Ted Rush


Download the Transcript: FHS-Ted-Rush-2016

Ted Rush came to Fitzroy in the 1970s and soon became heavily involved with the Council through the ALP, before becoming Mayor after only three years. He talks about the work of the Council, changes to a more socially oriented community agenda and the origins of the Free Kindergarten movement and the work of various activist personalities in the area. He speaks about the creation of a communal backyard across four neighbouring terrace properties and the benefit to children growing up as well as general changes in the area over time.


Tony Birch


Download the Transcript: FHS-Tony-Birch-2016

Tony Birch is a novelist, poet and short story writer who often draws on his childhood growing up around Fitzroy and Collingwood for his writing. Born in 1957 in Carlton, he speaks about the Housing Commission demolitions in Carlton and the Atherton Estate in Fitzroy, both of which dislocated his family, and the deleterious effects of slum demolition on the social fabric of both the extended family and the wider community. He discusses his schooldays, the social fabric of the time and place, and particularly the role of strong women in the community who held the family and the community together, often against overwhelming odds.

He provides many stories and anecdotes, both amusing and tragic, about the harshness, domestic violence and poverty of multi-cultural life in the inner city in the sixties and seventies. He is acutely observant of the unwritten social rules which govern how people interacted.


Antoni Shapardanis


Download the Transcript: FHS-TonyMary-Carol-2015

Antoni Shapardanis (Tony) was born in 1938 in Bouf (now Akrita) a small town only a few kilometres from the Yugoslav border. Tony’s father, Chris Shapardanis, emigrated to Melbourne in 1939 leaving his wife and 6-month-old baby behind. The war intervened and Tony’s mother died when he was 4 years old, forcing him to fend for himself. He arrived in Australia in October 1950. He was one of the ‘lost’ Greek children brought out by International Red Cross from Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia, to be re-united with their families in Australia (during the Greek Civil War many Greek children were removed from Northern Greece).
After arriving in Fitzroy, Tony sold newspapers in the streets of Fitzroy and was later apprenticed to a shoe maker and attended night school at the Collingwood Tech. He then established his own business in Gertrude Street. There were many shoemakers in Gertrude Street and competition was tough, but after Tony patented a design for motor cycle boots, his business took off. Later he had contracts for shoes and boots with Victoria Police and the Post Office.
Tony met his future wife Mary [Marika Aitsini] at a Macedonian dance in the Fitzroy Town Hall. Mary’s family lived opposite Tony’s shoe shop. They were married in 1962 and have one son, Peter, who now runs a Computer Services business in the same Gertrude Street building in which Tony started his shoe shop all those years ago.


Val Noone and Mary Doyle


Download the Transcript: FHS-Val-NooneMary-Doyle-2015

Val Noone and Mary Doyle have lived in the same house in Gore Street since the 1970s. They began their time in Fitzroy with an open house which included homeless people and draft resisters in King William Street Fitzroy in late 1971. With others and support from local churches they then established a communal house in Gore Street. They made the feature of having an evening meal to which anybody could come. This was an innovative way to support individuals in difference to institutionalised care and support systems. They speak about their work in Fitzroy and the changes they have seen over nearly fifty years living in the same house and working in the area, and provide numerous interesting anecdotes about their neighbours and many of the businesses which used to operate in Fitzroy.