Stamping Ground: Stories Of The Northern Suburbs Of Melbourne
Clouds of Magellan, $20 pb, 159 pp
I have lived in Melbourne’s northern suburbs for almost a decade. I am also an aficionado of Australian literature. Thus, I was interested to read Stamping Ground, a collection of writings about my favourite side of the Yarra River.
In a brisk 159 pages, readers are transported from Northcote Plaza to the gardens of Thornbury and the traffic-congested streets of Brunswick and Preston. There are references to local landmarks such as the Edwardes Lake Park, Darebin Creek, Coburg Cemetery and the (now-defunct) Pentridge Prison. There are pieces set aboard the Epping line train and the Number 19 tram. Some pieces are set in recent years, others in the distant past. The contributions include poems, short stories and autobiographical fragments. Several contributors are well known in the Melbourne literary scene (I am thinking particularly of Catherine Deveny and Henry Von Doussa); others are relative newcomers. Perhaps unsurprisingly, many of the contributors live in or near the suburbs they write about.