Historical information

The land along the eastern side of the Union Road shops between Montrose Street and the railway line was originally owned by the Zeplin family. It was subdivided in 1914 and offered for sale as individual sites. Building did not occur until after WW1 and after the creek across Union Road had been barrelled.
The photo was taken in the office of the garage which was built at 145 Union Road in 1925. It has had continuous use as a garage since then. Originally there were petrol bowsers on the footpath. The façade of the building is remarkably the same as it was in 1925 when David Denholm was the first proprietor. He remained until c1950 and was followed by Benchley Motors P/L, then Spenden Motors P/L. John and Val Warren-Smith purchased it in c1980. In 2019 their family, including Philip and Glenn Warren-Smith and 2 of Philip's sons, still operate it as J&V Warren-Smith Auto Service.
The man on the phone is Walter Kurt (Wally) Hoersch. Warmly regarded and often mistakenly thought to be Philip's father, he was not a member of the family. Wally had an interesting background, not known to many. He was born in the German Templer colony of Sarona in Palestine. It had been established in Ottoman Palestine in 1871 and is now a suburb of Tel Aviv. In July 1941, 188 people from Sarona were deported to Australia on the Queen Elizabeth. Wally's family were amongst them. They were interned in Tatura in Central Victoria until 1947.
Wally lived in Mont Albert North and later Templestowe; he died on 21/7/2002.


The Union Road shopping strip was assessed for heritage protection by Lovell Chen in June 2011 (Surrey Hills and Canterbury Hill Estate Heritage Study: Union Road Commercial Precinct Citation). Within this report two buildings were mentioned as, unusually, still performing their original role. These were Dartnell’s Pharmacy at 376-378 Canterbury Road (contributory) and the motor garage at 145 Union Road (contributory).
This is one of a number of 3 images taken in 1991 which document the interior and function of the building.

Physical description

A colour photo of a man sitting behind a desk in an office on the phone. There is another man standing behind him to his right.