Our history books can be purchased from:
Avenue Bookstore, 127 Dundas Place, Albert Park,
Victor's Dry Cleaning in Armstrong Street , Middle Park
Or you can purchase - right here
Postage for either one, two, three or all four books
is now a flat fee of $12.00.
(Please email the Treasurer for International Postage or more than four books.
Albert Park - Gardens to the Sea. It is here at last! From swampy land and a military reserve, Albert Park has grown into a desirable bayside suburb centred on St Vincent Place. This first volume on the history of Albert Park explores the environment and Aboriginal inhabitants before European settlement, design and significance of St Vincent Gardens, the buildings of St Vincent Place, their many notable residents, the outdoor cinemas, the sea baths and the foreshore.
Middle Park - The Way We Were introduces the reader to daily life as it used to be in our suburb: our early shops and the way we shopped in them, decades and even a century, ago; the role that the beach and bowling club played in our social development; the way the suburb was laid out and developed from the beginning; the disappearances of the milkman and his horse and cart, and a bit later, all the large and small industries that once dotted our suburb. It tells too the stories of some of the young men who went to the Great War and didn’t come back, and invites some of our Greek neighbours to tell their own stories of how they left their homeland and came here as migrants in the 1960s and 70s. Lastly, we hear some tales of the darker side of Middle Park, of robbery, mystery and murder.
Readers investigating The Way We Were will find much to surprise (and delight) them. Who was Madame Brussels? Where could you swim and sunbathe naked? Were there really three butcher’s shops in Armstrong Street - all at the same time? What did the Milkap factory make? Where could you go dancing every Saturday night? Was your house once a shop? Or was your apartment once part of a factory? There is a real sense in these pages of knowing and enjoying what was here before.
Middle Park – from Swamp to Suburb traces the development of Middle Park from its beginnings as a swampy and wooded area adjoining the Yarra River to a pleasant suburb with wide open streets fanned by sea breezes. Development of the area as a residential suburb did not begin until the 1890s and followed the draining of the swamps and a short military phase.
What makes Middle Park unique is that the period of most intense development coincided with the Edwardian style of architecture resulting in a suburb of fairly uniform housing styles. Some of the grand dwellings built in the early period include Montalto, which went from a gentleman’s residence to a school for Catholic boys to become the headquarters of the Hare Krishna; Hughenden, the grand residence of the founder of Buxton Real Estate which was, for a period of seventy years, the headquarters of the Danish Club before reverting to a private home; Lanark Terrace, a grand terrace of six houses that were demolished in 1974 under controversial circumstances; and a dwelling at 39 Harold Street that has seen three houses on the site, including one used as an unofficial Nauruan embassy.
Finally, the large complex that was the Convent of the Good Shepherd has been mostly replaced by a mix of public and private housing and only a former school building remains. Two further chapters explore two interesting former residents of Middle Park – Louis Ah Mouy, a prominent Chinese entrepreneur, and William Clark Oxley, who set up a rope factory in Langridge Street.
The Heart of Middle Park is the first in the historical series published by the MPHG. Its stories mainly centre around the central village of the Armstrong Street shopping centre. At one end of the street was the former Middle Park railway station and now a light rail stop, and at the other end on the foreshore was the former Middle Park Baths which fell into disrepair and was demolished in 1961.
In Armstrong Street there is the Middle Park Hotel, still surviving since its construction in 1889; the Middle Park Theatre which for a time was known as the Arrow Theatre and where Frank Thring was actor/manager; and Esmonde’s Bakery on the island between Erskine Street and Canterbury Place. Armstrong Street was also famous for the annual Old Buffers Carnival and associated football match.
Around the corner in Canterbury Road was Sam Brown’s shoe shop, a long-standing family business well known in the area. And in nearby Neville Street was Honeybone’s hat factory, a thriving business during the times when hats were fashionable. Finally, no community is without its churches as the story of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church tells. A history trail and a chronology of Middle Park completes the book.