THE Junction Hotel, at the corner of High and Barkly Streets, St Kilda, was established in 1853.
The original hotel, although a substantial building for the time, was a much smaller version than the grand wedge shaped Victorian edifice that graced the intersection for over 80 years.
The first licensee was Michael O’Shea between 1853 and 1862. Connected to the hotel was a concert room, which was frequently hired by both professional and amateur entertainers. George Sparrow, the licensee from 1862, changed its name to the Grand Junction.
The hotel took its grand appearance when James Wood redesigned the hotel, which opened for business in 1889 . The Prahran Telegraph reported on Saturday, June 8, 1889:
ST KILDA IMPROVEMENTS
FRANCK’S JUNCTION HOTEL, ST. KILDA
The new Junction hotel, St. Kilda, was taken over by Mr. Franck from the architect and builder last Friday.
The topmost floor of the tower – some 75 or 80 feet high is provided with eight gas jets with reflectors, which on being lighted cast a glare of brilliancy around.
The genial host, who is justly proud of his palatial hostelry, conducted a few of his visitors around the establishment, and it was at once seen that expense had not been spared in the internal furnishings and fittings.
The ground floor contains numerous parlors, sitting rooms, and billiard room, lift, and stables at rear. Spacious halls, and well fitted bar, with speaking-tubes from the dining club, and sitting rooms; also electric call-bells from each bedroom are connected with the bar.
On the first floor are spacious club and dining rooms, a specially fitted up bedroom with tower corner arranged as a sitting room and numerous other rooms, such as ladies’ sitting room, bedrooms and baths.
The second floor consists mainly of sleeping compartments, baths and smoking-room, and tower recess. Several rooms contained pianos, all are furnished in the best of style.
Above the three floors, a large promenade has been constructed on the roof, to which access is obtained by way of the tower. In clear weather the whole surroundings of the bay and Melbourne may be discerned from this vantage ground. The hotel is a credit to the proprietors and the borough of St. Kilda.
A SIGN OF THE TIMES
AN old mirror was taken from the High street wall of St Kilda’s Junction Hotel yesterday and the picture shows what was written underneath.
That’s what Christmas dinners cost at the Junction 18 years ago!
Manager Jim Finnigan and licensee Frank Walsh are shown figuring out a way to explain to this week’s diners that it’s not this week’s sign.
–The Melbourne Argus Tuesday 23 December 1952.
Prior to the hotel’s demolition it became famous for flying the St Kilda flag high and proud when the football team was victorious, and at half-mast when they were defeated.
The main bar was also well-known for its many photos of local sporting heroes.
The hotel was tragically demolished in 1973 following a decision to widen High Street, between the Junction and Carlisle Street.
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