Killing it softly

These pictures are from a place in Perth perched high on a hill, overlooking river and sea.  Monument Hill in Mosman Park   It should be lovely but it's not; it's shabby as.  There's two wonderful relics there; the obelisk (built in colonial times as a navigation point and moved in the 1980s to make way for a bigger water reservoir), and also an observation post from WWII (I think that's what it is but it's hard to know really, no signage).

Once upon a time this area was home to lots of thriving industry providing stacks of local jobs for the workers living in their weatherboard cottages, and a motorcycle scramble track (environmentally sensitive no, fun and useful, yes), but the land is now worth a squillion so all that's gone and it's now covered in big ugly gaffs.  Except around the foot of Monument Hill which was sold off in the 90's or thereabouts which has plenty of cheaper but equally as miserable housing jammed up against each other.  Think: that gorgeous and popular development, the 'group of 8 townhouses' lined up like teeth in a denture someone left lying around.   There's often no footpaths, but that's OK because you never see any people on foot.  Clearly there's an arbor aversion from the new settlers too cause there's not a lot of foliage action up high in residential Mossie.  What's left of the natural bush is really just scrub with plenty of litter spread about, for colour.   If you want to see how a site like this could be, look at Bold Park in Floreat.  All timber walkways and decorative steel handrails and plaques about the regenerated flora.  

These slightly arty snaps make it look pretty good though, if I say so myself.  

Don't get me wrong, we definitely need more affordable housing in Perth's inner and more desirable suburbs, but jaysus it sure is hard to to get right, glad it's not my job.  It's all wrong in Mosman Park.  And we haven't even started talking about the blocks of flats built in the 1960s when a certain developer (with, I've heard some help from his friends in office) managed to acquire large chunks of housing stock to build ten story blocks of flats and create a pop-up slum on the apt named Battle Street.  Thankfully the vibe and name has improved in recent years, and apart from the odd junkie swaggering down the middle of the road it's a place where many young people might dream of being able to get a toe hold in the property market (grappling irons recommended).   There's also lots of good stuff going on around the place: the most amazing kids' natural adventure playground down by the river, a luxury mens' shed and restored WWII tunnels.    

But for all its woeful failures, I really like Mosman Park.  It has a bit of everything and all ends of the social spectrum, keepin' it real.   Like an ageing divorcee it's made plenty of mistakes along the way but has some excellent stories to tell.    This place would be one, the rope and twine factory which gave up the good fight in 1990.   The rope walk that stretches out behind it (towards the hill) was used for making the long heavy lengths of massive rope. How amazing that must have been to watch.  (Pic: thanks SLWA, taken 1930s).  

In WWII there was a ban placed on all Americans from crossing the highway into Mosman Park after a pub brawl got out of hand and someone got stabbed by a yankee serviceman. But that, is another story.


  1. You should see what they're doing to Basso! (Bassendean - where I hail from)
    Just started re-developing (the council calls it rejuvenation?!).
    Now I don't mind a bit of development but please build something with a bit of architectural merit! The apartment blocks popping up here are butt ugly and they're going to look even uglier with age! I think the architects responsible must've got their degrees out of a box of cornflakes! Build something interesting for God's sake!

  2. Yeah! Unfortunately the architects are at the mercy of the developers who want to keep the building costs low as possible for max profit - not that cheap should mean ugly but it usually does :(


Love getting comments from blogland...