Landmark Footscray building for auction

337-351 Barkly Street, Footscray. (Supplied) 233766_01

Goya Dmytryshchak

A corner landmark building owned by the well known local Cumming family is up for auction in Footscray.

The building at 337-351 Barkly Street, formerly known as Green’s Building, is heritage listed partly because of its distinctive domed balcony or bandstand.

The vendor is Olympic wrestler Daniel Cumming, brother of independent upper house MP and former Maribyrnong mayor and councillor Catherine Cumming. Another of the six siblings, sister Dianna, is a former Lions Miss Footscray, Mrs Footscray and Miss Williamstown Beach.

Family matriarch, Margaret Cumming, had long operated a second-hand furniture shop on the ground floor, called Margaret’s Bazaar.

She made headlines when the family almost sold the building in 2005 and Mrs Cumming, then 72, found a live WWII bomb as she was clearing the shop for auction.

Ms Cumming, speaking on the family’s behalf, said Daniel bought the building about 25 years ago for their mother’s use.

“You have to understand that many years ago, women couldn’t get loans so mum had always rented shops,” she said.

“She first started a second-hand business by taking rubbish off the tip in Footscray – humble beginnings.

“My father died when I was 16, so about 30 years ago, and mum’s been pretty much the main breadwinner for all of us from working hard.

“My mum is 88 now, she’s just moved into a nursing home in Yarraville and it’s just time for the family to move it on.

“We hope it goes to somebody who will love the building as much as we have loved it and have had many great times in.

“I don’t think we’re ever going to forget how happy mum was working there and all the people that she actually met from her business.”

Built in 1913-14 and modified in the 1920s, the building is listed on the Victoria Heritage database as being “historically, architecturally and socially significant”.

It is also significant for its association with the Green family who were well known in the Footscray area during the early 20th century and for its former use as a dance hall.

The property is set on a 1290 square metre block with frontage to Geelong Road and Barkly Street.

Selling agent Create Vic Real Estate has scheduled an onsite auction for May 1 at noon.