A chocolate palace of the jazz era –217 Geelong Road, Kingsville


    In that weird area where the borders of Kingsville, Seddon, West Footscray and Footscray blur, there lurked a den of decadence, a confectioner’s shop with ‘NESTLÉ MILK CHOCOLATE’ emblazoned across its facade, luring children to its doors like moths to a flame. A century ago, this was where William Stewart, the chocolate czar of Geelong Road, conducted his sweet, sweet business.

    Constructed in the jazz-soaked year of 1924, this building was the epicentre of a business built on cocoa and sugar highs. William, who had this garden of chocolatey delights constructed, conducted his sweet symphony here until around 1945. Then the joint was run by a series of Stewart offspring and extended family.

    William, our confectionery kingpin, reportedly stuck around till ’55, before presumably ascending to the great chocolate factory in the sky.

    The Stewart dynasty clung to this cocoa castle until 2007, when they finally cashed in their chocolate chips. Fast forward to 2022, amid the global pandemic pandemonium, this former temple of temptation got a facelift and flipped for just shy of a mil, a sweet deal at the end of this sugary saga. 

    A column by Sean Reynolds. If you’d like to read more stories about Melbourne’s past, follow me on Instagram @melbourne_ghostsigns.

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