A very chilly winter’s morning greeted the attendees to the launch of Rowland S Howard lane in St Kilda this morning. Opened by Nick Haines, who worked tirelessly to get the project off the ground, with dignitaries on hand to honour the occasion – Amanda Stevens, the Mayor of St Kilda, Martin Foley, Member for Albert Park and Councilor Serge Thomann. Members of Harry’s family were also present – father, brother Harry and sister Angela. Former partner Genevieve McGuckin mentioned that it was very nice to have a laneway named after culture, instead of war, as a lot of Melbourne’s streets seem to be named after generals or battles.
The “Beirut” end of Roland S Howard Laneway.Signs were unveiled at either end of the lane, starting at the classier “Paris” end, then moving onto the slightly seedier “Beirut” end (near Fitzroy St).
Harry Howard measuring the height of the sign with his sister Angela and Rowland’s partner, Genevieve.The street sign is over 2 metres in length, and much was made of the fact that it was probably about the same height as Rowland – the comparison being made by his brother, who is slightly shorter than Rowland was.
The laneway was often used by Rowland himself, as he stalked between his favourite coffee shop in Fitzroy st and his home at the other end of the lane.
Rowland was a guitarist and songwriter, best known as a member of The Birthday Party, with Nick Cave. Other bands included Crime & the City Solution, These Immortal Souls and a short stint with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. His best known song “Shivers” was written at the age of 16. He died of liver cancer in 2009.