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Abandoned Melbourne

abandoned melbourne building shot in black and white - melbourne photo of the day

Abandoned Melbourne buildings have been an accidental draw card over the past few years. It started with watching the masses of construction in the paddocks just past the edge of our suburb as the sprawl of Melbourne thickens quickly. Clean, white & grey rows upon rows of tiny housing units were almost instantly appearing and my joyous frolics through the fields were coming to an end. Amidst the construction, in a field all on its own, stood, middle finger pointed sky high, an old relic from years past. Often with puppy in tow, I explored that property as often as time would allow but the imposing screams of drills and nail guns grew too much and my old favourite was torn down and the earth flattened. 

abandoned melbourne - after its all gone

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Probably a hundred kangaroos fled the scene upon my arrival. My noisey knees and clicky ankles no doubt spooked them and had them scattering into the distant covering of trees. 

Crouching, not quite on all fours but a slight misstep threatened to have me in the unsavoury dirt below, I edged  towards the rear of a newly discovered abandoned Melbourne building. The weight of the reclaiming nature was crushing the shade extending out from the back veranda and the build up of dirt, brought in by the rogue roos, reduced the head room between myself and the abandon’s entrance.

Inside abandoned buildings

Inside was dark; really dark. From the back dirt and roo-poo covered veranda, I stepped into the kitchen. Almost all of the light was obstructed and adjusting my eyes to the darkness seemed near impossible. Already uneasy and fearing falling through the creaking boards beneath my tiptoe steps, I gently made my way through towards the closed door beside the crumbling brick fireplace. The treacherous walk had me stumble as I stretched a larger than normal step across an even darker void in the floor that will come up later in my story today.

I’m certainly not an expert in clambering through abandoned buildings but I have often put myself in riskier places or positions for photographs. I live by the rule, “leave only foot prints, take only photographs” and ensuring I’m being respectful and considerate is of the utmost importance. But this place had me on edge although I couldn’t figure out exactly why.

Every step attached itself to a question; am I going through the floor? But once through the kitchen and into the main living room, excitement took over and I almost forgot, or more, disregarded my concerns. Discarded couches and lounge suites were scattered throughout every room. The main lounge room had at least four couches in various positions but one arm chair sat by the window bay almost as if in its original location. It was the ideal spot for that crisp morning light to flow in and drape upon their gaze.

What was that?

You know when you just feel a photograph is the one? This was that photograph. The arm chair facing the window with destruction all around set the tone perfectly. While I’m sure the building had long ago been abandoned, the absence of mass graffiti was beautiful. Feeling content with my search and finds, I turned back and headed towards my exit. Back in the kitchen, a bathroom door had opened and light poured in. The classic porcelain sink, top skewed by age, sat perfectly under the window light and I found an angle to photograph the scene.

Aware of the scattered bricks, decaying cabinets and ancient bowls and plates, I glanced down to check what I was standing on. There, illuminated by the light now coming in from the bathroom, was a kangaroo paw. Stiff, curled and long deceased. This, I discovered shortly thereafter, was the black void I stepped over earlier and went a long way to explaining the stench I carved through when I first entered the building.

Please take care

Life is full of adventures. I don’t tell this story to boast about being somewhere that I arguably shouldn’t be. Instead I feel compelled to document and share the beauty I see in the world. I look at the cracks, holes and decay with great awe. It is a great inspiration. The photos you see here wrenched the words right out of me, relentlessly drawing me back in to re-experience what I felt and write it all down. I look at the cover photo frequently and find myself lost in wonder about who could have sat in that chair. I do not feel these words bubble up when I photograph the crisp new apartment buildings being thrown up in the expanding ‘burbs. There’s no inspiration there for me. I like the imperfections, the age, every crack and crease has a story full of awe and wonder. I suppose much like in my favourite portraits where every wrinkle is a story. That’s what I’m drawn to.

I am certainly not suggesting you go in search of abandoned Melbourne, but if you do, be careful, considerate & respectful. Take only photographs, leave only footprints.

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