It seems even the storm water gutters in this part of Melbourne are protected by Heritage regulations.
On a side street not one minute from where I’m staying, the gutters had become clogged with weeds, and the blocks of bluestone originally used to construct these channels for storm water, had become disrupted by the probing roots of the Plane trees lining the street, and also by greatly increased vehicular traffic.
It was not a simple matter of pulling up and tossing out these old bluestone blocks, and then replacing them easily and quickly with concrete. Heritage protection said “Replace them as they were, with the same materials.”
So, in came the machinery, to lift and stack the stone blocks, to carefully re-contour the base of the gutters, to place a compacted base of aggregate.
Then came the human factor, with artisans from Italy and Croatia, who knew just how to replace those heavy blocks, how to provide spaces for storm water to percolate to the roots of those Plane trees, how to ensure the correct inclination of individual blocks and the total gutter to ensure the proper flow of the storm water.
The crew took obvious pride in their work, and were happy to share information about what and how they did this. How wonderful to stumble across this example of skill and craftsmanship, in this throw-away 21st century.