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C.H. James Story

CH James cafe is a thriving cafe honoured to be operating in the northern suburbs and community of Fairfield since 2014. The cafe is popular for its standout food, beverages and coffee and it's pop up events. CH James is also known for its stunning outdoor courtyard with it's own garden and an art mural on the wall. Functions are a specialty and Valensia is an attractive purpose designed function space including upstairs, with packages available for your function.


Charles Henry James was a businessman extraordinaire in the 1870s and 1880s, and hugely influential in forming the unique community dynamic of the north we love today. Dreamer, innovator and fiercely local, CH James was an influencer who was keen to “have a go”, connect with his community and he conducted his business with distinctive flair. CH James became a model and mentor to young businessmen of the era.

CH James represented the interests of the northern community in the Legislative Council and was a champion of Fairfield, Alphington and Thornbury as well as suburbs such as Essendon, Brunswick and Flemington. CH James was also a man of style and could be spotted handsomely gowned in his silk brocade with heliotrope ribbon and fine diamonds with spangled sleeves. Hipster and fashionable. CH James and his wife Harriette were keen supporters of local charities, community projects and help to the underprivileged.

Station Street has its own place in Melbourne history. With diversity and an eclectic vibe, Station Street is quintessentially Melbourne. CH James spent much of his time on Station St Fairfield and in 1884 established a horse tramway, which ran the length of Station Street. We think this is very Melbourne.

We are proud to open CH James café and are inspired by the story of CH James.  He had a vision of the “opportunity” of the north that we see some 150 years later. Some of us live in streets with names linked to CH James. Legend also has it the laneway culture of Melbourne was also formed by the legacy of CH James who developed the laneway next to his large French inspired residence.

At the height of his fortunes in the 1880s CH James was considered to be a millionaire and riding high.  He and his wife Harriette entertained Melbourne socialites with lavish balls featuring dancing into the early hours, decorating their residence with “fine palms, exotics and blossoms.” Can we add interior designer to the list? Towards the end of his life CH James had his ups and downs (hit by the Depression) but his legacy in the history of Fairfield and the northern suburbs of Melbourne is entrenched.

CH James is a "trio of festive spaces" and nod to the entrepreneurship of CH James and his sense of adventure, innovation and love of the northern suburbs. CH James is a place to relax and imbibe, with casual dining and rewarding menu choices using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Not to mention personable service and fine coffee. A garden courtyard adds to the ambience. We think CH James with wife Harriette, five daughters and their son, would imbibe the community vibe and coffee culture at CH James in Fairfield.

Fine foodDemoGood living
    • Location

      86 Station St 
      Fairfield, Victoria


      Mon – Fri:

      7AM – 4.30PM 

      Sat - Sun:

      8AM - 4PM


      P 9486 3484