'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Friendly Melbourne

Melbourne is a friendly city.  I found the people approachable and relaxed.  Unlike every city I've visited (except London), people in the street would meet my eye.  Smiling was commonplace.  It felt somewhat like New Zealand in the sixties. By that I mean genuine, intimate and on friendly terms.*

I was struck by how confident the contemporary inner-city architecture was too.  Risky colours, interesting shapes, and wonderful juxtapositions.

RMIT University building,
Swanston Street.

There's a 'brain' on the roof.
... and inside it's wonderful too.
Here's a strange and wondrous building that has a hole in it...

Here is an image I found on the internet that shows the cone that was erected over a shot tower, now a feature of a shopping mall and railway station.
(Shot towers were very important in colonial times.  Molten lead dripped from very high up meant that the shot balls were almost nicely spherical and solidified by the time they reached the bottom.)

Inside it looks like this.
Shot tower, Central Mall.
It's a huge mall, but on the hour, tourists stand around in one particular area and out come the cameras for the musical clock.
A charming reminder of a bygone age.
It's really lame.

The Melbourne musical clock:  The bottom slides out and the imps
 and birds wriggle and bob backwards and forwards
 while 'Waltzing Matilda' plays.

Of course there are plenty of lovely old buildings too. This is St Paul's Cathedral on the corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets.

St Paul's Cathedral.
Melbourne Town Hall on the left.
I rather liked the tiers of pansies outside the town hall.

Flowers outside the Town Hall.

Of course no self-respecting city is complete without at least one, preferably many, bird-annointed statues of famous people.

Statue of Matthew Finders outside St Paul's.
I was struck by the startling mustard-coloured stone of the famous and oft-photographed landmark that is the Flinders Railway Station building.

Flinders Railways Station. 
It goes on forever down the street there.
 This is what it looks like from just inside that arched entrance.

Rush hour crowds and St Paul's Cathedral from Flinders Station main entrance

"I'll have one of those pink roses right at the top there, thank you."

Flower stall,  Flinders Station.
Next time:  The amazing NGV (National Gallery of Victoria).

* not - as New Zealand in the sixties also was - naive, parochial and culturally insecure.


  1. What an amazing city - thanks for letting us come along. Not sure about the Green Brain, but I'm impressed by the pansies: they make the pots outside my front door look pathetic.

    Greetings from rainy and autumnal Suffolk!

  2. wow! i'm glad i paid a visit (its been a while) i feel as if i just visited Melbourne. beautiful. i hope to make it one day, but for now, i'll settle for the taste that you've generously provided. thank you, and keep on posting. :-)


  3. Beautiful pictures. Thanks!
    The railway station is astonishing.
    Nice old technology, the shot tower. By the way, the principle applied in the shot tower is still in use in spray drying processes for Pharmaceuticals, food (milk powder) etc.

  4. thank you for these
    on his recent trip to Melbourne, chris took just to photographs and they were INSIDE a restaurant!
    it does look a lovely city

  5. Thank you for your warm, albeit soggy greetings Antonia... Yes, I liked the pansy planters too.

    Hello Hello SUnNy! Nice to see you again. I hope YOU are not too soggy from Sandy?

    Ben, thank you. Yes, and casein and caseinates. I worked in a dairy factory in a previous life. I tested product in the lab.

    John - I confess to taking a few shots inside restaurants too. Perhaps Chris was very busy conferencing all the time. Either that or he didn't wish to be labelled as a tourist by whipping out his camera at every opportunity. Unlike ME! Ha.

  6. Thanks for the tour! It does indeed seem like a vibrant city, and in many ways similar to London (it even has a St Paul's cathedral!).

    I do love the tiered pansies. But I can't warm to the confident architecture, purely because I really dislike that particular shade of green!

  7. Katherine - you seem to be getting confused about where you were so let me advise that Melbourne is a small and attractive market town in a delightful part of South Derbyshire, England. It is about eight miles south of Derby and two miles from the River Trent. It contains a good range of shops, pubs and restaurants for visitors and locals alike. In 1837 a tiny settlement in Australia was named after Lord Melbourne who hailed from the area. But the Derbyshire town is the REAL Melbourne! So there!

  8. Well, yes Jay. The green is one thing - and to put it with the purple, a particularly 'bold' move!

    YP. I wish I was in the 'other' Melbourne right now so I can compare! (And go on some nice Autumnal walks. But I wouldn't have been able to have seen my dear Uncle if I'd not been in the Aussie one. So I can state with a high degree of certainty where I was.

  9. I liked Melbourne. It has nice wide streets and is a green and lovely city. It even has trams. Did you go on one Katherine? - Dave

  10. No Dave. We intended to use a tram even just once, but ended up walking everywhere.

  11. I've never been to Melbourne except in transit at the airport which is not a great way to get the feel of a city. You have made me feel that I really aught to see more of it. I must do a stop over some time soon.

  12. You would especially enjoy the gastronomic delights Geeb.

  13. Hi there - I like seeing posts that show where I live through other peoples eyes! I also love the variation in design and shape in central Melb - although some of the out-lying suburbs could do with a bit more imagination!

    Thanks for the comment on my blogs - I've been in Oman for a week hence slow reply!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Australia

  14. Stewart - yes, one's own place is always fascinating through another's eyes. Oman, eh? I'll have to visit your blog when I get home, see what you've been up to there.

  15. Just catching up Katherine. Looks like you enjoyed your visit. It's Tony's hometown so he thinks it's great ...and it is an interesting city with lots to see.

  16. We had a lovely visit Helsie! Do you and Tony get down there very often?