150 Westgarth Street, Fitzroy

In 1900 there was nothing bug marshy land between Westgarth and Rose, between George and Gore and little had changed by 1910. By 1915, George Currie is recorded as resident for the full south side of Westgarth Street from George to Gore Sts (Sands & MacDougall 1915, Australian City Directories, 1915)

MMBW Map 1900

The house and land, which was extensive was sold in 1915. The advert states “Land 30 ft. 2 x 85 ft. 6 in. on which is erected a new, up to date brick and W.B VILLA containing 6 rooms, pantry, bathroom, wash house, electric light, stable and buggy shed, sewered.” (The Age, 23 Oct 1915)

John McCluskey (resident: 1920)

By 1920, there is no record of George Currie and despite searching I can’t find any other record of George and who he was, but John McCluskey is recorded at 150 and there are two other houses now in this block (Sands & MacDougall, 1920, Electoral Role 1920). John is also a bit of an enigma to me – there is a John (an Iron Dresser) living at 21 Westgarth with Elizabeth, but I cannot connect them.

Jacob Coleman (Grocer/Dealer) (resident 1921-1927)

In 1925, Jacob Coleman was living at 150 Westgarth.

1926 – Mrs Coleman (50 years) lives in the house with her husband and son. She is attacked by an intruder. “Shortly before 4am Mr Jacob Coleman and his son William left home for the market with a fruit barrow and pony to purchase fruit and vegetables. This was a daily custom of Mr. Coleman, who has a fruit and vegetable round.” Not long after there was a loud knock at the door and a man advised that her husband and son had been involved in a terrible accident. She opened the door and was set upon. A struggle occurred and Mrs Coleman screamed. The leadlight in the front door was damaged, but she kept screaming even when they threw a coat over her head and punched her. The assailants became concerned and ran off. Mrs Coleman was terrified, locked all the doors, turned on all the lights and too scared to venture out, waited till her husband returned at 7am. It was thought that maybe the assailants were aware of the recent sale of the house and thought that some of the purchase sum was stored in the house. (The Age, 1 Sep 1926).

It is likely that Jacob moved to 329 Napier St (City Directories 1929-35)

John (Jack) S Atkinson (Wharf Labourer) and Bessie Atkinson (resident 1926-1945)

The following is part of the biography history from Jeff Atkinson of North Carlton (supplied in 2021), the full text can be found here. The photos below are also those of Jeff Atkinson which give a good vision of the way the house at 150 Westgarth used to look in late 30s, early 40s, with shingles under the front window, a tiled walkway to the front door and amazing woodwork at the top of the verandah and on the hoods over the windows – the top two rows are photos of Jack and Leonard Atkinson and the bottom row shows Bessie Atkinson and a number of others.

Jack, Bessie and Len (age 13) moved into Westgarth Street. “This was a free-standing weatherboard and stucco house built around the turn of the century, with a picket fence and hedge in the front. According to Len there was at one stage a small board on the fence that advertised what was on that week at the local cinema. In return for the use of their fence, the family was given free tickets to see the movies.” Jack was still at the brewery when he started there but was working on the wharves in the 1930s. It was the depression, so Bessie was also working part-time waitressing for a catering company called O’Briens. Len grew up and moved out to Brunswick with his wife Mollie in 1940. Jeff Atkinson notes in the biography that he believes in the late 40s they built a new home, potentially in Clifton Hill, however they didn’t like being away from Fitzroy and moved back to Westgarth Street, this time directly across the road at 151 Westgarth St.

Jack and Bettie loved Fitzroy and remained in Westgarth St until 1963/64. When Jack and Bessie finally moved away to Upwey to live with family, Jack was upset and passed away the following year. It is a beautiful story of the love of where you live. Thanks to Jeff for providing!

1950 – John W Kelly

In 1953, the house was sold, described as “attractive timber villa. Combined Dining and Lounge Room, 3 Bedrooms, Breakfast room, Pantry, Kitchen, with Elevated Gas Stove, Enamel Sink, Built-in Cupboards, and Washhouse. The Outhouses Comprise Garage & Workshop 13ft x 16ft” (The Argus, 9 May 1953).

1955 – H W Jarrett

1960 – A Saveni

1965 – William Szegedi

1970 – C Papaloannou

1975 – C Papaloannou

Committee for Urban Action (between 1970-1974) – Identifier CUAFY11/2- S1tate Library
Google Image

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