Here begins a series of blog posts on every (suburban) railway station in Melbourne that’s ever been my usual. Of course it more-or-less tracks the places I’ve lived, and I’ve touched on some of this stuff in Commutes of my Youth. (Dates may not be exact.)
St Kilda, 1970-71
When I was a baby, my parents moved into a flat in Fitzroy Street. That part of St Kilda might be hipster grungy now, but I suspect it was a bit of a dive back then. I was too young to remember it, and I don’t think we stayed there very long — but I do remember that later on we were still friends with Mrs Rice, who with her family lived in an enormous house in one of the side streets. Must be worth an absolute bomb now.
Albert Park, 1972
My parents moved to a house in Napier Place, South Melbourne for a while, and its there I have my first memories (such as someone’s dog stealing a piece of meat I’d been given as a snack). This old photo was taken at Albert Park, I think.
My mum still goes to a dentist nearby. In later years I remember her telling me that in South Melbourne in the early 70s, renovators were going through ripping out all the “ugly” lace ironwork in the Victorian terrace houses. By the 80s they’d realised it was a mistake, and were putting it all back in again, often having to resort to reproductions because the originals were long gone.
As with St Kilda, the station is now a lightrail stop, and the building is used by a local business. The level crossing still exists, with approaching trams given a green light (sometimes a little too slowly, it seems, forcing them to drop speed slightly to cross the road).
For a while my parents moved across town. I suppose had they stayed there, I’d be a north-of-the-river boy, but as it turns out it was only a brief migration.
We rented a house in Hutton Street, Thornbury, very conveniently located to the station. I seem to recall the house had a huge, jungle-like back yard, and I remember my mum using wringer (mangle) to dry the clothes after washing.
It was at this house that, I am told, I instructed my sister to jump out the window (and she did), I dropped an egg and was told to say sorry (so I did, proclaiming: “Sorry, egg.”) and also that my sister dropped a biscuit down the drain and tried to reach down after it, becoming stuck.