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484 Smith Street
Gasometer Hotel (2010 to present)
Gasometer Hotel (1861 - c.1997), Irish Murphy's (c.1997 - 2000), Father Flanagan's Hotel (c.2001 - 2010)
484 Smith Street
Part C, pp. 552-555
Kearney 1855: N ; Hodgkinson 1858: N ; MMBW: Detail Plan 1214, 1900
In 1859 architect Alfred Kursteiner invited tenders for the erection of a public house for Mr C. A. Mater. ( The Argus, 15 June 1859). The owner was Charles Mater, who owned a large tract of land bounded by Reilly Street (now Alexandra Parade) and Smith Street, and after whom Mater Street was named. The hotel's name is a reminder of the former Collingwood, Fitzroy and District Gas and Coke Company , which was established in 1859 and commenced supply from its works (diagonally opposite the hotel) in May 1861. However there was no denying that at the time of its erection, the hotel was in an area that was under-populated, and it was advertised with the following inducements:
To LET, on LEASE, erected as a pioneer to the settlement of a populous neighbourhood. The whole paddock adjoining is surveyed, with plans for sale in allotments at a low price with deferred payments. The new market contiguous is fenced. The great and increasing traffic of Smith-street, with the numerous employees at the gasworks, give assurance for the establishment of a good business within a short period.
( The Argus, 20 March 1860, p. 1)
The promised trade may not have eventuated, as there was a rapid turnover of publicans in the first few years. James Lawlor, James Crawley, and George Pashley followed one another in quick succession, while by August 1865 Mater and Co were again advertising it to let. By 1869 it was bought by Richard Benham who was also the licensee; it remained in Benham family ownership into the twentieth century.
The hotel is stuccoed stone and brick. The corner splay is emphasized with quoins and pilasters. After some years' flirtation with Irish-themed names, the hotel has recently returned to its original name.