Control Data Australia Memories compiled by Brian Membrey

Eats ... Motels

Although there were no hotels and not a lot of restaurants immediately accessible from 598 St. Kilda Road, we were well served by a number of motels (although "Motor Inn" appears to have been the preferred title) that provided relatively cheap lunch-time dining facilities.

The 1960s were a boom time for motels along Queen's Road, a number of rather grand but probably run-down houses being demolished to make way for the cheaper alternative to hotel accommodation.  Most of the blocks, like those in St. Kilda Road, were 100-feet frontages with a depth to Queen's Lane of 200 feet.

We must state at this point that there is a very remote chance that one or more of these motels may have been used on odd occasions by one or more C.D.A. employees of either or both sexes accompanied by consenting Control Data or non-Control Data employees of either or both sexes for purposes other than lunch, but this is a family-friendly publication, so everyone back to their own beds!

The history of the sites that later became motels and thus part of C.D.A's heritage is in fact much more difficult to trace than that behind the hotels for two reasons.

Firstly, they were all built originally as rather grand private residences and thus were not covered by the licensing requirements and laws that covered hotels from which much of the history of the latter establishments had be derived, and secondly, rather like St. Kilda Road, Queen's Terrace and later Queen's Road was not numbered until 1904, and even then, the St. Kilda section south of Lorne Street went another ten years before numbers were extended along the full strip.

Hence the back-tracking to the earliest origins of some of the sites can only be traced by family name as given with numbers in 1904 - and, of course if the property was sold or transferred to another name, the link is well and truly busted!

The major surprise that came out of the research is not related to our section on motels, but it was a real shock to discover number 1 Queen's Road, tucked away in the little stretch arcing upwards toward St. Kilda Road and which was acquired in 1975 for expansion of T.A.B. headquarters was not built until 1953 and was barely twenty years old when demolished (and remained in the same family during its somewhat brief existence)!

Just what the site was prior to this remains a mystery - the best guess is that it may have been part of number 2, but given it was a corner block (on Queen's Lane), it seems remarkable that it was never utilised for any sort of accommodation when its neighbour at number 2 existed at least from 1883 and remained in the family of S.G. Staunton for over thirty years.

Overall, the research covered the following sites:

1, 2, 3 T.A.B. headquarters

4, 5, 6 Commodore Motel

23 Dirty Dick's

48 Le Chateau

52 Noah's Palm Lake

63 Commodore Motor Inn

69 John Batman Motor Inn, and

81  Koala Queen's Lodge

(This list could have perhaps included 61 Queen's Road, home for a few years of The Musician's Club, but C.D.A's use of it is a little obscure, so it remains in the "to-do" basket).

Given the provisos given above, the two oldest of these appear to have been number 2 and 48, the latter perhaps somewhat ironic as it is sadly the only surviving today.

I also need to do a similar background check on 47 Barkly street, the site of the Beverley Crest - I forgot this when doing the Queen's Road research.