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A blog about the history of the former Melbourne municipality of Collingwood.

29 April 2012

Reaching to the clouds 52/18/3

I had forgotten how monumental the Clifton Hill Shot Tower is. And I really should have remembered as it dominates the skyline in Clifton Hill and Collingwood.

This 160 metre shot tower in Reilly Street (now called Alexandra Parade) and its associated factory was built for Richard Hodgson in 1882 to manufacture lead shot. The tower is all that remains today and is probably the tallest shot tower in Australia. It is circular in plan, looking like a tall chimney, and is a masterpiece of brick construction with finely decorated polychrome patterned brick bands at regular intervals. The semi-circular arched windows are also decorated with polychrome bricks. It is a fine example of a rare and distinctive building type - the only other remaining shot tower is to be found in the Melbourne Central shopping complex. The Alexandra Parade Shot Tower is of State significance and represents an era of industrial growth in the 19th century in Collingwood and the inner suburbs.

Richard Hodgson owned and operated the Lead Shot Works until 1887 after which it was owned by Alfred Harber and Simon Hughes. In 1896 it was purchased by Walter Coop, who also operated the Melbourne Central shot tower. It belonged to the Coop family for 90 years and remained in use until 1947.

Lead shot was made by melting the lead at the top of the tower and then pouring it through a perforated sheet which separated the flow of molten lead into streams. It was then broken up to form droplets. The droplets were shaped and solidified as they fell from the top of the tower, and were cooled by dropping into a trough of water at the bottom of the tower. The shot was then shovelled out of the water trough, dried and rolled down a stepped, inclined table. Undamaged shot cleared the step while damaged shot dropped through a gap at the bottom of the step and was remelted. The round shot was sieved to size and then polished in a rotating barrel for one and a half hours before being sewn into 13 kilogram hessian bags and taken to the munitions factory at Deer Park, in the west of Melbourne.

The Shot Tower is a landmark of Clifton Hill and was used by pilots flying into Essendon Airport as a visual marker to their location.

The Shot Tower is on the Victorian Heritage Register (H0709) and is classified by the National Trust (B3798)

Samian Social Club 52/18/2

Clouds frame the Samian Social Club in Queens Parade Clifton Hill. The Samian Social Club/Clifton Hill Yoga Studio commenced life with a building called the Albert Hall. The Albert Hall then with its entrance between two shops was built in 1886 for the Albert Victor Masonic Lodge No. 117.

In July 1890 the Clifton Hill Baptist Church commenced services here and operated from the Albert Hall until its church was opened around the corner in Hodgkinson Street in 1895. The hall was rebuilt in 1927 when a stone was laid in January commemorating 40 years of the lodge.

In the 19th and early 20th century while it was the Albert Hall, the facility was regularly used for community meetings and for prize nights for local schools such as the Misses Westgarth's Westleigh school.

28 April 2012

Clouds, cottages, Collingwood 52/18/1

This photograph is a contribution by the Collingwood Historical Society to the Flickr Friday Photos 2012 challenge under the theme of Clouds.

These cottages, named Dalkeith, Esk and Kinross, are on the east side of Wellington Street just north of Keele Street and their local drinking hole would have been the Phoenix Hotel on the corner of Keele Street though the residents would not have had to walk far for another hotel if they wanted a change. The cottages are outlined below on the 1900 Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works map where you can see that Esk and Kinross have baths and troughs. The cottages appear to have been built about 1883 from Sands and McDougall records. 

St Nicholas' Croatian Catholic Church Clifton Hill 52/15/3

This photo is a contribution by the Collingwood Historical Society to the Flickr Friday Photos 2012 challenge under the theme of Easter.

Pictured here is St Nicholas' Croatian Catholic Church in Hodgkinson Street, Clifton Hill. As with its Roman Catholic counterpart in Queens Parade it was not possible to find any sign of Easter services at the church.

The church was originally a Wesleyan Methodist church whose foundation stone was laid in 1886, though there was a church on the site from the mid 1870s which possibly survives in the oldest part of the hall. The parsonage was built in 1881.

Due to lack of attendance, the Methodist church closed down in 1961 and was purchased by the Croatian Catholic community who have made it a thriving religious and cultural community.

St John's on Holy Saturday 52/15/2

This photo is part of the Collingwood Historical Society contribution to the Flickr Friday Photo 2012 challenge under the theme of Easter.

You would have been hard pressed to discover the time of Easter services at the church of St John the Baptist in Clifton Hill - or any sign of Easter really. Presumably they would have been the same at the normal 6pm Saturday Vigil mass as a later dialogue on Twitter indicated.

Chocolate Paradise Pty Ltd 52/15/1

This photo is part of the Collingwood Historical Society's contribution to the Flickr Friday Photo 2012 challenge under the theme of Ester.

This shop at 312-314 Johnston Street, Abbotsford, has long been a tempting destination for those with a sweet tooth. Easter is one of its busiest times.
Photo by Pat Miller

Multi-Game 52/14/2

At the Park Hotel in Nicholson St., Abbotsford, the dart board of old has given way to more modern forms of entertainment.
Photo by Pat Miller

Transformers Pinball 52/14/3

This photo is part of the Collingwood Historical Society's contribution to the Flickr Friday Photo 2012 challenge under the theme of Games.

The many hotels in the Collingwood area have long been the focus for local games. Traditional games, such as darts, have now given way to games such as this electronic pinball machine In the red games room at the Park Hotel, Nicholson St., Abbotsford.

Photo by Pat Miller

Former Whybrows Boot Factory 52/13/3

This photograph is one of Collingwood Historical Society's contributions to the Friday Photo 2012 challenge under the theme Shoes.

Whybrows whose boot factory still stands in Hoddle Street Abbotsford was a big employer in Collingwood. Born of illiterate Irish immigrants in Ballarat St, Collingwood in 1871, John Wren like many Collingwood boys commenced his working life in the boot trade, working at Whybrows boot factory. Some stories say that while there he added to his income by a small scale bookmaking operation; others suggest that he worked for a bookie after his retrenchment from Whybrows in the 1891/1892 economic slump; another story is that it was a win on the Melbourne Cup that allowed him to set up business in Johnston Street. Whatever the truth of all of this John Wren was typical of many a Collingwood youth that he started his working life at Whybrows.

This photo dated to about 1920 is from the Museum of Victoria and shows the clipping room at Whybrows where the tops of shoes were cut out. John Wren would have been unlikely to have worked in this room as a skilled clipper.

Former Moderne style shoe factory 52/13/2

This photograph is one of the Collingwood Historical Society's contributions to the Flickr Friday Photos 2012 under the theme of Shoes.

92-94 Easey Street Collingwood provides this well-preserved brick and render factory in Moderne style, with distinctive details such as the sunburst keystone, doorway, stepped parapet and string mould.

Built 1933 for Norman Trescowthick, a well-known name in Collingwood boot industry, it was let it to Aristocrat Shoes Pty Ltd and later housed C J Braun and Co shoe manufacturers.

Former Trueform Boot Factory 52/13/1

The former Trueform Boot factory, situated on the south east corner of Groom and Roseneath Streets Clifton Hill, was one of many boot factories in the area. It is of particular interest as it was here that the well-known Australian writer Alan Marshall worked.

In the 19th century Collingwood became known as the capital of Australia's boot and shoe manufacturing industry. At the start of the 1900s south-east Clifton Hill was a mix of houses, factories and paddocks. Boot and shoe factories developed in east Clifton Hill from the 1900s and there were a large number operating in the 1920s and 1930s. The last closed down in the 1970s.

The Sands and McDougall Directories list businesses in the area over the years. The first listing on the Groom Street frontage was the Pitman Shoe Company in 1917 (37-41 Groom St). In 1923 Halsey and Son, boot manufacturers, had arrived, to be replaced in 1924 by Trueform Boot and Shoe Co Pty Ltd. The Trueform Boot and Shoe Company were listed at 43 Groom Street until 1936, but by 1938 had gone into liquidation and had been replaced by A Pattison and Co., furniture manufacturers.
This photo is one of the Collingwood Historical Society's contributions to the Flickr Friday Photos 2012 challenge under the theme of Shoes.

Alan Marshall worked as an accountant at the factory during the early 1930s Depression and vividly recorded life in the factory in his autobiographical novel How beautiful are thy feet. The book was first published in 1949 and refers to the factory as the 'Modern Shoe Company'.

Pioneer Abbotsford nuns 52/12/3

 This photo is part of the Collingwood Historical Society contribution to the Flickr Friday Photos 2012 challenge under the theme Cemeteries.

The gravestone photographed here is not in Collingwood but honours the ten Good Shepherd nuns who established the order in Australia in 1863 at Abbotsford. The nuns were originally buried at the Abbotsford Convent but in 1975 were reburied here in the order's burial ground in the Boroondara Cemetery at Kew.

Former Phoenix Hotel 52/17/2

This photo is part of the Collingwood Historical Society contribution to Flickr Friday Photos 2012 under the theme of Wildlife.

There isn't much wildlife around Collingwood - or at least I didn't see much this week. This connection is a bit of a stretch of the imagination and an assumption that a phoenix was wildlife, albeit mythical wildlife.

The building shown here which is on the south west corner of Keele and Wellington Streets in Collingwood is the former Phoenix Hotel. The hotel started life in 1875 as the Woodthorpe Hotel but from 1885 to 1919 it traded as the Phoenix Hotel. It was delicensed in 1919.

Nowadays the corner door opening has been filled in and the ground floor window frames altered, but otherwise Michael Torpey, publican from 1887 until 1892, could return to his hotel today and have no trouble recognising the exterior, although he might be a little surprised by the paint colours.

21 April 2012

Wildlife in Clifton Hill 52/17/1

This photo is submitted by Collingwood Historical Society as part of the Flickr Friday Photos 2012 challenge under the them of Wildlife.

There isn't much in the way of wildlife per se in the former municipality of Collingwood, but these penquins were spotted on display in the video shop in Queens Parade this morning!

15 April 2012

Easy win over the Rainbows 52/16/2

Later in August 1893 the Rainbows didn't manage to score a goal against the Collingwood Juniors.

Magpies beat the Rainbow! 52/16/1

The Mercury and Weekly Courier announced on 20 April that the junior Collingwood side successfully played the Rainbow at Vic Park. The Rainbow team appears to have hailed from further north in Coburg.

05 April 2012

Dusk over Victoria Park 52/14/1

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