They’ve been, with very few exceptions, stomped out of existence by mega-servos that come with car washes, shops and fast food outlets.
But like the corner shops that have met a similar fate, their ghosts linger.
Often they’re still in use for automotive purposes.
Sometimes they’ve been utilised for other uses.
Sometimes they lie idle.
And sometimes all traces are gone save for the memories of locals.
This survey is not meant to be comprehensive or methodical.
Basically, it’s the result of a day’s driving that took in those old servos of which I was already aware, with a happy stumble of a couple of neat surprises thrown in.
If readers send me photos, I’ll do a follow-up spread!
Douglas Parade Bait and Tackle, Douglas Parade, Spotswood (near The Warmies).
Francis Street, Yarraville.
Corner Barnet Street and Pentland Parade, Yarraville.
Bowsers intact, but I’m told the auto repair shop that operated here for many years is no longer doing so.
Sunshine Road, Tottenham.
Sunshine Road, Sunshine.
Andy’s Servo, corner Anderson and Glengala roads, Sunshine.
Sunshine Social, Glengala Road, Sunshine West.
Ballarat Road, Footscray.
Corner Napier and Whitehall streets, Footscray (opposite the Reverence Hotel).
The proprietor of the mechanics shop here told me the tanks remained intact and that he reckons it was servo until some time in the 1950s.
He showed me an invitation to exhibition launch featuring the work of signwriting outfit Lewis and Skinner. See details here.
And the boss also informed me the premises/property operated as a Cobb & Co depot in the early 1900s!
Corner Charles and Gamon streets, Seddon.
I was unsure of servo status of this building.
So I dropped in to visit my friends Deborah and Roger, who have lived right opposite for a long time.
As far as we can figure, a very rough chronology of the building’s uses runs like this:
Bery’s Charcoal Grill until the mid-90s
Charles and Gamon (current).
So The Bowser name leads us to conclude it was indeed a servo at one time.
The charcoal grill, serving Macedonian food, was much loved and has been discussed in comments on previous CTS stories.
Anderson Street, Yarraville.
A final surprise!
Deborah flipped through the relevant pages of the history of Yarraville she and Roger produced in conjunction with the Footscray Historical Society.
And there they were – a couple of very old bowsers stationed outside this building, which is these days a health services centre, located right next door to Coracle (formerly happy Four).