Thursday, February 13, 2014

Then and now

Where once there was this…
Wolfgang Sievers: Elegant shopping at La Pastorale Frocks, 125 Collins Street, Melbourne, 1965 (National Library of Australia)

…and this…
Wolfgang Sievers: Pedestrians in Collins Street, 1964

There is now this…
Image: Grand Hyatt Hotel (
Was La Pastorale boutique one of Whelan the Wrecker’s innumerable demolition victims? I’ve been unable to find out. But the demolition company did become notorious in the 1960s for its role in the destruction of many Collins Street buildings, so it’s not inconceivable. 

To be honest, I have nothing against the Grand Hyatt (well, besides the fact that it's far beyond my budget), and it certainly lives up to expectations of what a five-star hotel at the Paris end of Collins Street should be … but it’s not exactly La Pastorale, is it? Not a crazy paving stone in sight, much less a hoity-toity shop mannequin.

A note about the photographer
You’ll be seeing a lot more of Wolfgang Sievers’ (AO) work on this blog. A German-born photographer who arrived in Australia aboard the P&O Cormoran in 1938, he settled in Melbourne, where he lived until his death in 2007 at the ripe old age of 93. 

Having fled Germany after being conscripted by the Luftwaffe to be an aerial photographer, he later enlisted in the Australian Army, serving between 1942 and 1946. On his return, he built a prolific and influential career photographing primarily architecture and industry. 

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