Took the tram into Federation Square and was immediately assaulted by loudspeakers and a jumbotron - some sort of event with matching T-shirt clad youngish folks and a lot of other people milling about. Never figured out what was going on. Summer in the City so it has to be loud!
Paid a visit to the Ian Potter gallery where a variety of Australian art, modern, aboriginal, and 19th century works are displayed. It was a bright airy space in a deliberatley funky example of the 1990’s development of the Federation Square plaza. One of the guards, under the pretext of explaining a painting of Melbourne harbor from 1860, regaled me with tales of his cruise ship exploits, love of dancing on said cruises, and imitations of singers from Elvis to Deano to Etta James and Michael Jackson. According to him, “holding someone at bay” comes from keeping people on boats in the harbor for long periods of time while permission to land (or disembark, or something) was obtained. He was quite talented, really, but after 20 minutes of entertainment I felt the need to peel myself away.
Installation at the bottom of a staircase representing the life light of an important Aboriginal whose name I don’t recall.
Traintracks through one of the many gallery windows.
Hilarious work on the plaza. Installations in this spot change every couple of months.
Wandered through the booths of the Sustainability Fair along the Yarra River bank. Chatted with two guys working on a way to use dog poop degradation to produce methane to power lights or trash compacters in public parks. Apparently the prototype was briefly on line in Cambridge, MA, but ran out of functionality after a few months. This is definitely a technology whose time has come. Ihope they get the bugs worked ou!
Skyline - Flinders Station is an example of one of the grand old Victorian era buildings that are still nestled among the skyscrapers, the majority of the latter having gone up in the building boom of the 90’s. You can imagine the controversies, but as an outsider, I think it’s fascinating and not un-beautiful!
Tried all day to get a good photo of the Eureka Tower, the tallest building in Melbourne (in Australia? not sure.). I’m sure there’s a name for the style of architecture that looks vaguely unbalanced and changes dimensions as it rises. It’s the reflection, not the actual building in the photo.
My new friend Veronica, with whom I went hiking ont he Freychinet Peninsula, met me in town on Friday afternoon and we did some more wandering, eventually meandering along the river to the Immigration Museum. To get there, we crossed a bridge along one side of which were a series of large transparent plaques, one for each country from which Australians had immigrated. There was a map showing the relationship of the country to Australia, the languages spoken, the towns from which immigrants hailed, and the number of Australians, in 2001, who were born in that country, and the number of Australian-born people who could trace their ancestry to that country. Very cool!! We actually had to cross back over the river to get to the museum, which is housed inthe old Customs House.
The museum was worth the trip (I got in free with my MSU student ID - thank you, Kate!). Musibits mixed video with artifacts, personal stories, mock-ups of ship cabins through the ages, and lots of photographs. If you like the museum at Ellis Island, you’ll like this, too.
Clock tower at Fliner’s Sation. Reminds me of London! Veronica thought it important that we stop in to see the scandelous painting of Chloe at the Young and Jackson Pub. We had to wander through the entirety of the quite open but rather elegant Victorian-era establishment to find the lass in all her glory proudly occuping an entire wall of one of the lounges. As my host Carey would say, “Gohgeous!”
RIver activities abound. I saw crew teams, kayaks, runners, bikers, walkers, loungers, individuals and groups exercising…
State seal of the State of Victoria at the end of Prince’s Bridge.
Rainbow in a fountain on my walk home through the gardens along St. Kilda Road.
The War Memorial at the Botanic Gardens.
After Carey scored me a bike from a friend on Saturday, she and I took a long leisurely morning bike ride down to St. Kilda and along the extenisve banks of Port Phillip (what would be the outer harbor, if we were in Boston, but it isn’t a harbor, apparently). After a lunch break it got really hot, so we took different tram lines (for a change of scenery) into the CBD and did an indoor activity.
Some beautiful creatures, but extremely limited information. The shop was all stuffed animals and souvenir junk. No books, no pamphlets, and no postcards! Seems to me they are missing some great educational opportunities.
The top anemone is a reflection on the surface of the tank. This thing was at least 18” across.
I’ve already posted about the wonderful evening of barbeque (Aussie style), great comapny, and the urban version of a starry sky, so for a brief moment, I am all caught up!