Balaclava Road

A few days ago I was on the number 16 tram in Melbourne rattling up Balaclava Road, and half day dreaming while looking out the window.

When the tram got as far as the intersection of Balaclava and Orrong roads I noticed a tram shelter that looked rather different from the usual functional nineties shelters.


I thought it might be a survivor from the end of the nineteenth century, but when I checked the Victoria Heritage Database, it turns out to date from 1916 or 17, which turns out to be a bit later than I thought. Anyway, I thought it was worth a further look so I did exactly that, hopping off the tram on my return journey …

Architecturally, it’s reminiscent of school wet weather shelters, or more accurately the old nineteenth century ones I remember from the early sixties


with the cast iron columns doubling as down pipes


But that’s not all, round the corner is a fairly standard colony of Victoria Postal receiving pillar of the same basic design as the Mellish St postbox


except that this one has obviously only been recently abandoned by Australia Post, and despite being sealed still has a current collection time sticker.

Further down the street street is another nineteenth century gem, one of the obelisk style post boxes that preceded the receiving pillar design, but taller than usual, making it look, in style, a little like a Victorian gravestone


The reason for the extra height is because it has two mail slots, the upper for newspapers, that went at the (reduced) printed papers rate, and the lower for normal letters.

This one has not been abandoned by Australia post and the lower slot is still in use as a posting box. I didn’t examine the newspaper slot closely but it didn’t look as if it was sealed – what would happen if you posted something in it might be a bit uncertain though ….

About dgm

Former IT professional, previously a digital archiving and repository person, ex research psychologist, blogger, twitterer, and amateur classical medieval and nineteenth century historian ...
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