The Lost City of Melbourne - Documentary Review

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Posted 2022-09-01 by Jenfollow

A film by Gus Berger with a run time of 88 mins this documentary will screen in select cinemas on 1 Sep 2022. This is a powerful documentary for all of Australia and the world to see, especially Melburnians. The Lost City of Melbourne is an insightful documentary filled with engaging interviews with key historians. It draws upon the rich archives of the State Library of Victoria and the National Film and Sound Archive and paints a picture of the city.

This is a story of Melbourne. There's much to love and hate throughout; it's historical, it evokes feelings of pride and joy, alongside many a cringeworthy moments that'll make you cry. Especially if you love history, culture and architecture. Melbourne was the fastest-growing city in the world in the 1850s. In stature and progress, it was neck to neck with the rest of the world in the 1920s and 30s and had there been a global survey, may well have been chosen as 'the most liveable city in the world', even way back when.

However, it does have its fall from grace in a major way in the 50s when all that was considered bright, shiny and new in the 20s became weathered, old-fashioned, and considered backward on the world stage. It was a time of wreckage when wrought iron was replaced with glass and concrete. The 50s was not a time when people protested or marched the street to save our architectural masterpieces. There were sound reasons in some instances, but without the know-how or forward thinking to go hand in hand, it was pure wreckage and vandalism.

At the time when our European neighbours came over from war-torn countries and knew to appreciate history, heritage, and culture, and could not understand why great structures were being torn down. It highlights how important it is to engage with, listen and learn from the rest of the world and its experiences, to make better decisions. Melburnians were not appreciating their heritage in the 50s, making way for the new. Amazingly, the major wrecking company doing the damage did, and 'Whelan The Wrecker' saved a lot of the fixtures, embellishments, and structures and materials that would be considered master craftsmanship, which they later sold.

It was only in the 70s that Victoria became the first state to pass the Historic Buildings Reservation Act of 1974. As beautiful and nostalgic and engaging as this documentary is, it is also like watching a horror story that'll rip your heart right out of your guts. History is something we cannot change, and we can only hope it stands as a reflection of some of the bad decisions we can learn from, be it in relation to buildings, a nation, a community or our multicultural existence. Amongst the debris of mindless demolitions exists some beautiful photographs that capture an era that was. It also speaks of people power for what has managed to survive. Something that deserves recognition, that we have the power to save, to preserve and maintain a city's culture and connection to its history.

83281 - 2023-06-11 06:40:09


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