Melbourne’s answer to Carnaby Street, fed by the Art students living above the shops and attending Prahran College,
6 storeys of different Art disciplines, one block away.

The air sang with the scent of barbecueing lamb, from all the side streets housing Greek and Turkish immigrant families. The art students, hippies, poets and musicians all had their own distinctive scents from Patchouli Oil to wafting clouds that left your head spinning..

The Dentist Steve says that there were at one time 23 Dentists in Greville Street until the 1880’s when most of them moved to Collins Street.

In 1927, a side path between two buildings was enclosed to produce No 181, a tiny Chemist Shop. with built in oak cupboards .
Then in 1947 it became a Jewellery and Watch Repairer for the next thirty years.

It’s said that during the 40’s and 50’s frock shops in the street were fronts for brothels, (in the pay of the Police, whose ex Station and Court House are just accross the road from 181) Brothels catering on payday to the workers walking to the Railway Station from the cigarette factory in the next street, in what is now the Coles carpark.
I’m told that “Squizzy Taylor” who lived in our street in Windsor, was tried here and Ronald Ryan, the last person to be hanged in Victoria, was too. Some serious scuffles took place here, right outside our shop. There are tribal legends of "suiciding" hippies being thrown from the second storey CID office windows. (Also mentioned in the movie "Pure Shit" partly filmed and set in 70's Greville Street.)

In the 50’s Rockers roamed, combed and revved.

In the early 60’s it was Beatniks and Art students, followed by Hippies and Art students.

It was the late 60’s, (one of the wholefood bakeries served hash cookies, first thing Saturday morning to the regulars, I’m told, by a girl who worked there! At 18, from Chadstone, she’d got her first job in Retail, there in 1968, what a buzz!) Albert Langer and the Draft dodgers were based  in the same building (hmmm, was it called Marijuana House ?)

Then it was the 70’s, hippies gradually gave way to punks, musicians, actors, writers, directors, poets, artists and drug addicts.
There were 4 proper Opportunity shops, and lots of Second Hand Clothes, Antiques and Collectables stores.
Quirky individual shops run by very quirky individuals opened there doors, often living above the shop. Living rooms became shops.

In 1977, with it’s oak interior ripped out, No 181 became a Punk clothes shop “Periodz”.

In the early 80’s, Palm Beads opened, 1984 actually.
We had a tall Fan Palm growing outside our door. And a garden with a bench for exhausted males to sprawl on, whilst they waited for the females to choose earrings. They found enough to look at as they waited though, the passing tide was often visually stunning.

The Chapel Street Bazaar was the Greville Street Bazaar, the heart of the street, until it was evicted in ‘91 during the political battles fought to save the district from developers. We won, I think, well we won that battle, but definitely not the war.

Leggetts Ballroom, where each night up to 6,000 hot to fox trotted through the 20’s up to 1970, when “psychedelia” took over. With full on live Hippy light show Dances with Edison Lights, Captain Match Box (who lived accross the road in Greville St) Mc Kenzie Theory and Spectrum etc. until it burnt down in ‘74.

The Continental, and the Station Hotel, both live music venues were driven out (a generation is still angry “The Conti” closed.)

Greville street was synonymous with a vibrant Youth Culture, retro clothing, Alternative outlook and live music, venue posters adorned the poles. School kids playing truant for the day, would bus and train to Greville Street, from as far away as Portland and Euroa, a geography lesson in itself. (specifically to Palm Beads, I might add!)

Dangerfield and Route 66 both started here. There were antiquarian and specialist book and whole food stores. “The Transylvania.” (sigh!) a Restaurant with schnitzels that covered your plate and paprika mash potato.

Then Prahran (Art) College left to merge with the College of the Arts, and Swinburne University moved in. They were pretty tame for a while, (“they’re young designers not art students!” Craig Austin said.) But now they have a Circus School, which adds new life and a quite a few more dimensions to the district.

Next door to us are the amazing “haute couture” designers J’Aton, noses are constantly pressed against their windows.
Sadly they’re relocating to New York soon, we’ll miss the public swooning outside their window. They are however still working from their upstairs rooms ansd She has moved in downstairs.

The street has been cleaned up a lot now, they’ve even cut down our Palm tree, and with the millenium Fashion boutiques are blossoming anew. We find now, we’re the second oldest shop on the street, Greville Records just beats us (now there’s a serious musician’s/collector’s shop.)

The Greville Bookstore and Andrew Isles Books are just up the street, Margaritas Retro Clothing and Stevie are a few doors from us towards the Chapel Street corner.

At the turn of the Century, in 1999, the Government or was it the Council (?) had a concerted clean up,
to quote them, “Get rid of the Riff Raff. And attract nicer people!”

We remember the old days, and so do our customers … over and over “Thank God, I’m so glad, you’re still here!”…

A new generation is discovering Greville Street … “Oh Good. I bought my first pair of earrings here. And I’ve brought my daughter to show her your shop!”

Each new generation discovers it’s own Greville Street, and we find we are still supplying that special present.

On a good day it’s only seven minutes by train from Flinders Street, on the Sandringham line.

That way you avoid getting carried away, and forgetting what time you parked the car …
or where ……… far more relaxing.

And economical, it’s much better spent on Jewellery, than Parking Fines.

From the station, turn left back to the crossing then right into Greville Street and walk in the sun for four minutes,
grab a coffee on the way, continuing towards Chapel Street.

Cross the pedestrian crossing and you’ll find us about a minute more opposite the Town Hall and Library (where there are good Public Toilets!)

Enjoy.