Melbourne: celebrating 175 years

By Amy Middleton 8 November 2013
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Melbournians have been out and about, documenting the changing face of their city, comparing new scenes to old.

THE FINALISTS OF A photography competition showcasing Melbourne’s past and present have been announced. Snapped: Melbourne Past to Present was a photography competition to honour Melbourne’s 175th birthday. An exhibition of the winners is currently on display in Flinders Lane.

If you weren’t aware Melbourne was celebrating this milestone, you’re forgiven – fanfare was surprisingly minimal, compared to the usual media hype that surrounds even the most trivial of events in either Sydney or Melbourne. (Melbourne perhaps keeps its age quiet, because Sydney will always be older.)

The competition marks a clever and creative way to showcase both the charming city’s changing face, and the artistic leanings of its populace. The City Library’s online photo archive showcases decades worth of photographs of historical Melbourne, and entrants were asked to recreate an old photo in the modern day. A panel of judges, including two photographers and two historians, chose the winners from both under-18 and over-18 categories. Winners received up to $1000 in prize money, which is enough for a couple of retro lenses or an over-the-shoulder designer camera case!


Degraves Lane past and present, by third-place under-18 winner, Anna Leonedas

Wherever you may sit in the Melbourne vs Sydney debate (and believe me, readers, the rivalry still runs hot), all will agree that inner Melbourne has some very photogenic angles. And those who have spent some time in Melbourne’s northside suburbs will know, the garden state has no shortage of keen photographers. A quick stroll through Fitzroy, just north of the CBD, is like browsing a recent history of specialist photography equipment.

The winners and finalists are on display until 27 November at The Gallery @ City Library in the city’s Flinders Lane. (Sydneysiders beware: laneways, trams and a certain illustrious sports stadium are likely to dominate the display, and your bitter remarks may not bode well south of the border…)

Amy Middleton, who writes from Melbourne, is the former Online Editor or Australian Geographic.

MCG aerial view past and present, by second-place under-18 winner, Liam Sieker.


To the MCG, by third-place over-18 winner, Hans Sieker.