Growing up on Punt Road - Sue's Story


My family and I grew up on Punt Road (between Swan Street and the freeway) and our grandmother lived next door so we have many tales and memories:

* Milk was delivered by horse and cart through the 60s. The horse's name was Jedda and my sister and I used to try to wake up early so we could pat the horse. Mum would make us collect its droppings to use as manure!

* Mum used to send us to the yard to read the Nylex clock and then she'd reset every clock in the house to match (clocks weren't reliable back then).

* Back in those days you could actually cross Punt Road to get to the park with just a little care. Believe it or not we did this as kids, to go catching tadpoles in the Botanical Gardens.

* I remember hearing the roar of the crowd at the MCG on Grand Final day and, from our verandah, being able to see the crowds in the top stands. And of course seeing the fireworks every Moomba celebration.

* As a teenager I used to sell newspapers and lollies during the mad rush of the footy crowds through Richmond Station. How quickly we needed to tally the goods and dish out change before they raced off to catch their trains.

* The intersection of Punt Road and Swan Street used to flood in the 70s every time there was a downpour. Once, the high point of the water was at my mid-thigh level. It was so entertaining to watch passengers disembarking from the city tram (which could go no further), removing their shoes and rolling up their pants to wade to the other side.

* I remember countless car crashes as motorists tried to turn right into the Shell garage. It was tow truck driver heaven.

* My sister and I had a bedroom that looked out onto Punt Road – specifically the big park opposite Shell. The traffic hum (not quite noise) would let you know the time of day – and the weather. A swissshhh sound told you it was raining. Didn't want to get out of bed those days. I remember the headlights of the cars made a travelling ripple pattern at the top of the high walls in the bedroom. How they did remains a mystery to me. 

Image credits:
Courtesy of the State Library Victoria: www.slv.vic.gov.au
Milk cart with horses on country road
Date(s): [ca. 1875-ca. 1938]
Creator: Harvey, John Henry 1855-1938 photographer.
Copyright status: This work is out of copyright

Nigel's Stories


1. My grandmother Millie was the first woman in Australia to own a Rolls Royce. When I was about 8 I was in the back seat of this beautiful car (I'm now 63) and we were going under the railway bridge crossing Punt Rd near Swan St. It was raining heavily and the road was flooded. The traffic had come to a standstill. To see how deep the water was I opened the door and...

2. About 15 years ago my wife drove past the corner of Punt Rd and Domain Rd where a fatal accident occured and the dead motorcyclist's body was still visible. My two children now in thier early 20s, who were in the car, still remember the scene vividly as the first time they had seen a dead body.

3. I am the Medical Director of the Millswyn Clinic at 466 Punt Rd South Yarra. It is housed in a beautiful old terraced mansion built in the 1880s. After it was sold by the original owners around the time of the Second World War it was purchased by the Polish/Jewish refugee welfare league (or similarly named group) and it housed Polish refugees when they first got off the boats from Europe. It was a rabbit warren of rooms and dormitories until it became a medical clinic some 20 years ago.

One of the psychiatrists who worked here with me was one of those refugees. This building was his first home in Australia. He has left the clinic now but still lives and works in a smaller building further down Punt Rd.

I believe Renee Geyer also lived here when she first arrived.

A doctor from Brisbane came to see me at the clinic several years ago. He remembered the place from when he was a boy (and refugee) especially the small lilies which still flower in the garden.

I hate the traffic on Punt Rd but as you can see it does bring back memories.