Eagle Alley is located between King and William streets. It extends north from Little Lonsdale Street, doglegs to the west, and then continues north to La Trobe Street. It is situated opposite Manton Lane on Little Lonsdale Street. The lane was originally an unnamed right-of-way extending from La Trobe Street to Hawke Place. In 1890, it became Eagle Alley, and by 1895 the connection between Eagle Alley and Hawke Place was closed, replaced with a wood yard. The laneway was predominantly used for residential purposes in its early years, hence the location of the West Melbourne Laundry on the corner of King Street, La Trobe Street and Eagle Alley in 1895.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Melbourne's laneways often had a reputation for being the location of unsavoury characters. A 1905 complaint to the City of Melbourne notes the presence of undesirable characters in the Little Lonsdale Street vicinity, including Eagle Alley. Having been forced by police to leave the eastern areas of the city, 'they have only moved them to the locality we have mentioned'.