A Ladder to the Ground

Monday, April 1, 2019
David Sornig

I recently wrote a book called ‘Blue Lake: Finding Dudley Flats and the West Melbourne Swamp’. The book centres on telling the fragmentary history of a large blind spot in the west of Melbourne. The site, which takes in the entire area between the city’s CBD and Footscray, was once a lush wetland but has since become a labyrinth of industrialised discontinuity that has no particular name. European settlement reduced it to a muddy swamp, dredged it to make the city’s docks and ports, and infilled it with refuse. Its rubbish tips became host to a shanty town where the down-and-outs of the economic depression of the 1930s found precarious refuge. The book recovers the biographies of three of the shanty town’s residents. 

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