industrial history

The bricks and stones of Clifton Hill

Asked to name a favourite Victorian building in Melbourne, you might choose the Royal Exhibition Building, the Windsor Hotel or one of those crazy Gothic revival buildings on Collins Street. I’d chuck in a vote for the shot tower on Alexandra Parade, Clifton Hill, a masterpiece of industrial architecture. 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

Fitzroy: three ghostsigns, three histories

We turned left off Nicholson Street into Gertrude Street, and headed into Fitzroy. These days Fitzroy is known as one of the world’s hipster capitals, a national centre for beards, tattoos and retro attire, full of cafes where you can get your 100 per cent vegan, cruelty-free chai latte, and salons offering alternative nail art. For the suburban explorer it’s also a place rich in old bluestone laneways and cottages,  street art, intriguing buildings and ghostsigns. This post focusses on three sites, each pointing to a different aspect of the suburb’s history. Continue reading