Thursday, December 30, 2010

When we think about Melbourne: the imagination of a city

Jenny Sinclair explores through the use of maps, fiction, music, art and film what makes Melburnians relate to Melbourne.

A major section of the book concerns the history of maps describing our city - the maps of the first European settlers defining boundaries (land and coastal), maps showing the terrain, maps leading to the goldfields, as well as the current dependence on Melways (with an S) for finding our way around. We can also view our city from a tower, by walking through laneways or riding along bike paths or other tracks or view the city from the windows of a tram. The second part of the book looks at visions of the city through artistic work.

In a recent interview with Alan Brough on 774 the author described how the book was written to encourage people to think about their city and the locations that are important to them. In many ways Jenny Sinclair may only scratch the surface but she left this reader wanting to carry out their own investigations as to what the city means to them. I especially found the discussions on maps interesting and started adding additional titles of novels set in Melbourne to the list provided. A project during the next year or two will be to read more fiction set in Melbourne / Victoria.

The book contains many photographs and has a useful list of references and index.An interesting introduction to the city that is Melbourne.

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