Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Old buildings in my street

I was going to send this in an email a to workmate, but I thought you might like to see some of the demolished buildings in St Kilda Road, the street where I live and I have elaborated. Most photos are from the State Library and the others have so many times been republished, their source is not identifiable. They are possibly scans from Judith Buckrich's terrific book, Melbourne's Grand Boulevard - The Story of St Kilda Road.

These are the Jewish alms houses. Hels will correct me if I am wrong but they were for poor elderly Jewish people to live. They have been replaced by the rather ugly Montifiore care place for the elderly. I like where I live. Should I put my name there on a waiting list? I don't remember the alms houses but a friend who is approaching 80 does remember them. Weren't they just delightful in appearance. They were in St Kilda Road at the corner of Union Street.


This is what replaced them, Montefiori Aged Care.


I certainly remember these houses. It is extraordinary that they were demolished and such an ugly building, the former St Kilda Road Police Station building erected.



What is now there was going to be turned into apartments with the developer wanting some extraordinary planning exemptions which I guess were generally denied, and office space within the building is now being leased out.


The BP, British Petroleum, building is now known as The Domain. It was even given its own tramstop, 17A It has been converted to residential apartments. Some politicians and other VIPs live here at the corner of St Kilda Road and Albert Road.


Now, well a few years ago when I took this photo.


There is a rather horrid building on this site now, built by developer Floyd Podgornik who committed suicide within the building. At the corner of Park Street and St Kilda Road was the Casa de Manana or as it was known at times, the Case of Bananas. It was a favourite watering hole for tram staff at the former South Melbourne tram depot and Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works staff who shared the same site as the tram depot. A little of Floyd's building can be seen in the photo below of the Hallmark.

As you can see, it was altered significantly. I remember it as the bottom photo.



On the opposite corner of Park Street and St Kilda Road was Sleights Funeral Home.


It was replaced by a high rise hotel called The Travelodge, at some point renamed to Holiday Inn. It was converted into apartments in the early 2000s.

As The Travelodge.


As the apartments, Hallmark.


The building Florida Flats on the corner of High Street was attractive enough but any garden had been concreted over making it not so attractive. It was sad to see it demolished.


What replaced it was the offices of AAMI Insurance. An acquaintance worked there at night dealing with calls from people who had banged up their cars. I believe the building is now empty and a developer wishes to to demolish the office building for apartments, no doubt a high rise.


This is a painting of Illoura and the synagogue on the far side of St Kilda Road that can be seen in my blog header photo. In a book about Whelan the Wrecker one worker was quoted at being quite distressed to be demolishing such a wonderful building. The perspective of the painting seems quite wrong.

This now sits where Illoura once decorated the street. It too is called Illoura (Plaza) but its life is limited as has been lined up for demolition too.


This was the home of the Victorian Racing Club but it was demolished and our apartment building was built here in 1999.

16 comments:

  1. It appears not to have changed for the better. Modern buildings just don't have the same character.

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    1. Marie, some absolutely glorious buildings along the road have been lost, with very few surviving. Yet still in the city, down come historic buildings for towers developments.

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  2. I much prefer the older buildings style. The alms houses in particular are lovely.
    Sigh. Progress is sometimes a very mixed blessing.

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    1. EC, real progress might be judged as working with sound and historic buildings to adapt, rather than pulling them down.

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  3. The alms houses were very pretty to look at, and the homes that preceded the police station too.
    I know it's awful to see these old places torn down, but I'm wondering if there is reasonable cause for this. Often such old buildings were constructed without damp courses being laid and over time this causes damage through rising damp which isn't always easily fixed. The house my kids now share, where I used to live also, is over 100 years old, or close to that, and there is no damp course so the house is suffering a bad case of rising damp (along with dry rot I think)inadequate plumbing and shonky wiring. I fully expect to go there one day and find the entire back section a heap of rubble.

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    1. River, yes, you have to judge each property on merit but damp courses can be installed in an old building and plumbing and wiring replaced. While that might cost more than knocking an old place down and erecting a new building, it would be far more satisfying and the result possibly outlasting a new building.

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    2. You're right and I was going to add that, but got distracted by Angel jumping up for a belly rub.

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    3. Understandable and forgiven.

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  4. Don't know if they use the term alms house for Jewish. Is same as our.
    I know I mention on my blog that I do genealogy and looking for one of my relatives in 1850 census. Philadelphia had what they call Blockley Almshouse it where they put the poor and mental ill, although they didn't use the term mental ill back then. But is some ways things don't really change. Usual it still sit up for the poor or some one weak have a harder time get them self up.
    To me it sad state.

    Our town have some beautiful building and the upper part would make some lovely apartments.

    Coffee is on

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    1. Dora, alms housing could be by anyone for anyone. It could be rephrased as charity housing. My city too has lots of second story empty housing shops. Not good.

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  5. Wasn't it a very pleasurable boulevard to live in or drive down? Now it could be any city in the world :( We have lost our specialness. All those old group facilities might have been to support the old, frail, blind etc, but at least the Victorian buildings were impressive.

    If you have the money, Andrew, do not go into a GIGANTIC care home. Buy a small beach house with a spare bedroom, then pay an aide to look after you in the dignity of your own home.

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    1. Hels, my memories of our street only go back to the early 80s and it is sad to see what has been lost even from then. I may be able to afford a personal carer at home. He can dink me on his bike to Albert Park Beach, while I admire his bouncing buns and wallow in my memories.

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  6. One does not commit suicide nowadays, it is no longer an offence punishable by law (hence the commit).

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    1. Quite so Fen. I should have said suicided or the weaselly phrase, took his own life.

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  7. From my poinyt of view the old buildings were magnificient but modern ones nnot

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    1. Gosia, everyone seems to agree.

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