Spring has sprung

Spring has sprung
Roses at the Cottage

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The Keith Haring Mural

Sometimes I think I travel around this wonderful city with my eyes closed! I know many of you wouldn't agree but let me explain. I first saw the work of the late New York street artist Keith Haring (1958-1990) at an exhibition at the now Australian Centre of Contemporary Art (ACCA) way back in 1984 - probably before some of you readers were born!
The 'rusty' ACCA building, with the Malthouse Theatre on the right and the Yellow Peril in the background
Whilst in Melbourne he painted a mural on a wall of the old Collingwood Technical School. Over the years much has been written about it falling into decay and sadly being 'tagged' by 'graffiti' artists (who obviously have no respect - or perhaps - knowledge of this street artist icon). I kept promising myself that I would find it and just never got around to it! Until today! And it's not far away!

Look at the size of the television (top left!) The Haring signature 'people'
Finally the State Government and our local council agreed that it should be restored - a mere 30 years after it was completed. Although the mural has lost much of its colour it still retains the spontenaety  that is so well known with all Haring's work. 

You will find The Keith Haring Mural (see background story and Keith painting it here) at 35 Johnston Street, Collingwood (between Wellington and Smith Streets - west of Punt Road. Now I must have passed it 100's of times and although driving must have had my eyes dangerously closed! It now graces the wall of the new home of Circus Oz. It seems the perfect welcome as each of the figures could be doing circus tricks!
The Haring 'people' showing Circus Oz how it is done!
So if you happen to be passing then do stop and enjoy the fact that the mural - although faded - is a rare beast - it's one of only 31 known Haring Murals still in existence. 

Oh and incidentally - if you're wandering along St Kilda Road near Princes Bridge in the Arts Precinct look out for the Wirth's Circus Mosaic. The mosaic was completed in 1998  to celebrate 150 years of circus performances in this city. Perhaps it was one of the inspirations for Circus Oz whose big tent is currently errected at Birrarung Marr near Federation Square. 
The Wirths Circus Mosaic - have you seen it??!!
As the Huffington Post stated "There are few things in this world more smile-inducing than a Keith Haring mural". I've left a book of his work in the Cottage 'library'. Don't miss it - as I have for years!
Smile - you're a Haring
Bowen Cottage client comment: Outstanding property to stay at - very homey feel and great location

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

let's go climbing

Did you know there's a Bouldering Wall in Burnley? Burnley (and Cremorne) are part of the Richmond municipality. Now I could think of nothing I would like to do less than test my strength (!?) climbing up a vertical wall hanging on by my fingernails (it's hard enough to get them to grow as it is) as I launched myself up! It was hard enough on a recent trip to the Kimberley where we needed to climb up cliff faces to swim in rockpools away from the crocodiles - but there was incentive in doing that! But it seems that climbing up walls is a pretty hot thing to do. There is even an inside climbing wall at Clip 'N Climb at 144 Murphy Street, Richmond
This Clip 'N Climb - looks fun - even I think I could do it!
The great thing about the Burnley Bouldering Wall (don't you love the name) is that it's right beside the River Yarra overlooking the marvellous Herring Island (see earlier post here) and underneath the South East (Monash) Freeway with the bike path alongside.
Keep away from the shark! (I think Dad has the best idea!)
The BBW can be accessed from the Yarra walking and cycling Trail - at the river end of either Coppin or Mary Streets. You might even see the rowers passing by.
This looks easier than climbing but...
Right under the freeway - 2nd right is doing the splits, 3rd left is all crossed over!
And as they say on the Hide & Seek website here  "Just remember to tighten your grip when the semi-trailers pass overhead"!!
It has to be good for something - your abs me thinks! (hide & seek)
Are you are wall climber or just someone who 'climbs the wall' when confined to a small space!

Bowen Cottage client comment: Very pleased to be back again

Thursday, 12 June 2014

When is a gate not a gate....

Writing about Richmond gates in an earlier post (see here) I regretted not photographing some rather wonderful black geese gates which had been around as long as I have been in Richmond. One minute they were there and the next they were gone - as the building was demolished for ... yet another apartment block.
The grey goose gates - I'm rather keen about the one that has broken free!
So imagine my delight when I found them again! They have reincarnated into an 'instillation'. Painted a rather boring - but it seems very fashionable - grey you will find them on the corner of Bridge Road and Bosisto Street (between Lennox and Church Streets). I'm thrilled that they have been saved but feel sad that they are now grey and not black. They just don't have the same impact.
Take a gander (!) at the geese close up - you can see the wriggly line down the middle where the gates used to open
In their previous life they graced a rather charming courtyard and were enhanced because you could see through them. They were also a 'feature' of Bridge Road. Still one can't complain. I had feared they had gone to the scrap dealers - so well done to the 'preservers'. 

Bowen Cottage - It seems grey is the new in-colour!
Now talking about a rather boring grey colour I am pleased to say that I have now had the cottage painted grey (!!) with black shutters. The aging green carpet has also been updated to - grey! So who am I to complain about the black geese - whoops - grey geese gates! Not this goose!

The 'grey' (fashionable colour!) module apartments
If you do happen to pop along to see them - then look at the building next to them in Bosisto Street - this mega-apartment block went up in record time. They craned in entire pre-made module floors - exraordinary. Oh and if you are a lego fan then the apartments abut Leggo Place (sorry about the additional g!)

Bowen Cottage client comment: The cottage is looking lovely

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

ye olde corner store

There used to be a corner shop on - well nearly every corner (!) - in Richmond in days gone by. These were the corner (!) stone of the suburb (along with the corner pubs and drinking houses). And then along came the mighty supermarkets and slowly, slowly their numbers dwindled to a handful. The fabric of the suburb changed - and I'm not sure for the better. 
On virtually every corner there was once a shop - I rather like this simple conversion (corner Coppin & Abinger Streets) - now it's a home
Still although many have closed there are still some hanging in and making a difference to our suburb. In fact some are thriving - just as any well run business will I guess. But they have had to move with the times. 

Let's take Lennox Street (Bowen Street runs into it!). Right opposite the T of Bowen and Lennox it is farewell to the corner store that once served the community in the vicinity. And the owners lived behind the shop.  Now it is in the throes of becoming - yes - more townhouses! 
The old corner store just near the Cottage - look what it is probably going to be turned into!
But if we move further along Lennox between Bridge Road and Swan Street we come to 259 Lennox (which housed the original Jacques Reymond restaurant - see earlier post here) is - well not a corner store - but the cleanest 'corner' store I have seen. It's where you can always get bread, milk, papers and more and the owner is always behind the till. 
Mrs Spick and Span (my name for her) where the old Jacques Reymond restaurant began
And then we turn into Rowena Parade. Now this corner store at number 44 is 'hot' and not just with the locals! Of course they have the 'usual' corner store supplies but in order to make it work they also provide a great breakfast and lunch. As the owner says "I can buy Coke cheaper at the supermarket than from Coke" (doesn't that smack of I don't know what. I often see small business owners stocking up at our local Coles with milk, soft drinks and other supplies - and then on-selling back at their business) So to succeed the corner stores have to be creative. And that includes food and enhancement of the neighbourhood and our feeling of belonging. 

Whoops - taken through the window at night - sorry! It's quirky
Rowena Parade store - looking towards the MCG
Another favourite of mine is opposite the old Channel 9 studios in Bendigo Street. The studios are worth a look now that they have been converted to - guess what - apartments and townhouses. They are rather well done. But the corner store (not on the corner!) has done well - both when Channel 9 was there and since - particularly during the conversion with all the tradies - of which there were many. Now that the apartments are completed the locals love it (it's a long way to any of the Richmond supermarkets) so for the milk, eggs, papers and snacks and of course the ubiquitous coffee - it's right on their doorstep.

The Channel Nine studios - now converted to apartments - both in the old building and new constructions
The Bendigo Street 'corner' store right opposite the old Channel Nine studios
So as the Rowena Parade owner said - corner stores can succeed and prosper as long as they are creative. How lucky that there are still some around! And the last word from him "Estate agents tell me it ups the price of nearby houses by about as much as a park: around $50,000. But residents tell me it's invaluable". What a pity the one on the corner of Lennox and Bowen has gone - just think what it would have done to the sale price of Bowen Cottage!!