Control Data Australia Memories compiled by Brian Membrey

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Chevron Hotel (Back Bar)

519-535 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne

Location

South-eastern corner of St. Kilda and Commercial Roads. The Back Bar was ground level on the southern side of the main building and accessed from St. Kilda Road.

Memories

This was the main after-hours drinking venue when I joined early in 1971.

We primarily used the Back Bar, a single story ground level structure with from memory, the bar at the St. Kilda Road end, tables along either side and a couple of pool tables along the centre section which you had to negotiate to get to the toilets at the rear.

The Back Bar was definitely "beer barn" more than "lounge bar", although we  did occasionally use either the Lounge Bar on the ground floor of the main building or the small beer garden to which it was attached on occasions, usually when female company was present.

And although it was well before my time at CDA, the Chevron also offered a major advantage to the "single digits" then operating out of Eton Square.

Pre-1966 and the repeal of the "temporary" Licensing Act of 1916 which restricted hotel trading to the general public to 6.00 p.m. (aka "the six o'clock swill") and before the advent of motels along Queen's Road, the Chevron was used to house the occasional interstate visitor - which meant that when the warning bell went at six signalling the imminent closure of the public bar, the Control Data team could legally retire to the Guest's Lounge which did not have the same restriction!

(Sadly, the Act required the bona fide guest to have travelled more than twenty miles from his or her previous overnight stay - thus preventing a "single digit" from just booking a room for the night at, say, ten minutes before closing time).

History

Like many of the later buildings in St. Kilda Road, the Chevron site was for many years a large two-story mansion alternatively described as flats or a guest house.

Although the building had certainly existed for many years prior, the "Chevron" is first sighted in 1926, although when plans for the hotel were released in 1934, it was suggested the name had been used "for many years".


Ron Bird remembers …

Well, Ron remembers just about everything, but following the initial release of Control Data Australia - A Stroll Down Memory Lane, the first cut of a full history of the local subsidiary, his handful of updates mentioned that the Chevron Lounge was also a lunch spot for the early employees then based at Eton Square or 474 St. Kilda Road.  He adds that Bob Hawke, Albert Monk and other comrades from the ACTU were also regulars at the Chevron Lounge in 1964 and had their own little corner.

He also suggests that interstate visitors staying at the Chevron were often encouraged to stay over on the Friday night - before six o’clock closing was removed in 1966, bona fide travellers were allowed to invite friends into the upstairs Guest’s Bar, one of the few venues open until 10 p.m.