nylexclock

The shortest distance between two points - Anne's Story

pinkshirt

We lived in South Yarra, a flat on the corner of the Righi. My father had lived there for years. His dog, he claimed, understood that a straight line was the shortest distance between two points, since he always crossed to Gordon Grove according to this principle.

You could smell fresh bread from the bakery over the other side of the hill.

In the 1960s we moved down to Richmond, over from Gosch's Paddock. Once the silos caught fire and we children watched a fireman going up a long ladder, then dropping something, a handkerchief we supposed, which floated downwards for a long long time. We used the Nylex clock, in the morning before school I would stand at my mother's bedroom window and plait my hair, keeping a sideways eye on the time.

At ground level, in dark caverns under the silos, men with rakes turned the barley over in long pits, the whole of South Richmond smelling of malt.

We lived opposite the entrance to Punt Rd from the freeway. One night a couple knocked at the door asking for directions. After they left we heard an accident and went out onto the veranda to see what had happened. A car coming fast around that slip road had run over and killed one of our visitors.

Once a heavily loaded ute lost a chair from its load. We were sitting on the veranda and saw it. Before the driver had time to pull over, another driver stopped, picked up the chair and drove off with it.

I used to walk home from school along Punt Rd and, if the lights were against me at Alexandra Ave, I would walk along the west side and cross to our house, lane by lane between the moving cars, something that would have shocked my mother.

My parents had a friend who was a painter, and he came visiting one day, wearing a pink shirt. He knocked on the wrong door and said he just missed being thrown down the steps by our neighbour who was affronted to have a pink-shirted man on his door step.

Growing up on Punt Road - Sue's Story

milkhorsecart

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

Route 246 - Andrea's Story

bus

I am a 53-year-old women who has been travelling Punt Road since I was 18. I used to lived in a flat on Punt Road – with the screeching of the brakes a nightly occurrence and the Nylex clock my own personal clock. I lived in Abbotsford and caught the 246 bus when I studied at Swinburne in the 80s. I lived in Richmond and travelled to Swinburne to work, again, on the 246.

For many years my son travelled to school on the 246 along Punt Road. First with his loving mum then ignoring her to hang with his mates.

My best friend lived in Elsternwick and, when I again lived in Abbotsford, I travelled between our two homes again on the 246 (she passed away almost two years ago). Sometimes it would take two hours, sometimes 20 minutes.

I now live in Westgarth and still work at Swinburne/NICA and still travel on the 246. I have an amazing array of 'shoe shots' of my feet up in the bus as I yet again journey down Punt Road. A girl has to occupy her time whilst the footy traffic clears and I do love shoes! You see I don't drive, and have never driven, so Punt Road is my walking route. My bus route. My taxi route. And many times I sit in other's cars as we crawl along the road that has become an artery of my life. Punt Road is truly my road!