Visiting old lanes

I’m checking out the craft market in part of one of the sheds of Victoria Market, looking for a few gifts. So I have to go and see the graffiti in Lovelands. Loveland’s was a mass of lanes off Franklin Street, and it was one of the best places in the city for street art and graffiti. I last saw its aerosol covered walls back in July 2021, just before Melbourne went into its long final lockdown, and there was construction going on. 

There has been a lot of construction in the area, and so much has changed. Memories from the late 90s of having lunch with Stephan Schutt, Juan Ford and the Looksmart editorial team at the Mercat. 

After the crowds of the market, it is almost empty. A trio of women take photographs of each other at the entrance to the little parking lot.

Recent street signs designated that it has become Kulinbulok Lane and Kulinbulok Place. New places created in the ever-expanding apartment building boom in Melbourne.

Melbourne doesn’t have many squares because its original designers believed that they would promote democracy. Now there is this odd little square at Kulinbulok Place. It was empty, but it looked like a discreet place to drink. But what are they expected to them to do with the empties? What it needs is a bottle recycling bin. Aside from bike racks and seats, there are no other amenities. 

It doesn’t look like there has been any fresh graffiti or street art since I was last here.

Around the corner is another fading location for street art. Blender Lane used to house Blender Studios (now located in West Melbourne). There is still a construction site down the end, and it, too, is looking a bit old, and GT Sewell’s dragon/clown has been damaged. It is empty, apart from a couple of construction workers leaving the site. Memories of it packed with people after an exhibition opening or a far better craft market than was offered at Victoria Market.

Like Lovelands, very little has changed in the lane in the last year, but someone had added some surreal framed works like they do in Presgrave Lane. “I believe”, “I wonder”, and lots of eyes. But if my eyes want to see any fresh work, I will have to go elsewhere.

What is the future for these two lanes? I don’t have crystal balls, so I don’t know. Presgrave Place became disused for a couple of years only to start again, largely due to the efforts of Kranky. Reviving them would only take a couple of artists.

About Mark Holsworth

Writer, independent researcher and artist, Mark Holsworth is the author of the book Sculptures of Melbourne. View all posts by Mark Holsworth

2 responses to “Visiting old lanes

  • Cheyenne Morrison

    I rented the top floor of 128-130 Franklin Street which backed onto this lane in the late 1980s. Sadly the amazing space I had has now been converted into horrible pokey little units. i had 7 bedrooms, a full bar (recovered from a Pub being demolished around the corner) and 1/3 was set aside for artists cubicles I rented out cheaply. Just walk down the back land here and I was in the Vic Market which was my supermarket. There were no supermarkets in the CBD then, so the food hall in David Jones was my local shopping centre.

    I am moving back to Melbourne from 30 years away at the end of the year, and sadly I will not be able to afford a large warehouse like I had in the 80s.

  • Mark Holsworth

    Thanks for your memories, Cheyenne. Inner Melbourne has changed a lot since late 80s.

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