familyhistory

Bakehouse Studios – Stories from Helen and Quincy

music

Helen: Bakehouse has only ever had three owners. The stable part of the building was built in the late 1800s by the Walters family, and they were carriers who came from NSW. Olden days furniture removalists, with their horse and cart, etc. It was a fairly large stable and it had a mezzanine on top where you’d drop the hay down to feed the horses. I’ve even got distant memories of coming here in the early ‘80s and there still being hay down on the ground. That old bluestone on the ground there. Then Mr Walter built the house for his family in about 1910, from what I know. It’s a 4-bedroom house. Then there’s been a series of extensions. So in about, early 1950s, it was then sold to the Shirr family…

So going back to the Walters, the daughter or the wife was one of the Coppin girls, so they're steeped in Richmond history. Originally our old next door neighbours, when we first came here, there were a number of little houses down the street. So this was probably one of the largest houses, and then small single storey, free-standing cottages. Built around the turn of the century, when the house was built here. In the '50s the Shirr family took over and they had storage and they were rag-traders, as far as I know. And the factory may have been built at the back just before that. The top floor had all their stuff, and they used this as their factory manufacturing clothing and textiles.

And then, over that period, when the father died – they were a Jewish migrant family – the ground floor became a squat at some time. It was in about 1984 or ’85 that Stable Sound Studios took over and it was a guy called Manny, that we knew, and his partner. They were hospitality people and they ran audio schools back in the ‘80s. They set up rehearsal rooms here. It was pretty well decked out for that. The fact that you had a large stable room at the front that was a makeshift studio and then a number of small rooms through the place. When we first came here there was a double window and you had that recording studio happening downstairs.

Upstairs, the matriarch of the Shirr family had stored a lot of her husband’s possessions and so much old fabrics and teatowels and blankets packaged in cellaphone. About six or seven years ago it was taken over by the Win family. You’ve got the story of Australian immigration in a way: the old English family selling to the Jewish immigrants onto the Vietnamese family. So they’re a consortium and they own a number of warehouses and properties all around. Apparently they started with one very small one in Victoria St and now they own about 40 factories throughout Victoria.

When they took over, we inherited all the stuff upstairs as the existing tenants, and we’ve used a lot of that stuff throughout the building. So old radiograms, there were prints from the 1800s, etchings from Moonee Valley Racecourse. There were boxes of Navy issue, 1950s button-up white shorts, that we’ve used in an art installation. Reams and reams of fabric. And a lot of it was water damaged and they’d been pigeons through the building so we’ve had to become really creative on how we can use all of that.

We’ve been very careful to maintain all of that. So when it comes to the early historical fixtures and fittings we’ve kept them. And primarily because we’re an arts business. It suited us to maintain to integrity and the character of the building. But also have it on display because it’s part of the heritage. I suspect that if this little building here had been knocked down – like nearly every single building in this stretch – and turned into office blocks in the ‘80s…

So we’re zoned industrial/commercial on this part of Hoddle St. Over the years we’ve seen this rise in offices. But we’ve been fortunate in a sense that there’s often a very low occupancy for tenants in those places, because there’s such a glut of office space. And there’s a real scramble to get apartments built. But given our zoning, we’re lucky that… it’s unlikely that this part of Hoddle St will be a residential area, in the near future. But we are surrounded by a lot of mixed-use dwellings. And you would’ve probably spoken to people and seen that there are residents starting to move in that weren’t there previously, apart from the old houses that’ve been there for a long time. 

So interesting with the three families. People drive by and they don’t really know what’s in here but because we’ve operated at music studios for so many years, if you’ve been in a band or played any sort of music, and you’ve lived in Melbourne or parts of Australia, at some time or another you would’ve come through Bakehouse for some kind of project.

The Bakehouse name came from our first studio in Bakehouse Lane, which is the old York St Studios. One of the oldest existing recording studios in Australia. 

The first studio was Stable Sound Studios in the ‘80s. And then it was bought by a guy called Mark who turned it into Thunderfield Studios. We came through about 17 years ago.

Back in the ‘80s, Quincy had a really popular band called Blue Ruin and did a lot of touring.

The great thing about Bakehouse for bands is it’s such a central location. And it’s serviced by the two freeways, and Hoddle St, and public transport. So if you’ve got a member in St Kilda and a member in Brunswick…

Good ol’ Dr Kate Shaw who’s mapped all these cultural clusters over the last twenty years or so, has shown that there’s still a real proliferation of cultural clusters, in the inner city. And there’s two little projections going north: Sydney Rd and High St. But there’s still a diverse amount of artists and makers and live music venues around the Collingwood, Fitzroy, Richmond area. There’s a lot of reasons for this. There’s a mixture with the cost of property – where there’s cheap rent, you’ll still artists around.

It’s changing pretty quickly. There's a real build up of developments around us. On Hoddle St all the cottages have gone, in the years we’ve been here. And a lot of the industrial factories. A good example, when we first moved to this area, and part of the reason Stable Sound found this building was the Richmond Tavern was opposite. And then it was the Sydenham Hotel. And it was a predominant live music venue.

Quincy: This building was a squat before it was taken over by Stable Sound. And next door was a derelict building that one of the staff of the previous owners ended up living in. And paid them $11 a week rent.

Helen: And he used to come here and have his showers!

Quincy: We inherited him with the business.

Helen: The rail line, often you’ll find arts and cultural businesses, particularly places like this that make a lot of noise. Because, apart from being an industrial/commercial area, being nestled in between Hoddle St, the rail line, the tram lines, cheaper industrial spaces, the commission flats at the end…

Quincy: We and the other practitioners of culture basically saw this as perfect for us because it was not desirable by the general public. But of course with gentrification…

Helen: There were no residents for years and years and years and they’ve just started springing up. I think the Sydenham came first, then Stable Sound, then Billy Hyde set up their hire space just opposite here on Little Hoddle St. And then Audrey’s recording studios backing onto Little Hoddle. Then Midian Studios moved down to just off York St, rehearsal studios. Frank has his mastering and audio studio where he recorded Gotye’s Somebody That I Used to Know at that studio, which is a few doors down. The biggest selling single ever to come out of Australia was recorded just here.

Quincy: They did a lot of their pre-production here. He and Kimbra in that year were doing a lot of rehearsals here. For international touring bands, Lonsdale St becomes Albert St becomes Elizabeth St, so it’s a direct run from the hotels in the middle of the city to drive to Bakehouse in their vans, their convoy of tour buses. 

Helen: The back entrance is the entrance that musicians know. The front sign is something that the general public have this vague idea of what goes on in there.

Quincy: The misinterpretations are pretty varied as well. A lot of people assume it’s an old bakery, but this building was never a bakery. James Black from Rockwiz said he’d pointed out the sign to his daughter and said that’s where he was working. And she said, 'There? In the crematorium?' She thought the microphone on the sign was a coffin. She thought it was where they baked…

Interviewer: Tell me about the sign.

Quincy: We had the logo done by an old friend of ours, Nick McGee. He took it from a cross of American deco graphics and a little bit of the Communist propaganda. A band that rehearsed here had a bunch of signwriters who offered to make us a sign. And we had a vision of a rusty metal thing. So they got up there and did it from up the top. The sign is nothing to do with this building historically, it’s to do with our business.

We definitely wanted to keep it in the feel of the building and deliberately setting it in the arch. With a lot of what we’ve done here, we wanted it to look like, that’s how it always was. We wanted to maintain the feel. It’s such a beautiful… It’s easy to get rid of it, it’s impossible to reinstate it.

Helen: The one thing with Hoddle St, you’ll find, and Punt Rd, you’re just swamped with advertising. People are pushing products and, if it’d been anyone else, except for Quincy and I, they’d probably would’ve had a blaring big sign advertising Studio Rooms. And in your face advertising. We’ve done things subtlely. Particularly now that we get all those big name artists through, it’s important that we respect their privacy as well. Over the years, there’s been a lot more interest in the building since Paul Kelly let the cat out of the bag and filmed his documentary upstairs: 'This is where I’ve been doing my rehearsals for the past 20 years, in this space.' And then there was all this interest from the general public. Nick Cave, when he came here with the Bad Seeds and Grinderman, and many of his projects, he’s had photographers through and had whole series of photos taken here on his website. You can imagine how intense his fans are and they want to see where Nick Cave rehearses. 

Quincy: We don’t tend to have people wanting to sneak in. Fortunately it’s tucked away enough and it’s still private enough that that’s never been an issue.

Helen: But then you get this legendary thing happening. Nick has this thing – he loves to sit in the courtyard, dressed in his suit and jewels and unbuttoned shirt and cufflinks and just watch the young bands come out of the room and, losing their shit, going absolutely white when they see him. And he says, 'Look at the youth of today, aren’t they fabulous?'

Quincy: We got our only real neighbour complaints when Tool rehearsed here for two hours, because they were so monstrously loud. 

Helen: Because it’s such an old building and they were such a loud monstrous band, there was a layer of dust left in the room upstairs. 

Quincy: They shook the dust out of the ceiling. It’s 100+ years old with cracks between the boards and it just rained dirt.

Interviewer: The sense of community here amongst artists is a clear thing...

Quincy: There’s a lot of bands who have been rehearsing then they have their breaks in the courtyard and they’ve met other members in the courtyard and start a new side project.

Helen: So there’s been bands formed, relationships formed, and lost, tours booked. We’ve had every major promoter, tour booker, curator come through and look at various acts. Having that central gorgeous garden and this is just a big communal kitchen, that’s the interesting thing. Just a couple of weeks ago we had all these Blues guys here, mixed in with hip young things, metal guys, making a cup of tea together. And the Hotham St Ladies were doing an artwork down on Little Hoddle St, and all these touring New Yorkers were taking photos and Instagramming it. Our own little guerilla feminist Banksys. There’s always this incredible activity, a fabulous communal feeling here.

We’re proud to say that Bakehouse has played such a major role in the last few years. Protecting the sector all around the country. And it has stemmed from the history, of all the artists who’ve come through here. Elvis Costello came here and said they’re some of the best rooms he’s ever been to in the world. People like Olivia Newton-John, Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics when he toured and spent a week upstairs.

Everybody from Australia from Ross Wilson to Noiseworks to Tina Arena to Hunters and Collectors. Of course Nick Cave. And the Cat Empire. The list goes on and on and on. Archie Roach and the Black Arm Band. John Butler. Gotye and Kimbra. Cut Copy. The Avalanches. Jet, Dan Sultan, Megan Washington. 

Interviewer: Tell me a bit about the practicalities of running a business on Hoddle Street.

Helen: Often Hoddle St has been described as the lung of Melbourne. The pollution, the dust, the dirt. Our garden is an oasis of carbon-sucking plants. We need a lot of plants around. We have to clean windows a lot. The black grease that comes off. A lot of double-glazing, good insulation, ventilation. Over the years the black dust has decreased. I’d say since unleaded, with less super and diesel. There are not as many trucks down Hoddle St these days. The other challenge is traffic noise, if you’re doing sensitive recording, you have to shield against that. But it’s not as bad as trams. Trams and trains. We’re far enough away from the train tracks. They give you this bottom end rumble. But you can soundproof against the cars. 

We’re very aware that everything is going to be turned into residential around us. Their expectations are different to businesses. Businesses understand there’s a certain amount of commercial noise. They know we’ve been here for 30 years operating as a studio. They tolerate it. Residents come in expecting a good night’s sleep, which they should get, but our understanding of a mixed use zone versus a quiet, leafy residential neighbourhood zone should be different. The law will reflect this very soon, in the coming weeks, as a result of SLAM.

One challenge that we’re facing now is that we’ve got two major developments within 50 metres of us. Residential. They’ll be zoned mixed use and they’ll have some retail at the ground floor. There is nothing above three storeys in this area. One of them will be eight storeys high, the old Richmond Tavern, with 56 apartments. So parking will become an issue. We just have to diversify. We deal with the developers at ground level. We’ve been given the tools to do this with our work with SLAM.

We’ve identified how we can survive. Because the building is under review for heritage listing, and we don’t want to move out to the ‘burbs. We’re collaborating with visual artists by bringing them in and presenting public art out the front and in the rooms. We’re probably going down the European model where, if you go to a rehearsal room in Europe, the back-line is in every room. The drums, the amps, everything’s ready to go. So all you need to bring is your guitar, your pedals, your snare, your sticks, whatever.

Traditionally, in Australia, musicians cart their own gear because they’re very particular about their sounds but inner city living will dictate a little about how we run our business. Also to allow people to come by public transport, as the parking will reduce in the area.

Ultimately we’d like musicians to be able to come here on public transport and not need their vans. Australians are so tied to their cars, we’d prefer not to see four vans coming. Hopefully we can see more of that in the future and create an environment where that will work.

We’ve got a 15-year lease, the idea is that we stay. The heritage overlay is great for us because it means it won’t be turned into an office block. Hopefully we’ll be here for a long time.

A cul de sac when the lights are red - Philippe's Story

southyarra

My family have been in South Yarra since 1860. And here we are in 2014. Continuous occupation. All my working life I’ve been here. We came back to Australian in 1954, when I was five. My father was an Australian in the British Army. And we were stationed in Malaya and Singapore, and then came back to our family home that’s been in the family since 1880, where my dear old mum still lives, on the home straight to 90. Fighting fit, so I think she’ll be there for a long time to come. So Punt Rd has been a big part of my life.

Early memories of it were: we used to play on the banks of the Yarra. That was our total playground. And we’d range up and down, we’d frighten the old homeless men who used to camp out near the Anderson St Bridge. We were the cowboys, they were the Indians. So we would stalk them and creep through the bushes until they saw us. Then we’d scream off on our bikes and find someone else to annoy.

We used to ride to the old Olympic Pool, which is long gone now. That was before the new Olympic Pool built for the 1956 Olympics came in. But all that area was our playground. One of our great desires, as little boys, was to be able to ride our bikes non-stop from Alexander Ave to Domain Road.  That was a sign of manhood, if you could do that. Up the hill. But in that era, there were no gears, so you were standing on the pedals to get them to go. So it really was a big effort.

I made it up eventually but there were a lot of dry runs. If our parents knew... but traffic was nothing like now. My old pal Mike, he and I say so many times that you could walk across Punt Rd with your eyes shut and you weren’t in any danger. There was just the odd car that came up and down. You would never see 10 cars at once on the hill, or anything like that. It really is very different. 

But that whole run of Punt Rd was great. If you go over the hill, over Domain Rd, and down on the left, Shipley St was on the left, and the Stockdale Bakery was there. And that was an old-fashioned bakery, the horse and carts used to come around South Yarra with Stockdale’s Bakery on it, I’ve got images of that. We’d go and buy our bread. We’d also call in there after school and they’d give us a roll or something like that. Or if our parents sent us round to buy it, we’d develop the technique of making a hole in the corner of the bread, and then you’d peel out all the bread, and my mother would then put the knife on to cut it and it would go crunch because there was no substance inside.

And then when we were late teens, if we were coming home from a party or a ball, we would call into Stockdale’s – because that’s when they were baking – and the smell of it was magnificent, and we’d buy some fresh bread to take home for breakfast. That was lovely. That was pulled down late ‘60s, 1970s, something like that. And it’s now a group of townhouses.

Many of the huge old mansions were still there when I was a little boy. A lot of those have now been demolished and there are blocks of flats in their place. But those mansions weren’t being used as mansions – they were divided into flats or they were boarding houses. In the old days, there weren’t as many blocks of flats around so people lived in the old mansions – usually a widow would run it. That was quite a respectable way to live. With a communal bathroom and kitchen.

There were rooming houses and there were boarding houses. Rooming houses were the lesser, and they normally had returned men from the war in gaberdine coats and hats, and carrying a gladstone bag, usually with about 4-5 bottles of beer to see them through the night. You’d hear them going past going clunk clunk clunk with the bottles. Whereas a boarding house was more upmarket, and that meant that you were fed. You would sit at a communal table for breakfast and dinner. And those places flied or died on their tables. So if Mrs Bloggs was known as a good cook, she had good customers. So that was the way a lot of it was done.

There used to be a pub on the corner of Shipley St and Punt Rd, way before my time. I think it was the Clarendon Hotel. I’ve got a photo of it but later on it became the outlet for the bakery. There are fabulous buildings such as Airlie, the police academy, I’ve got extensive history on that. And directly opposite was the German Embassy, which was recently sold, and there’s a tunnel, which I’ve seen, which stretches under Punt Rd and, reputedly during the war, Airlie was taken over by the military and they would go through to the German Embassy, I suppose to negotiate peace or something. I’ve seen it, I’ve got a photo of it, I think. The police have been there for many years. That was a big fancy mansion.

Opposite is Pulman House on the south-west corner. And that was a Church of England home for elderly women. And that was sold off in the late ‘70s and renovated into a private house. Originally the Pulman family, who were very wealthy early Melbourne people, they owned it. 

I went to a school called Yarra Bank, which is now defunct. I went there between 1954 and 1956. And it was a ‘dame school’. A dame school is where unmarried daughters would earn their living by running schools for young people. Some developed into senior schools but most were prep or junior schools. Only a small number of students. That ran, I think my sister, who’s two years younger than me, I think she was about the end of it. I’m 65 in August, so I left at the end of ’55. I was there two years. I think my sister was there another two years. Miss Mary and Miss Quinlan ran that. That was in Major Davidson’s old house dating back to the 1840s, now demolished, now a scungey block of flats. But I’ve got a lot of history on that. I used to walk there from my parents’ house on Murphy St, with my mum, not by myself, I was only a little tacker. And walk down to Davidson St. I always remember we had afternoon sleeps. And here I am at nearly 65, on a Monday, what do I do? I fall asleep on the couch. So the wheel turns.

There was a racecourse at the bottom of Darling St. On what the council insist on calling Darling Gardens. It’s official name was always Polly’s Park. Polly was a dog. It was Mrs Goolay’s dog. And all the locals called it Polly’s Park. The racecourse was there in the 1800s. It was wasteland, thistles, all sorts of stuff. Sidney Myer created Como Park and created Alexander Ave, and he did that in the 1929 Depression to create employment. He financed all of that. When Alexander Ave came through, two developers – Reg Biffen and Howard Lawson – bought all the land from the railway bridge down near Darling St up to Punt Rd. They basically developed all the flats, all the Beverly Hills. I can talk to you for hours about those two. Amazing guys. And they were very young when they did it.

Most of the building materials came from demolished commercial buildings and mansions. Lawson was the world champion bricklayer in 1911. That was laying bricks for the Britania or Britanica Hotel. They fell foul of the labour laws of the time. As a result, Lawson went to jail. His family were horrified and they won’t talk about him. The daughter lives at Tweed Heads, I’ve known her for 40 years, and she won’t talk. I was told they burnt everything. All the records. Because of the shame.

And there were vineyards on both sides of Punt Rd. Ogilvie had the vineyard on the western side, and that ran from Domain Rd down to Alexander Ave. Colonel Davidson had the vineyard on the eastern side. The eastern side was okay; the western side the grapes were not much good.

I’ve got a lot of great history on the houses around there. Sadly a few of them are gone. I’ve got a photo of the punt, of the pedestrian zigzag bridge that came next, and of the new bridge, which I think was 1939. 

Of course the other great feature there is the magnificent golden elm tree. On the corner of Alexander. But that’s only been there since the war. It’s probably 70-years-old. 

There were the Pleasure Gardens in Cremorne and there were some others further up, to the upstream side of the Chapel Bridge. That’s wrong – where they were is now a park in Richmond, behind the wall of the freeway, and the old bluestone quarry is there. That’s where the first hot air balloon went up.

There was a famous murder, down past Wesley, between High St and the Junction. I don’t think he was a gangster but he was shot on a vacant block and he lived in Walsh St. And about 25-years-ago there was a neo-Nazi bloke shot with double-barreled shotgun, just behind a house on Punt Rd, which became a massage parlour. 

My brother-in-law is John Wren's grandson. They’re all entrenched Collingwood supporters. He’s a QC so about as far from a criminal as you can get. He’s very nervous about his grandfather but I keep saying, 'In the modern world he’d be a successful businessman.' It was only in that time.

There used to be a fake Elizabethan Hotel, on the Yarra, by Punt Rd bridge in Richmond. It was demolished when that slipway to the freeway came through. There was a famous murder of a sailor there. It would’ve been in the ‘50s. You’d need to look at Truth or something. When I was a kid we were always told never go near that place because of the crowd. The rough crowd that were there.

I work in real estate and, on a Saturday, we’ve got to get from A to B very quickly. And you would never in your wildest use Punt Rd. After a while you get to know all the shortcuts. Punt Rd is never a shortcut. As for a strategy: only avoidance. There’s nothing else. I always laugh, whenever we’re selling a property on Punt Rd, and people complain that it’s noisy, I always say, 'No no no, it’s a cul de sac when the lights are red.' 

Between High St and the Junction, there used to be the Taiping Chinese Restaurant. My grandparents would never let me go there – they said they used to kill cats. Not real of course – that was the story. So all my life I could never walk into that restaurant. A couple of times when I was in my 20s or 30s people would say, 'We’re going to the Taiping for dinner', and I’d say, 'No, thanks, can’t do that.' It’s not a Chinese restaurant anymore.

I went to Christchurch, the school up here on the corner of Toorak Road. I was there from ’56 till the end of ’60. The traffic wasn’t an issue. My grandparents wouldn’t let me walk on the south side of Toorak Road, because that’s where all the bad people lived. Toorak Rd was very much northside, southside. They weren’t bad, they were mainly Greek immigrants. And my grandmother was French so why she had that set, who knows? But as a kid all those Fawkner and Argo Streets were great, but in earlier times streets like Argo St were quite dangerous. They had all the sly grogs, the SP bookies, there were murders. It was all in that Argo Hotel, that later on became very civilised but used to be a real bloodhouse. 

The bookies in the laneways always had a cockatoo, a man who was on watch. So if the police came anywhere near he’d give a shrill whistle and they’d all bolt. I’d never heard the term until 20 years ago. We sold a property on Oxford St in South Yarra down by Chapel St, and there was an SP bookie that used to work the lane there. And dear old Sol was filling me in on that. 

Very different now. I used to get a shilling for a hessian bag of horse manure. Sixpence a bag for oak leaves, when I was a kid. So every time the horse and cart went past – because you’ve got your ice, meat, fruit, bread, milk – all delivered by horse. This was in the ‘50s, early ‘60s. You’d go scurrying out and chase with the old pan you clean the hearth with, and you’d have the broom and the thing, and your mother would go nuts, sweeping up horse poo with her indoor brush. 

I'd sell the manure to Mrs Goolay who lived on the corner. For her garden. My other claim to fame with her, she lived at 67 Murphy St, she had a kitchen with slate paving, in the early ‘60s. One day I walked into the kitchen with her son Russ and she said, 'I’m so proud, I’ve bought these unbreakable glasses. Would you like to have a drink in the unbreakable glasses?' I held up the glass and dropped it. Of course it hit the slate and shattered into a million pieces. She went nuts. And I said, 'Mrs Goolay, you told me it was an unbreakable glass.' She said, 'Not on bloody slate!'

Image credits:
Courtesy of the State Library Victoria: www.slv.vic.gov.au
Photograph of the punt on the Yarra River, Melbourne.
Date(s): 1872.
Copyright status: This work is out of copyright.

Fish out of water, prize winning cakes and the dangerous 'DANGER' sign - Valerie's Story

Photo by Bonney Studios, courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, www.slv.vic.gov.au

Photo by Bonney Studios, courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, www.slv.vic.gov.au

When we first came to Australia in 1954 my father came on ahead (all this was by sea of course) to find us a house. he had been appointed to a job at a school in South Yarra. My mother said just make sure the house is on a bus route for the girls to get to a school. We were then aged 3 and 6. We had grown up first in Cambridge, then in Winchester, both famous old English cities. I had gone to a very ‘precious’ little school and had such an exaggerated ‘plum in the mouth’ English accent that even my parents’ were a bit embarrassed about it! 

Dad found a house on the corner of Punt Rd and Greville St, Prahran. He didn’t know it was a pretty rough area in those days. Quite a contrast to where we had come from. It turned out that there was a brothel-cum-sly-grog-shop right next door to us on Punt Rd. There was a little park behind where my sister and I were allowed to play but most of the other kids’ fathers were in gaol! They used to play with pen-knives, they got belted with straps and hairbrushes. It was a world away from our genteel experiences. But we had a lot of fun, albeit worrying for my mother. When Dad was away, as he often was, we would sometimes wake to find sleeping drunks on our front lawn or a brick through the window when someone unhappy at his treatment at the brothel next door had hurled a rock in anger. 

There were other softer aspects though. Two doors down in Punt Rd lived the Pepperells, mother and daughter (both seemed old to me then), who were prize cake exhibitors at the Royal Melbourne Shows. They were so kind and generous to us. And their cakes, slices and cake decorations were fabulous. Across the road down Mowbray St was the Blind Institute so there were often low vision people making their way with white sticks from Prahran Station down Greville St to cross Punt Rd at that very dangerous spot. Wesley College was also located at that intersection so school kids had to cross as well. My mother used to write letters to the Council about its dangers. It did have a red illuminated sign saying ‘DANGER’  suspended across the intersection which ironically fell down one night! But eventually Mum succeeded in getting the Council to instal lights there – so people should be grateful to her. Sadly she died last week. As a former writer she would have relished the opportunity to tell Punt Road stories to you.

We lived in that house for about five years. It has since been pulled down and there is an electricity sub-station there today I think.

Kate's Story

My father (born 1914 or 15) had a story about the punt road hill - when he was a little boy a man was driving a horse drawn vehicle with a heavy load up the hill and mercilessly whipping the horse(s) which was struggling, not coping with the the steepness. My father was dismayed/mortified/deeply embarrassed when his outspoken, horse-loving mother very loudly scolded and abused the man.