A website has surfaced in recent weeks which compares the Melbourne of today to that of 1945. The stark differences can be viewed at Melbourne 1945 which provides contrasting aerial imagery using Department of Crown Lands and Survey photography mashed with current Mapbox capabilities.
Recently highlighted in The Age, Melbourne 1945 provides a tangible resource that charts Melbourne's immense growth over a sustained period. While providing a visual glimpse at Melbourne's past, it also points toward what lies ahead for Melbourne if the current path is maintained. That is further suburban sprawl with implications for both sustainability and the environment.
A description of Melbourne 1945 as provided by Nathan Jeffrey:
The aerial map of Melbourne in 1945 was commissioned by the Department of crown Lands and Survey, and conducted by Adastra Airways. This is a snapshot of the city immediately following WWII, and preceding the suburban sprawl of the postwar period.
You'll notice that there are some missing portions in the 1945 map - notably the areas around Wantirna, Blackburn and Frankston. Unfortunately the original photos covering these areas seem to be lost to time.Nathan Jeffrey, Melbourne, 1945
As the old adage goes, "You don't know where you're going until you know where you've been."
Melbourne 1945 is an intriguing glimpse into the past while also giving a fair indication as to how Melbourne has constantly expanded since the days of its founding during 1835. This in turn poses the question: will Melbourne continue its sprawl outward over the next 30, 50, 70 years or will suburban sprawl at some point be deemed counterproductive?
To think that Warburton is 72 kilometres from the CBD and still considered part of greater Melbourne is mind boggling! Will the greater Melbourne decades from now stretch beyond a 100-130 kilometre radius from the CBD? That sounds implausible, but I'm sure the equivalent was said during 1945 about locations we now consider middle and outer ring suburbs.
Replicating what has been done for the past 70 years by continually pushing Melbourne outwards is not the way forward, and the Melbourne 1945 website aides by providing an excellent visual representation of what has been. Build up in a responsible manner, not outwards!