journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by S Thorne
This paper investigates a peripheral space within the city of Melbourne which until the 21st century escaped the jurisdiction of any Melbourne Authority. Although geographically situated at the confluence of the Maribyrnong and Yarra Rivers, and bordered by the main road to the West and the Railroad; neither the Railways, the Harbour Trust, the MMBW, the City Council, nor the Crown Lands Dept. had responsibility for this land. Unfolding the repressed history of this space from the early days of white settlement, when the Aboriginal population were shunted to this unwanted swampland, the paper examines the processes of change at work on this site over the past two centuries, as it has evolved from the periphery to the front line of the new docklands precinct. From tip site to shantytown during the Depression, to wasteland, and now in the 21st century, to invaluable real estate, the historical and contemporary sense of Dudley Flats alters, as its identity swings from the otherness of destitution to the otherness of elitism. As a landscape haunted by displacement, loss and waste, the everyday lives of the women who inhabited this site during the Depression are taken up in my art practice. Themes of ‘making do' ‘getting by' scrounging and scavenging as Aussie traditions that flourished on this site are examined in light of my own creative process.