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Dimmey’s hidden secret in Richmond

G13th August 2007

C2 Comments


An amazing public artwork.

Many Melburnians would be familiar with Dimmey’s in Richmond. The business was started in 1853 as Dimelow & Gaylard, a drapery. Today it largely serves as a supplier of cheap imported goods.

The Dimmey’s building was constructed in 1907, following a fire that destroyed the original. A distinctive clock tower gave the building its iconic status. However, there is another newer feature of this building that is well work exploring.

Dimmey’s store in Swan Street, Richmond.

If one takes a walk down Green Street, which runs alongside Dimmey’s, a splendid mural can be seen on the wall of the store. The mural is by Hayden Dewar and depicts the history of Dimmey’s in the context of the times. Aspects of the retailer’s story are interwoven between Australian icons of each era. The detail of this work is truly amazing and is well worth seeing. The more one looks, the more one discovers!

The 1920’s and ’30’s portion of the mural.

The work was commissioned by Dimmey’s and has been completed in stages over several years. The mural starts in 1853 with the arrival of Messrs. Dimelow and Gaylard from Maryborough, then moves through the gold rush to Federation, and onto the twentieth century. Icons such as Rosella, The Magic Pudding, the Pelaco neon sign, Phar Lap and Blinky Bill appear between a Hill’s Hoist and the first Holden car. Troops head off to war whilst Dame Edna peers over a nearby backyard fence. Bert Newton and Graham Kennedy’s smiles contrast with the stern appearance of Sir Robert Menzies. As much as possible, this work depicts the symbols of a nation.

Sepia tones transform into living colour.

Aside from the technical skill shown in the depiction of each subject, the work is rich in detail. I especially enjoy how the work starts with sepia tones and progresses to colour over time. The research for this work has evidently been thorough.

Looking along the footpath of Green Street.

Words can hardly do this work justice and it is well worth a look. In a suburb riddled with senseless graffiti, it is pleasing to see that this genuine artwork remains untouched. I sincerely hope it remains that way.



2 responses to “Dimmey’s hidden secret in Richmond”

  • Written by auta ze szwecji on 20 November 2008:

    Very interesting article, i bookmarked your blog
    Best regards

  • Written by MrsBB on 21 May 2009:

    I’m sorry to learn that this awesome piece of art is slotted to be demolished for a parking lot! I saw Hayden working on this back in 2006. I was hoping to see it finished one day. I hope they don’t destroy this before I can get back to Australia.

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