Kepler St 1870
Warrnambool’s professional district - within a few short years of settlement, Kepler street had become the sought after address for Warrnambool’s professional occupations and by 1870 there were two banks in the street as well as accountants, lawyers, doctors and at least one dentist (according to the sign on the wall) Apart from the removal of the chimneys the offices at 67 Kepler have changed little since they were built in the late 1860’s. Today they house an accounting firm and a business banking firm.
The Masonic Hall -
The first Freemasons lodge meeting was held 1860 and within a few years the order had grown sufficiently to plan the building of a suitable hall The first stone was laid on the Kepler St site in early 1870 and the building was opened in August of that year by Provincial Grand Master, Captain Standish . The local paper ("The Examiner") reported that the opening was attended by a large and representative assembly and that a banquet was held in the Oddfellows hall following the opening to celebrate the event. This picture was taken in 1905
The Western Hotel
Built in 1876 on the corner of Kepler St and Timor St, the Western Hotel was the epitome of modern luxury accommodation in Warrnambool and would have been the "local pub" for many of the white collar workers in Kepler street, and judging by the number of gentlemen in suits, most of Kepler streets businessmen were present for this photo. This picture was taken sometime in 1890 and shows the Cobb and Co coach service about to depart from outside Western Hotel. The large number of people outside the hotel and also piled on top of the stage coach suggests that it may have been a special occasion that prompted the photo. It is possible that this photo may have been taken to record the last Cobb and Co service to leave Warrnambool.
The Ozone Coffee Palace
In the 1870’s, following the Victorian gold rush there was period of prosperity in Victoria which set off a land and building boom throughout the colony. In particular there were a number grand hotels built which were described as Coffee Palaces, this was a term used to describe hotels that did not serve alcohol. These lavish buildings were usually richly ornamental high Victorian architecture, often designed in the fashionable classical style to attract patrons and many of the larger establishments were bestowed prestigious names such as "Grand" or "Royal" in order to appeal to the wealthier classes.
Warrnambool’s Ozone Coffee Palace (built in 1882)was one such building, it featured a huge dining rooms, lavish accommodation and a grand ballroom. Unfortunately the fad of hotels without beer quickly passed and by the mid 1890’s the Ozone in fallen into financial troubles and for the next thirty years struggled to remain solvent, at times the building was unoccupied with its doors and windows boarded up.
Following WW1, financial conditions improved and the owners made improvements to attract new customers including the conversion of the grand ballroom into a movie theatre. Sadly in 1929, a fire broke out in the theatre section of the building and the Ozone was burnt to the ground.
The Hotel Warrnambool was built of the foundations of the Ozone and building outline follows the same footprint of its predecessor. The Hotel Warrnambool has however been much more successful than the Ozone, and is one of the cities better pubs