Try a curated and culture-rich walking tour through the suburb of Cremorne
Running only for a limited time (until 9th September), Culture Scouts will take you on a walking tour through the hidden treasures of Cremorne.
Founded in 1853, and just 2km south-east of the CBD, Cremorne is a suburb rich in culture and full of memories of its fascinating history. You’d be surprised to find out that the first hot air balloon ride in Australia took off from Cremorne Gardens which, at the time was known as the Cremorne Pleasure Garden.
The Pleasure Garden, similar to what we’d now call an amusement park was established by James Ellis, who travelled to Melbourne from the UK where he had managed gardens of the same name in London.
What could you expect to find at the pleasure gardens? At its height at least 10,000 people attended. There was dancing, riding in gondolas up the Yarra, flower shows, public banquets, there was a theatre and even a zoo. Today, a mural on the railway wall on Stephenson Street, painted by the community will give you a taste of what the Pleasure Gardens would have been like.
The most defining cultural icon of Cremorne is the Nylex sign sitting atop what is now known as The Malt House District. Back then, it consisted of malt houses, stores, silos and offices and is now being transformed by a billion-dollar redevelopment by Caydon Property Group. The Malt District will restore this historic part of Melbourne by creating modern residences, spaces for artisans and artists, restaurants, a microbrewery and much more. This will also mean that the Nylex clock, which has been off since 2007, will once again be switched on for residents, visitors and drivers in the area to enjoy once again.
Cremorne showcases a great example of industry, something it has always been known for. On this tour you will see amazing contemporary makers working alongside people who have been working there for 25 years or more.
The Culture Scouts Tour will vary slightly with each walk, but here is a list of some of the stops/sights I encountered to give you an idea of what you can expect.
Given the brief of ‘Hear Yourself Think’ Dale Hardiman and the team at his design studio Dowel Jones, were encouraged to create an installation to help launch Instyle’s new Ecoustic textile.
The idea was to create a conceptual project that would utilise the textile in a way in which would not be its primary use.
The installation that Dowel Jones created consists of three different pipes which are wrapped in the textile and travel in directions like a maze. The two open ends end up close enough together so that you can speak into one end of the pipe into the tube. The sounds then travel through the tube and comes back to you through the other end.
Dale explains “it’s about hearing yourself think, you hear it coming back to you. It’s about vocalising your thought and then hearing it back slightly delayed. The whole intention of reiteration and vocalising ideas.”
Founded in 1871 and located in Cremorne since 1961, Irwin and McLaren Bookbinders continue the art of binding books and other paper items by hand. We were welcomed in by Andrew Nunns who has worked there for over 25 years and who kindly showed us around his workshop and demonstrated various techniques.
STREET ART BY LUSHLUX, NOST and various other artists.
Throughout arty Cremorne you can see at least two pieces from controversial and well-known Australian street artist, Lushlux, also titled ‘the world’s first meme artist”. Think of a meme and I can assure you Lushsux has painted it. Remember the image of Kim Kardashian and Em Rata topless? He’s done it. The photoshopped image of Kanye kissing Kim, except Kim’s head is replaced with Kanye’s head. That one too. Beyonce’s floral pregnancy reveal. Yep. In Cremorne (until someone paints over it) you will see at least two of his pieces, one is of Trump and Hillary pashing and the other is TayTay, Kanye West and Kim K in bed, in which now the nudity has been covered up with painted lingerie.
For its 150’th anniversary, Dimmeys commissioned artist Hayden Dewar to paint a mural on the Green Street Façade. Dewar spent a long time researching and four years painting images depicting the history of Melbourne, especially Cremorne and Richmond. You could spend hours looking at the mural made up of the highly detailed and colourful paintings and is pretty much like taking a trip down Australian History memory lane.
Stop by for a sampling of the organic and handmade deliciousness that is Pana Chocolate. Everything you see is either made on-site or around the corner and is pretty much guilt free. You will be pleased with their offering of chocolate bars, cakes, slices, and more.
Opened in 2006 and representing about 23 different artists who are at different stages in the career.
Each month they showcase a different artist and every now and then also hold a curated show.
Artist in residence at the time of writing is Adam Pyett, a Melbourne based painter who has been painting for over 15 years. His current exhibition is a study on still life where Adam uses his subject to explore composition, colour and form.
This was our final stop on the tour. My first time eating at this café and I resisted the burger, which, trust me was not an easy thing to do. I instead ordered the ‘Salad for Soul’ with added Grilled Chicken and let me say, I did not regret my choice. What was in the salad? Maybe you should ask what wasn’t in the salad. Snow peas, sugar snaps, edamame, green peas, broccolini, roasted sweet potatoes, smoked tomatoes, haloumi and raisins topped with a poached egg, tossed in a zesty tamarind dressing, loads of fresh herbs and nut-free dukkah and the grilled chicken. A very delightful mouthful.
What I’ve listed is only a taste of what we discovered on the tour and what we saw of Cremorne. Our guide and curator of the walking tour was Sarah Weston and she was everything you could ask for in a guide; interesting, well-informed, passionate, friendly and a true lover of our city. I was pleasantly reminded of how much culture and art is in this wonderful city of Melbourne and it’s no surprise that it was named the world’s most liveable city for the 7th year in a row.
THE MALT DISTRICT CREMORNE TOUR
Start Time: 2pm
Meeting Point: 8 Gough Street, Cremorne, VIC (just in front of the Aston Club)
Duration: 2 hours
Runs: Every Saturday from 12th Aug to 9th Sept inclusive.
PRICE: $30 per person; $20 for students. (Includes a coffee and snacks)