Team Punt Road Project took a stroll on and around Punt Road this morning, to get the creative juices flowing. And look what we happened to stumble across – a Melbourne Demons training session. One member of our team, a rabid Demon's fan, was particularly delighted.
Also it was a stunning Autumn day so that made us happy too.
The first road trip Jo's twin girls ever made was along Punt Road in peak hour. As the happy family drove from the hospital in East Melbourne to their home in St Kilda – they ran out of petrol. ARGH! They managed to pull off onto a side street off Punt Hill and park outside the home of a very generous Greek family. The family invited them inside and cared for them until the car was refilled – another example of the kindness of strangers on Punt Road!
The day Tess moved into her new apartment on Punt Road Hill it rained buckets. The removalists didn't show until 8.00pm and, when they did, their truck was too big to squeeze down the laneway to her underground access. They had to park on the street and cart her belongings through the pouring rain.
Tess wrapped her mannequin in a sheet to protect it and heaved it up Punt Road. All of a sudden she heard a huge BANG then a CRASH, followed by a SMASH. Three cars travelling down the hill in a row had rear-ended each other – distracted by Tess and her 'dead body'. She felt pretty bad about that.
Kathy and Xenophon had a squillion wonderful stories to share with us about growing up on and around Punt Road.
Kathy grew up at the Hoddle Street, Clifton Hill, end and remembers her grandfather walking up and down Hoddle with a small fruit and veg cart, selling his wares.
Xenophon grew up near Fawkner Park in South Yarra, when that was still a working class area, with large families of newly arrived Greek migrants squeezing into a single room in a sharehouse. He remembers rowdy games of Aussie Rules at the MCG followed by scary trips home on a bus packed with drunk punters.
He remembers catching that same bus in the opposite direction to Elwood Beach. His neighbours, all Greek migrants, would travel en masse, carrying food and drinks for a whole day at the beach. They were excited, loud, boisterous. He remembers the Anglo passengers grunting and sneering at them, offended by their 'foreign ways'.
And it begins! Whiteboards, laptops, books about traffic, coffee cups, stories, ideas! So many stories, so many ideas – now we just need to turn it into something...
Recently, we were lucky enough to chat with Mandy, whose childhood bedroom had a large casement window that looked right out onto Punt Road. Her bed was alongside the window and she could see the lights from Punt Road shining through the cracks in the corners of the ceiling.
She remembers lying in bed and being able to tell the time of the night by the sound of the traffic. Between 1am and 4am there was an eerie quiet while everyone slept, then the traffic would start up again and she would know from the noise that morning was coming. She remembers the morning traffic sounding more purposeful and less chaotic than the night traffic.
Can you imagine a worse scenario than being stuck in Punt Road peak hour traffic while on the way to the hospital to give birth?! That was the fate that befell Maree's poor parents in the late 1950s. Her dad had to pull over and help her mum give birth by the side of the road – right outside the main gate of the old Richmond football ground.
When her dad finally got mum and baby safely to the hospital, he leapt out to call for help and was told to go away and stop making up stories. Fortunately the Mother Superior came to check and found a rather blue baby in the car.
It's no wonder that, to this day, Maree is an avid Tigers supporter.
Anna's appearance last night on 3AW with Bruce and Simon was lots of fun and sparked some great calls. A highlight was Sister Maureen from the Good Shepherd whose parents built the Victoria Hotel in 1858.
And thanks to the RACV for featuring the Punt Road Project today in its online magazine.