Melbourne is pronounced ‘Mel-vin’, let’s get that out of the way. One of the most important cities in Australia, former capital and still reigning leading patron of the arts and culture, Melbourne is regarded as a skateboarding scene destination for local and foreign pilgrims. It stands historically and currently as the perfect synthesis between the sophisticated intellectual movements and a proud and competitive sports kinship that ultimately have begotten a unique skateboarding style from the surrounding area of Port Phillip Bay. Let’s have a look.
Skateboarding and Australia Relationship Status
Even though skateboarding can be traced back in Aussie land to the late 60’s when the scene was erupting in the US West Coast, the relationship has been one that has overcome many hardships and ill encounters; a relationship that started just as the one at the far end of the Pacific Rim with the surfers’ invasion of the streets. The government and the public did not see skateboarding in good terms at first and still it managed to hold on and resist the lack of sponsorship and the decade of worldwide skateboarding decay between the 80’s and the 90’s. Noel Forsyth, Jack Fardell and the Pappas Brothers are just three legends worth mentioning that born, lived and triumphed in the land of Vegemite and men at work.
Melbourne: Fighting For Skateboarding
Melbourne was one of the first cities that lifted the taboo around skateboarding. The Skate Melbourne Plan is a community initiative that defends skateboarders’ right to free will and free usage of public space. It started as a response for the destruction of Lincoln Square, one of the most treasured and longstanding skate parks that the city council decided to demolish. This led to demonstrations that united under one banner the skaters of Melbourne and of all Australia for reclaiming what were rightfully theirs.
Efforts has been done to order the construction of several skateboard parks in the city and appropriating skate sports to compensate for the loss. This however has been met with suspicious glances by skateboarding community itself, since they think biased politicians only started caring for their interests because of the Olympics recognition.
Nonetheless, achievements are done every day that favors skateboarders, thanks to local talents such as Anthony Mapstone, Ben Harriss, and Casey Foley. The fear for a utter treason from local politicians remain, since although skate spots and parks are planned in order to shape Melbourne the most skateboarding friendly city in that hemisphere, there are some people who argue against it and try to ban skateboarding from public space itself.
Only time will tell... but until then, as Fardell would say: Skate hard, skate fast, Melbourne! #MelbourneStillSkateboards!