Coffee Palaces

In Australia a coffee palace was a temperance hotel, many built prior to 1900.  They did not serve alcohol, having been built in response to the temperance movement influenced by the Independent Order of Rechabites.

Two Coffee Palaces identified in Wodonga in the early days were the Railway Coffee Palace and the Wodonga Coffee Palace.

Undated: “The Wodonga Coffee Palace is now in full swing under the management of Mrs. P. Donovan, the proprietress. The Palace is situated in the heart of the town, being opposite the old Customs House (now used as the Wodonga Police Station) and is within one minute’s walk of the Wodonga Railway Station. No expense has been spared in the erection and fitting up of the Palace, which is intended “to supply a long felt want”. The building consists entirely of brick and the rooms are lofty, spacious and well-ventilated. The bedsteads are modern, and will satisfy the most fastidious. The place is lighted with acetylene throughout and hot and cold baths can be had at a moment’s notice. The motto of the proprietress is “Cleanliness, civility and attention”. A commodious stable is almost completed. Altogether it is no hyperbole to say that no more comfortable or more up-to-date coffee palace will be found in the metropolis or out of it.”  Mrs Donovan sold in 1903.

The Railway Coffee Palace opposite Railway Station in Elgin Street was refurnished in 1907, and in 1908 Wodonga Coffee Palace was advertised for sale, having 15 rooms, a 15 stall stable and feed-room.

In 1909 Mrs P Egan took over the Wodonga Coffee Palace and advertised hot, cold and shower baths with meals at all hours.  In 1912 she was looking to employ a cook and pay 25/- a week.

In 1921 Wodonga Coffee Palace was taken over by Julia Ronan who had successfully conducted the dining rooms at the Wodonga Sale-yards for 15 years.  The building of the Hume Weir was in progress and workers boarded at the Coffee Palace.

In 1936 Wodonga Coffee Palace became “Glenburnie” Guest House owned by the Misses Breen.