Nestled in between suburban dwellings in a quiet back street in Rozelle, Sydney, is an electricity substation dating back to 1934.
The building is no longer in use. The front facade has the clean angular lines of an art deco influenced style; the rear of the building, hidden behind barbed wire, is in a lovely leafy back lane and could almost be mistaken for a garden outhouse.
More romantically, it reminded me of early 19th century English garden architecture, where a rough hewn building in a garden landscape might contain a hermit. Tom Stoppard in his play Arcadia writes about the “hermitage” and the “hermit” in English landscape gardening.
“English landscape was invented by gardeners imitating foreign painters who were evoking classical authors…. Capability Brown doing Claude, who was doing Virgil. Arcadia!…. It’s the Gothic novel expressed in landscape.” Tom Stoppard, Arcadia.
The gently decaying building pictured below, with its little door, abandoned furniture and lovely overgrown garden might, perhaps, contain a hermit, and I half expected one to appear…