77 days ago
Shops appeared at this corner in the 1880s and from when it became the tram terminus in 1906 it became the heart of Mount Pleasant. The corner was the place where the community interacted daily, in the shops and under the verandahs. Here was the post office and the only public telephone. Shopkeepers lived next door to their shops and employed local people, often for many years. They knew the financial status of everyone in the suburb, extended credit, and in hard times recognised that some were too poor to pay. The building on the north-east corner, now a hairdresser’s, began as Edward Mares’ butchery in the 1880s, became Kilby’s barbershop and when Reg Bartle bought it in 1927 a greengrocers. The Bartle family ran the shop—which expanded with groceries, sub-newsagency, fancy goods, and even a penny library—until 1958. Next door Tom Hill the boot repairer rented his tiny premises (now gone) from the Bartles for 5 shillings a week. He made a better living on the side as an SP bookie. The shop on the south-east corner was built in 1934 by the butcher Jack Hobill when his premises around the corner in Cobden Street burned down. The business on the south-west corner began as Mrs White’s grocery in 1907 and she added the post office in 1912. In 1958 Bill Rees made it one of Ballarat’s first cash-and-carry stores. It has also been a milk bar and a fish and chips shop. The premises a few doors down Barkly Street was Watkins Cakes from 1948-62. Mr Watkins, who worked for Davis the baker, died after being kicked by one of the cart horses, leaving behind a wife with two small children. Davis put the widow into the shop. By the 1980s these shops had been closed or re-purposed. For many years the tram was the main means of transport into town and to distant parts of the city. It was a slow trip owing to the use of loops on the single line. But at 4d (2d for children) it was very cheap. The last Mt Pleasant tram ran on Sunday 5th September 1971
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