Some Bondi History

Waverley Council’s Local History Librarian has created a range of fascinating Historical Fact Sheets about Bondi and the Waverley area.

Here are the weblinks to some of the ones I like, which relate to Bondi (some of these may relate to a post or two in this blog)…

Bondi Aquarium
This factsheet provides a bit of history about the Bondi Aquarium – Bondi Aquarium

Celluloid Dreams: The Cinema in Waverley
This fact sheet provides a nice snapshot of the picture theatres that were in the Bondi area – Celluloid Dreams: The Cinema in Waverley

The Star Theatre: Waverley’s Art Deco Darling
Some stories of Bondi Junction’s Star Theatre and it’s history are noted in here – The Star Theatre: Waverley’s Art Deco Darling

What’s in a Name
This is a bit of history of who some streets in the Bondi and surrounding areas are named after – What’s in a Name

O’Brien Estate, Bondi Beach
Here’s a bit more history of Bondi and the “Bondi Estate” – O’Brien Estate, Bondi Beach

35 comments

  1. Anna Messariti says:

    It is a real shame that another cinema has been lost in the Eastern Suburbs area, albeit long ago.The shame shocking trend continues and we are doomed to go to the movies in those awful multiplex things with bad carpet and the worst food you could eat. They have no atmosphere and you could never linger in the foyer for the romance of the experience. I swear if they ever try to do anything to the Randwick Ritz, I’ll lie in front of the bulldozers. it is great that you are documenting the history of the area. best, Anna M

    • bondimermaid says:

      Thanks Anna. I tend to share the same sentiments as you re the old picture theatres. I think there would be a great many people lying in front of the bulldozers if they tried to demolish the Ritz. It is too well-patronised! Hope you can re-visit this site again sometime.

      • Keith Lofthouse says:

        Hi Caroline. Still keen to talk to the former projectionist at the Coronet Theatre. Wally, where are you?

  2. There are beautiful pictures of the King’s Cinema, which used to be in Campbell Parade down at Bondi Beach in the State Library photo collection – you can find them on the PictureAustralia site – http://www.pictureaustralia.org

    The images are moody and evocative – check out the interiors of the cinema – an Art Deco classic! And how beautifully dressed the women are going on a special night out to ‘the pictures’. The photographer was the extraordinary Sam Hood. The King’s Cinema opened in 1937 and closed in 1969.

    • bondimermaid says:

      Thanks for this information Kimberly. I am familiar with Sam Hood’s work and yes he was extraordinary. I have included one of his photographs of the King’s Cinema in the post I wrote in this blog on June 12th, “Bondi’s Picture Theatres.” It’s a shame that cinema was demolished – imagine if it was still standing there today!

  3. Graeme says:

    Hi Bondimermaid,

    Bondi Banter is a very interesting and informative site, and I’m hoping you might be able to help me with this query …

    I’m trying to identify a Bondi milkbar as it was in 1959. (Please note, I have been advised on good authority that it is definitely not Bates milkbar.)

    I have included a link to some pictures of the interior and exterior which show particular features of the decor that should ring bells with longtime Bondi residents with a keen eye for local history — such as your good self.

    Features to note: swans engraved on the mirrors, and diamond-shaped ends to the booths. Note also the sign on the right hand wall of the building pointing to “Bondi Recreation Club”.

    http://photobucket.com/bondimilkbar

    I’d be most grateful for any assistance in identifying this milkbar.

    • bondimermaid says:

      Am glad you like the blog Graeme. Thanks for visiting and commenting. The images in your link are fabulous! I can’t say that I can identify the milk bar though – I think those pics were taken a little before my time (if indeed they are from that era and not re-creations?). Anyway, I’m interested to know more about these pics now, so please leave this with me and I’ll “put on my other hat” and come back to you on this. bondimermaid 🙂

    • philip mortimer says:

      this milk bar was just along side the Kings theatre,owned by the parents of Laurel Lee the girl singer about 1959/60 ,not to be confused with Vallis milk bar on campbell parade,this small milk bar was opposite Pals milkbar on opposite corner, phil

      • philip mortimer says:

        just to add to my reply Re milk bar ,glenayr ave? you will notice what appears to be a lane way where a bike is parked, this lane way ran alonside the Kings theartre and alon the lane was the emergecy exit for Kings, at time we could sneek into the pictures just as the lights dimmed, Getting back to Laurel Lee the girl singer {bandstand} her real name was Lorraine, her parents were carnival/circus people,yes bikies later started to meet there, resulting into qiute a big brawl with a few locals, Local ONE BIkies None,about that time the milk bar changed hands, great memories phil

      • bondimermaid says:

        Wow Philip!
        This is great that you found this site and this post and could help solve this mystery of the milk bar!
        Interesting that you mention that this milk bar was opposite the Pals milk bar on the other side, but we still don’t know the name of this milk bar.
        Still, a big step towards solving this mystery.
        My opinion, from seeing the image of the beach in the background was that it looked like it was located somewhere around the corner of Roscoe St & Campbell Parade? But you suggest Glenayr Ave, which is much further back from the beach…unless of course, that shot was tricked – just like earlier in the video when we see the bike travelling on Edgecliff Rd.
        I just looked up Laurel Lea and read about the how her parents owned a travelling rock tent show. I can also imagine bikies were hanging out in Bondi in those days at the milk bar.
        Thanks very much for contributing to Bondi Banter
        bondimermaid 🙂

  4. Graeme says:

    Hi again. It is definitely 1959. The people are actors but the location is genuine.

    I hope somebody will recognize the decor. I should also point out that the view through the window in picture #2 appears to be of the beach, if that helps to orient the shop.

    • Kerry says:

      The mirrors and booths look to me like those of Vallis’s Milk Bar.

      It was north of Bate’s Milk Bar, on Campbell Parade.

      They did a super and highly popular “mixed grill”!

      A Bondi kid of the late 50’s and 60’s, I thought Vallis’s simply gorgeous and was diappointed at its lack of patronage and delapidation in the 70’s… and I was devastated at its demolition in the early 80’s.

      Hopefully you’ll get replies from residents who have “grown-up” memories of Bondi – and it will be wonderful to hear what they think.

      • bondimermaid says:

        Hi Kerry,

        Thanks for contributing to this Bondi milk bar mystery.

        I also think it very well could by Vallis’s, but I remember that milk bar from the 1970s when it didn’t really look like the milk bar in the video.

        I have conducted some research on this for Graeme, but nothing defnitive as yet.
        It still remains a bit of a mystery.

  5. luxcis says:

    The milkbar was called Vallis. The main sign said Vallis but people always referred to it as Vallis’s. it was opposite the Kings Theatre, on the southern side of Roscoe St. Roscoe St was still a trafficable street. No plaza, no tourists, no backpackers. You could actually park everywhere for free. I hung around there often as an 8 year old because the booths were private and the milk shakes were ok. I remember a moustached Greek, who must have been the eponymous Vallis, but I dont know if that was his christian name or surname. The annual carnival with rides used to set up in Bondi Park on the northern side of bondi pavillion. On the campbell pde face of the Kings Theatre was a shop whose incarnation in 1963 was a slot car racing circuit. You brought your own slot car and paid to race it around a really elaborate racetrack. The tram terminus at north bondi was still there, in a buried pit and the underpass at bondi road was still in place, crossing underneath bondi road, at the southern end of the beach. The Christian Brothers still ran the High School in Blair St and the Little Sisters of Mercy ran the St Anne’s convent school in Mitchell St.

    My sister had her wedding reception at the Regis Hotel in 1966, upstairs in the ‘swanky’ part. It was called the Rex Hotel then and had a much less fascist atmosphere. There was no political correctness anywhere and people drank to destruction. If I had to choose between life then and today’s authoritarian surveillance state, I’d take the good old days.

    My clearest impression of bondi in the 50s was that it wasnt popular as a place to live. Day visitors used it for swimming but campbell pde was bedraggled and Waverly council never seemed to have money or a plan for improvement. Look at it today and the ‘plan’ that emerged has turned it into a hellhole of chaos.

    You could still buy a 2 bed semi with driveway for $50K in 1978.

    All the picture theatres failed because noone would support them, so you get what you deserve. This was confirmed by the closure of the 6 Ways Hoyts as early as 1959. The ‘progressives’ replaced it with a Total (french oil company) Service Station. Even that lasted only a decade or so.

    • bondimermaid says:

      Hello Luxcis

      Wow!
      It’s great reading your comments.
      I love all the memories and insights you have shared here. I agree with your comments and thoughts. The place was certainly very different back then. Not sure how much of a plan there really was in recent times. Everything that’s happened seems rather ad-hoc with wheeling and dealing being the motivator – it’s all been about making a buck!

      I also remember Vallis being called Vallis but we all called it Vallis’s, and I also remember putting away a few at the Regis in the 70s!

      I hope you’ll visit this blog again sometime.
      🙂

    • David says:

      Luxcis, you refer to a Hoyts at Six Ways which was replaced by a servo. Was that on the pointy corner of O’Brien, Hall and Glenayr ? In any case, I find it amazing that there was a theatre in the area.

      I loved the Vallis Milkbar, spent my 50 cent a week pocket money there very quickly on the electro-mechanical pinnies in the mid-70s.

      • bondimermaid says:

        Hi David

        I too loved playing the pinnies in Vallis Milkbar!

        I am also curious, now that you mention it, about the servo that Luxcis says replaced the cinema in Six Ways. I know that there was a cinema on the “pointy bit” you mention, but it was before my time.

        I’m pretty sure I would remember a servo being on that same corner from 1960 – 1970? yet I don’t recall this at all.

        I know there were many cinemas in the Bondi area in the 1950s so maybe Luxcis is referring to a different spot?

        Luxcis are you able to please clarify for us?

        Thanks.

        • Dennis says:

          Hi all, Luxcis is correct there was as servo on the corner of Hall, O’Brien and Glenayr Ave after the cinema closed.
          Not sure how long it was there for though. My maternal grandparents lived up the top of Hall Street in those days.
          I lived in Dudley street and remember playing cricket and kicking a footy around in Dudley street back then.
          Wouldn’t even try that now.
          Sneaking into Bondi Baths from the southern end and jumping off the baths wall into the ocean at the Bogey Hole. Never allowed now.

          • bondimermaid says:

            Thanks Dennis.
            I believe I have since seen a photo showing that servo, since I wrote my comment here. So it clearly did exist. I thin maybe when I was too young to remember.
            But thanks for confirming this.
            🙂

  6. Paul says:

    The milk bar across the street from Kings was called Pals and it was a surfers hangout. Vallis was on Campbell Pde.Up Roscoe St from the Kings was the Bondi milk bar a bikeie and hood hangout.

    • bondimermaid says:

      Hello Paul
      Thank you for visiting this site and for your contributions.
      Looks like you have shed some light on the mystery that has been discussed in the thread above re the milk bar in the footage that Graeme has been trying to identify.

      From what I remember of that footage, it certainly sounds like it could be one of these other milk bars that you mention, I.E. Pals or the Bondi Milk Bar.

      I wonder if you or anyone else can confirm which it might have been, by looking at the link that Graeme provided with the still images:
      http://photobucket.com/bondimilkbar

      Would be great to nail this.
      🙂

  7. Paul says:

    Wellington St education Bikie

  8. Pat McCann says:

    Does anyone recall the milk bar owned by a family named Alexiou (?). It was very popular in the old days. I went to Wellington St. School with Con Alexiou. in the 1930s.

  9. Pat McCann says:

    The Kings Theatre was so ‘Classy’ compared to the 6 Ways Theatre, but as kids we did love the old 6 Ways! What a shame that TV has spoiled that Social outing, Saturday afternoon at the flicks.

  10. WazaBackIInBondi says:

    Hi

    Great site.

    Just going back to the question about the milk bars and stuff about Kings Cinema.

    My mother had two shops on the corner of Hall and Roscoe; the Kings Cinema corner.

    She had a “frock shop” downstairs and a hair dressing salon upstairs.

    I went to Bondi Beach school, so used to spend a lot of time at the cinema and shops there.

    Vallis’s was the Milk Bar there. The owner that is mentioned above was named,from memory Mr Papangellis. But everyone just called him Mr Vallis.

    There was a fish and chip shop, and Paul’s Hamburgers which claimed to be the first hamburger place in Australia.

    I have great memories of walking down for fish and chips lunch during school lunchtime and getting into the movies for free, as my mothers shop was sort of in the Kings building. I remember seeing one war movie about six times!

    There were some tougher memories as well. When the Cinema closed and laid idle for a couple of years, it was broken into. A surf shop opened downstairs on the corner (my mum closed her fashion store and kept the upstairs hair dressing salon), and I am pretty sure that was Nat Young’s surf store, probably the first proper surf shop in Bondi.

    But it got broken into a few times and then they put up steel supports in the windows. Before that I remember they drove a utility into reverse through the windows, loaded up the boards, and took off.

    I have vivid memories of waiting in the car with my dad on Campbell Parade with all these police car lights. Thieves had broken into the closed cinema, got access into my mum’s shop, trashed it, then went down a stairwell to steal from the surfshop. That must have been about 1969 or 1970.

    But overall fantastic memories and I feel very fortunate to have lived in Hall Street as a toddler in a tiny flat (working class people could afford Bondi back then!) before moving to North Bondi where I grew up.

    Thanks for the site.

    Warren

    • bondimermaid says:

      Hi Warren

      So glad you like the site and took the time to share your memories here.

      I think the King’s Cinema was gone in my youth days, but I remember the Creole night club being there in it’s place. I think I managed to sneak in there once.

      I share some of your memories like going to the shops for fish and chips and burgers for lunch during school time. And off course Vallis’s – just over pinball!

      Bugger about the break in though – not a nice memory.

      I also grew up in North Bondi, and yes there were definitely a lot more working class people in Bondi back then.

      Not sure how much time you spend in Bondi theses days, but I hope you’ll drop by again here again sometime.

      bondimermaid 🙂

    • serena says:

      thanks for all the great memories.. such good times.. do you know when Vallis’s closed?? thaks

      • bondimermaid says:

        Hi Serena, indeed they were good times. Not sure when Vallis’s closed, but an interesting question. Now I’m curious. I’m guessing circa 1980? Let me see if I can find out….

  11. Dennis says:

    Hi bondimermaid. I’m an old Bondi boy from 1950 to 1970. I remember all the movie theatres in Bondi.
    But, can anyone remember the ice skating rink at Bondi Junction.
    It was in either Spring Street on the Easts Leagues club site or Ebley Street on the Spotlight site.
    It was definitely there in the late 50’s to early 60’s.
    Great work on this site. Thanks.

    • bondimermaid says:

      Hi Dennis
      Thanks for adding your comments here.
      I was too young to remember the ice-skating rink at Bondi Junction, but I believe it might have been located where the old Cinesound Studio was, which is now where Spotlight is, in Ebley Street.
      I may be wrong and somebody may be able to confirm this or correct it, but I’m sure I’d read that somewhere.
      Thanks for your positive feedback re this blog. I’m glad you like it and it always gives me great pleasure when people like you decide to drop by and share your memories and thoughts about the old Bondi – a different place to the one we now know.
      bondimermaid 🙂

      • philip mortimer says:

        Spot on ,the site was also the ” Canada Dry “soft drink factory This american company set up to rival Coca Cola lasted a few year and went bust,

        • bondimermaid says:

          Thanks again Philip, for sharing this additional history about Bondi Junction.
          It’s great discovering all this stuff about Bondi…am glad that people’s memories, such as yours, are still ripe for the picking!
          bondimermaid 🙂

    • Stuart Fox says:

      YES – I remember the Spring St Skating Rink – I played Ice Hockey there – I was told that it was a bakery at one time. Some schools also played there.

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