Friday, January 04, 2008

Haircut in Brunswick Street

Post effort, huge.

The inner north of Melbourne is a bit of a strangeland to me. It has novelty value as I have really only been going there since we moved to highrise. It intrigues me. While we have our own distressed, shabby chic or just paint peeling old hotels, such as The George in Fitzroy Street, St Kilda, the Provincial Hotel looked good enough for me to take a picture. I think it is very old and I am hoping perhaps RH might have a tale or two about it. But then he was a more south side person before he became a west side person. I haven't been brave enough to enter what I think is a very trendy Provincial Hotel, but I think it would be quite nice.

You can see the tram tracks in Brunswick Street trailing off to West Preston. You may not know that along the other street, Johnston Street, a cable tram once ran.

I saw a mention of this cable tram somewhere and did quite a bit of research online only to come up with very little. I should go to the library and research properly for this blog post and get the facts right, but I don't have the time at the moment and why would I start doing proper research now?

But here is what I think. The cable tram travelled from Abbotsford, probably near what is now the Johnston Street Bridge, across Hoddle Street and past the Provincial Hotel and turned left from Johnston Street into Lygon Street and then down Russell Street in the City.

Melbourne's old cable trams were mostly replaced by electric trams. This route was not but a good bus service replaced it with the intention of it being an electric tram route, but that never happened.

The building in the other picture is just one I happened to notice. I know nothing about it except I think it is stunning. If I was around when it was completed, I think I would have cried with joy. Do we ever think that about modern buildings?

Still people still need to be told, click the picture for a bigger view.


  1. That building is beautiful. I especially like the sideways color variations.

  2. Interesting comment Daisy Jo. I would guess different brick makers at the time.

  3. I don't know the Provincial but I did know the old Rob Roy, which seriously challenged the old George as Melbourne's worst pub.

    And that building in your second photo was featured last year on the TV series 'Hot Property' in which a pub-singing girlie living there was renovating her apa-a-a-artment.

    Johnston Street cable trams are mentioned at the start of Frank Hardy's book Power Without Glory when bursting with joy Mr West (Wren) jumps aboard a tram just after successfully bribing his first copper.
    Well done!

    Meanwhile there's now a shopfront place down near Johnston Street bridge called Green PC which sells refurbished computers to the down and out, and is run by clever girls of uncomplicated beauty who when they smile you know they mean it.

    And that's what learning should achieve: what university is for.


  4. There's a great DVD on the old cable trams "Commuting by Cable",we bought ours at the City Museum(old Gold Treasury).
    Love those old buildings; nope haven't seen anyone weep for joy at the completion of those architecturally proficient yet aesthetically barren extensions of a designer badly in need of a penile implant.

  5. I think I may have seen an episode of Hot Property where the lass was doing a cheap reno on a Fitzroy place. I didn't realise it was the same place.

    I do remember that in Power Without Glory, but I had forgotten it.

    Humility Robert? Did you go to cmas midnight mass?

    Burn me a copy of the dvd and post it to me Jayne. Just kidding. I may buy it, if the budget allows! I do like some modern buildings though.

  6. Hey Andrew,
    I just visited the City Museum at The Old Treasury Building, yseterday. The most interesting exhibit for me was a video presentation about the cable trams. It had heaps of period footage and a commentary with lots of details about the Northcote, Collingwood, North Fitzroy, South Melb and Port Melb lines. It went for at least 15 mins - I didn't get to see the end because the we were running late and the museum was closing. But I found it fascinating and really enjoyed seeing the old footage of inner Melbourne --it was fun trying to identify various locations.

  7. cmas mass disqualifies me from dinner parties.

    And gymnasiums, trendy bars, breakfast cafes.

    All kinds of blah with no guts in it.

  8. It's a pity you had to mention cmas mass (your slip is showing) I had more to say about cable cars.

  9. Thanks Altissima. City Museum is on my list. I tried once but forget why I didn't get there.

    Aw Robert. Come on. Tell us how you used to be able to snap the cable with your bare hands.

  10. You got it wrong. I wore gloves.

    Only a public servant would leave prints behind.


Before you change something, find out why it is the way it is in the first place - unknown.