Saturday, July 15, 2017

Goodbye Gatwick

The Gatwick Hotel in St Kilda is to close. A substantial house, Lockinge,  was demolished and a luxurious private hotel was built in 1937. In Melbourne these were essentially boarding houses for the genteel.


In the 1950s the hotel was bought by Maltese born Vittoria Carbone, or Queen Vicky, and she ran it until her death in 1998. Her two daughters, Rose and Yvette, inherited the hotel and took over the running. The hotel had become a place for the unfortunate to lodge very cheaply. Though R did once work with a chap who lived there for over forty years. He was very respectable and not at all poor. I wrote about him when he died and there is also some more about the Gatwick there.

This photo from the ABC is Vittoria with her twin daughters who now run the hotel.


The sisters are getting older and there has been extreme pressure for something to be done with the hotel. Politicians, local councillors, local businesses and police wanted it closed. At least daily, mostly more often, the police would have matters to sort out with one or more of the residents. There are 66 rooms within the hotel.


The sisters put the hotel on the market for $11 million but it failed to sell. It did later sell, I assume for a price less than $11 million and the buyer was the Channel 9 tv station for a new series of their show, The Block.


I hope this cutting but lovely and heartfelt goodbye from the sisters is quite readable. I am sure you know to click to enlarge.


Later edit: It seems the hotel sold for around $15 million.

18 comments:

  1. nice to have a hotel bussines

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    1. Gosia, past tense. It was nice.

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  2. Drat you Andrew. It is too early in the day for my eyes to leak. They sound like admirable women, and I like/love their attitude. I am glad they made some good money too.

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    1. EC, as their mother was too, they are widely admired and respected. I don't think they are too poor.

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  3. Sad that the business is no more. Brave women, the daughters.

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    1. Blogoratti, it really was such a institution and will be missed by many.

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  4. Once The Block is finished, what will be building be used for?

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    1. Joseph, I have absolutely no idea, but I assume you know the sort of buildings The Block end up creating. It won't be accommodation for the destitute.

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  5. Sounds like the end of an era. Such things happen everywhere.

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    1. Cro, two decades ago we had many such places. If this is not the last of them to close, there can't be many left. Assuming most residents were on Social Security benefits, they were paying a bit under half their income to stay there.

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  6. That is an amazing story about this old building. I wonder what the sisters will do now and the people they housed.

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    1. Diane, I suppose the sisters will retire. Doing the arithmetic, worked there from the age of 14 for 46 years, they must 60. Time to retire and they won't be poor. As for the residents, the local council, City of Port Phillip along with the State Government, has worked hard to find alternative and appropriate accommodation. It was a very transient and short term place for many.

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  7. It's a shame it had to be closed and sold. Where will the residents go now? Will they become more of the "unwanted" street sleepers?

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    1. River, even before it closed, we have seen an explosion in street sleepers. Its closure will add a few more. As I said above, most were very transient residents.

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  8. You'd think our governments would welcome community involvement in providing welfare support but no, most seem focussed on the developer end of town.

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    1. Victor, just to explain a bit further, Fitzroy Street St Kilda is suffering a serious downturn, in spite of City of Port Phillip recently spending quite a lot of money on street beautification. The last people the traders find at any fault is themselves. First it was raised tram tracks, preventing U turns. Then it was crime on the street and of course, low cost housing for the less desirables. So even if a few million were thrown at the Gatwick to better provide for the less well off, the traders would still be complaining and the police still visiting daily. I believe similar and appropriate accommodation is being found for most people. Having said that, you are correct, our governments are focused on developers. More people, higher immigration with recent immigrants more likely to vote Labor, more taxes, more council rates. Oh well, what can we do.

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  9. ugh, this saddens me so much. There were so many long term residents in there. There are less and less options for these vulnerable people :(

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    1. Fen, I reckon on site care by social workers, Centrelink and perhaps police too, might have gone a long way to sorting out problems at the Gatwick. Who knows? Maybe it will be reinvented as social housing by The Block. Residents were paying $220 per week already.

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