All Melbourne Forum events are conducted under the Chatham House Rule – When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule , participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.

The rule is intended to provide anonymity to speakers and to encourage openness and the sharing of information.

Loading Events

« All Events


September 7
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
$27.00 – $29.00


The Espy
11 The Esplanade
St Kilda,
  • This event has passed.

Secrets of the Espy

A Cultural Life Series event

Hosted by:
Sally Arnold

September 7 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

$27.00 – $29.00

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, who lived and died at the ‘Espy’.

Since reopening its doors in 2018, every square centimetre of The Espy is open, including the fifth level which has never before been open to the public.

140 years of stories and secrets are hidden in its walls, from budding romances, to celebrations, break ups and make ups. If the walls could talk, they’d tell some unbelievable tales.

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.

Join us on this private tour by publican and art and history lover, Matt Mullins. 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.

Melbourne Forum – Feeding minds and stimulating valuable contributions to Melbourne life.

Please to purchase tickets