Wednesday, June 06, 2007


I took this picture at the corner of Domain Road and Park Street, South Yarra. Although we have lived here for nearly five years, I suddenly noticed when gazing down on South Yarra, this very high building. While there is a proper highrise of many storeys just in the far left of the picture (oh, the corrupt money that must have been paid to have that built), the building with Maples on it is about five or six storeys high and is very noticeable when looking out our windows (it only took me five years to notice it though). It was converted to apartment in the eighties by the look of the fittings in the foyer.

Maples was a furniture retailer and while I don't recall what it was like in its latter days, it retailed quality furniture from my memory. There was a large store at the corner of Chapel Street and High Street in Prahran. I think Clarke Rubber bought the company and for a while it was a Clarke Rubber store. I think it is now a mix of offices and retail.

Apart from the building in the picture, there weren't other factory/warehouse type buildings in that part of South Yarra to my knowledge.

I have asked this elsewhere today but do any of my readers know anything about it?


  1. Anonymous8:26 am

    Hi Andrew, would you mind if I add this photo to my map of old signs around Melbourne (

  2. I know Americans know nothing about the rest of the world Daisy Jo.

    Feel free Tony. The original is 900kb if you want that.

  3. I will endeavour to find out for you and check it back to you aswell.
    Isn't it amazing, we always have something right under our noses that goes un noticed for a period of time. You are in the :)

  4. I found out that Maples had a few stores, one of them was thought to be a drapery store and general habberdashery, like a Dimmeys fo the time.
    The one pictured here was run by he Nathan Family, they were furniture manufacturers and estblished Maples in Chapel Street in 1906 :)

  5. Thanks Cazzie. There was a book published about Maples but so far as I can find out, it is only available at the State Library, so I can't take it out. But I will go and have a read.

  6. Good news, I will keep updated via your blog then, it is interesting. I was going to ring up Bruce and Phil on 3AW of a Sunday Night when they have their programme, "Remember when". People call in and ask questions or reminisce about Melbourne back in the day. I listen to it on the way home from work of a PM shift sometimes. Otherwise, I have been listening to Doom 2 Bollywood music on CD..yikes, LOL.

  7. I spoke to a guy today who used to work at Maples in Prahan and he has no knowledge of the South Yarra building, however, and this did not occur to me, he said Maples used to advertise extensively on the outside of big buildings, so perhaps it is an ad.

  8. Yes your mate might just be right. I spoke to my mum yesterday, she used to live in Williamstown growing up, she said there was a store Maples in Williamstown, the building has long been demolished for shops, in Ferguson Street. Her mum brought a couch there back in the day. She could not recall about that city one. :) It is so interesting, I love looking back.

  9. Anonymous10:58 am


    You probably know all this already but just in case I found this about the history of Maples...

    "Benjamin Nathan, had
    established his Maples furniture stores in Richmond and in
    1904 opened a store in Chapel Street. At first he occupied
    a small building on the north corner of Wattle Street, next
    to Love and Lewis. This building was taken over by Love
    and Lewis for their extensions, so Nathan built his fine
    new store at the corner of High Street. This 4-storey,
    purpose built store opened in 1906. It had a floor area of
    3,500 square feet and was densely stocked with furniture
    and pianos. The firm boasted that they had 'the largest
    new and second hand piano and organ warehouses in
    Victoria.' Benjamin claimed to have been the first to
    provide time-payment in Melbourne."

    Stonnington History News

  10. Shhh LiD. I actually remember Maples on the corner of Chapel and High. I did find out the details of the warehouse later. Love and Lewis upper storeys are smart apartments now.

  11. Anonymous2:27 am

    Hi Andrew I worked in the Office, back in the 70's..Richmond Maples..

    1. Thanks Anon. I think you can see the Maples signage at the rear from the train.

  12. My father be worked for Maples for 35years as a manager at various stores, northcote,malvern and also Richmond for a while.the building you see was used as a warehouse for a while, then they moved to a big warehouse in Fairbank Rd in clayton,which he managed until he retired in 1985.

    1. That is a long time in one job and so rarely heard of now. It is hard to imagine a warehouse right in the middle of South Yarra. A workmate of mine worked in the Prahran store in the 70s, I think.

  13. I worked as a junior ticket writer for Maples at Sth Yarra in 1968.I was the only male, with another junior female and two older ladies. From memory our Boss was Mr Colin Sword.

    There was a multi story warehouse on the grounds where the art building was.

    1. Nice to hear of your memories Mick. I heard that there was a lot of pressure by local residents to close down the warehouse and stop the delivery trucks coming and going.