Tag Archives: derelict

Corner Shop/Residential – Merrylands, NSW

IMG_1866 Once upon a time, on the corner of Henson Street and Chetwynd Road, Merrylands, there existed a corner shop.IMG_1863All the locals would journey to the shop whenever they were out of the Big Three: bread, milk, cigarettes. For those who couldn’t make the trip, perhaps those too elderly to easily leave their houses, the shop provided free delivery.IMG_1865In the summertime, on their way to or from the local pool, or maybe just in the midst of riding around the streets on their BMX bikes, kids would stop in for ice cream, or drinks of the icy cold variety. IMG_1864In the 80s specifically, their choice would have been that of the new generation.IMG_1867None of that “Good on ya, Mum” nonsense here – strictly Buttercup Bread. Today, the name seems to have disappeared, but it lives on through the ‘Mighty Soft’ brand for those of you interested.IMG_1869Those shelves, once fully stocked to provide a community with the essentials, are now empty. If you imagine it as a metaphor for the emptiness of the concept of community in the modern age, you’ll probably wind up feeling pretty bummed out, so don’t do it.

This shop may be confined to Merrylands, but the underlying themes apply to just about every has-been corner shop in any suburb. They’re relics from another era, and one that can never be again.

Past/Lives Flashback #4: Videomania – Rosebery, NSW

Original article: The Marina Picture Palace/Videomania/For Lease – Rosebery, NSW

The Marina, 1941. Image courtesy City of Botany Bay Local History Image Archive.

The Marina, 1941. Image courtesy City of Botany Bay Local History Image Archive.

Sometimes revisiting a place can reveal secrets you missed the first time. Case in point, the rotting behemoth on the side of Gardeners Road formerly known as Videomania. In its glory days this was the grand Marina picture palace, which operated until 1984 – a time when video killed the theatre star.

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I tried to get the same angle as above, I really did.

Another place for which time seems to stand still, Videomania remains relatively unchanged since last year. Sure, there are some new posters up along its face and there’s a new cupcake shop in the old bank next door, but the building itself is no different.

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We can only speculate as to how long those promo guys were waiting, longing to plaster the front of the place with their posters. I suppose the temptation became too much at some point, much to Jack Dee’s benefit.

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Even Leonardo is still there, ever vigilant. And he’d want to be, given the former theatre’s seedy surroundings…

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Out the back, I encounter some inspiring graffiti and little else. The place may still be for lease, but they certainly haven’t expended any effort making it presentable.

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I’m guessing that vacuum doesn’t work.

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Just when I was thinking to myself that there was nothing left to discover here, I found it. It’s something that was probably there last time, but I just happened to miss in the excitement of seeing a Ninja Turtle in the last place you’d expect to see one. See? The gluey remnants still attached to the side appear to vaguely form the word ‘Roxy’, another name this theatre went by at some point in its illustrious life. But that was just the primer. Have a look at this:

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Can you see it? Look really closely, and maybe try squinting. Still no good? Okay, let’s get a bit closer…

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How about now? The ‘R’ or maybe the ‘N’ should hit you first, and then from there it’s easy. Yes, amazingly, the awning’s decorative ‘MARINA’ lettering has somehow survived, allowing us an even deeper glimpse into the past than it was thought possible. Now all we need to do is arrange a screening of ‘Puddin’ Head’ inside. Maybe we should get in touch with the owners?

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We’re in the home stretch now, only three to go. Here’s a clue for the next entry: it’s another theatre.

ROCKIN’ UPDATE: The development-minded Vlattas family, owners of the Cleveland Street Theatre and the Newtown Hub, are currently renovating the Marina with the aim of turning it into a live music venue. My suggestion: keep Leonardo as your bouncer. Thanks, reader Rozie!

Noel Shipp Motorcycles/Derelict – Wollongong, NSW

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Another sad tale from the coast today, this time down south. In 1923, mechanic and motorcycle enthusiast Jim Shipp started a sales and repair business in Wollongong, and in 1949, his son Noel took over as owner. In these early days, dealerships were a huge part of the Shipp motorcycle empire, and Noel sponsored all sorts of club motorbike events and competitions. At some point there was probably a local TV ad featuring the man himself.

But as the years wore on, Shipp’s motorcyclery went the way of all enthusiast business ventures in the modern age. The customers dried up, the big dealers moved in, the internet made sourcing parts easier than ever. What was once a cutting edge mecca for all things motorbikes became that crusty, decaying hulk on Keira Street, itself reforged as a cul-de-sac to prevent noisy motorcycle traffic. Enthusiasm becomes eccentricity. Much like Gould’s or Comic Kingdom, when a business reaches the brink of obsolescence, all it can rely on as a drawcard is the individual experience and know-how of its staff. In Noel Shipp’s case, this was a pretty major asset.

Even after a spell of ill health and admittance to a nursing home later in life, Noel would still make his way into the shop to tinker around with the bikes brought in solely by enthusiasts. A much-loved and well regarded member of the community, Shipp passed away last September, and the shop has been boarded up ever since. Once the name finally rots away and the motorcycle signs are claimed by souvenir hunters, Noel Shipp will join Jim in the annals of the forgotten, and the shop will just be another brick box in the warehouse that Wollongong has become.

UPDATE: Or worse. The old Shipp place has met its end, making way for a new attempt to breathe life into this end of the ‘gong.

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Civic Court/cic cort – Newcastle, NSW

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No one street encapsulates the concept of faded glory than Hunter Street, Newcastle, on the NSW Central Coast. Yes that’s right, we’re going on a road trip.

I won’t use this post to get up on my soapbox about the advanced state of rigor mortis poor Hunter Street finds itself in; there’s little to say that the street (and locals) doesn’t say itself. I also won’t go into the history of this building beyond what it tells us at the outset…and boy, doesn’t it have a lot to say.

The touch-too-dark brickwork, six digit phone numbers and lower case name date the building somewhere in the 60s-70s, and by imagining the Civic Court (or “cic cort” as it’s known these days) in that era it’s possible to see it as a place people actually visited. Laden with bags from David Jones, The Store and Winn’s, you might make a last minute stop at the Civic Court to grab some…mouthguards? Of the three shops that comprise the now-derelict Civic Court, the first is nigh incomprehensible, the last was a no-name, no-frills sandwich bar, and in the middle was Signature Mouthguards.

Think about what that means: there was a time, presumably before cluster boms had cause to be banned, when Hunter Street was so prosperous it could afford to host a mouthguard shop. Shockingly, Signature Mouthguards are still around, and still have the same logo.

Anyway, just to prove I’m not the only one who couldn’t work out what that first shop is (and oh how I tried), check out this nifty bit of artwork by Trevor Dickinson.

Byers Meats/Awaiting Demolition – Rozelle, NSW

First of all, dear readers, Happy New Year and all that. For Past/Lives, all this means is that the glory days of our subjects are buried under yet another year. There’s plenty coming up, including something fun for the blog’s first anniversary in March (where did the time go?), but for now…

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Byers beware! At least, anyone with the intention of buying meat from this long-defunct butchery along Darling Street, Rozelle. What started life as a bootmaker’s shop came into possession of butcher Hugh Byers in 1918, who hawked dead animals from this location while leasing out the shop next door, which he also owned. This tradition carried on for the next 87 years, until the Byers family sold up to Balmain Leagues in 2005. Balmain Leagues…doesn’t that ring a bell?

Anyone familiar with the surrounding area and an interest in this sort of thing (all three of you) would have noticed the decaying Balmain Leagues Club on Victoria Road. If you don’t know it, don’t worry – we’ll take a closer look soon. The impending development of that site will include the Byers building as well as a fair few others along Darling Street when they finally get around to it. Unless of course it turns into another CBD Metro debacle, which left Rozelle with some mighty blue balls.