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Imagining a greener Fishermans Bend

Participants at the City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest Breakfast got right into imagining Fishermans Bend as a place to work with, rather than against, nature. Ideas came thick and fast.

  • Trams running down permeable grassed corridors
  • Canopy trees shading the bitumen
  • Lorimer St planted in a boulevard style leading people on foot and by bike to explore the bend right through to the Bay
  • Bringing water back into the hard, impervious landscapes that characterise much of Fishermans Bend using rain gardens
  • Tree lined routes to Westgate Park and the bay beyond

The workshop gave a sense of the possibility that Fishermans Bend could be transformed into a beautiful living landscape, rather than the unloved and unlovely place it has been.

Back to earth

The next day, I rode through Montague – quiet and stark on a Sunday morning, a place in waiting. I stopped to take a photograph of this building in Gladstone St soon likely to make way for development.

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I have a strange fondness for these buildings that no one will mourn.  Jessie Deane, textile artist, gets this. She has documented the west – her place – in needlepoint.

She says of her work  – (do take a look)

“it captures, in thread, the richness I find in the decaying urban facades and streetscapes of Melbourne’s west. Stitch-by-stitch, in vibrant colour, I recreate these abandoned, fading or forgotten structures that are for me, objects of beauty.”

The Westgate Freeway and Montague interchange obscure the connection that Montague used to have with the River. This once sodden section of Gladstone St was the site of a housing improvement scheme in the late 1930s.  ‘Ancient abodes’ were demolished to create modern homes within walking distance of the employment offered in the industries opening up in Fishermans Bend nearby. Some of those remain.

Outside this ordinary building, a pincushion hakea was blooming. Bees were feasting. Perhaps Montague is not such a desert for urban nature after all.

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These small but delightful trees are opposite the massive development site at 6 to 78 Buckhurst St, reported in the Age to have changed hands for $42m.

The site has a planning permit approved by the previous planning minister for 4 buildings over 30 levels.

More

Jessie Deane Needlepoint West 

Urban Melbourne 6-78 Buckhurst St 

City of Melbourne Urban Forest Precinct Plan

 

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