City Traces

1 Jun

I’ve been going back to plenty of the classic Australian urban histories lately, to oldies-but-goodies such as Shirley Fitzgerald’s Rising Damp, Andrew Brown May’s Melbourne Street Life, Ronald Lawson’s Brisbane in the 1890s, & Graeme Davison’s voluminous back catalogue. It put me in mind to visit Julia Shiels’ Melbourne art-blog City Traces again.

Each of the natty yet poignant treats in the discarded series on this blog sums up what it means to be interested in urban history with a concision that never fails to please:

Some things cast long shadows

the city and its strangers#7 (Elizabeth St, Melbourne)


the city and its strangers#15 (Little Collins Street, Melbourne)

Such is life

the city and its strangers#9 (Tattersalls Lane, Melbourne)

The latest thing

On Punt Road Hill

5 Responses to “City Traces”

  1. Lefty E 8 June 2009 at 5:37 am #

    Ronald Lawson’s “Brisbane in the 1890s”

    Do tell, Dr Bellanta. Any good? If you’re ever wanting to skive off – while appearing to be doing historical research – I can recommend the old photograph collection at John Oxley. Catalogued by suburb!

  2. Melissa Bellanta 11 June 2009 at 9:27 pm #

    ‘Brisbane in the 1890s’ is a dry read, but packed, I mean packed, with useful info. In the 1960s, Lawson also conducted a survey and interviews with 75 Bris residents who had been living in the city in the 1890s – I should write a post on it soon, because it provides such an excellent sense of how and where different social groups lived in the city, the sorts of entertainments they enjoyed, etc. The surveys themselves are in Fryer Library, lucky for me…

  3. Melissa Bellanta 11 June 2009 at 9:28 pm #

    Oh, and thanks for the tip about the photos with suburb listings at John Oxley.

  4. Lefty E 12 June 2009 at 12:07 pm #

    “In the 1960s, Lawson also conducted a survey and interviews with 75 Bris residents who had been living in the city in the 1890s”

    Ok, I’m sold. 🙂 I do hope you’ll post about the surveys.

    You know, when I was writing up around 2000-1, John Lane’s daughter (William’s niece) was reportedly still alive, and living in Brisbane. And if you’ve never read Ernie Lane’s “Dawn till Dusk: Reminiscences of a Rebel”, your Brisbane sojourn is definitely the time to do it.

    • Melissa Bellanta 12 June 2009 at 8:51 pm #

      Alright, gimme some time, but I will do that post.

      Have read Dawn till Dusk, although I was mainly following up a throwaway comment he makes about William Guthrie Spence in it, and it was some time ago now… I certainly remember being struck by how different Ernie seemed in terms of his raffish tone and continued radical zeal to brother Will.

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