Gun Alley Tailem Bend
Tailem’s infamous Gun Alley is quickly transforming from its legendary ‘gangsta’ status, where tough railway men and the Connolly clan of fifteen roamed, to a more refined lane of property investors.
Gun Alley, gazetted as Webb Street, Tailem Bend, has seen many families come and go over the years, some testifying to mysterious shot gun blasts ringing out in the dark of night, but a few Gun Alley veterans like Big Charlie, Weary Bruce, Glum, King Tom and Baron Michael, remain.
“There are a lot of characters in Tailem Bend, but we do have a concentration of them in Gun Alley,” King Tom said. “Knight Peter (Peter Connolly) still roams the street on occasions.”
Gun Alley folklore has it that Webb Street, in it’s hey day, was a street that you didn’t walk down after dark. Between the gangs, and the Connolly’s, women feared for their safety and men took their chances. However, these days, Webb Street has been transformed with a new generation of residents.
Mark Lemon, alias King Tom, purchased his first home in Tailem Bend many years ago and moved to live in Gun Alley to be close to his mate, Weary Bruce, ten years ago.
“We have a lot of fun in this street, The Baron (Michael Alleman) can tell a tall story – you wouldn’t want to believe everything he says.”
“The Baron started the rumor of Webb street moving to the Feudal System – that way he reckons we can control our own council rates,” laughed Mark.
Webb Street homes were unique for their time, in that they were made of cement poured onsite into molds, making them look almost identical.
Mark now owns four homes in the street and he is one of many Webb Street investors who are happy to have found Tailem Bend. “Slowly, but surely, the transformation of Webb Street is happening, thanks to the influx of workers on the Solar Farm and The Bend Motorsport Park’.
‘We’ve got investors from all over, I know there’s one from Morphett Vale, some from Adelaide and even a few from interstate,’ Mark said. ‘My old mate Michael, The Baron, now lives across the road and he’s really heavily invested in Tailem Bend.’
Mark’s plan is to finish renovating his current home, then sell one of his investment properties, before retiring and living off the rental/super income. And, these days, with Webb Street looking more like a row of English Cottages, the investment gamble has paid of for Mark.
‘I’m planning on buying a van, nicking off and start tossing coins. The first coin toss will be at the Meningie turn off – Heads left, Tails right.’
Webb Street was named after William Alfred Webb (1878–1936) an American railroad executive who gained wide experience within US railroads and served in the management of nationwide railroad operations during WW1, before being appointed Commissioner of the South Australian Railways from 1922 to 1930.
In this role he undertook a significant rehabilitation program, lifting the state railways from an inefficient and technologically backward system, to a pre-eminent position in Australia.