Tuesday 31 January 2012


The Melbourne General Cemetery is a large (43 hectare) necropolis located 2 km north of the city of Melbourne in the suburb of Carlton North. The cemetery was established in 1852 and opened on 1st June 1853, and the Old Melbourne Cemetery (on the site of what is now the Queen Victoria Market) was closed the next year. The grounds feature several heritage buildings, many in bluestone, including a couple of chapels and a number of cast iron pavilions. The gatehouses are particularly notable, especially the one at the main gate, shown here. It is presently being used as offices for the cemetery staff.

This post is part of Our World Tuesday meme, and
The Taphophile Tragics meme.

Monday 30 January 2012


"Vault" is a public sculpture in Melbourne and is the work of sculptor Ron Robertson-Swann. It is an abstract, minimalist sculpture built of large thick flat polygonal sheets of prefabricated steel, assembled in a way that suggests dynamic movement. It is painted bright yellow. It is presently located outside the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) in Southbank.

"Vault" is a key work in Melbourne's public art collection, and of considerable historical importance to the city. Vault has weathered much controversy throughout its existence. Commissioned by the Melbourne City Council in 1978 for the newly built Melbourne City Square, the sculpture was not even built before it began to attract criticism from conservative media and council factions, on the grounds that its modern form was felt to be unsympathetic to the location. The cost of $70,000 was also felt to be excessive. The sculpture, which officially had no title at this date, was given the derogatory nickname "The Yellow Peril" by the newspapers, a name which has stuck.

Installed in the City Square in May 1980, "Vault" lasted until December of that year, when its dismantling coincided with the State Government's sacking of the City Council. The Builders Labourers Federation consequently placed bans on further City Square work projects. In 1981 "Vault" was re-erected at Batman Park (named after John Batman) and remained there in neglect and obscurity until 2002 when it was restored and moved to its current Southbank location, looking quite good against the rusty exterior of ACCA.

This post is part of the Mellow Yellow Monday meme.

Sunday 29 January 2012


The Roman Catholic Ukrainian Greek Eparchy of Saints Peter and Paul of Melbourne is a Byzantine Rite Eastern Catholic Eparchy of the Catholic Church in Australia based in Melbourne. Founded in 1958, the Eparchy is attached to the Archdiocese of Melbourne, but immediately subject to the Holy See. Like all Catholic dioceses it is a member of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference. The Roman Catholic Church is made up of the Latin or Western Catholic Church and 21 Eastern Catholic Churches, one of which is the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

The Eparchy is non-geographic, but demographic in that it has jurisdiction wherever Ukrainian Greeks are found in Australia, New Zealand and throughout Oceania. It has many churches, schools, nursing homes and other institutions in Australia and New Zealand. The Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, in North Melbourne, Victoria, is the seat of the Eparch, currently Petro Stasiuk, C.SS.R. The Cathedral Church in Melbourne was completed in 1963. On 3rd December the Cathedral was consecrated after the Iconostasis was installed.

Liturgy times in this church are: Sunday 8.00am –Recited Liturgy; 9.30am –Divine Liturgy –Ukrainian; 11.30am –Divine Liturgy –English. Unfortunately, when we visited the church was closed so we could not take any interior shots. The cathedral is situated in a beautiful part of North Melbourne with treelined wide streets and some wonderful old Victorian terrace houses.

This post is part of the Sunday Psalms meme.

The video below is a setting of passages from Psalm 103 (Bless the LORD, O my soul), from the evening church liturgy (vespers). Chanting is the Choir of Saint Michael´s Golden Dome Monastery comprising students of the Kyiv Orthodox Theological Academy of Kyiv patriarchate, from Kyiv, Ukraine.

1 Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.

Saturday 28 January 2012


Melbourne has a reputation as a shopping Mecca and not only do many Australians from other states come here to shop, but we also have regular visitors from Southeast Asia and New Zealand who love to visit and shop till they drop. From the cutting edge to classic, boutique to big time, Melbourne’s vibrant retail scene is alive with alluring labels, products and shopping experiences – some home grown, some world-renowned. Add to that the quirky, the pre-loved and the unique designs - be they clothes, shoes, jewellery, crafts, art or any other items you may think of.

Here are some shots looking north along Elizabeth St in the CBD. To the left one may see the tower of the General Post Office and the high rise tower of Melbourne Central. Passers-by are enticed by the windows of many luxury stores that line this street across the road from Royal Arcade.

This post is part of the Weekend Reflections meme.

Friday 27 January 2012


On a fine warm summer's night, it's wonderful to go out and watch the sky. Considering Melbourne's huge size and the amount of light pollution that we have, we are fortunate to still be able to see most constellations of the Southern sky and track the position of the planets. I did a rather brave thing, shooting for the stars on my camera without a tripod, but I think the results are quite good, considering.

The first image is the planet Venus setting in the Western sky. This is the brightest object in the night sky after the moon. It is said that if one is in a place without any light pollution and it is a moonless night, the planet Venus is bright enough to cause your shadow to be cast behind you.

The second image is the constellation Orion (the three stars in a row are his belt) and to the right, the brightest star in the night sky, which is Sirius, in the constellation of Canis Major. To help with identification, I have appended screen shots from an excellent application called "Stellarium" that helps the skywatcher identify astronomical features.

The last image is our very own Southern Hemisphere constellation, the Southern Cross (Crux). The pointers are the two bright stars to the bottom right and they belong to the constellation Centaurus., being the named stars Hadar and Rigil Kent. They point to the South.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme

Thursday 26 January 2012


The view to the southwest towards Albert Park Lake and Port Phillip Bay here shows the busy arterial roads and a number of new apartment buildings built or being built. The signs at the bottom left are interesting and perhaps say something about our culture. Increasing numbers of people are now apartment dwellers in the inner city, living a café culture life. The young professionals, especially live life in the fast lane with some of the new city apartments not even having a proper kitchen (just a "galley"), as most meals are consumed out or ordered in...

The sign below is from a successful advertising campaign for Australian wine (which we do rather well...). I dare say there will be rather a lot of drinking and carousing today to celebrate our National Day! Happy Australia Day!

This is a post for the Signs, Signs meme.


Happy Australia Day, Everyone!

A beautiful tree found planted on many a nature strip and garden in Melbourne is Acacia baileyana (Cootamundra Wattle), which is the floral emblem of the small rural township of Cootamundra which is located on the western slopes of New South Wales, about 350 km southwest of Sydney.

Cootamundra Wattle is a well-known Australian species, principally on account of its popularity in cultivation (both within Australia and abroad). In 1986 its profile was enhanced following the release of John Williamson’s song "Cootamundra Wattle". The species is featured on an Australian stamp and appears in many popular and scientific publications, for example, Archibald Campbell’s book Golden Wattle which was published in 1921.

Acacia baileyana was originally described by Baron von Mueller in 1888, based on a plant cultivated in 1876 at Bowen Park, Brisbane, by the Queensland botanist, Frederick Manson Bailey (after whom the species was named). Acacia baileyana has a very restricted natural distribution which is confined to the vicinity of Cootamundra, hence its common name. In its native habitat the species is found in sheltered situations, generally on elevated sites, between Stockinbingal, Temora, Cootamundra and Bethungra (a distance of only about 50 km, east to west).

Here it is seen growing along a bicycle path in Darebin Parklands, an extensive natural reserve along Darebin Creek, about 15 minutes walk from our home.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 25 January 2012


Some more photos from Williamstown, about which I have already blogged. This is a lovely seaside suburb, very historic and combining leisure activities with maritime ones. There is a great view of the Melbourne City skyline across the bay, but also of Port Melbourne and Station Pier. One can see the Diamond Princess, a cruise ship that visited Melbourne on January , 2012 when these photos were taken.

The West Gate Bridge can be seen in the second photo. The West Gate Bridge is a steel box girder cable-stayed bridge that spans the Yarra River, just north of its mouth into Port Phillip, and is a vital link between the inner city and Melbourne's western suburbs with the industrial suburbs in the west and with the city of Geelong, 80 kilometres to the south-west. The main river span is 336 metres  in length, and the height above the water is 58 metres. The total length of the bridge is 2,582.6 metres. It is the third longest in Australia behind the Houghton Highway and the Hornibrook Bridge, and is twice as long as the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The bridge passes over Westgate Park, a large environmental and recreational reserve created during the bridge's construction.

This post is part of the Watery Wednesday meme.

Of course seagulls love the foreshore, especially when there are picnics in sight!

Tuesday 24 January 2012


John Batman bought the Northcote land from the Jaga Jaga tribe but the treaty was later declared invalid.  The top half of Northcote was sold to speculators in 1839.   Farmers along the more fertile upper reaches of the Merri Creek, Darebin Creek and the Yarra River supplied food for the growing city of Melbourne.  The surveyed township of Northcote was laid out in 1853, when there were just a dozen houses in the area.  By 1861 there were 170 houses.  Mansions and larger homes were established on Northcote Hill by the wealthy classes; a series of shops and hotels were constructed on major routes; and industries such as the Northcote Brick Company established in the early 1880's developed in the area.

A number of German immigrants settled in Northcote in the early 1850's.  Seven Germans bought blocks of land in Separation Street (named in honour of Victoria's independence from New South Wales), and they mostly settled on the flat land at the bottom of Northcote Hill.  The Germans were a close-knit community who wanted to preserve their national identity in a new country.  The 1901 census reveals that there were 77 German-born residents in Northcote. The Old Cemetery is located in Separation Street and is now wedged between houses and the All Nations Park at the rear.  The small rectangular cemetery is hidden away behind a one-metre red brick wall.  Entry is through a wrought iron pedestrian gate and vehicle gates supported by brick pillars.  This structure appears to have been erected in the 1960's.  The layout is structured around a central drive which runs from the entrance in Separation Street.

The records of initial burials are not available, but it would appear reasonable to that the earliest burials occurred in the 1860's.  Many graves bear names like Müller and Schwaebsh, although other nationalities are represented.  The earliest receipt book for burial fees commences on 10 February 1899.  The available records indicate fairly regular use of the cemetery up to about 1940.  There have been approximately 200 burials.  The cemetery has been closed since 1908, except for the holders of the right of burial.  The last burial was in 1971.  The Northcote City Council took-over the management of the cemetery in the 1920's, assuming all costs. Considerable works have made this cemetery a well-maintained and pleasant historic place. 

This post is part of Our World Tuesday meme, and

Monday 23 January 2012


The Victorian Trades Hall building is located in the suburb of Carlton, and home to the Victorian Trades Hall Council. It is located on the corner of Lygon Street and Victoria Street, just north of the Melbourne central business district. The original Trades Hall was opened in May 1859 after being built by workers as an organising place for the labour movement in Melbourne.

The workers financed the construction of the building themselves. The hall underwent an upgrade from 1874 to 1925 at the hands of architectural firm Reed & Barnes and it remains one of the most historically important sites in Melbourne today, being classified by the National Trust and included in the Register of Historic Buildings (Victoria). The hall is located across the road from the eight hour day monument which was erected to honour the Victorian workers who won the first 8 hour working day in the world in 1856.

It is the birthplace of organisations like the Victorian Labor Party and Australian Council of Trade Unions. Four flags fly from the roof of the building; the Australian Flag, the Eureka Flag, the Australian Aboriginal flag, and the red flag. Trades Hall is home to many of the Victorian trade unions, left-wing political parties and radical organisations. It also serves as the headquarters of the National Union of Students. The various rooms of the hall can be hired out for functions, meetings or conferences and it is often used for theatrical productions and to display artwork. The hall has a bar which is patronised by trade union members and political activists and a bookshop which sells radical texts. In recent times, as well as being the centre for union activity, the Trades Hall Council has opened the Trades Hall building to many cultural events, plays, and concerts.

This post is part of the Mellow Yellow meme.

Sunday 22 January 2012


The Scots' Church, a Presbyterian church in Melbourne, Australia, was the first Presbyterian Church to be built in the Port Phillip District (now the state of Victoria). It is located in Collins Street and is a congregation of the Presbyterian Church of Australia. It has been described as "an icon for well over a hundred years." The foundation stone of the first purpose built church building was laid on 22 January 1841 and it was opened on 3 October 1841. It was designed to seat 500 and the contract sum was £2,485 without plastering, gallery, vestry or fittings. The building was opened with temporary seating. Plastering was carried out the following year, proper pews, gallery and vestry were added in 1849 and a spire some years later. The first church building was demolished partly because of concerns that the tower and spire would collapse after it developed huge cracks and became crooked. During the ministry of Rev Peter Menzies (1868–74) the building was too small for the congregation but in any case a building more suited to the site and the social position of the congregation was considered appropriate.

Construction of the current building took place between 1871 and 1874, during the ministry of Rev Irving Hetherington and his colleague Rev Peter Menzies, and was opened on 29 November 1874 with fixed seating for about 900. It was designed by Joseph Reed of the firm Reed and Barnes, and built by David Mitchell, the father of Dame Nellie Melba. Reed and Barnes also designed the Melbourne Town Hall, the State Library of Victoria, Trades Hall, the Royal Exhibition Building, the Wesley Church in Lonsdale Street, the original Presbyterian Ladies' College in East Melbourne, and Collins Street Independent Church, now St. Michael’s Uniting Church, on the opposite corner of Russell Street. Scots' Church is in the Neo-Gothic style and built of Barrabool freestone, with dressings in Kakanui stone from New Zealand. During the last decades of the nineteenth century the spire of Scots' Church was the tallest structure in Melbourne at about 210 feet from the ground. The interior features the large stained glass window depicting the Last Supper, basalt aisle columns, timber beamed roof and an elevated floor for a good view of the pulpit.

Here is a Bulgarian Orthodox setting of Psalm 50:

The mighty God, even the LORD,
hath spoken, and called the earth
from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof.
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God hath shined.
Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence:
a fire shall devour before him,
and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.
He shall call to the heavens from above,
and to the earth, that he may judge his people.
Gather my saints together unto me;
those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.
And the heavens shall declare his righteousness:
for God is judge himself.

Psalm Sunday is hosted by Robert.
This post is also part of the Windows and Doors meme.
And also part of the Saturday Sareenity meme.

Saturday 21 January 2012


Rippon Lea Estate is a historic property located in Elsternwick, Victoria, Australia. It is under the care of the National Trust of Australia. See my post on Rippon Lea Estate on my other Photoblog for more history and photos of both mansion and gardens.

An extensive pleasure garden was laid out around the mansion, together with glasshouses, vegetable gardens and orchards. The gardens were designed to be self-sufficient as regards water, and the large man-made lake on the property was designed to store stormwater run-off from the surrounding area. By the late 1870's Rippon Lea was a total of 45 acres (180,000 square metres) with the 'kitchen garden' alone taking up 2 acres (8,100 square metres).

This post is part of the Weekend Reflections meme.

Friday 20 January 2012


Callistemon is a genus of 34 species of shrubs in the family Myrtaceae, all of which are endemic to Australia. Callistemon species are commonly referred to as bottlebrushes because of their cylindrical, brush like flowers resembling a traditional brush used to clean the interior of bottles. They are found in the more temperate regions of Australia, mostly along the east coast and south-west, and typically favour moist conditions so when planted in gardens thrive on regular watering. However, at least some of the species are drought-resistant. There are varieties with white, yellow, pink or red flowers.

Bottlebrushes are often planted on nature strips along Melbourne streets and are also a favourite garden tree. Around Christmas and all through the summer the showy flowers make quite a spectacular display and provide nectar for insects and native birds. This variety illustrated is C. 'Wildfire' - a rounded shrub to 2m high by 2m wide with slightly pendulous branches. It has showy red clusters of brushy flowers. The moon in the sky in the first photo was a happy discovery afterwards...

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme 
and also of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Thursday 19 January 2012


Last April, Myer's Bourke St store opened after four years of renovations that cost $300 million. This Department Store, a Melbourne icon, has been around for 100 years or so. Sidney Myer (1878-1934) arrived in Melbourne in 1899 as a penniless Russian migrant. In his lifetime not only did he achieve great business success, but also became renowned, respected and admired as a leading philanthropist, whose legacy continues to this day through the Sidney Myer Fund and the Myer Community Fund. In 1934, his unexpected death left the people of Melbourne shocked and numb, with more than 100,000 mourners lining the streets to pay their final respects and witness the funeral procession.

The renovated Bourke St store is quite stunning, with a central atrium surrounded by escalators that give access to the various Departments on all floors. There is much glass, mirrors, lights and an open, welcoming look. This was a much-needed refurbishment, but like all large retail outlets Myer is experiencing enormous competitive pressure from online shopping. Almost everything you can buy in a retail store you can probably buy online cheaper, or at least find an alternative retailer that sells it cheaper. However, many people are still willing to pay more for the face-to-face shopping experience in a an environment that allows for social interactions, trying on of clothing, and comparison of quality of goods that one can handle and really see...

This post is part of the Signs, Signs meme.