Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Wellington Street Wander

Wellington Street branches off Dandenong Road, technically Queens Way, on the western side of Chapel Street, St Kilda. Queens Way was built as part of the St Kilda Junction reconstruction in 1966.

Let's begin with this photo of a nondescript building in Wellington Street. You may notice the steel pole. Generally steel poles are used only to support tramway overhead wires and not electric supply wires, but there is no tram in Wellington Street. However, there was before Queensway was built. In fact all Dandenong Road trams and motor traffic ran down Wellington Street. With effectively only one lane in each direction, can you imagine that today?  I will divert for a bit to share some photos I have saved over the years.


The old St Kilda Junction. The only thing I can recognise still being there is the spire of church at the corner of Punt Road and Toorak Road on the horizon, about a third in from your left. Punt Road rises to the top of the photo. The trams are in St Kilda Road and can turn right into Fitzroy Street or continue ahead down High Street (now St Kilda Road, St Kilda) and out of the photo left into Wellington Street. The tracks at your bottom right were I think for a tram that ran from Carnegie via Glenhuntly, Hawthorn and Dandenong Roads, Wellington Street and then down Fitzroy Street.


The redevelopment of St Kilda Junction must have been met with great approval as no doubt it was a congested nightmare to negotiate for vehicles and pedestrians. This photo is precisely dated in 1967 so I am a little confused by the tracks off to the left, presumably down Wellington Street when I thought the Junction redevelopment would have been completed by then. Maybe the tracks were just left there. Centre is High Street, now St Kilda Road, St Kilda and off to the right is Fitzroy Street. Our very own but modest flatiron building was of course demolished. The owner held out for a long time, receiving increasing financial offers to sell. Route 4 is now 67  and 4D route 3.


Another confusing photo with a route 16 tram seemingly coming along Wellington Street St Kilda. Maybe it has just come from a depot to take up service on route 16. Note the tramway signal box atop the verandah from where a signalman would control the track points for trams.


Just under the Punt Road marker is Wellington Street. It seems the reconstruction is well under way.


The very new Queens Way with light traffic and not the bank up of stationary cars often to be seen now. The only high rise to be seen is the Koala Motor Inn in Queens Road, now Conaught apartments.


Back to Wellington Street. I've long been conscious of this flat block as I pass it by all the time. It is not remarkable. I went inside a flat there once, but it was such a long time ago I can't remember it now. The flats are presumably rented out and the whole building has been sold. I would be very surprised if it is not demolished and a dominating monstrosity built there.


Next to it, this old house looks like it is divided up into flats. I can see it going too, hopefully not as it is fine looking house and worthy of restoration.


I am glad I took this photo of the sign in Queensway as it has now been changed. I think it's a cute billboard ad. The Windsor Telephone Exchange dominates behind the sign. Many people used to work there, providing phone operator services. I don't know what is in there now if there aren't people. "Connecting you now, caller." "Caller, do you wish to extend?" "Sorry Sir, there are no lines free to England. You need to book your call for Christmas Day."


Wellington Street is a mix of housing. Some have been turned into business premises.


Oh, that upper verandah does not look too safe without railing. Do you think the tape would prevent anyone falling?


This was not intentional, but in my files I found the same house back in the days when all traffic and trams ran along Wellington Street. Note the tram tracks are laid, as many were, with timber redgum blocks.


The house next to it, in the prettily patterned Hawthorn Brick I think, had once been stuccoed as you can see in the photo above. Lovely wisteria.


Two handsome Victorian houses side by side.


Another house being used for business purposes. The slate roof appears to be original and what beautiful mouldings on the front of the house.


18 comments:

  1. Andrew I love your old photos. But my favourite are Victorian houses because Victorian era is my favourite. It seems me the street is very interesting and different styles are there..

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    1. Gosia, yes, the street is varied. I think the more expensive properties were on one side and the more modest on the other side.

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    2. pgittins@iprimus.com.au5:06 pm

      Andrew, do you recall a pub and a set of small shops at the end of Wellington Street? They edged up next to the Astor Theatre. Do you have any photos of this end of the street? So many seem to be of the other end - the Junction - when the Chapel Street end had so much renovation done to it, too.

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    3. Sorry, I can't remember that but it would account for the vacant land next to the Astor. The pub and the shops probably went when Queensway was built. Interesting though, I didn't know that. A pub within City of St Kilda. Consult Pots, Punks and Pubs at St Kilda Historical Society website.

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  2. Lovely tour of whst was and is now.
    So many name changes over the years, it's no wonder some peoplr get confused.

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    1. WA, I see a vacant block on streets I know well and wonder what was there two weeks ago. They knock them down so quickly now.

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  3. So who was Wellington, when we have a city named after him here in New Zealand?

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    1. Ann, yours was named after the first Duke of Wellington who fought at the Battle of Waterloo. (haha, Gattina's town). I would guess our street was named after the same person.

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  4. I think I know every house and street you have photographed.

    Our Victorian house was there,
    our synagogue was off the old High St,
    we went to watch St Kilda at the Oval and
    our main shopping was in High St before they started the redevelopment project.

    Nothing was the same, after redevelopment.

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    1. Hels, the works to transform High Street must have had a horrible and lasting impact on St Kilda. Teh road really does divide the city. I imagine High Street was quite a good shopping area for everyday shoppers.

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  5. It's a hotch potch of a street, I used to go to a real estate that is on that street with an old client. There was also a boarding house on it too at one point (may still be there!)

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    1. Fen, it is a hotch potch and I never said it was beautiful. In the eighties our Jewish solicitor moved to Wellington Street from Balaclava. He went broke soon after. I didn't really note a boarding house.

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  6. Some lovely old houses there Andrew. I do like the Victorian era style but I think inside they were very crowded and cluttered with smallish rooms. it would be good to keep the facade while renovating inside to create more spaciousness. What a shame to have covered that pretty brickwork with stucco, I'm glad that got removed.

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    1. That is quite true River. Small, cramped, dingy and with little window light. They do look nice from the outside though. I've seen a couple of houses have stucco removed and brickwork exposed, back to the original. This is a new one for me and how much better it looks.

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  7. The old St.Kilda Junction was crazy but the old black and whites are faaaaabulous! How interesting to see the two houses then and now, probably find that the balcony railings on the first house are being upgraded, or the whole house is coming down .. I hope not !

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    1. Thanks Grace. I expect the house is undergoing renovations. It is far too nice to pull down.

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  8. Great photo history and tour.

    I've always found "railing tape" to be very elegant. But, yes, it is kind of the pits when you lean against it. Then again, you only do THAT once.

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    1. Mitchell, I have never thought of the tape as anything else but functional. Yes, leaning against the tape takes you on a quick learning curve, with knowledge you may never come to use.

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