Thursday 31 May 2012


2012 is the National Year of Reading in Australia. It is a year where people are encouraged to read more, it is about children learning to read competently at early, and it is for keen readers to discover new authors. The year is about supporting reading initiatives while respecting the oral tradition of storytelling. It is about helping people discover and rediscover the magic of books. Quite importantly, it is about Australians becoming a nation of avid readers. Although Australia’s literacy rate is quoted as 99%, it is unfortunate that nearly half of our population cannot read with any fluency or great confidence.

In order to make Australia a nation of avid readers, it is important for all Australians to understand the benefits of reading as a life skill and a catalyst for well-being. This understanding begins early in life and more at home than in at school. A reading culture should be promoted in every home. There is no better way for children to become readers than for parents and caregivers to share books with their children every day.

State libraries across Australia and all public libraries support all sorts of activities this year in order to promote the National Year of Reading 2012. More information is available in all libraries.

Literature Lane runs parallel to Elizabeth St close to La Trobe St in the City. It is decorated with the cover pages of some wonderful Australian literary works, as well as some branding relating  to the National Year of Reading, the State Library and Melbourne City of Literature. One of the books illustrated is "The Mystery of a Hansom Cab", which is a mystery fiction novel by English writer Fergus Hume. The book was first published in Australia in 1886. Set in Melbourne, the story focuses on the investigation of a homicide involving a body discovered in a hansom cab, as well as an exploration into the social class divide in the city. Sales of the book were successful in Australia, with 100,000 copies sold in the first two print runs. The book was subsequently published in Britain and the United States, and sold over 500,000 copies in both countries. The Mystery of a Hansom Cab became an international bestseller and outsold the worldwide 1887 publication of the Sherlock Holmes novel A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle.

Quite by chance, a couple of weeks ago I chanced upon a video crew int eh City, shooting a TV series based on this book. The series will be shortly broadcast on ABC TV here in Australia. Of course, I took a few photos!

This post is part of Lesley's Signs, Signs meme.

Wednesday 30 May 2012


Melbourne Aquarium is a Southern Ocean and Antarctic aquarium in central Melbourne, Australia. It is located on the banks of the Yarra River beside and under the Flinders Street Viaduct and the King Street Bridge. Built between February 1998 and December 1999, the building was designed by Peddle Thorp architects to resemble a ship moored to the river, and opened in January 2000. The depth of the building however was designed not to be imposing at street level, and extends 7 metres below the surface.

At its centre is a world first, 2.2 million litre 'oceanarium in the round' where the spectators become the spectacle to the marine life swimming around them. Soon after opening, the building had a legionnaires' disease outbreak that resulted in 2 deaths and another 60 people being affected. Those affected had visited the aquarium between 11 and 27 April 2000. A damages action was brought in May 2000, ending in February 2004.

The Melbourne Aquarium recently underwent a significant expansion, also designed by Peddle Thorp, and now extends from the Yarra River to Flinders Street. A new entrance was built on the corner of Flinders and King Streets. The expansion features exhibits with king penguins and gentoo Penguins, as well as many other Antarctic fish, a first for Australia. The exhibits also feature real ice and snow to simulate Antarctic conditions, and take visitors on an expedition to Antarctica.

This post is part of Kim's Water World Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Nature Footsteps Waters meme.

Tuesday 29 May 2012


Wrought iron is an iron alloy with a very low carbon content (unlike the high carbon content of  steel), and in addition has fibrous inclusions, known as slag. This is what gives it a "grain" resembling wood, which is visible when it is etched or bent to the point of failure. Wrought iron is tough, malleable, ductile and easily welded. Historically, it was known as "commercially pure iron". However, it no longer qualifies as such because current standards for commercially pure iron require a carbon content of less than 0.008 wt%.

Prior to the development of effective methods of steelmaking and the availability of large quantities of steel, wrought iron was the most common form of malleable iron. A modest amount of wrought iron was used as a raw material for manufacturing of steel, which was mainly used to produce swords, cutlery, chisels, axes and other edge tools as well as springs and files. Demand for wrought iron reached its peak in the 1860s with the adaptation of ironclad warships and railways, but then declined as mild steel became more available.
Before they came to be made of mild steel, items produced from wrought iron included rivets, nails, wire, chains, rails, railway couplings, water and steam pipes, nuts, bolts, horseshoes, handrails, straps for timber roof trusses, and
ornamental ironwork. Wrought iron is no longer produced on a commercial scale. Many products described nowadays as 'wrought iron', such as guard rails, garden furniture and gates, are made of mild steel. They retain that description because they are wrought (worked) by hand.

In Victorian time ornamental wrought ironwork was an indispensable part of architectural ornament. This was very much the case not only in homes for this life, but also in the homes for the afterlife, i.e. graves! Melbourne Central Cemetery has a huge number of graves from the Victorian era, which have much wrought iron in the form of ornamental railings and little "fences" around the graves. The last photo amuses me as it is one of ornamental ironwork railings on a rooftop viewing platform, reminiscent of the railings around a grave. The little angels complete the funerary illusion.

This post is part of Julie's Taphophile Tragics meme.

Monday 28 May 2012


Part of the Docklands redevelopment area, New Quay is primarily a residential and entertainment area. In the public plaza space that leads into the area, there is a mosaic tribute to 100 great Australian entertainers of the past century. These are all Australian actors, comedians, singers and dancers. The mosaic includes portraits of Olivia Newton-John, Russell Crowe, Gladys Moncrieff, Robert Helpmann Nicole Kidman, Rod Taylor Geoffrey Rush and Errol Flynn. The mural was created by the Melbourne Mural Studios in April 2006, adapted from a painting by Jamie Cooper.

In the same precinct there are five statues of the famous Australian entertainers: Graham Kennedy (TV comedian), Barry Humphries in his most famous role Dame Edna (comedian), Nellie Melba (legendary soprano), Kylie Minogue (pop singer) and John Farnham (pop singer). These are by sculptor Peter Cortlett.

Furthermore, there are Hollywood-style star plaques for 100 individual performing artists on the pavement. Further along the Esplanade, one may see other sculptures, including this "Fish" by Anderson Hunt (2005.

This post is part of the Monday Murals meme.

Sunday 27 May 2012


I wrote on my NixPixMix blog about Docklands, yesterday and I thought I would post some photos that I took there a couple of months ago on this blog to contrast the night view with the day view here.

The Bolte Bridge is a large twin Cantilever bridge that spans the Yarra River and Victoria Harbour in the Docklands precinct to the west of the Melbourne CBD. It forms part of the CityLink system of toll roads that connects the Tullamarine Freeway from the northern suburbs with the West Gate Freeway and the Domain and Burnley tunnels to the Monash Freeway and the south eastern suburbs. Its twin "towers" are a Docklands landmark.

NewQuay, opened in 2002 was one of the first residential and commercial developments in Docklands. It currently has five residential towers and a podium building developed by MAB Corporation. The flagship building Palladio - which is shaped like the prow of a ship - is named after Italian architect Andrea Palladio. The podium building, Sant'Elia is named after another Italian architect Antonio Sant'Elia.

The rest are named after Australian artists: Nolan (Sidney Nolan), Arkley (Howard Arkley), Boyd (Arthur Boyd), and Conder (Charles Conder). Aquavista, completed in May 2007, is a strata office development and the first commercial building to be completed in NewQuay as part of the HQ NewQuay development. The ground level podiums contain a commercial precinct with a variety of restaurants and caf├ęs including Italian, Indian, Middle Eastern, Cantonese, Moroccan, Cambodian and Modern Australian cuisines.

Commissioned in 2001 and installed during 2002, Adrian Mauriks sculpture "Silence" has a size of 18 x 23 meters and a height of 4.5 metres. It consists of 13 components and was made from epoxy resin and stainless steel painted off-white. "Silence" was installed on the New Quay esplanade, Docklands Precinct Melbourne. The sculpture was commissioned by the MAB Corporation. The sculpture now belongs to the City of Melbourne.

This post is part of the Scenic Sunday meme,
and also part of Louis' Sunday Bridges meme.