architecture, landscape, Melbourne

walking in Sunshine, Melbourne

June 13, 2018

When I was in Melbourne for a photoshoot about  old industrial Melbourne  for an upcoming SALA exhibition at Atkins Photo Lab with Stuart Murdoch we spent  a part  of Sunday  afternoon walking along Kororoit Creek in Sunshine, which is  in Melbourne’s west.  It was a pleasant afternoon walking  for a couple of hours along  the creek from Stuart’s place,  even though I was suffering from a painful  back that I’d  damaged just prior to leaving Adelaide for Melbourne.

The creek  features in Stuart’s Sunshine project–which is about place, lived experience and memory.  Some of his photos made along the  Kororoit  Creek Trail  had been  included a recent exhibition he had in 2018.   It was interesting walking with a fellow photographer in their own territory.

Kororoit Creek, Sunshine

Though   Sunshine is generally regarded as one of the forgotten suburbs of Melbourne’s west, I find it to be a fascinating place, both photographically and sociologically.  It is a low-density residential suburb  that is close to Melboune’s  CBD by rail; the Vietnamese  migrants are  rapidly changing this suburb  from its old industrial and white  working class base; it still  has plenty of industrial sites;  it is earmarked for redevelopment;  and there are some well cared for public commons. It is a photographically rich suburb to walk around in. Stuart’s Sunshine project is a making sense of this place that is his home.  

I was a tourist walking around Sunshine–a stranger being shown around by an expert  guide as it were.   It was not my place or home.  As a tourist I  was attracted to  the wooden houses along  Chapman St, which is the street  Stuart lives in. They reminded me of the family house in Christchurch New Zealand that I grew up in. Small, cold  houses on big blocks that now have a heritage  quality to them because of their historical significance:

3 Chapman St, Sunshine

What was interesting was that my  photos are snaps  along Humean lines—the mind as  a bundle of perceptions. They are  like the frames of a film without a narrative.   Stuart’s photos arose from both his active and embodied involvement in his world and his interpretative orientations. So in the forefront of his photography  is his  experiential interpretations of the diverse cultural meanings associated with the history of the western suburbs of Melbourne where  he has lived for several decades.

I was able to connect: the wooden houses, the connecting the old Sunshine harvesters in the Mallee’s pioneer museums from my involvement in  photographing the  Mallee to H. V. McKay’s  manufacturing plant the  Sunshine Harvester Works; an industrial Australia, car based travel  after WW2 and the western industrial suburbs of the capital cities.

Sunshine Station, Melbourne

What I didn’t know was the history of Sunshine as a garden city,  a company town and a model industry-centred community in the early 20th century.

 

 

 

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