A Tale of an Auction Chapter 1 The Dream


It is said that if you think very hard about something you want to happen, as if it has already happened, then it will surely come to be.

It is said to be universal law.  

Make sure you are careful what you concentrate on however, what you wish for, lest it is what you don’t want…

It was a dream, dreamed of for what seemed like forever. This prime piece of real estate in the suburb of inner city Carlton.
When first sighted, it was a hole in the ground, surrounded by a wire mesh fence, filled with rubbish, in a side alley, bordering Melbourne’s Lygon Street. It had a display unit built on the site and with a very chirpy and persuasive salesman, we were hooked – despite his hand shake – the wet fish hand shake I remember so well. We bought ” off-the-plan”. A multi, 3-storey apartment complex would rise from the rubble. 32 apartments – and one would be ours.

It was a dream come true. We followed each stage of the development with absolute, unbridled joy. Coming from a  free standing house in suburbia ( the’ burbs’ )to experience inner city living was not new or strange to us. We were frequent visitors to the area, many weekends having been spent here trawling the shops, sipping the lattes, people watching, enjoying the vibe. Those Summer days spent strolling Carlton were the best.

We moved in to our brand new apartment in 1996, one year since we chanced upon that piece of dirt in an alley.

Two bedrooms, light filled, modern, with gleaming new appliances, the paint barely dry. An outside balcony brought home to us where we actually were, as on late Summer evenings, the aromas of garlic and coffee wafted over the houses and down the laneway, mixing with the not yet unpleasant smell of traffic fumes.

The negativity and doubts expressed by well meaning relatives had no effect on our enthusiasm. There were many nay-sayers, there always are.  My Mother disapproved, vocally. “ You live in an alley! “ was her repeated refrain, much repeated, every time there was an update. “ But it’s an alley!” Perhaps if we had looked beyond the initial excitement  there may have been signs to pick up on, storm clouds on the horizon, gathering out beyond our sight. For now, we were content. This little part of the world was now ours to embrace. I was a local, I belonged here, I was home.

How I loved that apartment. I loved living there. However, after a year had passed, those storm clouds gathered momentum over us. The dream began to take on a different, nightmarish quality. Those positives changed to negatives. The neighbours who had resented the intrusion of building works and apartments in their neighbourhood, the noisy students and tenants who began to ruin our sleep, The Body Corporate Committee of Management, the black dust accumulating on every surface, the general pollution – all combined. Experiencing all Carlton had to offer included many less attractive activities, like trips to local doctors and hospitals. We suffered recurring illnesses. Bad, vicious bouts of flu like symptoms which came and went. There was not enough air, it became hard to breathe – and what WAS that black dust on all the window sills? I was constantly unwell it seemed. The seeds of doubt grew. So….

Another dream was created. Another home beckoned. Away from the black dust but still close to the City where we both worked. A white washed modern townhouse that looked like it was transported from a Greek Island. We knew we had to go. After only eighteen months, so began the selling process, from Carlton to Northcote.

What follows is an account of our experience.

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