This majestic building that was located on the corner of Main Street and Victoria Place, was constructed in 1858 by John Allingham to house his drapery business.
John Allingham was born in Beleek, Ireland in 1829 and arrived at the goldfields of Ballarat in 1857.
On the goldfields of Ballarat, he commenced a business as a boot merchant before transferring his business to Commercial Street, Pleasant Creek near Deep Lead.
From Commercial Street he again relocated to his new and modern premises of large proportions and at the time of its completion the new store was one of the most extensive of its kind in the district.
John Allingham married Mary J. Shields who was a native of Armagh, Ireland and she came to Victoria in 1871.
In 1883, John had to retire as he had become very ill, leaving the management of the business to his wife Mary. John died on December 15, 1887, and is buried in the Stawell cemetery.
Mary then took over the business completely. In the years 1868 and 1869 John Allingham was also the licensee of the neighbouring Albion Hotel.
Mary Allingham carried on with the business until August 1894 when she sold the business to the Hodder Brothers. She subsequently retired, passing away on December 27, 1932, and is also buried in the Stawell Cemetery.
The Hodder Brothers successfully carried on with the drapery business until the middle of 1937 when they were advertising a huge 'Retiring from Business Sale'.
When the Hodder Brothers retired from the business there were many smaller businesses that leased the building at the same time.
These included; Miss Hawes a dressmaker, Mr McIntosh's Private Rooms, Mrs Zanker's Private Rooms, Mr Grano's Office, Miss Ross a dressmaker, Mr Maddeford a Pastry cook, Mr Floyd a gunsmith and a Mr Harris a plumber.
These businesses continued trading after the closure of the Hodder Brothers business until May 29, 1939, when the majestic two storey building burnt to the ground.
The building was described in The Stawell News on Wednesday, May 31, 1939, as "the most commodious and the most imposing business in Stawell.".
The building was completely gutted and all that remained were the outer brick walls. Damage was estimated at £10,000.
The vacant land was sold to Moran and Cato in August 1939 and they planned to build a grocery store on the site; however, it was never built as Mr Cato, who was born in Stawell and who Cato Park is named after, realised there were many small businesses in Stawell that would be affected by a large chain-store grocery outlet.
In May 1955, after 16 years of inactivity on the site, Stawell Timber Industries established their retail showroom on the site, selling items such as building material, slow combustion stoves, refrigerators, washing machines and crockery.
Cliff Earle Electrical and Bob Heslop Electrics also traded out of the premises for some years and more recently the ANZ Bank closed their Stawell Branch at the site.