Abandoned since 1996, built in 1858 the partially cleared Yorkshire brewery grounds were utilised as a carpark for many years. Enclosing this land was a warehouse, an attached 'courtyard', 'the tower' and the silos. Through a tear in the corrugated iron at the base of the middle of the silos, access could be gained to them and the tower. Many explorers, graffers, artists and squatters made use of and had fun with this place over the years whilst it awaited its fate. In 2013 the silos were torn down, in 2014 the apartments are going up.
vacant since 1996 the middle of the old yorkshire brewery nicknamed 'the silos' by those who liked to explore was used as a carpark
what remains of the inside of the main shed (never seen or known by most explorers including all those shapes) was an interesting splash of mint green tiles added to over the years by tags, pieces, throwies, street art, more destruction and even fire...
The everfresh crew prominent in Fitzroy and Collingwood for over a decade (members including stabs, phibs, maka, reka, deb, sync, civil, rone, wonderlust) were some of the earlier rollie painters, hanging over ledges and out windows rolling square lettering into tags, crews and statements...
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.
Up a few flights of stares this was the view, Abys a graffiti artist from Melbourne had left his silver 3d maze of letters spelling out 'abys' on the landing between the silos and the tower; in the surrounds you can hear the city telling the silos their time will soon be up.
Nelio a french artist visited the Silos in one of his visits to Melbourne, here is one of his 'stairwell guardians'
Putos a Melbourne graffiti / street artist left this motor bike riding elephant on a nearby now too demolished warehouse, staring up at the silos…
Tom Soyer a graffiti artist and illustrator from Melbourne left one of his characters formed of rock amongst the warehouse rubble. To his left some purple mio ghosts with other-worldly survival skills.
Guido Van Helten is an Australian artist currently based out of Brisbane travelling the world leaving behind large scale murals - here we see a ciga smoking beatles fan blending in nicely with the decaying chaos of a brewery wall.
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.
The famous Melbourne street artist / stencil artist Ha Ha was one of the first to visit the silos leaving behind these ghostly apparitions.
Up much higher in the silos beside some kind of pitch black elevator well was this spooky Ha Ha stencil of Charles Manson.
This is a discarded and forgotten about application for heritage sign which the towers received, found in one of the concrete basements.
Putos silo dragon making short work of the defenceless abando chair.
A Shida silo dragon created using black rollie paint and an extension pole. Shida is an artist from Brisbane, Australia, expert in chaos, creating things from scratch, using maths and curves and symmetry and repetitions and imagination. This rollie dragon survived until the Silos demise.
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'
Peste, aka Peste Molt camped out for a short while just below this penthouse silo-squat.
A view from the car park looking up - on the left a warehouse that was sealed in 1997 and only accessible again in 2013 when the worker scaffolding allowed entrance, the middle is THE Yorkshire tower, the landing between the tower and the silos and, the silos.
The aptly named 'Duke' from Melbourne's west, painting one of his ealier 'Style' chaotics - looking very elemental, like flames, or plasma or electricity...
Bailer from the ID crew, a Melbourne graffiti king painting mostly mechanical alien like letters into any place he sees them going, this silver mech piece is hanging underneath one of the mostly floorless landings in the tower.
Wonderlust from the Melbourne Everfresh crew painted a giant one of his signature aubergine faces with a rollie on the landing in between the tower and the silos..
Apparently painted by visitors from Japan, apparently there were 6 of them, and apparently this was for an advertisment. This was and is still all the info I know about this incredible and incredibly placed piece.
Adding to the rumour that the previous piece 'wired for sound' was painted by Japanese artists this maze of japan was painted at the same time inside the tower.
Up above collingwood trying to take photos of the partial eclipse with my 80mm zoom (heheheheh) I of course took some photos of the silos; here the roof of the concrete tubes and a pigeon unsure of my caper.
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.
American muralist painter graffiti artist street artist Edob Lov3 visited Melbourne 2013-2014 and paited sculptured and arranged found objects into murals or installations. This one out of abandoned cans, painted sticks and a roofless courtyard wall - part of the lower boundary of the silos.
Looking up: the silos clean and fresh.
Raticool painting in the silo courtyard. Kooky adventures areound Melbourne streets mostly in sticker form, this is the only painting Ive ever seen by him.
The Wonderlust aubergine slept peacefully for many years between the silos and the tower…
Burg from Australia and Sem from Italy collaborated to paint this miyazaki like totem of heads basking in the early morning sun.
Two English artists Atak and Quelle in Australia 2013-2014 loving abandos painting here there loopy pasta like noodle letters in the silos courtyard
For a New Years eve present in 2013 the silos got an ID crew digital welcome. Below is the long surviving everfresh 04.
On the other side of the silos, not long before the downfall, edob lov3 returned to give them a little silo lov3. They even had pizza delivered while painting these giant stencil letters on the silos side. And yes, their may have been some abseiling involved...
From this angle we can see stabs looking up at the lov3-ing left behind by edob lov3.
Slicer charging blue liquid storm throwie moving quickly through the undergrowth at the base of the tower.
A western suburbs of Melbourne graffer, part of the AFP crew, Akuze left some of his unique letters on the outer wall of the building in between the silos and tower.
French artist Rashe and AWOL / MCT buddy Slicer from Melbourne painted the court yard amongst the lush green winter foilage.
A view of edob lov3s silo lov3 from an alley some 500 metres away. In the foreground we can see a Lush cat chatting with graffiti pal Gore.
And then unfortunately progress strikes and the re-development that had been approved begun.
Not everything that wants to play with you is friendly. Like a Cat with a mouse, keeping it alive until it is too punctured to be fun anymore, the claws gently crippled the friendly silos.
Paint while you can. Explore while you can. Take photos while the opportunity remains. And so we do. Remidy graffiti.
With scaffolding up inside the silo grounds to do their evil, the demo crew left behind new ways to access the previously in-accessible.
Iree NME unseen visions
mozz and porsche graff from 1997 just after the silos were first 'abandoned'
From some angles it seemed they might make it, like some of them would survive…
A grand sunset displaying shida, putos, phibs, maka, reka, akuze and Dvate
They seemed to be going down in a mathematical kind of way. A fractal-crumble.
Dvate, another Melbourne graffiti king with his own unique style and crew SDM painted in 2013 a little image of the tower back in the day, 1858 with a 1920s car to kind of match…
The courtyard was for quite a while untouched during the demolition except for more easy access made by the workers; this nice little tower tribute was painted in there 'relish'.
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 silos knew it was serious now.
The amount that could be removed gradually dwindled
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.
Waking up. Looking down.
Crumbled concrete, twisted steel and this view greeted me as reward for making it up.
The crumbled concrete blending in to the remains below.
Looking south east through thick steel wire threads we can see the hi-rises of Richmond; that's probably as far as you should lean though ey?
Probably the shot I wanted the most was hanging out over one of the remaining silos looking down into its eternal darkness. 100s of kilograms of concrete suspended on the end of steel wires hanging like water droplets from a tap. Worth it? Yes.
With some morning colour, a photo looking South down the street light lined Hoddle Street and Punt road to the MCG and beyond...
My nest; for a while…
Not long before the stairwell went too, Rus Kidd went back up the Silos for a farewell paint.
One of my favourite street artists from Melbourne or Belgium (still not sure which) mioghost. Painted up on the wall to the right he is very close to, but not on, the silos property; and will remain to watch it all disappear in one of his better moods, laughing.
No more lov3. The stairwell is all that remains. Solid steels so it requires extra scaffolding and machines to bring it down.
This warehouse is surviving, propped up by steel enforcments it awaits rejuvenation to accompany its heritage status.
With all the broken platforms removed, the levels are visible. At the top there was a failry rotten wooden loft. Home to many pigeons.
Now that the tower base was all clean, it was definitely time for some more Quelle and Atack
French buddy of Atak and Quelle Rashe also seized the opportunity for a fresh abando paint lacing the walls with a crystal charger.
And then one day, they were all gone. No more silos. Mio of course kept the mood light.
The tower as seen from Collingwood college. In the foreground a new mural by French artist dem189 and Melbourne artist Plea.
Construction of the 17 storey apartment tower, one of 3 towers going up is well under way; Mio looks on laughing as if he knew all along…