Graffiti site preserved for cultural value
By Peter Mickelburough
EXCLUSIVE: A MELBOURNE graffiti website glorifying illegal tagging and featuring tips for vandals has been archived by the National Library because of
its social and cultural value.
A virtual "graffiti school", the site claims the nation's largest online collection of "street art photos", with more than 4000 images of graffiti and
tags on trains and the streets.
Many of the photos were taken in Melbourne.
The State Government last night vowed to investigate if it could prosecute the creators of the site.
"I will seek advice as to whether the website contravenes any existing law, including the Graffiti Prevention Act," Crime Prevention Minister Andrew
McIntosh told the Herald Sun.
Under the Act it is illegal to advertise graffiti implements using images or words that are likely to incite or promote unlawful graffiti.
The website, which carries the National Library's logo, also:
LISTS the tags of 96 graffiti "crews".
SHOWS videos of gangs at work.
PROVIDES practice train outlines for vandals to sketch designs on before "bombing" trains.
RECOMMENDS two businesses to buy spray paint and other supplies.
OFFERS a mailing list for "important graffiti news and events info".
RUNS graffiti art design competitions.
National Library manager Paul Koerbin said the site was selected for preservation by the State Library of Victoria as part of the national Pandora
program to selectively preserve a wide range of websites.
Mr Koerbin said if a website was legal it was eligible for collection and the library did not censor or endorse the contents of sites.
"The reason it would have been selected is that it is a site that documents that activity and the graffiti that's done in Melbourne and that
represents society and culture," he said.
Mr Koerbin said he would, however, be contacting the site to ask that the library's logo be removed from it.
Mr McIntosh said it would be difficult to shut down the site because it was hosted in the US.
He said the Government had a zero-tolerance to graffiti and was investing $13.5 million in local graffiti prevention and removal programs, including a
rapid response strike team to remove graffiti from problem areas and gather intelligence for councils and police.
Graffiti clean-up costs tens of millions of dollars each year in Victoria, with Metro spending $11 million to scrub trains clean of tags while
Melbourne City Council's annual bill tops $1 million.
Metro said it would welcome any move to stop the promotion of graffiti.
"Graffitiing trains is . . . a significant problem for us," Metro spokesman Daniel Hoare said.
"It takes trains out of service and is costly to remove. We strongly discourage the promotion of vandalism."
The anonymous hosts of the graffiti website did not respond to Herald Sun emails yesterday.
**It doesn't mention the site but obv it is melbournegraffiti.com