A Bite into History

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A winter facelift for an iconic Acland Street eatery has quickly become a reference point for Acland Street and St Kilda’s eclectic history.

The Falafel store, located in the centre of Acland Street for over twenty years has collected and displayed a permanent selected collage of historical photographs, posters and landmark documents,  that is hoped will stimulate wider community conversation about the Precincts past and the possibilities for its future.

Adopting a “Faces & Places” theme originally conceptualized for the Acland Street Traders Association and the wider St Kilda Precinct, Falafel Extra’s business Proprietor Harry Zaitman, was eager to ensure the idea not be aborted. A spontaneous introduction to local artist, Colin Sheppard made by Johnny Iodice from The Vineyard was the catalyst that started the store overhaul which included an arduous search for materials that could be suitably displayed in store to tell a unique story.

With the passion and artistic capabilities of Colin Sheppard, the photos have been sourced and painstakingly assembled to present a window of life into St Kilda from the 1840’s into the 20th Century, accentuating the early establishment of St Kilda’s unique heritage landmarks and buildings, local sports groups and identities, progressing to the special emphasis given to the artists that featured in the halcyon music days of the 1960’s-80’s.

To complete the project, Colin has painted a distinctive mural at the rear of the store to further showcase the natural and structural highlights of St Kilda and its inhabitants whilst stimulating a conversation as to how St Kilda may take shape in the years to come.

“Being a family owned and operated eatery as distinct from a corporate or franchised owned store, we were keen to express ourselves as being more than just about our food in establishing stronger historical ties to try and recover the past and introduce it to the present as part of our refurbishment, Harry Zaitman said.”

“As we are ideally located in the centre of this magnificent and bustling Acland Street Precinct, we want to create an opportunity to recreate some of the days of old with a modern twist, in that we would encourage people young and old to congregate around our store and in the street, to meet and discuss our history, the issues of our day, where we have come from and where we want to be going.”

“Ideally we would like to see school kids and families get more involved to better understand our history and evolution, from Wurundjeri, Euro-Yroke and our Aboriginal past to the visit of the schooner called Lady of St Kilda after which Thomas Acland, the boat’s owner influenced the naming of ‘St Kilda” and forever changed the direction to what has evolved to become St Kilda’s modern main commercial centre.

From a flurry of development that took place in the early 1900’s including our iconic Luna Park, Palais, Sea Baths, Beach foreshore and magnificent stately mansions and landmarks to its seeded diverse mix of European influence, artists, musicians, entertainment identities and acceptance of people of various religious, political, financial and cultural denominations – the modern day Acland Street continues to be domestically and internationally envied for its unique charm and characteristics.

The collection could not have been possible without the assistance of the St Kilda Historical Society, St Kilda and Bayside Library, Emerald Hill Heritage Centre, St Kilda Football Club and a multitude of Independent Contributors.

There are also plans to project more photos electronically in store through monthly updates, as part of the final stages of the store refurbishment as the business looks to further entrench its local connectionsand raise funds and awareness for the magnificent work that our volunteers and historians do inpreserving our local history for ourcommunity.

Falafel Extra encourages those in the Community to contribute more photos and stories that they may have in their possession to the Facebook Page of St Kilda – Images and Stories or email copies of any items of significance to falafelxtra@gmail.com to further enhance the collection.

FalafelXtra
139 Acland St, St Kilda
T: (03) 9525 4877

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