History Books

Heave-ho...ho...ho

Not so long ago, the quaint little cottages in Port Melbourne were owned and occupied by dock workers. Selling their houses gave Geoff Cayzer an insight into the workings of the Port Melbourne community.

Over 30 years selling houses in the local area, Geoff Cayzer has seen a few things change.

Today, weatherboard and brick cottages in Port Melbourne are highly sought after, frequently renovated and much loved.

But when demand – and prices – weren’t so high, these little gems were lived in by working class people, many of whom worked at the Port Melbourne Docks. Geoff built relationships with many – and saw first hand how tight knit their community was.

“In the early days I was selling around here and there were a lot of working class people who lived in many of the homes in Port Melbourne. Through football and work I got to know a lot of them,” Geoff explains.

“It was commonly known in those days that some of the containers may have arrived a bit lighter at their destinations than they were when they docked at Port Melbourne.

“I remember a story of a container that went to Tasmania that had colour televisions in it. It had arrived full in Port Melbourne and it was only two thirds full by the time it reached Tasmania. And suddenly every house in Port Melbourne had a colour television.

“One of those chaps wanted to sell his house. He was a docker and a South Melbourne footballer who lived in Port Melbourne. He didn’t want to auction his house, but I said he had to. We got around $20,000 over the reserve which was a lot in those days and he was very pleased about that and sang our praises.

“He came in about a week or two after the auction and said: ‘Geoff, do you play golf?’ and I said: ‘Yes, I do play golf. I love golf, but it doesn’t love me.’

“‘Oh good,’ he said. ‘Here’s half-a-dozen golf gloves’.

“I said: ‘A golf glove lasts me a year – that’s six years’ worth!!’

“‘It’s no problem,’ he said, ‘If you need any more give me a ring.’

“I thanked him very much and went to play golf.

“I’m left handed at golf and unfortunately when I went to put the glove on it was a glove for the wrong hand!

“So I saw him about a month later and he said: ‘How’s your golf?’ When I said my golf was good he asked: ‘How are those gloves going?’

“I said: ‘Well look, I’m a bit embarrassed to tell you, but I’m left handed and the gloves are for the wrong hand.’

“Well a week later six new gloves arrived for my left hand. That’s how the dockers worked.”

And perhaps another container was a little lighter as a result.

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