Leaving St Vincent Place we headed north along Montague Street, then turned right into Bank Street towards South Melbourne, a suburb in which much of the history has been carefully and consciously preserved. If you’re looking for ghostsigns, this part of town is rich in them. You also pass a kaleidoscope of architectural styles in the space of a few blocks. Continue reading
At the corner of Lennox Street and Rowena Parade is a Victorian shop (dated 1878) on which some very faded ghostsigns can be discerned. The words ‘General House Repairs’ are just about legible between the upper storey windows, and I could make out ‘Builders’ and ‘Carpenters’ above the ground floor windows, along with the now almost illegible name of the former owners, which appears to read ‘ … ETT & SONS’. Continue reading
Some interesting ghostsigns can be found on a building at the corner of Swan Street and Byron Street, Richmond. There’s not much to see, at first glance – just a stock-standard two storey row of Victorian shops. These days the two shops on the corner are occupied by a patisserie and a Tattersalls, with a handy ATM in between them.
A walk down a commercial street, as opposed to an industrial or residential area, reveals a lot about how suburbanites choose to spend their free time. In suburbs that have preserved their older buildings, you also get a glimpse into the recreations and retail habits of the past. Richmond is a case in point – its major shopping arteries contain substantial Victorian and Edwardian street frontages, and if you raise your eyes from street level you see evidence of what people used to do when not at work. Continue reading
Back in the early 90s, I worked as a teacher of English to people who had lost their jobs because of the restructuring of the economy. The idea was to retrain former workers from the TCF (textile, clothing and footwear) industries, who came from very diverse cultural backgrounds. Even then, manufacturing was in drastic decline. Back then, I didn’t have much idea how important footwear used to be in Melbourne’s economy. If you want the evidence of that history, suburbs like Clifton Hill are a good place to look. Continue reading