A View from the Westbourne Grove rail bridge

Registration Number
Type of Object
Edition 1 of 5
Northcote Hysterical Society
Archival pigment print on rag paper
When Made
Public Description: 

The photograph, A View from the Westbourne Grove rail bridge, is from a series of photographs from the exhibition David Wadelton presents, The Northcote Hysterical Society which was shown at the Bundoora Homestead Art Gallery in 2015. These images, beautifully photographed and reproduced by David, are a wonderful look back at the seventies in and around the northern Melbourne suburb of Northcote.

The overhead view of a "Red Rattler" train traveling down the Epping line reminds us fondly of the old Tait Class trains that were introduced by the Victorian Railways in 1910. Wooden bodied and painted red, these were steam locomotives hauling cars, that were eventually converted to electric traction in 1919. The first cars were built during 1909 with the last entering service in 1951 and the phasing out of the Class from 1974. The trains were initially known as "Sliding Door" trains, as opposed to the "Swing Door" trains in service before them. From the 1950s they were also known as "Red Rattlers" or "Reds" when the new blue Harris Class of trains were introduced.

David Wadelton is a local Northcote resident, painter and photographer. Since the early 1980s he has exhibited extensively throughout Australia with regular solo exhibitions at Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne. He has participated in numerous group exhibitions from Vision In Disbelief, the 4th Biennale of Sydney in 1982, to Melbourne Now at the National Gallery of Victoria in 2013. A survey exhibition of Wadelton’s paintings and photographs, David Wadelton: Icons of Suburbia, was presented by McClelland Sculpture Park + Gallery in 2011. Wadelton has embraced social media in his practice, establishing The Northcote Hysterical Society in 2008, which now has thousands of members. He is represented in many state and national collections, including the Australian National Gallery, and the National Gallery of Victoria. In addition to his career as a visual artist, Wadelton has made significant contributions to the field of experimental music in Australia.

Train source information: http://melbourneoldschooler.blogspot.com.au/p/train-history.html

A View from the Westbourne Grove rail bridge © David Wadelton

Makers Statement: 
Here you will find photos I took of Northcote and environs in the 1970s and early 80s, all in glorious black and white. I moved to Northcote in 1975, attracted by the cheap rent and proximity to the city and public transport. At first I rented a house in Clarke Street, then above a shop in High Street. We bought a house and I'm still here! Wadelton says ‘of the many thousands of negatives I have from the 1970s, the ones I chose to print back then in my home darkroom (with a few exceptions) now seem the least interesting. So many of the negatives that interest me now went right through to the keeper back then. But I kept the negatives and that’s the key.’