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Wednesday, 19 March 2014

The Yellow Peril

Over the years I've felt so sorry for the Vault - commonly known as the Yellow Peril. This piece of urban sculpture has had more moves than a dancer on Dancing with the Stars! I have always liked it. I think when it first arrived at the previous city square (corner Collins and Swanston Streets) it was so different to a statue of Queen Victoria or a soldier on horseback that many citizens just couldn't accept it and move with the times. I thought it sat rather proudly in that open space (pre Federation Square) but I think I was one of the few!
The original City Square - were all these people protesting against The Yellow Peril?! (walkingmelbourne.com)
And I have to say I also felt so sorry for the sculptor - Ron Robertson-Swann. The outrage, letters to the editor and public discussions on this work must have been 'difficult' for him - a man ahead of his time. It was commissioned by the Melbourne City Council in 1978 costing what was then considered the outrageous sum of $70,000. It was installed in May 1980 and removed by the end of that same year! And to add further insult it was moved from City Square without advising him. Just imagine putting all that work into a piece only to have the-powers-that-be schlep it around the city until they found a resting place down at Batman Park (near the corner of Spencer and Flinders Streets). It remained there in relative obscurity - except for the passing traffic, graffiti artists and those walking to the Casino - until it was finally moved and restored to its current resting place. And a mighty fine location it now has - well in my opinion!
In grassy Batman Park - en route to its next resting place (the age)
If you are heading to either the marvellous Malthouse Theatre to see a play, or to ACCA (Australian Centre for Contemporary Art) in Sturt Street, Southbank then go and give it pat and a welcome. It now has space around it and in my opinion 'sits proud'. 
At 'home' at last - with 'rusty' ACCA and the 'sculptural' exhaust tower from the freeway tunnel
The juxtaposition next to the rusty steel facade of ACCA which pays reference to the former warehouses, foundries and sheds on the site, the ACCA building is itself a sculpture in which to show art. And right next to it is the old Coopers Malthouse which was built in 1892 as a brewery and malting works. 
Looking towards the current Victoria Police Mounted Branch horse stables
The Malthouse building was donated by Carlton and United Breweries in 1990 to be used for the creation and presentation of contemporary Australian theatre.
The marvellous Malthouse Theatre complex - stop in for a coffee, a drink or even a play!
I guess you could say that the Vault has now been vaulted into position! It's an interesting corner of the world and one that's worth a visit.

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