Friday, March 20, 2009

Lighting Shop

I started writing here along the lines, 'this is probably an old pub and', however, I knew where I could easily check and it seems it never was. It looks like one though.

It sits on the north east corner of the intersection of Alma Road and St Kilda Road, St Kilda. It has been a lighting shop at ground level for as long as I can recall. Perhaps one of my non teen readers may have more information. What? I don't have any teen readers? How disappointing.

I believe there is accommodation of some description on the level above. The garish advertising signs do nothing for the building and the sign atop spoils the small third level.

But still, at least it still there. Some very nice buildings lined the the other side of the what was then High Street, St Kilda, but they were lost when the road was widened to become St Kilda Road.

Btw, this building I previously posted about sits on the diagonally opposite corner.


  1. Miss Havesham's wedding cake strikes again.

  2. That's curious, it certainly looks like it was intended as a pub at birth, Andrew.
    Pity the ground level facade on the corner and towards the left have been altered beyond recognition.
    Hmm, I'll ask Dad when he's finished galivanting about in his wheelchair (with The Spouse playing chauffeur)possibly coffee palace?

  3. That's me, btw, gmail accounts are having a conniption or 3 this morning.

  4. I also thought perhaps it was intended as a pub. Great post again, love our architecture in Melbourne :)

  5. Dad's having a bit of a vague moment (I think he'd do better in the actual street outside the building than looking at a photo) but he said it was definitely a pub and 2 names come to mind - The Terminus or The Corner.

  6. Apart from some old piccies on rocks Brian, we have very little in the way of physical history, such as you have. We cling to our old Victorian (the period, not the state) buildings with a passion.

    I like to learn that I am wrong about it not being a pub Jayne. Did we have coffee palaces outside the city borders?

  7. it was an Antiques Dealer before the lighting business.

    I can remember the old High St quite well. In 1966 there was an auctions place on the now demolished side of the road, and we used to go there a lot, and I did stand in the centre of the old St.Kilda Junction to photograph the pointy-ended hotel that is demolished now, and the incredible tram control box high up over the buildings, where a guy sat pulling all the track-switching controls.

  8. Trawling the net to find the name, Andrew, and apparently the The George was originally a coffee palace (according to Walking Melb).
    Most suburbs/country towns had coffee palaces...those wowsers had won the day, don't you know ;)

  9. Thanks Jayne. Make him another cuppa. The Corner Hotel was on the corner of Barkly and Fitzroy Streets. I can't find anything about the Terminus Hotel. Logic follows that it would be at the end of a train or tram line.

    Thanks Cazzie.

    Ah, that's right Ann. Antiques. You are referring to the Junction Hotel, or Grand Junction Hotel. I love all those old pictures of St Kilda Junction. The tram control box features in most of them. Sydney had many of them, Melbourne only a few. The one at the corner of Franklin and Swanston Street is still there, but not used.

  10. Anonymous12:54 pm

    There's an old coffee palace a few doors up from the George in Grey Street (on the lane, I think). It's called Hotham House, and was for years a fleabag rooming house but is now a backpackers. There's an old coffee palace on the corner of Schutt (Shit) and Newcastle Streets in Newport which for years was housing commission room-accomodation but is now privately owned apa-a-a-a-rtments. Consequently there are no longer syringes on the nature strip outside, no more police attendances, and the milk bar across the road no longer goes broke due to bad credit. This latter ex-palace is puzzling due to its quiet location, although the little Sacred Heart church/school on the other corner seems to have a lot of funerals.
    I well remember the auction house in High Street but can't quite remember the name of the shifty old character who ran it. A woman I knew at the time claimed he put the hard word on her -a joke that lasted for years, as really good jokes do. When the Junction Hotel was being demolished with the area around it torn up, an old man toddled past and warned the workers they'd find a covered well out the front, and they did.

    Love to all,
    -Captain Sweetiepie.

  11. According to this rather interesting-looking book HERE it may not have been a pub at all...but it may have been an ornate business/family home, boarding house, etc.
    The Wiki listing for coffee palaces has several others in St Kilda, so that's ruled out, too.
    You'd do best by contacting St Kilda historical society for the answer.

  12. I saw Captain Sweetiepie one time at High St Auctions, they were flogging a TV set and he called out "a knob's broken off!", and quick as a flash the Auctioneer said But we've got the knob, so for years afterward, I could convulse my friend anywhere, anytime, by proclaiming "We've got the knob".

  13. Anonymous9:32 pm

    Thank you. I've no objection to my name being used in anecdotes, so long as it isn't done rude.
    "Would be new, Mr Thompson." That was the big joke. And I'm thinking the auctioneer's name was Thompson, but I'm not sure. He'd stand across the room from his assistant, an obvious alcoholic, who was holding up or pointing at the thing about to be auctioned, and sometimes there'd be a pause as Thompson peered at this thing as though he'd never seen it before. "What...." he'd say, sounding impressed, "That looks new, is it?"
    The response was automatic: "Would be new, Mr Thompson."
    And that's all you had to do to get a laugh from people who went to Thompson's.

  14. Anonymous9:52 pm

    I was living in Carlisle street at the time and the auction rooms (a large shop) were just around the corner. On the other side of High Street and just near the lighting shop there was a motor auction place (old bombs). Sales were held every Wednesday and I always went, it was a good night out.

  15. Anonymous10:08 pm

    I doubt the George was ever a coffee palace, but I do believe a ghost lived there. Apparently in about 1890 a traveller shot himself in one of the upstairs rooms. The room was sealed shut from then on, but in the 1960s a curious publican opened it and was attacked by a rush of air as something flew out past him, causing a cut to his hand which never healed. Good heavens. "The Ghost of the George!" So said the local newspaper -right at the time it was running a campaign to attract tourists to St Kilda.

    Coincidence of course.

    ha ha.

    -Captain Sweetiepie.

  16. Anonymous10:30 pm

    Hal Porter managed the George for a while in the 1950s. And he taught at Williamstown North Primary, in the 1920s. And at both places there's no plaque to commemorate this. What a disgrace. Hal himself was a disgrace, but in a way unsurpassed

  17. That is my reference Jayne. It is quite comprehensive and I have read the hard copy, Pots, Punks and Punters. Indeed no doubt SKHS would give me an answer, but I feel guilty coz I have not renewed my sub.

    Thanks for all the interesting information guys. Tread lightly hey.

  18. Anonymous11:36 pm

    Well goodness me but I've rattled on a little haven't I, much in the style of Roland Rocchiccioli, who'd apologise in the same way. Do you know anyway that a coffee palace normally has the words coffee palace embossed on its upper wall? It does. That's just one reason why I doubt the George was ever such a place. Hotham House, just up from there, had a chequerboard lobby in black and white tiles. I'm assuming it's still intact. In its fleabag days it had the cheek to put on meals for its tattered lodgers. How pretentious. The dining room was just off the lobby, to the right. Upstairs the grand old rooms had been partitioned up into tiny cubicles. They were awful, all these places, you'd feel everyone was dead. So one night in the wild Eighties I went to The Hotham looking for a pal of mine, a poor mental case named Mark R. His little den was empty and there were scraps of paper on the floor beside the bed. He'd been opening butts he picked up on the street to roll a smoke, poor bugger. (Well he was a young man, and a nice looking fellow, but all his money went on horse races and a prostitute he called The Spanish lady.) There was an open window in the room, facing a dark wall close enough to touch, and on it someone had done a strange painting. Spooky, yes. I remember no detail, but felt the terror. The hopelessness.

    Thank you darlings. That's all.

    -Captain Sweetiepie.