Who didn’t drive along Cooyong St and look up into the public housing flats and wondered about the people who lived there? Pot plants on balconies, children’s bicycles, political slogans, clothing on washing lines, glimpses into lives we knew nothing about.
The Allawah, Bega and Currong apartments were demolished earlier this year, after the ACT Heritage Council opted not to protect the site, saying they did not make any important contribution to the course of the ACT’s public housing history. The flats were built in 1956 and 1957.
Photographer Hardy Lohse thought otherwise. He knew these apartments, as well as the Northbourne flats and Red Hill flats which are also slated for demolition, were an integral part of Canberra’s soul.
And that the people who lived in them, the people who called these places their home, deserved to have their stories told.
“What I found was a beautiful community of artists, dreamers, intellectuals, battlers and those who faced prejudice and hardship in their everyday encounters,” Lohse says, of his exhibition Other People’s Lives.
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