Sat, 01 May 2004
Richmond Redevelopment // at 23:59
On Wednesday evening there was a large yellow implement parked in the street outside the run-down old house next door to the pub. This morning, no more house. Expensive land values, time to bulldoze and rebuild some shiny new townhouses.
Further up the street towards the market, another of the little old factories fronting onto Bridge road is in the midde of being demolished. Its been empty for months, the chrome-platers have finally moved out, the chromed BMX frame that had hung in the window for years is finally gone. To be replaced by another nondescript three storey business I guess... Or maybe it'll be like the vacant block just along the road, been empty for about three years except for a sign stating that a new office building will be built soon.
All the classic old industrial buildings are being bulldozed, replaced by apartments, or townhouses, or bland industrial façades. All the character is going from the place, brick by brick. People are going to move in for the character, then find the character gone... or they'll do what the residents in River street did — move in across the road from the Royston — a hundred year-old pub that plays live music — then campaign to get the music shut down!
Across the road and further on, another café looks set to open soon. They seem to come and go like mushrooms along here, probably too many to all be successful, but everybody wants to get in on the action. I can't remember what was there before, a business closes and clears out, the premises stays vacant for weeks or months, a new one moves in and we can't remember who was there last.
In Bridge road cafés, Kojo Brown's is currently high on the favourites list so we headed there for breakfast. Apart from initially managing to forget the bacon in the bacon and eggs, all was magnificent! On a fine day, the inside seats facing out onto the street are a great place to contemplate life as it passes by — today, they provided a view of a grey, dismal street, scoured by flurries of wind and icy rain.
During the afternoon I went out for a walk around the suburb; wondering what else had been bulldozed or built since my last perusal! The wind had dropped, the rain had blown away and by the time I reached the river everything was very peaceful. The bike path bridge had been re-opened after several weeks of maintenance so I walked out along it to see what had been done — nothing very much as far as I could tell! The river looked so still that I took a photograph of it, then decided to walk around the riverbank back home, photographing the bridges and whatever else caught my eye...
Down at the riverside on the bike path, the Victoria street bridge and the Bridge road bridge both look impressive from this angle, none of the road and traffic visible, just the structures over the river. Victoria steet is all angular steel and rust-coloured columns, Bridge road stone and timber. The tram-line supports along Bridge road look like intricate industrial sculpture, almost Victorian-era industry.