Friday, January 07, 2011

City Living

Fancy living in the City? I don't really. I like it where I am on the outskirts. Parking for visitors is hard enough here, but surely nearly impossible in the City. Perhaps it was fifteen years ago that friends of friends lived in an apartment in Spring Street. They moved after a while as they were quite social but no one would ever visit them because of the parking issues.

Of course living in the City is not new. Pre 1930 possibly, certainly in the 19th century many did. Whores, pimps, thieves, and god forbid, Chinamen did. Some of the City residents were even quite respectable and had decent houses to live in within the City boundaries. Now that would truly be luxury.

Naturally most of the houses have gone. Progress is one of those words that I always worry about. There is nothing wrong with progress per se, but when it comes at an expense of our history, care should be taken.

I know of at least two houses left in the city, although I am sure they are no longer used as houses. One is quite grand and the other a bit more modest.

I took this snap as I passed by in the Latrobe Street tram. No tram tracks, so can't be William Street. I went past on the tram, so not Queen Street where I would have alighted from the tram. It must be King Street.

I remember this a bit better. It is in Queen Street, just south of Latrobe Street. It is very very nice. Below is another snap. I reckon I could live in this one. Now where is the bell for the servants?


  1. they are all explained in that book I sent you months ago.

  2. Verrrrry nice, indeed.

  3. The top one is the corner of King and La Trobe. My Walking Melbourne guide (published 2008) says that the family which has run the shop for "many years" still lives in the residence upstairs.

    It's one of very few pre-gold rush buildings in the city (the shop was completed in 1851).

    The bottom one is also one of the city's earliest buildings and was built for John T Smith, theatre proprietor, hotelier and seven-times Mayor of Melbourne, in the mid 1800s.

    I have thought about living in the city but I think I much prefer the fringes as well.

  4. The small house seems not to be in the book Ann. I think when the the book was published, the focus was more on grander buildings, rather than what had survived. I enjoyed flicking through the book once more.

    Jayne, you'd be looking for the servants' bell too.

    Librarian, I do recall that now. I knew it was some kind of shop downstairs. I wonder if they owners are still residents? They weren't so young. Although we have lost so many Victorian buildings, it is nice to see something plain and unadorned survive. I think there are some pre Victorian buildings in Little Lon at the eastern end. It is nice to be within walking distance of the city, but not actually live there.

  5. Anonymous11:47 pm

    Andrew , the top photo where its the small white house, I remember quite a few years back when on the city circle tram on Latrobe street they said this was a womens hospital and its the only part that is left , obviously not used for hospital now....

    Im sure my memory hasn't failed me on this ...

    Correct me if Im wrong am interested.


  6. Yeh the top one is King St, it has a little coffee shop at the bottom. I pass it daily, will take a closer look next time I'm stopped at the lights.

  7. Michelle, I heard of this house a few years ago and I am scratching my head trying to remember if there is any connection to a hospital but I can't. It gets a mention in various circles every so often, so I will find out.

    Coffee shop Fen. I will go there then.

  8. I went past it tonight and have since 'oogled it and voila:
    Russell House -

  9. Thanks Fen, a very concise history. But instant coffee!!! Not sure I will visit then.

  10. Thanks FEN for that link about the little house in the first photo - I loved the photo of the little dog who lives there and all the background info.