Photo by Tully West. Words by Steve Rodgie.
It's a day of heartbreak for Melbourne skateboarders. The demolition of Lincoln Square has officially begun – one of the city's most iconic spots and one of the best real street plazas in the world. The fountain has been fenced off, and excavators and jackhammers have begun crushing up the beloved concrete.
Today comes after a long and laborious battle between the local residents surrounding the space in Carlton, and the local skaters. Primarily it has been noise complaints that have driven the Melbourne City Council’s decision to spend up to $300,000 to completely remodel the spot, making it ‘undesirable and unattractive’ to skateboarders.
“Everybody loved this place. It was so nice to come down at 5pm on a Friday and know everyone was already there,” says Melbourne’s Colin Evans. “I’m just thankful to have been part of the glory days.”
Lincoln Square’s fountain – skated daily by locals, interstate visitors and international guests as a manual pad and ledge – is The Bali Memorial, commemorating the victims of the 2002 Bali bombings. 202 people perished in the bombings, including 88 Australians, of whom 22 were Victorians. The memorial was officially opened on 12 October 2005, on the third anniversary of the bombings.
Casey Foley sneaks in a quick one amid the destruction. Video by Dylan Bruns.
“Ten years ago, when I was 11 years old, I went to Lincoln for the first time and thought I was the first person to find it”, says local skater and filmer, Tully West. “Little did I know what an impact it would have on my life. Thanks for the good times.”
‘The Godfather’ of Melbourne skateboarding, Anthony Mapstone, feels the pain of losing Lincoln, but remains confident that the Melbourne street scene won’t waver.
“It’s hard to think of what to say right now as what they have been saying for a long time is actually happening,” says Mappy. “Lincoln was amazing, so was Flatlands in the early-to-mid ’90s, and the Melbourne City Square in the ’80s/’90s. It's a shame that [Lincoln] is being dug up to pieces as I write this, but as street skaters we will keep skating. We will keep finding/creating new spots to keep our scene alive and strong. Melbourne is forever growing as a city, and with that comes the hope and scope for us to find, create and skate new spots. RIP Lincoln, but long live Melbourne skateboarding.”
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. The Melbourne City Council is working with Anthony, Ben Harriss and some other local legends involved to hopefully create a few new shared spaces for skateboarders in the city. Let’s see what transpires.
Photo by Anthony Mapstone.