The shortest distance between two points - Anne's Story


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.

Love on Punt - Holly's Story

My girlfriend met her now fiance on Punt Road. They were both stuck in traffic, next to each other. She always checks out guys in utes and she checked out this guy and he was checking her out as well. They were chatting to each other through the window and she ended up giving him her phone number on a bit of paper before she drove off. Now they’re engaged. It’s a beautiful story. This was about five years ago.


Tricky timber traffic light stack - Steven's Story


About 25 years ago I was travelling north up Punt Rd. I was stopped at Toorak Rd by a red light. I was the first car at the lights so could see eastbound down Toorak Rd. The traffic was heavy and a steady stream of cars crossed Punt Rd. Three cars entered the intersection: a sedan, a station wagon and a ute. The ute had some carry bars on it, to hold a large amount of timber above the driver’s cab and the tray – probably a builder’s or carpenter’s vehicle.  

The sedan came to a halt immediately after crossing Punt Rd. The station wagon didn't notice at first so had to brake suddenly. This forced the ute, immediately behind it, to also brake suddenly.  At this point, the load of timber on the carry bars, all strapped together, slid forward off the ute and straight through the back window of the station wagon.

I will always remember the look on the station wagon driver’s face as he got out of the car to inspect the load of timber now sticking out of his car. It was one of utter disbelief. The length of the wood meant that although it had slid forward, it was still resting on the front carry bar of the ute, so the two vehicles were now joined together by the shared load of timber. 

At that point my light turned green and I continued on my way, though the south bound lanes were now blocked.