Progressive development or cultural vandalism?

Proponents have said little publicly while opponents suggest that Hosier Lane's internationally renowned arts culture is in jeopardy. Regarding the proposed rejuvenation of the Forum Theatre at 150-162 Flinders Street and adjoining high-rise hotel, local community association Hosier Inc maintains that "Fundamentally the development proposal in its current form will adversely affect the social & organic processes developing in the precinct."...
The New Opera House (Tivoli Theatre) shortly after its opening in 1901. Original raw photograph from The State Library of Victoria, restored by me.

The Titillating Tivoli Theatre

249 Bourke Street. 1901 William Pitt. Before the Tivoli Theatre was built, the site it stood on what was home to a business consisting of a timber yard and stables in the mid 19 th Century. In the 1860's the Australian and New York Letting and Livery Stables replaced the older business and interestingly the business also included a hall on the upper level. During 1866 the hall was known as The Varieties and then later as the Opera Comique; the...

Get Court Up! Australian Open 2014 and expansion plans beyond

It's that time of year again when the Grand Slam of the Asia-Pacific region rolls into town bringing with it hot weather, tourists and the world's best players to the blue Plexicushion hard courts of Melbourne Park. The city is abuzz as it's engulfed by a carnival-like atmosphere whilst work places are full of bleary eyed employees who were up until the early hours of the day watching their heroes battle it out. The slogan for this year's...

Casey Cultural Precinct comes up with the goods

I didn't expect to be writing about a momentous project in the municipality I spent my Secondary School days and most weekends, however this is most certainly warranted. I must admit I was pleasantly surprised when perusing our forum and in particular a thread created by Urban Melbourne member Fedsquared featuring the new Casey Cultural Precinct . After a 6 month design competition with finalists including Ashton Raggatt McDougall, DCM and John...

Melbourne takes the next step to a 24-hour city

As an avid observer and participant of all the great activities and experiences Melbourne has to offer, it has been quite astonishing to see the amount of new hospitality outlets appearing all over the CBD and inner city. This increase can be attributed to a number of different factors but in my opinion, I believe that the main factor has been the prolonged and continuous policy implementation from the City of Melbourne and the Victorian...

Could Australia build a New York Highline?

The celebrated New York Highline is one of the world’s urban redesign success stories. Formerly an abandoned railway, it is now an elevated park running past, over and through the buildings of Manhattan. Robert Hammond , co-founder and Executive Director of “Friends of the Highline”, was in Melbourne for Melbourne Knowledge Week telling the story of the project. But it’s not just the Highline. Around the world urban transport provides opportunities to revitalise cities, and Australia can learn from this too.
One penny token, minted in 1862. Issued by Fenwick Brothers, Importers & Clothiers. It features Observatory House and the Flagstaff in Flagstaff Gardens.

Melbourne Traders Tokens - History in your palm

Melbourne in the late 1840s through to the 1860s was affected by a coinage crisis. The crisis mainly related to a shortage of small change in circulation. At this time, British coinage was in use, however not enough coins were being supplied for Melbourne’s booming population and economy. Out of necessity, savvy entrepreneurial businesses of the day began issuing trade tokens. These tokens, which were mainly made of copper, were most often the...

Thought into Form and why it should MADA

'Thought into Form' , Monash Art Design & Architecture 's (MADA) inaugural publication was this week launched by Dean, Shane Murray. The publication showcases the work of the faculty's staff and students, giving an insight into the processes and methodology of art, design and architectural learning at an undergraduate level and providing ' the starting point for discourse about how the multidisciplinary will help shape and inform our future...

Is Offspring the tipping point for Australian television drama?

One of the great by-products of Television dramas like Offspring being filmed in areas which ooze urbanity is it provides mainstream Australia with a looking glass - no matter how outrageous story lines can get - into what single and family life can be like in urban areas. Offspring differs somewhat from previous productions which John Edwards has worked on like The Secret Life of Us in that there is no beachy backdrop, no sole focus on the...

Former Royal Melbourne Mint - A rich history

280-318 William Street (south east-corner of William and Latrobe Streets) 1871-1872 John James Clarke Commenced in 1871 and completed in 1872, on the site of the first Melbourne Exhibition Building, the former Royal Mint is considered one of the finest renaissance revival buildings in Australia. Design work by JJ Clarke of the administration building, which remains today, began in 1869 when Victoria was given permission by the Royal British Mint...


Development & Planning

Friday, March 16, 2018 - 00:00
As reported in The Age late last month speculation is growing that developer Cbus Property is leading the charge to acquire a combined development site at 140-150 Queen Street and 27 McKillop Street. This would follow what would appear to be a pre-emptive purchase of a neighbouring site at 423 Bourke Street, which an 11-storey office block currently occupies.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Sunday, March 11, 2018 - 13:00
The Victorian Government has announced it will ban the use of aluminium cladding panels that have a polyethylene core of more than 30% and expanded polystyrene will also be banned on buildings with 3 or more levels. The changes were announced by the Planning Minister, Richard Wynne, on Saturday morning along with new guidelines for building surveyors.

Visual Melbourne

Monday, February 5, 2018 - 12:00
The various spaces and elements which combine to form RMIT's New Academic Street (NAS) have progressively begun to open to students and visitors alike. I was recently fortunate enough to be part of an informal group tour through the completed spaces within NAS, led by Harrison and White which had a hand in the project.

Transport & Design

Friday, March 16, 2018 - 17:00
Comment There's much to admire about Rodney Maddock's advocacy piece in The Conversation - ' Our growing big cities need new centres of employment - here's Melbourne's chance ' - the three projects he advocates for have been in the public domain for quite a while now.

Sustainability & Environment