From 1895 onwards, Chinese laundry-men operated in nearly every suburb of Melbourne, and Ivanhoe was no exception. This laundry was located on the east side of Upper Heidelberg Road, near the corner of Waterdale Road (now blocked off because of the construction on the ex-Commonwealth Bank site). Between 1918-1921 it was conducted by Sam Lee, and another Chinese laundry-man Coon Hang had taken over by 1926. At the time of this photo (c.1919) horse-drawn vehicles and motor cars both used the roads.
By 1930 the laundry had shifted to the the south side of the Ivanhoe Hotel near the Post Office but it was still described as a ‘Chinese laundry’. In 1935 it had been taken over by Mrs.F. Lane and by 1940 was known as the Invicta Laundry. This change in ownership reflects the general decline of the Chinese population in Victoria, going from 12,128 in 1881 to 1704 in 1947.
We’ll be discussing the Upper Heidelberg Road shops and other 1919 events in our History Week talk ‘Ivanhoe 100 years Ago’ at the Ivanhoe library on Tuesday 15 October between 2.00 and 3.00. p.m. It’s free, and no bookings are necessary. Also, our ‘Heidelberg’s Busy Bee Quilt’ is open free at the Old Heidelberg Courthouse Museum this coming Sunday 13 October between 2.00 and 5.00 p.m.