November 30th, 2010


(no subject)

It's been a while since I posted on the progress of the formerly abandoned mansion and stables complex that sits on the corner of Alma Road in St Kilda, Melbourne. Unfortunately the developers are squeezing in as many small apartments into this complex as they possibly can, all in the name of money.


What was an expansive space at the rear has had at least four seperate living spaces crammed into it. Like this giant box which sits ajoining what was the stables:

The stables

The main problem I see for future tenants of this complex is that they are going to be living so close to one another that noise will always be a problem. All it's going to take is one person having their big screen tv up too loud, and neighbour disputes will abound. This will mean that owners will rent out the premises rather than live there, and I predict a high turnover of tenants.


Teeny tiny balconies with no privacy and noise protection does not a happy complex make. The main house has had an odd assortment of rooms added onto the ground floor to expand the ground floor apartments but they still have pokey little outdoor areas which will provide no escape from noise.


From the back you can see what close proximity to car parking areas and each other they will have.

WITL Day 3

Still, it is nice to see the two smaller 1915 blocks of four in the front and the back have been comepletely restored, but a complete lack of planning in 1915 means that still today they just seem plonked onto the block with little thought for the future. These are all one bedrooms, which this neighbourhood sorely needs.


The front gate has reappeared fully restored and some gardens are being planted. But carspaces underneath bedroom windows is not going to make for a quiet place to live, and certainly not at a starting price of $600,000.

The mansion

There are still quite a few apartments in the block that haven't sold, and it looks like they are having some trouble because of the enormous prices they are asking for what are small and densely packed in living spaces. No thought has been put into who is actually going to live in the spaces and how they are going to cope with the extremely close proximity of other tenants. The main 1880 building does look magnificent all done up, but it's sense of space and grandeur has been diminished.

My full set of flickr photos are here:

the website for the redevelopment is here:

Pennhurst - The shame of Pennsylvania

So, being as I have a book out now, I can't really post all my images from any locations
featured within the book, or there would really be no reason to purchase said book.
This is an issue that I was trying to remedy, because I really wanted to share some of the amazing places here, in this community.
So... what I think I will do is post the related video to the location I wish to share
(we made a video for nearly every location in the book), along with only a couple images.
That way, I still get to post here, and at the same time do not give away much from the book.

Anyway, for my first post of a location from my book, I present: Pennhurst

Excerpt from the book:
"To best introduce Pennhurst State School and Hospital, I offer a single quotation from the 1968 documentary
"Suffer the Little Children", an exposé on Pennhurst by Bill Baldini.
When one patient was asked by the interviewer what he would like most in the world, if he could have anything he wanted,
the sad and withdrawn reply was simply, "To get out of Pennhurst."

For this film we went in a slightly different direction,
combining documentary audio/video from the 1968 expose on Punnhurst by Bill Baldini
with present-day footage shot by my partner/girlfriend Christina
The backing musical track is the second movement from Beethoven's 7th Symphony, which seemed somehow very suiting...

And, of course, here's a link to where you can buy my book: