Do you recall the Gatwick Hotel in St Kilda? Located at 34 Fitzroy Street, this local art deco icon (or eyesore, depending on your position) has long been a private hotel used for short term accommodation. This tradition will continue now that the St Kilda Community Housing group has taken over the decrepit building.
Owned by the one family for many years, the Gatwick Private Hotel has been leased by sisters Yvette Kelly and Rose Banks to the local community housing organisation. Gatwick Private Hotel has a notorious reputation for crime and violence, and it even has a Facebook page which the community has used to agitate for shutting down the premises.
Many locals suggest that the Gatwick boarding house harbours criminals and creates a dangerous environment along Fitzroy Street. Yet it is also a heritage fixture in St Kilda with its own rich history – a place that has housed tenants that would simply not be given rooms in any other establishment for two generations.
Built in the 1930′s, the Gatwick was once a place frequented by soldiers on their home leave. Post WW2 it began to cater for the socially disadvantaged and those who could not afford traditional accommodation. The Gatwick features a communal kitchen and outdoor garden area which tenants care for along with owners Rose and Yvette. The Gatwick is one of the remaining rooming houses in St Kilda, which used to number up to 636 only 50 years ago.
How the area has changed! Now St Kilda has only 53 such rooming houses, with a little over 1000 beds available to boarders. It costs $260 for a week in a double room at The Gatwick.
TAGS: St Kilda, Gatwick Hotel, Yvette Kelly, Rose Banks, Facebook, St Kilda Community Housing, Fitzroy Street