Industrial history

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

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

The icons of Cremorne

What makes a Melbourne icon? I reflected on this as I headed south from Richmond into the handkerchief-sized suburb of Cremorne, a place where Melbourne icons are thick on the ground.

Cremorne is tucked into a few streets south of Richmond and north of the River Yarra and the Monash Freeway. This little pocket of narrow streets, red bricks and bluestone laneways was once a hub of industry, the home of products that were literally household names, such as Bryant and May matches and Rosella tomato sauce. It’s been a long time, though, since these iconic products were actually made here. Continue reading

Tales from Richmond Hill

At the corner of Lennox Street and Rowena Parade is a Victorian shop (dated 1878) on which some very faded ghostsigns can be discerned. The words ‘General House Repairs’ are just about legible between the upper storey windows, and I could make out ‘Builders’ and ‘Carpenters’ above the ground floor windows, along with the now almost illegible name of the former owners, which appears to read  ‘ … ETT & SONS’. Continue reading

The real and the fake in Abbotsford

Something that strikes me often about the Melbourne suburbs is their quietness. Walk through most suburbs on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and you won’t hear much at all, except traffic (on the busier roads), the occasional lawn mower or leaf blower, perhaps the remote sound of a TV, or the bark of a dog behind a gate. More than once I’ve asked myself: where is everybody? I encounter few other walkers as I make my way around, and occasionally feel oddly conspicuous as a solo pedestrian. Sometimes parks are busy, and certain shopping/cafe strips, but many places seem eerily deserted.

The suburbs are not totally silent, though. On the wall of the Collingwood Neighbourhood House in Perry Street I came across evidence of an intriguing psychogeography project: a list of sounds heard by Lauren Brown, ‘listener in residence’. Continue reading