By Annabelle Lee
An upcoming mural display in Hartwell is set to not only change the entire feel of the centre, but also potentially increase shopping centre use.
Hartwell murals project manager and Senior Landscape Architect Joo Sung said for the Hartwell area specifically, the current railway vandalism has divided the shopping strip into two, meaning the murals will hopefully “connect the shopping strip together and create visual interest.”
Ms Sung said she “wanted the murals to reference the historical side of Hartwell, where (they are) currently planning on having representations of old, demolished buildings, an old ice cream shop that the Americans erected, old trains, and tramways.”
— City of Boroondara (@Boroondara) January 10, 2017
“From my past experience with murals, the graffiti taggers who created the initial mess by tagging and illegally drawing on these walls, often, quite surprisingly, have respect for the work of the graffiti artist we hire, if it’s good work,” Ms Sung said.
“A good example of how we’re hoping the Hartwell murals will turn out is Canterbury station, because we’ve done a mural on those walls that were tagged- it looks exceptional and has remained untouched by vandals,” she said.
“The young and upcoming artist we’ve chosen has added a fresh spin on the historical representations, as he works for a company of graffiti artists called ‘Juddy Roller’, who do amazing work.”
“The Hartwell Trade Group president was at one point covering the graffiti on the walls with brick coloured paint by hand himself, so you can see these murals were a dire necessity.”
Boorondara City Council said Hartwell has become almost unrecognizable from the lively suburb it used to be.
The council said despite the rich history of Hartwell Shopping Centre, “the current centre has not preserved much of it”.
“The shopping centre remained active until 1990 when the Coles supermarket was closed, resulting in a rapid loss of passing trade,” said the council.
— Old Shops Australia (@oldshopsoz) April 10, 2017
“The precinct currently has large, vacant sites awaiting developments and a number of empty shops.”
“We hope this mural brings back (Hartwell’s) ‘old time’ charm and memory back for the community and visitors.”
Hartwell resident Ella Victoria Byrnes said the money spent installing the murals could be better used elsewhere.
Ms Byrnes said the two walls of graffiti add character to the suburb and “remind (her) of similar strips of graffiti along the walls near Richmond station.”
“Richmond is always buzzing and is essentially the hub of Melbourne, which shows you can’t blame a couple of vandalized walls for the death of a suburb,” said Ms Byrnes.
“The graffiti on these walls is unique and vibrant, and unless there’s anything crass displayed, I think it’s a perfect representation of the community,” she said.
“If (council) really wanted to salvage what’s left of Hartwell shopping centre, they would invest the thousands of dollars used on this project towards rejuvenating existing shops and effecting more of them.”
“I guess I’ll have to make the most of walking by and having a browse at the awesome graffiti and posters before a bunch of irrelevant, pretentious murals cover it all up.”
Work is set to begin by June of this year.