I have three stories of Punt Road – a road I am very fond of as it served me well for many years when the traffic wasn't like it is today.
Story 1: In the early 1970s, sick of being a secretary, and before becoming a uni student as part of Whitlam's groundbreaking tertiary education for working class women, I got a job driving a one tonne 'truck' delivering yoghurt and cottage cheese all over Melbourne to delis and supermarkets (ethical goods I thought, strange most people thought). The male truck drivers in the delivery bays of the supermarkets used to comment on me as there were no women drivers of 'trucks' at that time. I was about 24-years-old, with attitude.
One morning on busy Punt Road, the bleeding truck started to smell of smoke and the engine appeared to be between me and the passenger seat. Worried that the truck was about to go up in smoke, I underloaded all the yoghurt onto the footpath near the Yarra River (why didn't I just leave it and get out?). I only lasted about three weeks in the job – I never stopped running/driving all day!!! My fond ideas of eating yoghurt under a tree somewhere at lunch never happened.
Story 2: In the 1970s I used to love doing U-turns on Punt Road, memorably at the Clifton Hill end, at any time. People always let me in and it was always quite easy!
Story 3: Living in St Kilda c2003, after 13 years in Hobart, and deciding to drive to Clifton Hill at about 6pm. Gridlocked and shocked I diverged about three times to wait for the traffic to clear. I visited a friend in Richmond, came back to Punt Rd, still gridlocked. Went to the pub in Carlton, came back, same thing. Unbelievable after Hobart especially.