Monday, November 13, 2006

Pakenham to Mordialloc

We left Mum's Pakenham cottage and drove to Dandenong and then along Cheltenham Road. Dandenong seemed to go on forever until we reached Parkmore shopping centre and I realised that we were now in Keysborough. The two have joined. Last time I went along the road, there was a big gap in between them and there wern't many houses in Keysborough. I was amazed. We did pass one remaining market garden and also an old original house with large garden stakes I guess for tomato plants. Mum surmised he was Eyetalian. (I am sure she has picked that up from my step father, although her parents used to say it that way too)

We parked at Mordialloc and the parking ticket machine was broken. Nice. The men were there to fix it later. We walked out along the pier and Mum said that it had been extended and sure enough, their were much newer boards at the last part. We sat for a while on a seat and chatted and gazed around.

We walked back and along the sea wall, contructed in the mid nineteen twenties, partly with money donated by the nearby carnival that I remember from my very early years. The memory cells were partly defective. I could not recall that there were two rotundas and neither could Mum. The beach down to the water alongside the pier used to be flat too. Now it is built up with coarse sand and not the fine sand we remember.

When Mum was young every Boxing Day and New year's day, they would religiously venture from their South Oakleigh market garden to Mordialloc Beach for a picnic and games with the many relatives.

When the family days happened, she said the whole grassed area would be covered in cars and market gardeners' trucks. I reckon they were all the mafia of their time at Melbourne's vegetable market.

There are three kiosks in different buildings and all were closed. At least Mum managed to work out where Sails on the Bay is located. (a quick google tells me this name is wrong, but no matter) We went back to the car and drove the short distance to the main street of Mordialloc for refreshment.

The whole area was full of memories. The shop across the road where we used to get an icecream was gone, but I recalled it so vividly. There used to be a lot of vegetation to get through from the grassed car parking area but much of it has gone. Lest you think it was native vegetation, I think it was mostly mirror leaf bushes. What I immediately noticed was that the Mordicalloc Creek does not stink like it used to. The stench of the Mordialloc Creek is iconic to me, and it would seem it has gone. But there was still something that attracts the flies. Everyone's backs were covered in them and all were doing the great Australian salute.

Now the last time I stopped at the shops in Mordicalloc must have been over twenty years ago. It looked dirty, sleazy and many shops were boarded up. The housing in that area looked cheap and nasty too.

But wow, has that all changed. BMWs and Saabs parked in the street, a Rolls pulling out of a side street, fine coffee and cake (apple and cinnamon crumble if you want to know, and unlike Acland Street cakes, it was moist and delicious) at a cafe and a monster Safeway above the shop, which I discovered a bit later. And, most importantly, there were interesting looking people around. Can't say Safeway drove the local shops away. They were already gone.

While I have fond memories of childhood experiences at Mordialloc, my early adult years memories are not so good. I never thought it would become what it now is. I should have bought property there.


  1. Windows on the Bay? Something like that? My sister had her wedding reception there some years ago.

  2. They're doing a big construction over the train and bus stops. Do you remember the hotel that was right in the main street? The Sofitel of its day.

    Mirror bushes, Ti-tree, flies and sunstroke, I remember it well.

  3. Yeah, that would be it Daniel.

    Jah Teh, I can only remember the hotel which I think is still there.

  4. That would be the one on the hill which used to be called 'Stanton's' but is now the much toffier 'Kingston Club'.

    This was right on the main drag and not a pub but a hotel with a classy entrance but I only vaguely remember it.

    There is a very good local museum off Bakery Lane in Mentone which shows all the history including the race courses.
    It's open on Sunday afternoons.

  5. I can remember a building on the beach road. Was it a pub? It had a curved terracotta tile roof and looked a bit Spanish or Moorish.