Larry Schlesinger | 6 November 2012

Local estate agent Wayne Elly buys historic former Williamstown grocer for $2.5 million

Local estate agent Wayne Elly buys historic former Williamstown grocer for $2.5 million

A landmark historical commercial building in the Melbourne bayside suburb of Williamstown that was once the premises of turn-of-the-century grocer Robert Punshon has sold for $2.5 million.

The two-storey freehold building, designed by local architect CJ Polain and built by James Rowsthorn in 1890, was sold to Wayne Elly, owner of Greg Hocking Elly partners.

The building was marketed and sold by Fitzroys Associate James Gregson.

Elly will use the building as his business premises.

According to Victorian Heritage the building is a “novel adaptation” of the English Queen Anne architectural style and notable for its ornamental façade, which houses a bas-relief bust of its original owner, Robert Punshon.

Punshon operated from the shop under the name of Punshon’s Federal Stores.

Most recently the property had been occupied by Marks Brothers electrical store for over 20 years.

It was sold with vacant possession with the vendor being local businessman John Marks.

The Williamstown Chronicle reported in 1904 that both 82 -84 Ferguson Street and 78 Ferguson Street were sold by "Mrs. R. Punshon to W.N. McAlister and Co., a grocery, wine and spirit business".

John Pentase, a grocer and the ES&A Bank shared the premises in the 1920s.

Victorian Heritage notes that the building is of historical significance as it “perhaps best illustrates the increasing importance of Ferguson Street as the main commercial centre of Williamstown during the latter half the nineteenth century”.

“It is also notable for its original and long association with the locally important Punshon family and for its long use as a grocery.”

The 750 square metre building comprises ground floor retail space, a grand first floor dwelling and a basement.

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