(Image: Supplied)

The balcony of our apartment in Footscray faces east, the Melbourne city skyline perched on the horizon. The railway and Buckley St funnel out on either side of the building in opposite directions.

The road, usually so reliably bustling you have to wait several minutes before you cross, whatever the time of day, is now largely empty, save for the fairly steady noise of big delivery trucks from the nearby ports.

There's a disused lot across the road. The plywood fencing surrounding it is plastered in posters for comedy shows, gallery exhibitions and concerts. They feel so archaic, so of another era, they might just as easily be advertising the cigarettes nine out of 10 doctors recommend for pregnant women.