Thursday, 5 January 2012


Beware. This is a very self-indulgent post. Read on only  if you can tolerate reminiscences of times past. Otherwise skip this - it's really just for me.

When I went book shopping in Melbourne after Christmas, I wandered around Carlton and took some piccies of places I knew as a uni student, in my first shared house.

Here it is. I paid $4 a week rent for a room at the back of the left-hand terrace. Half of it was taken up with files from Student Travel.
Later I moved upstairs to an $8 room. It was worth the extra for privacy - everyone used to climb in through the window of my downstair room when they'd lost keys etc.

There were Op shops, butchers, potters and other low rent shops in Lygon Street, not just restaurants, clothing and knicknack places.

No Cinema Nova, no Brunetti's, but  Otto Pace made exquisite gelati and cakes where Donnini's is now.

There were gum trees, not plane trees, along the road.

Jimmy Watsons wine bar.  This is a real oldie - my Mum used to love JWs when she was a student in the 1930s at what used to be the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (not a university then - RMIT was 'the working man's college'. My Dad learned to be a lab tech at RMIT, Yin's uncle became an analytical chemist there).

The house where I first learned to cook rice properly - that is, not boil it into a soggy mass. It was a household of science and engineering students from Hong Kong. They used to have me in to dinner, teach me some cooking and let me try out my Chinese conversation. Lovely, patient people!
  Just at the side was Johhny's Green Room  - good for late coffee and company.

The Bughouse - cheap, grungy seats and great films.

Apart from the hospital and the university there was nothing built higher than two stories, now new buildings close the streets in.

Summer laneways all round the inner city used to blaze blue under great heaps of  morning glory. It seems to have been wrenched out everywhere. Tidy and bleak.

Having helped Jess look for housing around here a few years ago, I think that the out-door dunnies, old gas stoves, hot water only available from gas heater over the kitchen sink or from a copper in a back wash-house have all gone from these spruced up houses.

 So, ready to begin anew now. Summer and a new project.

No comments: