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Articles By: hannah duke

Based in Melbourne, Australia, I'm an editor, journalist and creative savant with an unquenchable wanderlust. I'm also Coordinating Editor at My French Life™. Visit my blog> and online writing portfolio, or find me on Twitter and Google+.

Hannah Duke for Untapped Cities - Hosier Lane - Laneways - Melbourne

Open any guidebook on the Australian city of Melbourne and it will no doubt tell you to explore its “famous laneways.”

The Central Business District of Melbourne is a tightly-packed grid: officially named the ‘Hoddle Grid’, after its designer Robert Hoddle. He surveyed the “town” of Melbourne and drew up the plans in 1837. (Melbourne is a very young city!) Hoddle’s plans, and the subsequent expansion of the city included laneways, originally intended as service laneways for horses and carts. Many in the northern section of the CBD were associated with the slums of the Goldrush era.  (more…)

© Hannah Duke - Flinders street station - Melbourne - Untapped Cities

Imagine Paris without the Eiffel Tower, London without Big Ben, New York without the Empire State, the Statue of Liberty or Brooklyn Bridge. While Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station isn’t as well-recognized as these famed landmarks and tourist attractions, it’s an icon firmly planted in the eyes of Australians.  (more…)

© Hannah Duke - Melbourne laneways - Untapped Cities

The city of Melbourne, Australia, boasts a strangely organised central business district. The grid layout—much like New York City but on a much smaller scale—was originally named the Hoddle Grid after its creator. Designed in 1837, the layout also included many alleys and lane ways, which transform the feeling of hyper-organisation into something a little more coy. As we’ve already discovered, these laneways are the reason Melbourne has so much to discover.

You would think that at some point, a city would no longer have space for hidden places—that all the secrets would one day be told and that would be that. In younger, smaller cities like Melbourne, the challenge is simply finding space. It’s also finding a space that’s so bizarrely placed that it’s well-hidden enough to hold some kind of charm and secretive appeal.

So, here are our five favorite ways that the establishments in Melbourne have made the most of the urban terrain and layout. How have they chosen to hide themselves?  (more…)

Hannah Duke for Untapped Cities - The Blitz party - themed parties - London - Bourne & Hollingsworth

There’s nothing like a good costume party – being able to throw off your everyday garb and step into the shoes of another character (literally). People who would never normally interact have hour-long conversations, strangers approach strangers. There’s something magically unifying about a group of people pretending to be something they’re not.

But of course, there’s a difference between your old home-grown themed party held in a shoebox apartment and the kind that the grownups run. New York is bursting with themed events from underground dinners to prohibition-inspired poetry readings and a watertower speakeasy. Paris has the over-the-top group, We Are the Oracle. But if you happen to find yourself in London, we have a secret to share.


Greta Costello Photography - Ash Keating - Melbourne Now - Australia - Contemporary Art Festival  - CBD - Melbourne - Untapped Cities - Hannah Duke © Ash Keating, West Park Proposition 2012, photo credit: Greta Costello, courtesy of the National Gallery of Victoria

Melbourne Now didn’t open with a bang, but with 25 compressed and paint-filled fire extinguishers. In a gesture reminiscent of smashing a champagne bottle on the side of a boat, Ash Keating, in his fluorescent yellow get-up (complete with flat cap), splattered paint all over the north wall of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). Melbourne Now is the “largest and most ambitious exhibition in the NGV’s 152 year history,” according to the National Gallery. One look at the figures supports this statement: over 250 commissioned, loaned or acquired works and installations will be part of the contemporary art initiative, by 130 artists and 30 curators. It will take place over four months in Melbourne, Australia.