Control Data Australia Memories compiled by Brian Membrey
The Third Friday
La Porchetta, 392 Rathdowne Street, Carlton 
La Trattoria, 406 Rathdowne Street, Carlton 
Sofia's 857 Burke Road, Camberwell (A)
September, 2012 saw the twentieth anniversary of the famous Third-
Way back in 1992, I was working on a contract at Telecom (the new "Telstra" was still several months away) in Little Collins Street -
Mike Spark was lecturing at R.M.I.T. and at some point we agreed to catch up for lunch one Friday at a pizza place on the corner of Elizabeth and Therry streets, just next to the shopping strip adjoining Victoria Market -
(As a matter of interest, the building appears to have been the first home of James McEwan & Co., then listed as ironmongers and metal merchants, later better known just as McEwan's in Bourke Street before being taken over by Bunnings around 1990. The site was a bank before being divided down the middle and the restaurant occupying the northern half -
Lunch finished with "same time and place next month" -
The fourth month (I think August) saw the tradition begin in embryo form -
I'm not sure whether he mentioned whether he had someone else coming, but as I got into the lift in Little Collins Street, I bumped into Kevin Walsh who was working in the same building, and after I mentioned D.O'Ç. and explained where I was off to, he asked if could tag along.
We found Sparky and George Crawford on the corner and Mike mentioned a new place in Carlton called La Porchetta, so we after arming ourselves with a bottle red each, we piled into Mike's Fairlane and headed off.
The crunch came we arrived at La Porchetta and they wanted to charge (from memory) $2 a head for corkage (remembering a large pizza was only around six bucks at the time), so it was "up you for the rent" and we wandered a few doors up and found La Trattoria Ristorante E'Pizzeria.
All had a great time and I'm not sure whether we discussed it at the time, but George took on board the task of contacting a few others and the network started to spread -
Or maybe it was the other way round.
But regardless of motive, George at that stage was the only one of us not working full time and it was his efforts that established the base for the remarkable history of the Third Friday.
La Trattoria hosted us until around September or October, 1999.
I hadn't been for several months because of the Y2K rush, but was a bit surprised when George's monthly reminder revealed a move to La Porchetta -
For around 13 years, I naively believed this was the reason for the move until the twentieth anniversary lunch in September, 2012 when Geoff Hipwell asked me to give a brief presentation on the history to date.
I mentioned the move, only for someone with a bit of giggle to ask me the reason; although suspicious that this was a bit of a set-
Someone quietly mentioned a few minutes later that regardless of the renovation, the ex-
Regardless of the reason, the move would probably have happened anyway -
Although there were great times for many years there, the twentieth anniversary lunch may have been the beginning of the end for La Porchetta -
From Carlton to Camberwell seemed a quantum geographical shift, but with the majority of likely attendees now retired and no longer bound by work commitments to central Melbourne, a group of around eight of us decided on a trial run to check the food, service and convenience of the location.
The latter was of concern to me in Albert Park and reliant on public transport, but the reality is that it is a fraction quicker and less hassle to travel via Flinders Street with two lines serving Camberwell Station that to traverse through the city, and several others have found public transport a convenience.
The lunches will probably continue until the last of us drops, and special mention must be made of the efforts of the late George, Geoff Hipwell and Bob Jensen have put in over more than twenty years to keep things running smoothly.
See you on the Third Friday of next month …
|The Third Friday|
|The Hot Pot Shop|
|Leo's Spag Bar|
|The Old Pepper|