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Cohen Place

Cohen Place leads north from Little Bourke Street in Chinatown, between Russell and Exhibition streets. It was probably named for either Cohen's Pawnbroker in Little Lonsdale Street, or the Cohen Brothers Upholsterers in Lonsdale Street. In 1895, the lane was known as Browns Place, and the entrance was flanked by a Chinese Mission Hall and the Minister Arms Hotel. This site has since become the Cohen Place Plaza, where a pair of marble lions sit before the replica of a Ming Dynasty archway donated by the People's Republic of China. Another pair of lions guard the Museum of Chinese Australian History, which resides further up the lane, acknowledging the contribution of the long time residents of Cohen Place and its surrounds.

In 1920, Cohen Place contained the Taxi Cab Company, the Star Cigar Company, and the workshops of Her Majesty's Theatre. In 1999, the Heritage Council and the museum embarked on an excavation of a site in Cohen Place, under what has since become the Chifley Hotel. The excavation unearthed thousands of historic artifacts and significant architectural remains pertaining to the nineteenth-century residents of Cohen Place, including children's toys such as jacks, marbles, china dolls and children's miniature tea sets. Other artifacts included quality china tableware in matching sets.

Edwina Byrne

Sands & McDougall’s commercial and general Melbourne directory, Sands & McDougall, Melbourne, 1920. Details
Cohen Place excavation, Heritage Victoria, 1999, http://www.heritage.vic.gov.au/page.asp?ID=209. Details
'Central Melbourne - Lanes C-D', in Amendment C105 - CBD Laneways Review, City of Melbourne, 2007, http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/info.cfm?top=195&pg=3065&bp=1902&coll=8. Details
Bate, Weston, Essential but unplanned: The story of Melbourne's lanes, State Library of Victoria and the City of Melbourne, Melbourne, 1994. Details