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Cocker Alley

Cocker Alley runs south from Flinders Lane near Swanston Street. In 1895, it contained the Monahans Buildings and several other warehouses. Today its appearance is typical of urban alleyways, containing dumpsters, milk crates, large rats, and external plumbing protruding from the buildings on all sides. The walls of the alley are derelict between the cracked windows and ventilation shafts. But unlike most urban alleys, Cocker Alley also contains the work of a world famous artist. The small stencil of a trench-coat wearing figure in a scuba mask at the entrance to Cocker Alley is believed to be the work of Banksy, whose London graffiti art has sold for over $450,000. The artwork is now protected by a perspex case, causing debate amongst artists about the ethics of protecting street art. Despite the piece's value, it is often hidden behind rubbish bins.

Edwina Byrne

'City puts Banksy’s Art into Perspective', Herald Sun, 18 April 2008. Details