Control Data Australia Memories compiled by Brian Membrey

Picton Court

2-3 Queen's Road, Melbourne

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Location

Eastern corner of  King's Way and Queen's Road.

Memories

I'll cheat a bit here and give the approximate layout as detailed in a copy of TABLOID, the T.A.B. staff newsletter in April, 1975 advising of the placement of first aid kits.  Any updates most welcome!


Basement

Plant Room, Garage, Transport Office

Ground Floor :

 T.A.B. Agency, Foyer, ?

Mezzanine:

Planning division

First Floor :

Telephone Betting, Computer Room, Sick Room

Second Floor :

Control Centre

Third Floor :

Tenanted (1975 directories show Masius Wynne Williams Pty Ltd and Eagle Public Relations Pty Ltd, both advertising agents)

Fourth Floor :

Sick Room, Audit and Security Division, Finance Division

Fifth Floor :

Property Division, Central Operations Division, Field Operations Division

Sixth Floor :

Ladies Locker Room (rest of floor not stated), but one photo sighted shows a line of offices with presumably secretaries outside, presumably executive suites.

Seventh Floor :

Cafeteria, Kitchen, Recreation Area

Eighth Floor :

Plant Room, Turbine Room

The earliest mention of the site in Queen's Road dates back to 1875 when the land along then-Queen's Terrace and the western side of St. Kilda Road, then part of the Albert Park Reserve set aside for recreation in 1862 was divided into allotments and sold by the Victorian Colonial Government at public auction.  The sites which eventually became 2 and 3 Queen's Road were bought by Mr. David Boyd and Mr. J. P. Scott respectively.  

The following year, number 3  was sold to George W. Watmough who erected a brick villa, subsequently enlarged and improved by the next owner, David Syme, one of the earliest founders of The Age newspaper.

In 1881, both sites came into the possession of Stephen George Staughton, a Western Districts grazier, lived in the residence at 3 Queen's Road while number 2 remained vacant until Staughton erected and moved to a 17-room house there in 1906.

Number 3 was shown in an 1896 M.M.B.W. map under the name of "Woodside". It was later occupied by a Mrs Isabel Hood, but with apartments shown as early as 1916.  The same map show the Illoura House site on the corner of St. Kilda Road as "Fitzroy House".

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Number 2 was remodelled into apartments in the late 1930s and it later as Picton Court, like CDA's original home, Eton Square,  was occupied by around 12 to 15 small offices.

Prior to the T.A.B., it was still shown in the early 1960s as "flats", but again the tenants were primarily of a commercial nature

In 1966, while the original building was under construction, Picton Court was divided between temporary offices for the T.A.B. and the Manhattan Acceptance Corporation, financiers, and number 3 (unnamed) as "development site, T.A.B".

Number 1 Queen's Road on the corner of Queen's Lane was shown as Mrs. C. M. Carolan, and it came as a real surprise given the age of its neighbours that this was built as a private residence as late as 1951, shown the following years as occupied by Francis Carolan.  

Just what the usage of the site was before this is a mystery - there is simply no mention in directories of 1 Queen's Road before this; there are occasional references to Yalcowinna as number 1 and it may have been the one property later subdivided, but it seems strange nothing was constructed on such a prominent corner block.

The TAB's Head Office building was officially opened by the Premier, Sir Henry Bolte on the evening of Thursday, 9 March, 1967.

The July, 1975 edition of TABLOID, the T.A.B. staff newsletter in describing plans for the extension of the original building noted:

"... the 19,000 sq. feet triangular piece of land adjacent to our original building has been cleared of the car park and the seven room house that covered it".  (see map right).  

Clare Mary Carolan died in 1975 at 89 years of age and she was still shown as residing in the house immediately prior to her passing.

It came as a another surprise to me to discover that numbers 1 to 3 Queen's Road were in the narrow section which merges north into Bowen Crescent NOT King's Way. (see map right).

Number 1, "the triangular piece of land" and seven-roomed house were on the intersection of Queen's Road, Queen's Lane and Bowen Crescent.

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Today

Extensions and remodelling in the first few years of the 21st century make the building itself almost unrecognisable from the original, although the corner outlook remains familiar.

The current name and address are somewhat contradictory.

An external sign proclaims it to be Number One Queen's Road, but the building itself  carries the name St. Kilda Road Towers, despite it being entirely east of Queen's Lane.

Much of today's TABCORP operations are based almost opposite to Picton Court in Bowen Crescent, the building for decades colloquially known as "Half Moon House" or "Half Cheese House".