Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Destructor

Sounds like an Arnie movie title.

I thank Miss Ann O'Dyne for her assistance with her freely shared knowledge.

It was a pleasant warm night as R and sat on our balcony sipping our cocoa (who spluttered then?) and sortin' the world before retiring to rest. What's that building? R queried. A new building has appeared on the horizon. I don't know. We tried to pinpoint its location, but we could not at night.

Slightly in distance new high rise buildings don't enter our consciousness until they are poking a few stories above surrounding buildings. There is a boom in highrise building in South Yarra now. Cranes to the left me, cranes to the right, the old succumbing to the developer's might.

At some point the next day I remembered the building and took another look. In the daylight I could tell it was a bit behind the Jam Factory. What large site is there that could have large highrise buildings built upon it, I wondered. Right, online maps. I could only note a large barren site from an aerial photo.

Now, I could have worked it out myself, but in my experience, it is better to ask someone who might know of some 'colour' surrounding whatever you ask them about. Contact Miss Ann O'Dyne.

Within a the bat of a bat's eyelid, she replied. It was The Destructor! That is the local Prahran tip and incinerator. She added plenty of colour in her response, much of which won't be of interest to you.

Would you believe right back in 1908 there was a letter to The Argus newspaper complaining about the smoke from The Destructor. From Trove.

16th June, 1908
Sir,-Yesterday the Prahran destructor
was again making itself most obnoxious to Hawksburn local residents. It was pouring out a huge volume of smoke, which borne by the north west wind, carried its disagreeable odour over houses and gardens far and near. How much longer is this intolerable public nuisance to be allowed to pollute the neighbourhood?
Yours sincerely,
Hawksburn resident.

Here is a relevant photo at Picture Victoria. I don't believe The Destructor was closed until at least the late 1990s, maybe even into the 2000s.

Jam Factory (seems to be covered with green mesh) with the new building on the site of demolished Prahran Destructor. I always assumed the chimney was part of the Jam Factory but it seems to be The Destructor smoke stack. Maybe I should actually take a look at what is there. When is my next day off.


  1. We have a "Jam Factory" here in Adelaide too. I believe ours is some kind of Arts Centre, although I should probably find out for certain before putting such a statement up here.

  2. aww ... South Nostalgia SE2
    4 Hawksburn Rd 1965
    9 Hawksburn Rd
    24 Hawksburn Rd 1968
    14 Fawkner St 1977
    6 Darling St
    13 Alexandra Ave.1980.
    Chapel Street was heavy industry in 66.
    the brickworks, Custs knitting mills, Andersons Hosiery, and Henry Jones' IXL jams. Factory workers poured into the pubs at 4:30 and The Imperial was a real tough clientele, I also recall The Newbridge fondly.
    The one in Hobart is a deluxe boutique hotel now. I wonder where the jam comes from these days.

  3. *snort*
    The jam is made from imported (dare I say inferior?) ingredients due to the fact all orchardists were priced out by subsidised competition from overseas.

  4. Having worked at EPA for five years until 2000 all I can say is that I hope that the property was thoroughly cleaned of contaminants before the developer started to build.....

  5. River, sounds like a better use than for shops such as ours is.

    Seems like a lot of places Ann, but it was over an extended period. Don't forget the abattoir.

    I was afraid of that Jayne.

    Indeed Kath. I would think so. It is usually the developers responsibility, which is a bit of a worry.