Friday, January 11, 2008

Doing The Block

From the 1860's until the mid-1930's people who wanted to see and be seen would "Do The Block".

The section of Collins Street between Elizabeth and Swanston Streets, Melbourne was known as The Block and each weekday afternoon, and again on Saturdays, would find large numbers of the population following the trend of promenading around The Block.

Melbourne itself was on parade, without any pomp or band accompaniment. The various shops and establishments attracted the popular people who, in turn, attracted everyone else.

Exchanging greetings with others or even meeting anothers' eyes was frowned upon but this rule of etiquette was frequently broken.

With the construction of The Block Arcade in 1893 Doing The Block became even more fashionable ( if that was possible), as it offered a space where the ladies of the day could stroll and shop at leisure away from the heat and dust from the street.

When the motor car became the favoured mode of transport, cable trams were replaced with electric ones and people's lives gathered a momentum that left little time for Doing The Block, the practice fell into the past as a fad to be merely fondly recalled.


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