St. Kilda: From Riches to Rags and Back Again

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St.Kilda: From Riches to Rags and Back Again.

Final script for audio tour, revised as at 12 Nov ‘09
Hello and welcome to this walking tour of St Kilda domestic architecture, in which changing house styles reveal the seaside suburb's rollercoaster ride from riches to rags and back again.

I’m Peter Mares from ABC Radio National and I’ll guide you through some St Kilda streets that show how history is captured in bricks and mortar, in verandah posts and window frames and roof tiles. The tour was designed by Heritage Victoria and produced by Malcolm McKinnon. It's a gentle stroll through generally quiet streets and it should take about one hour.

The features that we'll be pointing out are all easily visible from the street, but remember that we are looking at people's homes, so please respect residents' privacy – we don't want any complaints about architectural peeping Toms!

There are no public toilets on the route itself, but we'll end near the Acland Street cafe strip, where you will find facilities of all kinds– or a quick detour will land you on the lower esplanade where toilets are marked on our map – hopefully you've downloaded the map from the Heritage Victoria website or picked one up locally. If not, never fear, we'll give you clear instructions on how to proceed.

And just to check you're in the right place – you should be in the small park next to tram strop number 135 on Fitzroy Street – opposite a rather grand building called Summerland Mansions - and we'll hear more about in a moment. This is stop number 1 on our tour. The tour comprises 16 stops in total, corresponding with the 16 audio tracks that you’ve downloaded to your MP3 player. (As we progress, you’ll sometimes need to pause your player between tracks, allowing time to get to the next stop on the tour.)

Before we set off, have a seat under the spreading branches of the Morton Bay Fig which may be almost as old as the suburb itself – Moreton Bay Figs were a favourite decorative tree amongst early settlers. Try to imagine the scene before this tree was planted - it’s 170 years ago and you're on the land of the Kulin people. This stretch of sandy-ridged, ti-tree covered coastline is the home of the Yalukit Willam, one of the five clans of the Bunurong, or coastal tribe. And this spot we're sitting in was a meeting place for Aboriginal people long before European settlement.

With Port Phillip Bay to your right, you're looking up at a hill that Europeans called the “green knoll” and used initially for grazing - on our tour we'll pass a plaque where the first stockman's hut was built.
Shortly we’ll cross Fitzroy Street, to unravel the history of St. Kilda, but let’s pause here first and look at Summerland Mansions opposite. This is no ordinary block of flats

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