Dear reader, if you have been one to frequent the Rosstown Hotel, you might have noticed the following picture hanging on the wall. Once it would have been the tallest building in Carnegie … in fact probably the only thing that has come close is Carnegie Central (unless the apartment tower is built on the Glick’s bakery site on Dandenong Road). What is it?
The building was located on the west side of Koornang Road, between Neville and Miller Streets, near Koornang Park. Construction commenced in around 1875, and once completed it was fitted out as works to process sugar beet into glucose. The beet was meant to be grown in Gippsland. The only problem was that around this time the sugar cane industry started in Queensland, and cane was a better source of sugar than beet. The edifice sat idle until the banks foreclosed (the above picture is taken from a prospectus for the company that was going to operate the mill – follow this link to a copy of it at the State Library website), and it was wrecked in 1908 and the area sold off for housing (the large foundations left behind caused some trouble for the house builders). If you happen pass the real estate agent on the corner of Royal Avenue and Glenhuntly Road, near Glenhuntly railway station, there are some photos of the sugar works in the window. You can find out more by googling “Rosstown sugar works”. Otherwise, in the reserve section at the Carnegie library, is a little book on the history of the sugar works and an associated railway, “Return to Rosstown”.