Hawthorn: A Walking Tour

But for our move to Hawthorn, I would probably not be wandering, sampling food, and investigating this bustling area around the Hawthorn community precinct where Leonard Joel now finds itself. Just today, I walked the surrounds of our building at 1A Oxley Road, and clients will be delighted to know that parking surrounds us, from the large tree-filled – and I might say very pretty – Hawthorn Town Hall carpark opposite us to the generous bays behind us that serve the local tennis and bowls club as well as the local library. 

Lawrencia Cycles, Glenferrie Road

Our new surrounds are not just functional, they have a distinctly ‘arts and culture’ feel. A short walk from Leonard Joel, the Hawthorn Arts Centre lives and breathes within the beautiful 1888 Town Hall, offering a very complete and diverse calendar of events. I find myself surprised by the connections that are already presenting. As just one fun example, Australian jazz musician, Vince Jones, a regular at Leonard Joel in the late 1980s, is performing at the Arts Centre on May 3rd this year. I hope he pops into Leonard Joel almost four decades later! 

Beyond our immediate neighbours lies the truly bustling Glenferrie Road precinct of restaurants, cafés, and retail establishments. Much of its vibrancy during the weekdays is no doubt fed by the large population of adventurous students from nearby Swinburne University who I would suggest have gone a long way to encouraging the most splendid array of culturally diverse food offerings. 

Walk a little further into the area, glance sideways, and you also will find the charming line of period shops that grace the local railway station. A little further along Glenferrie Road you’ll find a major Readings bookstore in a grand two-storey 1920s building, its windows full of arts related subject matter. A little before that lies the vast Lido cinema and entertainment complex that no doubt generates another distinct theatre-going crowd. 

On my walk I noticed two more businesses, Lawrencia Cycles and St Germain restaurant. Lawrencia Cycles is 86 years old and still running in the same location, under family ownership. I still remember seeing that label on so many bikes in the late 1970s, it seemed to me then that it was either a Lawrencia or a Malvern Star label on every bicycle in Melbourne. My last stop on this adventure was at a beautiful restaurant and wine bar that is providing Hawthorn with a little slice of Paris. The presence of snails and foie gras on the menu at St Germain goes to show how seriously they are taking their offering and experience. I can very much see it becoming one of those ‘locals’ that Leonard Joel clients will come to frequent after an evening auction. 

There is so much to investigate and so much time to get to know our new community, and I do hope all of our clients, who whether by car, foot, tram, train, or bus, make a visit to Leonard Joel in Melbourne, also wander through the streets of Hawthorn.

John Albrecht, Chairman and Head of Important Collections

Banner Image: Hawthorn Arts Centre at the Town Hall

February 2024