…or, if you prefer, UrbEx. However it was explained to me by a couple I chanced to meet there, somewhere in the wilds of Yarraville or Footscray or wherever it was, that “UrbExers” are the ones who draw too much attention to this noble pursuit, and are therefore generally shunned by hard-core explorers (like us, obviously).
So even in the erstwhile halcyon urban explorer world there is a pecking order. It should come as no surprise - some of these people take their exploration pretty seriously. For instance, thanks to chatting with these lovely people I already have directions for a few other choice locations in the Melbourne area for another day (there’s a prize site to be seen from the train between Yarraville and Spotswood apparently).
A little later the same day I reconnected with my new buddies and we collectively expressed our utmost disdain for the dreaded petrolheads, like some errant wayward tribe from the set of Mad Max, who’d in the meantime invaded our idyllic industrial wasteland with their supercharged machines of glory. Petrolheads, like UrbExers, draw unwanted attention to these places - the attention of vile creatures such as, for instance, development-obsessed councillors who’d rip these places down before you could snap a picture so that shiny new condo developments would rise, Phoenix-like, from the ashes. Bastards.
In the end I left there somewhat reluctantly, enriched with a new hobby, some new friends and some pictures, but nevertheless needing to escape the acrid smell of burning rubber and the screams of tortured tyres and the billowing spinning wheel smoke that was by then emanating from this otherwise wondrous palace of decay.
But, as in the words of another famous post-apocalyptic seer and probable urban explorer: I’ll be back.