Saturday 31 December 2011


Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex is a large casino and entertainment precinct located on the south bank of the Yarra River, in Melbourne, Australia. Crown Casino is a unit of Crown Limited. Crown's current casino complex opened in 1997, after moving from its original location from 1994 on the north bank of the Yarra. It is one of the central features of the Southbank area in the central business district and the Crown Promenade fronts onto the waterfront as part of Southbank Promenade. The entire complex has a space of 510,000 m² which is equivalent to 2 city blocks, making it the largest casino complex in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the largest in the world.

The foyer of the Casino/Entertainment Area/Hotel Complex hosts lights shows daily, but on special occasions throughout the year, themed displays are set up and the light show becomes even more spectacular. This is the Festive Season display for 2011. The highly polished tiles on the floor reflect the light show above!

This post is part of the Weekend Reflections meme.

Friday 30 December 2011


A few weeks ago I was in Adelaide for work. In the evening on the way back quite a major storm was predicted to cross from South Australia into Victoria. Fortunately it did not disrupt our flight as the storm happened while we were flying over it. However, it was a great opportunity to capture the rainbow when approaching Melbourne and then to enjoy quite a magnificent sunset! Melbourne's changeable weather provides some wonderful photo opportunities.

This post is part of the "Skywatch Friday" meme.

Thursday 29 December 2011


Corymbia ficifolia is one of around 80 eucalypts which were transferred in 1995 from the genus Eucalyptus to the newly created genus Corymbia. The species was formerly known as Eucalyptus ficifolia. The red flowering gum is one of the most widely cultivated of all eucalypts both in Australia and overseas. It often grows larger and more vigorously in cultivation than in its natural habitat. The species is best suited to temperate districts with low summer rainfall and humidity. It can be grown in sub-tropical areas in well drained, sunny positions but cannot be regarded as reliable in those areas. Even in temperate areas the species can be unreliable - in the Sydney region, for example, there are some excellent examples but there are probably just as many that fail to thrive. In suitable climates the tree is moderately fast growing and may eventually reach 15 metres but is often smaller. Foliage is dark, glossy green and the bark is rough and persistent (i.e. it does not shed annually). C.ficifolia flowers prolifically in summer and is a colourful addition to southern hemisphere gardens at Christmas time.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


The University of Melbourne is a public university located in Melbourne, Victoria. Founded in 1853, it is the second oldest university in Australia and the oldest in Victoria. The main campus is located in Parkville, an inner suburb just north of the Melbourne CBD. The university also has several other campuses located across Victoria. It is colloquially known as a sandstone university and has one of the largest financial endowments of any Australian university, standing at $1.173 billion as of 2010. The University of Melbourne consistently ranks among the best universities in Australia and the world, especially in the biological and health sciences. The university has been placed top in Australia and 37th in the world by the Times Higher Education 2011-2012 rankings of the world’s top 400 universities.

In Australia, Melbourne University is the second largest research organisation after the CSIRO. In 2010, it spent $767.5m on research and has consistently ranked first or second on the major national research indicators which are used by the Australian Government to allocate public funds for research and training infrastructure. The university has over 35,000 students, who are supported by just over 7,300 staff members. In 2008, it introduced the controversial "Melbourne Model", a combination of various practices from American and European universities, aimed at consistency with the European Union's "Bologna process" and international relevance and standing for its degrees. Glyn Davis AC is Melbourne's current vice-chancellor.

The University is ever-expanding as this series of relatively new buildings shows, mushrooming as they are from the preserved Victorian Terrace heritage buildings. As this is my Alma Mater, I maintain links with it and it is always a pleasure to go and visit, seeing that some things at east reamin the same there...

This post is part of the "Signs, Signs" meme.

Wednesday 28 December 2011


Station Pier is a historic pier on Port Phillip, in Port Melbourne. Opened in 1854, the pier is Melbourne's primary passenger terminal, servicing interstate ferries and cruise ships, and is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. Station Pier, originally known as Railway Pier, was officially opened on 12 September 1854. The 4.5 kilometre rail link from the pier to Flinders Street Station via the Sandridge Bridge (the Port Melbourne line) was opened at the same time to facilitate the transport of passengers and goods, and was the first significant railway in Australia. The pier was kept busy throughout the 1850s, due to the increased passenger traffic created by the gold rush. In 1861, the pier was extended to a length of 661 metres, in order to accommodate the ever-increasing traffic associated with the number of people settling in Victoria.

In the early part of the 20th century, the original pier was unable to accommodate the new breed of larger and more powerful steamships. As a result the current pier was built between 1922 and 1930 and is the largest timber piled wharf structure in Australia. The Stothert and Pitt cranes were erected in 1949 for goods handling. The original supports are still underneath the current pier, chopped down when the replacement was built. The new pier was designed so that passengers landed at the terminals above, while goods traffic moved underneath, in what was quite forward thinking for the 1920s. It has a wharf length of 933 metres, and capable of berthing ships 305 metres long with a draught of 10.3 metres. When originally built the pier had five railway sidings running onto it, as well as a passenger platform on the southern side named 'Bay Excursion Platform', a westward extension of Port Melbourne station. After the pier was rebuilt it was provided with eight tracks, four along each wharf face.

Melbourne is becoming an increasingly popular port of call for some of the world's most prestigious cruise liners. A record 57 cruise ships visited the pier in 2008/2009 cruise season and combined with increased patronage on the Spirit of Tasmania sailings, ensures an active precinct at Beacon Cove. Station Pier has two terminal buildings that provide for Spirt of Tasmania ferry services, and for visiting cruise ships, Navy or tall ships.  The increasing interest of Melbourne as a cruise ship destination is likely to result in larger ships visiting Station Pier.

This post is part of the Watery Wednesday meme.

Tuesday 27 December 2011


Darebin Parklands is one of Darebin Council’s premier conservation parks sited along the Darebin Creek. The park is managed by the Darebin Creek Management Committee which the Cities of Darebin and Banyule are members. Darebin Parklands is a wonderful setting for walks and escaping into the natural environment, and is located only 5 km from Melbourne's CBD. The park has a full time Ranger coordinating the Education Centre which details the parks rich history and commitment to conservation and environmental sustainability. The Darebin Creek Trail runs through the centre of the park and provides shared trail access through to Bundoora Park 10km to the north.

Darebin Parklands comprises an area of approximately 40 hectares of urban bushland, between the suburbs of Ivanhoe and Alphington. The park is highly accessible being both on a bus route and adjacent to the Hurstbridge railway line. We always enjoy visiting this as it is only about 10 minutes walk from our house.

This post is part of "Our World Tuesday" meme.

Monday 26 December 2011


Myer is Australia's largest department store chain, retailing a broad range of merchandise including women's, men's and children's clothing, footwear and accessories; cosmetics and fragrance; homewares; electrical; furniture and bedding; toys; books and stationery; food and confectionery; and travel goods. The Myer retail group was started by Sidney Myer, who migrated from Russia to Melbourne in 1899 with very little money and little knowledge of English to join his elder brother, Elcon Myer (1875-1938), who had left Russia two years earlier. They opened the first Myer store in Bendigo, Victoria in 1900. After prospering, the second store opened in 1908. In 1911 Myer purchased the business of Wright and Neil, Drapers, in Bourke Street, Melbourne, near the General Post Office, and a new building was completed and opened in 1914. From this base in Melbourne, Myer built Australia's largest chain of department stores, and the only chain with stores in all Australian states.

In June 2007, a consortium comprising the Myer family, Colonial First State and GIC Real Estate (Singapore) announced it would be purchasing Myer's Melbourne CBD store. The Bourke Street part of the store was planned to be redeveloped by 2009, with Myer taking a 60-year lease, but the development was not completed until March 2011. The Lonsdale Street part of the store closed in 2009. Here one can see the newly refurbished and renovated Bourke St store on the sixth level that houses electronics, DVDs, CDs, cameras, etc.

This post is part of the Mellow Yellow Monday meme.

Sunday 25 December 2011


People flock to admire Christmas festive lights displayed on the houses at The Boulevard Christmas Lights Display in Ivanhoe. Residents cover their homes and gardens with lights and Christmas decorations every year, attracting up to 20,000 people every night and bringing local traffic to a standstill.

If you wish to see more of more of my Boulevard Christmas Lights photos, please visit my other photoblog here.

Saturday 24 December 2011


Webb Bridge or "Web" Bridge? You'll find both names applied to the walkway/cycleway across the Yarra River from the southside housing developments to the northside entertainment, shopping and dining venues at the Melbourne Docklands.  It's an interesting, unique-looking bridge which is part of a Melbourne public art project. Webb Bridge was actually designed to represent a Koori (Australian Aborigine) eel trap. The bridge reuses the remaining sections of the disused Webb Rail Bridge.  But because the framework of the bridge does look like a mesh or web, the name Web Bridge may become the more common appellation.  Crossing Webb Bridge from the Yarra River southside area known as Yarra's Edge brings you to Docklands Park on the north side and thence to Victoria Harbour Promenade, Harbour Esplanade with Etihad Stadium on the right, and on to NewQuay and Waterfront City on the north side of Victoria Harbour.

This post is part of the Weekend Reflections meme and the Sunday Bridges meme.

Friday 23 December 2011


With the shops decked out in all of their festive finery, carols blaring away from the muzak, huge numbers of people milling in the big shopping centres, it's always relaxing at this time of the year to go and shop in a nursery to buy some living Christmas gifts like these gorgeous Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima).  It is plant indigenous to Mexico and Central America. Its common name is after Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States Minister to Mexico, who introduced the plant into the US in 1825. It is also called the Atatürk flower in Turkey.

The plant's association with Christmas began in 16th century Mexico, where legend tells of a young girl who was too poor to provide a gift for the celebration of Jesus' birthday. The tale goes that the child was inspired by an angel to gather weeds from the roadside and place them in front of the church altar. Crimson "blossoms" sprouted from the weeds and became beautiful poinsettias. From the 17th century, Franciscan friars in Mexico included the plants in their Christmas celebrations. The star-shaped leaf pattern is said to symbolise the Star of Bethlehem, and the red color represents the blood sacrifice through the crucifixion of Jesus.  Poinsettias are popular Christmas decorations in homes, churches, offices, and elsewhere across North America. They are available in large numbers from a variety of stores. In the United States, December 12 is National Poinsettia Day.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


The Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH), located in Parkville, an inner suburb of Melbourne is one of Australia’s leading public hospitals. It is a major teaching hospital for tertiary health care with a reputation in clinical research. Established in 1848 as the Melbourne Hospital, it was one of Melbourne's leading hospitals. Originally located on the corner of Swanston and Lonsdale Streets, Melbourne, in 1935 the hospital was renamed the Royal Melbourne Hospital and, in 1944 it moved to Grattan Street, Parkville by provision of lands in the Royal Melbourne Hospital Act. Since 1944 numerous other buildings have been added to the complex, making it one of the largest and most respected hospitals in Australasia.

I spent a lot of my time at University of Melbourne across the road and also in the RMH during my education and training so it is very familiar to me. In the last couple of weeks I have had occasion to visit the hospital several times and these views are taken from the Eastern wing looking across to the West. The RMH buildings are certainly utilitarian and look dated, but the interior has been renovated extensively to provide top-level medical and surgical care.

Perhaps it is worthwhile remembering while celebrating the Festive Season that many people are in hospitals all over the world, gravely ill, some of whom may not see another Christmas. Looking at the sunset through that hospital window certainly reminded me of that...

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme. It is also part of the Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors! meme.

Thursday 22 December 2011


Block Arcade is a heritage shopping arcade experience in the centre of Melbourne but going back a hundred years it was the "place to be seen".  The arcade which was erected between 1891 and 1893 was designed by architect David C. Askew whose brief was to produce something similar to the Galleria Vittoria in Milan. The result was one of Melbourne's most richly decorated interior spaces, replete with mosaic tiled flooring, glass canopy, wrought iron and carved stone finishings. The exterior façade of the six storey office has near identical facades on Collins and Elizabeth Streets and is one of Australia's best surviving examples of the Victorian Mannerist style.  The arcade was formerly known as "Carpenter's Lane", however the precinct was widely known as "The Block". Once the works were complete, local shopkeepers successfully petitioned to have it changed to its present name.

Christmas in the Block Arcade is quite special with decorations up and shops offering an exquisite variety of gifts for sale. The gift wrapping service makes it just so easy to get all of your Christmas gift shopping and wrapping done all at once.

This post is part of the Signs, Signs meme.

Wednesday 21 December 2011


This sculpture of Captain James Cook is a replica of the sculpture on the cliffs of West Whitby, Yorkshire, near Cook's birthplace. The work was installed in 1914 at St. Kilda Beach as one of the items in honour of the "discoverer" of the East Coast of Australia. It is a good example of early twentieth century British Edwardian academic memorial sculpture, another and more important example being Sir Edgar Bertram Mackennal's equestrian statue of Edward VI. The statue is part of the foreshore group of memorials set up by the St. Kilda Council. John Tweed was a well known British sculptor of the period, and the piece is deemed to be of State Significance.

One can also see the St Kilda Marina in the distance, in this most well-known and popular Melbourne bayside suburbs, only 6 km South of the City centre. You can view a larger selection of my photos of St Kilda on my other photoblog.

This post is part of the Watery Wednesday meme blog.

Tuesday 20 December 2011


Federation Square is a civic centre and cultural precinct in the city of Melbourne. It is a mixed-use development covering an area of 3.2 hectares and centred around two major public spaces, open squares (St. Paul's Court and The Square) and one covered (The Atrium,) built on top of a concrete deck above busy railway lines. It was opened in 2002.

Controversial since the demolition of the industrial buildings that preceded it, Federation Square is also globally famous for its alleged ugliness. In 2009, the Melbourne newspaper The Herald Sun reported that Federation Square is fifth on its list of eyesores, alongside a library in Kosovo, a television tower in Prague and New Zealand's 1970s-era parliament building. A poll conducted by the newspaper also found that 64.13% of the random 2000 Melburnians surveyed responded "Yes, it's an eyesore".  The 124 comments on this news article range from the most favourable which suggest that while Federation Square is not picturesque, Melburnians should "get over" the concrete ugliness of it to those who strongly advocate the demolition of an unsightly building that is a "pimple" in a heritage-landscape - with St Paul's Cathedral and Flinders Street Station in its immediate vicinity. It is Victoria’s second most popular tourist attraction, attracting 8.99 million visitors in 2011. Unlike many Australian landmarks, it was not opened by the Queen, nor was she invited to its unveiling.

Federation Square is home to The Ian Potter Centre: National Gallery of Victoria Australia; ACMI; NGV Kids Corner and No Vacancy Project Space; as well as a wide range of restaurants, cafés, bars, visitor services and shops.  The Melbourne Visitor Centre is also located at Federation Square, providing a one-stop shop for information on Melbourne for local, interstate and international visitors alike. 

This post is part of Our World Tuesday meme blog.

Monday 19 December 2011


Southgate is an entertainment area on the riverside, with lots of restaurants and shops, the National Gallery, State Theatre and Concert Halls. Markets are held in this area on most weekends and there si always something to see and do here. Further to the West, there is bustling business precinct and even further along the West is ht eCrown Casino Complex.

The Southgate Footbridge was built in 1989 over the Yarra River in Melbourne, and provides the main pedestrian link for thousands of workers and tourists between Flinders Street Station and the Southgate business and entertainment precinct. This pedestrian bridge over the Yarra is a focal point from both sides of the river and its graceful curves are much photographed. The Ponyfish Island café and bar just under the bridge is in a good location to have a coffee or a light meal, if a trifle damp!

This post is part of the Mellow Yellow Monday meme.

Sunday 18 December 2011


St Mary Star of the Sea is one of the most beautiful and historically significant churches in Australia. Originally with seating for over 1200 people, it has been described as the largest parish church in Melbourne, in Victoria, or even in Australia. The foundations of the current church were laid in June 1892. A young and as yet unknown architect, Edgar J. Henderson, tendered plans for a grandiose sandstone cruciform in the French Gothic style. At 175 feet long and 94 feet wide, the proposed church was criticised by Archbishop Carr for being too large, but parishioners embraced the ambitious project. Within a year, however, economic depression had wrought havoc on the project's finance. Remarkably, in the face of devastating poverty, parishioners managed to fund ongoing construction, and church was built in eight years.

On 18 February 1900, Cardinal Moran opened and blessed the new church to great fanfare, before an assembly of 1,400. Local Catholic newspaper The Advocate remarked that “The congregation has literally emerged from the worst ecclesiastical building in the colony to enter one of the finest.” The church was finally completed in 1925. On 12 February, His Excellency Archbishop Cattaneo, Apostolic Delegate, dedicated the new marble high altar and consecrated the completed church.

For Psalm Sunday, here is Allegri's famous setting of the "Miserere mei, Deus", Psalm 51.

Gregorio Allegri (1582 7 February 1652) was an Italian composer and priest of the Roman School of composers. He lived mainly in Rome, where he would later die.

By far the most celebrated composition of Allegri is the Miserere mei, Deus, a setting of Vulgate Psalm 51. It is written for two choirs, the one of five and the other of four voices, and has obtained considerable celebrity. One of the choirs sings a simple fauxbordon based on the original plainsong chant for the Tonus peregrinus; the other choir sings a similar fauxbordon with pre-existing elaborations and the use of cadenzas. The Miserere has for many years been sung annually during Holy Week in the Sistine Chapel. 

Saturday 17 December 2011


Queen Victoria Village, generally known as QV Centre or just QV, is a precinct in the central business district of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Covering the city block bounded by Lonsdale, Little Lonsdale, Swanston, and Russell Streets, and located directly opposite the State Library of Victoria and Melbourne Central, QV comprises a large shopping centre, a central plaza, an underground food court, Melbourne central city's first full-size supermarket, apartment buildings, and the global headquarters of BHP Billiton. Queen Victoria Village takes its name from the Queen Victoria Hospital, Melbourne which formerly occupied the site.

Reflected in the glass windows of the Centre one may se the cone of the Shot Tower of Melbourne Central. A couple  of A Z3-class trams can be seen in Swanston Street.

This post is part of the Weekend Reflections meme.

Friday 16 December 2011


Hymenosporum flavum is Australian rainforest tree, which is commonly called the native frangipani, because it produces creamy yellow, frangipani-like flowers with a strong, heady fragrance. It is not related to the exotic frangipani (Plumeria). It is an evergreen tree to about 20m tall in cultivation, but larger in its natural habitat. The branches grow in distinct horizontal layers, and the leaves are dark green and glossy with a hairy underside. The strongly scented flowers are whitish cream ageing to deep yellow, followed by pear-shaped woody capsules containing winged seeds.

It grows well in Melbourne and when it flowers in Spring, the street is filled with a delicious smell. This is from a specimen in our front yard.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Thursday 15 December 2011


Melbourne has a moderate oceanic climate and is well known for its changeable weather conditions. This is because Melbourne is located on the boundary of the very hot inland areas and the cold southern ocean. This temperature differential is most pronounced in the spring and summer months and can cause very strong cold fronts to form. These cold fronts can be responsible for all sorts of severe weather from gales to severe thunderstorms and hail, large temperature drops, and heavy rain.

Relatively narrow streams of heavy showers can often affect the same places (usually the eastern suburbs) for an extended period of time, whilst the rest of Melbourne and surrounds stays dry. These showers are often heavy and can contain hail and squalls and significant drops in temperature, but they pass through very quickly at times with a rapid clearing trend to sunny and relatively calm weather and the temperature rising back to what it was before the shower. This occurs often in the space of minutes and can be repeated many times in a day, giving Melbourne a reputation for having "four seasons in one day", a phrase that is part of local popular culture and familiar to many visitors to the city.

Our very changeable weather nevertheless often gives us the pleasure of admiring spectacular rainbows like this double one, shot in our back yard!

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.


Taking the family to see the Myer Christmas Windows display is a Melbourne tradition. The Myer Christmas Windows (Myer Department Store’s gift to the city of Melbourne), will celebrate its 56th year of production in 2011, with the highly anticipated unveiling of this year’s top-secret theme having taken place on Friday 4th November.  Each year over one million Australians and overseas visitors view the iconic Myer Christmas Windows to see the specially selected theme – chosen from a story book, nursery rhyme, a film or even the theatre – brought to life in an animation spectacular that ignites the imagination and Christmas spirit in all.  Each year the new theme of the Christmas Windows remains a heavily guarded secret while the clever artists, animators and craftspeople are creating their magic for over six months to bring this Christmas tradition to Myer’s many Christmas visitors.

This year, the theme is the Christmas song "Santa Claus is Coming to Town". The story of Santa's journey 'to town', which was created in 1934, comes alive across six windows. This animated spectacular has been inspired by the style and colour of the 1950s, evident in the design of the 114 characters in the windows, which have been individually sculptured, immaculately costumed and finished with hard wigs and intricately applied make-up.

The best time to see the windows is very early in the morning, as in this picture! During the day and until late, there are long queues of people (with armfuls of children) waiting to parade past the display.

This post is part of the Signs, Signs meme.

Wednesday 14 December 2011


Australia as an island continent/country has a huge coastline, which is greatly varied in terms of geography, climate, habitats and population. While most of our major cities are situated on the coast, especially the southeastern coast, the majority of our coastline is wildly natural. The area of our country is 7,682,300 square kilometres and its coastline is 25,760 km, with a coast/area ratio of 3.353 m/sq km. This makes Australia the sixth highest ranked in the world in terms of coastline (see Wikipedia article for more information).

Our coastline offers enormous variety with high cliffs, beaches, rocky shores, river estuaries, mudflats and mangrove swamps, coastal resort towns, tropical rainforest almost touching the sea, palm fringed golden sandy beaches, wildly inaccessible places unchanged for centuries or cosmopolitan and crowded places that have been developed to cater for all sorts of tourist-oriented activities. In any case the wild beauty of our coastline is easily accessible from nearly every major urban centre as this representative aerial shot shows. Once again my camera has done well with the challenges of photography from a commercial flight.

This post is part of the Watery Wednesday meme.

Tuesday 13 December 2011


Melbourne is Australia's arts and entertainment capital. Whether you're into opera or contemporary dance, stand-up comedy or performance art, Melbourne's cultural calendar is packed with concerts, plays, festivals and all sorts of other events to keep you entertained and challenged all year round. As well as the modern concert halls, state theatres and magnificent entertainment and arts complex, there are a large number of heritage theatres and halls.

Here is a shot taken in the orchestra pit of the historic Athenaeum Theatre on Collins Street, a beautiful old theatre, completed in 1842 and still going strong. Just i case you are wondering what the performance was - Melbourne Opera Company's production of "Faust" earlier this year.

This post is part of the "Our World" meme

Monday 12 December 2011


Flinders Street Station is the central railway station of the suburban railway network of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. It is on the corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets next to the Yarra River in the heart of the city, stretching from Swanston Street to Queen Street and covering two city blocks.

Each weekday, over 110,000 commuters and 1,500 trains pass through the station. It is the most used metropolitan railway station in Melbourne, in 2009 there was an average of 85,100 passenger boardings per day. Flinders Street is serviced by Metro's suburban services, and V/Line regional services to Gippsland.

Flinders Street Station is a cultural icon to Melbourne, frequently used in imagery representing the city. The Melburnian idiom "I'll meet you under the clocks" referring to the row of clocks above the main entrance, which indicate the departure time of the next train on each line; another idiom "I'll meet you on the steps", refers to the wide staircase underneath these clocks. The area is a popular meeting place as it is at the intersection of two of the city's busiest thoroughfares. The station is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.

The tall building in the background is the tallest skyscraper in Melbourne, the 297.3-metre (975 ft) Eureka Tower located in Southbank. Construction began in August 2002 and the exterior completed on 1 June 2006. The plaza was finished in June 2006 and the building was officially opened on 11 October 2006. It is presently the sixth tallest in the world with 91 floors.

This post is part of the Mellow Yellow Monday meme.

Sunday 11 December 2011


St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne, is the metropolitical and cathedral church of the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, Victoria in Australia. It is the seat of the Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne and Metropolitan of the Province of Victoria. The cathedral, which was built in stages, is a major Melbourne landmark. It is diagonally opposite Flinders Street Station, which was the transport hub of 19th century Melbourne and is still an important centre.

The Cathedral is built on the site where the first public Christian service in Melbourne was conducted in 1835. The area of the current site became a corn market until 1848, when it was made available for the construction of St Paul's Parish Church, a bluestone church. St Paul's Parish Church was consecrated in 1852 and was in use until 1885 when it was demolished to make way for the current cathedral. The English architect, William Butterfield, designed the cathedral, in the architectural style of Gothic transitional. The foundation stone was laid in 1880 and, on 22 January 1891, the cathedral was consecrated. The erection of the spires began in 1926, to the design of John Barr of Sydney instead of Butterfield's original design. The 1960s saw extensive work completed to the exterior of the cathedral and the T.C. Lewis Organ was restored in 1989 by a major National Trust appeal. Major restoration works were completed in 2009 with significant repairs to the spires, the building of the Moorhouse Tower Lantern and the new processional doors.

This post is part of the Psalm Sunday meme.

Here is a beautiful Anglican Hymn, a favourite of many, but particularly of children: "All Things Bright and Beautiful", arranged by John Rutter and sung by the Cambridge Singers.

1. All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
2. Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings.
All things bright ...
3. The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
God made them high and lowly,
And ordered their estate.
All things bright ...
4. The purple headed mountain,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning,
That brightens up the sky;−
All things bright ...
5. The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,−
He made them every one:
All things bright ...
6. The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
We gather every day;−
All things bright ...
7. He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell,
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.
All things bright ...

Saturday 10 December 2011


Florey Neuroscience Institutes (FNI) at the University of Melbourne in Parkville, is the largest brain research group in the Southern Hemisphere. With more than 500 research and support staff on two campuses, FNI scientists are searching for cures to the complex, debilitating and sometimes life threatening brain disorders that affect three million Australians.

The Howard Florey Institute, previously known as the Howard Florey Institute of Experimental Physiology and applied research into treatments to combat brain and mind disorders and the cardiovascular system. The institute is based at the University of Melbourne and areas being researched by scientists include: Parkinson's disease, stroke, motor neuron disease, traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, addiction, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, brain development in premature babies, Huntington's disease, depression, schizophrenia, brain function in health and disease, heart failure, and dementia.

In the background, left, one can see the Art Nouveau building of the University of Melbourne's Conservatorium of Music.

This post is part of the Weekend Reflections meme.

Friday 9 December 2011


The Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne are internationally renowned botanical gardens located near the centre of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, on the south bank of the Yarra River. They are 38 hectares of landscaped gardens consisting of a mix of native and non-native vegetation including over 10,000 individual species. They are widely regarded as the finest botanical gardens in Australia, and among the best in the world. However, the gardens are also noted for their historical contribution to the introduction of invasive species.

Here is an introduced species, Agapanthus africanus (African lily; syn. Agapanthus umbellatus) which is a native of the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. It's widespread in Melbourne and often planted along streets and in traffic islands, as well as in gardens. It can be quite invasive!

This is an entry for my Floral Friday Fotos meme. Join me if you are posting some flower photos today!


As I travel quite a bit for work, I often experiment with taking photographs from the plane. Some work, some don't, but it's always worth the effort when one snaps an occasional photo where things are right. This is taken on a flight back to Melbourne from Sydney, approaching the City from the Northeast. I am not sure exactly where this lake and township are, but it's about 30 minutes flight out of Melbourne.

As we have had a couple of fairly wet summers (thank you La Niña!) the countryside is lush and green and most of the water reservoirs are quite full. One always admires such beautiful vistas from up high, the green below complemented by the blue sky above and with a few fluffy clouds thrown in for good measure.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.

Thursday 8 December 2011


Causeway Lane (also known as The Causeway) is a street in Melbourne's CBD. It is a short, quiet and narrow open laneway, running between Bourke Street Mall and Little Collins Street between Elizabeth Street and Swanston Street. Located in the heart of the shopping precinct, the Causeway is currently flanked by some small boutique shops, indoor and outdoor cafes and sushi bars. The "Sushi Monger" sign always makes me smile.

The lane is notable for the heritage listed former Union Bank a tall curved palazzo styled building constructed in the 1920s which has a mezzanine entrance at the corner of the lane. The building is now occupied by Laurent, an upmarket French patisserie serving delicious sweets, pastries, good coffee and hot chocolate. The lane is bitumen and lined by the plain sides of some heritage buildings. It is closed to all vehicular traffic.A vista is created at either end by the Myer Emporium on Bourke Street Mall and at the other by the postmodern facade of the Novotel on Collins.

Early morning is a wonderful time to walk along these lanes as they are deserted but the smells of coffee, cooking and baking provide a great start to the day.

This post is part of the Signs, Signs meme.

Wednesday 7 December 2011


The Studley Park Boathouse, established as the Burn's Boathouse, has been in continuous use since 1863. It is located in Yarra Bend Park, about 10 minutes drive from the City centre. This is the largest area of natural bushland within the Melbourne Metropolitan area. The park's popularity waned mid-century as motor cars expanded leisure choices. Since the early 1980s revegetation and the construction of the Main Yarra Trail have led to a resurgence of popularity.

For more of my photos from this Park, please visit my other Photoblog, NixPages.

This post is part of the Watery Wednesday meme.

Tuesday 6 December 2011


Coburg is a suburb in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 8 km north from Melbourne's central business district. Its Local Government Area is the City of Moreland, although a handful of properties on Coburg's Eastern boundary are located in the City of Darebin. At the 2006 Census, Coburg had a population of 23,772. Coburg was surveyed by Robert Hoddle in 1837–38 and he recorded details of the first white person living in Coburg. It was a Mr Hyatt who had a sheep station and hut on the east bank of the Merri Creek near present Outlook Road.

By 1849 there were 21 farms in the area. In 1884 the railway line opened, and in February 1889 the horse tram service began along Sydney Road (electric trams did not start running until 1916). In 1888 Coburg Railway Station was built. By l899 there were 6000 people in the district.

The Railway Station is a fine old Victorian red brick building typical of the period, that has been well-preserved. It is still used and presently, with Coburg Station classed as a Premium Station, being in Metcard Zone 1. The large red brick building houses an enclosed waiting area, ticketing facilities and toilets.

This post is part of the "Our World Tuesday" meme.

Monday 5 December 2011


In Melbourne's Royal Arcade a focal point is the clock flanked by the giants Gog and Magog. These two 7-feet giants have been striking the time on Gaunt's clock since 1842. They were carved from clear pine and modelled on the figures erected in Guildhall, London, in 1708 to symbolise the conflict between the ancient Britons and the Trojan invaders. Mythology tells of the giants Gog and Magog (also known as Corineus and Gogmagog) having been captured in battle by the Trojans and made to serve as porters at the gateway of an ancient palace on a site later occupied by the Guildhall. It is traditional for Gog to stand to the north and Magog to the south.

Gog and Magog (Hebrew: גּוֹג וּמָגוֹג‎‎ Gog u-Magog; Arabic: يَأْجُوج وَمَأْجُوج‎ Yaʾǧūǧ wa-Maʾǧūǧ) are names that appear primarily in various Jewish, Christian and Muslim scriptures, as well as numerous subsequent references in other works. Their context can be either genealogical (as Magog in Genesis 10:2) or eschatological and apocalyptic, as in Ezekiel and Revelation. They are sometimes individuals, sometimes peoples, and sometimes geographic regions. The passages from Ezekiel and Revelation in particular have attracted attention due to their prophetic descriptions of conflicts said to occur near the "End times".

This post is part of the Mellow Yellow Monday meme. The yellow walls of Royal Arcade contribute to its bright, airy feel.

Sunday 4 December 2011


The ‘Mother Church of Victoria’, St Francis’ Church, was built between 1841 and 1845 on the block of land originally reserved for the Catholic Church in Melbourne. Soon after Melbourne’s pioneer priest, the Franciscan Fr Patrick Geoghegan, arrived in 1839, a temporary chapel made of second-hand floorboards was erected on the site of the future St Francis’ Church. When sufficient funds were raised to finance a permanent building, Geoghegan commissioned the architect Samuel Jackson to design the present church, which he dedicated to St Francis’ of Assisi.

The foundation stone of St Francis’ Church was laid on 4 October 1841. The first mass was celebrated in the completed nave of the church on 22 May 1842. And the church was blessed and opened on 23 October 1845. St Francis’ became Melbourne’s first Catholic cathedral with the arrival of Bishop James Alipius Goold in 1848. Its cathedral status ended when the nave of the partially built St Patrick’s Cathedral was opened for worship in the late 1860s.

The beautiful ‘Ladye Chapel’ on the western side of St Francis’ Church was constructed in the mid 1850s and blessed on 31 May 1858. This is an awe-inspiring place place for quiet reflection or prayer.

This post is part of the Psalm Sunday meme run by Robert.

Hail Mary full of grace,
Mary full of grace Hail!
The Lord Lord is with thee,
Blessed amongst women
And blessed be the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Hail Mary,
Hail Mary Mother of God
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of death,
Hail Mary...

Here is Renée Fleming singing the orchestral arrangement od Schubert's setting of this beautiful psalm.

Saturday 3 December 2011


Montsalvat is an artist's colony in Eltham established in 1934, and home to over a dozen buildings set amongst richly established gardens. The site has a detailed history that reflects the life of founder Justus Jörgensen and his friends and family, while its buildings and gardens are stepped in the art and culture of Melbourne and its surroundings.

Architecturally Montsalvat has much in common with a simple French village in Provence, with a mix of rustic architectural styles.  Justus Jörgensen was an architect and as a former student of Max Meldrum had spent many happy hours painting around Eltham. In 1934 Jörgensen purchased land and with his friends and students commenced the buildings that became Montsalvat, 26kms from Melbourne.  A lot of materials came from the many beautiful buildings of Melbourne that were being demolished to make way for modernisation. The addition of mud bricks, rammed earth, the local mud stone , bush timbers, and a great deal of hard labour, Justus Jörgensen's vision took form.

Here is the swimming pool with the Great Hall behind it in the background. You can view more of my photos of Montsalvat here.

This post is part of the Weekend Reflections meme.

Friday 2 December 2011


Located by the Maribyrnong River with a fully licensed cafe and over 100 car spaces Poyntons Nursery in Essendon is a well-appointed nursery with a huge variety of plants and flowers. Poyntons' qualified staff have created wonderful home and garden displays designed to inspire throughout one and a half undulating acres.

With the majority of Melbourne homes possessing extensive gardens, it is understandable that Melburnians are garden-mad and this nursery is always full of customers, especially at weekends. As well as numerous plant varieties, trees, ornamentals, vegetables, seedlings and specimen plants, the nursery has shopping areas with traditional home décor and Outdoor Living with a focus on contemporary lifestyles.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


It's December and the Christmas decorations have been up for a while now. This is a view of the old General Post Office clock tower in the morning light from the Bourke St Mall. To the left is the high rise building housing the central office of the Commonwealth Bank on Elizabeth St. The Christmas stars make for a festive addition to the bright blue morning sky.

This is a post for the Skywatch Friday meme.

Thursday 1 December 2011


This another of Melbourne's vintage W Class trams (see my previous post), in front of the Old Magistrate's Court on La Trobe St. The cryptic sign on the upper left "RIGHT TURN FROM LEFT ONLY" perplexes all except Melbourne's drivers.

This turn is called a "box turn" or "hook turn" and its explanation can be found here. It is mainly used to facilitate the through traffic of trams in the middle of the road (do remember that in Australia we drive on the left side of road!). Box turns are mainly found in City centre intersections.

This post is part of the "Sign, Signs" meme.


Melbourne's tram system began operations in 1885, when the first cable line operated by the Melbourne Tramway and Omnibus Company opened for business. The cable tram system grew to be very comprehensive and operated successfully for 55 years. Electric tramsAustralia's first electric tram line, from Box Hill Station to Doncaster, was built by a group of land developers using equipment left over from the Great Exhibition of 1888. It opened in 1889. At this time the line must have been right out in the sticks, since Box Hill itself was many kilometres beyond the existing tram system. It had one or two problems, such as arguments with land owners who fenced over the line and pulled down the power lines, and poor reliability, since its owners knew nothing about running a tram system, and it died by 1896.

The only hint now that there was ever a tram system in the Doncaster area is a road along the former route - Tram Road.The first serious electric trams in Melbourne began in 1906 with the North Melbourne Electric Tramway and Lighting Company (NMETL) who built a line from the edge of the cable system out towards Essendon, and the Victorian Railways who built a line from St. Kilda to Brighton. The NMETL, a British concern, was interested in selling electricity to customers along the route (and the same motive led to the establishment of the Ballarat, Bendigo, and Geelong electric tram systems). The company commenced operations with single bogie saloon cars (later classified U-class) and unpopular toastrack cars (later classified V-class).

This photo is of Melbourne's classic tram. When the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board was formed to take over the operations of the various Municipal tramway authorities, it found itself with a unified cable system, but an absolute plethora of electric tram types, which it gave letter codes from A through to V. The board decided that it was time to introduce a standard design. The new W-class design, first introduced in 1923, was an outstanding success, and has been the mainstay of the Melbourne tram system for the bulk of this century. It is a two-bogie, drop-centre design, which has had many variants over the years. The oldest W-class tram still in active service was built in 1938!
Originally, W-class was the term given to those trams built before the W1 was introduced, but now the name refers to all the variants as a group. Some of the trams are denoted SW (for sliding doors).

It's here shown "hurtling" down La Trobe St towards the West.