Kings Arcade
974-978 High Street,
Armadale Vic 3143
(Near corner of Kooyong Rd)
Kings Arcade Opening Times

Mon - Sat

Sun

7:30am - 8:00pm

7:30am - 6:30pm

The history of Kings Arcade

1892 - The Kings Arcade site was vacant land. It was bought by Frederick Phillips who was a Malvern manufacturer and manufacturers agent.

1893 - The main building which consisted of 3 double storey shops and residences was built for Frederick Phillips. The designing architect was William Lawrence of Queen St, Melbourne.

1894 - The building was acquired by James Patterson who was a coal merchant. He became the largest coal importer in Melbourne and diversified into the bay towage business. Patterson was also an owner - breeder of several fine thoroughbreds and played a leading role in civic life and was Lord Mayor of Melbourne in 1876-77.

1913 - Frederick Alfred King and his wife Margaret moved into the buildings. Frederick King operated a fresh fruit business located where the Armadale General Store is presently located today, on the front east corner of the arcade.
The business flourished and by the turn of the decade Frederick King purchased the whole building.

Public transport, both Trams and Trains, were the key mover of people at this time. Frederick King could see the potential of a pedestrian walkway connecting the High St to the Armadale Railway Station via his building and a rear laneway at the rear of the building.

1921 - Frederick King began forming an Arcade of shops which led to the Armadale Railway Station. The Arcade was named 'Railway Arcade'.

The Architect who designed the Arcade Shops was John William Hardy. Amongst Hardy's best known works in the Australian club in Melbourne. He became Chief Architect of the Victoria Railways for 10 years until his retirement in 1918.

1920's-30's - During this time the Arcade boomed. Trains stopped in front of the Arcade and commuters walked down the Arcade to the Train Station to travel to Flinders Street. Frederick King renamed the Arcade “Kings Arcade".

Frederick King had all his shop windows facing the Arcade laden with fresh fruit all polished and gleaming. He used to visit the markets from 3am everyday and arrive back as the Arcade with the best fruit money could buy. The business flourished.
Other notable shops in the Arcade included a grocer, a butcher, a bookshop, a dressmaker and a watchmaker/jeweller.

1938 - Frederick and Margaret King reared two children, Gordon and Beatrice in the Arcade and stayed there until 1938.

1944 - Frederick King died in 1944 at the young age of 53 years.

1945 - The Arcade was refurbished by Fredericks son, Gordon. Gordon King was a builder and he did up the Arcade as a monument to his father.

1950's-60's - This period of time saw a large drop off in pedestrian traffic through the Arcade as more and more people used the motor car as their means of transport. The Arcade struggled but Gordon King managed to keep all the shops, offices and residences let.

A notable tenant in the late 50's and early 60's was Hernandoes Hideaway Coffee Lounge which occupied shops 7, 9 and 11. The coffee shop was one of the first in Melbourne. It operated late into the night and had many cushions on the floor to sit on. It was well known to young people of those times. Many a time Gordon received calls from the police that MG's and Austin Healy's were driving through the Arcade and strutting their stuff.

The following is a short video produced by Richard Balsillie, a local resident in Armadale in the 1950’s and 1960’s, of his life experiences in Kings Arcade and Kingsway during that time

1970's - This time was the beginning of change for the fortunes of the Arcade. The fruit store became a convenience store, probably the first in Melbourne and it flourished. The grocery shop opposite became a restaurant and all the shops in the Arcade began to pick up.

High St Armadale was becoming a mecca for Melbournes antique trade and the street began to change for the better.

1981 - Phillip and Robert, sons of Gordon King took over the managment of the Arcade. The Arcade was extensively refurbished including tiling of the Arcade floor and a glass roof.

The character and charm of the Arcade was enhanced and a complete change in the tenant mix helped the Arcade to become a a place for unique shopping and a place to be.

1980's - Phillip and Robert King acquired the two adjoining properties to the Arcade facing High Street. These properties were sympathetically restored in harmony with Kings Arcade. It is interesting to note that the building on the corner of High Street and Kooyong Rd was built in 1889, four years prior to the Arcade building and was the Federal Bank. The bank went bust in the early 1890's depression.

1993 - Gordon King dies, but Philip and Robert King both joint manage the Arcade this very day. Both are proud of the family heritage and were inspired by the grandfather Frederick who late in life became a financier to many property developments.

It will soon be 100 years that the Arcade has been owned by the same family, an achievement that will no doubt be celebrated.

 

 

 

 

Frederick King

Frederick Alfred King

 
Car outside Kings Arcade

Frederick Alfred King outside
Kings Arcade

 
Car outside Kings Arcade

Kings Arcade taken from Armadale Train Station.

 
Car outside Kings Arcade

Gordon King

 
Philip and Robert King

Philip and Robert King