Historic Bluestone Laneways

| May 28, 2013

melbourne bluestone laneways

melbourne bluestone laneways

melbourne bluestone laneways Looking at the potential significance of all laneways before they ”disappear under concrete”.

Melbourne Australia is rich with history using one of the best known modular pavement structures that exists in todays modern world.¬†This network of bluestone paved laneways that gives so much of the ”fine-grained” character to inner Melbourne can also be read as the high-tide mark of the city’s settlement pattern during the 1930’s.

That was the year when municipal councils stopped using the locally quarried bluestone square-edged pitchers, or ”setts”, as the surfacing material in the smaller streets, rights-of-way, lanes and alleys, and started to use concrete and asphalt.

The ubiquity of bluestone laneways was so extensive that they had become unremarkable. But what is remarkable is that of all the heritage elements of all the precincts of old Melbourne that have changed so much in the pulverising decades of redevelopment, it is the bluestone laneways that have been the great survivors. Some have been there since the 1840s and many are imprinted with the ruts of cart-wheels that evoke ”an incessant clatter and rumble of hooves and iron-rimmed wheels on cobbles”.

Bluestone – the material of the very geology that underlies the ground surface of western Melbourne, the most easterly edge of the third-biggest volcanic plane on Earth – is tough. Hard, intractable, but easy to split into squared facets, it is, say the urban historians, the key material of Melbourne’s ”robust, urban fabric”. ¬†Along with lacy terraces, Victorian brick villas, imperial-scaled 19th-century public buildings, extensive public parklands and deciduous residential streetscapes, it is ”part of the richness of inner Melbourne”.

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Category: Natural Stone, News

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