Melbourne Circle: Walking, Memory and Loss was published in December 2020. It is an account of a journey on foot around Melbourne in the years 2014-16 which I made with my late wife, Lynne. On the way we observed ghost signs, derelict buildings and lost places, and we uncovered countless forgotten stories and characters from the past.
In 2018, I experienced another kind of loss when Lynne died of cancer. Writing the book about our walks became a way not just of exploring the history of Melbourne but of coping with my grief by telling our story. Melbourne Circle is a personal memoir as much as it is travelogue and social history. In addition to weird and wonderful stories of how past Melburnians lived (monkey jockeys, anyone?) the book reflects on how our lives unfolded in the Melbourne suburbs, and how we built meanings together through our relationships with these places.
As the title suggests, the themes of the book are loss, memory, connection to place, and regeneration. All of this adds up to what I understand as ‘psychogeography’, meaning a recognition of our connection with place as a key to the meanings of our lives.
Here is the audio of my interview about the book with Hilary Harper on Radio National.
You can check out my original blog, Melbourne Circle, here.