Helen van Bladeren may be a new to 193 Middle Street, Cleveland but the premises of her new business is steeped in local history.
And according to Ms van Bladeren it is almost 80 years of history needing to be told.
“If I am not told by some of the shop’s clients about its past, then a few spirits have put their two cents in,” Ms van Bladeren said.
The constant interest in this little store opposite the Cleveland RSL has motivated colleague Barbara Felton of Thornlands to look into what preceded Ms van Bladeren’s current incarnation of Seasons of the Earth.
Her research has uncovered the store to be a former butcher and real estate agency. It has also uncovered just who the friendly spirit is who has been having little chats and causing heat surges in the store.
“I believe the spirit to be Violet. She tells us she is happy we’re here and that we have to keep busy,” Ms van Bladeren said.
Ms Felton’s research reveals that Violet Jocumsen was the wife of a former owner and lived in the Queenslander beside the store until 1981.
Mr Jocumsen bought the house and its land in 1940, building a butcher shop and occupying it for many years. The Jocumsen’s initial butcher shop was in Shore Street. Records indicate that the Middle Street store may have been relocated from Shore Street or at least been built from some of the building materials.
In the interim, the Jocumsens rented a shop from Mr Engelman and this store was later rebuilt to become Despot’s store at the site of the current Westpac Bank.
The shop site has housed the Hitching Post gallery in the 1970s and Bernie Mahon Realty from 1986 to 1992. In its time it has also been a cane furniture shop, Shakespeare’s Wardrobe and in 2013, the International Spice store.
Ms Felton said at one stage the land was owned by Boyd Dunlop Morehead, a Queensland premier in 1888. Among his holdings was The Mansions and Harris Terrace in George Street, both now heritage listed.
“There is a lot of history here. And there is a lot of interest and stories about this shop from the locals,” Ms Felton said.
“We need some help to join all the dots, We’d like to know the full story.”
Anyone able to offer further information is invited to phone Ms Felton on 0412 285 106.