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mends st 1903




"Halehurst", Mends St, South Perth (c1903 - c1905)

 

South Perth 1906

 


Originally known as an isolated artist's colony by 1903 South Perth was becoming a tourist destination and a dormitory suburb for the city. The Zoo opened in 1898 and Mends Street became a part of the tourist walk from ferry to zoo.

South Perth Zoo PosterMends St by May GibbArtist May Gibbs lived close by and "depicted well-known local residents (including first Zoo Director Ernest Le Souef on a bicycle) hurrying along Mends Street to catch the Duchess to Perth. One of May Gibbs’ 1906 cartoons, depicted well-knownSouth Perth characters hurrying down Mends Street to catch the ferry to Perth.(pictured). ... Looking back, the talented father-daughter team was also part of a defined artistic community in South Perth, in the early days of the twentieth century. May Gibbs arrived in South Perth in 1890 with Herbert and her mother, Cecilia. The family lived together at ‘The Dune’, a bungalow on the corner of Harper Street and Suburban Road (now Mill Point Road) until Herbert’s death in 1940. May grew into adulthood in the tranquillity of South Perth in the 1900 era – relying heavily on the Perth - South Perth ferry service – with the construction of the Narrows Bridge six decades away."

 

Mends Street 1926Herbert and Caroline's daughter Mary was born in South Perth in May 1903 at "Halehurst", Mends Street. "Halehurst", after Caroline's family, later became the name for the long term family home in Melbourne.

Mends St is short and runs down to the Swan River opposite the Perth business district. Just prior to 1900 a ferry terminal was built at the end of the street (shown in this family photo).

The 1904 directory shows only two houses on the east of Mends Street between the jetty and the Windsor Hotel with the Shaws closest to the water. Opposite were only a couple more houses and a tea gardens establishment. By 1926 when the photo on the right was taken the number of houses on Herbert's side of the street hadn't changed. The view is down Mends Street to the ferry terminal from near the Windsor Hotel and it is just possible that the house on the right is "Halehurst". Certainly in 1904 the Esplanade seems to have finished at Mends Street so Herbert must have enjoyed "absolute waterfront". It is likely that the photo below, showing the jetty with Perth in the background, was taken from close by the house.

Mends Street Ferry

 

FelsteadsFelsteadsThe Shaws weren't alone in South Perth with two of Herbert's sisters and their young families within a short walk. Almost next door in the first house back up The Esplanade were Theo and Eva Felstead and family (left with Bill and Muriel abt 1900). Horace and Effie Summers and their family were living about a kilometre away at the corner of Stirling and Melville Parade and Alfred Shaw was not far away living in one of the first houses in the newly developed Applecross.

On the right are Eva, Effie, Caroline and their eight children in late 1903.

 

Herbert wouldn’t recognise the Mends Street of today.  It has become a modern commercial strip servicing the ferry traffic of commuters and tourists. Apparently some of the original houses may remain behind the later additions of shop fronts but from a quick look they have probably been completely replaced by now. Some landmarks do remain. The Windsor Hotel is certainly still open for business looking much as it did in 1904. Further up the point the old mill which appears in many of the photos has been restored as a heritage centre.

 

South Perth Pumpkins - Tom Shaw and FelsteadsAilsa Shaw and Tom Shaw, South PerthThe photo on the left was captioned "Mary, Elaine Felstead, Tom". Judging by their ages it would have been taken in 1904 probably in South Perth. (There was more to the caption but I cut it off when scanning the photo).

On the right are Ailsa Shaw (b1892) and Tom Shaw (b1901) taken about 1902.

 

There is an interesting footnote probably to do with the other building at that time in Mends Street, a private school. About fifteen years later, Caroline Mary's close schoolfriend Agnes Cross, then recently retired as headmistress of Tintern in Melbourne, was brought to Perth to set up a school in Mends Street. It seems too coincidental that their relationship had nothing to do with this.

From South Perth, Herbert and family moved on to Collie.

 

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