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Lost Shops of Graham Street

Shirley Videion recalls the shops in Graham Street before the construction of the Graham Street overpass:

Graham Street was blessed with milk bars. The two most preferred by our group when walking on a Sunday were McCarthy’s next to the double storey house on the corner of Graham Street and Evans Street or McKenzie’s on the other side of the Graham Station on the corner of  Graham Street and Station Street. This was a double fronted milk bar reminiscent of the soda bars of the American teenagers. The milk bar section on entering had numerous double seats set cubicle like either side of the door with the milk bar opposite the door. The lolly shop was a separate extension. There were always groups of teens gathering at this popular spot.

Milkbar, corner Graham and Station Streets
Milk bar, corner Graham and Station Streets

On a Saturday morning I would cycle over the Graham Street gates to Caton’s the butcher in Graham Street, one door from Princes Street. I would try to get there by 7.30 am to avoid the crowd. It was an era  before supermarkets and shopping consisted of waiting three and four deep by a counter to be served one at a time. My mother had a penchant for the best quality food and Caton’s was the best quality butcher. The alternative butchers were on the opposite side of Graham Street, one of them a few doors from Clark Street, the other three doors from the hotel on the corner of Ross Street. The chemist O’Hearn was next to the hotel on the corner.

The grocery shopping was a nightmare on a Saturday morning. Scoble, and later McLennan’s grocer shop on the corner of Graham and Clark Streets also had shoppers three and four deep lining the counter. the grocer and his assistant would tend to one shopping list at a time while everyone else was sighing at the length of the list being attended to. All shops closed at midday on Saturday.

Happily Simmons fruit shop on the corner of Graham and Albert Street was a little more orderly.  Tucked down Albert Street, about six houses down from Graham Street was a place known as the ham and beef shop, where a woman specialised in cooking and selling corned beef. The post office was also on the corner of Graham and Albert Streets and also sold lollies, newspapers and comics.

But the greatest treat for me was Sidaway’s Milk Bar in Graham Street, between the butcher and the fruit shop. Mrs Sidaway’s hobby was to run a lending library. This was our only access to a library, as the council library was too far away, off Bay Street. Mrs Sidaway did not have many children’s books or comics but she had a good range of adult books and instead of the unknown (to me) Australian boys and girls stories I indulged myself with many adult wartime biographies, battle stories and murder mysteries.


  • Djuana Morrison
    Posted December 10, 2014 6.21 pm 0Likes

    Rob Bradley, my mum used to make those mashed potato cakes, she would have me in the pram in the doorway (1966) She said they had two sons, Freddie and Tony. Freddie still visits my aunt. Costa has passed away, Effie is still going. The fish shop was called Hatherlys before Costa and Effie. My mums name is Janet Morrison nee Murray, she lived at 64 Evans st back then.

  • Kaye Cardwell
    Posted February 5, 2016 11.44 pm 0Likes

    My mother and aunt owned the two shops in Graham St, just in from Willy Rd from approx. 1956-1965. Sadly, they are now empty but in our day was a thriving mixed business…. Milk Bar, some fruit & veg and lunch deliveries to many of the local factories including Kraft, Rootes, Frigrite, Tom Piper, etc. My aunt would deliver the lunches in an old Willys Panel Van. My sister & I loved school holidays helping in the shop and driving around to the factories with the lunches. Always a mad rush to get them there at the designated time to the factories. For many years after we sold the shop, our name remained on the window “Lynkye”…. after my sister and I, Lynette and Kaye. The garage on the corner was owned by the Jury brothers, next to that was Spotless Dry Cleaners (later a TAB) then our two shops. Those were the days….. Lots of laughter & fun shared with staff and customers.

    • Janet Bolitho
      Posted February 6, 2016 2.04 pm 0Likes

      Thanks so much Kaye – so interesting to hear about that group of shops and the role of your family’s shop in providing lunches to workers in Fishermans Bend.

  • sylvian chumbley
    Posted May 16, 2016 2.10 pm 0Likes

    who was before Tom piper in Graham street

  • Howard Gostelow
    Posted January 11, 2017 2.43 pm 0Likes

    I was the screen printer with Tom Piper 1960 to 1965.

    • Janet Bolitho
      Posted January 12, 2017 8.42 am 0Likes

      That’s so interesting Howard. We know very little about Tom Piper. What sort of products did you prepare prints for? Do you have copies of your work to show? We’d love to know more.

  • Colin Johnson
    Posted June 1, 2017 8.17 pm 0Likes

    I also remember those beautiful tasting mashed potato cakes,if I remember right the shop was Closed on Mondays as that was there preparation day I am talking about my school days at Nott st in the 50s, I am 74 years old and still think of them

  • Andrew Sipson
    Posted February 28, 2018 1.01 pm 0Likes

    As a young boy I lived at 39 Evans st. My grandparents had the surname of McIntevy. I was told by my mother that the house was moved to Evans st from the Lorimer St area when she was a little girl.
    My grandfather would walk me down to see the ships at Station or Princes pier. Now and again was a visit to the Queen Victoria markets for clothing.
    As my father was in the navy so we moved to Crib Point to be close to the navy base at Cerberus naval base about 1956.
    Sometimes I still think about Port Melbourne.

    • Geoff Edwards
      Posted April 3, 2022 4.08 pm 0Likes

      Did you ever get to runaway to sea and become a Buccaneer ?
      I remember you coming to visit your family on school holidays.
      We lived at 28 Evans Street….

  • John Radcliffe
    Posted January 1, 2019 5.07 pm 0Likes

    Does anyone know of a lady called Pugh or Radcliffe, I remember as a child going to a milk bar of cafe and she was my late mother’s mum. This would have been in the 1970’s .

  • Louella Grace Stewart
    Posted February 16, 2019 12.47 pm 0Likes

    The milk bar on Corner of Ross & Bridge sts was run by john & val O’callaghan their son was Sean & they later had a daughter Siobhan, They also had a German Sheperd called Sabu, I worked for them when I was nineteen & Sabu alway walked me home when I worked nights.

  • Jan Snowden
    Posted September 17, 2020 3.58 pm 0Likes

    There was another milkbar on the corner of Graham and Albert St, opposite the P.O
    From memory it was owned by 2 sisters. Always remember the recessed front window that had heaps of dead flies in it. That shop copped all the sun!

  • Pancho
    Posted February 19, 2021 9.22 pm 0Likes

    Hello, In another article on here, Freddy Martin’s butcher shop was mentioned as being opposite McLennans grocers (cnr Clark and Graham street)

    Would anyone know if Freddys Butcher shop was directly opposite or diagonally opposite?

    • Louella grace stewart
      Posted March 18, 2021 12.53 pm 0Likes

      Was diagonally across as far as I remember.
      I Think the Naughtons lived next door.

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We respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we meet and work, the Bunurong Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung peoples of the Eastern Kulin Nation and pay respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.