Monday, 23 June 2014 06:46

Scoota Boats, 2 Lower Esplanade

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View of Scoota Boats building from beach ca 1954 View of Scoota Boats building from beach ca 1954 Part image no. H32492/8159, State Library of Victoria
 Other Names:  Electric Scoota Boating
 Date Built:  1934
 Architect:  Harry Raymond Johnson (1892-1954)
 Builder:  [probably John Arthur Trencher, builder of George Street, Caulfield]
 Client:  Scoota Boats Ltd
 Description:  Large rectangular shed with low pitched Marseilles tiled hipped-roof.
 History: The Scoota Boats was one of the rides built at Little Luna Park in 1934 on a wave of optimism that the Melbourne Centennial Celebrations planned for November that year would produce a windfall. However the anticipated crowds did not eventuate.#2
Demolished: ca.1987

  Source Summary or [note]
1. New Registrations, Argus, 1934.07.13 p.6 Scoota Boats Ltd. To acquire a lease of a piece of land situate near the Lower Esplanade St Kilda to erect upon the said land an artificial pool for the purpose of carrying on a public amusement known as Electric Scoota Boating. Registered office 182 Collins street, Melbourne. Capital. £8,000 in 10 shares. Names subscribed to memorandum: John Arthur Treneher [sic, Trencher], 1 share; Joseph Herman, 1 share; Louis Holzer, 1 share; Henry Thomas Pamphilon, 1 share; Willian Hugh Harper, 1 share.
2. Company News, Argus, 1934.10.12 p.6 The company expects to have scoot boats working by October 27.
3. Anne Longmire, St Kilda the show goes on, p.50 The most novel amusement of all however, was introduced by Daniel O'Donogue in October 1934. O'Donogue employed the architect and St. Kilda City Councillor, Harry Johnson, to design a hundred by fifty foot pool at the junction of Marine Parade and the Lower Esplanade, and installed electrically driven Scoota boats which could travel at eight miles per hour. Such boats had operated at British resorts like Bognor and Brighton for over two years, but those whooshing about at St. Kilda were the first in Victoria.
4.  Anne Longmire, St Kilda the show goes on, p.116-117 [Regarding the affect the Americans had during the war] Amusement operators made a fortune as they scrambled to cater for every taste, and the foreshore entertainments were so crowded some wished the war would never end. Scoota Boats Proprietary Limited installed additional games of pin bowls and miniature quoits on their site.
5. Anne Longmire, St Kilda the show goes on, p.179-180 Nonetheless, as the smaller operators faltered, larger interests stepped in. The large carnival operators, Green and Thomas, took over Phillips' lease in 1955; and another new leaseholder was Harry Hall-Kenney of MacDonald's Carnival Amusements which bought the merry-go-round in February 1957. MacDonald's Carnival Amusements had the largest carnival plant in Australia dealing in merry-go-rounds, Chairoplanes, Ocean Waves, Miniature Trains, Punch and Judy Sideshows and public address systems. The riding gallery was painted and a newset of laughing clowns was installed on that site, while Hall-Kenny took over the miniature train and Scoota Boats sites aswell. Scoota Boats Limited's net profit had fallen from £511 in 1955 to £228 in 1956, which was a decline proprietors attributed to television in September 1958: "...television is causing this fall away of business and despite all our endeavours St. Kilda is not attracting the crowds it did years ago".
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