DECLARED OPEN: Rowland S. Howard Lane

A small crowd of friends, family and the local music community gathered together this morning in Melbourne to officially witness ‘the unnamed lane between Jackson St and Eildon Road, St Kilda’ become Rowland S. Howard Lane.

Rowland, who passed away in December 2009, was known for his work with The Boys Next Door, The Birthday Party and These Immortal Souls (among others). As something of a legend in the area and a local resident, he would frequent the laneway regularly.

He joins the ranks of AC/DC and The Divinyls Chrissy Amphlett who have laneways dedicated to them in Melbourne’s CBD.

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Street naming laws in Victoria previously dictated that the lane be named Rowland Lane or Howard Lane. In a brief speech this morning at the unveiling, partner and bandmate Genevieve McGuckin said she would never allow that as Howard Lane could be associated with our former PM – who is in no way rock and roll!

Short speeches were also given by Nick Haines who campaigned for both the laneway and changing of archaic council laws, MP Martin Foley (who received an unofficial knighthood from both the crowd and Haines for supporting the campaign), brother Harry (from Harry Howard and the NDE – a spitting image of Rowland in both speech and droll humour), Mayor of Port Phillip Amanda Stephens and sister Angela.

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The unveiling of the sign itself was to have taken place after the speeches but a gust of wind (either a force of nature or the spirit of Rowland having a laugh) saw the black curtain torn back early by nobody in particular.

When Haines told Angela the day had come, Angela said that there were two books that Rowland never thought he’d be in: The Bible and the Street Directory.

One down, one to go…