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|Joseph & Daisy Meilak||https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-221414704/listen||https://trove.nla.gov.au|
Barry York talks with Daisy Meilak.
I’m interviewing Mrs. Daisy Meilak, it’s the 18th of September 1984, the interview is taking place at Ascot Vale in Victoria.
I’d like to begin by asking when did you first have contact with Maltese people in Australia?
When I knew your uncle, or before hand because it was through a Maltese that I met your uncle.
Who was that?
Oh that was Mick Pace in those days, he lived at Sunshine. I was about 16 and a half year old then.
When was that?
He lived out at Sunshine?
Yes they’re a very well know old family out there at Sunshine, lived in Moreland road.
What was his story, do you know when he came out from Malta?
No he was very illiterate, and very, could just talk and that’s all. We met him through business, he had two brothers, Sam & Charlie, and there was him.
They were in Moreland road and my mother was in business and that’s how we got to know him.
And what did he and his brothers do?
Oh well when the first came they use to work in the Albion quarries. Then Mick turned around and opened up a fruit shop in Mount Alexandria road in Moonee Ponds. And you know from then on, so that’s how it was that I started there.
And you said you met them through your mother, how?
She was in business in the Victoria Market, and ah you know how you get to know people, and that’s how it was, just came there doing business and that’s how I got to know him.
Then through him you met are…?
He introduced me to Joe. Joe had only been out here for 18 months then, and Jo was living, had a room at his house in La Trobe Street, and that was it.
What house was that?
Oh don’t ask me, it was a house down there in Spencer street, between King and Spencer in La Trobe street.
Is that the one that was owned by Maltese?
He was Maltese, he was Maltese, Mick Pace.
I see it was Mick Pace’s?
Mick Pace’s house yes, and that’s how I met Jo. I went out. In fact, Mick Pace was rather keen on my sister, and ah she was interested in another man, but I wasn’t allowed out with Jo for 18 months on my own, because my mother though I was too young. You know that was the old idea. And Jo being a Maltese, well it’s like foreigners, you didn’t know who or what they were or anything else, you know. We use to just go to the pictures and have tea and one thing and the other. Then of cause when I was 18, I was allowed out, she could see Joe was respectable and he was trustworthy for me to go out with and that’s just how it was.
Apart from Mick and his brothers, did you meet any other Maltese people through them?
No, I wasn’t sort of interested in anybody, I just use to go to the pictures and that with Joe and back home, you know. And then when the wharf strike was on, my uncle would come to town for business, he came to see me and ah he got Joe to go up with him while trouble was on and work for him in the brickworks in Yanco New South Wales. And while we was up there, ah there was trouble with the Government, and Lang [John Thomas “Jack” Lang] who was Premier, he closed the banks. My uncle just said to me, what are you and Joe going to do and I said, why and he said to me, are you going to marry him. I said oh one day. Well he said to me it’s this way. If you’re going to get married, I can’t keep him on while there’s married men and families out of work. And he said you better think about it, so we had a talk and I wrote down home and I said I’m going to get married. And they though the worst naturally and I turned around and we got married, we’ve been happy ever since, we’ve had our struggles in life.
What was the attitude, the idea of marrying a Maltese person in those days?
Oh terrible, that’s why my sister had to go out with me, she was older than me, and I wasn’t allowed out with him because, it was Maltese, he was a foreigner, you know and ah that’s just what it was. 18 months she came out with me because I wasn’t allowed, when my mother saw that he was respectable and he was trustworthy with me, well then she allowed me to go out, you know with him, couple of nights a week and weekends and that was it.
So was the anti-foreign attitude not just anti-Maltese?
It was just foreign ignorance, we never, in those days Barry, if you turned around and was a Catholic and from a Catholic family if you went out with a protestant, oh it wasn’t welcomed at all in the family, you know. So its very similar to that with the foreigners, see but apart from that you know it was alright. But I’ve never regretted ever, marrying. 54 years married going on 55, not bad, that’s right yes, yes.
When you met so in 1928 was it you met Joe?
Yes, oh no it would be 26, we married in 1930.
So you met in 1926?
Yes, I went out with him for 3 and a half years before we were married. And that was ah, what 3 and a half years, that’d be about 26, 27 wouldn’t it, go’in on for 27.
So during those years did you through Joe, did you meet other Maltese people in Melbourne?
No, I only knew Mick Pace and Joe, Charlie and Sam, that’s all. And really when I was going out with Joe, when he introduced me to Joe, my mother was very strict who he was and whether he was respectable you know, because in those days there was a terrible lot of Maltese livin with girls, you know. And she was very particular who I was to associate with, which you couldn’t condemn her.
But its interesting that there were enough Maltese in Melbourne for people to be aware of?
Oh, there wasn’t that many really, I don’t know. But I never ever sort of associate with them or that you know, I didn’t know them or that. Well as I say we knew Mick Pace and Charlie and Sam and Mick was the oldest of the three brothers and ah, my mother had faith in Mick and that and he knew how I was brought up and he wouldn’t dare introduce anybody that was a bit suspicious to me through my mother because he knew she wouldn’t tolerate it, so that’s what it was.
You mentioned before about the ah, or before we started taping you told me a bit about the depression?
Yes well after I met Joe and when we got married in 1930 as I told you, the banks was closed, well ah, I said to Joe, I said, I’ll marry you on conditions that Christmas time I go down, no Easter time I go home. He said to me you can go home. So, the first week we were married ah, we turned around and he came home, and he says here you are, you can go home now, and I said what so quick, you know, young and excited. He says, there’s me cheque, I’m finished. He said the banks are closed on Uncle Fred. So, I said oh, so anyhow we finished up and we came down here, well that was the beginning of the depression, I think the depression started in 1929, and um, of course we had our struggles. I was home for a couple of weeks, well I didn’t want to live home, they didn’t want me home as the saying is, so we got a house in North Melbourne and from there we shifted down to Stanley Street. [West Melbourne] When we got the house in Stanley street, the agent Walsh and company turned around and asked who was going to pay the rent, if Joe wasn’t working. And he got in touch with my mother and she said I’ll stand for their rent, they’re all right. And we shifted down to Stanley street, and when we shifted down there well that was alright because we had about six or seven young married Maltese families in Stanley street [West Melbourne].
In Stanley street itself?
Yes, yes there was about six or seven. There was the Alulles, then there was us, then there was um, Vella’s then there was um Farrugia’s, Agesise’s, and Seeney’s, yes. We were all young people.
I know it was a long time ago but I’d appreciate as much detail as you can give me about them, I know it was a long time, do you remember anything about when they came over here what jobs they did if they were working?
Well half of them weren’t working, we were all on the sustenance like the depression, and those that did work, done a day or something at the Albion quarries. But mostly as I say all along there [in Stanley street] they were all um, young marrieds and um, everybody was on the sustenance. It was a matter of eight and six a week in those days, I had um, our rent was eleven shillings a week. That’s what it was and Joe use to do the house up, like paint it and keep it nice, and I use to go down the street with me eleven shillings in me hand when Mr. Walsh use to come along, he use to go along you know, knocking on the doors for the rent, and I use to go down the street with me eleven shillings. He use to say to the others, this is a very good woman this, she always comes and meets me for the rent, but I was frighten of me door being open and he could see we had it all nicely done up because he’d tell you “out” I want this house to rent, see and that’s what is was. What happen after the owner was a woman and she come with him once and looked through the house and she said to the agent she said look, give them whatever he want, papers and paint, to care for it, you know we use to care for the house.
Say with the um, Alulle family, were they married, was he married to a Maltese?
All married to Australian girls, young Australian girls yes, and um, when you go out to Eunice, you’ll meet one of Charlie Seeny’s girls, I think she’s about twelve months than Eunice, see and they were all along [Stanley street]. In those days ice cream man use to come in the afternoons with the bell and who ever was out. The ice cream man would come and who ever had money, like might be Charlie, it might be Joe, it might be um Frank Farrugia, we’d all turn around and see who ever had money and the kids’d get a penny ice cream each [happy laughter], it was a great deal. You know what kids are, three or four-year old’s.
The families you mentioned were mainly um, out of work, were they?
All out of work, Frank Farrugia and Charlie Seeny use to go out fishing, well if they turned around got more fish than what they wanted, well we’d get a bit of a handout, we might get two or three fish. He’s [uncle Joe] told you about the bananas.
I don’t know if that’s on tape, could you tell us again about the bananas?
Well the bananas, well Joe goes down the market with Frank Farrugia one day, and when he goes down there he’s got a fella cleaning up the wholesale fruit market and he’s taking bananas down to the tip, you know not the tip a sort of a hollow business, and he says to Joe, “do you want some bananas?” Joe says yes, first he thought he was joking, but then he turned around and it was true and he said yes, he says two boxes, he got a box for himself and Frank Farrugia got a case and they’d come home. See we were all that poor and no body could afford much, that they’d all be dished out. You’d get some, I’d get some, somebody else, you know it went right down. We were a good lot. She’d go in the market, a cabbage like that, a penny, everything cheap you know. You could get a leg of ham there for two bob. We’d get a plate of fish down the market, an ordinary dinner plate full of fish and one on top and that’s for two bob. You’d turn around and get it out, and um when Eunice was coming home, we were all on sustenance, well in those days well we got, I had, there was Joe and I and Eunice, I’d get eight and six a week from the town hall, like from the relief business in those days. Well one grocer, Montgomery’s in Spencer street said to me one day, “Mrs. Meilak do you come from the country?” and I said no, I said I come from Ascot Vale. She said “oh I always thought you’d come from the country, the way you turn around and manage the money I had” Eight and six for groceries, two bob for bread, five shillings for meat and that was it, you know, and I had a room let up in my place there, and I had an old man there, he was on a pension, well he use to give me seven shillings a week for that room, see I only had four shillings to make up for me rent. When Eunice come along well I use to get um a tin of lactogen for her, for her um like milk cause I couldn’t breast feed her cause I had no nourishment myself not alone to provide for the baby, and we use to turn around and get like that. I tell you we were bloody poor Barry, Joe use to go down and get a sack of um coal, I’m just saying, a sack, a sack full of coal, he use to sell it for a shilling, [Joe corrects the number] two bob was it, to turn around and that’s the only way I got Eunice’s baby cloths.
[Joe explains] I had a truck, a two wheeler truck, I took it up there, and use to be a lot of um, where they dump the trucks, the coal before the tip, and then they put the line on it, well outside the line you can dig where you like and fill the bags from here and when you cant get it there, I use to go near the boats and they tip it for you see, I know a bloke there, you know the coaly and he’d tip it out and we’d pick it up. Once she was with me, Eunice in a pram and a couple of police men behind us, I was going home with the truck, and one I can hear the police say “look, look at that coal nar its clean, they pinch it, he said don’t be bloody silly they other one. One wanted to see the other didn’t want to see. Anyhow and then he come and open and says look I told you it was all clean, he says where you got it from, I says from the water there you can go have a look. He said I told you, the other copper, he said I told you that not pinched or anything. I says you go there I said anyhow when they tip the coal to the trucks I said there’s a lot in the water, I said there we’ll get it, pull it up let it dry, tell them lies and um and um dry and then pick it up I said its only in the sea there anyhow he says alright go on see.
So anyhow when she turn around oh that was alright, when you were on sustenance in those days, it isn’t like the unemployment today, if you turned around you’d have to get, do some say for instance you got a dollar a week, well ten bob a week relief pay well you’d have to go to either the zoo or down by the shrine or something and um get your, catch you hours out, what ever money you got cut so many your hours out and that’d pay for her. Anyhow um we turned around we done that well, Eunice I think was about eleven months old, she wasn’t walking, no ten months old, she wasn’t walking. Joe got a letter that he’d have to go for three months up to Albury on a railway line just for, just for, um work. He’d get a certain amount of wages it was in those days and um he had to allot a certain amount to me, well he was away for three months and I saved seventeen pounds, well I thought I was the wealthiest woman going, I never saw so much money in all me life. So we turned around and we done that. Another time we went to Dromana, well then after that the wharfs started to pick up, they started to get the sea licenses and he was working, well that was it. We turned around and we saved and we had two hundred and fifty pounds wasn’t it, that we bought the house with, we thought we were rising in position, we thought we were rising in position. We thought when he come back on this and he started work on the wharf again that we wanted to get something a bit more nicer than Stanley street. So I went up to Walsh the agent and I said to Walsh, um “I’d like to buy a house” and he said “what.” I says I’d like to buy a house and I said to him, he said to me yes, he said “how much money have you got?” I said “two hundred and fifty pounds” and he says “Um, I’ve got the very house you want and I’m showing you nothing else.” He took us to Hawke street, and we got the house. He said “I want four hundred and fifty pounds for this house” and I says “but I’ve only got two hundred and fifty” He says “that’s alright I’m taking you to a bank” He took us to a bank in Elizabeth street and we got the other two hundred pound. I said to him now look before I start I had me house in Stanley street, I said “before I start, I said these people have got to get out haven’t they” he said “yes” well I said I’ll buy the house on conditions, these people shift in my house in Stanley street. He said to me ah “I don’t know” well I says “I don’t want the house” I said they’ve got four or five children here and I said ah, they’ve got to have a house. Anyhow I got it that way, that Schofield shifted out of Hawke street into Stanley street and I got me house, we went to the bank and we paid the house off. So anyhow we got that so by this time.
Which number was it do you remember?
What, 195 Stanley street, 110 Hawke street, yes so ah I turned around and we got that and ah then of course Eunice went to school and that was it. I finished up selling Hawke street, Hawke street bought this house, but I always liked properties and I bought a couple a houses lower down. I said to Joe I said I got a bit of money there, I says what about us buying a house, oh he said no. No, no that was before this, and I said to him, I said ah I’d been through these, I’d been through houses and I knew if they were only four roomed houses, but they were brick and they were solid and I went up to ah Mr. Riack of Walsh and Co. and I said to him ah those houses down in Hawke street I says that’re up for sale, he said to me “ yes” I said “what do you reckon they’ll go” he said “are you interested in them” I said “ah yes I don’t know” I said “I am” so he said to me right, he said to me ah “how much money have you got” and I said “I think I had three hundred pounds” in those days.
When was this, when, what year?
Eunice was going to school, Eunice would be about seven, about 1949. So anyhow we turned around and we got there and the auction’s coming on and I happened to look around and when I did, ah before this Joe and I had a talk about em, I went down to Mrs. Whittle and I said to Mrs. Whittle that was one of the tenants in the house, was she interested in buying. She said “no I’m not interested in buying”. Next door was a policeman, Ron Fletcher and he turned around, he was here a while ago, and he come in and I said to Mrs. Fletcher “can I go through this house” she says “what for” I says “I think I’ll buy it” she said “no you cant come through here, I don’t want to let anyone through here” I says “too bad” I says “ I’ve been through here before you’ve lived in it, and I says I know what the house is” so she says “oh”. So anyhow the day of the auction, I go down to the auction and when I look around, I see this here Jimmy Woods, his mother lived a couple a doors down from us. Jimmy Woods use to work for Simpson the agent, and ah, I said to Mr. Riack, I’m leaning up against the fence like this and I said to Riack I said what’s Jimmy Woods doing here, “oh he’s just here he says to boost up the price” he said. “If it goes whatever Simpsons told him to pay, he’ll buy it”, he said. So, I said “oh yes” so I thought Jimmy Woods you’re not here for nothing. I love buying properties Barry and I thought myself, your not here for anything so I’m bloody well watching him and he goes up and up, these two houses and goes up and these days rents were fixed, I couldn’t have what ever I wanted to charge, the government fixed them. So I said da, I’m watching him, all of a sudden Riack turns to me and says “go up a bit more, go up twenty pounds he says, Woods is finished, can’t go no higher” So I go up and I buy the houses see, Joe’s working, when he comes, he’s coming up because he knew like in the, I said to him what will I do I says I’ve got no money and Joe’s working. He says “have you got a bank book?” I said “yes I’ve got a bank book” so I gave him the bank book and Joe’s coming home at five o’clock at night and as he’s coming up Hawke street a woman goes down to him and puts her hands on his hands and says “oh Mr. Meilak, she said, I’m so pleased she said, you got the houses.” And Joe didn’t know what she was talking about and she said “you’re my new owner.” Joe says “Am I” and she said “Yes” so he turned around and we had Mrs. Whittle, so we had these two ah houses and I said to Mrs. Fletcher, “see I says I didn’t have to go through the house, I said I knew what I was buying. So she said to me “oh well that’s alright”. So ah Riack had told me before this he says they’ve got these houses but as soon as ever they’re ever sold the fair rents board will put them up again. He said they’ll be up a bit more. So I’ve got Eunice here going and in one of these houses was a Maltese, which we got to know him “Frank Tabone was no relation to you was he?” no. Anyhow he was there and ah, no he wasn’t there. We bought the houses and Mrs. Whittle was there and I said to Joe we’re going to sell one of those, oh I wanted something for Eunice, for school, and he said to me don’t ask me for nothing, he said I’ve got no money. He said go down there and ask them to give you some money. I says oh yes, I says oh well I’ll turn around and I’ll see about if Mrs. Whittle wants to buy her house. So Frank Tabone, Frank Tabone come the night that we bought the house, Frank Tabone come home, and he says to Joe I’ll buy one of those houses off you, he says I’ll give you a thousand pounds for it. I think I paid seventeen hundred and fifty pounds for the two houses, he said to me “I’ll give you a thousand pounds” he says “for one of those houses” I said da, “no I don’t want to sell them.” So anyhow he’s living up with another Maltese, Massee’s in Dryburgh street in a bungalow. Massee’s in Dryburgh street North Melbourne. He’s living in the bungalow and he’s got three children, she’s Maltese, she can’t speak English and he’s there. So I said da, I’ll tell you what I’ll do, “I’ll ask Mrs. Whittle if she wants to buy the house, I said cause I’d only bought them for investment and I said if she wants to buy the house I said and if not you can have the house. So I went down to Mrs. Whittle and I said to Mrs. Whittle “I’m going to sell one of these houses” I said “do you want to buy it” she said “I’ve got no hope of getting any finance”, she says “we’re too old” she said and Gerrard Wyattiying wouldn’t turn around and give him, Bill any money and I says oh yes, so I said well its this way I says Frank Tabone wants to buy the house, I said he wants to give me a thousand pounds for it, but I said you’d have to get out, I told him I’d come and ask you first, she says oh well I cant do it. So anyhow Frank Tabone finishes up and buys the house and shifts in, that’s alright then I’m standing on the veranda one and a health inspector comes along and he says to me “are you Mrs. Meilak?” And I said “yes” He says do you own Fletcher’s house down there, I said “yes” He said to me “why don’t you do some repairs to it” I said “look I told Mrs. Fletcher when I bought those houses that I had no money but if she wanted anything else done to come up to me and tell me and I’ll get Joe to do it or you know be fair with her. He says “oh” I says “look never mind about him being in the police force and trying to show authority, I said I’m not worried at all about him” So anyhow I went down and just said to him “that’s a very nice thing you’ve done”, he says to me “well look Mrs. Meilak its this way he said, they’ve come into the office, he said and want repairs and got us he said and so he said that’s the sort of people dealing with”. Well anyhow that was alright, I sold Whittles, there that stood me in about seven hundred and fifty pounds. Well then Eunice decides to get married, well I didn’t want her living in rooms or anything else, so I go down to Fletchers and I said.
Excuse me what time period are we in now, is this after the war or?
Oh yes this is after the war, this is are, how long has Eunice been married, 28 years ago, oh no, no 30 years ago, so this was in the 50’s, yes. So, I went to Mrs. Fletcher and I said, “Mrs. Fletcher I says I would like to have the house vacant” and she says “what for” and I said “well there’s an auction I said Eunice and Joe are going to get married” and I said “I want them to either live in this house or else I want to sell it” she says “how much do you want for the house” I says “fourteen hundred pounds” she says “I wouldn’t give you that” she said “when I shift I want to go into a new home, I wouldn’t give you that for that” I says “oh well that’s just up to you” she says “alright” so I said I want the house for them to go in because I didn’t want them living home with me and I didn’t want her going into a room. Well that was alright a few months after, a few weeks after Mrs. Fletcher knocks on a door, she said to me “Mrs. Meilak, do you still want the sell that house?” and I said um “yes but not at the price I offered it to you for, I want more for it” “Oh she said, ridicules” So she goes off, she finishes up giving me three thousand pounds for the house see, that was alright. Anyhow later on in life when Laurence Helen and Moore played cricket, she buys up at Kilsyth, she invites me up, when she invites me up, I said this is a nice house and praised it you know and she says you know who I’ve got to thank for this don’t you and I said no who, she said da you. She said because if couldn’t have sold me that house, I wouldn’t had this house. A few weeks ago, a few months ago there was a nock on the front door, nock on the front door, Mrs. Fletcher had come in as good as anything, you know all that was done. Oh, crickey we’ve had an uphill then.
With the ah Hawke street, when you first moved into Hawke street, was Frank Tabone already living there?
No, no, no they shifted down, they were living up in the old, few years, we were living there a few years and then they rented this house you know.
Where there any other Maltese families in Hawke street?
Oh, there was different families, but I didn’t associate with them, there was Joe Zerah, they lived up next door to Briscoes.
Are they the ones who had a boarding house?
Yes that’s them, and um, there was Saleba’s they lived up in Railway place, that’s right you could say more or less in the street.
What did the Saleba’s do you remember?
Oh he was on a wharf too, scab on the wharf he was, and ah he died, she’s dead, yes Tootsie’s dead, and um, there’s two fella’s living there now, I forget their names, you know Joe and Frank, they’re still there still there I see by the telephone book, Zella, yes that’s right they’re still living there I saw their name in the telephone book the other day.
What did they do?
Oh, I don’t know, [Joe says one works on the wharf and one in the railway] I couldn’t tell you. You know we just give them the time of day, we never associated with anybody, you know. We were always nice and that with them, but we never got friendly.
Say in that period, late 20 through the late 30’s what contact would you have with Maltese people in Melbourne?
Me, I never knew anybody only Mick Pace that introduced me to Joe. See I never associated with anybody else Maltese or that, but it was more like when we.
But what about say the neighbors in Stanley street [West Melbourne]
Oh, this is when we were married, yes oh yes well, I still see, there’s still, well I don’t know if Vince Eleiu’s still alive, Frank’s dead, Mr. and Mrs. Seeny, I often see them, they’re living in North Melbourne still, and uh, Ula’s dead, Mick’s dead, Frank Farrugia, they’ve all died. Ages and living down here and Gorsie’s, you know we knew them, but we weren’t people for running in and out houses or getting too close, you know what I mean. Tony Gorsie, now if you speak to Tony Gorsie, and Enice you’ll see her, she’ll say hello uncle Tony how are ya, see. Camilleri’s sister had the fish shop down there in Spencer street, ah. We was always sort of friendly with them but never got that close with em, you know.
No, I don’t know Angelo, I don’t know where he came from. Well the name’s familiar but they may as well be Buttigieg or Borg or something like that you know.
One thing I’m trying to work out, I’m trying to paint a portrait in my mind where the Maltese were in Melbourne in the late 20’s to the late 30’s?
Well all over the place.
People always mention what, King street, Spencer street, West Melbourne, I wonder ah like you mentioned the fish and chip shop?
Camilleri’s, that’s Tony, that’s Tony Gorsie’s sister, see Stella is Tony Gorsie’s wife. He’s eldest son Georgie went to school with my Eunice. Even last time there was a gathering at St Mary’s and um, Georgie Gorsie come up to Helen and he says hello you so she says I’m not Eunice you know he says I know your not Eunice, but Georgie Gorsie and Carmel Camilleri and all of them, they were all brought together. We weren’t people for going are. Parmast’s, yes Jenny Parmast’s cousin, oh we were very friendly with them. In fact, Julian Parmast, he’s dead, Julian Parmast and um, Dolly Parmast are god parents to Helen and Laurence, yes see, and they’re cousins to the other Jenny Parmast.
Say in the late 20’s through to the late 30’s if you were walking along Spencer street, King street or Hawke street what would you see?
Yes, you’d see them all. That was like Joe Palmast, his cousin. Everybody knew the Parmast’s, in Stanley street. Delores Camilleri, she use to go to Palmast’s that was the sort of meeting place for the likes of me, I’d be up there every Saturday night with my kids, up at Parmast’s. Joe Parmast would be down there at the club with the fellas. He had a carrying business, well he turned around and he had to sort of be there if there was any business going, you know. Then next door to Camilleri’s in Spencer street there was a café, a fella by the name of Pisani, he owned that. Joe Pisani, that’s right. Well he died.
What end of Spencer street is this?
Right opposite Sand’s & McDougall’s, just up from La Trobe street, between La Trobe and Jeffcott street see and that’s where those lot was.
Did you say a coffee shop?
No fish & chip Camilleri’s, he had the café, Joe Pisani had the café, restaurant. That’s right and then there was Tony Gorsie, he had the wood yard and carrying, see but he just lived next door but one you could say in Roden street, hey well, now there he’s sold that yard and he’s got that other place in King street now, and that was just that, we were apart from going to Parmast’s every Saturday night and Villeras.
Can I ask you about some places in King street and Spencer street that I’ve heard of?
I believe there were a couple of boarding houses, there was Zarah?
Zarah lived in Hawke street, between Spencer street and Adderley street.
Did he own, did he take people in?
Yes, yes. [Joe speaks, Before that he use to have where I use to live in Lonsdale street, Zarah. Joe Zarah in Lonsdale street where I use to live.] But since that then I’ll tell you where they lived in Lonsdale street, he had, he use to take people in and that. You know where the electrical place there is on the corner of Spencer and Lonsdale street on that side like, what is it some Melbourne City Council or something, yes well something, he lived about four or five doors up there. That’s right, well they shifted from there and they come to Hawke street. Well Mrs. Zarah’s dead, Joe’s dead. Well that was Joe Zarah he lived in Hawke street. Who else did you wan to know about in Spencer street?
I was going to ask about the barber actually, was it Tony Porteli?
No. Joe Buttigieg, yes we use to call him Joe Butt, Buttigieg. You know dad told you about him, where they use to meet from the boat, and he got the letters and that. Next door his brother, Joe had the barber’s shop and Joe had the sort of, I know he did but that was a sweet, something like a milk bar, yes a milk bar, Buttigieg that was their name. Joe refers to them as Joe Butt when he turned around and come from off the boat and he went to King street to pick up somebody to find out where the taxi driver took him, well that’s the shop where it was.
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Context and Streetscape
This property resides within the municipality of the City of Melbourne. We respectfully acknowledge it is on the traditional land of the Kulin Nation.
historical map source: https://www.slv.vic.gov.au/search-discover/explore-collections-format/maps/maps-melbourne-city-suburbs
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This streetscape contains a collection of interesting Victorian buildings because they are a particularly well preserved group from a similar period or style and because they are socially and historically significant buildings for the early development of North & West Melbourne in their own right.
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