Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Gillard Slept Here .... Sometimes

ABRAHAM LINCOLN had his log cabin and Johnny Cash a shotgun shack, and so did our PM Gillard progress to greater lodgings from her humble start as a "young and naive" lawyer allegedly residing during a period of career crisis and romantic turmoil in this tastefully renovated double-fronted Victorian at 36 St. Phillips Street, Abbotsford.

Just to re-cap, extensive renovations were done to the property while the nation's future leader was playing quoits with Cottontails and bedpost at light-fingered lover Bruce Wilson's nearby Fitzroy digs. When eyebrows were raised about the source of those funds, Gillard produced a hand-written receipt to support her assertion that the property did not benefit from a penny of her lover's ill-gotten gains.

That claim satisfied former News Ltd chief John Hartigan, who fired a columnist for doubting the PM's word, and saw Fairfax, which makes big noises about editorial independence, dispense with the services of broadcaster Michael Smith. As for the Fairfax dead-tree press and the ABC, those prisms of truth would focus their gaze on the former Chez Gillard only if it became clear that the home's  occupant had not recycled her rubbish.

But non-journalists remain interested in the property's history all the same, especially the Professor, who cannot help wondering if Phillips Street's longer-term residents remember their former neighbour and have memories to share about those long-ago renovations and the contractor(s) who executed them. Also a source of curiosity: during the PM's SATDAC period (slap & tickle/dilation & curettage), do they recall if the property was rented, which would put pay to the claim that Gillard was but an occasional overnight guest at Chez Wilson.

Anyone who has inspected the home's interior also is invited to decribe the built-in robes, which must be on the large side to have accommodated all those free frocks from Town Mode.

(Many thanks to reader Brooke for digging up Ms Gillard's former address from an old phone directory. Also, much gratitude to commenters who note that the street is actually St. Phillips Street.)


  1. I have been intrigued by this saga since last year's abortive 'scoop alerts'. How can all this NOT be front page news, every hour, of every day?

    There can only be a breathtakingly brazen arrogance by all concerned. Even the former Attorney General was prepared to let it lie, until he got shafted, too...

    Bill Thompson

  2. The Old and Unimproved DaveJuly 24, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    I'm all for investigative blogism, but is all the talk of Julia Gillard as a femme fatale really necessary ?

    When the Bunyip mentions her as such, I think of Rita Hayworth.

    But it doesn't help, I gag anyway.....

  3. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.July 24, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    Prof, possibly Town Mode was an accommodating sort of little boutique where one laundered the means of purchase rather than in truth purchasing things. So those wardrobes may be a false lead. Fifty thousand dollars worth in one shop would get rather boring for me (unless it was a wedding dress), and probably for La Gillard, although I readily admit my stylistic choices are not those of Mmme Gillard, young and naive or not. I didn't come across this suburban-monikered little boutique on my recent Melbourne expedition to thrash the Ape's Amex with a little light couture in any place where La Gillard seeking power fashion and sexy whimsy might gayly (or not) have thrashed her own recalcitrant lad's largesse.

    Has anyone chased up Town Mode yet?

    And Prof - cottontail coits on the bedpost? They'd be big ones for that lady, I wot.

    Cher Bunyip, the image is stirring. However, nothing but frilly french knickers for such fun, please. Or Antz Pantz. They toss off well.

  4. Dear Professor Bunyip,

    Thank you for your interesting photographic essay series. I find it quite enlightening even though it does give rise to new unanswered questions.

    I wonder how it will affect the property values of the targeted properties and those near by. If the current property owners put their properties on the market, will the properties values rise or fall according to their noteriety?

    Should a selling agent, for example, advertise that the property was once the location where the Cymry-Hotentot mated with the AWU Satyr? Should the present owners pour a small bottle of cream onto the floral axminster in front of the fireplace so they can whisper, in hallowed tone, that this is where it happened?

    Extending this line of questioning further; what value would the Australian Museum place on this square of floral axminster in a gilded frame? Would it rate higher than a similar size square of billiards table green felt from a Bob Ellis - Marieke Hardy liaison, or a similiar sized square of synthetic carpet from a Clive James - Leanne Edelsten romantic moment (with melted Cherry Ripe chocolate daubings).

    Post modern Australia, to many questions, not enough answers.

    1. "square of billiards table green felt from a Bob Ellis - Marieke Hardy liaison"

      oh my, that is just so apt, and actually if you think about it - almost a required coupling, from pagan ritual book of things to do to provoke nausea and discomfort.

      It would, however, have to be public, loud and messy to gain the approval of the rest of the tribe.

      thank you

    2. Ewww, didn't she call her dog "Bob Ellis"? Gotta go wash my mind out with soap...

  5. I tips my hat to you Bunyip and also to your valiant assistant Brooke.Sam Slade would be proud and if Maigret were aloft he would provide a petite word of praise to Monsier Bunyip and Madame Brooke. We await the next briefing on the path of truth....

  6. try title search through Landstat - I don't have an account but any conveyancer should do it in a flash

  7. James In FootscrayJuly 25, 2012 at 7:24 AM

    'Town Mode' does not sound like a place a young Laborite would shop at. Just like Miller's Fashion Club or Stax of Slacks.

    That's the mystery as far as I'm concerned.

  8. It's actually st. Phillips st, after the church on it... Deliciously, Phillip is the patron saint of Hatters, (mad or otherwise).

  9. Bunyip an important correction to the address of above needs to be made in your essay.It is 36 St Phillips Street not Phillips Street.Confusing but named after a saint.

  10. I found the heritage details for the property.they can be located herehttps://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:K6Xygllsa9oJ:vhd.heritage.vic.gov.au/reports/report_place/98649+36+st+phillips+st,abbotsford,victoria&hl=en&gl=au&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESiQdBzZ9drGib2ceTvoblV3gSeQ_1b3hO1fkw9laB0g_FzhzO39T-1b-CiDSw1kYIGsjr3TQ6qzzSEIhZG-DcbBXIvgX9CfQcNO03V1a_-KihyshHI6fsMngfPsHaZI75CBgXDH&sig=AHIEtbQ043NN98jlFM0FatUxppPgs9vn4Q

  11. The Argus has a notice about this property from 25 August 1948 page 9 locatable via Trove and giving the name of a family under family notices that lived here at that time.

  12. Town Mode, a womans fashion shop in Henley Street Adelaide.

  13. Well sleuthed - congratulations, Team Bunyip!

  14. What happened to the Gillard - Wilson love-child?

    Does the Baal still demand blood sacrifice for success in this world?

  15. Town Mode Adelaide company search suggests wasn't operating at this time unless changed hands.May have but need $'s to pay up for detailed search.

  16. Regarding the renovations and contractors who carried out the work perhaps an FOI request could turn something up? I know that my council requires the name of the person/company taking out the permit and the name of the person/company who will be performing the work, so hopefully this is the case at Yarra. Records "should" exist for applications, both finalised and abandoned, for all works that required a permit. Applications could have been made prior to 1993 so being too specific may not get results, however being too broad could cost you financially. http://www.yarracity.vic.gov.au/Your-Council/Governance/Freedom-of-Infomation/ (the spelling error in "Information" is in the URL)

  17. Please note that the heritage listing above has an older photo of the property which may be of interest and a note about the verandah.Also, the family name associated with the property found in Trove does have an association with fashion industry.If it is the same family then the son became quite famous in Melbourne fashion circles.I have not established whether he inherited it and still owned it up until his demise which might have occurred around the time of said purchase to a Yabby.Nothing confirmed though and could be a red herring.