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 and 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
- Wednesday and Thursday 12 midday to 6 pm.
Entry is free.
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.
Photographs of the view from Park Tower 1969 (L) and 2019 (R).