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Prahran People - Imogen's Story

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We were Prahran People. Every outing was a chance to traverse that great road, whether to join the Fitzroy folk, or sashay with St Kilda souls. We had a pint on punt, sometimes at the Pint on Punt, sometimes at someone’s home on Punt, then launched into the car. The shortest, lightest person was chosen to lie across the back seat people, like a seatbelt.

We chose the new girl to be the seatbelt. No better way to breakdown boundaries. We were too young for common sense. 

“What’s with the boa?” I asked, not sure if I liked her. She was a newcomer. She was someone’s housemate, or someone met her in a Richmond squat, in the bar, at uni or somewhere else. She was just someone who was invited. 

Whether in our own car, or someone else’s, whether we fell out of a cab or were thrown out, every trip down, up or across Punt Rd was an adventure. And every adventure began and ended with Punt Rd, because we were Prahran people.

We only went out at night, so the traffic problem was a party. Could a car ride be more fun than a destination? We chose our favourite music and touched up our lipstick. The back seaters toasted the passenger filled vehicles in the next lane with their Sub Zeros or Carlton Draughts. (Our favourite drinks in the nineties.) 

The girl with the feather boa seemed happy enough. 

We sang as we reached the other side

“Hoddle, Hoddle, Hoddle,” we chorused, huddled like backing singers around an old fashioned microphone on a radio show. We held the feather boa like a microphone. Why? Because at that moment, on a Saturday night, we were our most exuberant, uninhibited selves. It was ritual as we crossed to the other side. The girl with the feather boa joined our car song.

We went somewhere, drank, danced, enjoyed, then looked for our beacon boa. 

Homeward bound again. Strangers at the beginning of Punt Rd could become friends or lovers, on the way back. 

Quieter now, we crossed the river (where a punt once floated) to reach the hill. The Punt Rd hill, our beacon of home at the end of another perfect Melbourne night out.

New Boundary Hotel - David's Story

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My family owned the New Boundary Hotel in East Melbourne from 1977 to 1983. My brother, Phil, and I managed the hotel for our parents when we were in our late teens and early twenties. Many of our mates worked at the hotel during their student days. People to this day still recall the wild times we had back then as it was the 'go to' place on Thursday/Friday nights for the young. We were one of the first pubs to have a late liquor licence. It operated a busy business lunch during the week and had many characters come through the door. Many bands played at the pub during those years and it was also a popular meeting spot when football was at the MCG. Heady days, lots of fun times and many memories.

Party house - Suzi's Story

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I was one of five people (three of us were student nurses at the Alfred Hospital) who shared a house halfway up or down Punt Road Hill, between the river and Domain Road. Right at the point where all the trucks change gear whether going up or down – a very noisy part, but we got used to it.

It was a very old, rundown house but we had loads of fun and lots of parties, each one themed, which were always visited by the police asking us to turn the music down.  We discovered that an assistant police commissioner lived nearby and clearly didn't like people having a good time. Sometimes the cops came when it was just us at home and would greet us with, "We'll just wait for a break in the traffic noise to tell you to be quiet." 

After our housewarming party (hats were the theme for that one), the visiting police came back to join the party after coming off duty and one of them ended up marrying one of the guests!

Despite having parties we did study hard too, often late into the night and a call would go out "Who's up for a coffee at Notturno's"?  It was the only place open all night, in Lygon Street, Carlton. Like all good share houses people moved on and others moved in. The landlord lived next door and as long as the rent was paid wasn't too fussed who actually lived there and rarely bothered us at all!

It was a halfway house for students of many disciplines. At one time the lounge room floor was completely taken up with an architectural model which was being entered into the competition for the new Parliament House in Canberra. They were "even a group of students entered the competition" mentioned during the subsequent discussions about this competition.

This old house with lovely stained glass windows and pressed metal ceilings is now boarded up but still standing when last I drove past. There are many, many people – some in very eminent positions today – who will remember this old house fondly.