Melbourne is well known for its stunning architecture. The CBD hosts quirky modern creation alongside historic buildings.Walking in the suburbs, and especially along trendy areas such a Chapel Street, the remains of historic buildings still provide a structure for the recent developments, happening restaurants and retail shops. Sometimes I look up and feel that I’m part of one of my father’s beloved Westerns.
Such is the feeling in Kensington, where down Racecourse Road the Victoria these buildings provide a structure for Asian supermarkets and trendy Somalian restaurants. As do daydreams of being confronted by John Wayne (no, not this “John Wayne”). Kensington has been my home for the last few weeks. Walking just two blocks from glaring KFC lights across from the tram stop, the scene becomes a quiet suburb, where according to Wikipedia mainly young, high income residents call home.
There are certainly beautiful Victorian relics found all around the city and outer suburbs. But these house in the photos below are dearer to me, perhaps by default due to familiarity. It’s like seeing the same strangers every day on the same tram; you don’t know them, and you probably never will. But, over time, constant exposure causes you develop a special affection towards them. A sensitivity, perhaps.
I have a special affection for the petite, intricately designed and charming houses I’ve seen every day for the past month since I’ve been in this neighborhood.
The iron details on the have held up impeccably over the years, as some houses, such as the ones below date themselves.
Kensington and neighboring Flemington were home to the Newmarket Salesyard, a 1850s livestock trading center which closed in 1984. Housing developments increased in the area during this time, although it is reported that residents complained of the smells and by-products of the cattle.
According to Culture Victoria, houses of this style can be characterized as mid Victorian. These houses are known for their tile floors, iron lacework and stucco on exterior surfaces.
And the houses are just as charming as the people. While I was taking some of these pictures, a man spotted me. He wondering why someone would be taking pictures around here – Why would someone want to come to Kensington? It’s not often you see someone with a camera around here! With just a simple question we ended up having a delightful 10 minute conversation.
While most of the houses are kept in excellent condition, some have a more abandoned exterior to them.
When I have to move out of this neighborhood next week, I’m going to miss them. I’m going to miss the feeling of walking down a movie set of monopoly houses. The closeness of the houses is comforting. The fact that from my window I can hear my neighbors having a conversation as they stroll down the street isn’t bothersome. It feels like we are all friends. Kind of like the people you see on the tram. You’ll never really get to know them, but it doesn’t matter. Because you already feel like you do.