Thursday, 7 June 2012

:: beautiful buildings ~ Ballarat Train Station & Reid's Coffee Palace ::

Ballarat, Victoria (Australia!) has some of our countries oldest buildings. Admittedly, Australia's Westernised inhabited history isn't very old, so we aren't talking medieval towers here. But the mushy, nostalgic feelings I get when I drive the streets of Ballarat really tickles the romantic in me.

I love pausing, closing my eyes and imagining the traffic lights away, replacing them with ladies in calico dresses and white parasoles standing on the dusty street corners, little boys in felt caps and dapper men in their boots & suspenders. They were all actually here at one time... then I open my eyes and they are gone. A big part of me wants to go back in time & really see it all in action.

(Sturt St [Main Road] 1880s)

So my plan is to photograph different shops, homesteads & monuments around this city (with the help of Instagram to set the mood ;)) and if I can, give a tiny bit of background. I imagine with a lot of the homes, I will not be able to do this.

So today, I'm going to start with two of my favourites. It's actually the view from my work:

1} The Ballarat Train Station (on the left)
2} Reid's Guest House, formally the Coffee Palace (on the right)

The Ballarat West Railway Station

(information sourced from Wikipedia)

Construction on Ballarat West Railway Station began in 1862 with the original buildings constructed at a cost of almost 22,000 pounds with the original railway line to Melbourne going via Geelong to service the booming Ballarat goldfields.

A bluestone engine shed was built to the south and the goods shed to the north were added in 1863.  In 1877 the footbridge and waiting rooms on the south side were added.
Noted for their historic architecture, the building is classified by Heritage Victoria and the National Trust of Victoria.

I think it's gorgeous and one of my favourite places here.

Reid's Guest House (Reid's Coffee Palace)

(information sourced here)

The Coffee Palace (another name for a temperance hotel) was built by German immigrant John Reid on the site of his New York Bakery next to Ballarat's central railway terminus.

Reid's Coffee Palace was built in two stages. The first was in 1886, with Melbourne architects Tappin and Gilbert and contractors Taylor and Ellis. The extensions were undertaken by Tappin Gilbert and Dennehy in 1888. The verandah would appear to have been built about ten years after that around 1898 - 1900. Externally the two stages are clearly evident with two bracketed pediments surmounted by elaborate name plates and flanked by a balustraded parapet. The Edwardian balcony verandah with central gablet, densely patterned frieze iron and matching unusual triangular brackets is of interest.

The Coffee Palace remained extraordinarily intact, both internally and externally until the property was finally sold by the Reid family in 1977.

The term coffee palace was primarily used in Australia to describe the temperance hotels which were built during the period of the 1880s although there are references to the term also being used, to a lesser extent, in the United Kingdom. They were hotels that did not serve alcohol, built in response to the temperance movement and, in particular, the influence of the Independent Order of Rechabites in Australia.

 For me, this is where all the weird high-as-the-sky patients that attend our medical pratice stay.

(below photo: all rights reserved by raaen99's photostream on Flickr)


  1. If only you knew. . what went on. . in there :-)

    1. The people I know that stay there... I can just imagine.

  2. Wow incredible! mabe we will see some of them when we come over ;)


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