The Battle for Alexandra Parade

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Tunnel entry here?

Image: The Age “Residents fear the worst for their homes’ future” (9 May 2013)

The proposed East West road tunnel is not the first time the inner northern communities of Melbourne have faced the onslaught of massive road developments.

In 1970s and 1990s, the Eastern Freeway extension, then known as F19, was the catalyst for long running protests and barricades as local communities fought against the Victorian State Government to stop their suburbs being torn apart. Read on for archival photographs, interviews and social histories.

The confluence of the Yarra River and the Merri Creek is one of the most culturally significant sites for the Wurundjeri. We acknowledge the Wurundjeri people as the Traditional Owners of the country within these inner suburbs of Melbourne.


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6 thoughts on “The Battle for Alexandra Parade”

  1. Cory says:

    Such a *modern*, progressive-thinking solution this tunnel is eh?

  2. Susanna says:

    By golly I remember this campaign well.

    A couple of incidents stand out as amusing (if any part of this could possibly be called amusing)

    1. The police spokesmen on the news condemned the ‘rubbish’ ‘health hazard’ of the barricade we had erected. Meanwhile, outside of their caravan were piles and piles of used tea-bags and boxes of kentucky fried chicken

    2. The first car to come down the new freeway (with a police escort) was a Mercedes. Driven by Bob Jane.

    I can laugh now

  3. David Collins says:

    We should also remember the battle in the early 1990s to stop the widening of Alexandra Pde. The Coalition Against Freeway Extensions (CAFE) fought this “upgrade” knowing that the resulting increased traffic volumes would inevitably bring us to the current situation. Many 1977 protesters were involved in the 1994 campaign.

  4. admin says:

    These pages have been updated to now include Citizens Against the Freeway Action (CAF) and Coalition Against Freeway Extensions (CAFE) history, so please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any additional photos or stories.

  5. Philip McIntyre says:

    I also remember this campaign well, manning the barricades across my Wellington Street. Having stopped the Eastern freeway from going along Alex Pde we now have to fight a similar battle. Never thought I’d have to, but have been fighting again through the Trains not Tolls campaign and holding the banners for many months at Hoddle Street Friday morning protests. Hope springs eternal!

  6. chrisg says:

    Community Action and Culture
    =============================
    Following a public meeting on 23 December 1971, a a freeway action group (convenor John Anderson) was formed t o deal with the threatened extension of the Eastern (F19) Freeway through Carlton.

    After three months research the group issued its ‘Freeway Crisis Report’, which concluded that the freeway construction in inner metropolitan Melbourne was uncoordinated with all other planning for the area. The government was requested to halt all freeway construction until there had been a thorough examination of the effects on the inner suburbs. In March 1973 the state government announced a revised freeway network that did not contain an extension of the F19 through Carlton.

    The action group then lobbied the MCC to take measures to protect residents from the anticipated large increase in traffic that would come from the F19, and in particular to oppose the widening of Princes Street.

    The Carlton Association Report No.10, ‘Liars or Fools?- How Not To Plan Freeways’ published in April 1979 demonstrated that the Country Road’s Board had severely underestimated the effects of additional traffic from the freeway on Carlton and argued that there was a need to urgently review the effects of three proposed freeways in the light of the unresolved problems caused by the F19.

    Peter Yule (ed.), Carlton A History, Carlton Residents Association, 2004, MUP. p.162

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