Garry Gillard > souvenirs > Eighth Avenue. See also: Maylands photos, Maylands Primary School.

Eighth Avenue Maylands in the 1950s

A few notes about the bit from Railway Parade halfway to Coode Street.

NE Side

From the southern end, at Railway Parade, there was, on the eastern side, and still is, the 1906 Peninsula Hotel. If there is/was 90 Eighth Avenue, this would be it - tho its street address is actually 219-221 Railway Parade. It's now the headquarters of Dome Coffees.

The hotel looks to me to have lost a bit of its land to the Jehovah's Witnesses. Looking at a Landgate aerial photograph from 1965, kindly sent by Iain Fraser, I can see that the stables were still there at that time - on what is now part of the church's block. On that NW side of the hotel, there was a high wooden fence with a wide gate which allowed access to a row of stable buildings along the NW border of the hotel property. In 1906, when the hotel was built, horses still provided transport.

Landgate aerial photo, 1965. Peninsula Hotel at the bottom. Eighth Avenue diagonal from bottom to left. See if you can pick out the yard behind the hotel, with the gateway opening. On the upper left side of the yard is the stable building I mentioned. Next to the upper left is the Smith house, then the Ashworth house, then our house, with Mum's small garage next to it, and Dad's much bigger workshop (where he repaired pianos) with the lighter coloured roof. That's all up towards the top left corner. Hope you can figure it out.

On the other side of the yard from the stables was the men's urinal, a noisome, functionalist structure which simply provided a wall against which to piss. There's a brick structure still there which may be the original, tho the toilets have of course been upgraded to Dome standards.

The SW corner, now a cafe, used to be the public bar. No women in there, except behind the bar. I don't think I ever had a drink in there. I'd left home to go to work in Narrogin when I had just turned 20, and the legal age then was 21.

I did, however, later, play a gig in the saloon bar, which was adjacent to the NW, playing piano with my Dad on bass. I was reading everything we played from Dad's large collection of books and sheet music, as I've never played much by ear. The highlight of the evening was provided by a drunk leaning over me (I had my back to whatever audience there was) and slurring, 'Can you play Please Release Me?' The song has become for me the epitome of a song to be sung (badly) when drunk. I'm afraid I don't think Dad had the music for that, so I couldn't play it.

Outside the public bar there were wooden doors in the floor of the verandah, on the SE side. They could easily be opened to give access to the cellar. I remember the guys from the brewery delivering the kegs which, back then, were still made out of wood by coopers. There were two large bits of wood in place to provide a minimal chute, and the delivery guys slung a couple of ropes around each keg, and lowered it down the chute to the cellar. I'd love to see what it looks like down there. No longer any need to keep the beer cool. I've looked at the floor of the verandah, and it has all been made good now: no access to the cellar from there.

We used to ask the delivery guys, 'Got any rubber balls, Mister?' I still don't what the small hard black rubber balls had to do with barrels, but they sometimes gave us one, which we loved bouncing, to see how high they could go. It was a simpler life then. No smartphones.

Next to the pub was the Smith house at 94 Eighth Avenue. I think the sons were Ian, and Lee, who was about my age.

Next was a vacant block. In about 1950, a house was built on it, at 96 Eighth Avenue, for Wally Ashworth's family. The father was totally blind - from WW2, I think - and he used to go to work every day (across the railway line) to the 'Blind School' in Whatley Crescent (now a ballet academy or some such). He was understandably not a happy man, and I vaguely remember one occasion when he was trying beat Wally with his cane, which Wally laughingly evaded.

Those two houses (at 94 and 96) were both removed - perhaps as part of the construction of the very ordinary Peninsula Tavern, which is still there. I've never had a drink in that either. The Tavern parking area came right up to our fence - I think we at least got a new fence out of it. The old Peninsula Hotel was condemned, but saved - long story, some of which is told on the website of the Maylands Historical and Peninsula Society.

Then, later - and I have no idea of dates, or the ownership of bits of land - on that part of the site where the two houses were, was built the ridiculously named Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses.

Our house, at 98, was wooden, and had a 33 foot (10 m.) frontage, and I think may have been one of the first houses in the street. I'm guessing this photo was taken in the late 1950s, maybe even by me. Showing the number like that (hidden next to the gate, between the pickets) looks like the kind of thing I would do.

Here is an earlier and more graphic photograph of the house, with my uncle Frank Reudavey (born 1904) and my grandmother and grandfather standing in front. Frank married my Aunt Adie in 1934, so it's later than that, but before 1943, I think, as Grandad has not yet built on the final room which would take up all of that corner of the verandah on the right of the photo. The apparently wooden steps would later become concrete. The door on the left leads to the front of the two original bedrooms: there was a flyscreen door and then a pair of French doors. Not at all secure, but then in those days we always left the back door unlocked at night.

The next house, at 100, was and I think still is a brick building. In my time, it was Mr Wood's. I think he may have married again (or very late) with Mrs Wood, who had a cat, and played the banjo-mandolin, painfully slowly. I took this photo of the couple in their backyard.

Then another house that seems to be a pair with 100, and is also still there. ... And then the Fowler house, which until this month was still exactly the same as in my youth, except that it may have had a 'new' fence that was only fifty years old, unlike the house, which was more than 100 years old. Len had put a notice over the front door with the family name and the date, but I would have had to go back and read it to see. Too late now. I'm guessing 1900s.

I got this snap of the Fowler house at 104 from Google Maps just in time, February 2019, as I've just heard that the house has been demolished and yet another block of townhouses is under construction. (I've since learnt that Google Maps has archived all of its streetview images - in our case back to 2000 - thanks again Iain Fraser.)

Lenny Fowler was a legend, driving an MG (TC, I think) and marrying at least one Donnybrook Apple Queen.

Then I think the Kings' house, which I think might be original - as is the very old and decrepit tree still on the verge - tho not for much longer.

SW Side

On the opposite side, coming up (west) from Railway Parade, there was a workshop, and then a large vacant block. One of the businesses based in the corner building was Russ Gracie Auto Electrics.

In the 1950s a TAB building was built in the vacant block over the road from the pub. It's still there, which is a bit of a pity, as it was always really ugly. I hope it hasn't been become 'heritage'.

Then the house where Mary Boundy [on the left of the photo, with my mother and grandmother >] lived. I think it was double-fronted (a room on each side of a hall) and I know it had a large wooden-floored return verandah on front (eastern) and southern sides. And also a large pomegranate tree on the southern fence. There was a side gate and a path which led past said tree.

The next house was inhabited by possibly another single mother, tho I remember nothing at all about the adults there. Graeme Brierley is one name I remember. He was a couple of years older than me, so born about 1941; and there was another boy who lived there, who may have been called Graham Bell, and was about the same age as Brierley [who's on the right in the photo > ]. So maybe two single mothers. I don't remember any adults. That house had a central hall. The verandah was unattractively enclosed with cement bricks. There was a (no longer usable) windmill in the back yard, and sheds (with pigeons in one), and a garage at the (western) side at the end of a long non-paved driveway, which I remember as overgrown with buffalo grass (both driveway and garage - which never had any kind of vehicle in it that I can remember - just spiders). There was a shade-house (for ferns or whatever) on the SW corner of the house.

There was a huge pine tree on the verge in front of the house, which was removed pretty early on.

Then there was a more middle-class brick residence, right across from 98. I remember them digging up the whole front yard in the mid-1950s and sieving the soil to get rid of weed seeds or something, before putting it back with something like a rose garden in it. I think someone had put a pair of crossed pistons over the garage door.

Then there was what may have been another wooden house, not very upmarket. In my 20s, the inhabitants were I think recently arrived Poms, who were later very kind to my mother in her old age, and were the ones who looked out for her on a daily basis.

Then the Burrow(e)s house. I think it was brick. He was a police sergeant, and I think didn't approve of me, as being working-class, and his son Ross was sometimes not allowed to play with me.

Then a very narrow block with a single-front house where the Norman Robertson family (Uncle [James] Norm[an], Aunty Gert[rude], and Graeme) lived when I was very young, tho I don't actually remember that. I think there was a single tall palm tree in the front garden. I think it was 101 Eighth Avenue, and I think it still exists.

Then the house of a JP, Mr Gibney, I think, with rose gardens in the front.

After that I can't remember anything until the next corner, with Coode Street, where the Geggies had their store on the northwest corner. Cliff was the father, Kevin was the son. Their house was attached to that, then there was another small house, and then the McDonaghs, on a large block, with the house set back from the street - tho it wasn't a very luxurious house. Richard McDonagh was in the same class as me through primary school. He was diabetic, and had to inject insulin into himself every day. And he was not very big.

Garry Gillard | New: 21 February, 2019 | Now: 10 February, 2022