Historic Queenscliff Hotel listed, along with antique furnishings

Historic Queenscliff Hotel listed, along with antique furnishings
Historic Queenscliff Hotel listed, along with antique furnishings

The 1887 built Queenscliff Hotel on the western tip of Port Phillip bay has been listed for sale with all its antique furnishings in one line.

The heritage-listed hotel was designed by Melbourne architects Reed, Henderson & Smart, the same architects responsible for the State Library of Victoria, Collins Street Baptist Church, Melbourne Trades Hall and a number of Melbourne university buildings.

It was built by NW Frogley in the English Queen Anne style for Martha Nugent and Joseph Goslin, wealthy local citizens at the time.

Heritage documents say the building is an extraordinary example of the architects’ work.

“The polygonal tower, with its coned roof and bellcast profile, and the Dutch gables, with steep slit openings, are of interest for their reflection of northern European Renaissance architecture, particularly from countries as such France and the Netherlands.”

Heritage documents celebrate the façade of the building for its “essentially intact exterior”.

“The Queenscliff Hotel is of social significance for its associations with wealthy Victorian society around the turn of the century, who regarded Queenscliff as a fashionable summer holiday resort, particularly as it was within easy reach of Melbourne after the opening of the Geelong-Queenscliff railway in 1879 and the introduction of paddle steamers to transfer passengers from Melbourne by sea.”

The 15-bedroom mansion has been run as a leisure property since it was built.

The current owners acquired the property about 10 years ago from restaurateur Patricia O’Donnell, sister of the now deceased Mietta O'Donnell, who ran the hotel as a fine dining hotel for a number of years.

The hotel was first restored for modern use in 1978, being converted from a run-down pub status to its heritage glory.

Queenscliff first became a significant tourist destination in the late 19th century with holiday-makers taking a two-hour paddle steamer journey from Melbourne. The influx continued with the 1879 opening of the Geelong railway line, which coincided with the construction of a number of luxury hotels including the Palace Hotel, the Baillieu Hotel and the Vue Grande Hotel.

Tourist numbers dwindled with the popularisation of cars and the cancellation of a daily rail service, but the 1980s was the start of a tourism revival for the town.

The 1,669-square-metre property been listed by Neil Laws and Damian Cayzer from Kerleys Coastal Real Estate in Point Lonsdale. They are seeking $4 million to $6 million for the 19th-century building.

Laws says there has been significant interest in the property including people who want to convert it into a residence.

“It’s not a massive building like some of the others in Queenscliff, so that would be doable,” Laws says.

There has also been interest in people running just the accommodation side of things who would sublease the restaurant business.

It includes a formal dining room, a conservatory restaurant, a boat bar, front and rear al fresco garden restaurants, a commercial kitchen, a turret room and a manager’s apartment.

It is zoned mixed use/business 1, which allows for a number of alternative uses.

The building is being offered with all plant and equipment, antique furniture, licences, permits and chattels.

Tenders close on Wednesday November 7.

Alistair Walsh

Alistair Walsh

Deutsche Welle online reporter

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