The North Fitzroy Star, more fondly known as just “The Star”, is a beloved neighbourhood pub with a history that stretches almost 140 years. Recently, an application was lodged to partially demolish the building and replace it with five townhouses and a wine bar. Should the plans go ahead, it’s understood the pub's interior would be gutted, with the facade and chimneys remaining.
Locals are indignant, and have launched a Facebook campaign in the hope of saving the north-side watering hole.
Madeleine Laming, a member of the Save The North Fitzroy Star Facebook group, explains the issue is two-fold. “One [issue] is the closure of The Star; the other is the proposal to build townhouses. The design is poor – bland and bulky… I really want to see the place remain, but if it’s going to be ‘developed’, I demand a better design.”
The pub has seen many a facelift since it commenced trading in 1878. It entered the scene as the A1 Coulter’s Hotel and later became the Morning Star Hotel, and then Lord Jim’s. It began operating at The North Fitzroy Star in 1999.
The venue trades as a pub, restaurant and bar, but has recently expanded its services to cater for receptions and functions.
We contacted The Star's management, but have not yet heard back. We also contacted members of the Save The North Fitzroy Star Facebook group, where comments from local residents highlight just how cherished an institution it is. The pub is steeped in community spirit and many have strong emotional ties to the place.
Heather Dalton told Broadsheet, “I had my wedding party there and just last week my husband attended his work’s Christmas dinner there.”
Adam Young also has a strong personal connection to The Star. “My wife’s family and I have been going to The Star since we first met, well over 12 years ago now. We have celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, visits from my in-laws and many other special occasions. We love it so much that we decided to get married there.”
The pub’s website announces its intention to exist as: “An extension of your home”; a safe, warm, comfortable and personal environment for its patrons to catch up for drinks or a casual meal.
Anne Lewis can testify to this. “It’s a pub where, as a woman, I feel comfortable going for a drink by myself – I know I will not be harassed.”
Dalton reiterates this. “I drop in on my own several times a week to read the papers or just to see who is there.”
The application has so far received 21 objections.
The future of The Star is to be decided in early 2016.
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