Mary Cunningham operated one of two coffee palaces which opened in Plenty Road Preston in 1891.
Coffee palaces were often luxuriously decorated buildings designed to offer a non-alcoholic option to hotels however the public did not embrace coffee, preferring tea and hotels were never seriously challenged by this rival. As a result the palaces didn't last long and by 1893 Mary Cunningham was out of business.
Blainey, Geoffrey (2004). Black kettle and full moon : daily life in vanished Australia. Camberwell: Penguin Books.
Sands and McDougall’s Melbourne and Suburban Directory 1864- 1974. [Microfiche]. (1974). Melbourne, Australia: Sands & McDougall.