Springvale Road Shopping Centre
The final Enterprise Trail marker was launched on 26 March, 2017 at the corner of Springvale Road and Lightwood Road by John Bennie, the CEO of the City of Greater Dandenong. This marker was erected to reflect the way in which the waves of migration had led to constant changes in the Springvale Road shopping strip.
Welcome – Merle Mitchell
We, the People of the Spirit of Enterprise Project, respectfully acknowledge the traditional owners of this land, their spirits and ancestors. We acknowledge and thank you for the way in which you cared for the land, enabling you to prosper for thousands of years without destroying the environment on which you, and we, all depend.
A very big welcome to Cr Kirwan who is speaking on behalf of the Mayor, Councillor Jim Memeti, Cr Dark and Cr Melhem, Mr John Bennie, the CEO of the City of Greater Dandenong, and all the former residents and workers from Enterprise, especially two former residents now living interstate who have come so far to celebrate with us.
Springvale Road shops have always drawn people from far and wide. Eric always talked about going with his mother from Dandenong to Springvale to buy meat from Padfields, the butchers, way back in the 1930s. The Springvale Road shops were important to the Enterprise residents. It was the place where they first had the opportunity to buy food which was familiar to them.
And that is why we have placed the last Enterprise marker here. I will talk more about all that we have achieved over the life of the project when we gather for afternoon tea. In the meantime a very big welcome to you all. In just over 9 years we have had 12 significant launches – no small achievement..
Please welcome Phil Reed, former City of Springvale Councillor and Mayor who will be our MC this afternoon.
Ever Changing Street
Welcome to the Springvale Road shops – a place of continual change and evolution.
Boasting strong Asian influences, Springvale Road has become a much-desired tourist destination. It is also a “barometer” of change in the community. This vibrant and diverse shopping strip has continually evolved with each wave of migration introducing new cultures, skills and energy to Springvale.
The first shops were opened in the late 1800’s by the early settlers. They were drawn to
Springvale for the affordable land, work opportunities, and the welcoming community.
Following World War 1, immigrants from Britain and Europe arrived in Springvale and started businesses on Springvale Road. At one stage the shops were predominantly Italian and Greek, with greengrocers, hairdressers and cafés.
Following this, people settled in the area from Northern and Southern European countries and the Springvale Road shops changed to meet the needs of these communities. The shops became more diverse The Enterprise Migrant Hostel was a major driver for this evolution. Between 1972 and 1992 more than 30,000 immigrants and refugees were welcomed to the Springvale community.
The significant contribution and influence of the Enterprise residents on the cultural andmeconomic life of the shopping strip is still evident today. In the 1970’s and the 1980’s a number of refugees from Timor, South and Central America and South East Asia arrived at the Enterprise Migrant Hostel – and with this the character of the shops changed again. The ethnic Chinese communities from Vietnam and Cambodia became the dominant presence mand remain so today, as well as many former communities that still have an active presence.
For almost forty years Eton’s Furniture shop on Springvale Road, owned by Wes Eggelston, played an important role in the settlement of new immigrants. He sold second-hand furniture under 'time to pay' arrangements and often without charging interest. Wes also ran the mSpringvale Benevolent Society from his shop.
The Springvale Road shops and the streets around it continue to diversify, with the influence of Uyghur, Korean, Laos, Thailand, Sri Lanka and India enriching the culinary experience on offer. Springvale to this day is testament to how positive attitudes, entrepreneurial thinking and a dedicated work ethic can build strong cohesive and vibrant communities.
A Reflection from Jan Trezise
Prior to the launch Jan Trezise who was born in Springvale and whose family welcomed the first displaced people who came to Australia immediately after World War 2 - particularly those from the Baltic countries in northern Europe – described her experience of the constantly changing shopping strip. She described the bus which brought shoppers up from Springvale South and at the end of a specified time went to each individual shop to collect the shopping, the Maltese workers who worked for Pirotti sand pits, the Italian and Greek fruit and vegetable shops, the excitement when the Roma restaurant opened and expresso coffee first became available, and later the first European Delicatessen. From the late 1980s onwards the strongest influence in the street has been Asian.
The Launch - John Bennie, CEO City Greater Dandenong
I would also like to acknowledge the former residents of the Enterprise Hostel – those with us today and those not – and commend those who have travelled long distances to be here. We hope that this project and this particular marker will cement in your family folklore the importance and value of yourselves and others to the history of this suburb; this municipality; and this unique shopping centre;
I acknowledge Councillors; Merle Mitchell, Jan Trezise but of course each and every person who make up this very special team of people that we refer to as the Spirit of Enterprise Group – they are a formidable group! And you have all done a marvellous job in taking this project from an idea nearly a decade ago to one now regarded as a Project of National Significance. You should be rightly and extremely proud of your efforts;
Thank you for granting me the honour of speaking today – no doubt, as a representative of the many Council staff who have contributed their thoughts, advocacy, efforts and hope in support of this project – a project that kicked off in 2008 (after much preparation) and is now ‘near’ finality;
I say ‘near’ finality as some of you know that there is a significant site – a significant bookend to the site where this journey began – in the re-development of the ‘Springvale Community Hub’. The Mayor and his Council colleagues will have more to say about that emerging development when the many ways in which it states ‘Springvale’ or, enthuses the ‘spirit of enterprise’ will be evident to all that visit that site into the future;
Because I’ve been granted this welcome opportunity, I’d like to share it with a couple – among many – who have really made this happen as officers of Council. Grissel and Jenny and many others epitomise and lead by example in demonstrating how community based projects like this can be delivered;
Thank you Jan for your reflections on the role this strip centre has played from your perspective - your reflections will strike a chord with so many former Enterprise residents. Springvale Road is 40 Km long – our focus is on 400m of that significant arterial. Please tell me what other 400m stretch of this very long road is as vibrant, interesting, eclectic, diverse and ‘home’ to people from so many places? Where else does 1% of the whole influence your thinking about the whole? This section that we are reflecting on today is testament to how positive attitudes, entrepreneurial thinking and a determined work ethic can contribute to a strong, cohesive and vibrant community;
The Springvale Road shops have acted as a barometer of a changing community; of a retail offer that has diversified with each wave of migration – growing with the population and diversifying as the community did similarly;
The first shops appeared in this place in the late 1800’s; they began to flourish in the post WW1 period; soon after, they were predominantly Italian and Greek; but different northern and southern European influences began to appear after WW2 and some 100 years after ‘retail settlement’ in the 1980’s, people arriving at the Enterprise Migrant Hostel from South East Asia (predominantly Vietnamese and Cambodian) created the lasting influence that we enjoy and celebrate today;
There are many reasons for and why this area is branded ‘Sensational Springvale’ but the role that Enterprise; its residents; its spirit and its legacy have played in that branding should never be under estimated;
I congratulate all who have been involved in this project and have great pleasure on behalf of Council’s staff and in conjunction with Councillors, in launching this marke