Demolish of 1864 Great Western Hotel

RHSV Condemns Decision to Demolish 1864 Great Western Hotel, King Street, Melbourne

The Great Western Hotel, January 2017. Photo courtesy Melbourne Heritage Action.


The RHSV condemns in the strongest terms the City of Melbourne decision to allow demolition of the 1864 Great Western Hotel (originally Star of the West) on King Street.

The RHSV has been campaigning to save this important piece of Melbourne’s history for five years. In the June Issue of History News, the RHSV newsletter, I noted that we were particularly concerned at the impending threat to this classic Regency design hotel, which was virtually unaltered since its opening in 1864.

It escaped demolition because of development deals but now, ironically after inclusion in the Hoddle Grid Review, it is unlikely to survive. With it will go yet another chunk of Melbourne’s history. The Great Western was built just after the Gold Rush and is a witness to the impact of the Gold Rush on Melbourne life and sociability. In architectural terms, it is a witness to Melbourne’s character before the high Victorian boom.

Hotels were a major part of the fabric of urban life in the 19th Century. The small hotels of that era continue to play a major role in neighbourhood social life. Yet we have lost so many that any further loss is a great tragedy. Melbourne City Councilors and, if he approves demolition, the Minister of Planning will bear responsibility for a tragic loss.


Charles Sowerwine, Chair,

Heritage Committee,

Royal Historical Society of Victoria

22nd June 2022