Chapel Street is one of Melbourne’s weekend hubs, home to a scattering of clubs and bars as well as boutiques and cafes where the permanently tanned and sunglass-clad beautiful people while away sunny afternoons listening to 1990s dance music.
What I had never really paid much attention to was the architecture. The Western end of the street is lined with a parade of towering Victorian commercial buildings, giving it something of the air of Buenos Aires.
In the very centre of the street stands this gloomy mansion, with dark void-like balconies. Its ground floor houses JB Hi Fi, a cheap electronics store, which I had never realised is located in a grandiose wrought-iron arcade.
Above this was, for many years, a secretive shop called “Day on Earth” which belonged to artist David Bromley and contained his studio as well as, apparently, atmospheric rooms full of strange things: antique furniture, old mannequins and scientific implements. It was open by appointment only. When I called the number to visit this time, the line was dead. I saw at ground level that the space has been re-branded as “David Bromley and Co” and the door, every time I passed, was firmly closed.
You can read more about the history of the building here.