Wednesday, March 27, 2013

VCs, plaques and mosaic tiles

'Plaque fancier'

Peter Quinlivian, speaker at this month's meeting and author of Forgotten Valour: The Story of Arthur Sullivan VC: Shy War Hero described how the 320 page book came about from following the threads of scant text on a plaque happened upon by chance.  He wondered aloud whether he was in the company of other 'plaque fanciers'.
This was enough to send me back to update the post on the All England Eleven to include a photograph of the plaque on the footpath.
Peter generously shared how he goes about his research. He highly recommended the aptly named Trove where old newspapers can be read on line from the comfort of your own computer. As he warned - it is highly addictive!
The link to Trove can be found on the menu on the right hand side of the screen.
What Port Melbourne plaque do you find the most intriguing?

Stothert & Pitt cranes

The place where the re-furbished crane will be erected is being prepared. Of course, that is not the original location which is illustrated in the photograph below

image courtesy of Port Melbourne Historical and Preservation Society
The cranes look like giant industrial giraffes. The heritage architects, as required by Heritage Victoria, have photographed the cranes where they lay in a paddock prior to their re-assembly - abandoned, rusted and evocative. What a task to restore them! But once restored, they will probably look better than they did in 1980.
The cranes are represented in the Jan Senbergs paintings currently on exhibition in the gallery space at the Port Melbourne Town Hall. Sendbergs had a studio in Bay St in the 1980s where he painted this series - known as the Port Liardet Limner. He was intrigued by Liardet's story and his paintings. Like Liardet, and so many others, he began his Australian journey here.

Jan Senbergs Port Liardet Limner 

Be quick if you want to see them because they will make way for the Society's exhibition to accompany the soon to be released The Borough and its People - Port Melbourne 1839 to 1939. 

4 April 2013
Work has begun on the the installation of the Stothert & Pitt crane at the finger pier, Station Pier.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dear readers of the Port Melbourne Historical and Preservation Society blog
It was brought to my attention that a link to the photograph of St Joseph's School in the 'Ice Cream' post didn't work. It appears to have been fixed now.
If there is a mistake in a post, or you have some additional information, please let me know so it can be corrected or updated.
Thank you
Janet Bolitho

Not just cricket

This post takes its cue from cricket and is prompted by Australia's poor performance in the test series in Sri Lanka.
corner Rouse and Princes Sts
What does this unprepossessing corner have to do with cricket?  It was the site of the All England Eleven Hotel. The hotel was demolished in 1953 according to this account in The Herald of this week's date:

‘If you stand in Princes St, and look in through the windows of the derelict All England Eleven Hotel, you can see the sky.The hotel has lost its roof and is fast losing everything else, too, as demolition works go on.  Eventually, it will disappear and a block of flats go up in its place.
But memories will linger. ...
One of the port’s ‘old-timers’ Mr G Porrit, who lives a few doors away, remembers when the All England Eleven was the busiest spot in town.
The last licensee, Mrs M Cass – she is now licensee of the Queens Bridge Hotel, South Melbourne, said it was delicensed before the First World War. Later it became a guest house.
For many years its present owners Swallow and Ariell Ltd have used it as a store.
Mystery surrounds its name. But the first official English Test team visited Australia in 1876-7 a year before it was built. Another hotel, in Bay St, was called the All Australian Eleven.' (Herald 23 03 1953)
This corner is more significant for being the first place in Melbourne to be connected to the sewerage system in 1897. The plaque in the footpath on Princes St marks this very important milestone in public health.
cnr Rouse and Princes St, Port Melbourne

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Desperate for Ice Cream

My thoughts have turned obsessively to ice cream over this protracted spell of hot weather and it made me wonder about the best spots in Port Melbourne to buy an ice cream at various times.

Member Helen Barry recalls buying ice creams from a small shop in Crichton Ave, and apparently Woodruffs had a milkbar on Bridge St. People have mentioned that good ice creams and milk shakes were to be had from the dairy in  Graham St.

Perhaps these photographs might trigger memories

Ice cream van parked outside Missions to Seamen building 1987
Alison Kelly collection, courtesy of the Port Melbourne Historical and Preservation Society 
Kiosk on Station Pier , 1987
Alison Kelly collection, courtesy of the Port Melbourne Historical and Preservation Society
Have a look at this picture of St Josephs school, since replaced by the Bayshore complex on the corner of Rouse and Bay St.  See the Sunkist text on the wall? That was once the site of Swallow and Ariell's ice cream factory.

It would be great to hear members' ice cream memories. Leave comments below or email

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Many more boxes ahead

This first blog post takes a Port theme, following the government's recent approval of the Port Capacity Project.  A recent Port of Melbourne publication says that
'In the 2011-12 financial year 2.58 million containers - 20-foot equivalent units (TEU) were handled by the Port of Melbourne and container trade is predicted to double over the next 10 to 12 years.'*
There was a time not that long ago when using containers for transporting  cargo still lay ahead. So for this first foray into the Society's collection, I took the container as the cue and looked at some articles in the 1966 issue of the Port of Melbourne Quarterly which discussed the imminent container revolution. 
‘A footloose warehouse, the van container is earthquaking the shipping industry. Rail, truck, water and even air carriers are in a literal frenzy of adjustment to what is happening.'(July to September 1966, p38)
 By 1967 the magazine was reporting that 
‘... a new era in the entire system of transporting goods by sea, road and rail between points of origin and destination in the two areas (England and Australia) will come into existence in 1969. The consortium concerned is Overseas Containers Limited, which includes the large P & O group of shipping companies....
An entirely new dock complex, the Swanson Dock is being built.  (April-June 1967,p16)

Member Glen Stuart has provided a picture of that very first container ship - OCL's Encounter Bay - which arrived in Melbourne in 1969 on her maiden voyage. The vessel was the first container ship to berth at no 1 West Swanson Dock. This picture shows the Encounter Bay in later life in the Yarra River.

Compare the modesty of this ship with those currently arriving at the Port of Melbourne. 

The contribution of the container to globalisation is the interesting subject of 'The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger' by Marc Levinson.

* source Statistics: Expanding Melbourne's Port Capacity 7-12