Hosier Lane Revisited

She was sitting on a bluestone step near the corner of Rutledge Lane, just past the paint splattered wheelie bins. A waif of a girl, pallid and twig like, she looked like a Manga character, except her eyes were too small and demeanor too fragile. She was wearing a pastel coloured checked shirt over faded denim jeans, her long hair bleached white with pale blue dip- dyed ends. She was rolling a cigarette slowly and self- consciously, not street wise enough to adopt the insouciance of more experienced street artists. She didn’t appear to be homeless, there was something too studied about her appearance for that. Perhaps she came to admire her own art, or to contemplate her next one, or to rue the loss of her favourite piece.

Rutledge Lane, street art, wheelie bins and the tree heart above, a semi permanent piece.

Street art in Hosier Lane and its right-angled annex, Rutledge Lane, is transient. Each visit brings new surprises, new styles, as the genre mutates and evolves. Recent additions include more stencil art and written messages, some with environmental and political content, others with random thoughts.

These two pieces go together. Stencils and messages seem to be in vogue in Hosier Lane at present.
ET is alive and well in Hosier Lane

28 thoughts on “Hosier Lane Revisited”

  1. My first visit through those lanes was in the early 1970s when they were deliciously scary at night when we young city-dwellers would endeavour to take short-cuts to our next venue. I distinctly recall the clattering of our loud shoe heels on blue stone reverberating off the narrow brick walls. The lanes were home to hobo’s, the homeless and a gaggle of we silly thrill-seekers. Most of the city was ghost-town after dark and a wonderful playground for we country kids studying and living in city hostels, above shops etc. On Friday night we would fill ourselves on Chinese food, whilst drinking gallons of Bodega or Ben Ean Moselle or Mateus Rose or all three. Always the last to leave the restaurant we’d planned our night’s escapades which often involved a mid-night visit to the cemetery in Nth Carlton – a real spooky winner especially when a seance was in full swing. It took extraordinary powers of persuasion to coax the girls to the Botanical Gardens to haunt some unsuspecting entangled couples . Our ammunition had to be silent so water-filled “Frenchies” were utilised to disrupt their tryst. So now I look at your wonderful photos of our former “back-yard” and wonder what a story those walls could tell.

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    1. Having a silent chuckle here Peter. water filled Frenchies- you surely take the prize for midnight adventures around the Bot. Yes, I recall those scary lanes too, back when Melbourne was a ghost town at night, dark, bluestone, grey, empty. And being fueled up on Ben Ean oh and don’t forget Hock- the generic word for bulk bad white wine. Now the city is packed, day and night.

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  2. You’ve captured it much better than I ever seem to. People watching is as interesting as seeing the art, for me, and I need my head on a swivel to take it all in. Don returned from a conference recently and was telling me he heard a design consultant for public spaces talk. He asked her what she thought was the single most successfully engaging element that was common to all the spaces her company had worked on…she answered ‘public art’. It brings people back time and again and creates an energy that other things don’t seem to be able to quite manage. It was a revelation to me, the way hearing something you have experienced but not connected in a deeper way that makes sense. I’m probably not explaining it well, but your post brought it back to me. xx

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    1. So good to hear from you Ardys. Yes, you explained that idea very well and the way Melbourne is going, I think that is working. It works so well around Brunswick too. Recently a huge grey concrete block of flats went up in Lygon St East, with a carpark on its southern side. A six story wall art piece went in, and now that ugly space is enjoyed and admired and has its own energy. It’s a wonderful time to be alive.

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  3. I am hugely amazed at the imagination and talents of those artists and cannot understand how the cityscape can change so fast in such a friendly manner. That first photo tells an unbelievable tale. I love ‘utcheecreek”s description of the area in the 1970’s. At the time I was a company director jetting in multiple times a week to have lunch at “Maxim”s and ‘Sebastini”s and other then ‘favourites’ not so far away! Side streets: no, the 5pm flight > Sydney never allowed that!! OMG – does one still remember ‘Ben Ean’ . . . and I had ‘Mateus Rose’ for my 21st at the ‘Trocadero’ . . . . what are you doing, Ma’am . . . 🙂 ?

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    1. OMG – Ostensibly sensibly work related I cannot but remember ‘Café Florentino;’, ‘Pellegrino’ nor ‘Fanny’s Bistro’ and all the rest of the rest of the wonderful Melbourne goodies!

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      1. Oh yes, those two are so special. Pelligrinos for a cheap pasta out the back, when too full, where you could watch the cooking. And today, the Florentino, in its Guy Grossi incarnation, is still good. Ahhh, the good old days Eha.

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    2. Utcheecreek, otherwise known as Peter, is fabulously funny and so ready to contribute nostalgic and insane add ons to my blog as you are too, Eha. Now getting back to Ben Ean and Mateus Rose, what about Blue Nun??? I had my 21st at a place in Lygon st, Carlton, Copperwood I think it was called, I am sure Mateus and Blue Nun featured.

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    1. Why am I always in Hosier Lane with a young child? I told Ollie the other day that when he turns 18, he has to come with me to Mo Vida. I have been there only once, but look forward to my next visit. Such a temptation at the end of a Melbourne city lane.

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    1. Thanks Dale. The young ones drag me there when we are in the city and I’m so pleased they do. All that colour and creativity- it’s so good to see it embraced in public spaces.

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