Friday, July 31, 2009

Venturing North

Time after time after time I do this. I thought I knew where the Rathdowne Street bus went from and I was wrong. With an arrogant confidence, I did not check any details. Yes, it runs along Lonsdale Street, but does not stop outside QV. The stop is on the western side of Swanston Street. I ignored this and walked to the next stop, over Russell Street.

Hang on, isn't it supposed to go up Russell Street and follow the old cable tram route to Rathdowne Street? I made a mistake there too. Anyway the 250 bus turned into Exhibition Street and quickly I was staring out the bus window at the beginning of Rathdowne Street. It is a lovely street with many two storey terrace houses and the western side of the Melbourne Museum and Exhibition Buildings.

I spied the Carlton Clinic, which I had heard of. I bet Mutant thought that visiting the clinic was the purpose of my visit. Wrong. It is in what was an old pub. Seems to be rather a lot of old pubs now being used for another purpose........just like Lonsdale House could be.

There are some nice bits of parkland along the way. Not too big, but friendly parks. There was a huge cleared site and I don't know what is to be built on the site. I am guessing it may have been where there were low rise housing commission flats? It is not part of the monster College Square is it? Is that what protesters were on about a few years ago?

I did what I had to do in Rathdowne Street and decided on brunch in Rathdowne Street. I walked past a few cafes before choosing one called Paragon. I had a breakfast of bacon and eggs, toast and coffee. It was alright, but not great value really. Why are such places always so mean with butter? There was not nearly enough for two large slices of toast. A meal could be otherwise perfect, but I would leave feeling annoyed about meanness with butter or dips or whatever.

Paragon probably had a surcharge on its menus for the ambiance of Rathdowne Street. It almost felt like being in the country, not a mere kilometre or two from the heart of Melbourne. In the country, I find the noise of cars very intrusive, but I did not find them at all intrusive, although there were enough of them passing by. I took a few snaps and headed towards Lygon Street to catch the tram back to the city. I deviated a bit on my way to Lygon Street.

The contrast Between Rathdowne and Lygon Streets is dramatic. Lygon Street feels busy and noisy, from Carlton through to East Brunswick, yet it is five minutes walk between the two streets.

Back in town, I took snaps of Londale House and then entered the horrid Melbourne Central to catch a train. Actually I did not really enter Melbourne Central. I was checking out a laneway murals and found a door to slip through and get in. I am suddenly interested in some of these hand drawn bits of artwork, stimulated by Girl in Melbourne, Beth in Newcastle Upon Tyne and Fitzroyalty.

Eventually I found the station. Now why do our City Loop trains never go in the direction I want them too? I studied the screens carefully. Here we go, Glen Waverley train is going straight to Richmond via Parliament. Three minutes. I made my way smartly down to Platform 4 and along it came..........going the wrong way. Well it was right, and the screen on the platform indicated so, but the one high above at the gates said it went via Parliament. I resigned myself to a trip around the loop and a wait at Flinders Street. It came to pass. Then I still had to change for a train to South Yarra. If it wasn't for the bum steer from the display screen, I would have caught a train directly to South Yarra, via the Loop.

While I was waiting for the bus in Lonsdale Street, I noticed the Princess Mary Club. Odd name, and I took a snap to check it out later. I have no idea what it is about, but then later when reading the paper on my way home I saw a reference to it and that it is to be demolished.

As you can see in the photo, Rathdowne Street is very wide. Where the central median is, cable trams would have rumbled past before turning into Elgin and then into Russell Streets before terminating in Lonsdale Street. Great to see some old verandahs still intact.

Now if your house is made of decorative polychromatic bricks, do not stucco over and paint them. You are liable to be shot, perhaps by me.

This multi dwelling building also has polychromatic brick work, but I don't like it too much. It is harsh looking and better suited to an English climate.


  1. Great snaps Andrew. As I have been working nights I do not gte to take in the architecture of the places in Nth Melb as much :(
    This Wednesday is a training day at work so I look forward to the lunch hour we get to go for a wlak and look about :)

  2. North Melbourne is no so different Cazzie. There is a peacefulness about it. So are they going to teach you how do the job you have been doing for so long?

  3. Anonymous11:27 pm

    Ah some old stomping grounds of mine Andrew. When I first met my bf, he had a hair salon in Elgin St Carlton and lived in Fitzroy before moving to Sydney for me. Used to spend my days wondering around the area, loved the variety of architecture. It's true Rathdowne Street is a lot quiter then the neighbouring ones, eh.

    Heading down in Sept - so no doubt will be around the area and Sth Yarra again then.

  4. Anonymous11:34 pm

    Read this article ( re Princess Mary Club. Uniting Church want to demolish it and build a twenty storey office block to pay for restoration of the church next door. Lets hope Heritage Victoria knock them back.

    It's building like this and Lonsdale house that give Melbourne it's uniqueness. Will be a sad day if the keep on destroying the heritage of the place.

  5. You're right about Rathdowne St - it is beautiful. I put it sown to North Carlton being a bit different from Carlton. Spread out, more genteel, neighbourly. I spent years catching my bus to school along there.

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  7. Did you stop to notice the yellow grid work painted at the intersection of Princes and Rathdowne Streets? If you didn't notice it, that's because it's not there after the intersection was recently resealed.

    And I'm not rude enough to think you were visiting the Carlton Clinic, isn't there a fag-friendly clinic in St Kilda after all?

    I'm quite amazed at the difference between the Carlton and North Carlton ends of Rathdowne though, NC has a real small town vibe, closer to the city not so much though.

    Frighteningly I think you've spent more time exploring my 'hood then I have. That's the problem with living somewhere though, you stop being a tourist.

    Your next mission, should you chose to accept it: Find out all about Clifton Hill for me. It looks like being my next port of call.

  8. I remember about your bf working in Elgin Street Anon. Thanks for the link about the church. See, they bargain one off against the other. We will keep and renovate the church if we can demolish this old and decrepit building. I say leave the church until the money is eventually found. It won't fall down.

    Lad, it really is a hidden treasure so far as I am concerned.

    I saw some great chimneys somewhere Jayne, and I was going to take snaps, but I forget where now. Princess Mary Club used to be nurses quarters I see.

    No I didn't notice the markings Mutant, especially as they weren't there. I did see some somewhere that day though. Middle Park Clinic where R goes is. I go to Prahran Market Clinic. Maybe I would visit Carlton Clinic for a private matter! A friend just sold his Clifton Hill house last weekend. Wanted 700, got 780. He should buy me something. Clifton Hill is interesting, so I accept the challenge.