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TikTokker finds the romance of ‘ordinary’ Melbourne

TikTokker Dylan Walsh, 20, is romanticising everyday Melbourne for the things about it that have never been appreciated. 

Garden State Journal, his TikTok account, captures Melbourne’s streets and suburbs with a gritty feel inspired by the ’70s, making the modern city feel like a piece of nostalgia. 

The videos are gaining attention from Melburnians, with his account gaining 25,000 followers and 165,000 likes, and some videos with more than 100,000 views. 

Walsh’s clips include quick snapshots of people doing mundane things like crossing the road, riding their bikes, or having drinks at a local cafe. 

Walsh uses a long lens when shooting and tries to be as far away from people as possible, to help give the effect he wants. “It creates a feel that you are just looking at people and are kind of wondering what they are doing,” he said. 

Garden State Journal was created in June 2022 as a way for Walsh to “document” and “journal” what Melbourne meant to him, in hopes it would inspire people to feel the same. 

I want Melburnians to feel proud about their city in the way New Yorkers feel about New York.

Walsh said he feels the responses to his videos show locals do feel that way that just need to be “fired up that little bit”.

His video a Friday Arvo in Thornbury gathered more than 170,000 views in a matter of days. It showcased the little things, like a mother fastening her daughter’s helmet and people walking the streets. 

Walsh has filmed multiple suburbs, aiming to capture the “essence” of the area.

 He said it is a long process for him, as he begins by consulting people in the area he is filming, asking them “well what is the area to you”. 

“This isn’t me just getting a random corner that isn’t relevant to the locals and saying this is it. It is about asking what the iconic streets are, the feel of the area and what time would best showcase this,” he said. 

TikTokker finds the romance of 'ordinary' Melbourne

Dylan Walsh creator of Garden State Journal. Picture by Zoe Malliaris

The main things that come about from people watching his videos are “nostalgia” and “romanticism”. 

“I found it interesting that my videos were seen as romanticising Melbourne because I was filming such mundane activities, it just shows how important the little things are to people,” he said. 

Walsh said he has even had people telling him his videos have shaped the way they spend their weekends.

Walsh films with a real grit while using a colour palette that is very ’70s in style. He pairs this with old blues music over the top. He said a big inspiration for his work is 1970s films, especially those taken place in the New York streets, and Australian films such as Chopper.

TikTokker finds the romance of 'ordinary' Melbourne

Scene from a grand final day video.

Melbourne’s Calling – an Instagram dedicated to promoting emerging creatives in Melbourne – have been supportive of Garden State Journal.

Owner Jackson Cowden said Walsh was showing everyone that they can be themselves and be celebrated within Melbourne. 

“Garden State Journal is what I see as vision, where hopefully in the future more creatives like Walsh can similarly look on what we have in Melbourne rather than turning away,” he said. 


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