Hibben & Carswell’s Stationery Store on Yates Street was one of the first businesses in Victoria.
This painting by Owen Staples (based on an unkown artist’s sketch) shows a glimpse of Hibben & Carswell’s Stationers Hall. It is the white building on the left side of the street just above the pile of logs. This was the original site of the store until it moved to another location on Government Street.
Stationers Hall on Yates Street had an interesting past. It was designed by architect Richard Lewis, who later served as Victoria’s mayor. In addition to housing the stationery store, the building was occupied by the Society of Free Masons, George R. Fardon’s photographic studio, and other private lodging.
In his book, Some Reminiscences of Old Victoria, Edgar Fawcett recalled visiting George Walkem at his rooms over Hibben & Carswell’s Stationers.
“The walls were plastered, and white, and all over were covered with [Walkem’s drawings of] animals and portraits of noted characters of the day done with a crayon pencil. These portraits were of such men as Judge Begbie, the Governor, an admiral of the station, or some noted politician. It was a sight well worth seeing, and would so be considered today.
Long after Mr. Walkem left these rooms these walls were left intact, and many schemes were devised to remove the pictures with the walls… I am sorry to say it proved to be impossible.”