Bentleigh: old real estate ads

I was looking on the State Library’s web site for material related to my local suburb, and found these old real estate ads.

This one is from back when Bentleigh was called East Brighton. It’s dated 1885. It’s the area immediately to the east of the railway station, which opened in 1881, and was renamed to Bentleigh in 1907, the year after the local post office was renamed.
Ad for East Brighton Estate (Bentleigh)
(Source: State Library, Victoria)

Note that Bent Street had that name well before the area was named Bentleigh.

130 years later, this area immediately around the station is subject to a lot of real estate ads again, as many of the houses are being replaced by apartment developments. Being close to the station is obviously still an advantage.
Bentleigh development, 2015

On the other side of the railway line, closer to what is now Nepean Highway, was the Zion Hill estate. This ad is also from 1885. Note it implies it is much closer to Brighton than it really is — it’s actually far closer to East Brighton/Bentleigh. Some real estate agents were obviously in the habit even back then of exaggerating. (At some stage Ebenezer Street was renamed to Milton Street.)
Ad for Zion Hill estate, Bentleigh 1885
(Source: State Library, Victoria)

Further south east from the station was the Marriott Estate. The date is unclear, but it’s assumed to be 1920s.
Ad for Marriot Estate (Bentleigh)
(Source: State Library, Victoria)

Note again the location of the estate. If you didn’t spot the small gap in the road markings, you’d assume it was a quick walk from both Bentleigh and Moorabbin railway stations (Patterson station didn’t open until 1961), but actually it’d be at least a fifteen minute walk.

Zoom up on the photo at the bottom-left and we can see a group of “recently erected” shops at Bentleigh. This is looking west towards the railway line, from roughly where Target is now. A support for the railway overhead electric wire is visible in the background, meaning this would be 1920s or later — electrification occurred in 1922.
Bentleigh shops, 1920s

The track in the foreground was used to guide heavily laden carts full of produce going to market, and manure on the way back, one of a number of such “tram” tracks built in the area.

Here’s a similar view today:
Bentleigh, Centre Road, 2015

There’s some interesting stuff in the State Library collection, much of it online — well worth a look if you’re researching local history.

Local history: North Road, SE9

Here’s a little bit of history: an old street sign showing the pre-1967 UK-style Postal District Number: SE9.

North Road, SE9

I’m quite amazed the sign has survived so long, unless perhaps it is a deliberate, heritage-based decision to keep and maintain it.

The old codes don’t seem to be in the first edition Melway, but I did find them in an older Collins street directory that I have. As with London postcodes, the letter is a direction from the GPO (or C for Central).

I don’t have the time or inclination to type them all out, but there is a full list in Wikipedia: Melbourne Postal District Numbers.

Far distant places such as Dandenong, Frankston, Glen Waverley, Mitcham and Eltham appear not to have had Postal District Numbers.

Anybody spotted old signs like this elsewhere?

Update: Tony found (most of) a similar old sign in Flemington.

Update April 2014: It looks like the North Road sign has been removed. Shame.

1929 metropolitan plan: “the tramcar is the most efficient user of street space”

1929 Melbourne plan - page 54 excerpt

From page 54 (Chapter 2, part 1) of the 1929 Melbourne Plan for General Development, commissioned by the Metropolitan Town Planning Commission.

Other highlights include Chapter 2, part 7, which has a bunch of stuff about railways, including a discussion of a railway to Doncaster (page 132) and a strong argument for a combined transport authority (page 143).

Federal budget

The budget last night included no funding for big-ticket transport projects in Victoria. This is as I expected — they are now desperately (and misguidedly) pursuing a surplus instead of chasing economic stimulus/growth.

And the Feds probably felt Victoria has had its share of Federal transport funding for a while, given they provided over $3 billion for the Regional Rail Link project.

The bright side? The flawed east-west road tunnel didn’t get funding. And the lack of new mega projects may force the state to do better with the (considerable) transport infrastructure we already have, using smaller targeted upgrades to unlock capacity, for example:

  • Signal upgrades and operational changes to get more trains to run
  • Better feeder buses in the suburbs to give motorists a way of switching their trips onto PT without fighting for a car spot at their local station
  • Tram and bus traffic priority and route reform to allow more trips to run with the current fleet
  • Projects like the inner-city Blue Orbital Smartbus, and short extensions of tram lines to connect better with railway stations, which would help people move around the inner suburbs without going via the CBD, improving mobility and relieving the busiest parts of the PT and road network.

Rail project “characterised by costly mistakes”

This week’s Regional Rail Link shutdown is not, of course, the first time major works have been done on the railways.

Argus articles about Caulfield lineThe more things change, the more they stay the same. Fascinating stuff from The Argus, 17th October 1914:


Provision has been made for the expenditure of £146,000 this year on the duplication and regrading of the Caulfield line between Caulfield and South Yarra. So far about £170,000 has been expended in connection with this work, which has been characterised by costly mistakes. When the work was begun its cost was estimated at £311,000, but the department, which only adimts having made minor errors of judgment, now estimates the cost at £391,000. The regrading and duplication is occupying a much longer time than wns anticipated, and it is highly probable that when the work is finished, the actual expenditure will have exceeded the estimate by over £100,000.

The Argus, 17th October 1914

This one also caught my eye:


On the occasion of important race meetings at Caulfield, the railway service on that line is generally disorganised, but on Saturday the delays were more serious than usual, and many persons had unpleasant experiences.

Doubts have been expressed as to whether the congestion now experienced on this line will be satisfactorily relieved when the present duplication work has been completed. Delays now occur chiefly between Flinders street and South Yarra, the section which is not to be duplicated, and no provision is being made for the more expeditious despatch of trains from the city.

The Argus 13th October 1913

Between South Yarra and Richmond there were only four tracks at the time. The line had been opened in 1860, expanded to four tracks in 1883, and wouldn’t be upgraded again to six tracks until a project that started in 1944 and concluded in 1960 with the opening of the current Richmond station (now itself slated for upgrade).

Happy birthday, Flinders Street Station

The current Flinders Street Station is 100 years old today.

Flinders Street Station

Flinders Street Station as seen from Fed Square

Flinders Street Station - to platform 9

Rush hour at Flinders Street

There’s a newish book on the history of Flinders Street Station called Beyond the Facade by Jenny Davies. Recently I was walking through the Degraves Street subway and noticed a display for the book. Then something in one of the windows caught my eye; amongst the cartoons, a familiar logo:

Flinders St station history display

Below this was a copy of the press release marking the PTUA’s 30th anniversary.

The display continues until Saturday.

Also something I recently noticed underneath the concourse: Maybe the book would explain it, but I haven’t yet worked out why these archways are shaped like this:

Architecture, Flinders Street

Perhaps the ramps from the concourse down to the platforms (now replaced with escalators and lifts) necessitated the lower height on one side. Any other guesses?