Control Data Australia Memories compiled by Brian Membrey

Beverley Crest (Montmatre)

47 Barkly Street, St. Kilda

Location

Western side, mid-way between St. Kilda and Alma Road

Memories

Chicken or the egg?  Or in the case of the Beverley Crest, the seminar or the lunch?

I remember attending a seminar there and the dining room, I remember lunches there, but not which came first.

I think Alan Rodda may have been the connection and from what I remember of the non-seminar lunches, they were fairly large affairs in the restaurant on the first level.

History

Like St. Kilda and Queen's Roads, most of Barkly Street was originally lined with large two-storey mansions, although most of there had been replaced with the ubiquitous "flats" by 1960 as much of the northern end of St. Kilda was redeveloped.

The other thing it had in common was that it was not numbered until the turn of the century, the first identifiable occupier Mrs E. Dickenson. She was listed over the next ten years, but not shown in earlier directories. Barkly Street, however, appears to have been fully built up by around 1890.

Other than that, about the only thing known is that the building had a close connection with Melbourne's Dutch community, firstly as the Netherlands Australia Society, and then the Abel Tasman Dutch Club.

Whether he was Dutch uncertain, but the Crest was developed by a Cecil Gertz and opened in 1971, featuring the Ki-Ki Bar and Montmatre Restaurant. [1]

Today

Now known as the Crest on Barkly, the exterior has been modernised , now all black glass and shiny metal (I seem to recall a fairly bland cream facade, but couldn't locate an image.  

Initially the first thing that struck me was that the prominent entry up a flight of stairs to the reception area (that section of Barkly Street climbs fairly steeply to Alma Road), but the more I think of it, the more I believe that may have the entrance way back in the 1970s, although less prominent - the car park and service areas are on the ground level.

Checking their web site suggests the Crest was "recently renovated", but nothing specific date-wise.

There advertising suggests the Crest still concentrates heavily on the seminar/conference market.


[1] The restaurant took its name from a hill outside Paris, renowned for its connection to the bohemian underworld, perhaps best known as the location of the Moulin Rouge cabaret immortalised in Baz Luhrmann's 2001 movie. One dictionary definition suggests Kiki means "gathering, an informal term meaning a social gathering primarily for gossip or generally having a good time", but significantly the term does not appear in ten volumes and almost a linear metre of the Oxford English Dictionary. Nice one, Cecil!