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Felton Story

Felton Story

7:00pm, Mon 16 September, 2019

Event Details

A treat for culture lovers, history buffs and those who like a good yarn, this storytelling experience illuminates the little known life of former Hotel Esplanade resident Alfred Felton, Australia’s largest philanthropist to the arts.

Besides being a name cited in the gallery text sitting alongside a few thousand works at the Melbourne’s NGV, few people know much at all about Alfred Felton. Let’s begin here… born is the 1831 Alfred Felton was a successful businessman and avid art collector who came to Melbourne in the gold rush era. An eccentric character who lived modestly then upon his death bequeathed just enough money to be the making of the NGV as a gallery on the world stage. Not to mention donating the other half of his fortune to charities supporting women and children. Felton’s life and the impact of his bequests is nothing short of fascinating. 

Felton resided at the Hotel Esplanade for the last twenty years of his life. His business partner Russell Grimwade described his two modest rooms as, “Bookshelves all round, crammed in places with orderly series of volumes; crammed elsewhere with disorderly heaps of books, papers, and serials. Above, pictures, clocks, ornaments and rubbish; above that, on the walls, the earlier pictures, properly hung. In front, the later pictures, leaning against the books, or a pedestal carrying a marble statue. Perhaps an ormolu timepiece with its glass dome, and the auction room number still on it.” 

Melbourne publican Matt Mullins is an art and history lover. Like many publicans he tells a great tale and loves a few laughs. Ever since discovering Alfred Felton was a former resident at the Hotel Esplanade, Matt has dug deep into every detail of this fascinating man’s little known story. His passion is perhaps best demonstrated by the obsessive number of sticky-notes hanging from the pages of Mr Felton’s Bequests, a biography by John Poynter that has been a permanent fixture under Matt's arm for many months.

DATES: Select Mondays 

DURATION: 60 mins


All U18's MUST be accompanied by a legal parent or guardian at all times

**Please arrive 5-10 minutes before the start of your tour. Unfortunately latecomers may not be able to join until a suitable point in the journey.**

We acknowledge the lands on which we present this work are the lands of the Yaluk-ut Weelam people of the Kulin Nations. We pay our respects to their elders, past, present and future. 

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