This week we are off on a class excursion to Leederville for site visit. I’m looking forward to this because after last week’s class, I’d pretty much made up my mind to accept Oxford Street as my challenge. Mostly because of the Christmas theme which I’m a sucker for. And what I have in mind is pretty big to do solo too.
The slideshow gives only a small snap shot of Leedy but when I took a step back and REALLY looked, it hasn’t change much since I’d started clubbing and I’m no spring chicken! The hub is around Newcastle to Vincent Street which doesn’t leave the rest of Oxford Street a chance to thrive. The place has that Melbournian atmosphere but is a long shot from achieving that and frankly, I’d rather be seen at Beaufort Street than Leederville. Harsh but to sum up what’s not right about Leederville is its lack of identity. Had I not taken on board this project, I wouldn’t delve into its cultural heritage.
It was only in the 1990s (fairly recent) that the businesses in this cafe strip had a facelift. Did anyone know that the Leederville Hotel was previously Swan Brewing Company Ltd? (Town of Vincent Local Studies, 2005) That, Lake Monger on the Eastern bank was a rubbish tip until 1965? (Town of Vincent Local Studies, 2005)
I don’t understand why some of the history was not informed to the public in a relevant artwork. I understand this history can be applied to any suburb but it’s a tourist attraction. Beyonce has obviously heard about Leederville cause she came, she saw and conquer the shopping!
So what’s wrong with Leederville?
- Identity. The shop fronts need a facelift and fit in with the cosmopolitan look. No offense to Subway but does it belong there or at least change the store’s exterior.
- Why is there a fenced off car park perfect for the undesirables to deal drugs?
- The landscape. Not enough trees consistently planted in ALL the islands of Oxford Street. Is it ok for only the hub to have nice shading but not the islands towards Bourke Street? There should be more native greenery planted with the trees.
- General maintenance. Stickers on poles that are layered with more stickers.
- Quite a few alleyways that aren’t utilised. Public art would be ideal.
- Brick paving….. could break up the monotonous red bricks with public art/touch points?
- Something for the kiddies other than the non-existent park or build a cafe around the park since mothers LOVE an excuse to take the little ones for baby cinos.
Ok, I know I’m bagging this place out but really all it needs a busy bee landscape cleanup first and it would be good as gold! Leederville is still a place to eat and club but it’s also a place to have a coffee and people watch (NOT in a creepy or stalker way) and to sustain this cosmopolitan look it needs to take a note from the French – nonchalant. A couple of places have hit the mark such The Garden, Green & Co. and San Churros – not because of my love for chocolate and coffee but the relax atmosphere and the right to lick the chocolate cleanly from the bowls without judgement!
Hope to see you for the next blog.
A Brief History of the Suburb Leederville. (2005). Retrieved from the Town of Vincent Local Studies web site: http://www.vincentheritage.com.au/pdf/leederville2.pdf
The Food Pornographer. (2011, February 28). Chocolateria San Churros, Leederville. Retrieved from http://www.thefoodpornographer.com/2011/02/28/chocolateria-san-churro-leederville/