Friday, July 15, 2011

A Shop in Port Melbourne

former Shop, Port MelbourneI wrote about this former shop at 9a Raglan Street, Port Melbourne almost three years ago but today I was prompted to do some research into its history.

My source of information was the archives of the Port Melbourne Historical & Preservation Society (PMHPS) where I was able to view information from the Sands & McDougall directories and a database of Port People compiled from local church records and some family details provided by researchers and people looking into their family trees.

A man called John Byrne set up a grocers, certainly not in this exact shop front but in this location on the corner of Raglan Street and Easplanade East in 1891. He was married to Margaret Cecilia (Torris) and they had seven children over the the next fourteen years.

Joseph Vincent Byrne was born in 1895 and by 1924 he had joined his father in the grocery business. Joseph was married to Bridget Agnes (Stenson) by the early to mid 1920s because, as we will see later, they had a daughter, Imelda Joan, born around this time.

John & Joseph continued to work together for around the next decade afterwhich the business is listed solely under Joseph's name.

Joseph & Bridget's daughter Imelda was a school teacher when she married a clerk from Bentleigh called Francis Wellesley Walker at St Joseph's Church, Rouse Street in Feburary 1954. At that time Joseph gave his occupation as a grocer.

That's where my research trail goes cold but for over 60 years, John & Joseph Byrne, father and son, together and separately ran a grocers shop here and, in all probability, added this handsome modern shop front during the Art Deco period.

Shop, Port MelbourneSo why was I prompted to re-visit this particular former shop. You may have already guessed that, in a good sense, it is a former shop no longer. It is the temple of art ... where art meets design, an exciting addition to the Port artistic landscape.

It is so good to see these older building used again and I wish them much success over the next 60 years or so.


  1. Yes! It was closed when I went past but I'm looking forward to getting inside and having a look around.