A Northcote Folly

High Street, Northcote

Whilst Darebin council was performing some undergrowth management on High St in Westgarth this structure emerged during the late 1990s. It is located on the west side of High St on the median strip between Walker and Cunningham Streets. It is made of bluestone boulders and earthenware drainage pipes and bonded with mortar. It is about 1800cm at the base tapering to around 1100cm width at the top and 1400cm high. It appears that there may have been a small set of smallish boulders around the base. Recently a small Buddha statue has been placed within the central cavity. This section may (or not) have been the location of a fountain. There is a hole lower down but this appears to be where a stone has come away. Decorative heads have been placed atop the pipes. This could be seen as reminiscent of Victorian house decorations which have similar heads on the dividing walls facing the street.

Questions have been raised as to when and for whom this was erected. Unfortunately no plaques are on it – or have been removed. So until more substantial evidence comes to light most thoughts are supposition. The heads atop seem to add a 'kitchiness' to the structure.

After looking at a number of historic images of the western side of High St this structure does not appear in any images up to the 1940s. Similarly there is nil documentation in any literature relating to the area.

The first photos of the folly shows it was originally located in Johnson’s Park in Bastings Street during the 1930s.  It appears that there have been some additions to the sculpture as well as some damage. 

The original artist of this piece is currently unknown as is the date that it was moved from Johnson’s Park to High Street.