Author: nickgadd

About nickgadd

Writer and urban explorer, Melbourne. Walking the city at melbournecircle.net

Melbourne Circle book coming in December

I’m thrilled to unveil the cover of my forthcoming book Melbourne Circle: Walking, Memory and Loss, to be published in December 2020.

The launch will take place via Zoom at 6.30pm on Thursday 3 December, organised by the Sun Bookshop in Yarraville. You can register for the launch here.

The cover art, by the Melbourne artist Jim Pavlidis, captures perfectly the sense of magic and mystery that exists in ordinary suburban streetscapes, and the way we carry our own histories with us as we walk.

The book is based on a series of walks my wife Lynne and I took in 2014-2016, which together formed a big circle around Melbourne. During our journey, which passed through some 50 suburbs, we encountered ghost signs, derelict buildings and lost places, and uncovered countless forgotten stories from the past. I wrote numerous posts about our walks, published on this blog.

In 2018, I experienced another kind of loss when Lynne died of cancer. Writing this book about our walks became a way not just of exploring the history of Melbourne but of coping with my grief by telling our story. The book is a personal memoir as much as it is travelogue or social history. In addition to some sections which originated as blog posts, expanded and substantially rewritten, the book reflects on how our lives unfolded in the Melbourne suburbs, and how we built meanings together through our relationships with these places.

The text is illustrated with many photographs of ghost signs and other suburban wonders, as well as hand drawn maps of our walks.

As the title suggests, the themes are loss, memory, connection to place, and regeneration. The implicit argument of the book is that connection with place is a key to the meanings of our lives.

Melbourne Circle: Walking, Memory and Loss will be published in December 2020 by Arcadia, an imprint of Australian Scholarly Publishing.

Completing the circle: Fishermans Bend to Williamstown

After two and a half years of circumnavigating the city, and more than 60 walks through more than 40 suburbs, we have reached the final walk, and today we are completing the circle.  Beginning at Westgate Park, just below the West Gate Bridge, we are going for one final stroll around Port Melbourne and Fishermans Bend before jumping on the Punt back to the western side of the bay and returning to the point where the circle began in 2014. Continue reading

From the ocean to the lake

This blog isn’t just about ghostsigns, architecture, and quirky tales of local history. It’s about an experience of the whole city – including the areas that might not be thought of as attractive for a recreational walk. The most unprepossessing parts of town can be as intriguing as any other. With this in mind we walked through the Port Melbourne industrial zone and headed towards the Westgate Bridge. Continue reading

Whisky on the rocks

Leaving Gasworks Arts Park, we headed south down Pickles Street into Port Melbourne. Like South Melbourne – the suburb formerly known as Emerald Hill – Port Melbourne once had a different name, and in the 19th century was known as Sandridge.  There used to be a lagoon here too, though it has long been filled in. But there’s plenty of evidence of other transformations in this once working class, now gentrified neighbourhood. Continue reading