Monday, February 22, 2010


Compiled from the book mentioned below and Mother's memories. It may or may not be accurate. I do my best but this post will be the next day's fish and chip wrapper.

Clarinda Primary School was my mother's school. She attended the 100th anniversary reunion in 1999. I hope I took some interest when she told me about the reunion over ten years ago. I can't remember.

Mother recently gave me the anniversary booklet she received that day. It made for surprisingly interesting reading.

For the main focus of the Clarinda area would be at the Huntingdale Road, Clarinda Road and Centre Road junction. Clarinda Primary is a little to the east and Mother lived a little to the west where her parents had a market garden. After her parents sold the property it became a Phillips electronics factory, at some point Hoover and is now a Bunnings hardware store. Where their house was is Bunnings carpark. Where there is native shrubbery bordering the house fence at the eastern edge of the carpark stood a huge cedar tree, only cut down when Bunnings was built.

The area was originally called Bald Hills but because there were many places of the same name, it was changed to Bayview then later Clarinda.

There was a reference in the book to my grandfather's property, but it was wrong, indicating that it was on the northern side of Centre Road and abutted what is now Huntingdale Road, referred to as a sandy track called Talbot Road, wrong again. Talbolt Road was further to the east. Huntingdale Road was correctly only a sandy track, but it was called Victoria Avenue and my grandfather's property was on the southern side of Centre Road. While I don't know what Huntingdale Road was called in the sixties, and it wasn't Huntingdale Road, I remember that it was a sandy track with a swampy area along the way. You could drive along it in a car, but sensible people would use either Clayton Road to the east or Cameron Avenue/Golf Road to the west. Mother reinforced this when she said that if they walked the track, they would go into the golf course to bypass rather than get their shoes dirty in the swampy part.

A check of my 1956 street directory tells me Huntingdale Road was called Box Hill Road South and north of Dandenong Road just Box Hill Road.

Speaking of sand, the area was sand, sandy loam but only tenuously loam. It was very much sand. Mother used to play on the sand hills. I think the highest sand hill where she played was one where Bald Hill Park is now situated From the top of the sand hill there were bay views, hence Clarinda's previous name Bayview.

I have just looked at the park with Street View and it does not look very high to me, but Mother said she recalls the constant parade of trucks bumping along the sandy Centre Road carting sand from the area to wherever. I will guess that Bald Hill was somewhat reduced.

My grandparents moved to the house they built in North Road, South Oakleigh when I was very young but I seem to have a memory of their house in Centre Road. It could just be implanted memory from stories but the memories are quite vivid. But what is an accurate memory is the milk bar on the corner of Centre and Clarinda Roads. It was your typical sixties milk bar, quite wonderful. It is now a block of vacant land.

Mother has her memories of the milk bar too. It was more than a milk bar, it was a local shop for local people and stocked all sorts of goods as well as being a post office. The content of the next couple of paras are pretty horrible. Read on if you wish.

The milk bar I recall was only built in the 1940s and was preceded by an older building. The owner was almost blind and Mother recalls visiting the shop and seeing the owner sitting in his little alcove with leeches on his eyeballs, to drain fluid I suppose. Yuk.

Mother and her parents and an uncle went to Oakleigh for shopping one day and when the returned they found the milk bar ablaze. The uncle rushed in and grabbed the red hot till drawer with the cash in it and they attempted to quench the fire but could not. The blind owner sat on a chair on the side of the road quietly crying as his shop and house burnt to the ground. The fire brigade arrived, but too late.

There seems to be only one famous person who attended Clarinda Primary School, Greg Shackleton, the journalist who was murdered in East Timor by Indonesian armed forces.

The was a personal reminisce in the booklet by someone who's name rang a bell for me. Yes, I checked with Mother, same person, and surprisingly he is still alive, in his nineties and in a Mornington nursing home.

Interestingly there was a continuing battle with the Education Department for funds for expansion and facilities. Some things never change.

The area of Clarinda is barely recongnisable to when my mother grew up there, but the, now very multicultural I would imagine, school is still going strong.

Hmm, the centre of Clarinda seems to have moved south.

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  1. ... after Phillips and before Hoover/Bunnings, that site was ASTOR records pressing plant.
    Used to go there a lot as they pressed for us in mid-70's.

    Was all that sand QUICK-sand ?
    How very Famous Five Adventures.

  2. I love reading all this about Clarinda..Bald Hills... love the names people come up with for certain areas.
    Looks like times changed for that area for sure, as it will ,and is, for the area I grew up in. Bulldozers takin'over! I should take pictures of where I grew up before the freeway and train station begin to be built. Come to think of it, I bet they chop down all those lovely trees out there too.. :(

  3. I worked at that struggling Phillips factory for about twelve months (transferred there when the South Melbourne place closed). At one stage I was spot welding metal straps for Holden fuel tanks (Phillips did sub contract jobs). I used to walk the long gravel track to and from (Huntingdale?) train station. After a while I began cutting through the golf links in the mornings, so much better. What a surprise to have worked right where your grandparents once lived. It's a small world, eerie at times.

  4. It was called Radio Corporation. I've just remembered.

  5. You have reminded me Brownie, yes Astor was there for a time. It was just sand, no quicksand. I loved Famous Five too, especially Timmy.

    Cazzie, yes, get and take photos. Never before in history has your ordinary public had such a chance to record history. Don't forget about your personal too. Photos of your present house.

    Small world indeed RH. But then nothing about you surprises me anymore. I don't know anything about Radio Corporation.

  6. Anonymous11:56 pm

    'Hmm, the centre of Clarinda seems to have moved south.'

    Would that be due to the shifting sands, Andrew?

  7. Ah, I know that Bunnings carpark well.

  8. More likely the map slipped Anon. Actually Clarinda really does seem to have spread well south.

    Shopping for a new Black and Decker Jayne.

  9. This is a local shop for local people, there's nothing for you here!

  10. Companys like AWA and Astor merged to become Radio Corporation, keeping their badge name. Philips eventually gobbled up Radio Corporation, using the name in official documentation ect. I was employed at Astor's plastic division in South Melb but when it shifted to Huntingdale I became an empoloyee of Radio Corporation. It's like when I worked for Godfreys, in paper work it was The Vacuum Cleaner Company.
    The Huntingdale factory had a very large sheet metal section, I was placed there instead continuing with plastics. I still saw the old plastics gang occasionally but they were in a remote corner of the place, it was a huge joint.

  11. EMPLOYEE of Radio Corporation.

    Instead OF continuing with plastics.

    'RH, come out the front. Right, let's see your hand now.'


    -Thanks very much you fucking bastard, I pissed in the ink barrel too.

  12. Round of applause to Fen.

    Interesting RH.

  13. I learned how to drive a manual car in that Bunnings carpark- will never forget that experience with my mate!

  14. You are a local lad then Samson?