrived here, he farmed at Flemington before taking up land at Springvale, where he worked for fifteen years. He ran the Bridge Hotel 185-195 Lonsdale Street in 1887, and from 1889 owned and ran the Albion Hotel.

The hotel had been in the possession of varying members of the McQuade family continuously from 1889 until at least 1993 (Present ownership not known to us). The magnificent verandah as seen in this photo has been removed but the façade has remained largely unaltered, with an extension into a small retail premises next door.

The hotel has a near intact upper level, with timber sash double hung windows, but the ground level façade has been altered. Here the former face brick wall has been rendered and the original five openings (windows, doors) have been revised but the paneled Victorian-era timber door, with its top light, resembles the original.

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