More on the Collingwood Town Hall

This from the State Library’s archives. And the St. Kilda Historical Society has fascinating information about George Johnson, including that his great-grandson is practising as an architect in St. Kilda, representing a unique architectural and building dynasty of 6 generations:

“Over some two hundred years, the Johnson family have for six generations been involved in the building industry: as carpenter, builders, engineer, but no less than four as architects.  Probably George Raymond Johnson (1840-1898) architect is the best known.  I’m not aware of another such dynasty in Melbourne …

George was the son of William, journeyman (employee) carpenter and builder from Marston-on-Dove, Derbyshire.  He was articled to George Hall, architect to the Midland Railway Co.  He practised briefly in London before immigrating to Queensland in 1862.  He worked as surveyor and builder as Godfrey & Johnson (1863-64), then came to Melbourne in 1867.  He was soon a successful architect here, designer of three groups of almshouses, including: the Jewish, at 619 St Kilda Road, St Kilda (1869) and the Old Colonist Homes for George Coppin, the famous theatrical entrepreneur, at North Fitzroy (1870) and then fifteen theatres, including the Prince of Wales Opera House (1872), the Theatre Royal, Adelaide (1877), the Bijou, Bourke Street (1889), all now demolished and the Theatre Royal, Perth (1897) as well as many shops and hotels.

But George Johnson’s greatest works are splendid town halls: Hotham (North Melbourne, 1875), Daylesford (1882), Maryborough (1887), Fitzroy (1887), Collingwood (1885-90), Northcote (1888-90) and Kilmore (1893-95), as well as the Metropolitan Meat Market (1879-80 & 89), the 1888 extensions to the Royal Exhibition Building and the Hospital for Incurables (the Austin, 1881). … George Johnson’s practice collapsed in the 1892, losing all his assets in the subsequent financial crash.  He left Melbourne for Perth with his architect second son, Harry M.G. Johnson (1867-1931).”

This is the old Yorkshire Brewery in Collingwood

The Sketchbook has told me something I really wanted to know: what this beautiful and seemingly taken-for-granted building with its French-inspired roof was: the Yorkshire Brewery, cleverly captured in this image by Ronny Restrepo. According to Walking Melbourne, it was designed by James Wood son of Yorkeshireman Thomas Wood who founded it, and built in 1880, and was for 10 years Australia’s tallest building. Today, it’s in a state of disrepair (for a photo of it in 1974, see here). Brian McKinlay wrote: Continue reading “This is the old Yorkshire Brewery in Collingwood”

Collingwood Town Hall Tour missed

Asleep at the wheel again, I missed and was ignorant of the Collingwood Historical Society’s Town Hall tour, but the Abbotsford Editor went along and reports:

“P. and I went to the Town Hall tour by the Collingwood Historical Society. Round the house, and round the house and up the tower we went with excellent commentary from former mayors and the author of a biography of the architect who designed town halls in Maryborough, Daylesford, North Melbourne, Northcote and Fitzroy. He obviously had a good line in civic architecture. We even viewed the golden trowel used for the foundation stone, and a descendant of Langridge spoke of his forebear’s contribution to civic life.

There were reminders of the good old days when Labor had all the seats on the Council, but still had a caucus meeting beforehand to decide how to vote. It now seems as absurd as it was then. Ex-mayor Jenny Backholer recalled the air thick with smoke at all meetings and the Council fridge being plundered for after-meeting drinks. No ghosts appeared, which is not surprising considering the very heavy attendance. The November annual CHS walk is unmissable and congratulations to all the organisers for the hard work in preparation. It is a pity that some of the grander rooms in the Town Hall have been subdivided into cubbyhole offices for the present staff.”

Thanks to Bronwen Hyde for the beautiful photo.