Estate

Rows of terraces cut into well kept estates once fertile grounds set aside for cultivation, a puritanical manifestation of wealth set high on the hill, two stories in stature with views across the paddocks permeated with gums, she-oaks, tea tree and native grasses; an early subdivision south of the river, itself yet to be set on a new course. The bluestone foundations planted firm in place along the sloping fields of the allocated grassland running north downhill to the marshy flats of the Yarra Yarra. Hidden beneath these foundations in this southern implementation of Hampstead, a garden suburb built on rich soil lies lost futures of the agricultural landscape passed down only in the topography and notes in archived documents considered artefacts of historical importance, minuscule remnants reminding of the old estates of Mason, Anderson and Payne.

Across the way trees and plantings of other further off lands spring from the ground, laid out in semi formal placement. The public gardens of a botanical wonderland takes place on the scrubland grasped from under the Wurundjeri people, the sculpted landscape now laid out with the estate’s of wealthy bankers and well to do merchants. Names of roads a reminder of home, names reminiscent of old London Town sit in familiarity complemented by later editions to this grid of eclecticism named after those early pastoralists time seems to have forgot. The white washed bricks and beige multi level Victorian era facades sliced between by Georgian revival boxes partially stripped bare for the modern convention of minimalism, the outfacing bricks are all that have seen the saplings flourish into trees. Timber shutters drawn semi closed with the odd curtain pulled aside allowing a peak within of white walls and teak furnishings. A houseplant basking in the morning sun, dappled by the Ficus Elastica reaching over the path from the limited space of the front yard, the undercroft a delicate bed of verbena stricta and yarrow popping within a vivacious blanket of green. 

Laneways and rights of way paved with bluestone, the remnant hauntology once the thoroughfare of milkman and garbage collectors now conceal modernist blockwork and the triangulation of perforated steel, a mark of the modern time reaching for the sky showing no hesitation for how it wishes to be addressed yet firmly disassociated from the street, vying for space in an otherwise period English landscape. The coveted feeling of home a world away from the country of which it’s derived, placed with undefined consent of the land itself and thrust into a future that shouldn’t have been, a future which is now also a remainder of the past.

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Matt.

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