THE stories behind Dandenong’s laneway names are now on display for their visitors to see.
Greater Dandenong Council launched interpretive signage in Ewart, Garnar, Crump and Boyd lanes on Saturday 29 August.
Garnar was a local funeral director, Crump was a general store on Lonsdale Street and Boyd was a fast-growing and successful hardware store.
Ewart was a former newsagency run by brothers Norman and Charlie Ewart.
John Ewart is their nephew, attended the launch and said there were four brothers in total.
“Alan had the menswear store not far from there,” he said.
“My father was Frank and he was the youngest of the four brothers. Frank was a banker.”
He said the Ewarts were born in Brighton.
“Norman and Charlie went up to Dandenong in the 1920s,” he said.
“It was the only newsagency in Dandenong for many, many years.”
John lived in the country as a child but often visited the store.
“I was fond of my uncles,” he said.
“One day during the war years I convinced Charlie to let me have the leather bag and some papers to sell papers down at the railway station.
“It would have been during the 1940s and the Americans had a base there.
“I was only seven or eight but I remember selling papers to the American soldiers as they were jumping on the train.”
Norman was the eldest and died in 1954.
“The funeral procession was the whole length of Lonsdale Street,” John said.
“I think he played a bit of cricket from memory.”
He said the brothers would have known most Dandenong residents.
“In those days it was a small country village rather than a big suburb like it is now,” he said.
“There was nothing much between Cheltenham and Dandenong.”
Charlie and Norman had no children.
Alan had a daughter, Doris, and a son named Russell.
“After Norman died Charlie kept the newsagency going. I think Russell helped him with that,” John said.
John isn’t sure what happened to the business after Charlie passed away.
“But I think whoever took it over might have kept Russell’s son on for a little while,” he said.
Dandenong and District Historical Society members and other relatives were among those present at the launch, which featured a walk to each lane and a history reading at each location.
Mayor Sean O’Reilly said it was important to share and celebrate the municipality’s rich heritage.
“This helps new residents or people settling in the City Greater Dandenong to understand our city and its evolution,” he said.
“Projects such as this help people emotionally connect to everyday places by revealing personal stories of why these places are so aptly-named.”
The signs are part of a broader interpretive signage program in activity centres that recognise key landmarks and places.
The actual signs recently won an international design award from the Society of Environmental Graphic Design in the Place Making and Identity category.
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