Sofitel’s palatial Chadstone Hotel opening in November, resides on land formerly held by the Convent of the Good Shepherd (1883-1981) which stood on 55 acres of paddocks, complete with grazing cattle.
In 1858 the area bounded by Warrigal and Highbury Roads, Burwood Highway (Ballyshanassy Road) and Gardiners Creek (Damper Creek) was named Ballyshanassy in honour of then Victorian Premier, John O’Shanassy.
Nancy Mary Weir was born in Kew on 13 July 1915; a child prodigy, she knew the piano keyboard at 18 months and when four sneaked out to a nearby convent for lessons from a nun. At 13, she performed Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.3 with the Melbourne Symphony under conductor Fritz Hart following which Melbourne’s lord mayor launched a public subscription for her to study in Europe.
Two years before she died in 1984 for a history assignment I interviewed my mother Iris from the perspective of a ‘Melbourne teenager during World War II’. I was often surprised by her comments about life at the time.