It surprised me to learn from this photo that the south west corner of Smith St and Gertrude St has been a vacant lot for more than 50 years and that it has been used (perhaps continuously) as an advertising space. This photograph, taken by Tony Banda in 1956, shows his wife Alfreda and their two children Rai and Madeline. Tony, Alfreda and Rai had arrived in Melbourne as immigrants from Albania two years earlier.
Courtesy of SLV pictures catalogue / ID: pi001739 / photographer: Tony Banda / copyright: SLV 1998 / used under the fair dealings provisions of the Copyright Act 1968 / c1956
This corner remains a vacant lot that is used for advertising.The main difference is that in 1956 the space was enclosed by walls with advertising on the exterior of the walls. The block is now empty with advertising on the exposed exterior walls of the properties next to the empty block.
In recent months propaganda for the Connex company, a private provider of public transport in Melbourne, was defaced on this site. Taken on 5 February 2009, the image below shows advertising for vans, which looks new and has no graffiti (Connex is offensive, but Renault is not).