Imagine living next door to these neighbours
SHOOTOUTS over fences. Sculptures flipping neighbours the bird. Swastika flags. Foul substances smeared in letterboxes. If you get on with your neighbours … be grateful, because it could be so much worse.
Some, like the Caroline Springs homeowners who installed a massive David replica in their front yard, won plenty of support as well as derision.
But neighbours' patience ran thin with a chronic Carnegie hoarder whose mess could be seen on Google Earth.
MAN INSTALLS GIANT MIDDLE FINGER SCULPTURE IN BACKYARD
IN 2007 an unnamed North Warrandyte man built a 4.2m-high sculputre seen as a pointed insult by at least one neighbour who had opposed the man's plans to build his dream home.
The sculpture, which also lit up at night, graced the Charlotte Court bush garden, with its owner also eventually winning his costly planning battle to build his home.
The artist denied to the Diamond Valley Leader in 2007 that his sculpture was aimed at his neighbours, saying: "It is a work of art it is nothing else.''
"I would imagine people would say I have a bee in my bonnet over the fact I lost $20,000 and 12 months to get a planning permit.''
"Every artist does their work whether it is an artwork or a painting to express themselves. I am expressing myself.''
"NEIGHBOUR FROM HELL" ALSO FLIPS BIRD
A PARK Orchards man who put up a wooden sculpture of a rude finger gesture in his yard and headbutted a neighbour was described by a magistrate in 2011 as "the neighbour from hell''.
The court had heard David Muscat felt "at war'' with his Frogmore Crescent neighbours during the long-running feud.
Muscat used a chainsaw to carve the 1.2m wooden sculpture in his front yard, after neighbours complained about him clearing trees.
Then two months later Muscat assaulted a neighbour who had asked him to turn off a leaf blower sending dust and debris into the neighbour's caravan, the court heard.
The court was told Muscat headbutted a man living next door, shoulder-barged the man's wife, and put the leafblower in their faces.
After being visited by police following the assault, Muscat ignored an order to turn down music.
Magistrate Max Cashmore said Muscat's neighbours would have considered him "the neighbour from hell''.
Defence lawyer Paul Lawrie agreed but said Muscat had begun to adopt strategies to avoid conflict and wanted to resolve all matters.
Muscat pleaded guilty to various charges and was convicted and fined $700.
In a separate hearing, Muscat was also fined $10,000 by Manningham Council after pleading guilty to removing vegetation and doing earthworks without a permit.
CAROLINE SPRINGS COUPLE PUT HUGE COPY OF DAVID IN FRONT YARD
IT WAS the goliath battle that divided Melbourne in 2015.
The Perkovics of Caroline Springs loved the towering granite statue they installed in the front yard of their house in Melbourne's west.
And so did many Leader readers, with 2519 voting in an online poll that it should stay.
Owner Amanda Perkovic said the statue was her way of honouring her late parents, and her childhood.
She said growing up she was surrounded by European art, a passion of her mother's, particularly the works of Michelangelo.
But she hadn't expected backlash from the neighbours.
"It's something that I wanted and we looked at smaller versions but the materials were not as good as the granite, so when I saw this statue in the shop I thought it was perfect because we have a big two-storey house it would fit in," Ms Perkovic said.
One neighbour, who did not want to be named, said she could not avoid seeing the statue from the knees up from anywhere in her house.
"It's conflicting. I can see the beauty of the art, but the statue, especially its size, is not appropriate for a residential area.
"It should be in a backyard where the owners can enjoy it, but not in the front yard."
Another neighbour, who did not want to be named, branded it "vulgar" and not appropriate for a residential area.
Many readers agreed with the neighbours, including Claire, who said: "The problem is it looks nothing like the original. Michelangelo's David is a masterpiece. This looks more like an overly thighed and six packed Olympian".
Melton Council said no permit was required for the statue.
ONE MAN WITH 18 CARS GIVEN 14 DAYS TO MOVE THEM
LONG-time residents of Hayrick Lane, Mooroolbark, probably still remember Ian the car enthusiast, who in 2011 was ordered by the DHS to remove 18 cars from his front lawn.
The public housing tenant had to move quick to get rid of the mostly unregistered and unroadworthy cars from the property within 14 days, before the department took legal action.
Yarra Ranges Council had also charged Ian with multiple local laws breaches and planning offences.
In his defence Ian, who said he had lived at the house for 17 years and was on a disability pension, told the Lilydale and Yarra Valley Leader he was just a car enthusiast.
"I'm not hurting anybody so why can't they leave me alone,'' Ian said.
"Some people might call me a hoarder; so be it.''
Several neighbours said that while he was a nice guy who did not make much noise, the cars were an eyesore, with one resident concerned it would devalue house prices in the street. "It would be a lot easier if they weren't there,'' they said.
THIS DISPUTE TURNED REALLY FILTHY
A LONG-running feud between neighbours in Viewbank sank to a new low last year when a wonan found poo smeared in her letterbox.
The woman told the Heidelberg Leader in November that after years putting up with "the neighbour from hell", the putrid attack was the final straw.
Danny, who didn't want her surname published, said she would take out a restraining order against her neighbour.
Previous attacks included her rose bushes being chopped, her doorbell smashed and beer bottles and cigarettes tossed into her backyard.
Danny told Leader it all began eight years ago when they asked the neighbours to move their parked car off her nature strip so the lawn could be mowed.
"We asked them repeatedly and they refused, so we phoned council and they issued them a fine," she said.
"Ever since then they've had a vendetta against us."
FLAGMAKER SAID HE WAS FLYING NAZI FLAG TO PROMOTE HIS BUSINESS
FLAGMAKER Rob Boot in 2012 raised the ire of his neighbours, his council and passing motorists when he started flying swastika and SS flags on his Nepean Hwy property.
Mr Boot said he meant no offence and his action was simply merchandising, but Jewish groups, the RSL and state and federal MPs condemned it.
Kingston Mayor at the time, John Ronke, said he had asked Mr Boot to immediately remove the flags, but Mr Boot dug in his heels before finally relenting.
Mr Boot said he had been selling and displaying various flags for about a year and did not think flying Nazi flags was offensive.
"It would only be in really poor taste if I flew them with the Israeli flag," he claimed.
But Anton Block, chairman of the Jewish community's B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission, said Nazi insignia brought back memories of the atrocities committed against the Jewish people. "He's got 999 other flags to fly to promote the business. He should go with one of those," Mr Block said.
FENCE DISPUTE IN SEAFORD LEADS TO GUNFIRE AND COURT
A Melbourne man in 2014 stood trial accused of trying to murder his next door neighbour over a fence dispute.
Michael Stuart Robertson had erected extensions on the fence between his and Craig Wilson's Seaford properties. But Mr Wilson didn't like it, the court was told.
The pair was embroiled in an escalating dispute which erupted in gunfire on the night of July 12, 2014.
Mr Robertson - who was found not guilty - argued he was acting in self-defence when he shot Mr Wilson three times.
The court heard Mr Wilson was singing, swearing and banging on the fence on the night in question.
Mr Robertson was at a local pub with some workmates but was alerted to the situation by his wife and headed home.
After becoming upset upon spotting broken palings, Mr Robertson grabbed a sawn-off shotgun and walked outside, the court heard.
It took a jury several days to acquit him over the attempted murder charge, but found him guilty of intentionally causing serious injury, intentionally causing injury and conduct endangering persons.
'HE TORE DOWN MY WALL'
In 2012 Hampton's Jenny Kimmins gave it her best shot when she tried to stop the builder next door from tearing down a feature brick wall.
She sat in the path of the bulldozer, forcing workmen to take the wall down brick by brick. But her defiant stand to stop work was just another chapter in a long-running dispute with neighbour Rory O'Flaherty that began when he started subdividing his block.
Now the boundary wall is down Ms Kimmins and partner Bernard have to pay for pool fencing, because even though Mr O'Flaherty erected a replacement boundary fence on council orders, their swimming pool now does not meet pool safety requirements.
``This is an ongoing nightmare,'' Ms Kimmins then told the Bayside Leader.
``My garden is a mess. He tore down my wall.''
Mr O'Flaherty, however, is standing firm and claims he had every right to pull down the wall. ``My surveyors found the deeds showed that wall was (actually) inside the boundary of my property,'' Mr O'Flaherty said.
CHRONIC HOARDER'S MESS VISIBLE ON GOOGLE EARTH
THINK your backyard's messy? In 2016 one Carnegie property was found to be so packed with junk, it was visible on Google Earth.
The Mimosa Rd site and nature strip was jam-packed with rubbish, old pieces of furniture and dozens of outdoor umbrellas.
Glen Eira Council told the Caulfield Glen Eira Leader they had issued multiple infringement notices and directed the owner to clean up the property.
But not much changed and a neighbour, who wanted to remain anonymous, said she had called the council twice to complain about the mess.
She said she frequently sees hard rubbish trucks come to collect items and "then he dumps stuff again".
HAWTHORN EAST MAN FENCES OFF PARK AND TRIES TO CLAIM IT'S HIS
IN 2011 Hawthorn East resident and former councillor Richard Pearse lodged an adverse possession claim for 470 sqm of prime VicRoads-owned parkland near Gardiners Creek.
He then went on to defy a Supreme Court order to hand over the public land then worth at least $800,000.
Mr Pearse had installed a double driveway and water tank, planted trees and shrubbery and fenced off the public park next to his Kaikoura Ave property.
Under adverse possession laws, a trespasser in possession of land for more than 15 years can acquire ownership at no cost.
But by 2014 VicRoads had finally won the battle to keep the land after the case was again returned to the Supreme Court.
Justice Kevin Bell said in his ruling that the road authority - as a State Government entity - was immune from adverse possession claims.
Mr Pearse said he had maintained the parkland since he moved into his house in 1993.
"I'm trying to protect that piece of land so that wildlife can live on it," Mr Pearse told the Progress Leader.
"The land belongs to everyone."