# 14719


[MELBOURNE] Besses Banquet, Vienna Café, 20 July 1911.

$550.00 AUD

  • Ask a question

Pen and ink illustration and calligraphy with onlaid silver gelatin photograph, on thin card, 420 x 200 mm (sheet); a few light marks around the upper edges, otherwise fine condition.

A significant piece of ephemera from one of Melbourne's most famous dining establishments of the 1890s and early 1900s, the Vienna Café, which occupied the grand premises at 25 Collins Street East. The Australia Hotel was later built on the same site. This unique “sign” was probably created in-house on the occasion of a special banquet held at the Vienna Café, a private function for the 17 young men in the photograph. Note that each of them has a letter “B” for “Besse” displayed in his lapel. 

“Completed in Collins Street in 1939 to a Leslie M. Perrott design, the Australia Hotel replaced an existing hotel of that name which had been established on the site of the highly fashionable and popular Vienna Café Hotel (1890-1915), Gunsler's Café Hotel (1879-90), and the City Club Hotel established about 1872. In 1908 the Vienna lease was acquired by Anthony Lucas, who in 1916 contracted Walter Burley Griffin to remodel the interior to form a banquet hall incorporating a balcony mezzanine for his Café Australia Hotel. When Fred Matear and Norman Carlyon purchased the freehold and rebuilt the hotel in 1939, elements of the Griffin ceiling were incorporated into the ballroom of the new hotel.” Chrystopher J. Spicer, eMelbourne