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crowecg

Flinders & Spencer, Melbourne

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Following Alan's challenge to recreate a historic view of Melbourne, I started searching the State Library's online photo archive to find a slightly easier one than blagging my way onto the roof of Victoria Barracks.  This one caught my eye, as I walk through this scene each day when I walk back to the station from my office.

 

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The library catalogue suggests a date of 1870-1880 and looking at the smoke from the chimney of the Sir Charles Hotham Hotel, there must have been a fair breeze blowing that day.  Unfortunately, it didn't turn out quite so easy.  Whilst I reckon I could find the spot where the photo was taken from, the current view isn't quite as attractive....

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I did try a shot from in the other side of the bridge, but didn't have a wide enough lens and have had to put together a bit of a panorama instead.

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city 

 

But then a bit more library searching came up with this image...

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This is probably right in the middle of the intersection, but nearer in terms of angle to what I can access today.  The library catalogue dates this between 1910 and 1914.  The tram route now comes straight along out of the picture, but if I keep an eye on the traffic lights and take the wider lens with me, I might just get something close to this second image.

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Very interesting project. I might give this a go myself for my hometown.

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10 hours ago, Dallas said:

Very interesting project. I might give this a go myself for my hometown.

Perhaps this could be a challenge everyone could try - your hometown 100 years ago and now.

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I've been repeating a Frederick Frith panorama of Hobart taken c.1856-8 each decade since moving here, starting in 1997, then 2007 and again in 2017, although I doubt I'll get the 2027 version - for one thing getting over the 2.5 metre-high fence they've put at the cliff edge now taxed me enough aged 64, it may not be so easy at 74. The foreground vegetation is also starting to obscure the view, and the exact spot Frith set up his camera is not obtainable now owing to a dense bush (extreme right of last photo) having grown up blocking the spot altogether. You can see how far that pushed me off the mark by the gap now between the chimney at mid-left and the building behind it.

 

Originally I ascertained the correct angle by matching where the left corner of the right-rear wall of the Engineer's Building (foreground, middle-left) intersected the window panes of the window in the wall behind. That's the good thing about a slow growing city like Hobart - there are a lot of buildings still standing that were there in 1857 (not that this is old in European terms, but bear in mind the Hobart area was first inhabited by Europeans in 1803). That reference is all-but obliterated now by trees growing in the foreground, and the whole lot may be obscured by 2027 with the old rail yards in the foreground destined for a major redevelopment which will involve low-rise buildings no taller than 45m, but which will still easily block the entire front left of shot to a far greater extent than the cement silo that was there in 1997 and 2007.

 

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It looks like there's been a bit of land reclamation on the left side of the panos, Alan. They've done quite a lot of that in Durban's harbour in my lifetime, most recently to build car storage lots. The amount of vehicles passing through our harbour on RO-RO ships is quite amazing. 

 

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2 hours ago, Dallas said:

It looks like there's been a bit of land reclamation on the left side of the panos, Alan. They've done quite a lot of that in Durban's harbour in my lifetime, most recently to build car storage lots. The amount of vehicles passing through our harbour on RO-RO ships is quite amazing. 

 

 

Indeed - the whole dock area at left was created on reclaimed land. The excavation works in the foreground of the original photo were to do with moving the Hobart Rivulet from its natural outfall on the far side of that three storey warehouse just to the left behind the Engineer's building through a newly built arched brick tunnel that has been covered over in the foreground, to direct the water flow out to the left edge of the photo (and which later became the rail yards) to enable this land reclamation, and where the rivulet still exits to this day.

 

The port these days is mainly busy with cruise ships; Britain used to be the main customer for Tasmanian apples in particular which were loaded at what was once a hectic export wharf, but with the start of the EEC the trade died and the port literally became a backwater until the rise of the cruise ship industry. Maybe a final Brexit will see a bit of a turnaround in Tasmania's agricultural fortunes, although it must be said that Japan and now China have caused a boom in air-freighted exports of cherries from thousands of acres of new cherry orchards in the state, which might make repopulating the old apple orchards moot, no matter what the demand from Britain might develop into.

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The Brexit hysteria amuses me no end. I listen to the Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2 most days I am in the office and the amount of pointless arguing over the minutia of things that are not really understood by most is mind boggling. Anyway, I am sure the UK will overcome the adversity and hopefully become a unified country again whatever they decide to do. 

 

Interestingly most of the Durban CBD is actually built on reclaimed land. Originally the Umgeni river used to empty into the bay but since the establishment of the city the estuary has shifted somewhat. I used to work across the road from the Kingsmead Cricket Ground and when they were building the International Conference Centre on the other side of our building they were constantly pumping out water during the pile driving. There's an old cricketer's story about how the water table will affect the swing of the ball depending on the tides. Nobody has been able to prove that though. :) 

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