psychogeography

Melbourne Circle book launched in December

My book Melbourne Circle: Walking, Memory and Loss, published by Australian Scholarly Publishing, was launched on Thursday 3 December 2020, via the Sun Bookshop in Yarraville.

You can buy the book here, here, and here – or check your local bookshop.

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 has been published by Arcadia, an imprint of Australian Scholarly Publishing.

Melbourne Circle: the book

My book Melbourne Circle: Walking, Memory and Loss was published in December 2020. The book originated in posts on this blog – it is an account of a journey on foot around Melbourne in the years 2014-16 which I made with my wife, Lynne. On the way we observed the kind of things you’ll find in these posts – ghost signs, derelict buildings and lost places – and we uncovered countless forgotten stories and characters from the past.

Update: You can buy the book here, here, here or ask at your local bookshop.

In 2018, after I’d finished writing this blog, I experienced another kind of loss when Lynne died of cancer. Writing the 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 Melbourne Circle is a personal memoir as much as it is travelogue or social history. In addition to some sections which originated as blog posts, the book reflects on how our lives unfolded in the Melbourne suburbs, and how we built meanings together through our relationships with these places.

As the title suggests, the themes of the book are loss, memory, connection to place, and regeneration. All of this adds up to what I understand as ‘psychogeography’, meaning a recognition of our connection with place as a key to the meanings of our lives.

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