One of my readers kindly alerted me to a recent ABC Radio National program called Hindsight, broadcast on 22 March 2009, about the demolition of Fitzroy’s slums and their replacement with high rise public housing in the 1950s and 1960s. The synopsis says:

In the 1950s one of Melbourne’s oldest suburbs, Fitzroy, was earmarked for redevelopment. For over a century Fitzroy had been considered one of the worst inner city slum suburbs and, in the post-war years, the government and social reformers saw it as the site upon which the new and modern style of city suburb would be created.

This came in the form of high-rise development — the big housing blocks which in more recent years have been the focus of criticism and debate. But, in the 1950s, many Fitzroy families were forcibly relocated, and their century-old homes demolished in the name of modernity and a mistaken belief that this ‘new’ type of suburb, with its high-rise public housing, offered Fitzroy residents a better way of life.

Visit the Hindsight episode page ‘Dirty Old Town’ to stream the 30 minute program or to download the MP3. Thanks to Mysterbey for the link.

Fitzroy histroy – demolishing the slums in the 1950s and 1960s

One thought on “Fitzroy histroy – demolishing the slums in the 1950s and 1960s

  • 21 April 2009 at 8:27 am

    Don’t know if it’s still there but in the old Melbourne Gallery at Melb Museum there was a written article of an interview with a woman who’d grown up in the slums and still lived there until they were demolished for the ’56 Olympics. Twas a great first-hand account, description similar to the slums in India – they looked awful on the outside but inside most of them were spotlessly clean and many people were gutted when their homes were torn down.


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