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Howey Place

Howey Place is located between Elizabeth and Swanston streets. It extends south from Little Collins Street, and doglegs to the east. An enclosed pedestrian walk connects this eastern portion with Swanston Street. It intersects with Presgrave Place and Capitol Arcade. Howey Place was named prior to 1856 after Henry Howey, a pastoralist and the first purchaser of land on the corner of Swanston and Collins streets in 1837.

In 1909, some confusion arose as to the name of Howey Place. A letter to the Melbourne City Council from opticians W. Wood & Co. inquired as to whether Howey Street had been renamed Howey Place. According to the letter, the lane was listed as Howey Street in the street directory and all of the businesses had 'their stationery printed accordingly'. The letter further requested that the new street sign reading 'Howey Place' be replaced by the old 'Howey Street'. Despite this letter, there is no other evidence that Howey Place was ever officially known as 'Howey Street'. In an 1853 plan of Melbourne's rights-of-way, the lane is recorded as Howey Alley, not street. This confusion over lane names was not uncommon. They were often listed on maps interchangeably as 'Lane', 'Alley' or 'Place', and often the spelling of the names differed depending on the source.

Located in the vicinity of the famous Coles Book Arcade, Howey Place was bridged over with a glass canopy in the late 1890s. It was one of the first lanes to be lined with roofed-over boutiques, setting a trend which was soon seen in many other lanes in the retail core. An architectural feature of these boutiques was wrought-iron or cast-iron ornamenture and tiling, and terrazzo marble pavements.

Howey Place was the location of the art deco Howey Building in 1920, along with a number of more upmarket boutiques housing decorators, fancy goods, and a ladies' hairdresser. The Howey Building was demolished in the 1980s and a modern shopping centre, today known as Collins Two3Four, erected in its place.

Alexandra Gerner

Sands & McDougall’s commercial and general Melbourne directory, Sands & McDougall, Melbourne, 1892. Details
Sands & McDougall’s commercial and general Melbourne directory, Sands & McDougall, Melbourne, 1930. Details
'Central Melbourne - Lanes F-H', 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