Architecture

Dream houses past and present

You get used to typical streetscapes in Melbourne – rows of small Victorian cottages, red brick Edwardian houses in established middle-class suburbs, clusters of oversized mansions in newer developments here and there, occasional hip architect-designed boxes, and the Housing Commission towers that punctuate the city like exclamation marks. Most of it is pretty familiar after a while. But heading east from Graham Street and south of Williamstown Road in Port Melbourne, we came across streets like nothing we had seen before – at least, not in this city. It felt as if we had stumbled through some time-and-travel machine into a British housing estate. (The fact that it was raining as we walked probably added to the illusion). In fact it was a utopian social experiment from the 1920s. Continue reading

Bank Street stroll

Leaving St Vincent Place we headed north along Montague Street, then turned right into Bank Street towards South Melbourne, a suburb in which much of the history has been carefully and consciously preserved.  If you’re looking for ghostsigns, this part of town is rich in them. You also pass a kaleidoscope of architectural styles in the space of a few blocks. Continue reading

The romance of Elwood

Crossing the Nepean Highway and entering Elwood, we found ourselves in the land of the English writers. This is one of the most famous street name clusters in Melbourne, where dozens of poets and novelists, many of them 19th century but a few more recent, hang out  together. In fact the whole suburb has a romantic, fictional kind of atmosphere. Continue reading

Top Shop and the pharmacy

Continuing south down Hotham Street, we reached the point at which East St Kilda becomes the small suburb of Ripponlea. On Glen Eira Road are various shops and small businesses, and traces of previous ones, that aroused our interest. Two buildings in particular caught our eye, though their fates have been quite different. Continue reading

The diverse charms of St Kilda East

Leaving St Kilda cemetery, we headed south down Hotham Street, towards St Kilda East. This part of suburban Melbourne – St Kilda East heading into Balaclava – has a lot to offer, when you tune in to it – diverse architecture, appealing old signage, and suburban oddities of various kinds.   Continue reading