Monday, May 22, 2023

Kabbera Central, Kelso, NSW

Look at it here. 

Kelso is essentially a suburb adjoining the regional city of Bathurst but it has an identity greater than mere adjacent suburb - apparently the town known as Bathurst was initially established in the area now known as Kelso (confused? It's not that important for our purposes here). It seems to me (from sketchy newspaper research) that this part of Kelso dates from the early 1980s; you can see that there are a few other internal reserves near the circular one photographed below, unfortunately it was such a fleeting visit there was really no time to visit them all. Shame, because I don't know when I'll be passing through that part of the world again. 

What is most fascinating to me is that some of the houses give every impression of facing directly into the reserve and having no street frontage at all - not even car parking space. 

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Reserve within Barry Ave, Leonard St, Hector St, Cleary Ave Mildura, Victoria

Classic space with no signage, not even recognised on google maps as a public space. I happened on it completely by accident. As you can see, perfectly serviceable but no investment other than cutting the grass. See it on google maps here.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Miranda Place Playground, Melba, A.C.T.

This is a beautiful, very hidden reserve on a slope with some play equipment (see it on google maps here). Not much more to say but without wishing to sound awfully twee, the awfully twee review on the google maps page for this park that suggests its 'trees and bushy gardens' make it feel 'like it has fairies hiding nearby' has got it pretty right. 

Above - the entrance from Wallace Place. A classic internal reserve entryway, you don't really know (unless you have a map/local knowledge) what you are walking into, until you do it. 

Above - the entrance into Miranda Place. 

Melba, the suburb, dates from 1972; it's technically part of Belconnen. 

Thursday, February 10, 2022

L. Sonck, unrealised plan for Töölöö, Helsinki, 1898

This reproduction of Lars Sonck's second prize-winning entry for Töölöö appears on page 373 of Helen Porfyriou's 1990 thesis Scandinavian town planning from 1900 to 1930 and the contribution of Camillo Sitte. A less clear representation of the same plan which however covers more of its area appears on p. 130 of Lars Sonck: 1870-1956, architect published by the Museum of Finnish Architecture possibly in 1982 (the layout is very complicated). This is the part of the plan I'm interested in of course:

I gather Sonck was somewhat beholden to the ideas of Camillo Sitte, at least for a while, and he justified his plan on that basis. These two blocks clearly contain something within them, the left block probably has a church or some kind of statue, the right one seems to be just a dog-leg pathway with perhaps what was later called by Patrick Geddes a 'street room'. You'll see in the first picture there is something similar to the south of the left block. 

Thursday, January 6, 2022


'The first garden city experiment in Finland was Eliel Saarinen's Munkaniemi-Haaga plan of 1915, but it was so much ahead of its time the owner of the estate did not dare to carry it out'. Leo Aario, 'The original garden cities in Britain and the garden city ideal in Finland.' Fennia 154, 1986 pp. 157-209 (p. 157)

The image below (original here) is a 2017 visualisation of the plan. Apparently the buildings 'are imaginary, but the street lines follow Huopalahdentie and Munkkiniemi park road.'

I can't tell what, if anything, in this plan constitutes an internal reserve but I suspect that the majority of the plan is apartment blocks (with interior courtyards) and some low-rise housing at the bottom and a lot more at the top, with a few genuine internal reserves dotted throughout. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

connaught, calgary

Thomas Mawson's plan for the Calgary suburb of Connaught, 1913. Janet Waymark says: 'A working mens’ settlement for Calgary called Connaught was built on English Garden City lines, with winding roads, allotments and parks.' Waymark, ‘Civic Art and Thomas Mawson’ Landscapes (2009) 2 pp. 61-82

Monday, November 22, 2021

Camberwell Racecourse, Grand Stand and Grounds, c. 1886

Thank you to Malcolm Spence for posting this on the 'The Lost History Of Melbourne/Victoria & Its Pioneers' facebook group. This ingenious and economic idea for a racecourse in the suburb known then and now as Hartwell combines street-frontage housing and large enclosed open block with a multitude of uses. I cannot imagine anybody jumping at the chance to own a 'villa' backing on to a space wherein huge numbers of people (not to mention sheep, cattle, and horses) regularly congregated but I guess standards were different then (or not, since it seems pretty likely the villa lots were never sold in this configuration). Mr. Spence cites this as 'Map of Camberwell Racecourse. C.1880-90. (Map by Battan and Percy Ltd- Source SLV)'. The Camberwell Racing Club's first meeting was held on 29 May 1886 and there seems to have been some dissatisfaction expressed (at least by the Age) on the lack of comfortable amenities for patrons (see Melbourne Age 31 May 1886 p. 5). The prospectus was advertised on 4 November 1886, as per the short item in the Melbourne Age for this day:

Assuming the Club only ever operated one course, I find the 'convenient proximity to town' slightly contentious: 13 km is not a hop skip and a jump although punters could of course take a train to Camberwell and walk a mere three and a half of those km. The Outer Circle Railway, prominent in the plan above but clearly labelled 'proposed', did not open till 1891. Chris McConville's Camberwell Conservation Study (get it here) describes this as the Bowen Estate and gives a slight description of the attractive views available from the site (which would presumably more or less disappear once the villas were built). 

The surveyor credited, Bryson, was also an architect judging from items available in the State Library of Victoria. Whoever he was, he apparently had no qualms about producing a remarkably deceptive map of the area suggesting very falsely (unless you had the eagle eye to spot the tell-tale broken line in 'Hollis St') that Burke Road was a lot closer to Bowen St than 900 m. 

Who was involved in this project? C. F. C. Taylor, M.L.A. was a very active figure in the area in the 1880s. His day job was as a lawyer, but he was also chair of the Victorian Rowing Association (Melbourne Age 14 August 1883 p.6) and secretary of the Riversdale-Road Omnibus Company (Melbourne Age 20 October 1884 p. 2). Of the other men involved not much can be gleaned and they're probably not important to this story except by dint of their being swept up in this scheme which was almost certainly ill-fated in terms of a racecourse but possibly did alright in the long run when the whole site was made available for housing, if they were able to hold onto it during the 1890s depression. By 1913 there was an aerated water manufacturer called P. G. Dixon & Co (Melbourne Herald 31 July 1913 p. 8) which sold up its Rosslyn St. West Melbourne premises the following year (Melbourne Herald 5 February 1914 p. 5). G. Mayger was involved in some kind of proprietorial fashion with the East Melbourne Bicycle Club (Melbourne Herald 9 January 1891 p. 4). The other names are too common to track. 

Kabbera Central, Kelso, NSW

Look at it here.  Kelso is essentially a suburb adjoining the regional city of Bathurst but it has an identity greater than mere adjacent su...