It’s a well-known if rarely utilised fact that you’ll always see more walking somewhere than by driving – or even pedaling.
So it is that I park and check out Buckley Street on foot for the first time in at least a decade.
Buckley between Nicholson and Victoria has remaining vestiges of earlier times, decades and uses.
But there’s a reason why it’s such an inhospitable stretch of street, and why there is little or no street life, and why the very little retail or business activity is heavily weighted towards tradies and the like.
That reason is traffic – lots and lots of traffic.
And lots of trucks.
The reason, in turn, for that is that this stretch of Buckley is a gateway, in one direction, to Sunshine, Geelong and Williamstown.
And in the other direction, it’s a gateway to Footscray Road and, less directly, Dynon Road.
All that traffic, and all those people in hurry, makes the intersection of Buckley and Victoria (above) one of the most accident-prone we know of.
Barely a week passes that we don’t see the aftermath of prangs, mostly caused we presume by cars and trucks barreling towards Melbourne having unpleasant interaction with those heading in the other direction and turning right into Victoria to go under the railway line.
Be careful here, folks!
But let’s go for a wander, hey? Down one side of Buckley and up the other?
On the Seddon corner at Victoria, what was for a long time a Vietnamese pool hall is undergoing refurbishment that will see it reopened as a “convenience store”.
The application posted in the window doesn’t generate much optimism that this will be good stuff for Consider The Sauce and its readers!
A little further along, what seems like it was almost certainly a service station many decades ago is now home to West Suburban Taxis.
It was unveiled as such by the then premier in 1995.
Heck, there must have been an election in the wind!
Then comes a block or so of double-storey terrace houses, some done out nicely, some looking rather tatty.
I wonder who lives here.
The business activity among these older properties ranges from electrical …
… to the spiritual.
Moving a bit further towards the CBD and we come across one of the very few newer structures on the street – a block of apartments.
The empty, large block right next door could become home of even more apartments – if a buyer is ever found.
From there, and before we cross Buckley and head back the other way, there’s a bus depot … and then the university.
OK, heading back the way we came, but this time taking in the other side of the road …
The Belgravia Hotel is no more.
And nor is its colourful array of, um, “entertainment”.
This too is destined to be a site for apartments – and going by the sign, those plans do not include use of the existing structures.
Next door, what was once the home of the Hot Shot pool hall and coffee emporium is uninhabited. We never made it in for a game or a taste.
Moving past Paint Spot and across Albert Street …
… what once housed an arts supplies outfit is now home to a recruitment agency …
… while the arts supplies outfit itself has moved a few doors away to a more utilitarian property.
Now we’re moving into spaces and places with which Bennie and I definitely have a shared history.
I once bought him a paint set at West Art Supplies.
And we spent a lot of time at the swimming pool.
It was nothing like the gleaming edifices to be found at Kensignton or Highpoint – rough concrete floors were all the go.
Rough, clammy concrete floors … but the place had a water slide and we liked it.
I presumed this property, too, had fallen into disuse – but I spot a pair of slippers through the frosted windows so walk around the side.
The whole place, including ancillary buildings, is now a Salvos aged-care establishment.
The brick building next door, once home to child-care activities, is these days used by a handful of community service groups.
And one of the rooms is, on the afternoon of my ambulatory inspection, being used for a grungy metal gig!
Moving right along …
What was once a florist/garden/homewares business morphed at some stage, and briefly, into all of the above plus coffee and rudimentary eats.
And now it’s nothing at all.
Next in line is another surprise – what was once a display home, now fallen into ruins and dereliction, has another, older house – also a complete wreck – behind it.
The once-was-a-display-home still has floor plans with “sold” stickers on them!
The cheap meat place is these days called More Meat.
We once shopped there quite regularly, and I know people who still do so.
Moving closer to Victoria, there’s a Japanese bookshop with residence behind … which is right next door to …
… a Chinese medicine place, which is right next door to …
… another shopfront with, rather mysteriously, no signage and matting in the entire window space.
Finally, right on the corner of Buckley and Victoria is the purveyor of all things canvas that seems to have been right there forever.
So is this stretch of Buckley … Footscray? Seddon? Both?
According to Google maps, it is both.
But I have a friend, a decades-long resident of Charles Street, who maintains the Buckley-as-boundary concept is a scam fostered by real estate agents eager to see more properties included in Seddon with a view to higher prices.
According to him, Charles Street was – and still is, in his opinion – the boundary between Footscray and Seddon.