The Tower Hotel Alphington - or what's left of it!
Posted on Tuesday, 19th May 2020 by Janine Rizzetti
Only half of the Halfway House Hotel remains….
It seems that we’ve been driving past the shell of the old Tower Hotel in Alphington for ages, with the gutting of the original hotel and its gradual deterioration prior to redevelopment.
There has been a hotel on this site since the mid 1860s, but at that time it was called the Halfway House Hotel. It was a small timber hotel, and there was quite a bit of resistance to granting its licence because there were already two other hotels nearby- the Alphington Hotel on the site of Dan Murphy’s and the Darebin Bridge Hotel on the west side of Heidelberg Rd, on the Ivanhoe side of the bridge.
It was purchased by William Frew in 1891 who demolished the old wooden hotel and built the double storey building in Italian Renaissance style in its place. He renamed it, appropriately enough, the Tower Hotel.
In 1898 the ‘Sportsman’ newspaper 28/2/98 described it as a “well-known house [is] splendidly situated, contains over 20 rooms including bedrooms, sitting, commercial, smoking rooms and a well-appointed billiard room.” The billiard room was a separate single-story building to the hotel.
Between 1881 and 1909 there was a total of at least 22 publicans, many of them women, with few staying more than a few years. It was not until Isabelle Herbert took over the licence in 1934 that there was a period of stability until the 1960s, when the picture here was taken. It operated as a hotel until the late-2000s.