Last Sunday on Fathers’ Day I walked to Acland Street, St Kilda. I expected more action early this morning than I have found on other Sunday’s and I was right. The roads were busy and so were the cafes. Breakfast out with Dad?
I hit Acland Street from Clyde Street. This is a good introduction to the charm of the street. A quick left and you are at these beautiful ceramic seats.
These seats and others like them along the strip help to give the place it’s identity.
I remember a few years ago when I was new to Melbourne meeting a family member for a meal. We were going to a cafe that no longer exists, now. I got off the tram and sat on one of these unique ceramic benches and waited.
I was in the wrong place. I should have been in the cafe but I enjoyed the wait sitting with the palm trees and the colourful tiles and the noise of the roller coaster coming in waves as it rushed around the tracks.
Acland Street is getting a makeover. This is partly why I walked this way. The make-over-action wasn’t on this Sunday. Everything was peaceful around the wreckage the works have caused.
Something is always happening in St Kilda. Last Sunday Shakespeare Grove was closed off. It was the annual Father’s Day car show. There was a great turn out of cars. They flowed from Shakespeare Grove and into O’Donnell Gardens. I missed seeing them arrive and of course leave. They would be head-turners as they drove through the local streets. Such love and elbow grease is lavished on them. They gleamed in the morning sun.
The footpath is dug up in front of the cake shops and the cafes. The place is mess but the outside tables were full with some people waiting for tables. The cakes looked splendid.
I always feel sad when I see some of the old being dug up and carted off to a tip. It takes me a while to get used the new and then suddenly I find I have forgotten the old. I accept the new and forget what went before it but something is lost. I wonder if that is why so many of us are drawn to Europe. The old is still in place and the constancy is comforting. No one has decided it should be rubble.
The road where Acland Street runs into Barkly Street is closed with narrow dug-up footpaths to negotiate on either side of where they are removing the tram tracks.
The Village Belle, one of the oldest hotels in Melbourne is here. They serve a $10.00 lunch seven days a week. It is good basic pub fare. Your $10 is well spent.
Blessington Street is at this corner. The atmosphere changes here. The old is still in place. Small jammed together buildings with verandas that have been turned into cafes. When you are in Acland Street take the extra steps and have coffee in one of these charming cafes. An old timer tells me it reminds him of how Acland Street used to be. When I worked in this area my favourite place for coffee was Kotch Lane at 49 Blessington Street. I like the vibe and the staff.
All the street works could drive people away. On Sunday morning the 4th of September this didn’t look to be so. A spring morning and the people were out. Locals and visitors. It is like a renovation at home. It is inconvenient and drives you mad but eventually it is over and you forget the upheaval.
Trams 96 and 16 take you form the CBD to the Carlisle end of Acland Street
Suggestions for eating and coffee: