After a few days of frantic work the ground floor of the Duncan & Fraser hotel is open for business. The men from ‘Ray Knott’s Joinery’ have fitted all the doors and a staircase between the ground floor and the first floor.

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Duncan & Fraser Hotel

The sign writer finally got all the signs right. Only two brass signs near a doorway went missing.

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Duncan & Fraser Hotel

Chloé has already got an admirer, but I am not sure his girlfriend shares his excitement.

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Chloé at Duuncan & Fraser

The original hotel

The Princes Bridge Hotel opened on 1 July 1861 by John P. Toohey and his brother who later went on to found the Tooheys Beer brand. The Hotel was renamed to Young and Jackson after the Irish diggers who took it over in 1875, cousins Henry Figsby Young and Thomas Joshua Jackson.

The hotel is an amalgamation of five separate buildings of two and three storeys, with the original 1853 bluestone building designed as a three-storey residence, with a butcher’s shop on the ground floor. It was later extended in both directions, with all buildings rendered and painted to match each other by the 1920s. The red glaze tile dado and ornamental frieze was added to combat the grime at ground level. Since the 1920s the exterior hotel has been dominated by large advertising signs, even to this day.

The hotel is well known for the nude painting Chloé, painted by French artist Jules Joseph Lefebvre in 1875. After being hung in the National Gallery of Victoria for three weeks in 1883, it was withdrawn from exhibition because of the uproar created especially by the Presbyterian Assembly. It was bought for the Young and Jackson Hotel in 1908 for 800 pounds. (Extract from

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Duncan & Fraser Hotel

The ‘Wombat Creek’ version

The hotel has been renamed ‘Duncan and Fraser’ after the well-known coach-builders from Adelaide. Over the years their workshop constructed 120 trams for the Adelaide tramways, 39 tram for provincial Victoria and approx. 120 trams for Melbourne. Instead of ‘Princes Bridge Hotel’ the hotel in Wombat Creek sports the name ‘Golden Mile Hotel’ taken from the nearby street name.

The large advertising signs on the building will be inspired from signs seen on the hotel in the 1960s. They will a selection based on what suits Wombat Creek and me. As a dedicated non-smoker I will leave out the big advertisement for cigarettes!

The interior of the hotel will only be partly modelled and will not reflect the original hotel. One reason for this is the lack of room. One of the facades has been ‘bent’ around the corner facing Victoria Street instead of Main Street. Chloé, however, will appear inside the hotel!