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

The transformations of Collingwood

To walk around Collingwood, more than perhaps any other suburb, is to be made aware of change.

Changes in society, architecture, industry. Changes in where we live, what we wear, what we drink.

There used to be dozens of factories here. Boot and shoe manufacturers. Wool carders, spinners and scourers. They’ve gone, to be replaced by fashion wholesalers selling imported threads.

The massive Foy and Gibson buildings on Oxford Street are home to apartments and coffee houses, rare and fine wine merchants.

Spaces get reinvented, sometimes imaginatively.  Continue reading