A new view from Park Towers

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a new view from park towers
Photographer Barney Meyer, View from Park Towers South Melbourne, Looking East, 2019, colour photograph, Port Phillip City Collection
a new view from park towers
Photographer unknown, View from Park Towers South Melbourne, Looking East, 1969, B/W photograph, sm2808, Port Phillip City Collection. Description View looking East towards the Shrine of Remembrance in the Domain taken from Park Towers, South Melbourne. The two streets on either side of Park Towers are, on the left Bank Street and on the right Park Street. On the corner of Park Street what was Hanna Street and is now Kings Way, is a small church, which was called Our Lady of the Assumption and is now an early learning centre. At the top of Park Street on the corner of St Kilda Road is the now demolished Travelodge Motel built sometime in 1968/69 on the site of Sleight’s Funeral Parlour. On left of the picture, on the corner of Dorcas and Hanna Street is the striped roof of the Hanna (later South Melbourne) Street Tram Depot opened in 1925. In the foreground towards the centre and on the corner of Perrins Street, is the former South Melbourne Post Office (now the Emerald Hill Library) constructed in 1912.

A chance discovery has led to a fantastic photographic exhibition marking 50 years since the Park Towers housing estate in South Melbourne opened to residents.

Monument to a View: Park Towers 1969-2019 can trace its beginnings to an eBay auction, where an observant Council officer immediately recognised a familiar view – panoramic photographs taken from the rooftop of Park Towers, capturing the You Yangs in the west and the Dandenongs in the east.

With the 50th anniversary of the building approaching, a plan was made to recreate the
photographs with a twist: current Park Towers residents were invited to snap the views from their windows and provide a brief commentary.

In collaboration with Star Health and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Council commissioned photographer Barney Meyer to recreate the panoramic photographs from 1969, while photographer Michael Kluge worked with residents, running photography workshops.

Monument to a View will contribute to 130 years of documentation of South Melbourne and
surrounding suburbs, to be housed at Emerald Hill Library & Heritage Centre South Melbourne.

Acting Mayor Louise Crawford said the exhibition was an important addition to Port Phillip’s history.

“It’s incredible to see the changes in South Melbourne over the past 50 years. The photographs taken by Park Towers residents give us an insight into their lives and the community which exists here. The beautiful images and stories which have been shared through this exhibition will become important historical records for many generations to appreciate,” Cr Crawford said.

There will be further events organised around the anniversary in October by the Park Towers Tenants Association, Star Health and DHHS for Park Towers residents and the broader community.

Monument to a View: 1969-2019 can be viewed from 16 July to 27 September 2019 at
Emerald Hill Library and Heritage Centre. Monday and Friday 10 am to 6 pm, Tuesday 12
midday to 8 pm and Wednesday and Thursday 12 midday to 6 pm. Entry is free.

Background

Park Towers Estate was built during the Victorian Government’s post-war public housing boom, which saw high-rise apartments spring up in the inner-suburbs. When it was built, Park Towers replaced South Melbourne Town Hall as the highest vantage point in South Melbourne.