Saturday 31 March 2012


Having bodies of water in a City lends it a special feel and beauty, especially evident at night where the lights reflected in these waters make it seem a wonderland. Here is a view across the Yarra towards the City, from Southbank. It is a lovely view and promenading along the river bank with all those lights and reflections makes for a very special experience.

This post is part of James' Weekend Reflections meme,
And also for Louis' Sunday Bridges meme.

Friday 30 March 2012


Bushfires in Australia are frequently occurring events during the hotter months of the year due to Australia's mostly hot, dry climate. Large areas of land are ravaged every year by bushfires, which also cause property damage and loss of life.

Certain native flora in Australia have evolved to rely on bushfires as a means of reproduction and fire events are an interwoven and an essential part of the ecology of the continent. In some eucalypt and banksia species, for example, fire causes seed pods to open, which allows them to germinate. Fire also encourages the growth of new grassland plants. Other species have adapted to recover quickly from fire.

For many thousands of years, Indigenous Australians people have used fire for a variety of purposes. These included the encouragement of grasslands for hunting purposes and the clearing of tracks through dense vegetation.

Major firestorms that result in severe loss of life are often named based on the day on which they occur, such as Ash Wednesday and Black Saturday. Some of the most intense, extensive and deadly bushfires commonly occur during droughts and heat waves, such as the 2009 Southern Australia heat wave, which precipitated the conditions during the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires in which 173 people lost their lives.

We have been lucky in the past few years in that we have had cooler, wetter summers and thankfully no major bushfires. These photos are from the summer of 2003 when we were experiencing a severe drought in Victoria and here were numerous bushfires around Melbourne, often swathig our skies in smoke and producing some otherworldly sunsets.

This post is part of Sylvia's Skywatch Friday.

Thursday 29 March 2012


Tibouchina is a genus of about 350 species of neotropical plants in the family Melastomataceae. They are trees, shrubs or subshrubs growing 0.5–25 m tall, and are known as glory bushes or glory trees. They are native to rainforests of Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America, especially Brazil. The name comes from an adaptation of the native Guiana term for these shrubs. In Brazil, people use the massed purple blooms to decorate churches at Easter time. Here in Australia tibouchinas also make quite a statement in autumn, with their riot of purple flowers.

This particular plant is Tibouchina 'Alstonville', probably the best of the larger growing kinds, and common as a garden and street tree in Melbourne.This plant was produced at Alstonville, on the New South Wales North coast, by the late Ken Dunstan. It is an evergreen small tree which usually grows to about 5m tall. The foliage is dark green in colour with a pale reverse. 'Alstonville' puts on a brilliant display of violet/purple flowers in late summer and autumn. It makes an excellent street or specimen tree, and responds very well to pruning.

This post is part of my Floral Friday Fotos meme.


The University of Melbourne is a public university located in Melbourne. 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 a member of Australia's "Group of Eight" lobby group, the Universitas 21 and Association of Pacific Rim Universities networks. 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 campus is beautiful with much open space, trees, gardens and lawns. The buildings are a wonderful mixture of the old and new and it is always a pleasure to walk there.

This post is part of Lesley's Signs, Signs meme.
University signage on Grattan St
The Dax Centre at the University of Melbourne promotes mental health and wellbeing through fostering a greater understanding of the mind, mental illness and trauma through art and creativity. It incorporates the Cunningham Dax Collection, a collection of over 15,000 works created by people with an experience of mental illness and trauma. The Dax Centre's activities include: An annual program of exhibitions, as well as touring exhibitions that travel interstate and internationally; an education program for secondary and tertiary students; public programs, professional development and research

The DAX building
The Botany Building constructed in 1923 
"University House"  is the staff club of  The University of Melbourne.  It was opened in 1953 with 270 members. It was created for the purpose of providing a centre for the community life of the University and University staff. Since its inception each year the Club has made a gradual growth of membership and in 2008 reached 2500 members. University House has come to fill its essential place in the life of the University. University House, located on Professors Road and housed in a beautiful Victorian home with gardens to its east and west.  Dating  back to 1885, University House is the sole survivor of a number of Victorian Professorial houses that once lined Professors Walk
The Atlantes, sculptured by James Gilbert, formerly part of the doorway of The Colonial Bank of Australasia, located at the north-east corner of Elizabeth and Little Collins Streets, 1880. The building was demolished in 1932 and the porch with statues was donated to The University of Melbourne. It was then re-erected at The University of Melbourne car park entrance in 1972.
Close-up of the Northern Atlas.
The entrance foyer of the Brownless Biomedical Library. The Brownless Biomedical library is the main library for Medicine Dentistry and Health Services. It is located to the Southwest side of the Campus, near Grattan Street.  There are 4 floors housing the Biomedical Library collection including the Basement
View of Grattan St, looking towards the East. To the left is the Faculty of Medicine and to the right is the Alan Gilbert Building
Another view of the Alan Gilbert Building from University Square, looking towards the West

Wednesday 28 March 2012


Port Phillip (also commonly referred to as Port Phillip Bay or [locally] just "The Bay"), is a large bay in southern Victoria, Australia; it is the location of Melbourne. Geographically, the bay covers 1,930 square kilometres and the shore stretches roughly 264 km. Although it is extremely shallow for its size, most of the bay is navigable. The deepest portion is only 24 metres, and half the region is shallower than 8 m. The volume of the water in the bay is around 25 cubic kilometres.

We have been enjoying some very fine autumn weather with temperatures in the mid-twenties, mostly fine and sunny. It is wonderful to be able to enjoy this Indian Summer, especially around the water. In these photos we are looking out towards Port Phillip Bay from an apartment in Southbank.

This post is part of the Watery Wednesday meme,
and also part of the NF Waters meme,
and also part of the Outdoor Wednesday meme.

General view towards the Southwest, with the bay in the background 
View of the Harbour to the Northwest
View to the South, with Albert Park Lake in the middle distance and the bay in the back, right
View to the Southwest. Sailing in the clear blue waters...

Tuesday 27 March 2012


Melbourne's Luna Park is a historic amusement park located on the foreshore of Port Phillip Bay in St Kilda, Victoria, an inner suburb of Melbourne, Australia. It opened on 13 December 1912 and has been operating almost continuously ever since. This was the first of the four Luna Parks that were built in Australia, of which only Melbourne and Luna Park Sydney are still operating. The other two, now defunct, Luna Parks were at Glenelg in South Australia (1930–1934) and at Redcliffe in Queensland (1944–1966).

The St Kilda park was developed by American showman J D Williams, in company with the three Phillips brothers (reputedly from Seattle), who had all had experience in the amusement and cinema industry in the US. Their Chief Engineer and main designer was Englishman T H Eslick, who, according to the opening day brochure, had worked on numerous parks around the world. Williams returned to the US in 1913 to help found First National Films which subsequently became Warner Brothers. The Phillips brothers stayed on and ran the park until their deaths in the 1950s.

A fire in 1981 destroyed the Giggle Palace, and in the same year the River Caves were declared unsafe, and demolished. In 1989 the Big Dipper was demolished in anticipation of a new large roller coaster which never eventuated. The main historic features of the park to remain include the iconic "Mr Moon" face entry and flanking towers (1912, restored 1999), the Scenic Railway (1912) which is the oldest continuously-operating roller coaster in the world, and the carousel (1913 restored 2000). Other historic attractions include the Ghost Train (1934), and the fairytale castle-style Dodgem's Building constructed to house the newly patented ride in 1927 (the ride itself was relocated from the first floor of this building to the ground level in the late 1990s). The park also includes many modern attractions such as the Metropolis roller-coaster, the Spider, a Ferris wheel, and other mechanical thrill-rides. The park remains popular with children and their parents who have fond memories of the park from their youth. Extensive parks and beachfront attractions surround the Luna Park and contribute to its status as a tourist magnet.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme.

Monday 26 March 2012


As well as having large parks and gardens all around Melbourne, there are a number of smaller reserves scattered throughout the suburbs. These are generally the size of a house lot or two and have been gifted to the community by former owners of the land. These reserves are looked after by the local councils and they may have BBQ facilities, children's playgrounds, park benches and flower beds, or in some cases art works.

This is Browns Reserve on Nicholson St in Abbotford (an inner suburb to the East of the CBD), a typical example of such a reserve. A mural adorns one of the adjoining house walls and considering it was painted in 1988, it is doing quite well in terms of resisting the effects of the weather and of defacement. The theme is native flora and fauna, and it was designed by Carol Ruff.

This post is part of the Monday Murals meme,
and part of the Mellow Yellow Monday meme.

The numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus), also known as the banded anteater, or walpurti, is a marsupial found in Western Australia. Its diet consists almost exclusively of termites. Once widespread across southern Australia, the range is now restricted to several small colonies and it is listed as an endangered species. The numbat is an emblem of Western Australia and protected by conservation programs
The Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) is a small white heron.In Australia, its status varies from state to state. It is listed as 'Threatened' on the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (1988). Under this Act, an Action Statement for the recovery and future management of this species has been prepared. On the 2007 advisory list of threatened vertebrate fauna in Victoria, the Little Egret is listed as endangered. On the right The magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) is a common bird, seen in parks and suburban gardens across many parts of Australia. It is easily recognised and has the following features: Its head, belly and tail tip are all black there are splashes of white on its wings, its lower back and tail, and the back of its head its beak is blue-grey in colour its legs are black its eyes are brown. The magpie's lack of shyness has made it popular with suburban gardeners and farmers both for its carolling song and its appetite for insect pests.
The thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus), Greek for "dog-headed pouched one", was the largest known carnivorous marsupial of modern times. It is commonly known as the Tasmanian tiger (because of its striped back) or the Tasmanian wolf. Native to continental Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea, it is thought to have become extinct in the 20th century. It was the last extant member of its family, Thylacinidae, although several related species have been found in the fossil record dating back to the early Miocene. The thylacine had become extremely rare or extinct on the Australian mainland before European settlement of the continent, but it survived on the island of Tasmania along with several other endemic species, including the Tasmanian devil. Intensive hunting encouraged by bounties is generally blamed for its extinction, but other contributing factors may have been disease, the introduction of dogs, and human encroachment into its habitat. Despite its official classification as extinct, sightings are still reported, though none proven. 

Sunday 25 March 2012


St. Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne has quite an interesting background. The Cathedral was proposed to be built in 1847, only 12 years after the establishment of Melbourne, and an area of land in the Eastern Hill area was granted by the Colonial Secretary of Victoria for its construction. The Cathedral was devoted to St. Patrick, a saint of Ireland, as a majority of Catholics in Melbourne at that time were Irish.

The construction of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne, designed by William Wardell, took a long time to start due to several obstacles like the lack of labour during the Gold Rush of the 1850s. Almost 11 years after the proposal, the foundation stones were finally laid in 1858. The central area of the church was completed within 10 years but soon after that, work progressed at a very slow pace mainly due to the misery that struck Melbourne in 1891. The construction of the main part of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne was finally over in 1897. Daniel Mannix, who became Archbishop of Melbourne in 1917, maintained a constant interest in the cathedral, which he was determined to see finished after the long delays during the previous 30 years. He oversaw the addition of the spires and other elements in the late 1930s. The building was officially completed in 1939.

The Cathedral  is famous because of its grand and awe-inspiring architecture which is in the Gothic Revival Style. This style refers to the imitation of the technique of church building in the middle ages and which was most admired in Europe and America in the late 19th century, spurring the constrction of gothic revival structures. The central area of the church is designed in the early English style while the rest of the building is more geometrical identifying with the later Gothic style.

And for Psalm Sunday hosted by Robert in Athens and Louis in SF, here is "O clarissima mater, response [De sancta Maria]" by Hildegard of Bingen.

Saturday 24 March 2012


This old depot is close to where I live, in what used to be a light industrial area. Although there are still some warehouses, factories and light industry businesses around, the gentrification is proceeding relentlessly and old warehouses, depots and other industrial buildings are being converted or demolished as the area becomes residential, with a number of units or apartments going up in the large lots where these businesses were.

This old disused depot is sitting around waiting for its demise and soon, new apartments will no doubt replace it...

This post is part of the Weekly Top Shot meme hosted by Madge.

Friday 23 March 2012


“Aurora” is a 2006, large stainless-steel sculpture, by Geoffrey Bartlett, situated at the corner of Harbour Esplanade & Bourke St, Docklands. “Aurora” engages with the history of Docklands. The work’s central component is a sweeping netlike form constructed in stainless steel, held aloft by three curved and tapering stainless-steel legs. It is suggestive of technologies once used to move cargo between ships and shore, underscoring the historical importance of the site as a shipping port.

The work encourages passers-by to walk through it, but the vertical elements also draw the viewer’s attention up to the main, netlike component, challenging them to consider its meaning. Named after the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora’s stainless-steel surface is highly reflective and responds to changes in natural light during the day. By night, the main component is lit internally, creating the impression of a glowing orb suspended above street level.

This post is part of Sylvia's Skywatch Friday meme.