Month: August 2015

Footy, moustaches and electric girdles: it’s The Sportsman!

Reaching Smith Street, the boundary between Fitzroy and Collingwood, I noticed an intriguing ghostsign on the corner of Argyle Street. The words I could decipher from the faded lettering were: ‘The Sportsman – Sporting paper sold here – Advertisements received.’ There was a word or two I couldn’t be certain of, just below ‘The Sportsman’: I guessed that they might read ‘The Best’ but it’s a shot in the dark. (A sporting chance.) Of the faded purple sign to the right of The Sportsman, it is hard to make out anything at all. Until recently there was something over the top, indicated by the remnants of a metal frame. But the only legible sign on this wall belongs to a paper I’d never heard of – The Sportsman. Continue reading

Fitzroy: three ghostsigns, three histories

We turned left off Nicholson Street into Gertrude Street, and headed into Fitzroy. These days Fitzroy is known as one of the world’s hipster capitals, a national centre for beards, tattoos and retro attire, full of cafes where you can get your 100 per cent vegan, cruelty-free chai latte, and salons offering alternative nail art. For the suburban explorer it’s also a place rich in old bluestone laneways and cottages,  street art, intriguing buildings and ghostsigns. This post focusses on three sites, each pointing to a different aspect of the suburb’s history. Continue reading

Architectural extremes on Nicholson Street

One appealing aspect of walking the Melbourne suburbs is the way you pass through different eras within a short distance. Melbourne makes the walker into a time traveller, encountering Victorian mansions, deco swimming pools, brutalist office blocks and post-modern apartments within a few hundred metres of each other. Some cities have more internal consistency – many of the great boulevards and buildings of Paris, for example, were planned and built by Napoleon III’s great architect, Haussmann, in the mid-19th century, and remain today much as they were then. But I like the diversity of Melbourne. It’s a city that contains many cities within it.

Close together in Nicholson Street, Fitzroy, are two intriguing constructions that could hardly be more different. Stylistically and philosophically they are at opposite ends of a spectrum, but they are both worth a visit. Continue reading