Hartwell Railway Bridge Comes Alive

Hartwell Railway Bridge Graffiti
Hartwell Railway Bridge Graffiti

Have you seen the new street art murals on the walls under the Hartwell railway bridge? There are scenes from the past history of the Hartwell Centre on one side as well as bushland scenes recalling a more distant time on the other side. Boroondara Council made Hartwell Shopping Centre its priority for 2017 for Streetscape Improvement works and consulted the Hartwell Residents and Traders Association for ideas.

Top priority was cleaning up the railway bridge as well as fixing up the footpath. Murals were warmly welcomed as a great idea by all and Council consulted the Camberwell Historical Society before commissioning Juddy Roller Collective artist Dvante to design and execute the murals. Key inclusions were local flora and fauna and the original bushland as well as the steam train from the Outer Circle Railway days. Hartwell’s history as a shopping centre is represented by the art deco Regal Theatre – once the pride of suburban picture theatres – and the motor repair shop. It is only in recent years that Burwood Automotive on the corner of Summerhill Road moved, being now replaced by a new apartment block and shops. Also featured is the American Maid ice cream shop which no doubt many local residents will recall from their childhood days.

Hartwell Railway Bridge Ice Cream Parlour
Hartwell Railway Bridge Ice Cream Parlour

Intriguingly the mural also includes the well-known graffiti message:

I’ll always miss you Eileen. Farewell S.D. I love you.

Eileen’s friend Donna cleared up the mystery for the Herald Sun in October 2010. S.D. was Shane who evidently two-timed on Eileen and was dumped. Shane tried to get back in her good books without success. “He chose that bridge because Eileen drove home that way every day from the city and saw it.“ The message didn’t work and Eileen went on to meet the man of her dreams and is still happily married and living in a leafy suburb with a gorgeous hubby and a brood of kids. “From memory, Shane painted the second message `Farewell’ just before he moved overseas to work.” A great story that is part of the charm and history of Hartwell – the heart of Melbourne. The murals are a great innovation by the Council, done with the support of VicTrack which owns the bridge. They serve to brighten up Hartwell and make it come alive.