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Union Lane

Located between Elizabeth and Swanston streets, Union Lane extends from Bourke Street to Little Collins Street. It was named after the Union Hotel that was situated on Little Collins Street during the 1860s.

Due to its central location, only high-value production occupied Union Lane in 1895. These included electroplaters, brass finishers, locksmiths, an engraver and lapidary, a stereotyper, a wholesale newsagent and a watchmaker. There were no dwellings by 1895. In 1901, it was home to the Central Club Hotel and a wholesale music store, run by Edward Lyons. This was indeed a vastly different scene to only several decades earlier when, in June 1870, the Argus reported that a young girl by the name of Eva Bashfield was seen 'stopping at a house of ill-repute' in Union Lane. Considered an unfit place for a child, Eva was brought before the City Bench and declared a vagrant. After discovering that she ran away from her respectable Sandhurst family house, the magistrate sent Eva to the Abbotsford Reformatory for two years and requested that the police communicate with the child's father.

In 2008, Union Lane became the canvas for the City of Melbourne's Street Art Project which transformed this 'high profile location in the heart of Melbourne's retail hub [that] was increasingly uninviting and heavily tagged' into a space for a street art mural spanning 550 square metres on both sides of the lane.

Biheng Zhang

The Argus, 13 June 1870, p. 5. Details
Sands & McDougall's commercial and general Melbourne directory, Sands & McDougall, Melbourne, 1901. Details
'Central Melbourne: Lanes S-Z', 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
Union Lane Street Art Project 2008, City of Melbourne, 2008, http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/info.cfm?top=75&pa=3128&pa2=3552&pg=3859. Details