196 Brunswick St, Fitzroy (Perseverance Hotel)

This hotel was constructed in 1911 for the Carlton United Brewing Company. It is likely that it was designed by Mr. Weaver, the Brewery’s architect, as the tower has the initials C.B. as part of the decorations. The building replaced an earlier hotel built in 1865 which was demolished in 1911 to make way for the present building. The building was altered in 1954 and 1960, and one of these dates would have been when the three storey addition to the east was constructed. (Text from Yarra Libraries).

The text on Yarra Library’s Past Port contradicts the above, stating “The hotel was designed by the architectural firm Sydney Smith and Ogg, who also designed the Bendigo Hotel on Johnston St, and the Sir Robert Peel Hotel on Peel St, both of which share the distinctive turreted or towered design which has made the Perseverance Hotel such a prominent feature of Brunswick Street. Many other landmark hotels in the City of Yarra were designed by this firm, including the Terminus Hotel in Clifton Hill, and the extensions to the Grace Darling hotel on Smith St, as well as the Abbotsford Brewery in Richmond.”

Google Image – Nov 2020

“Certainly the most successful adaptation of Art Nouveau ideas to a hotel building in Fitzroy with its projecting curved tower on which a whole series of decorative panels are carved around its perimeter; the conical roof of the tower reinforces this little gem of Art Nouveau work. Disappointingly, however the same type of treatment is not continued throughout the whole façade.” (Hotels in Fitzroy up to 1906, Nicola A Piccola, 1971).

The Perseverance Hotel, c. 1970-1974 – held at State Library of Victoria, http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/313934
Image held by Fitzroy Library 1978

In 1979, the South Fitzroy Conservation Study had he following to say “Externally the building is substantially intact apart from the brown painted brickwork, and the iron roof which would have originally been slate.  The building was altered in 1954 and 1960, and one of these dates would have been when the three-storey addition to the east was constructed.”  (South Fitzroy Conservation Study, 1979, p.110-111).

“The design of this hotel is almost identical to the Dan O’Connell on the corner of Alexandra Parade and Canning Street, Carlton, suggesting that the same architect was responsible for the design.  Upon comparison, the Dan O’Connell is the better building retaining the original slate roof (with terracotta ridge capping) and having no flanking three storey addition.  The Dutch gable motif on the east façade of the Dan O’Connell is of differing proportion and detail from that of Perseverance, but the towers are almost identically.  Internally the Perseverance has been drastically altered, and little of interest remains.  This building provides an extremely important corner streetscape element and is of great importance locally.  However, the Dan O’Connell is considered a more intact and better example of this hotel building type.” (South Fitzroy Conservation Study, 1979, p.110-111).

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