The 7 Wonders of Reservoir

Sure, it might be pronounced Reserv-war by the beau monde, who sneer upon the streets upon streets upon streets of urban decay I’ve called home the past dozen years.   But the fembot voice of Metro trains intones Reserv-wa, so we cling to at least one semblance of raffinement.

Dole Ave
Keeping expectations real in Rezza…

Approximately 2km beyond the outer reaches of Melbourne’s Hipsterville (Bell Street being the Mason Dixon Line), and just 12km north of the city, Reservoir spreads itself like Gina Rinehart across 19 square kilometres.  Yet there’s no North, South, East or West Reservoir.  No Reservoir Heights or Reservoir Downs in a none too subtle attempt to inflate house prices and social status (albeit real estate agents take liberties with ‘Regent’ and ‘West Preston’).  Just plain old Reservoir to the 48,000 oft maligned residents who navigate middle incomes, mortgages and supercharged V6’s which in days gone by mistook Gilbert Road for Conrod Straight.

Reservoir is open to anyone and anything. There’s no IQ or EQ tests, no racial or religious segregation, certainly noCar bomb fashion police, and no qualms about prior dodginess.  Like the bric-a-brac cheap stores common to the main drag (Edwardes Street), mostly it’s très ordinaire.  However, as they say, one man’s trash is another man’s automotive art installation camouflaged by a biannually mown front lawn.

If you ever take a wrong turn at Murray Road, or are perhaps contemplating a step back in time to make the relatively affordable 3073 postcode your own, accept and enjoy this daggy megaburb for what it is.  And what it is to me can be encapsulated by the following 7 Wonders of Reserv-wa.


Modern shops and laneway culture

1. The Cheddar Road – High Street Impasse
On Victoria and New South Wales’ differing rail gauges, Mark Twain famously wrote of the ‘paralysis of intellect that gave that idea birth’.

In a similar vein, Melbourne boasts several intersections that defy urban planning intelligence, let alone working neural pathways.   Northcote’s St Georges Road/Merri Street/Charles Street cluster fcuk was once the most hair-brained intersection in the developed world to rival the Arc de Triomphe roundabout.  Sanity eventually prevailed when a set of traffic lights (who’d have thunk?) eliminated the white knuckle excitement of a five way roundabout in which trams would menacingly materialise through the middle.

Now the Cheddar Rd/High St/South Morang train line ‘axis of evil’ lays claim to #1 by the length of a Sav/Anthony Rocca (local heroes) drop punt. Described as a ‘complex intersection of a railway line with two main roads and closely spaced side road intersections’, it now rates #3 on the RACV’s 2014 list of Melbourne’s worst traffic congestion hot spots.

On the rare occasion I must traverse the tracks to East Berlin and the deceptively named ‘Broadway’ shopping strip to lift a new hoodie, I pack supplies and inform next of kin.  Whilst making a right turn takes roughly 15 minutes with a modicum of luck, a couple of trains each way will turn the shambolic traffic light cycle on its head.  By the time you’re through you’ll have sung What about me? ten times to yourself and forgotten the very point of your folly.

VicRoads has reviewed the traffic light sequencing but to little avail.  The previous government had no interest, the new lot has nominated 2018 for road/rail separation to begin.  I’m still tipping we’ll have flying cars before the job is done.  Though the City of Darebin has some ‘Reservoirsome’ ideas

Intersection
A riddle wrapped in a conundrum

2. The Day of the Trolleys
As a kid, John Wyndham’s post-apocalyptic tale of rampaging plants was the stuff of nightmares.  Here in ‘Voir Town, it’s unprotected, rampaging trolleys left to their own devices that cause all manner of strife.  Having skulled a chocolate Big M, this baby (below left) was found sidling up to a no good hunk of metal behind the football pavilion at Moore Park.


Elsewhere trolleys enjoy a liberated existence in Reservoir.   Local supermarkets have given up the crazy notion a gold coin is more valuable than trolley fun.  Or sadly, trolley abuse, as is so often the case (above right).

Wobble free and roam wide you silver beauties!


3. Bottle Shops
Whilst a bottle shop in itself is hardly worthy of ‘wonder’ status, even in Rezza, the sheer number of liquor outlets in the City of Darebin is truly wonderful for the greatest percentile of alcoholics in Melbourne.  Each is a mere VB or Woodstock stumble trip to the next.  And when they’re all closed, desperadoes are grateful for the aptly named ‘End of the Line’ bar, where the 112 tram terminates at Regent Street and Gilbert Road. Personally, I must admit to never plucking up the courage to enter.  Lest it be…  Last. Drinks. Ever.

4. Doughnuts

Don’t let this nameless Broadway bakery’s unassuming facade fool you. If the spectre of Broadway Bingo (next door) doesn’t set your heart racing, the thrice fried cinnamon doughnuts here will stop your heart in its tracks. But they’re worth it, and astonishingly Reservoir’s best kept secrets are a piddly 40 cents each.  Locals in the know will even risk the aforementioned intersection to get their paws on these.

If Nutella is more your vice, Il Forno Ciabattaria (a 30-year-old bakery hidden away at 96 McFadzean Avenue) is going gangbusters via social media with their ‘Donutella’.  “When you bite into Nutella you don’t want to be able to speak, it should clog up your mouth”, according to co-owner Carlo Cappello.  Just the thing for mouthy kids.

In terms of culinary delights, other simple ‘Voir pleasures include Marn Bo (Chinese), Poroia Fish & Chips and Volcano Bakery (for the spring rolls) all on Gilbert Road and Sargents Cakes and Folino’s Quality Meats (supreme rissoles and hamburger patties) on Edwardes Street. It’s not for nothing this is the world’s most liveable city’s 176th most liveable suburb!

5. As Seen on TV
Living on a semi main road isn’t ideal for several obvious reasons, though one might anticipate bad crap is less liable to occur where the likelihood of witnesses is apparent.  Not so in this fair suburb.  If you feel your Reservoir digs shaking at 2.30am it could be an earthquake. Or it could be the neighbour’s hotted up ute mysteriously exploding in front of your house.

Other excitement viewable from my doorstep entailed an audacious ram raid of the chemist opposite at 7am one morning.  What the pharmaceutical curious thieves failed to account for was their getaway vehicle being rendered as driveable as a typical Reservoir trolley.  Even more astounding was that having tripped over face first onto the nature strip in front of several residents, one of the criminal masterminds was allowed to slooowly bumble their way into their jalopy before teetering down the road.  Well, I guess that kind of determination deserves a pack of morphine or three.

There’s many a dull moment in comfortable suburbia, but Rezza likes to go a bit Universal Studios every now and then.

Downtown Reservoir; No more crash and dash

6. Almost Tourist AttractionsReservoir
It’s not exactly the Hoover Dam but there is a bloody big reservoir atop High Street’s highest point.  I’m not sure what came first, Reservoir or the reservoir.  Anyway, Reservoir Reservoir sounds damn silly, so in the interests of averting silliness and bad puns, we have ‘Preston Reservoir’.

Meanwhile, Edwardes Lake has been afforded some overdue TLC of late; no longer the stagnant waterway filled with toxic algae and children’s tears caused by the bone breaking c1954 play equipment.  The remaining old A2 class engine might be as kid friendly as a rusty bear trap for multiple reasons, but generally the amenities are actually pretty decent now.

‘Enter at own risk’ said the friendly tank engine, Edwardes Lake, 1947

Finally, if pumping nightlife is what you’re after, look no further than Reservoir RSL.  Where else in the northern ‘burbs could you see a tribute to His Meatiness and enjoy a two course dinner for under a pineapple?  If that sounds too good to be true, there’s always the salubrious Broadway Bingo Centre.  This is living.

Oh Reservoir, so much to answer for…

7. Reservoir Coles
At the best of times supermarkets can leave one questioning their will to live.  A visit to Preston Market Aldi once had me in a depressed funk for three days.  But they serve a purpose if you eat, and unlike the beautiful people south of the Yarra, Reservoirians certainly eat.

Whilst the corner store at the optimistically named ‘Gertz Street Shopping Centre’ is worthy of an honourable mention, Reservoir Coles is the last resort supermarket that will truly leave you feeling down, down.  Though if one struggles with making the big decisions in life, such as what brand of yoghurt to buy, this is your kind of supermarket.  You just need to think laterally to locate the yoghurt (singular), which could be somewhere nestled strategically between the pet food, the junkie and the bleach.

The steel fortified Reservoir Coles – for a medieval shopping experience
(note loitering trolleys)

So there you have it, my 7 Wonders of Reservoir.  A couple, indeed several worthy entrants had to be mercilessly culled, so please feel free to suggest your own Reservoir wonders.

What Is Reservoir

Further Reading:
The 7 Wonders of Preston
The 7 Wonders of Thomastown

@JeffDowsing

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158 Comments Add yours

  1. Perfectly summed up, Jeff, especially the traffic cluster fcuk to cross the South Morang train line. Few more observations for you: the wheels on trolleys at Coles lock up once you get further than a Polly Farmer handball from any exit; No mention of Reservoir is complete without elaborate praise of the fare at Sargents Cakes; and, much like Collingwood and Fitzroy were once known for having a pub on every corner, Ressie must have the highest ratio in the world of cheap barbers/hairdressers per resident.

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    1. jeffdowsing says:

      Thanks for taking the time to post a comment Warwick. Sargents very handy for quality birthday cakes that won’t send you broke. One day they will untangle that intersection, but they’ll have flying cars by then! Cheers, JD.

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  2. Russ says:

    The reservoir definitely came first, presumably from the 1850s. The reservoir is there to maintain pressure for the users of water that comes from Yan Yean. If you check the satellite image you can see the land the pipe follows along Cheddar Rd north to the dam, and south along St George’s Rd to Nicholson St where the water tower used to be in East Melbourne. Originally a horse-operated tram traversed the entire route. They ought to create a Federation Trail style bikepath along it now. It is a nice route.

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    1. Daicos Mullets says:

      There is a bike path along Cheddar and St Georges Rds. I ride the St Georges section to work into the city everyday.

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      1. jeffdowsing says:

        I know the one, I’m often on the 112 tram hurtling alongside you Dakes!

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    2. They ought to create a Federation Trail style bikepath along it now. It is a nice route.

      Bring. It. ON!!!

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  3. Kayla says:

    Finally – Rezza getting the recognition it deserves! I too, was astounded by the number of hairdressers in the area (all circa 1983). I’ve had a tip off that the Fish n Chips on Edwards St is pretty awesome, and now the butcher is selling fresh fish, caught by his mate from geelong pier (I choose to believe this) on the weekends! Gentrification alert! in all seriousness though, a great place to live!

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    1. jeffdowsing says:

      Thanks Kayla, we keep it real if nothing else here in humble Rezza.

      If we can ever be ‘gentrified’ anything can! Though it would almost* be a sad day if that occurred.

      * says me with one eye on my property value

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  4. Luke says:

    JD, you’ve nailed Reservoir with this one. Too close to home for me.

    My grandparents lived in Gilbert Rd for most of their life and I spent a year there myself during uni days. About 20 years ago Nan managed to accidentally back her car out her driveway, across Gilbert Rd and into the front window of the fish n chip shop. Perhaps one of the first attempted ram-raids? It was no coincidence that Nan did not drive again after that. It was the most exciting day in Reservoir since Spiro Kourkoumelis played his first game for the Blues back in ’81 (his folks ran the fruit shop a couple of doors down from ‘Nan’s’ fish n chip shop).

    I broke my wrist falling off the train at Edwardes Lake when I was 6. My brother-in-law is also on of the two regulars at the EOTL bar. To date he has had the good sense not to invite me. I also lived 3 doors down from the St Georges Rd/Charles St/Merri Pde round-about until 5 years ago. Numerous crashes each week.

    Just one correction. It’s pronounced Res-er-vor. Leave that Reserv-wa stuff for the south of the river types.

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    1. Luke says:

      It was in the shopping strip at the north end of Gilbert Rd, close to JE Moore Park

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      1. jeffdowsing says:

        That’s my end of Conrod Straight!

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  5. Anna says:

    It was the wall of Poroia fish and chips. Our mum also broke her leg crossing Gilbert Rd when she tripped on the gap left in the road for the tram extension to Edwards Lake in about 1954- yes they actually left a gap in the road when they put the bitumen down. Dick bought the EOTL (The old State Bank building) so his mates would stop drinking and smoking in his front room behind the bottle shop (it’s technically in West Preston).Love living in the Voir, hearing those Police choppers and wondering what now and those late night subtle sounds from the Gilbert Road straight. When we bought into the Voir, the agent tried to sell it as West Regent! I don’t think so!

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  6. david minchin says:

    I grew up there. It’s in my heart it ‘s in my soul. Short back and sides up at “the top”, a white knight on the way home (almost sounds dantesque). The smell of the Library linolium, the steam rising from the summer asphalt, the sound of a boot lifting a sherrin above the powerlines. Remember! David Minchin

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  7. Hannah says:

    Ahhh! This is perfect. I’m in Coburg North now, a hop and a skid away from Reservoir – home for most of my life. Bang on. The best fish & chips in Reservoir are on Edwardes St – $5 worth of chips’ll feed four, and the lovely couple who run/own it usually throw in extra potato cakes and dimsims when you order some. Love it.

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    1. Kayla says:

      Loving all these Rezza insights! I was thinking it’d be great to meet other Rezza residents…would a catch up at Edwardes Park be a cool thing to do? My email is kaylamariab@hotmail.com – email me if you’re interested and if we get enough interest, I’ll organise it!

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  8. Josh says:

    It’s “Res-er-vaur”

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  9. Kam says:

    Ahhh, good ole Rezza!

    Great read Jeff, but I have to point out one major omission and that is a historical walk down the ever colourful and historical Crevelli Street. Where the faraway chirping call of the Wild Colonial Boys could be heard. Or, where a daring young boy would make a dash to the local milk bar on his BMX and return home on foot, without dad’s pack of Winnie Blues he was sent down for in the first place.

    The picturesque back streets where the level of ‘sickness’ can be measured by the length of burnout stains that snake along with pride. The same quiet back streets that would turn into the runways of Calder Park the moment a council bin was set up for a day’s cricket.

    Reservoir Leisure Centre, formerly known as the Reservoir Baths. Where pubescent youngsters would majestically soar into the air off the 6m springboard only to dovetail back down with careless aplomb. Their daring feats earning points for he who not only could produce the largest mass of water to leave the pool but also by how many people he could spray whilst landing as close to the perimeter of the pool without actually hitting it.

    ‘Rezza’ is Melbourne’s largest postcode in area with a multicultural mix of locals. A place where proud locals boasting tightened lips with matching jeans can intermingle with locals who were producing ‘gourmet’ cold meats, grappa and the season’s best drop of red in back yard garages long before Master Chef and trendy cooking shows taught us to appreciate rather than mock such tradition.

    Every Reservorian knows a neighbour who’s backyard could put most wrecker’s yards to shame. A suburb where the population of registered vehicles supersedes the number of registered local residents and where the number of unregistered vehicles proudly displayed in front yards across 3073 outnumbers the registered dogs with the name Rocky or Max through the 80’s.

    Finally, a trip down memory lane (or Broadhurst Ave to be precise) to relive some graphical childhood memories of pumpkin seed spitting irate fans could be revived with a weekend trip to the infamous BT Connor Reserve on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
    Or instead join the hundreds of Collingwood faithful on the Epping line to watch the locals cheer on the Maggies. Or you could simply catch the train just to watch the locals.

    Thanks for the entertaining read peeps.

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    1. jeffdowsing says:

      Thanks Kam – fantastic response, you’ve essentially written a Part II for me!

      I don’t know of Crevelli Street but I am au fait with Reservoir Leisure Centre – have experienced a couple Caddyshack-esque clearings of the pool when ‘chokito bars’ have bobbed about menacingly amid my boy’s toddler swimming lessons. Coldest changerooms I’ve ever encountered too, btw.

      Being married into an Italian family I have had the pleasure of the home made grappa, limicello and sauce (& the best tomatoes I’ve ever eaten).

      And I’ve been on many a Collingwood train with my toothless brethren – both deathly silent in worry/defeat and buzzing in expectation/victory!

      All great observations – thanks again for taking the time to respond Kam.

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    2. Den says:

      “… without dad’s pack of Winnie Blues he was sent down for in the first place.” haha … my Mum used to send me to the milk bar for her Benson & Hedges extra Milds. Still recall the price: $2. Boy did she crack it when they hit $2:15.

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      1. Kam says:

        Haha, great memories Den.

        Thanks.

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  10. Kam says:

    p.s. it’s Reservoor – as in ‘door’ or ‘floor’.

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    1. jeffdowsing says:

      Yes, but I don’t think too many actually say it that way!

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      1. Carla says:

        That’s the only way I ever heard it when I lived in Melbourne. I thought it was some sort of are-you-a-real-local test. If you pronounced the suburb as the rest of the country pronounces the water catchment, then you were clearly not a local. 🙂

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      2. jeffdowsing says:

        I’ve been informed by others here that it’s Reser-vore as in the number four – but I’ve heard locals say it every which way so I’m none the wiser to be honest Carla!

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      3. Kam says:

        It’s definitely Reservoor (as in floor) Jeff. Anyone who tells you/or pronounces it otherwise is either pulling your leg or not a ‘proper’ local!

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  11. Robert Cockerell says:

    You must be a newbie as I played football for North Reservoir and I played football against East Reservoir in under age and I went to Reservoir West Primary School! Col Bryce (Bryce Cellars photo) is a local legend who used to supply the Reservoir Football Club (where I played my senior football) with its niners in the 70s. I have learned that Col delivered to all sporting clubs in the suburb and used to provide players a second job making deliveries to help them get a start in life. He was still going until just a few years ago, which would have not been long after a Reservoir Football Club reunion. He looked no different in the mid 2000s to what he looked like when I first met him in 1972 delivering and tapping the barrel for after training on Thursday nights. I recall when Gilbert Road was still a dirt road from Henty Street to Edwardes Street. I used to do the shopping at Nick the Greeks fruit shop for mum on a Saturday morning in the late 60s to early 70s and Mrs Goldsmith used to run the fish and chip shop through the 60s and 70s in the same block of shops.

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    1. Kol passed away close to 10 years ago now – he was a long time supporter of the Cameron Cricket Club (featured in your trolley photo on the blog!) as well as Reservoir FC and other clubs as mentioned. And he was an exceptional bloke, always helping out the community – so much so there are several memorial awards named after him.
      There is a ‘no bike riding’ sign in front of the shops where Bryce’s cellars are – this has been there since Kol was knocked down by bike rider and had his nose broken in the late 90s. The owner of Bryce’s Cellars after Kol was also the owner of the TEOTL who passed away more recently.

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      1. Robert Daniels says:

        Kol was a terrific local personality and used to deliver and set the barrel up at Preston Baseballers CC where I played in the 70s and 80s.In 1988 when I moved to Ballarat with my employement I called in to the old Cameron ground top oval at Moore Park and there was Kol and his dog watching West Preston playing sunday cricket.Heused to walk there on sunday and watch.He really supported many local sporting clubs.

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  12. Robert Cockerell says:

    You don’t need the book. The history is told via the following link:

    Make sure you have your earphones on!

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  13. Sue Shaw says:

    My husband lived in Resarvoor for the first 25 years of his life. He played Aussie Rules at Reservoir Lakeside alongside some now legendary figures from the local area that were also well known at Johnny’s Top Room, the Council Club, the Carlton Understand and “Coburg College”. I vividly recall a city business meeting some years ago where I casually mentioned my husband’s background and saw the look of fear and horror come over their faces as they tried to shrink away from me. Well the sons and daughters of Ressa have the last laugh as their non-pampered, self-directed upbringing has produced some of this town’s well-healed entrepreneurs and solid citizens; and Northcote wannabes are now fighting each other at Saturday auctions to buy into this fab location.

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    1. jeffdowsing says:

      Hi Sue – any relation to one of the famous Shaws to play at Reservoir Lakeside?

      I spotted a lost looking hipster wandering up Gilbert Road about a year ago. They are migrating north, heaven help us if we ‘get gentrified’!

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  14. Nick says:

    Thanks Jeff

    Im relatively new having settled here with wifeand kids in 2008. Love the stories and history.

    We use the nicer thomastown pool.

    Definite gentrication going on. Lady Bower cafe on marchent ave just off broadway and jackson dodds + chesire cafes gilbert rd regent.

    Understudy

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    1. jeffdowsing says:

      Thanks Nick – haven’t been to any of those cafe’s yet but they are certainly doing some good business from what I’ve seen.

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  15. Thanks for enlightening me on the wonders of your fair suburb. I’m one of those south of the Yarra types (Elsternwick) and Reservoir has always been one of the suburbs over there somewhere (sez he sweeping his arm around about 360 degrees). If nothing else you have inspired me to try some of those doughnuts one day (if I ever pluck up the courage to tackle that road system).

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    1. jeffdowsing says:

      Ha, thanks Peter. I’m sure Elsternwick and around those parts has it’s own funny quirks.

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  16. Ray lynch says:

    You for got about the SUMERHILL pub/hotel (which I mean it was the place to be seen,or picked up/locked up if you were not fast enough to get away from the law/rest of the world) it should be up there with the places of reservoir to go,or be seen to go theirs sit was grate,not like now it’s for the porkies people not the drinkers of the past?

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    1. jeffdowsing says:

      Can’t say I’ve been there Ray and from your description I don’t think I’m about to! As for the bloody pokies, don’t get me started…

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    2. paul says:

      LOL, yes, the Sumerhill was the bit I thought was left out too. Do people remember the old Doc Edelston Clinic complete with Grand Piano where MACCAS now stands on Plenty Rd opposite the Uni?

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  17. Ray lynch says:

    There is also the bike track as well should be up there,with the reservoir baths also as they are so close as well,you have got a lot of history there from,bikes football was also played on it also,cracker night were their as well as lots of good/bad times also fights/lovers,and there were babies were conceived(i hope it’s the right spelling )as well they still ride there as well,the older ride every day .

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    1. jeffdowsing says:

      Is that the bike track that runs alongside the creek Ray? Or are you referring to the old velodrome next to the Rezza pool?

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  18. Gunston says:

    This blog has jus succeeded in making me home sick, nicely put together mate. Well done!

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    1. jeffdowsing says:

      Thanks for the note Gunston, glad you liked it!

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  19. This is awesome. Loved every bit. Edwards place could have an entire blog dedicated to it.

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    1. jeffdowsing says:

      Thanks Jimmy – yes, I’ve been to a Bucks Party in there once. I walk past it all the time and there appears to be many an interesting character frequenting that fine establishment!

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      1. Definitely some heads in there. I walk past every morning on the way to the station and see people smashing cigarettes & vb @ 7.45am

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  20. DarrenJones says:

    Great blog!
    As a kid growing up in the area there was 2 Rezza’s. You were either from Edwards st or Broadway side of the tracks. I grew up on the latter side wich I’m sure anyone who grew up in Rezza would agree was a bit rougher then the other side.

    The boundaries of our world growing up were pretty much Northland shopping centre – Keon parade and Darebin creek – The train lines. Crossing the train lines to go to Edwards st (Johnny’s Top room) to play pool and pinnies (arcade machines) or Edwards lake was like visiting another suburb for us.

    Most of the kids growing up in this area either went to Keon park primary or Reservoir East primary school and then to either Kingsbury tech (which is were I went to socialize lol) now a housing estate, Reservoir high or Keon park tech.

    Crevelli st (where my parents grew up and where I began my life) as mentioned in an earlier post is in Reservoir north east near Northland. Known locally and affectionately named by the law as little Chicago due to the shootings at the local shops during the 50’s and then the fights between the Sharpies and the Mods in the 60’s & 70’s. Quite a rough place to visit if you weren’t from the neighborhood.

    Yarra ave Fish & Chips was the place for a feed when we were kids. You could always be sure to get a good feed of fresh chips from Barry and Faye. They were famous for thier super flake and the best savloys in batter around (proper savs not hotdogs). And when you got older Arthur’s hamburgers on Broadway was a great place to get a burger, play the pinnies (arcade machines) and meet up with friends on Friday or Saturday night.

    So many great memories growing up in Rezza and a great time in my life.

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    1. jeffdowsing says:

      Thanks Darren – it’s great to hear the old stories as a relative newcomer like me. I grew up in the relatively soft eastern ‘burbs of Forest Hill and Blackburn so there was some degree of trepidation the day we played Reservoir Lakeside in the Sun Cup (I played on Sav Rocca). Sounds like Rezza has always been a down to earth place that ‘keeps it real’. The train line still seems somewhat a physical and socio-economic divide from what I can tell.

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    2. Ben says:

      My dad grew up up in Rezza, and he was one of those sharpies. He only mentioned his semi gang affiliations a couple of years ago…sounds like he saw some action though.

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  21. Riley says:

    LOL Great piece. This is my hood. I’ve actually been in that bar. It’s not as bad as one might think, but it’s very much a locals bar.

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  22. admonsta says:

    Our first house was in Carole-Joy Avenue, directly opposite the commission flats. Fun times. Fun times.

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  23. Lucas Palmer says:

    Res is big, they do give parts of it ‘better’ sounding names eg: Kingbury, Keon Park, Regent. The lake is very nice

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  24. Joel Price says:

    Ahhh, yes, I too remember cars exploding out the front of my house!! Not once but twice!! As well as the countless hoons loosing control of their cars around our corner…….. The best being a 15 year old kid taking dad’s car for a joyride and taking out a fire hydrant with the car getting stuck on the hydrant and filling up with water as it shot out of the ground higher than the power lines!! Ahhhh, memories……

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    1. jeffdowsing says:

      Two car bombs – I’m impressed Joel! I wonder where that 15yo kid is today… Probably the highlight & lowlight of his life!

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  25. Den says:

    Well written Jeff and love all the comments! Lots of great memories.

    I grew up in Resa and moved out when I was [ah-hem] .. 25. Any time you’d meet someone from the northern suburbs at a club, all you had to say was “yeah, I live in resa, just off Cheddar rd” or “I live near Edwards St” and they immediately knew all about you. In my day [80s/90s] there was a clear distinction b/w North East Resa and the rest. I grew up on the unpronounceable Purinuan Rd, just off Cheddar Rd, of course. My parents, now in their early 80s, are still there. I love taking my little kids up there on weekends to play on Dad’s freshly watered concrete. Area has changed massively – Mum and Dad’s house, 4-car garage and veggie patch, which takes up 1/4 of the 1000m2 block, is now the odd one out in the street.

    Anyone mentioned Cinema North? http://technicolouryawn.com/?page_id=1045. I saw Gremlins there when it was released (1984). It closed in the early 90s as more people flocked to the newer Northland(s). Loved going to Top Room as a kid to play Pitstop and Double Dragon. It was a little nervy at times – bigger kids asking me for money.

    Gertz Ave [http://goo.gl/maps/RgvKg] used to be a drag strip before they put in speed humps and actual parking. The car park alone could hold another shopping centre in itself … provided ample room for doughnuts, etc.

    Ah resa .. miss those 30 degree summer nights, bedroom window open listening to the sound of car tyres screeching and police helicopters in the sky …

    Like

    1. Den says:

      I forgot to mention 1 incident that occurred at Reservoir Baths: someone decided to stick a razor blade to a piece of chewy on the water slide. The next person down had his leg slashed nicely. Rest assured, the water slide continued to operate 🙂

      Like

  26. Lilly says:

    Still the best Fish and Chips in Melbourne – SuperFish on Edwards St. Should have been the 8th Wonder!

    Like

  27. Lucy I says:

    I really enjoyed your article, it made me smile. Having grown up in Brunswick and coburg, always thought rezza was near the border, but it’s not that bad. I have now been a resident for the past ten years and enjoy it.
    At least now we have a decent place to eat with Off the boat on Edward st and can get a great coffee and breakfast from lady bower! I think rezza is moving on up! Rezza forever…

    Like

    1. jeffdowsing says:

      Thanks Lucy – yeah, it won’t happen overnight but it will happen! I haven’t been to Off the Boat yet so I must give it a try. That was a weird/dodgy little ‘shop-in-progress’ for several years before that operation finally came about.

      Like

  28. Ross M says:

    Can’t leave out Cinema North as a Res. wonder. The Preston Table Tennis Club was just a stone’s throw down the road in Gilbert Road. People used to sail yachts on Edwardes Lake and there used to be fishing competitions held there, with prizes for the best fish caught. The circular cycling track in East Reservoir and the old Coles store (variety store, not grocery store) was always popular with the locals. You could always buy something cheaply there, with lots of variety to choose from.

    Like

    1. jeffdowsing says:

      I’ve seen a few fishing at Edwardes Lake recently and I’m fascinated as to what they would catch, if anything. Carp perhaps on a lucky day.

      Like

      1. Geoff says:

        There were trout fishing comps at Resa lake when l was a kid. There would stock it for the comp. Ran for a couple of years. So good to hear all about Resavoo l grew up there. Cinerma north was a big part of our lives. Mahoneys Rd was the boundary from there it was the thomastown sharps area. Where they would only fight if it was 6 to 1 in their favor. The shotgun fight at Edwards Park lake change resa from then. I went to Keon Park Tech when it was all boys and a good training ground for prison. Didnt know any different hard to fit into corporate life where back stabing and ripping people off is the norm and gutless. It was black and white in resa you crossed someone there would be consequences.

        Like

  29. Ross M says:

    I recognise the long established and humble little Chemist in Gilbert Road from your ‘Modern Shops & Laneway Culture’ photos. It seems that the little Asian guy (Yip ?) hasn’t bothered removing the well worn ‘Photos $6.95’ sign on the front window. Or do people still actually leave their rolls of 35 mm film to be developed ?

    Like

    1. jeffdowsing says:

      It’s a mystery for the ages Ross why that sign remains in its present form!

      Like

    2. Jade Blake says:

      👍🏻

      Like

  30. Vilnis says:

    You should update #5 with this one from Reservoir police station. First article I read on it also mentioned the police didn’t know what had happened until a passer by notified them, but I can’t find the link to that.

    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/vandals-target-police-in-resevoir-20140412-36jmv.html

    Like

  31. One of Reservoir’s top exports – This guy has lots of great stories

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Dickins

    Like

    1. jeffdowsing says:

      Yes, I know of Barry’s great writing Helen.

      One of my favourites he wrote for the Footy Almanac a couple years ago – if you like reminiscing about the old days of footy (Fitzroy, Victoria Park etc).

      http://www.footyalmanac.com.au/mud/

      Like

  32. austmedia says:

    “Super Fish Shop” in Edwardes Street is sensational…

    The area between Plenty Road and Northland (usually referred to as Norff Lands) is also considered to be part of Reservoir, including the infamous Crevelli St, aka “Little Chicago” – the stores in the little shopping strip have heavy-duty roller-shutters.

    I lived at the base of Nisbett Street, where the area backs onto the creek, and a cycle path provided convenient 24 hour access for dole-bludgers / crims from Heidelberg Heights to pop over and see what they could filch…

    I well recall hearing huffing and puffing sounds late one night, and peeking over the fence to behold two erstwhile young chappies trying to roll-start a neighbour’s Torana, only ceasing when I helpfully pointed out that the vehicle in question had no engine.

    The local drug king-pin lived several doors up Nisbett Street. I lived on the corner; his clientele would park outside outside our house, and toddle around the corner to get their goodies. Used to put them off no end when I appeared at the gate with a note-pad, and made out I was writing their rego numbers down. Cops wanted to set up an observation post n our lounge-room, discretion (in the form of self-preservation) dictated otherwise.

    And I’ll never forget the halcyon night when a local drunk-driver cut the corner a bit too much and slammed his Falcon into the front of Archie Roach’s Sigma wagon, parked at the kerb (his house and mine shared a rear fence). Following the bang came a veritable explosion of indigenous youth and white-trash hangers-on, who dragged the driver out of the now-dead vehicle (which he was trying to get started).

    The local plods duly arrived, and the driver gave them his side of the story, resting his can of Bundy & Coke on the roof of the divvy van as he did so. After being hauled away, the assembled folk took the opportunity to ransack the wrecked Falcon. As you do.

    Archie’s previous ride was a Nissan campervan, which later caught fire in his backyard, but that’s another story!

    Ah… I miss it. I now live on the opposite side of Rezza (just off High St, near the Caltex servo). Biggest excitement now is listening to neighbours in my block of units scream at other over parking peccadilloes.

    Although, a high-speed police chase DID end directly opposite my driveway a few months back…

    Police chase, Reservoir

    Like

    1. jeffdowsing says:

      Thanks for the great response, so many memories, so much dodginess!

      A few have mentioned Crevelli Street. I’ll remember to lock the doors if ever I happen to drive through.

      I never knew Archie Roach was a product of Reservoir. We are a cultural and artistic hub after all! Quite a story that one.

      I actually paid a visit to Heidelberg Heights today for the first time, in the old Olympic Village. A place where time has stood still by the looks.

      Must check out the Super Fish Shop one time, though my taste for fish is pretty bland.

      Cheers.

      Like

      1. Dr. Keats says:

        Archie was there in a Housing Commission house when I moved in, but I’m not sure that he’d been there all that long. Things were OK when he was home; as soon as he went on tour, everyone went feral – all-night parties, vandalism, street fights, etc.

        And for your enjoyment, I present two brief glimpses of 1972-vintage Rezza, taken from an episode of the TV series “Ryan”. First one features Edwardes St: http://youtu.be/6FFocornVpI?list=UUvdANQBTd5_3oPcWnUVq2mQ

        And from the same show, inside the legendary Top Room: http://youtu.be/K-YnJfpl_io?list=UUvdANQBTd5_3oPcWnUVq2mQ

        Like

      2. jeffdowsing says:

        Fantastic, I enjoyed the first clip how little the main drag has changed. The laundrette was a laundrette 42 years ago!

        Was the Top Room what is now Edwardes Place?

        Like

    2. Grace Darling says:

      Yeah! Bloody local drunk-driver sideswiped my 1974 Celica that I left parked outside my place in Broadway when me boyfriend and I was out at for the night at Cramers in 1983. It amazed me that in a street where god saw everything and the neighbours missed nothing; the neighbours claimed they didn’t hear or see anything. Liars.

      That was also the night I first heard INXS “Original Sin” btw.

      Like

  33. Lisa says:

    I grew up in reser and all I can say is that I’m streetwise and can drive a V8 Monaro as good as any bloke! (I know that’s poor English, I’m a teacher, but that’s how you’d say it in reservoir!) My brother and cousins had the best Toranas in town! I grew up in north reser, the ‘wog’ side. Great community, down to earth people, and most of them are still there, and still getting along as they always did! Very unique place with its own culture.

    Like

  34. Jfranklin says:

    The Top Room was where the 24hr gym is now.

    Like

  35. P.Stanley says:

    I am second generation Ressavoorian, my dad was raised in banff st, and I love the stories he tells me about all the tough guys that used to rule the area, and all the silly wog boy antics he and his 9 other siblings would get up to around the streets, that I now walk with my children. His favourite place was johnny’s rooftop which has since moved downstairs. I love where I grew up in Chauvel st (pron. shavell lol) it was and still is a quiet, safe area. We had friends, all living within 5 mins walk of each other’s houses, over about 5 blocks (which are hhhuge blocks) so there was always peace of mind for my mum if we were ever to walk up to the milkbar. As a teen and venturing from my safe little area, travelling on public transport, walking the streets of reservoir I really learnt how to be street wise, Broadway use to scare the crap out of me… it still does! Being a merrilands girl there were sssoooo many kids from all over Reservoir and Thomastown (which is where I live now) it didn’t matter if you were from the good parts or the shitty parts everyone was the same (we all hated each other equally! lol NNNOOOO only joking) but thats what I love about the area, the little steps of shops you find in the oddest of places, the little parks that are hidden away, and the diversity of people, whether your wealthy or poor, come from another country and can’t speak a word of English, or whatever it may be, no-one gives a hoot about all that, as long as you’re nice to someone they’re generally nice back at you 😘 ❤ my hometown ❤ and I love where I live now just as much ❤

    Like

    1. jeffdowsing says:

      Thanks, nice post. There are so many hidden parks & playgrounds – and bizarro shops. Oh, and ‘shopping centres’ such as the weird and desolate Gertz Street which deserves its own blog.

      Yes, it is still nice and egalatarian Rezza – no pretences, bells or whistles yet well served by the basics.

      Like

  36. Croops says:

    Great stuff!

    Don’t forget perhaps the greatest piece of graffiti ever scribed on the tin fence next to the Gilbert Rd 7/11. It read:

    “AMBROSE LOVES HIMSELF”

    Followed with (I assume by Ambrose himself):

    “Go fuck yourself”

    Gold!

    Like

    1. jeffdowsing says:

      Thanks Croops. Yes, there is some quality graffiti in Rezza – perhaps the 8th Wonder…

      Like

  37. Linda says:

    Jeff this is just gold. I have worked in Resa-voor for far too long, you have nailed the lot. Brave the crazy ‘hotspot intersection’ every morning early in the dark (fewer cars). 70 kph up St George’s Rd now…wooo hooo, 60kph home down Gilbert Rd. Thanks for the laugh.

    Like

  38. Grace Darling says:

    *cough* I grew up in Broadway NORTH-EAST Reser-vor from 1964ish to
    1989. The b’ars (pool) was around the back of our place and my dad, a
    Master Painter & Interior Decorator (house painter & paperhanger) was a junior league hoarder. He also planted an oaktree sapling in the backyard that he swiped from Daylesford.

    My first after-school job was as the jock-and-sock chick in the men’s department at the Coles Variety Store in Edwardes St. I used to walk in the heat and driving rain from Broadway/Tambo Ave to piano lessons with a Nazi manic depressive classical teacher who lived in a William Rickett’s like ratbag hippy joint on the cnr of Willoughby Street.

    The grandson of my mum’s best friend who lived in Pine Street, hung himself from the gum tree in her backyard in late 1999. Not long after, his best friend hung himself from that black locomotive in Edwardes Park. That could have been hushed up at the time.

    My dad often took me and the dog for walks around Edwardes Lake in the 60s. Kids would be trying to catch yabbies, my dad an amateur fisherman complained about the European carp crowding out the native fish. There was a unique pong to Edwardes Lake that I can still remember. Occasionally we went to Coburg Lake which was like the Garden of Versailles in comparision with mature-growth trees.

    My folks moved into Reservoir from the boonies of early-60s Hurstbridge and we lived in a narrow-eaved Housing Commission two-bedroom weatherboard, no carpets or curtains. There was a briquette heater and dad would get briquettes from a place near the railway station. There was also a woodyard there was well. Big thrill in Summer was going to get a block of ice from a place on the corner of High & Bedford St. Dad said there was a bloke in there who pushed the ice down the shute; my kid-logic told me the bloke was a midget.

    My pommy father broke a lot of taboos: he would take me into the misty male world of the Reservoir TAB to place a bet and I’d sit quietly looking at the girlies in the PIX when he was at the barber in Broadway next to the State Bank of Victoria. Used to be a Waltons store in Broadway on the LHS facing the dunny block in the middle of the street.

    The Library used to be next to the cop shop on the ground floor of some Council offices I think they were. The sheila in there was a sour-pussed thing, probably had a Vitamin D deficiency. The dentist in Broadway was a chap called Bertrand. His brother was the skipper of some yacht; came first in some whizz-bang race across the pond. Dunno, but I have a mouth full of mercury amalgam fillings from scoffing enough Darrell Lea to sink the Titanic.

    Grew up three doors from the milk bar, Best day of my life was a run of seven lucky “Sunny Boys”; had an orange tongue for days.

    The Big Deal was the public sex education nights in the week of April
    17 1972. Held at a methodist church hall up the hill near Rubicon Ave. Used to trudge up through those streets for Sunday school and the dogs were mean bastards.

    Career criminal lived across the road. It was said he was in Pentridge so often that he paved his driveway in Broadway with bluestone so he wouldn’t feel homesick. He set a mosaic of a Royal Flush into the drive. I went to school with his kids. One night he was hollering and waving a knife as he chased his wife up and down the street. Nobody called the cops – it was *that* kind of culture.

    I work in the arena of domestic violence and mental health now. Reservoir made me the woman that I yam.

    Like

    1. Grace Darling says:

      Oh yeah, almost forgot. In the mid-70s, the St George’s C of E rented out their hall in Byfield St to retired ballroom dancing champs, who brought some kulcha to the Sharpies & Skinheads.

      Not kidding. The blokes would come down from Thomastown and Keon Park in their “pinnies, Conny cardies and Treads” and they knew how to cut a rug with the Pride of Erin and the Modern Waltz. The juxtaposition with the bogan “How about a root?” and ballroom dancer “Would you care to dance?” has to be one of life’s Great Mysteries.

      Also, Reservoir was the location for the very first joint Roman Catholic-Church of England service held in Melbourne (maybe Oz)….1974 methinks… at St Gabs in High Street. Went to that, pretty sure it was a Latin mass. It was so different….whaddya mean…we gotta kneel again? Just bloody sat down.

      Ken Oath, up and down like a bride’s nightie!

      Like

      1. jeffdowsing says:

        Thanks for so many tremendous reflections there Grace.

        Wow, I don’t think I can look at that Edwardes Lake train the same ever again. I’m baffled as to how he actually did it.

        My kids go to St Gabs and were baptised there, great school.

        Like

    2. Jade says:

      “Career criminal” had his own face painted on the cards as his artist friend did it for him 😊

      Like

  39. Lady of Rezza says:

    Loved this piece! I would add:
    8) The grog shop on Broadway that has drinking straws on the front counter – convenient!
    9) The goat guy who herds his goats along the creek of an evening, disrupting joggers and over – exciting pet dogs for years now
    10) Gioco gelato on Gertz Ave – before there was Messina, there was Gioco, jumping jelleckers their gelato is goooood
    11) Lady Bower – it’s new(ish) and a bit fancy, but not fancy enough to have, you know, seats that are inside
    12) That clothing store near Coles that has prohibitively excursions clothes and for no particular reason has a coffee store in the back

    Love Res 🙂

    Like

    1. Lady of Rezza says:

      Argh! And 13) The beautiful, exotic and totally misplaced Buddhist temple.

      Like

  40. Simon Hoo says:

    Jeff, you must visit the bizarrely named cafe come nightspot, Relux. I love a bit of boganity and whilst not quite in the same league as the Summerhill Tavern, this place certainly didn’t disappoint. Beers were cheap and the crowd most diverse. I even had a game of slaps. See you there, probably for karaoke.

    Like

    1. jeffdowsing says:

      I do not know of Relux. Sounds too much like throwing up.

      Nice use of the word boganity, I must plagiarise that one day!

      Like

  41. Nicki Brown says:

    Pure Resa gold! My early memories of growing up Resa include my lovely aunty sending me into the well known Lindsay’s butcher in Edwardes st….. I innocently went in for the half a pound of forskins she requested! Ahh the memories…..

    Like

    1. jeffdowsing says:

      Ha, I went to a market in Barcelona where I reckon they’d actually sell them!

      Like

  42. Laura says:

    You forgot to add drinking on milk crates next to the dumpsters at Reservoir station while waiting for a train…

    Like

    1. jeffdowsing says:

      How remiss of me Laura, you know me too well!

      Like

  43. Mr Dowsing, beautifully written article! Thank you. I hope you haven’t gotten sick of hearing everyone’s personal contributions……

    1) At some point each week, somewhere during the four minute walk down Spring St from Resy station to my house, I will walk past a discarded, barely touched, perfectly wrapped pack of hot chips. What gives? Is it the same person, who each time remembers they don’t like hot chips? I don’t know. But every week, without fail, there it will be.

    2) On this same route some local decided to really splash out, leaving a trail of cooked prawn heads/tails/shells in their wake. Now that’s snacking!

    3) A new kebab shop has opened near Coles. It’s called “Total Kebab Shop”. That’s TOTAL, as opposed to PARTIAL, Kebab Shop.

    4) The neighbour over the road from me was keeping a sheep in his garden. It’s gone now. I miss it.

    Thanks for indulging me!

    Like

  44. Cec E says:

    Never did a Friday night go past without the sound of the godfather air horns blowing defiantly or a standard helicopter police chance following an hour later. I shall forever feel sparse couch grass grappling my legs on the hill over looking the running track for little aths and the closure of the then new water slide at the ‘baths’ not pool because someone thought razors were meant to be a new obstacles design. However, whatever you do never call Kingsbury a part of Resa because those of us that lived in ‘the village’ are prone to death by gossip and the we will have to navigate the Voldermort crossing to get to the Oakhill clinic.

    Like

  45. Brett says:

    We like to call the area we live ‘Deep Rezza’. Loosely defined as north of Edward’s Lake and west of High St.

    Like

    1. jeffdowsing says:

      ‘Deep Rezza’ – yes!

      Like

  46. Tanja Stoeski says:

    I used to live in reservoir, oh I have mixed feelings about this area. But you cracked me up cause it brought back a lot of childhood memories for me.

    Like

    1. jeffdowsing says:

      Thanks Tanja. I can imagine for a lot of people there’s both good and bad memories of the ‘Voir.

      Like

  47. Kellee says:

    Love your vivid and lifelike depiction of the Voir. I have only one highlight to add to your collection. Fireworks!! The Voir really does enjoy its fireworks and its enterprising residents obviously have limitless access to illegal supplies. There is no need to venture past one’s front verandah on NYE to see displays that rival that other Melbourne midnight effort, which while much more hyped-up, expensive and difficult to get to, somehow just doesn’t really bring the community together in the same way as a bunch of Rezza rezzas hanging out on their front steps together, brought together for an annual chat as they look nervously around wondering where the next big bang will come from.

    Like

    1. jeffdowsing says:

      Indeed Kellee, fireworks are in abundance, especially around the Lake and Moore Park at NYE and other random occasions! I think even the last Kite Festival burned through a f-tonne of crackers.

      Like

  48. Beverley Pritchett says:

    When we moved to Gilbert Road, West Preston in 1951 it was only a dirt road. Over the years we became West Reservoir and then just Reservoir. Always Res-a-voor. At sometime the tramline was going to go to Edwardes Lake as I can remember being excited I would be able to go to Carrington Road (Reservoir West) school on it. There was great excitement when the rumour went round that they were going to extend it. They did. A whole few feet so they could get two larger trams across Regent Street. Lakeside High started in halls in Ashley Street, Byfield Street and the Congregational Hall in Spring Street, and the next year Beattie Street. Went to the Reservoir Drivein, behind Summerhill Hotel. Great memories. Thanks everyone for contributing.

    Like

    1. jeffdowsing says:

      Thanks Bev. The old tram > Edwardes Lake project seems to be rehashed every few years when the Leader’s having a slow news week. I can’t see it even being possible, unless they want to buy up part of my front yard!

      Like

      1. Dr. Keats says:

        I’d dearly love to see the Gilbert Rd tram-line extension become a reality – if only for the inevitable moment when a tram fails to stop and plunges straight into the Lake!

        Like

      2. JD says:

        Ha, yeah trams careering through the roundabout and into the lake is a scary thought!

        My own self interest says I hope the decades-old talk about the extension remains just that.

        Like

  49. giverson says:

    Oh dear. I’m about to move to Reservoir. You don’t paint a pretty picture…..

    Like

    1. jeffdowsing says:

      It’s not too bad – I’ve been there for 13 years and not thinking of moving any time soon!

      Like

  50. Butch says:

    I love the bread and baked goods on the bakery crate at the liberty servo at the tram terminus. Best in town! I’m on Henty Street and in the 3 years we’ve been here I’ve witnessed a fire down the street, the cops pulling someone over out the front of my house then arranging his transport by divy van, nightly drag races around the neighbourhood, a shooting (also in the street), and on it goes. It’s the most ‘entertaining’ place I’ve lived and I love it!

    Like

  51. Mel says:

    This is gold!!! Rezza is where my Dad grew up so it’s in the blood!! There is nowhere else in the world like Rezza, love it and have many fond memories. Loved it when they emptied Edwardes Lake when I was a kid and my Papa would walk us down there so we could see what stolen items had been thrown in there to destroy the evidence!! My Nan worked in Edwardes St for over 40 years, 1st the deli that then turned into Sargents so she just continued on there then the dry cleaners. Grew up with Kol Bryce as I was a child of the Cameron Cricket Club. He & my Pa were best mates and decided on a business venture of selling VB out the back of a van at Cameron’s away games. I was my Pa’s assistant (aged about 10 years old) & that’s how I learnt to count out change!!

    Like

    1. jeffdowsing says:

      Thanks Mel – I remember a few years back when they last drained the lake the toxic algae had hit record levels and there was an ungodly stench for months. Not sure how many bodies (car and human) were uncovered…

      Must have been great having a Nan working at Sargents!

      Like

  52. Royce says:

    Great stuff

    I grew up in Burwood and moved to Rezza in the late nougties. Its incredible the similarities.

    I thought Burwood was the hairdresser and chemist capital of the western world till I came here.
    The housing commission houses are exactly out of my childhood memories.
    We had the same badlands industrial area on the outskirts.
    Bogans were everywhere.
    We didn’t have a reservoir of course, but the Reservoir doesn’t have a PLC, so I guess its swings and roundabouts.
    The similarities go on and on!

    Did there used to be a toy shop in Rezza

    Like

    1. jeffdowsing says:

      Thanks Royce.

      I grew up in Forest Hill & Blackburn so I lived a relatively sheltered life until I headed out north.

      I’ve only got 2 chemists and 2 hairdressers within 50m of my house!

      Like

  53. Dale says:

    Kudos to anyone who can use “biannually” correctly!

    Like

  54. RobL says:

    When I first came to live in Reservoir, in 1951, Spring St was still unmade where it joined “Epping Road” (as High St was then known) – in front of Butterworth’s joinery, and a bit short of the Local Bug-House (picture theatre) with Mr Kolenizc’ jewellery shop, and dentist Dr Bertrand (bro of America’s Cup winner – Bondie’s winged keeler . When I was 7 or 8 I delivered papers with my bike, from Edwardes St, newsagency. Delivered medicine for Syd Hirsh, Broadway Chemist, and lolly-boy at Reservoir Cinema. In 1956 (aged 12) I sold lollies, drinks ice-creams at Melbourne Olympics, League footy and cricket matches. Sold hot dogs on the footpath outside the Gowerville Pub (you could do that then) – Reservoir was country, freedom, heaven. Duffy St State School was a good experience, and the paddocks from the Lake to everywhere west, and north to Mahoney’s Lane (yes, not even a road then) – cows wandering in our street, and open gutters everywhere. Swam in Edwardes Lake, where one child drowned almost every year. Everything was delivered to homes by horse and cart, and I reckon the same McAlpine bread cart is now stabled at Holbrook NSW behind a museum – still smells of fresh bread – true! Little green buses (Dysons?) with rear entry (really, the back). Few telephones, so everyone got friendly with a rich neighbour to use theirs, and put money in the jar. Telegrams were used, and I delivered from Reservoir PO on Saturdays, and nearly got bitten by a snake in the paddocks off Purinuan Road. East Res. started to develop, with a lot of roughies moving into commission homes, but the east/west division was pretty secure, until they built Reser High (about 1952), when we had to ride down Broadway, and onto all the unmade mudholes around Boldrewood Pde and further. Worked at Clauscen’s Furniture at the corner of Spring and Edwardes for a while (there had been a wine bar there before), and I joined the police at 19. Fun reading of some of the comments on crime and early law issues in that area, but it was not worse than many places about those times, as Fitzroy, Brunswick and Collingwood were thought of as slums. Reckon I can name the crook from Broadway someone alluded to. I once got a sound kicking at the Summerhill Pub. I reckon I locked up most kids who lived within 3km of Crevelli St at some time, and had to make timed appointments to hear the confessions of the less serious offending kids. Occasionally still run into one or two, and it is a bit of fun to share old memories. I was not known for doing the wrong thing, and in those days before drugs changed kids heads, you could enjoy a bit of mutual respect. My police career kept me working in and around Reservoir for a number of years, and I was able to see the old red rattler trains and motor rail trains on the Whittlesea line (believe it!) all disappear, and then blue Harris trains (filled with asbestos). Once charged a couple of kids with arson, by destroying one of the old red trains parked overnight beside the Reservoir. I still live close, and spend a lot of time in and around Reservoir, and I still love most of the memories, The Italian and Greek arrivals changed our community for the better, but it took a bit of time before we all achieved mutual trust. I notice now there are many middle eastern newbies, and there seems to be acceptance. Hopefully the transition will follow the European experience there, because Reservoir is still a good place to live, and property values are on the rise. Thanks for offering this opportunity to get a bit of this off my chest……..

    Like

    1. Beverley Pritchett says:

      My husband lived in Drysdale Street and said he probably knew you, but I’m sure you knew his elder brother.

      Like

    2. Jade Blake says:

      RobL, I grew up just off Crevelli street you prob locked up some of my relatives. My family were one of the first to move in there! Some of the stories I’ve heard I could write a book a people would think it’s fiction 😁

      Like

  55. Konstantina says:

    Accidentally stumbled across this while searching for some information regarding our horror intersection – I loved your description of crossing over it :). I think it would be faster if you needed a visa and had to bribe armed border security police. It was nice to see Rezza getting some attention. A great read – thank you!

    Like

    1. JD says:

      Thanks Konstantina – ha, yeah I reckon the party that promises to put the rail/station underground would win in a canter at the next election. Since changing jobs recently I now have to battle it on a regular basis and it’s just as bad trying to cross the rail from the Cheddar Rd side as well.

      Like

  56. Harold says:

    Wow great read
    I used to like in Reservoir as a youngster up until I got married
    In fact I lived on Andrews Avenue, off Crevelli st. Kids everywhere!!!!!.
    100 metres from where I lived was the shopping strip where mum would sent me with 2 bob(20 cents) to buy her a pack of Viscount cigs. The milk bar was owned by the Lukins. Lily the mother and her fat son Leo were the owners.
    At times, maybe 6 of us would each get a number of matchbox sized pebbles and throw them onto the milk bars metal roof. Away we would run to a safe distance and watch as Lily, mostly drunk on her intake of Johnnie Walker would exit the property with her German Shepherd to defend her territory.
    And her proclamation if she finds out who did this that she would “cut you in twice”
    Andre had the small grocery store next to the milk bar. He later mover to a supermarket in Rosanna. My brother worked for him in both locations. The butcher shop. The newsagent. I delivered newspapers for the first year of high school. Got paid $2.00 a week for six mornings work. The Chemist store. The Green grocers owned by Lucky. The second milk bar. And the packed out on Fridays night fish and chips shop. The later built on two smaller store, one was a hairdresser and the end store was taken by Leo Lukins from the milk bar fame and he opened a small hamburger store. A BP petrol station finished the block.
    All in the infamous Crevelli Street.
    I heard of this bad name.
    But I never felt it. I could walk those streets at any time and never feel a concern.
    I went to Holy Name Catholic School up until grade 5. Mum and the school had some disagreement so she enrolled us in Preston North East Primary School.
    It was the largest single enrollment of any school in the state. Over 1200 kids. Did I mention kids everywhere.
    Went to Reservoir High School.
    Played Football with Reservoir Old Boys Football Club.
    What memories.
    What a place.
    In Andrews Avenue 9 the court) there lived the Families of Potters, Bushbys, Harveys, Sugars, Ducks, Fosters, Cassars, Chucuttis, Foxes, Blewitts, Smiths, Brownleys, Shepards and Timms.
    We were very working class people. We did not have a lot but it seemed we never went without what we needed.

    Thanks for this forum

    Like

  57. Kam says:

    Wow, fantastic and historical summary Harold. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

    1. Jade Blake says:

      I also lived in Andrews ave (29 – down the bottom) “all in the infamous crevelli street. I heard of this bad name, but never felt it” I would have to agree.

      Like

  58. Sandra says:

    I grew up in Resa. I lived with my mum, dad and siblings at mums grandmas place in Suffolk st. We often shopped in Edwards st and Broadway. Our local shop was strathmerton st. We played sports on the grounds of Edwards park lake. We would buy fish and chips in Broadway, hamburgers at Harry’s hamurgers. ( yes it was spelt that way). If mum needed a variety store, it was Coles variety in Edwards st opposite the police station. The briquettes were sold at a stand at the reservoir station. We would swim at the resa pool on the weekend and go to cinema north in the afternoon. I hought watches and had watches repaired at kolenzic’s watch repairs near cinema north. In my heart, I will always be a resa girl, though I now live in Geelong. I often go back to see the old house ( still standing after 214 years, built by my German immigrant great great grandparents. Resa for eva.

    Like

    1. rob lovell says:

      Impressive to think your German immigrant ancestors built in Res so early, but around 1800 seems unlikely. Before the gold rush? Good to hear bits and pieces, like the briquette sales. I remember that, near the station. I would have thought the police station was still in Kenilworth St then, but I have fond memories of the Coles variety store (and all the cute checkout chicks). How things have changed, but the building seems the same.

      Like

  59. Kim says:

    Growing up in Reservoir during the 80s & 90s has prepared me for all eventualities that life could possibly present.

    That glorious clusterfuck of an intersection acts upon locals as would a defensive driving course. It truly is an experience in itself.

    Thank you for your Seven Wonders of Reservoir. I feel for you that you did not experience the richness of the 80s & 90s in Reservoir as you could write a part two solely on the amazing residents. Maybe in your next post you could make reference to the historical occurrences that are noteworthy, one such occurrence being the murder of the male prostitute/vampire, that one gets me every time!

    Thank you again for a tremendous chuckle!

    Like

    1. JD says:

      Thanks for taking the time to comment Kim. If you trawl through the comments on this piece there is certainly a lot of gaps filled and personal anecdotes of Rezza going right back to the 1950’s.

      Perhaps the less said about the Chartres-Abbott murder (just off Broadway) the better at this stage, still going through the courts and all.

      I do wonder what nasties they found last time they drained Edwardes Lake.

      Like

  60. Darren says:

    You have never had the courage to walk into the end of the line bar ( definitely no born in reservoir )but yet you imply it is full of desperadoes, how did you manage this observation?

    Like

  61. Carolyn Hill says:

    What gives you the right to comment about a business when you have never stepped foot inside it . I can tell you for a fact as I worked for 4 years behind that bar, and it was not full of desperadoes it was full of hard working people, and I was more than likely the one up on the tables dancing and having fun . I think you and Stephen Cooke need to get out from behind your computers and have a bit of fun . As from you making a comment about the owner having his own wake at his bar . What gives you the right to comment on a man that you had never met, and if you had you would of seen a fun caring giving and loving family man who would do anything for anyone. Lets see if you are man enough to post my comments but i am not holding my breath.
    Caz

    Like

    1. JD says:

      Happy to publish your comments Carolyn – I value the right to free speech.

      I don’t believe my comments about the owner were disparaging, in fact I was quite grateful for and interested by other comments which provided the story behind how and why the bar was established and Dick’s community involvement.

      Maybe I poked my head in on a bad night – others I know got the same vibe i.e. the wild west pub that falls silent when an outsider swings open the door. I’m sure it’s a great place for regulars to catch up for a drink. Maybe I’ll give it another go some time.

      Apologies if my attempt at a little satire offended. Just trying to have some fun.

      Cheers.

      Like

      1. Joe Alleycatz says:

        au contraire Reservoir had North East and West. I lived in East Reservoir went to Reservoir East Primary School and caught the North East Reservoir bus home from Preseason Tech.

        Like

      2. JD says:

        I think you’ll find Joe there’s no postal addresses as such, at least none I’ve seen. North, east, south & west had to be applied by Reservoir schools to their name (& bus routes etc) to differentiate them.

        Talking to a real estate agent the other day and he said they split Reservoir into quarters but it’s nothing official and only to satisfy their purposes.

        Like

  62. Lauren Sharkey says:

    My Dad grew up in rezza, and this was quite an interesting read. I myself live in Perth but did spend 2 years living in West Preston. I cannot attest to much that you have written, but I can definitely say that the End of The Line, is not the place you think it is. The first time I ever entered that place I was made to feel welcome and after only going in there a few times (I was by no means a regular) I noticed something that you would see in only a very few bars. The mate ship and family feeling of all the patrons in there made it a very comfortable place to stop in and have a drink. When I am ever in Melbourne again, I will definitely be stopping in there for a drink…..and as to the owner Dick passing, all I can say is May you rest in peace

    Like

  63. peter wilckens says:

    Having moved to West Preston some eight years ago. I was pleased to know that a neighbour of mine recommended to me the EOTL to me. It has grown to become my home away from home and I would like to think I have also made lifelong friends there. Needless to say I was more than a little disappointed with your comments on this bar. Particularly given you have not even taken the time , let alone courage to confirm your ill founded commentary. Please take the time to venture in and enjoy, may even buy you one!

    Like

    1. JD says:

      As per my response to other EOTL faithful Peter, maybe I poked my head in on a bad night (quite a few years ago) but others I know who’ve ventured inside a little longer also felt a bit intimidated as non regulars.

      Maybe it just takes an ice-breaking frothy, I’ll do my best to drop in some time!

      Like

      1. Darren says:

        I must have missed your reply to the other end of the line faithful, where was that? You may also want to check your facts before slandering businesses and people you have never met, and what gives you the right to comment on the place where someone has a wake? You have no idea who this person was or any of his history yet you make light of him having it at eotl bar.

        Like

      2. James says:

        Hi Darren,
        You are a banana and you need a hug. This is a satirical piece.
        Cheers,
        James.

        Like

      3. Dennis says:

        Agree! Darren (& Caz) take a chilled walk around Edwards Park Lake.

        Like

  64. Darren says:

    Ok James and Dennis let me explain this from my perspective,I am one of the owners of eotl bar and dick was my father, so this has a little bit to do with me, this bar was built at the time when pokies were invading every hotel in the area, to give local people somewhere to have a drink on their way home from work and not be tempted into gambling. I have heard every story possible about this bar including that it is a gay bar, a bikies bar and a rough bar that doesn’t like newcomers. When hearing this I always ask ” have you been there?” And always the same answer “no , but I have heard”. This is so far from the truth, yes it is a working class bar, that’s the area it is in, yes when someone walks in everyone looks at the door, because it is usually a person we know, so to say hello. I challenge anybody to walk in there and stay for an hour and then say they were not made to feel welcome. So no I don’t need a hug and I don’t need to chill, I need people to write things that they have experienced not just thought, everyone who reads this will be turned off coming into eotlb on his assumptions and that is what upsets me. I hope now you may see it from my view. And to make a comment on my fathers wake, well that’s just wrong.

    Like

  65. Josie says:

    I grew up in Resa-Voor in the 70s and lived there for almost 40 years in the “nicer part” (off Broadhurst Ave / Massey Ave). No housing commissions nearby. Very safe and everyone knew everyone. Caught the 553 bus to Broadway with Joe the bus driver. He didn’t know anyone’s name but got away with it by calling everyone “mate” in his strong Italian accent. He never minded making “unscheduled stops” so that you didn’t have to walk too much to get to your house. Had a great childhood there in a great community.

    Growing up, I never saw a house for sale in my street. Nobody left! In fact, most of my old neighbours are still there. The overwhelming majority within a 5 block radius of our house were Italian (like my family). There was one Croation family in our street but they learnt to speak fluent Italian and mingled very well. Everyone had amazing veggie gardens and exchanged their produce over their fences in an almost barter-type arrangement. Four car garages were the norm, as was a decent amount of concrete. Everyone had a bike but despite great places to ride, they’d just meet up with others, and then hang out. Then everyone graduated to car licences so they drove to meet each other but still just hung out in Rezza. Nobody seemed to want to venture beyond Coburg Drive-In / the pools or Norflands. It was great that we could ride our bikes or race our home-made billy carts (using milk crates of course) in our own backyard – it was so big! But for the occasional “treat” we’d go to Edwardes Lake to play on the asbestos-riddled train and wait for the passing Mister Whippy van to buy a soft serve.

    One of my favourite childhood memories is of cooking marshmallows over a fire that my brothers and the neighbour’s kids lit in a vacant block… we stuck marshmallows to the ends of branches, put some long grass in the middle of an old tyre and set the grass on fire. So many illegal burn offs, and so many burn-outs! (Ok… I don’t miss those those… Mum always cursed in Italian when someone “chucked a burn-out” because the resulting plume of smoke would threaten her clean sheets on the Hills Hoist). Great times!

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane 🙂

    Like

    1. Jade Blake says:

      👍🏻

      Like

  66. Jason Paul says:

    I lived in Nisbett street from 1979-1983,so i was 10 when we left.Some memories were getting the plenty street tram to town,the extention to maccas,then to bundoora,throwing plums at the bus as it turned left into crevelli street and they changed the route coz of us,getting the strap at holy name school by principal pritchard.I remember the creek at the end of nisbett street,it had high weeds,bigger than me,and we used to think aboriginies would spear us,so silly now,and how small was northland compared to now!!“.My auntie has also had flower/sweets shops all around the area too…ahh the good ol days

    Like

  67. John says:

    Nice work Jeff. I enjoyed your piece and some of the comments and banter.

    My family moved to Reservoir in July 1964 and I was turning five. Prior to that we lived just north of the city around Brunswick South, East and Carlton, where I was born.

    I went to Lakeside Primary and High from Prep to Leaving (Now there’s an old school term) or Yr11, then finished at Preston College which is now NMIT on St Georges Rd.

    I grew up on Spring St at the top of the hill just before it drops toward Regent, not far from the Veterinary and St Gabriel’s. We used to be able to play kick-to-kick in those days. If you tried that now you’d end flat as tack.

    I can recall all of the comments that others have made around some of the shops and spots. I spent a lot of my youth at Johnny’s Top (which became Joe’s) after Joe and Ange took over. I can still remember going to Sargent’s Cakes on Saturday morning with my mother. You know everything still tastes exactly as it was back then.

    The old dear is still going, just turned 94 and is still in Spring St!

    There are so many memories. I have lived on the “other side” since 1991 on the fringe of the Oakhill estate and the Broadway is our shopping strip.

    I put together a list of shops and spots that I have memories of, they are:
    Dickens Supermarket (where the RSL is now on Spring St)
    The RSL actually started in someone’s backyard on the Broadway side
    The original old boat house on Edward’s lake
    The rubbish tip on Newlands Rd (very good for bike parts)
    The Fish & Chips on Edwards St was actually next door (I worked there for about three years). SupaValue supermarket is where the fish shop is now.
    Patterson’s on the Broadway for furniture
    The Melbourne Caravan Park at the bottom of Elizabeth St (still there migh even be a Big4)
    Buying your new Embassy thongs from Coles Variety. Took ages to break them in.
    Just Jeans and Love Real Estate when it was next to the Ressa Station.
    The Drycleaners at the bottom of the ramp on the city side of Ressa station.
    …and so much.

    Cheers, John

    Like

    1. JD says:

      Great post John – comments like yours and many others have been terrific for creating a sense of the rich social history of an often maligned suburb (for someone like myself who grew up in the eastern suburbs). Hopefully that has changed now, like it has for other Melbourne’s suburbs. Let’s hope Rezza retains and continues to celebrate its unique quirkiness though!

      Like

  68. Rezzaresident says:

    I stumbled across this by accident but have throughly enjoyed all the Rezza stories

    I have been a resident for about 25 years
    I married a local and raised some weens here
    I have relished in the Ressa lifestyle of homegrown veggies shopping at Edwardes st
    Being part of local groups and clubs
    Great place to live
    As for the notorious train line that’s a whole other post 😉

    Like

  69. Rezzaresident says:

    Ps

    We pronounce it Resavoor 😜

    Like

  70. Debra Duncan says:

    I am crying with laughter from the wonderful stories of growing up in Rezza. I grew up with the bodgies, widgies, sharpies and skinheads in Box Hill in the 60s and 70s, and none of us would have dared to go Rezza, but it really doesn’t sound much different. I moved away from Victoria for many years, and have suffered the indignity of living in Canterbury for the past few years. Looking to move and Rezza doesn’t scare me in the slightest. I do have a German Shepherd, though.

    Like

    1. JD says:

      Thanks Debra, glad you enjoyed it – the many comments and personal anecdotes have added much to my understanding of what makes Rezza special.

      I grew up near Box Hill in Forest Hill/Blackburn so I lived a sheltered existence until I left home!

      Like

  71. Rob says:

    Love this article! It’s become my insider guide to Reservoir since I moved here a month ago. But… I haven’t found any good and cheap hairdressers yet? Any recommendations? I live on Barry St near Ruthven station.

    Like

    1. JD says:

      Glad to be of service Rob, welcome to the ‘hood!

      I’ve been going to a hairdresser across the road for years, I don’t know of any good/cheap ones near you though. There is about 3 or 4 to choose from along the Edwardes St shops, not that far away.

      Like

  72. John says:

    Hi Rob, Welcome to the ‘voir. If you happy to do a cheaper buzz and cut there are a couple on the Broadway. There’s an old Italian barber who has been there for as long as I can remember and across from him, a bit further down, a cheaper alternative. Always seem to have people in there. I go to an Asian hairdresser in the arcade between Preston market carpark and High st, closer to the market carpark. They charge $15 cash only and do a good job.

    Like

    1. Rob says:

      Hi, that’s great, thank you for the recommendations! 🙂

      Like

  73. Rob says:

    Hi, does anyone know if there any elderberry trees in Reservoir that are accessible to the public?

    Like

    1. Rob says:

      …. wanted to use some for a recipe when the time comes 🙂

      Like

  74. Rob says:

    Hi everyone, coming back to this blog again as it’s New Years Eve and I’m wondering what places the locals go to to get a nice view of the city and fireworks? Also, are there any local fireworks? Happy New Year to everyone!! Rob

    Like

    1. JD says:

      Hi Rob, good to hear from you. Always plenty of unofficial crackers in Rezza. I think there may have been fireworks at Edwardes Lake in the past, not sure if the total fire ban day might put a dampener on celebrations.

      There’s a good view of the city at the top of Gilbert Rd and also there’s a park area off Newlands Rd near the old Kodak factory that has a great view last I heard. I’m sure there’s other places…

      Like

      1. Rob says:

        That’s great, thank you! I’ll check it out!

        Like

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