10 Watkins Street, Fitzroy North

Looking South. 10 Watkins Street was bought by Housing Commission on 30 June 1970 and demolished on 30 September 1970. The purchase price was $11,750. This property was not under a demolition or repair order. The Fitzroy Residents’ Association cleared all rubbish from the site, planted trees (despite Housing Commission opposition) and stated their intention to construct a playground on the site. On Sunday 15 August 1971, the Fitzroy Residents’ Association held a combined rally addressed by Mr David Bronstein (MLA Brunswick East). Three hundred people marched down Nicholson Street to 10 Watkins Street, where Worker Student Alliance members burnt an effigy of the Housing Commission. The sculpture, symbolising the crucifixion of the residents by the Housing Commission, was erected. A petition calling for a Royal Commission into the activities of the Housing Commission was signed. [Sources: Melbourne Times 18 August 1971 & interviews]. (Text from Yarra Libraries)

Also visible: To the South, behind the sculpture, is the Ivan Porter Shoe Company, 2 Boston Place. The company, and its accountant, Mr. Norman Yarr, supported the residents including taking court action against the Housing Commission’s activities. As of 2009, the factory no longer survives. Photo held by Yarra Libraries. Photo taken by Elinor Scrambler 1971
The view of 10 Watkins Street today (Google Images Jan 2021)
Image held by Fitzroy Library. Photo taken by Elinor Scrambler 1971

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