Decades-old brothel closes

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS - Aaron Cor­lett

IT is the end of an era for one of Vic­to­ria Park’s most con­tro­ver­sial busi­nesses.

Madi­son Av­enue, a brothel which has op­er­ated for 67 years un­der var­i­ous names, has closed down af­ter be­ing a sta­ple on the cor­ner of Al­bany High­way and Tem­ple Street.

Sue Chap­man, who started at the busi­ness as a re­cep­tion­ist, has run it since 1995. She closed on Fe­bru­ary 5 be­cause the build­ing is be­ing sold.

“It ran un­der the con­tain­ment pol­icy, which was good un­til it changed and let things run un­der­ground,” said Ms Chap­man.

“The lease ex­pired in Jan­uary; we were never given a heads-up by the Williams fam­ily, who own the build­ing, that it was up for sale, so we never had the op­por­tu­nity to pur­chase it.

“We never had the chance to re­lo­cate around Vic­to­ria Park be­cause I don’t think we’d ever be able to pass the plan­ning reg­u­la­tions from the coun­cil.

“I don’t want to lie about what we do; some other places say they are a mas­sage par­lour but they are not. It is a sad time for us and our clients too; we have built up plenty of good­will.

“There have been four rob­beries in my time and two hold-ups but ev­ery­one has been caught.”

Mrs Chap­man said the re­moval of the con­tain­ment pol­icy, an un­writ­ten pol­icy that ran un­til 2000 al­low­ing sex­ual ser­vices busi­nesses to op­er­ate with po­lice ap­proval sub­ject to con­di­tions, was a neg­a­tive out­come.

“We’ve had MLA Michelle Roberts visit in 1999 and other pol­lies as well. Peo­ple are sur­prised and in­ter­ested in it,” she said.

“There have been pri­vate tours; peo­ple are cu­ri­ous about what hap­pens here.

“A few raids have hap­pened over the years, early in the piece es­pe­cially, the drug squad has come out but we’ve al­ways com­plied with them.

“Back in the day un­der dif­fer­ent laws, the girls had their taxes paid and the girls were re­quired to have health checks.

“It’s been an eye-open­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. There must have been thou­sands of peo­ple who have vis­ited here over the years.”

Mrs Chap­man said the econ­omy had af­fected the busi­ness.

“We had about 18 to 20 clients each day at the end, it was prob­a­bly the worst time ever,” she said.

“Dur­ing the good eco­nomic times, we would have up to 70 clients per day.”

Pic­ture: Matt Jelonek www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d465208

Sue Chap­man, who ran the Madi­son Av­enue Brothel, says busi­ness has waned re­cently.

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