This month, we are delighted to be re-releasing Robyn Annear's much loved histories of Melbourne, Bearbrass: Imagining Early Melbourne and A City Lost and Found: Whelan the Wrecker's Melbourne. We gave Robyn the difficult task of choosing her five favourite places in Melbourne:
Monument to indignation
A pillar of Stawell sandstone stands in the lee of the Exhibition Building, placed there c. 1880 at the insistence of John Woods, MP, “to express his indignation at the choice of New South Wales stone for Parliament House & to show the enduring qualities of the local stone”.
|Photo from The Tumbrel Diaries|
Laneway behind the Hotel Windsor where you can see in the hotel’s rear wall (at the Bourke Street end), bricks from the demolished Eastern Market used in constructing the hotel extension in 1960. (But be quick – this wall too is soon due for demolition.)
Climbing the steps feels grand; inside, the parliamentary chambers are surprisingly bijou.
Ghost Ship of Wills Street
Mid-to late morning, depending on the season, plant yourself in La Trobe Street downhill from William and cast your gaze up and northwards. You just might see a ghost ship high on a west-facing wall in Wills Street, its uncanny square-rigged sails formed by reflected sunlight from windows in the building opposite. (Flagstaff Hill, adjacent, was in former times the city’s vantage point for shipping. Nowadays, for a comparable nautical thrill, you have to turn your back on the Bay.)
Slice of the city
Little William Street runs between Bourke and Little Bourke, the dome of the Supreme Court library floating above one end. Lanes like this one convey a sense of the topography that underlies the city. The narrower the aperture, the better for reading the tilt of the land.
Bearbrass and A City Lost and Found are now available in print and electronic editions.