I took a ride up to the urban decay that is Downer Shops on the weekend … and took some photos … the shop side is truly derelict.

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One of my first group houses in the early 90′s was a weatherboard affair in Durack Street (which incidentally was the coldest house I’ve ever lived in) and Downer Shops was my local. The centre was in decline even back then. There was a dark supermarket (literally dark and dingy and not of the supernatural bent … well, not that I ever saw…) a Chinese Restaurant which was passable and an Italian which was dire. There were some others too but I’m unable to recall them.

There were people around. Over at the Community rooms on the other side of a little park (with attendant rock sculpture) in the middle of the complex a groups was packing up after a meeting. The community rooms are by contrast clean and swept … and the end of the building features a mural by Byrd. There was a little post-it note stuck onto some fresh graffiti staking a claim on what’s otherwise a remarkably graffiti-free building. The carpark was more or less subscribed and the two sporting fields were both full of soccer and families enjoying the late afternoon autumn sunshine.

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The shop side is just sliding into decay and I loved the irony of the boarded up security company shopfront. The community noticeboard lies vacant and the hand-carved bicentennial logo (someone took ages making that … with it’s little Tasmania) still stands proudly beneath a dead clock. So, while there were folks about … the centre felt truly abandoned. I understand that new development is slated for the area … maybe that’ll start this dead heart?


About

Geoffrey Dunn is a Canberra based photographer specialising in portraiture and event photography.

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PO Box 1087, Dickson ACT 2602

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