I walk north from Newport, up Douglas Parade towards the West Gate Freeway. I am heading towards the West Gate Bridge, one of Melbourne’s most beautiful and impressive landmarks, and the essential conduit for traffic over the Yarra, linking the two sides of the city. It’s also the site of Melbourne’s worst industrial disaster.
Over the last few years I’ve become interested in ghost signs – old, faded signage for products and businesses that no longer exist. They are intriguing and beautiful in themselves, and present a kind of visual record of social history. Sometimes ghost signs remain bright and clear even after many years, but often they have faded away to almost nothing.
This two-storey Victorian building at 164-166 Melbourne Road, Williamstown, on the corner of Russell Place, provides examples of both. Faded ghost signs are painted on top of each other in layers. Deciphering them led me back to Victorian times, and the underclothing king of Williamstown. Continue reading
I find cemeteries fascinating. Every gravestone is a mini-narrative – a person’s life story in its most concise form, often no more than dates of birth and death and perhaps the name of a spouse or relative. If you are a writer looking for inspiration you could do worse than wander around a cemetery and let the tombstones be triggers for your imagination. Continue reading
By Vin Maskell
There is a rash of skin-care and day spa businesses in our suburb. Like teenage acne, they’re popping up everywhere. Fifteen at last count, within a one kilometre stretch of the local shops.
Every suburb, every shopping strip, has its layers of skin, its history waiting to be peeled back. Continue reading
The first walk begins here, on 14 June 2014, on Gem Pier at Williamstown, surrounded by water. It’s a breezy day and lots of yachts are out on the bay, the wind bellying their spinnakers, while others are berthed at the yacht clubs. It’s a picturesque sight and across the bay is a fine view of the city of Melbourne.
I won’t be heading into those skyscrapers though, either by water or land. The idea is to walk clockwise around Melbourne in a big circle, in a series of walks through the suburbs, over a period of about a year, or as long as it takes. Continue reading