Sunday, October 18, 2009

Forget the DeLorean and TARDIS for time travel...I gots me a new-old Melway !

Daniel updated his Melway Street Directory with a newbie not long ago but I was hankering after the olllllld ones.
Today I spied me a lil treasure at the Sunday Market...4th edition published in 1970 for a measly $5  which cost $2.97 brand new so inflation didn't hit me too hard.
Now, you're all sitting there thinking "WTF does a fat blind chick - who only flies a broomstick from room to room - want with an old Melway?"
Aren't you?
You are, aren't you?
Go on, admit it, you're scratching your head and getting splinters.
Anyways it's got goodies that no longer exist and, being a Melway, it's pretty accurate for locations of these thingies that no longer exist.
One thing that blew me away was the sheer number of schools per page.
A bajillion little yellow squares denoting schools on each page leapt out; I counted and map 17 held 24 schools while opposite on map 18 there were a further 18.
Map 29 was smothered in 25 schools and beside it map 30 had another 22.
That's not counting teacher's colleges and other speciality colleges/schools.
Now, call me Rudolph and paint my nose red but surely it stands to reason that closing all these small schools and shoe-horning kids into mega-factory-type learning buildings has not only decreased the national average in literacy/general knowledge but increased the travel time, decreased the choice for parents and decreased the variety for teachers to work.
While the schools were in abundance so was the number of chemical factories/labs spread all over the then-empty suburbs but which may very well be covered in housing now.
Found a couple of train stations that have gone to God, clay pits and quarries, hospitals galore that have, like the schools, been amalgamated and turned into health factories that just breed infectious diseases...sorry, can't treat them properly now that Fairfield was dumped.
Boys' and girls' homes, infants orphanges and "youth training" homes are all listed, all disappeared from sight but still mapped in the old Melway.
The one thing that gave me a few giggles was the fact "future freeways" were colour-coded purple, when there was only a short section of the South Eastern Freeway open when the book was published.
Cardinia Creek Reservoir hadn't been finished, either; it was proposed to begin being filled with cloud juice in 1972, two years in the future while the map warned that the Emerald-Beaconsfield Rd would be closed as it kinda ran straight through what was shortly to be a rather deep-ish reservoir (and snorkeling 4WDs hadn't been invented at that stage).
Am having a ball back in 1970!


  1. That is fascinating Jayne !!!

    I agree to on smaller schools being better. However, unfortunately, it's not about what is best for the children, but funding and resources :( **Sigh**

  2. You don't have to tell me about the self pleasuring that can be had from an old street directory. This Emerald Beaconsfield Road sounds interesting. I will investigate. I cannot understand how Melways came to dominate against other more established directory publishers. Maybe they were more modern, published more often, better marketing or it was just the excellent choice of name.

  3. Any chance of a scan so us furriners can have a look-see?

  4. Fascinating stuff. I have spent lots of time looking at the pictures of Annie's school and the surrounding area back in the last century. So cool seeing how things used to be.

    And yes smaller schools are much better.

  5. Love the 'back then' stuff but I don't take it home with me. ;)

    All our small neighbourhood schools have disappeared too and been replaced with big soulless factories. W

  6. I will weep when they no longer print paper versions of cities!

    In rural areas, also, there are plaques where schools used to be.

  7. I think the smaller schools used to do more self-funding and were able to operate more laterally, Nikki.

    I think it began from someone's garage, Andrew, hence no over-heads, etc.

    I'd love to, Lisa, but the copyright laws would string me up alive!

    It's great seeing how areas develop, Marita.

    Yep, Elizabeth, no heart, no help :(

    Hope those plaques stay to remind us of what we've lost, Jeanie.

  8. I agree what treasures have been lost and are no longer remembered except for old street directories.

    Very interesting about the number of schools shrinking ...

  9. A quick flip through my Adelaide UBD show pages dotted with many, many hotels, easy enough to see since the little black squares are in such abundance, much like flies at a BBQ. Schools? Have to have a much closer look to find them........

  10. "WTF does a fat blind chick - who only flies a broomstick from room to room - want with an old Melway?"

    Tracking down old lovers?

  11. Lots of old info comes in handy, Trish ;)

    What about the churches, River, I thought it was a city of churches?

    The old lovers are right where I left 'em, the vegie patch ;)

  12. Unreal! Bring it on, I love reading what was.

  13. Lordy yes! Churches everywhere. Some of them are really lovely too.