Mansions and monkeys in Essendon

One of the aims of this walk around Melbourne is to get a sense of the different ambiances of each suburb. Since the 19th century, Essendon and neighbouring Moonee Ponds have been places where Melbourne’s middle classes are ensconsed. Hence the prevalence of big houses and private schools. The atmosphere is heavy with solid money and respectability. Continue reading

Suburban drift on Buckley Street

After travelling further north than I intended, I turned east before the so-called Melbourne Circle became a circuit of Bendigo.  I took a right at Buckley Street, a road that runs east-west from Avondale Heights to Essendon. It’s a journey of only a few kilometres, which we walked on a warm morning in December.  Buckley Street takes you through the established, middle-class suburbs of Essendon West, Aberfeldie, northernmost Moonee Ponds and into Essendon. Instead of writing an essay, this time I’ve used photos in an attempt to capture the essence of the street, its ordinariness, beauty and strangeness. Continue reading

Apocalypse Heights

Something happened in Apocalypse Heights*.

A war, plague or tsunami. An explosion that killed the populace, but left the buildings standing.

Perhaps aliens landed here and took everyone to a remote planet. Some time between 2011, when the census was conducted, and now, 10,990 people were spirited away.

There must be some explanation. Because there’s no one here. Not visible, anyway. Continue reading

Dramatic sky over Maidstone

Three scenes from Maidstone … and Braybrook

Maidstone is the suburb between Braybrook and Footscray, just south of the Maribyrnong river. We walked through Maidstone and Braybrook on an unexpectedly hot spring day.

You don’t see many casual strollers around here. It’s a place of truck depots, wreckers’ yards, car yards, warehouses and vacant land, some of which is earmarked for the inevitable apartments. And cars, cars everywhere, either second-third-fourth hand, or in the form of scrap. Continue reading

A peek inside The Grand Theatre, Footscray

A few weeks ago I walked past the exterior of the old Grand Theatre in Paisley Street and wondered what it looked like inside. Thanks to a reader, Cr Nam Quach, I was introduced to the owner, Footscray businessman Peter Ki, who kindly allowed me inside for a look around and to take some photographs. Continue reading