Many of my street photography images made in the inner city lane ways of Melbourne have stories behind them. They may be my stories of an afternoon walk, or those of the people I photograph. I rarely tell them.
The image above is of the bluestone cobbled lane way behind some university buildings at the northern end of the city. I’ve never walked this way before yesterday, as it’s little used and probably just a lane way used as a shortcut to the back of some lecture halls or warehouse area. I can’t help but wonder about its history? Did horses and carts travel down its rough surface delivering goods in the early settlement of Melbourne in the 1830s (because it’s certainly very old, as is the bluestone cobbled lane behind my apartment building where I live in an inner city suburb).
Melbourne’s early buildings are mainly built of Bluestone quarried in nearby areas of the first settlement. Sydney’s early buildings are mainly of Sandstone (so are those in Hobart, the capital of the island state of Tasmania off the southern coast of Victoria).
I walked through this area yesterday in search of some new Street Art and I certainly found lots to admire.
But about 5 feet to the right of the first street art image (above) I spied a couple of chain wire gates some 2 1/2 to 3 foot high. I initially assumed they were the entrance to a cellar or underground access to utility pipes. The two shirts hanging over the gates gave me more food for thought. And then…….my senses were shocked to see what looked like food, a drink bottle(?) and an old transistor radio in the darker area below the white shirt (not visible in the photo below, but I can assure you they were faintly visible to my eyes). Behind the right hand gate was what looked like rough bedding.
Was this a night-time shelter for a homeless person? Were the shirts draped over the gates to block out the street lights at night?
Was this someone’s home? I have often seen homeless people begging in the inner streets of Melbourne (or quietly drinking with mates in dark corners of city lanes). Although I often wondered, I’d only actually seen bedding a couple of times before.
Did a homeless person live in this dark hole? Somehow, this thought seemed all the more shocking than seeing a beggar on the streets. The thought of someone crawling into this dark, dank, dusty, freezing hole in winter sent shivers down my spine and brought tears to my eyes. Melbourne is ablaze with enormous cranes and construction of new high-rise inner city offices and apartment blocks at the moment, but who spares a thought for these hungry souls who have no shelter in the worst winter storms and early morning freezing temperatures. Who gives a thought for some of these homeless forced to live like scavenging rats in Melbourne’s back lanes. How can the Developers and Governments of our current times spend millions of dollars on modern skyscrapers and refurbishing luxurious office accommodation?
Who helps the Helpless.
I really don’t understand modern society. There are certainly many philanthropists among Australia’s Rich & Famous. There are certainly many charities and volunteers who give freely of their time to the needy. The Australian Bureau of Statistics gives some figures from 2011 here
……and some more images from my archives (these images have been posted before on my old PhotoBlog).