Yarraville’s David Hourigan is racing against the clock to create miniatures of the inner-west’s quirkiest properties before they disappear forever. He speaks with Benjamin Millar.


What’s your connection with Yarraville?

Originally my wife and I came from Sydney. We moved to Melbourne 13 years ago and were in Brunswick, but about 12 years ago we moved to the west. If you grew up in Melbourne you might have had an idea about the west, but with fresh eyes we could see the area was vibrant and interesting.


What do you like most about the area?

It’s a very creative community and there are a lot of people doing creative things, so it feels there are a lot of kindred spirits here. Where we are we are just between Yarraville and Seddon, so you can wander to the local shops. We have everything here so there’s a danger of not leaving the area.


What are your favourite local places?

I have a young daughter so I spend a lot of time in the parks. Yarraville Gardens is just such a gem; it’s a beautiful juxtaposition between these grand Victorian gardens and the heavy industry abutting it. I think Cruickshank Park and the creek there is a hidden gem too, it’s such a sad state of affairs what has happened with the fire. We like Footscray Park as well and the new playground there. I always love Lola in Seddon and Yim Yam in Yarraville.


How did you become involved in miniatures?

I always built models as a kid, planes and tanks and little soldiers and things like that. More recently I thought I would like to do something a bit more accessible to people. I have always loved old buildings as well and there are so many around here. So it’s just combining the two. I thought it would be good to keep a record of what’s here before the wrecking ball comes in.


What were your first projects?

I started with the Yarraville Racing Pigeon Club, it’s just such a quirky little building. Next up was the Switch House in Station Road in Seddon. I like the ones that are a little bit decrepit, but I’m worrying they are all going to disappear. My next project is the Olympic Doughnuts van that was at Footscray station, it’s been gone for a while so I’m working off photos.


What other projects are you eyeing off?

I have got a list I want to do and it’s getting longer all the time. I want to do the Masonic Hall in Newport and the Dancing Dog in Footscray. I’m always thinking about building the Sun Theatre, it’s so iconic.


What is the process?

Up until now I have done it by going to the location, I go and sketch it in a big notebook and take a few measurements to work out the dimensions and extrapolate from there. Most of my brickwork is thick insulation foam, I use standard hobby stuff. Most of the rest is from plastic card. Then it’s the magic of the paint. Each one takes about two and a half to three weeks. I’m hoping to have enough soon to hold an exhibition later this year.

To see more of David Hourigan’s work visit www.instagram.com/davidhouriganartist