Brightway Corner.

My childhood was spent in Preston and against all the

odds, I survived.

This article has been published in Milkbar Mag

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These days it’s easier to survive and from the look of the street I grew up in, it is a happy place to be.
Practically every house in my childhood neighbourhood has been ‘restored’.
Unrestored and in many ways just the way it was when it first opened back in the 1950s is the ‘Brightway Corner’ Milk Bar.
There is a tram stop right out the front which was moved about twenty five metres a few decades back.
The reason for the move is unclear but now the trams block a side street when they stop, which is cool I guess.
Sixty years is a long time. No one seems to remember who built this tiny milk bar but it is still there selling all the things that modern convenience stores sell.
I do remember that the original owner ran the store for a long time; people did that in those days, unlike today where you just have time to learn the new owner’s name before they sell up in an endless game of ‘flip the convenience store’.
I remember going into this store to do what small boys do and choosing my favourite sweet, when mum’s budget would allow.
The inexplicably relocated tram stop was where I would stand waiting for a tram to take me to primary school ( the only form of school that was fun to be a part of). Much later in life it was the turn around point in my daily run as I escaped momentarily from the sadness of nursing my dying mum.
I still visit Brightway Corner a couple of times a year as it is very close to Russell Sports where the cheapest and best Asics sports shoes in the world can be found.
Brightway Corner stands on the corner of Gilbert and Oakover Roads and is directly across the road from one of my other favourite childhood memories, the building that was once a suburban cinema.
The Rivoli was built in 1936 and closed in 1961. I remember being taken to see a Mickey Rooney movie there in the late 1950s; in pyjamas of course.
The cinema would have had it’s own refreshment bar but I’m betting that Brightway Corner would have benefited from having it so close by and when it closed I can imagine the owner worrying about the effect on his business.
It survived and despite the decimation delivered upon the suburban milk bar by the advent of the modern convenience store, it still clings to existence.
Maybe it’s survival has something to do with the ‘old school’ gold leaf sign above the door. The sign would have been very expensive in it’s day and shows a kind of confident optimism from it’s owner that has proven to be prophetic.
Long may Brightway Corner shine.

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17 thoughts on “Brightway Corner.

    • Thank you very much, that’s the sort of comment that I NEVER get sick of reading!
      This particular post was a labour of love and a [successful] attempt to get a piece published in an online magazine [appropriately name The Milkbar Mag].
      I wrote the piece and made a special trip to get the photos. I’m very glad that you enjoyed it.
      You had to go a long way back in my archive to find it, well done.
      Terry

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  1. Reblogged this on araneus1 and commented:

    This piece made it into the ‘Milk Bar Magazine’ a little while back. Always cool when your work gets published. I’ve added a few more photos. I hope you enjoy this piece from earlier this year.
    Terry

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  2. Ah, ’tis a small world. I spent a good part of my childhood at my Grandma’s in Thornbury. Probably went to the Rivoli though I can no longer recall the names of local cinemas. This story has particular resonance as my parents attempted capitalism through milk bars. We had one on Pascoe Vale Road, Pascoe Vale when I was still in primary school. I’d sneak biscuits out of the big tins and lollies from the display cabinets. Both used to be hand packaged in brown paper bags (or white for lollies). back in the day I remember horse-drawn milk deliveries, ‘black’ men delivering briquettes in hessian bags and nightsoil removers with their cans on shoulders. My, how things have changed.

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  3. Oh, and in those days fresh bread on Sundays was outlawed so my father and I would drive to Kilmore and stack the car with scores of steaming hot loaves and drive back to Pascoe Vale to keep customers happy! The aromas are as fresh in my memory today as they were in my nostrils back then.

    Thanks for bringing the past back to life, Terry. Good work, mate.

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