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Hopetoun Tearooms

the tea rooms began as an exclusively ladies domain

282 Collins St Melbourne 3000 VIC AU

+61 (0)3 9650 2777


Click here to enlarge (popup 78K) The Hopetoun Tea Rooms embodies all of the traditional style that is missing in some cafes, especially in the inner city precinct. While its patrons are of all ages, it is wonderful to see a large number of older people dressed up for their city visit, sitting in a place that is not pumping with loud music, feeling safe and supplied with a large choice from a traditional menu; including pinwheels, asparagus rolls, pumpkin scones with lashings of cream and a pot of tea. This is a comfortable, nostalgic place. The interior is decorated with luscious deep greens, marble topped tables, velvet to the touch paisley wallpaper and a large filigreed mirror dated at 1891. The ceiling is veiled with billowing puffs of material.

A dumbwaiter brings the food orders up from the kitchen below. The apparatus was only recently made fully electric, with the pulley ropes being removed just three weeks ago (August 2001). This place is authentic. When friends, Sharon Piccolo owner of the tea rooms and manager Mary Tomasino took up their part in the long history of the Hopetoun Tea Rooms many of the fixtures were already on the premises and antique. Click here to enlarge (popup 91K) Mary kindly gave me a tour of the downstairs kitchen which I was so curious to see once she had told me of it. We took a lift down and through an archway, around to the right the space opened out into a large kitchen. Four smiling faces looked up from pounding dough to greet us. Sitting on top of the stove were trays full of plump croissants. Mary explained that there had been a wrought iron stove that needed to be replaced as despite looking beautiful it had become temperamentally unpredictable.

Click here to enlarge (popup 140K) Now a National Trust protected establishment, the Hopetoun Tea Rooms was begun 110 years ago by the Victorian Ladies' Work Association. Lady Hopetoun founded the Victorian Ladies' Work Association, her husband was the Governor of Victoria in 1889-1895 and the Governor General of Australia in 1901-1903. In response to the many men's lounges in Melbourne of the time, the tea rooms began as an exclusively ladies domain.

There is a couple who would be pleased that the tea rooms are not now ladies only. Six years ago they met at the Hopetoun Tea Rooms. They married and on each anniversary revisit their meeting, liking to sit at 'their' table. My own memorable experience of this place was having lunch with my husband-to-be, videoing each other as we sat below the grand old mirror, eating smoked ham, swiss cheese and cantelope sandwiches before choosing our wedding rings at a jeweller in the same arcade.


this page last modified on April 22 2007 ~ this site open since 23 August 2001 - © 2001 - 2018 shopworthy

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