Month: June 2015

Wandering North Carlton: modernism and Victoriana

Deciding to spend a little longer in North Carlton, I walked in a mini circle – a circle within the Circle, if you like – in a clockwise direction, roughly around the Melbourne General Cemetery. This part of town is rich in suburban iconography.

Walking north up Royal Parade you pass the sports pavilions of Princes Park. These two pavilions, designed by council architect R. N Belby and built in 1938, are stylish examples of suburban Melbourne modernism, with their clean lines, strong horizontals, the zig-zag wrought-iron gates, the plain but elegant lettering (I like the speed lines on the capital ‘P’) and the stylised heroic athlete over the door. Continue reading

The American architect and the angry donor

One of Melbourne’s most spectacular buildings, Newman College at the University of Melbourne, was the work chiefly of three people:

  • a young American architect who came to Australia to build something else.
  • an elderly Sydney lawyer, who did all he could to stop it being built.
  • a fiery Archbishop.

Continue reading

Melbourne cemetery – Elvis and billiards

So we left the strange lonely wastes of Royal Park, crossed Royal Parade and headed along College Crescent. To the right were the residential colleges of Melbourne University, but we took a left and walked into the Melbourne General Cemetery on Princes Hill, its entrance marked with Gothic lettering.


One of the first things you encounter is the Prime Ministers’ Garden, where the political leaders of Australia – alive and dead – are commemorated. Among the memorials is one for Harold Holt, who drowned in the surf in 1967 (or, if you prefer, was taken by a shark/aliens/the Chinese/the CIA). His headstone bears the defiant inscription ‘He loved the sea’. I suppose they couldn’t really use his supposed last words ‘Prime ministers don’t drown’. Continue reading