This view did not exist in 2019. I can’t remember the last time I drove along Dohertys road.
I am standing on a bridge built for cyclists that forms part of the federation trail. I’m not quite certain when it was completed. Google maps most recent picture of this part of Dohertys road is from 2019. The new bridge forms part of the larger infrastructure works going on around the Westgate. The works are affecting the peripheral and arterial roads that run off it. This trail will allow cyclists to ride from Werribee to the city. It crosses Dohertys’ road a dual carriageway arterial road.
As I had not had a chance to really explore this part of Melbourne since we had spent so much time in lockdown last year. I decided to investigate several areas nearby that I know would have altered radically.
Dohertys road used to be a single lane arterial road. Given the real estate in this part of Laverton there would have been many many large trucks using this road. It is now a dual lane road which no doubt means the numbers will increase. Melbourne’s cyclists can now cross this road safely using this bridge.
The weather on the day I was there proved to be almost perfect for photography. Unusual for Melbourne in January. I suspect this will be a regular location now.
This approach to finding locations underpins my work. Not being able to wander and just follow my nose while we were in lockdown was stifling to say the least. At least it means there will be plenty more surprises waiting for me; all within a 10 minute drive from my house.
A week or so ago, I made some pictures of the houses in Wright Street Sunshine that may disappear in the next few years. With one empty block and 2 for sale signs in a strip of a dozen or so house this makes for some big changes afoot. What I neglected to mention or perhaps didn’t recognise was that most of these buildings follow a similar style and appearance. I’m guessing that at some point a government agency was involved with these house’s construction.
Thirty years ago there was an active RAAF base on a site that is now light industry and shopping centre a couple of Kilometres down the road. The site was sold to private developers in 1983(1)
There are some existing buildings of a similar style near the old site and they share similar characteristics to the ones I photographed in Wright Street. The common denominators that connect them are the materials. Fibre Cement is common. Small footprint and tiled roofs others.
The current formula that seems to be being applied to these old buildings, is the old houses are demolished. Then if the site permits several small units are built in their place. While these new units are dotted around the suburb, the danger of a homogeneous streetscape looms large.
Given that Wright Street is an arterial road then I doubt there may be that much new development going up. Keeping an eye on planning permits and council notifications will enable me to track these changes. Thereby producing a meaningful record of the suburb as it changes.
(1) Moca, P. 2015, Forty years ago May 28, 1975 Sunshine’s town clerk, Mr Bill Deutschmann,…[Derived Headline], Airport West, Vic.
In 1966, Ed Ruscha photographed ‘Every building on the Sunset Strip‘ in Los Angeles. It became a book and the original is highly sought after. I have seen the copy the NGV has in its collection. Such a simple and elegant idea. The book is one long accordion type book. It is small but intriguing. I have attempted my own version of the idea twice now. Once in Yarraville with a small stretch of houses that have since been demolished, for the Regional Rail Link. The ‘album’ is on flickr it is entitled Buckley Street Seddon. It took approximately 40 minutes to make those pictures.
I did the same recently, only this time I walked along Wright Street, Sunshine, from Stanford Street to Hampshire Road.
I started at the Stanford street and walked West, the numbers on that side of the street are even numbers. I excluded the corner houses. The photography component took all of 20 minutes.
There was one empty block primed and ready for redevelopment. And two other blocks with for sale signs on them. Big changes are indeed afoot. What form shape or size they will take remains to be seen I guess?
The response to the pandemic in the arts industry has been overwhelmingly positive. SALA is running its entire festival through artists websites this year. I have been very fortunate in that Gary Sauer-Thompson via his studio in Encounter Bay invited me to exhibit with an idea that explored the pandemic. The online exhibition is entitled, ‘Walking/Photography’, its premise is simple:-
“The exhibition explores the interrelationships between these two modes of being-in-the-world. The ethos is to go for a walk in your local area, where you can find what you don’t know you are looking for. It is a step into the photographic unknown that uncovers the forgotten or buried history of the area.”
The ‘exhibtion’ opens on the 1st of August and runs until the 30th of September.
I am considering entering the annual Picturing Footscray competition this year. This is an outtake. I’m still consider the brief which is, “to capture the essence of this great location during this tumultuous time, with the added challenge of respecting physical distancing and self-isolation requirements. ”