Capturing the history and character of regional towns

Capturing the history and character of regional towns

At the end of last year I embarked on a road trip from Sydney to Melbourne on my own to take some time out to refresh and reset, reflecting on the year that was. 

I travelled through Canberra catching up with some family and visited Hotel Hotel with the amazing timber clad foyer.

I then decided to not drive on the motorway but take some extra time to drive through the snowy mountains via Cooma and took the Snowy Mountains Highway through to Wodonga. I got to see and photograph fantastic historic and heritage places and architecture.

If time is on your side, road trips are such a great way to experience some beautiful regional towns and take some time to check out the history and character of Australia. Sometimes we find ourselves so caught up in the road ahead and getting to our destination in the fastest way possible that we forget to stop, experience life and find new opportunities.

I made a point of veering off the motorway to explore new places, create experiences and meet new people such as Janet in Euroa, Victoria who owns this amazing old flour mill, which is an events space. She’s owned the place since the 1970s and has seen the change of the historic town. I mentioned that I turned off because it mentioned Historic Town on the sign, but when I drove down the street, this didn’t seem the case. Janet said owners/developers demolished more than half the main street during the late 70/80s. Only now are people starting to value heritage and character to create places with value, and by value I don’t mean money, I mean places that instil community, bring in tourism, respect and appreciation, utilising the existing built environment without destroying history.

It was particularly interesting to see the evolution of Australian architecture and how cities differ from regional towns and between states. I was drawn to capturing the history and character of this trip rather than the new developments.

There was a cute little original cottage in the Cooma Snowy Mountains Tourist Park and some quaint shacks in Yarck, Victoria that I really enjoyed checking out. It was also good to see local councils updating public spaces through sidewalk improvements, street furniture retaining the character without replicating heritage cheaply.

I stayed in Carlton, a fantastic location and close to the CBD and the current popular suburbs. A mate of mine flew down joining me on the trip of exploring Melbourne. We wanted to get a handle on how the suburbs connected, what each one offered, what appeal they had and how we could relate them back to Sydney suburbs so we could understand them better. This is what we came up with:

  • Collingwood is Alexandria 5 years ago

  • Fitzroy is Newtown

  • Prahran is Surry Hills and Darlinghurst

  • St Kilda is Bondi Beach

  • Earlwood is Rose Bay

  • Richmond is Glebe/Broadway

  • The design/ad agencies in Cremorne is Pyrmont

  • Nice part of Abbotsford is Erskineville

  • Albert Park is Queens Park/Centennial Park

  • Footscray is Burwood/Auburn/Ashfield

It’s interesting to step into a different city and experience the suburbs, then relate it back to what you know and feels familiar. Check out the gallery with various pics from the trip below.