On the side of a tall fencing have been million-dollar houses, nice family houses in desired  inner-city Williamstown.

On the flip side, it looks like the apocalyptic wake of a hurricane.

Hobsons Bay Caravan Park resident Michael walks past a trashed van that belonged to his neighbour.
Hobsons Bay Caravan Park resident Michael walks past a trashed van that belonged to his neighbor.     Photo: Justin McManus

Dilapidated caravans and components really are hemmed by splintered wood, dumped boxes and furniture of sodden clothes.

Day-by-day, fresh earth is vulnerable as trucks dismissed out caravans that may  be marketed (typically for a pittance). The remainder goes to the tip.  

Michael inside his caravan.
Michael in his caravan.     Photo: Justin McManus

Hobsons Bay Caravan Park is closing, after the prime website was sold to developers for millions   and rezoned for residential housing (with up to 10 per cent of it allowed for social housing).

But with the closure   goes home  for a number of Melbourne’s most vulnerable, low-income  taxpayers.

Half-a-dozen residential home parks are closing or have closed from Melbourne in the last 3 decades, such as BP Caravan Park in Werribee South and Wantirna Caravan Park. Hundreds of dwellings have been gone.  

And housing advocates say a lot of Hobsons Bay’s former residents might end up sleeping rough in Melbourne’s CBD.

The Hobsons Bay Caravan Park.
The Hobsons Bay Caravan Park.   Photo: Justin McManus

Many have moved into other caravan parks. Most   have approved areas in rooming houses, or crisis accommodation.

“Each closure of a caravan park means one less option of last resort,” says Jenny Smith, the head of the Council to Homeless Persons. “This  is the reason we’re seeing more people sleeping rough on our streets.”  

About 1400 people who reside in Victoria’s caravan parks utilized displaced services this past year.  

The 120-odd Hobsons Bay residents are given notice, along with a little number will look prior to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal on Wednesday to plead for extra time to discover a new residence.

Each closing of a picnic park means one less option of last resort.

Jenny Smith

About 20 per cent —  people that are insecure because of their age or health — have managed to secure a public spot, catapulted to the peak of the 30,000-strong waiting list with their precarious position.  

Maybe not that Hobsons Bay is being mourned exactly. The area was constantly scrappy and gloomy, a halfway point for woman visiting family violence, those with severe mental and other health problems. People pushed right to the gross margins.

But in Melbourne’s unaffordable rental market it was cheap(ish). A caravan price $130 a week to lease, with power on top of this.      

And for many such as Russell, who does not want to work with his surname, it had been home for over 25 decades. In his late 60s now, he grew up in Braybrook and functioned as a labourer, however, lost his job because of his health and now has crippling depression.

On the day The Age visited , the water pipe into Russell’s caravan was sawn through and he was unable to wash. He poked around at the back of his van, trying to reconnect it.  

Due to his age and health, Russell is one of the lucky ones; he’s been provided a public housing unit in a nearby suburb.  

But failing this, his only alternative was to reside in his car: “I’d fixed up my van and was planning to sleep in that if I needed to.”

The Victorian state government recently dedicated long-awaited funding to a enormous social housing expansion fund that will help supply   6000 dwellings.

But these  have not been built yet, and can not  ameliorate decades of under investment in authorities.

In its state budget entry the Council to Homeless Persons has known for 10,000 one-bedroom house to be built  within the next five decades because that property form is in scarcest demand.    


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