massacre

Red rattlers - Queenie's Story

redrattler

When the Queen came out to visit, I saw her on Hoddle Street, near the Darling Gardens, opposite where Wheel and the Wrecker was. She was in an open car and heading, I think, out to Heidelberg. So many memories of Clifton Hill for me.

The night of the killings, one of the girls that died lived in the street that I lived in. Julian Knight lived on the corner of Branston Street and I think it was Gordon Street – my brother lived in that street. It was all around Clifton Hill, in Rushall Crescent, I think that’s where they found him, through the gardens, round the back of the station. That’s where they got him.

I remember the gates that were in Clifton Hill before they changed the roads. I can remember the POWs coming home in the old red rattlers and they were all so thin. And my girlfriend and I stood at the gates and watched them and they were waving to us. And I thought, 'You’re going out to Heidelberg, whether you’ll come home from there, I don’t know.' But they were just skin and bones. I’ll never forget that.

I used to walk from Dundas Street, right down High Street, down the Ruckers Hill, past the Westgarth Theatre, around to Clifton Hill, down to my mother’s, where we lived when we were kids.

Good and bad - Brad's Story

fatherandson

That part of Melbourne, the Clifton Hill end of Hoddle Street, certainly brings back some good and bad memories. My wife, who was my girlfriend at the time, she and I went past Hoddle Street on the night of the shootings. Probably about 10 minutes before it happened. That’s a fairly sad thing for us.

But a happy memory is standing at the railway gates there and watching the Olympic torch run past in, I think, 2000. Other memories are going to the footy in Clifton Hill, but getting kicked off the train and having to catch the bus, because they were doing rail works.

Another sad thing: the day my son was born, when my wife went into labor, I was driving to work and there was a thing on the radio about someone had been knocked off their motorbike and killed down near the Pioneer cement factory down there. Near the Shell service station. That was the day my son was born. And the guy that got knocked off the motorbike was actually our next-door neighbour. So, some good memories and some terrible memories of Hoddle Street.

Near miss - Rita's Story

Rita from The Punt Road Project has a story from her family. One Sunday afternoon, her cousin was playing tennis in Clifton Hill. He finished up at about 5.30pm and rode his bike down Hoddle Street home to Collingwood.

Just two hours later, in the exact spot where he'd ridden, Julian Knight took pot shots at commuters and passersby. Seven people were killed and 19 injured. Rita's cousin missed the Hoddle Street Massacre by two hours.

tennis

I averted my eyes - Barbara's Story

carmirror

Having lived both north and south of the Yarra in Melbourne, I have innumerable experiences of the long drive along Punt Road and Hoddle Street. Two stand out for me:

Many years ago, a friend lent me her old Morris Minor in exchange for driving lessons. The car was poorly maintained but it got me around ok. One day, as I drove south on Punt Road, I saw a large truck lumbering up the hill in Toorak so I chose the right lane so I could overtake it – but I didn't allow for the slipping clutch on the Morris Minor. To my deep humiliation, no matter how hard I pressed on the accelerator, that old car could not do more than chug slowly up the hill, just keeping pace with the huge truck on my left.

I averted my eyes from the rearview mirror so I wouldn't have to see the look in the eyes of the driver trapped behind me, stuck in the slow dance of chugging up Punt Road Hill in first gear!

For many years I have enjoyed the company of my sister for dinner at my house in Thornbury. On Sunday 9 August 1987, she headed home as usual to Clifton Hill after the Sunday night movie – but called a short time later to assure us that she was safe. I was mystified until she told me that police had diverted her away from her usual route along Hoddle Street. When she arrived home she tuned in to the news to hear that armed men were marauding through her suburb shooting people indiscriminately. She was warned to stay indoors and not open the door to anyone until police could determine that all of the shooters were in custody.

It turned out that there was only one shooter, a disgruntled young man who lived around the corner from my sister. If she had left my house 15 minutes earlier she would have been caught up in one of the worst mass shootings in Melbourne's history and I may have lost my best friend.