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Pye Street

Pye Street (highlighted). Robinson’s Street Directory of Melbourne and Suburbs, Ed 3, c. mid 1940s.

Pye Street is a short street running from Williamstown Road to Dunstan Parade in Garden City. It is named for former Victorian State politician, Henry Pye.

Henry Pye was born on Christmas Day, 1873 to a farming family at Burnewang near Rochester, Victoria. At a young age he worked as an apprentice carpenter and by the time he was 19 he owned a building and contracting company. Selling that business he went to Kalgoorlie, WA and in partnership with two other people built bridges for Western Australia Railways. Returning to Swan Hill he repurchased his original business becoming a prominent builder in the area as well as being involved in several other businesses and civic affairs.

From 1917 to 1935 Pye served on Swan Hill Shire Council including as Shire President 1931-32. In March 1932 he won the by-election for North Western Province in the Victorian Legislative Council and subsequently served as a minister without portfolio in the Dunstan Government from 1935 until his death in 1942.

Henry Pye is remembered by the naming of this street in Garden City through his work as Chairman of the State Housing Commission which oversaw the development of public housing on Fisherman’s Bend. On his passing, members of the Parliament paid their respects to him via speeches of condolence with two specifically referring to the housing scheme at Fisherman’s Bend.

… Mr Pye was of a very friendly disposition – a characteristic that has been eloquently referred to by previous speakers. His sincerity of purpose won our confidence, and we supported him unstintingly when he was propounding the housing scheme in which he took such a marked interest. He applied his practical knowledge to that scheme, and the residents of Fisherman’s Bend will have good reason to be ever grateful to him. A new city was created in that area, and I never pass it without feeling that the late Mr Pye played an essential part in bringing it into being.

W H Edgar, member for East Yarra Province

… On many occasions when in his company in this building or walking along the streets of Melbourne Henry Pye would break off a conversion to draw attention to some work by a master craftsman. He knew what good craftsmanship was, and, whatever he did, he did well. He always tried to lay a good foundation for any work he started.

I think the State owes Mr Pye a debt of gratitude for having prepared the housing scheme at Fisherman’s Bend, not only because he believed the houses should be a good quality and sound construction, but also because the scheme be for the benefit of the community. Underlying Mr Pye’s honesty of purpose was kindliness to his fellow men.

P P Inchbold, member for North Eastern Province

Henry Pye is also commemorated with a fountain located in the median strip on McCallum Street, Swan Hill. The inscription reads.

This memorable fountain is dedicated to the memory of the Honourable Henry Pye, MLA and Mrs Pye and former pioneers who, by their community spirit, work, and trust steered Swan Hill from a primitive village to the city of today.


References

Parliament of Victoria, Re-member (former members), Henry Pye, https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/about/people-in-parliament/re-member/details/24/1504

Parliament of Victoria, Legislative Council, Condolence Speech, Henry Pye, 9 April 1942, https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/images/members/attachments/cs_pyeh.pdf

Monument Australia, Henry Pye, https://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/people/government—state/display/33635-henry-pye

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