The Ghosts of Mobiltown

Filed in Archive, Blog by on August 31, 2014 7 Comments

MobiltownUrban decay or rot has its own Wikipedia page because it is so common in parts of Europe and America. Melbourne has its own ghostly huddle of shops in Mobiltown, less than 10 kilometres from the CBD.

The shops grew around the Mobiltown railway station, which was built in the 1950s to service the nearby oil refinery. The station was closed in 1985, with the only visible remnants being long mounds of weed-covered earth where the platforms used to be.

The above picture shows only four of the eight shops because a long shot of the whole strip doesn’t reveal as much telling detail. Can you hear the whisper of wind and wail of a lone harmonica?

I find a compelling beauty in this stark reminder of the cyclical nature of cities: an ironic cry against the wind of political rhetoric promising never-ending development in a city whose population is booming.


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  1. Ricky says:

    That’s Terry’s old Milk Bar, if I remember his name correctly. I remember growing up in the area and having some money to go down to the milk bar for lollies and treats. Second avenue had the better milk bar but Terry and his stinky milk bar was closer.

  2. Frank Anderson says:

    The pictured row of shops was in fact opposite Paisley Station and not Mobiltown station. Mobiltown station was just North of the railway crossing in Koroit Creek Road at the end of Mobil Refinery boundary. The station was I believe built for the transport of workers to the refinery as well as slightly further east the Wiltona Hostel was built to house the immigrants.
    Along with Terry’s milk bar there was a Upholsterer, a Fish n Chip Shop (which had the best hamburgers, but if it was going today you would walk right back out again as hygeine was low on the list) I can’t remember the chip shop owners name but I do recall him standing there smoking while serving food. From memory the row of shops never really did flourish, and even worse when Paisley Station closed down. I do remember also Terry’s milk bar being smelly but to my old brain I can’t remember as to why.

    • Euan Mitchell says:

      Thanks, Frank, for explaining that distinction. I like your description about hygiene being low on the list. It’s a great visual image of someone deep-frying chips while puffing on a smoke.

  3. Veee Tee says:

    Yep, Terry’s milk bar which I used to get my ham, cheese tomato rolls from after burning up the track at the PRA motorcross ciruit on weekends back in my youth (late ’70’s), Owners name of the dingy Fish shop owner was Jack, we used to go get our fish n chips at lunchtime coming from the old Altona North Technical School (ANTS), now is a big huge Greek Orthodox Church , school, station, motor cross tack, lotsa stuff… gone!

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