Friday, November 14, 2014

Roaming in Richmond

My paternal grandfather grew up in Richmond. I know the street where he lived but there are no houses there now as Jayne informed me some time ago when she took a walk. Richmond was an old working class suburb, populated by poverty enslaved Catholics, later Greek and Italian immigrants and then came the Indo Chinese, mostly Vietnamese, who made it their own and a couple of decades later, it is still their own. Of course if you live on Richmond hill near St Ignatius which is quite visible from The Highrise, you may not be so poor.

I used the train to get to Richmond and Melbourne Central was the closest station to where I was a the time. While I knew very well where the station entrance was, if you were walking north along Swanston Street, you might have a hard time finding it, with this sign way up high and hidden by shop canopies. Once inside Melbourne Central, you still have to get to the underground station and while the signage is adequate, you do have to use a couple of escalators to get there and then more escalators to get to the platforms. 



People generally keep to left on escalators, as they are supposed to do but I can never understand why there are not 'keep to the left' signs. I recall Pants informing me of the most terrible social crime you could possibly commit in London, that is not standing to the right on escalators. As I discovered, around the world there is not a common side to stand on escalators and there is no logic to it.


I have to translate train destination signs back to what I know. Thinking, yes South Morang was the Epping line. That will do nicely.


It had slipped my mind that photography is not allowed in our underground railway stations. Too late now. If you see something, say something, so the saying goes.


What are these things called? Coolie hats?


Decorations welcome you into Victoria Street in Richmond


Along with this arch.


Looking east along Victoria Parade. Tram tracks look nicer and are quieter when asphalt rather than concrete is used.



Oh, we’re from Tigerland,
A fighting fury, we’re from Tigerland...........so the club song begins. The not so local Richmond Football Club is called the Tigers. I like this work on the railway bridge at the beginning of Victoria Street, tigers pacing through what looks like bamboo.


On the other side of the bridge there is the bamboo but no tigers.


A muriel in a side street.


Tran used to be called Tran Tran and serves Vietnamese food. We have been going there for years. We like it a lot.


You certainly know you are in an Asian dominant area.


Mostly the streetscape is intact.


Non Vietnamese, in this case the local drug dealers. Everyone knows what they are about, but for some reason the police leave them alone. I better keep moving lest one of them comes over to bop the photographer on the nose.


I am not absolutely sure, but I think this hotel was where we used to go to see drag performances, there the stage was the bar itself.  It was called Dukes. But it could be further towards the city where Quint Cafe now is.


The council does try to make the street look a little nicer.


But when absolutely appalling buildings like this are allowed, what hope is there for street beautification. It wasn't noon when I was there.


In Church Street north of Victoria Street is the mighty Carlton United Brewery, with CUB buying out the Abbotsford Co-operative Brewery in 1924. CUB has some rather good history and historical photos on its website.


In Church Street are some very typical Richmond houses, small and plain as workers cottages were, but now quite expensive to buy as Richmond, being so close to the city, has become a desirable address.


Three massive Housing Commission tower blocks were built in Elizabeth Street, which runs parallel to Victoria Street, in the name of slum clearance. They produced the usual social problems that such public housing seems to stimulate.


While physically the blocks are well maintained inside and out, I am pleased to not live in one. They would be nicer if they had balconies, and some blocks in other areas have had balconies added. 


In Melbourne tram stops are generally quite close together. At times they are absurdly close and this one is less than two hundred metres from the North Richmond tram terminus. I caught the tram back to the more familiar but perhaps the less interesting environs of Prahran.


28 comments:

  1. Love the dinosaur on the mural

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    1. John, you know my attention to detail is poor. What dinosaur. Ah yes, got it.

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  2. Andrew, decorations and murals are very interesting but I would like to know what those decorations symbolize. I can'tr believe my eyes that tower blocks don't have balconies it is not acceptable in Poland. Tower blocks always have balconies even small but have.. I like Asian cuisine and what about you?

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    1. Gosia, I think they symbolise coolie hats, like hats people in Asia wear when they are picking rice. Because these towers were built to house the poor, it was thought balconies would lead to people being thrown off or jumping off. The windows don't open very far either. I like most Asian food, but not so much Japanese.

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  3. I am always fascinated by how suburbs change over time. The population and the status.
    The suburb I grew up in was very mixed. Parts of it were distinctly up market. We lived on the other side. Housing Commission homes, working class, big families. Mostly anglo-saxon, but a mixture.
    Now? It is all up market and big families mostly cannot afford it. It was a community when I grew up there and I doubt it is now...

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    1. EC, it is rather sad how a sense of community has been lost not just in high rise buildings, but it normal streets too. I have prepared a yet to be published post that references this where we last lived.

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  4. We have a Richmond too, but yours looks better ours is way out in the sticks and it been years since I have been there, so maybe things have changed.
    Merle............

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    1. Merle, I just checked. It is a long way out. Is that the Hawksbury River running through it?

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  5. No photography in the railway station? We used to laugh at cold-war prohibitions against photography in Communist countries, but it seems we are making fools of ourselves now. And given the proliferation of miniature photographic devices and of mobile phones, pointless given the impossibility of preventing surreptitious photography by determined terrorists who are presumably the target of such a prohibition. (They just need to hide a device behind a strategic hole in their burqas after all, don't they?)

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    1. Marcellous, these petty things, no photography and removing rubbish bins, make me feel like the terrorists are winning. Yes, burquas, a terrible threat to Australian civilisation. I was pretty open about taking photos, except the one where that said no photography and I suddenly felt watched. I had truly forgotten about the rule.

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  6. Love eating in Richmond when I'm down that neck of the woods visiting friends.

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    1. Allan, an endless variety of places to choose from and prices too. Try Tran next time you are there if you haven't before.

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  7. Those housing commission flats built to house the homeless from 1946 on were as ugly as all get-out. They certainly could have been better designed! Nonetheless I was soooo proud of our governments!

    But now our governments don't give a toss about the homeless. Cold bastards (state and federal) :(

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    1. Hels, I suppose some homeless, but mostly the displaced by slum clearance. As they cleared in Fitzroy, the government put them in Richmond and so forth. They were displaced from the slums to unfamiliar areas and unimaginable lifestyles. I've seen inside flats in a couple of them and they are quite spacious.

      Correct, no votes in the homeless, which is why dealing with is increasingly becoming the business of charities, which do receive government support, but it is not quite the same. The terrific housing project in the northern end of Elizabeth Street seems to be the way to go.

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  8. We were Tiger supporters when we lived in Puckapunyal and even came to Melbourne a couple of times to see them play. I'll see if I can find a couple of photos to email you.
    I wonder if those housing commission flats didn't have balconies so people in despair wouldn't throw themselves off?

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    1. River, you are quite correct about the balconies. That was the principle reason, and being thrown off by someone else a lesser one.

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  9. Sadly, I probably cannot email you photos of my boys age 6(M) and 6months(J) in their Richmond footy jumpers, they are not in my computer files, instead they are tiny 2 inch squares on a large collage board I made several years ago.

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    1. River, I was going to say, never mind, I know what Richmond footy jumpers look like, except I probably don't now as all that sort of thing has changed.

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  10. Thanks for the tour. The mural looks interesting. Was it done professionally, i wonder.

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    1. WA, often they are, with the owner of the wall paying to have the mural done to prevent tagging by vandals. Taggers are inclined to give some respect to mural art.

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  11. If I lived in one of those buildings I wouldn't like a balcony.. It would be a waste of time as I'd never go out there :) I know what you mean about inner city becoming so trendy, therefore expensive.. Just back from Sydney we were horrified at what my son and wife paid for a terrace in Surrey Hills, good thing they both have good jobs.. They should send my sweet granddaughter back home to Perth to Gigi :)

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    1. Grace, no I am sure you would not like a balcony. Surry Hills hey. Nice, well not really that nice, but interesting and very alive. Gigi, haha.

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  12. I love these shots. We have a Richmond too, only 10 miles north. However yours is much better LOL!

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    1. Well Keith, different, I am sure.

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  13. Those coolie hats, are they supposed to be some sort of lamp shade?

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    1. Having a closer look Haddock, they are wired so I expect they are lamps of some sort. Maybe the lighting is to just light them up. I haven't seen them at night.

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  14. I reckon, if we drive on the left, we should stand on the left on the escalators. We should also stick to the left on the footpath.

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    1. How radical Ad Rad. Drive on the right, so stand on the right of the escalator. The English really have it wrong then and we have it right. I agree about the footpaths. You are too young to remember or because you were foreign born in Canberra, we used to have lines down the middle of city footpaths to keep us on the correct side. I can't remember how closely they were observed though.

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