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Friday, February 12, 2016

Arakana Building, 163 Lonsdale Street, Dandenong.

Most people remember it as Arkana, But do you know it was not a single building, but four or fives smaller shops, renovated and joined by a new facade? There is more history to the building than Arkana.

The Cosy Corner building at 163 Lonsdale Street may have been built in 1912 for John McLeod. It was described in 1911-12 rate books as a wood yard, dwelling and store. By 1912-13 it was leased by Smith, a storekeeper and in the next year Turner, a fruiterer. The adjoining shops along Foster Street were built between 1919 and 1921, after Russell acquired the land, and are hown on the 1935 plan. It is possible that Russell may have refurbished the corner shop in this development. Walter McConchie was an early owner-occupier of the corner shop after initial occupation by Russell. Thomas Blain was another long term occupier of 126-128 Foster St.

The adjoining shops at 157-159 Lonsdale Street were built between the mid-1930s and the mid-1950s: they are not shown on the 1935 Detail Plan. By the 1950s, near half of the row (159-163 Lonsdale, 134 Foster) was owned by Russell’s estate and another major part (130-132 Foster) was owned by Eleonora Crosby.

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