Control Data Australia Memories compiled by Brian Membrey

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Dirty Dick's

23 Queen's Road, Melbourne

Location

23 Queen's Road (about 30 metres north of Leopold Street)

Memories

As the name obviously suggests, Dirty Dick's was a boisterous theatre-restaurant of the double-entendre style at night, but some little time after opening, it also catered for the lunch-time trade with  soups and roasts at very reasonable prices.

It was pretty much serve-yourself carvery-style, although there were a couple of maidens (?) in period costumes to take drink orders.  I seem to remember you could stuff yourself senseless and ogle at the waitresses in period costume for around four dollars)

Although it was eminently suitable for loud and somewhat bawdy group evenings, I can only remember three or four visits at lunch and probably with no more that a couple of other people.  Perhaps one of it’s drawbacks was that it involved a fairly long walk for those without cars or not commuting via car to work.

History

The early history of the building is a little obscure with the site not identifiable as a corner block.

It appears to have been constructed around 1898 and remained under the ownership of a family named Duckett for at least twenty years and there are some references to the original property being called Castleberry or Castleberg.

They may well have been the only family to occupy the building - there is a suggestion in 1919 that the Norwegian Consulate-General had moved to the site, but other references to the Consulate over the next year or two place it in the central business district and apartments were being advertised at 23 Queen's Road by 1921.

The restaurant was in a large single-storey mansion (which may have precluded it from being remodelled into apartments), but for some reason, number 23 was not shown in directories from 1960 to 1965, although whoever was occupying the site had some rather genteel neighbours with the Royal Commonwealth Society at 20-22 Queen's Road during and after these years.

Whether the building was unoccupied during this time or just an oversight from the directory isn't known, but in 1966, it suddenly appeared as the Stagecoach Inn Licensed Restaurant operating at the upper-end of the market and probably in competition with Le Chateau.

Around 1974, it was converted to Dirty Dick's, and survived for a number of years. Given the site is currently a minor part of an apartment block in Queen's Lane, the original building may have survived a few more years, but it's function during that time is unknown.   

Today

The site today is at the rear of Brooklands, a seven or eight story apartment block fronting Queen's Lane, but rather strangely, neither vehicle or pedestrian access is available from Queen's Road.  The site does not show the number.

(above) 23 Queen's Road as the Stagecoach Inn License Restaurant (below) The kitchen at the-then Stagecoach Restaurant, circa 1967.  Certainly the Dirty Dick's cuisine was much simpler than what is suggested by the earlier photograph