Vernacular Housing?

 Vernacular Housing in Sunshine
Typical Vernacular Housing in Sunshine

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.

Map of the inner west showing the site of the former RAAF base.
Former RAAF base in Tottenham marked in red, in relation to my house on the extreme left.

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.

Footnotes

(1) Moca, P. 2015, Forty years ago May 28, 1975 Sunshine’s town clerk, Mr Bill Deutschmann,…[Derived Headline], Airport West, Vic.

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New Photobook Idea

I have begun working on a new photobook idea. It is nothing novel. Just pictures of the 14 or so public phones that are situated throughout Sunshine. This screen grab from Lightroom showing 11 that I have already photographed.

The idea has sprung from a larger project I am working on about Sunshine, the place I live. I have repeatedly returned to several places around the suburb. At one point I noticed the phone box on the corner of Station Place and Sun Crescent which I photographed. I then found a website that lists all the public phones in Sunshine, and in one afternoon photographed 11 of them.

My research has turned up some interesting information. I will add some of this to the final book. At this point I’m unclear if I will use film or digital to make the pictures for the final book.

Map of Phone boxes Sunshine
Map of Phone boxes Sunshine

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Slow burning projects

Vacant Land awaits redevelopment in Sunshine
Vacant Land Sunshine pending possible redevelopment, 2020-05-30 15:57:48

In the middle of 2017, possibly after discussions with Gary Sauer-Thompson, I decided to deliberately photograph Sunshine. With an emphasis on the rapid change that is occurring.  This has turned into slow burning project. Its final conclusion and outcome is uncertain.

I have lived in this suburb since the early 2000s. Digital photography at the time was still in its infancy 20 megapixel sensor DSLRs were still prohibitively expensive. I was predominately using film. My first digital camera was a Kodak DC 260. A capable camera by the standards of the time. Disks and storage in the early 2000s were also prohibitively expensive making archiving difficult. This was the era where the floppy disk at 1.5 mb was the standard. Still with that first camera I managed over 12000 pictures in its 4 year life. Many of these pictures were of anything and everything that caught my eye. I was at this stage a relative newcomer to Sunshine, so there was lots to explore and look at. Living near a major infrastructure site helped too. We have a grain silo on one edge of the park at the end of our street. We have both a busy Metro train service and a 3 regional  rail services using the station near us. The land in and around these kind of service spaces have always fascinated me. Even before moving to Sunshine I would trek out to the Western suburbs of Melbourne looking for unique sites of neglected post industrial glory.

This project, currently housed on tumblr ticks away quietly now. There are some major infrastructure projects underway, with a major residential hotel planned nearby as well. So change is constant. I have discovered a new commemorative plaque nearby too. I think I need to capture all these as well now. They are useful for their textual information alone. I am building a page dedicated to the history of Sunshine on my static website too.

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