Monday, 24 December 2007

St.Kilda Dreaming

St.Kilda Dreaming

The St. Kilda Triangle Development must be stopped.

I grew up on the Esplanade in the block Sur La Mer top left where this sign is.
We got off the boat [good ship Toscana] in 1958 and effortlessly slipped into an Australian- Mittle European neighbourhood that was a perfect joy to a young street urchin. My mother opened a strudel shop in the old St.Kilda market in Acland Street where the supermarket development now stands. She stretched her dough on wooden tables and cooked them in two Early Kooka ovens to the delight of many other immigrants and locals.
My father had a fruit shop in Acland Street opposite the old Excellent café so the hood holds precious memories to this old St. Kilda boy.
But that was then, now a new sensibility is called for.
How can a bunch of developers be so greedy?
The momentum for rethinking of this atrocity is growing and hopefully the council will see and be guided to understand that for the long term survival of St.Kilda as a place of character and a sustainable recreational precinct, this development has to be re-designed.

To add your support go to

Reflections of an old ‘St.Kilda Bocher

Sitting at my father’s side while he played cards at the Flamingo.

Sneaking in to the Palais and watching Erwin Rado from the top of the dome and not getting caught.

The smell of the ice at St.Moritz while listening to a scratchy Elvis singing Mystery Train around the rink.

Kicking a footy on the Peanut Farm.

Walking home from Lorca at midnight at the junction with the rhythm of flamenco in my head.

Listening to Pete Seeger songs at the “Fallout Shelter’ under the church hall on Brighton Road

Listening to the Stones and the Easybeats from the stage door at the Palais.

Lemon and Chocolate Gelato at the old Leo’s

Shnitzel at the Sheherezade and much later understanding the history after reading Arnold Zable’s extraordinary book Café Sheherezade.

Eating felafel with mates at the Lebanese restaurant on the corner of Chapel Street and Dandenong Road on the eve of the Six Day War thinking that the world has changed.

Coffee at The Black Rose

Sneaking in to the mock submarine from the movie On The Beach near South Pacific and painting a peace sign on it.

Taking guitar lessons from dear Rio Lani in Blessington St on a vintage Martin

South Pacific on weekends when families would order food from Fitzroy St to be delivered by waiters from Sarti to the beach.

South Pacific during the week where you could swim in through the broken bars under the surface and enter the set of West Side Story with the Wogs on the left and the Sharks on the right guarding the diving board. Not needing a towel because you could simply walk home……..

Much later

Watching the old Palais de Danse burn down, and much later again learning that it had a Walter Burley Griffin interior.

Opening day at the Dog’s bar with Don…

Have to stop…. Too much nostalgia.

One third the size is plenty for this development.

Thankfully the Astor has been saved.


Karina said...

Goulash at the Little Vienna, upstairs opposite the National.
Using my mothers Film Festival ticket for weekend sessions (at the Palais) and seeing European films. Celine and Julie go boating.
Schnitzel at the Blue Danube.
The smell of oranges in the waste baskets inside the South Pacific Hot Sea Baths.
Ice skating at St Morritz. Lindsay Fox buying the rink coz his kids enjoyed skating. Then it burnt down.
Group dinners and drinks at Katerina Caberet (where Big Mouth now is) and Rosie dancing with some Russian mafia type in a bad suit.
The George Lane bar. The George bakery. The George.
Steak and paprika salad at the vineyard.
And of course, the faded and old fashioned carousel and amusements on that little triangle next to the Palais....

Sunnybrae and all who sail in her said...

Yes Little Vienna with the Good Soldier Shweik style watercolours and always a lone diner reading in German.

stickyfingers said...

Great memories!

I don't understand the Port Phillip Council's desire to homogenise St.Kilda and turn it into Chadstone Sur Mer. The reason why Melbourne people flock to this wonderful place is for the fast disappearing character and the culture, not because it houses all the mainstream stores and suburban style dining venues.

Acland Street has lost its appeal to many because the wonderful Eastern and Central European character that it once lived and breathed, has been flushed out due to high rents and cashed up, image obsessed franchised businesses.

Fitzroy street seems to be home to roaming hoardes of backpackers in constant party mode, oblivious to what St.Kilda really has to offer and posers intermingle long the way...
...And now this carbuncle to be hatched on the triangle site. What were they thinking?

Sunnybrae and all who sail in her said...

The temptation for developers must be irresistable. The difference here is that it is not private land. I can remember when the Erskine House site in Lorne was leased to private developers, many of us could not believe [naively] that such use of public land could be made. Now look at it.
If nothing else the superb use of landscape design in bringing the Upper Esplanade into the Lower is inspired and should be on the Heritage register. We must not sit by and let this happen, there is still time. It still belongs to us.

purple goddess said...

If I could bottle the smell of St Moritz, it would be the smell of my childhood.

**happy nostalgic sigh**

Veg Out's apparently up for review by the council too, Safeway needs more car parking.

Sunnybrae and all who sail in her said...

Hello Purlple.

If they try to invade Veg Out there will be a revolution!