Errol Street 100 Years Apart

by Mary Kehoe

There were enormous changes in the Errol Street Shopping Centre in the 100 years that separate these two photos.

The shop now occupied by Gary Bohmer’s Pharmacy forms part of one of the earliest surviving two-storey shop rows in Victoria. The row is the oldest existing building in Errol Street, built around 1855 for well-known early identity and chemist (chymist) Charles Atkin, who opened a chemist shop in a wooden building on the site in 1854.

The present chemist shop has operated as a pharmacy since 1855, so it is especially important because it has maintained the same use throughout its history.

However, all the buildings from the pharmacy to Queensberry Street have been replaced. The Commonwealth Bank building you see in the 1976 photo was replaced in 1984. The present building, now Errol’s Pantry Bakehouse, replicates an earlier building on the site that formed part of a two-storey row, some of which still exists in an altered state. Notice the similarities between the Bakehouse, Alfonso’s Men’s Hairdressers at 73 and the real estate agents at 79 Errol Street.

We know from the Sands & McDougall street directories that Reddish’s pawnshop occupied the corner site for over 70 years (c1863 to 1937). Matchett’s Grocers were there from approximately 1940 to

1955 and Matchett’s were replaced by Sims Markette. Mario’s had taken over the site by 1976 when the later photo was taken. A 7-Eleven has recently opened on the site.

The Hotham History Project would be interested in historical information about any of the buildings in Errol Street but we are particularly interest-ed to know when the present 7-Eleven building was erected and if anyone has memories of Reddish’s pawnshop. Information can be left with Local History Librarian, Heather McKay, at the North Melbourne Library or you can contact Mary Kehoe (9329 5814) or Lorna Hannan (9328 3211).