Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Learning About St. Kilda

I've been learning about St Kilda lately, thanks to the website of the St Kilda Historical Society.

I thought you should put a period in St, since it's an abbreviation. But neither Lord Wiki nor the historical society do it. So I guess I won't either.

I'm reading over this time line of St Kilda. It has some fun trivia stuff.

First of all, St Kilda was named after a boat called Lady of St Kilda. Lord Wiki says the boat was bought and named by a British guy; Sir Thomas Dyke Acland.

Acland named the boat St Kilda after a Scottish Island.

Now we have to ask. Why was the island named St Kilda?

Lord Wiki says this is unknown. There's theories and ideas, but there's nothing concrete.

The island's website says it is not named after a saint. Instead, it MIGHT come from the word Skildir. That's a Norse word that means shields.

Interesting....

Wow. There was some kind of evacuation in 1930, and now only three of the original inhabitants are there.

What happened????

Here we go. It sounds like it happened gradually. Population declined, and then the remaining folks felt isolated.

So we have an island, a man who named his ship after the island, and a suburb/area named after the ship.

The ship met it's doom in 1843, near Tahiti.

I'm looking at the time line page again. Governor La Trobe named St. Kilda after the ship BEFORE it sank.

It was anchored off the beach of St Kilda, so I guess that inspired the governor. Although back then, it wasn't actually called St Kilda beach.

What else.....

St Kilda was THE place to live in the 1860's. It had mansions, and a seaside resort.

The glory lasted for about 30 years. Then the shit hit the fan.

People lost their money.

Mansions had to be sold.

Giant homes were split up into guesthouses and stuff like that.

In the 1900's, an Italian guy came over, and tried to turn St Kilda into an entertaining type place.

In 1912, Luna Park opened. The St Kilda historical folks describe it as, the newest and greatest amusement park in the world.

Really? That sounds like something my dad would say. He's often telling us that something is the greatest, best, most famous, etc.

What came first? Luna Park in Sydney, or the one in Melbourne?

Ah, Lord Wiki says it was the Melbourne one. Sydney's didn't open up until 1935.

In the 1920's and 1930's, apartments/flats dominated St Kilda rather than houses.

In the 1940's, we get a lot of American (soldiers) and Jews.

In the 1950's and 1960's, St. Kilda becomes associated with drugs, crime, and artistic people. I'm picturing it kind of like the East Village in NYC...specifically Alphabet City.

In the 1970's, a historical shopping area of 150 buildings was destroyed to to widen a road called High Street. Then this High Street was renamed St. Kilda Road.

In the 1990's, St Kilda was still known for being affordable (good place for backpackers). But it started to become a bit more trendy.

And what of it now?

Well, the St Kilda Historical Society says it continues to be trendy.. They say, St Kilda property booms as waves of affluent new residents seek a trendy lifestyle by the sea. Good old gentrification.

Anyway, that's it for now. I shall be learning more later.....