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DW This was built in the late 1800s by Mr. Rennison, owner of the Schnapper Point Hotel, which lat- er became the Royal Hotel. It operated as John Unthank’s Cleveland House selling household goods until the 1890s depression sent Unthank bankrupt. His stock was sold by Robert Byrne, Melbourne and Mornington auctioneer in 1892.
Pioneer descendant Janet Groves continues . .
JG The building then became the Federal Cash Store. For many years it was owned by Robert Nunn who became one of the longest-serving Mornington councillors and was also Shire President. The Cash Store sold groceries, wines and spirits. When Nunns relocated further up the street to occupy Allchin’s former store, a J. Higgs moved in. In the 1920s, Higgs moved up the street to succeed Robert Nunn.
The residence at Federal House was above the store and there was a fine verandah with wrought iron surrounds. It was an ideal building to turn into a guest house, as happened in the 1920s. The Federal Guest House operated until well into the 1950s when it needed too much work to keep it in a fit condition.
DW so what happened after that?
JG Well, the golden age of guest house accommodation was coming to an end. It came back in a way in the 2000s as bed and breakfasts became the fashion. The bay steamers had stopped running in the late1930s and the passenger rail service had been reduced after the 2nd World War. People were now starting to travel more in their own cars. So by this time, guest house holiday accommodation
was being replaced by more affordable camping grounds.
DW This beautiful building’s former glory was diminished by utilitarian 1960s renovations. On to the building on the corner. The sculpture of the little girl was a gift to Mornington from our councillor to commemorate 150 years of the naming of the town.
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