Monday, October 12, 2009

Clifton Hill before lunch

I suspect pretty meaningless to Mutant who gave me the thought to take a look, but as soon as I hear the name Clifton Hill, my mind goes back to when seven people were killed and umpteen were injured, not by a crazed gunman, but by a calculating ex army nutter, Julian Knight.

He picked his victims off like flies. This man had no humanity and I am pleased he will never step outside the confines of prison, ever. His right of appeal to the courts has been taken away from him, but even now, he trying to get before the courts to restore his right go before the courts. No Julian, you may well outlive me, but you have a miserable life and will continue to do so, as you so deserve for your crime. It was not a crime of passion, but of cold hard blooded thrill seeking murder of the innocent. You are worse than a mass murdering terrorist.

I would guess many Clifton Hill residents have no knowledge of Knight or the impact of the event at the time. Sorry, but I can't forget it. I will try not to taint my post too much.

I was in Prahran, about other business. I caught the train from Prahran Station, dumped at Platform 127A Lower Flinders St East as usual and noticed one escalator had been installed. Does it go up or down? Or both depending on the time? It wasn't going anywhere when I was there. Clambered up the steps and found the platform for the Epping/Hurstbridge train lines.

A rubber pedestrian crossing at Prahran Station. Is this to stop wheel chairs getting stuck due to frequent pavement movement next the tracks?

I was reading paper as the train went around the loop and then we then shot out of the dark and after a brief stop at Jolimont, the train accelerated away and passed straight through stations along the way and did not stop until Clifton Hill. What a dream train trip along what I noticed seemed to be a slightly deficient train track, that is there was a good bit of train sway.

One old sign observed from the train. Hope I can remember where to go back for a snap.

I read the other day that Clifton Hill was one of the first inner northern areas where property prices increased dramatically, from the 1980s on I guess. From what I saw of the area, it is mostly housing with little industry. The side streets to the east of Hoddle Street don't lead anywhere and so are quiet. There is a decent number of parks and sporting facilities. In fact it seems like a perfect place for young families who want to live close to the city and can afford the prices.

Clifton Farm was there before the area was subdivided and called Clifton Hill. On the eastern edge a basalt quarry was operated by City of Melbourne until the 1950s. Other land uses before the subdivision were for cattle agistment and as a dumping ground for Melbourne's sewerage. Lovely.

The area exploded as prime residential land once the the cable tram reached Clifton Hill to terminate at Merri Creek in 1887. I am fairly sure it was the last main cable tram route in Melbourne and survived until the 1940s. Naturally you can read about it at Jayne's Lost and Found. In 1901 the train arrived, making it an area very well served by public transport and it still is.

Working from memory here. The cable trams were replaced by double deck buses but buses just could not cope with the passenger loadings and I think electric tams replaced them in time for Melbourne's Olympics in 1956.

A nice enough looking station greeted me at Clifton Hill and then a very ugly pedestrian subway led me under Hoddle, I am just not going to say Highway, Hoddle Street and shortly I was in Mayors Park next to the tennis courts. Mayors Park is somewhat utilitarian but at least it is green space. Very very ugly road overpasses blight this part of Clifton Hill. Like many inner suburbs, Clifton Hill is on the way to somewhere and suffers the blight of heavy through traffic.

I spied a tram waiting at traffic lights and I then worked out where exactly I was. I remember this place from years ago but I never took much notice at the time.

Oh, lookies. Could that be a new favourite dining hole for Mutant within what is a wonderful looking building. Look out, nearly run over by a mother with a pram.

Lovely looking shop buildings. Paint shops side by side tell me this is a high DIY home renovation suburb. No Ronnie cracks about bristols please.

I thought this building above might have been a post office in a past life, but no, here is the post office. Wonder what the building was. I crossed the road to a nice looking bakery. Oops, mind the pram. Here is the proper Post Office.

I find it odd that the road is so wide here and given there are old buildings on both sides of the road, it can't have been widened since the early nineteen hundreds. Probably never.

Wow, another gorgeous shop with old tin toys, just like I found in Carlton. I want one, a toy or the shop.

I think the bakery was called Delganos and they served me a very fine pie and a decent cup of coffee. It was very busy and noisy inside so I sat out in the cool breeze. I enjoyed the passing parade of prams pushed by mothers.

Cars came and went in the right angle parking spaces. A very incompetent driver was nosing her beast into a space right in front of of where I was sitting. Am I to make tomorrow's headlines in such an ignominious manner? I was ready to bolt. She eventually got it right and unloaded her baby and pram from the car.

While there seems to be plenty of service road parking, spaces seem to be in very high demand. With a car about to leave, another is waiting to move in.

Now Delganos is not so big inside and it was already full when six mothers with prams arrived and entered the shop. I can only conclude there is a courtyard at the back.

Naturally there is a large catholic church nearby.

Ok, on my way. The rest of my Clifton Hill visit in another post.


  1. Haven't been in that neck of the woods for ages, I must pull my proverbial digit out.
    Something about the extra wide roads rings a bell somewhere in the depths of my memory.
    Great photos, want that tin toy shop, too!

  2. maybe we should all go shares in the shop!!

    I remember the Clifton Hill event, it was pretty horrific :(

  3. Clifton Hill was popular with Melbourne's lesbian populous for a time, maybe still is, a friend used to refer to the area rather crudely as Clit on Hill. Not very pc in this day and age!

  4. I want that building, it's just lovely and fancy putting a paint shop next door and one on the other side. Love the windows and the chimneys, drooling on my keyboard.

  5. Hot Andrew dahling - far too much there to retain for comment.

    The first 'wonderful building' dining for Mutant is in the Style Moderne so can you please give me a detail - street, suburb, original pub name - so I can search for architect?

    The second tall pointy building looks like the old south yarra PO (on Osborne St corner) so maybe it was the old Clifton Hill library.

    I forget the rest ... good post though mwah mwah

  6. Michelle8:19 pm

    The McDonalds was an old brothel from memory was a very sleazy pub too as the brothel has moved around the back now high steel fences. And lucky you to get an express!! they come very few and far between from jolimont to clifton hill.

    Having to travel through Clifton Hill everyday twice a day, and the old joke was to "shoot" up Hoddle street. after the massacre shocking huh?

    Nice pics too!

  7. Get your thinking cap on Jayne.

    Yes Fenz......people of certain age will remember. Seems a lot of people like tin toys.

    Hehe Ian. That is naughty. I refer to area more widely as dykeville. But I think perhaps the girls have had to move a bit further out because of prices. Northcote and Thornbury is full of them.

    Oh god Jahteh, you are another phallic symbol lover. It is a very nice building. The brickwork from a distance looked great.

    Emstack, you will be surprised to hear that it is Clifton Hill. Well, could be North Fitzroy I supposed. Corner of Queens Parade and the start of Heidelberg Road. It is a triangular intersection. I think the pub is closed and the dining I was referring to was the Maccas at the rear of the building.

    The other building does look like the old South Yarra PO or the old Richmond one too.

    Hi Michelle. Great extra info, thanks. I did actually know what I was doing when I caught the train. I only sound dumb. The joke is in poor taste, but of course funny. I had not heard it before.

  8. Old pics at

    "Shows the first United Kingdom Hotel at Queen's Parade and Heidelberg Road, built in 1880 or earlier and reputed to have been used as a staging-house for coaches. It is a substantial cement-rendered two storey building with a slate roof and an elaborate arched verandah.
    (The building now on this site which has been converted into a MacDonald's was built in the 1930s)."

    Hastie Wardrop was the 1930's architect, and Flicker has a night photo with all the neon lighting evident.

    Thanks HR, and Wishing you a Happy Day 14/10 and all good things.

  9. I have heard of the United Kingdom Hotel. Maybe there is more than one. Wardrops was a clothing retailer? Menswear? Any connection? Will look at Flickr tomorrow. Happy day is nice. A big smooch would be nicer :).

  10. Nobody mentioned all the fucking mothers with prams. Hopefully they were just after you. I guess, after settlement it's too late to do much about it, so Clit-on-Hill here come, hey?

  11. Mutant, like white ants riddle a nice piece of fine timber, so mothers with prams have riddled Clifton Hill. Part 2 should be up tomorrow morning. Naturally I will wrap up with a totally biased opinion about Clit Hill.