1888c Bourke Street


A photograph from around 1888 looking west along Bourke Street. This section of Bourke Street is between Swanston and Russell Streets, on the north side. The photo was taken at 8:35 one summer's morning.

The main buildings in this image are of Parer's Crystal Café (103) and the Melbourne Coffee Palace (89). In between those buildings at 101 is the Waxworks. 

Parer's Crystal Café Hotel was built in 1886 at a cost of £60,000 by three brothers from Catalonia - Juan, Felipe and Estevan Parer. Leavitt's Jubilee history of Victoria and Melbourne (1888) described Parer's as the leading café in the Southern Hemisphere: 'Its wealth of mirrors so fantastically arranged, its tessellated floor, glittering tables, refreshing fountains and artistic draperies, remind one of the magnificent structures of a similar kind which grace the capitals of Europe and America'. With rooms to accommodate 650 guests it was a primary resting place for local and international travellers to Marvellous Melbourne.

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Photograph attributed to Charles B. Walker.

The notes from the State Library tell us that this image is a view of "Bourke Street, north side between Russell and Swanston Streets showing Parer's Crystal Cafe at No. 103, The Melbourne Coffee Palace and the Wax Works".

This is a digitally retouched reproduction of the original held by the State Library of Victoria. All prints are reproduced without the HOTPRESS watermarks.

Our team of conservators have worked on a high resolution digital image in order to remove blemishes and artifacts such as stains, mould, scratches and damage caused by the handling of the original. We strive to provide authentic representations of the original work that are suitable for enlargements that retain the tones and character of the original.

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