Exploring Melbourne: Madame Brussels

Tomb of Sir Samuel Gillott (1838-1913), General Cemetery, Melbourne, Australia

Tomb of Sir Samuel Gillott (1838-1913), General Cemetery, Melbourne, Australia

Dave is one of the half-dozen brightest people I ever taught.  When I told him that he asked for it in writing.  QED.

I hadn’t seen him for ten years when we met up in Melbourne, where he’s worked for the past few years and is happily settled.

We acted out the Australian dream drinking beer in the sunshine at the Beachcomber at the St Kilda Sea Baths:  http://www.beachcombercafe.com.au/www/home, and then we hopped on a tram to sample the fleshpots of central Melbourne.

I recall, with diminishing coherence, the Palmz roof bar at the Carlton on Bourke Street [http://www.thecarlton.com.au/functions/palmz-rooftop-bar-melbourne], Penny Blue (in the former Money Order Building next to the GPO) [http://www.pennyblue.com.au], before eating at the Golden Monkey [http://www.goldenmonkey.com.au] where Dave’s marital-arts experience came in useful tussling with the Japanese menu.

On a second evening out we drank at the Gin Palace [http://www.ginpalace.com.au] where the gents has a set of urinals for use and another for lighting, and ate at Sarti [http://www.sartirestaurant.com.au].

At some point I regaled Dave (who is at heart a Sheffield lad) with the story of Sir Samuel Gillott (1838-1913), a Sheffield lad who emigrated to Melbourne at the age of eighteen, trained as a lawyer and operated as a politician, became Melbourne’s first Lord Mayor and was eventually exposed for his financial dealings with a lady called Caroline Hodgson, who traded as Madame Brussels and ran brothels like banks, with branch operations scattered around the city-centre.

Without a word Dave led me into a strange rooftop bar with artificial grass instead of a carpet and waitresses in maids’ outfits with white ankle socks, where only after I’d ordered St George Ethiopian beer and turned to the menu did I discover the name of the place:  http://www.madamebrussels.com.


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