Built in 1858, one of the oldest buildings in existance in Melbourne and the tallest in Melbourne for over a century, the tower is all that remains now of the Yorkshire breweries. It is the central piece of the new apartments going up there. 2013 -2014 was not a good year for abandos. They are all going or gone. Melbourne is the 'most liveable' city in 2014. Development is out of control.
Beneath the silos were a series of concrete tunnels. To get into this part you had to climb though ripped galvanised iron doorway over a fridge and washing machine (that somehow had been jammed in there!) and descend into the darkness about 4 metres. This was the only way to get into the stair wells and up into the silos and tower.
Rus Kidd a chaotic genius swirling all his initial creations around his childhood bear 'Rus' chose a very Escher like position for one of his throwie bears. At just 18 Years of age his colourful swirls adorned the corner of Fed Square NGV gallery in Flinders Street Melbourne right opposite the infamous Hosier Lane (pretty much the first stop for any travellers keen on seeing graff and street art in Melbourne) and his 'Amulet' piece was hung in the NGV gallery foyer also facing Flinders st...
The lounge and bedroom of some once inhabitants. And here is a story from the tower: The middle of all the upper floors were missing. Huge solid steel sheets were sporadically thatched as a floor, the gaps just as huge. Once someone quite high had fallen all the way down and died. One of the neighbours in an apartment just as high as the tower, had seen the final descent and done nothing because it was 'just a junky'. The person was later found by explorers in a deathly state way beyond help. Life can be re-classified and devalued so easily.
Stabs is Melbourne street artists/ stencil artist now very tribal and glyph like but his origins were quite different more charcter based often with emotion or metaphor attached. This 'bacteria guy' hung high above you as you walked to the entrance of the silos under the carpark fence (the after hours entrance)...
The ever-controversial Lush - a graffiti artist from Melbourne's west - the master of graffiti jargon types and styles with a love of abandos and especially train tracks (you can see his lush cat everywhere on train rides through footscray to werribee, williamstown or sunshine) - here with a simple statement with visual accompaniment 'lush kills'
Putos loves and almost always paints animals; monkeys, dogs, elephants, skeksis, dragons, crabs… often they have cigars or ciggys and very often now too, top hats. He is another chaotic genius with the painting of fire water smoke scales and textures… beside him in this photo: the entrance to the silos- through steel bars and corrugated iron, over white goods and through the darkness down 4 or 5 metres; you're in.
French Artist Jaws always wanted to be in the french crew DA Mental Vaporz - DMV. He practiced and practiced all day every day from the age of 12 when he first asked Bom K the leader to be in his crew. A few years later he was accepted. His skill is immense. He can paint anything anywhere with anything. This piece is done on his 2013 visit to Melbourne with another artist Cyres, in a squat room in the walkway between the silos and tower.
On the outside of the silos you could still see 'SYNC' painted by everfresh crew member sync. On the top of the tower Melbourne ID crew member Mayo had painted his caligraphic specialty. It is one of the few pieces that remains in 2014. Will it survive the tower renovation, become part of Collingwood cultural history?
down 4 or 5 metres and you're in.
The previous week I was threatened by a neighbour to go away or he would call the cops. I did go away; then. But planned the following Sunday morning to be up the towers by dawn. The first part of the stairs were missing and it was pitch black, but I had to go up. They are solid steel so safe. I forgot my tripod and was so full of adrenalin by the time I was up the top the first few photos were unusable. I did get some pretty good shots though.
Photography — Toby Fairbank
Editor — Shane Andrews
Many Years of Fun — The SIlos