Skip to content

Boundaries: Mapping Melbourne


‘There is always another history or a more private story underneath the public face of any city, of any suburb,’ wrote Sophie Cunningham in her acclaimed 2011 book, Melbourne. In Cunningham’s latest project, she continues to excavate these histories, and Melbourne’s shifting boundaries.

What is the history and logic of the current boundaries of the City of Melbourne, and what do we discover when we walk them? Where were the borders, limits and landmarks of the area pre-colonisation, and do they relate in any way to the boundary lines we have today? How do we manage resources, like water, that don’t care about boundaries at all?

Writer Sophie Cunningham and photographer Dianna Wells have been walking and documenting the defining boundaries of the City of Melbourne as part of the city’s Arts Grants program. Join them for a fascinating discussion with historian Gary Presland and water engineer Professor Tony Wong.

Supported by the City of Melbourne Arts Grants Program.


Sophie Cunningham

Sophie Cunningham AM is the author of seven books, across multiple fiction and nonfiction, children and adults and include City of Trees – Essays on life, death and the need for a forest, and Melbourne. She is also editor of the collection Fire, Flood, Plague: Australian writers respond to 2020... Read more

Dianna Wells

Dianna Wells is a Melbourne based photographic artist and has also been the owner and director of a graphic design company for more than twenty years. She has exhibited two solo exhibitions of fine art photography ‘On Edge’ (2012) and ‘Suburban Geometric’ (2014), exploring th... Read more

Gary Presland

Dr Gary Presland is an archaeologist, historian and author. His principal interests are in the landscapes and Aboriginal culture of pre-European Melbourne. He has been extensively published on these subjects, and his book The place for a village: how nature has shaped the city of Melbourne was judge... Read more

Tony Wong

Tony Wong is Professor and Chief Executive of the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities with research hubs in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Singapore. He is internationally recognised for his research and practice in the water-sensitive cities approach. His work on Water Sensitive ... Read more


The Wheeler Centre

176 Little Lonsdale Street Melbourne Victoria 3000

More details

Stay up to date with our upcoming events and special announcements by subscribing to the Wheeler Centre's mailing list.

View our privacy policy
Acknowledgment of Country

The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional owners of the land on which we work. We pay our respects to the people of the Kulin Nation and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, past and present.