Denise Honan

D Honan Is An Australian Visual artist

Open House is on the last weekend of July in Melbourne . A day for public and private buildings of significance and interest , to throw their doors open  to all .

A visit to the Mission to Seafarers , Australian Tapestry Workshop , and Malthouse theatre , whetted my appetite in 2012 .

Marvelling , I steeped into the portico of the squat , iconic Mission building in Flinders St . It was a building I had passed on a daily basis in transit to my city job . Its closeted chapel revealed  intricate stained glass windows depicting sea misadventures , and well polished wooden pews warmed by the bums of many seamen  .  In the silent sancturary of the Norla Dome , home to changing art exhibitions of marine themed works  ,  I felt the history of the building .

edgewater towers

edgewater towers


The bustling Australian Tapestry workshop  , housed in a unique 19th century white filigreed building , was a plethora of colour and action . Massive , striking , woven canvases were draped across enormous frames , as the weavers diligently performed their timeless craft . All manner of stories were being told in thread , from afl footy matches , to delicate indigenous themes .

Malthouse , the stark modern theatre buit on an industrial site of a working brewery , is home to Melbourne’s avant garde theatre . Rehearsal rooms , costumes , sets and theatre spaces were explored with some dexterity by the zealous guide . Forced to forgo a visit to the police horse stable as the queue  snaked around the corner and down the street , I remembered it had also been a daily backdrop to my working life .

In 2013 , I want to visit the grotesque edgewater towers in St Kilda , Melbourne’ s first high rise dwelling built in 1959 . The quirky , Cairo , art deco bachelor  apartments  in fitzroy, and the majestic , distressed ballroom , atop flinders st railway station . Conversely , I  have been fortunate enough to enter , via the stagedoor , the Palais de Danse theatre in St Kilda . I too have danced on the rollingstage , crept  up into the roof space and peered out from the juliet balconies.

Hi Rise StKilda 1959

Hi Rise StKilda 1959

How successful is Open House Melbourne ?  I regularly attend the gallery space at the Mission to Seafarers ,  have attended a woodcut printing workshop at the tapestry workshop , and enjoyed several performances at the Malthouse Theatre . Fingers crossed that I win the ballot , and get the chance to peek inside the compelling , ruined splendour of  the Railway Ballroom  , this year .


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