Guest Book

The Manchester Unity Building is home to a handful of residents and just over 100 small businesses. As well as countless patrons, it attracts thousands of visitors every year, including participants in the Melbourne Opera House tours.

Do you have family members who worked on or in the building in its early days?
Have you toured the building? If so, would you like to share your experience?

You are invited to publish here stories or comments of interest. Also welcome are any documents, pictures of memorabilia, or relevant historical information.

    • My grandfather edward cooper built the manchester unity building. as it was built in just a matter of months it as a huge feat of engineering for that time and apparently nearly killed him inhis efforts.

      kerrie hansen27-07-2013 1:10 AM

    • My father was a member of the M.U.I.O.O.F. for many years, he has now passed away and I have his Robes and some other items relating to the Lodge, I any body would be interested in them for display. You can contact me on the above email address, Regards. Peter Guthridge.

      Peter Guthridge26-07-2013 1:45 PM

    • Congratulations on your restoration of such an iconic building. My grandparents, Stanley & Mary Simpson ran a tailoring business in the building in the 1940's(?). As my parents are deceased we don't have any details. Is there a register of businesses in the building? And can information of a that paticular business be made available. I'd like to include such info in our family history. Many Thanks Wendy Basham

      Wendy Basham26-07-2013 9:22 AM

    • My mother started work with The Direct Supply Jewellery Co., on Level 1 of this building, in 1944 at the age of 18. It was wartime and there was a shortage of silk fabric, amongst other things. So my mother, who was a natural seamstress, cut strips of silk from the shirt-tails of her employer, Mr Aaron Cohen (when we wasn't wearing them!), and used this fabric to replace the shirts' worn collars. In gratitude, Mr Cohen gave her a treadle Singer sewing machine – a very valuable gift at the time. My mother used this machine (which I now own) to sew beautiful tailored garments for my sister and me as we were growing up. In days gone by, jewellery companies also sold cutlery, china and glassware (as some still do), and my mother remembers how she loved the fine bone china made by Shelley of England that Direct Supply had for sale. When dental practitioner Dr Kia Pajouhesh bought Level 1 of the building in 2003, the lettering "Direct Supply Jewellery Co." was still clearly visible on a large door uncovered in the renovations. When Kia subsequently bought the building's historic boardroom as a meeting room for his practice, he set about collecting fine period glassware and porcelain to grace the recessed shelves, possibly unaware that this had been the stock-in-trade of the business once operating from his dental premises on Level 1. My mother recently saw photos of the beautiful translucent Shelley teacups Kia had collected as a full set and she was reduced to tears. "He is a good man," she said. No doubt Mr Cohen would agree.

      Sally Moss16-05-2013 2:44 AM

    • Please note comment by John Payne. Walter H Best's daughter was Zoe who married Norman Bisset

      Robert Millar22-04-2013 12:45 AM

    • I am secretary of Loyal Prince Alfred Lodge Manchester Unity at Brighton. The lodge is 142 years established, having opened on 8 January, 1870. Bro. Walter H. Best Past Grand Secretary was a member of Loyal Sandringham Lodge, which merged into Prince Alfred in December 1999. Bro. Best's daughter Norma married George Bisset who had a grocery at Sandringham in Bay Road. I went to school with Walter's grandsons, Jim and Ray Bisset. MU bought the city site from a retail jewellery company who had a 5 storey store. MU also bought a narrow building in Swanston Street. The MU building was the tallest building in Australia for a while having been built to the maximum council limit of 12 storeys, but the tower was not in their control as it was not classed as a residentual component, thus could be extended to a height to suit. The original site bounded by Collins St, Swanston St, Lt Collins St and Howey Place was bought by Captain Howey at the land auction for about 120 pounds. Regrettably he and his family were lost at sea

      John Payne27-09-2012 10:14 PM

    • My father worked at the Manchester Unity as a cleaner and watchman from about mid 1950 to May 1980 when he retired at the age of 65, when saw a lot of changes in that time

      Bryan Leighton24-09-2012 9:23 PM

    • My grandfather was Walter H. Best, the grand Secretary. He was the person who travelled to Sydney and bought the land on which the present building was built. I have not had the oportunity to attend any of the tours of the building, but should there be any in the future I will certainly look forward to it.

      Robert Millar24-09-2012 5:02 PM

    • Dr Kia, Congratulations! how wonderful to see such a magnificent building being cared for in this way. Originally from Melbourne, I work with historic buildings in Europe and we do come across shoes, and other things hidden in walls. The practice dates back to the superstitions mediaeval Europe (or even earlier)and is believed to ward off evil. Putting them in such new building was perhaps a bit tongue in cheek.

      Darren17-09-2012 7:07 AM

    • Thankyou, Dr Kia, for sharing your enthusiasm and knowledge of this outstanding building with us today. That enthusiasm was infectious. If ever you need an assistant for your tour?! What a joy!

      Tiffany Morris-North12-08-2012 10:14 PM

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