When I first moved into my home (not far from the cottage) there was a huge piece of land at the back of some of the houses that faced onto Waltham Street. I called a friend who lived nearby to ask what the scenario was with a particular house which had land running in an L down to a charming laneway - called Waltham Place (it runs off Church Street). "Don't worry nothing will happen" was the reply "it belongs to Jack. He owned Hudson's Stores which used to be in Bourke Street, down near what is now Southern Cross Station. I went in there once and asked for a spanner. Jack sized me up and said he didn't have any. I think he's probably still got it and it is 'stored' on the land with the rest of his 'unsold' goods."
|What is left of Jack's home. Fortunately it can't be knocked down but....|
Well sadly Jack died and the house and land was sold. Jack was a Richmond identity who died about 2 or 3 years ago. He would have been in his late 90's and lived alone in the house. I used to see him riding his wobbly old rusty bike wearing an old hat pulled down over his eyes (no crash helmet for Jack) and bicycle clips on his pants. It was said that the house didn't have electricity. He owned half the properties in Richmond (there is one in Highett Street (opposite the oval) just near the corner of Church Street - you can just make out the sign) where more 'spare' 'unsold' spanners and ephemera were 'stored' - for a rainy day perhaps!? It confirms my belief that 'nothing is ever as it seems'. Jack was a millionaire who lived like a pauper.
|Yet another storage for rusty bolts and nails|
|And a close up of the sign in the window - Hudson's Stores - Hardware and Disposals (it's just that they didn't want to dispose!)|
Hudson's was considered the place to go for a bolt, a tool, or a piece of equipment. I loved his brothers' explanation "We have got dead stock. If it was popular, every other store would have it. We are trying to reduce stock so that we can get out if necessary". Don't you love it!
|Not a bolt or a sprinkler left - or a tree. All those rusty tools are gone, gone, gone - the Pelaco sign in the background|
The land behind the house was enormous and I always meant to take a photo but ..... It was filled to the brim with rusty 'dead stock' that Jack wasn't going to sell to anyone (particularly my friend!) The stock included an old black metal lawn sprinkler which was described by Alex as a work of art and wouldn't be sold because a price just couldn't be arrived at!
|The rear of Jack's home. Like the house - the soul of Richmond is being bulldozed|
But just as I feared a decade ago, now that Jack is gone (and I suspect Alex) the developers have moved in and removed the lot! I wonder if they had any appreciation of all that Jack and Alex had horded just in case the right buyer came along and they settled on a price.
You'll find the front of the house in Waltham Street on the T intersection with Goodwood Street. The land (no spare rusty nails or even a treet left) can be seen from Waltham Place.
Bowen Cottage client comment: No further improvements needed - it's perfect as is! Everything we needed was here.