My thoughts for Docklands
I would like to share some of my thoughts about a vision for a thriving Docklands.
I have been living here for 18 months and have watched the sense of community (multicultural) deepen during the COVID narrative. I guess many residents could not return home so needed to develop stronger links here. Whatever the case, the community that actually lives here is a seriously pleasant and warm group of people. I celebrate that and would like more focus on actually building from what is already a strength: multicultural community. Other strengths are the green spaces, festivals of various groups/religions, and of course Birrarung and the harbour.
During 2014 and 2015, I was a writer-in-residence in one of the “Dockland Spaces” that were given to artists to bring heart/soul into Docklands. This gallery (held by Mission to Seafarers) was on Docklands Drive and I shared it with a painter (Robert Lee Davis). During my time there, I organised a three-day workshop for writers/artists/thinkers on the theme of “Home and Sanctuary”. There were 12 participants from varied backgrounds and two indigenous artists.
Since this time, Docklands has continued to search for identity. I see the harbour as a sanctuary, and I think it is very important to honour our maritime history in Docklands. One of my favourite places is the pier where all the old boats (Wattle, Enterprize, Alma) and the boat builders/restorers are. The new floating hospitality venue is coming along, and it will be important for that to strengthen that precinct with boat-building themes. It will draw people to the area and create an appreciation for the craftsmanship involved with shipwrights, metalwork, woodwork, steam-engines, sailboats and boat building.
My second suggestion is regarding the lack of spiritual/sacred space in Docklands. I remember back when I was working in The Porthole Gallery (2014/2015), there was an article in Dockland News about tendering for a sacred space. A large evangelical church (not named) was the main contender and was knocked back, which I thought was a good decision as there are many different faith groups represented in Docklands. Although I myself express faith through Christianity, I believe the best way ahead for Docklands is a sacred space (or spiritual centre) that could accommodate all faith groups including Aboriginal Dreamtime spirituality, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, New Age spirituality, etc., etc.
I believe that without such a place, the soul of Docklands will struggle to find identity, and healing and heart will be allusive. I would love to see a purpose-built spiritual space sitting out over the water in Central Pier that could be
used by all faith groups and have a part set aside for any individual to sit and be able to find sanctuary, quietness and prayer. It would also be able to accommodate times for healing and spiritual education (especially indigenous spirituality).
These are my thoughts on two aspects of Docklands that have not reached their potential and would bring heart and soul into the community and the city of Melbourne. I hope you find it helpful. •
Change is needed ... now!
As long as Development Victoria, Parks Victoria, etc., are involved in Docklands much needed progress will not happen.
Years of stalling leaves us angry about their inability to get anything done. Let Docklanders have a genuine say and control over our lovely area so we can have a vibrant community.
It can be done now.
Start by getting rid of the entities that couldn't care less.
And thank goodness the eyesore western part of Central Pier is almost demolished so the waterway is opened up and can be used for activities.
Now leave the space for people to enjoy the view and enjoy a reasonable space on the water.
If you must have a memorial for the jetty include it on the main pier - don't block the waterway again with something useless.