Month: April 2016

Turkish baths and oyster saloons: the story of Prahran Arcade

Every now and then as I walk the suburban streets of Melbourne I see something that stops me in my tracks. It happened again at 282 Chapel Street, Prahran, between Princes and Walker Streets, when I glanced up and noticed a three-storey building, a bit faded  and the worse for wear, but unmistakeably special. It looked as though it should have been standing on a boulevard in Paris, rather than in a Melbourne suburb, among standard Victorian two-storey shops, plastered with signage for JB Hifi, which occupies the entire ground floor.

This building’s facade was extravagant, with 17 archways looking onto the street from the second and third storeys, columns and balconies, carved eagles, and a dizzying assortment of shells and other ornamentation.  Clearly, it had once been a special place – but today it’s a shadow of its former self. Continue reading

Memories of Commercial Road

Picking up the walk at the corner of Commercial Road and Tyrone Street, on the border between South Yarra and Prahran, we headed east towards one of the busier shopping areas in the Melbourne suburbs – as the name Commercial Road implies. This is an area where the past seems particularly alive. The area still contains many traces of former days, from Victorian buildings to art nouveau styling to ghostsigns.  Continue reading