Monday 31 October 2016


The Melbourne Cup is the horse race of all Australian horse races. Every year when this race is run around 3:00 pm, it literally stops the entire nation. Melbourne Cup Day is fixed on the first Tuesday in November and although it is a public holiday only in the Melbourne Metropolitan area, Australians all over the nation are glued to their television screens or listen on the radio (or on the internet too, nowadays, I suppose) to watch this historic race.

The race is held over a distance of 3,200 meters, the traditional two-mile cup distance, for horses three years and older and is the richest and most prestigious “two-mile” handicap in the world. It is held in Flemington Racecourse, located in Flemington, one of Melbourne's inner city suburbs, which is named after a butcher who lived there in the 19th century. I certainly hope he didn't sell horse meat - that would be grand irony!

The first Melbourne Cup was run in 1861. There were 17 starters and the prize was 170 pounds and a hand-beaten gold watch (this was the trophy given before the traditional Loving Cup which the Melbourne Cup is known for). “Archer”, the first Cup-winning horse, had been walked to Melbourne from its stable in Nowra, New South Wales, a distance of about 800km. “Archer” won again the following year to a prize of 810 gold sovereigns (£810) and a gold watch. “Archer” went on to win the race the following year once more, making him one of the five horses to win the event more than once.

The Victoria Turf Club and the Victoria Jockey Club merged to form the Victoria Racing Club in 1864. The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) had taken charge of the proceedings since then. The Melbourne Cup saw even more promise and popularity under the auspices of the VRC. By 1865, Cup Day was declared a half-day holiday. By 1877 it was declared a whole day holiday to allow patrons to crowd the Flemington racecourse. The Cup was first held on the first Tuesday of November in 1875. It then too adopted the four-day format, which later evolved to today's well-attended Carnival.

From then until now the Melbourne Cup was growing to a locally and internationally supported event. The Flemington racetrack is the most popular course in Australia and the home of the organisers of the VRC. The whole field has a capacity of 120,000. Spectators who cannot get into Flemington watch from the television panels outside of the field. The pear-shaped track has a back straight of six furlongs. The final straight to the finishing post measures 450 metres long. The length of the home stretch has decided Melbourne Cup races throughout history.

Melbourne Cup Day in 2016 is tomorrow, November 1st. To all punters out there, good luck! I am not a betting man but every year I enter the traditional friendly sweepstakes where I hand over my two-dollar coin as I bid goodbye to it - I haven't won once! Anyway, that's the extent of my gambling…

This post is part of the Monday Mellow Yellows meme.
and also part of the Blue Monday meme,
and also part of the Through my Lens meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme.

Sunday 30 October 2016


Lots of native flowers in this Spring bouquet!

This post is part of the Orange you Glad It's Friday meme,
and also part of the Our Beautiful World meme,
and also part of the My Sunday Photo meme,
and also part of the Photo Sunday meme
and also part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Saturday 29 October 2016


To photograph birds one must have patience. The blessed things do dart around a lot and even if they are not flying but rather perching somewhere, they do fidget. Or maybe some foliage or twigs get blown in the way, or just as you've focussed and are about to take the photo, they fly off! However, with patience one may capture them as one wishes to. This is a heron high up on a tree in the Darebin Parklands in Alphington.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also part of the Saturday Silhouettes meme,
and also part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme.

Friday 28 October 2016


Evening falling at the Darebin Creek in Alphington on a wonderful Springtime afternoon.

This post is part of the Friday Greens meme.

Thursday 27 October 2016


Malus ioensis ‘Plena’ or double, pink flowering crab apple is possibly the best ornamental flowering tree there is. It is a beautiful little deciduous tree that only grows to approximately 5mts tall, and 3 - 4mts wide with lovely green foliage appearing at the start of spring. Once a layer of foliage is produced, clusters of bright pink buds form all over the tree and burst open in mid spring. The flowers open to blush pink and then fade to white. The blossom is beautifully perfumed.

In autumn the foliage turns to a mixture of orange and red then falls to let the winter sun in. The tree is an attractive shape and looks good even bare, in winter. Malus like full sun and well drained soil and prefer mulch to keep the moisture in for summer. It is a self-forming tree so only prune if branches are in your way. Feed with All Purpose Fertiliser when first foliage begins to appear.

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

Wednesday 26 October 2016


The Darebin Parklands straddle Alphington and Ivanhoe, approximately 10 kilometres northeast of the City of Melbourne, and they are a district park covering an area of 33 hectares. Darebin Creek flows through the Parklands, to join the Yarra River, at Alphington. The Darebin Parklands are highly regarded for its social, recreation, education, conservation, water quality management, cultural and heritage values.

Several ponds are fed water from the Creek and provide a wetlands habitat for water birds, as well as picturesque stretches of water for the photographer. On beautiful Spring days like this one, this is the perfect place to have a picnic! The yellow flowers in the first two shots are wild mustard (Brassica alba).

This post is part of the Wednesday Waters meme,
and also part of the Outdoor Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.

Tuesday 25 October 2016


A trip to Melbourne is a very rewarding experience for tourists, travellers or jet-setters. There is plenty to discover in Melbourne's secret laneways and rooftops, the cultural hub of Federation Square, buzzing bars, boutiques and eateries, and the iconic MCG. It's great to experience St Kilda, the Royal Botanic Gardens, bohemian Brunswick Street and the nation-stopping excitement of the Spring Racing Carnival. Always fun to join world class events such as the Australian Grand Prix or relax on a day trip to the Mornington Peninsula or to Phillip Island for fairy penguins...

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Monday 24 October 2016


This mural is to be found in Bayview St, close to High St in Northcote, on top of the hill. I have previously shown photos of the same building (the Telstra Exchange) in 2013, when the walls had an Alice in Wonderland themed coverage. Alice doesn't live there any more, the tags and random graffiti destroyed those murals. Now in Bayview St we have this lovely kookaburra and some script in a rather angular (and illegible) graffiti font.

The street artist who created this is DVATE, whose webpage can be found here. On this page you can find more examples of the art as well as the graffiti text, self-summed up as: "...Developed and varies his own unique graffiti font and has ridiculously good photo-realistic skills..."

I have also shown another mural by DVATE on this blog and you can find it here.

This post is part of the Monday Mellow Yellows meme,
and also part of the Monday Murals meme,
and also part of the Blue Monday meme,
and also part of the Through my Lens meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme.

Sunday 23 October 2016


The past few days have been rather disappointing weather-wise. Our Spring continues to be unsettled and cold, with many a downpour following windy changes. The view from my window is not conducive to an outing, nor indeed a short walk outside...

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also part of the Saturday Silhouettes meme.

Saturday 22 October 2016


An evening on Southbank when surprisingly it wasn't overcast or overly cold! Our Spring has been rather  a disappointment this year, so we have learnt to enjoy these evenings with great relish...

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also part of the Saturday Silhouettes meme,
and also part of the Weekend Reflections meme,
and also part of the Scenic Weekends meme.

Friday 21 October 2016


Within walking distance of our house is this magnificent stretch of the Yarra River and riverside nature reserve. A walk there is like walking in pristine bushland, and yet it's only about 5 km from the City centre!

This post is part of the Friday Greens meme.

Thursday 20 October 2016


Rose time has begun in Melbourne, a little late this year, but nevertheless quite spectacularly in this case!

Rosa banksiae, common names Lady Banks' rose, or just Banks' rose, is a species of flowering plant in the rose family, Rosaceae, native to central and western China, in the provinces of Gansu, Guizhou, Henan, Hubei, Jiangsu, Sichuan and Yunnan, at altitudes of 500–2,200 m.

It is a scrambling shrubby vine growing vigorously to 6 m tall. Unlike most roses, it is practically thornless, though it may bear some prickles up to 5 mm long, particularly on stout, strong shoots. The leaves are evergreen, 4–6 cm long, with three to five (rarely seven) leaflets 2–5 cm long with a serrated margin. The flowers are small, 1.5-2.5 cm diameter, white or pale yellow. It is amongst the earliest flowering of all roses, usually appearing during May in the northern hemisphere, though cold weather can delay flowering. All Lady Banks' roses are said to smell of violets to varying degrees. The rose is named after Lady Banks, the wife of the botanist Sir Joseph Banks.

Rosa banksiae has likely been grown in the gardens of China for hundreds of years. The species was introduced to Europe by William Kerr, who had been sent on a plant-hunting expedition by Sir Joseph Banks. He bought the first Lady Banks' Rose, subsequently named the white Lady Banks (R. banksiae var. banksiae) from the famous Fa Tee nursery in 1807. A number of other forms were subsequently discovered growing in China, including R. banksiae var. normalis, and R. banksiae 'Lutea', the yellow Lady Banks' rose (brought to Europe in 1824 by J. D. Parks). This cultivar has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

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

Wednesday 19 October 2016


Merri Creek flows about 60 km from the Great Dividing Range through Melbourne’s northern suburbs to the Yarra River. Merri Creek is an environmental, heritage and recreation corridor that draws its significance from its role as a continuous corridor as it does from the qualities of individual reaches. All areas of the Creek are important because they contribute to the linking of areas of environmental, heritage and recreational value along the Creek.

In the vicinity of Queens Pde/Heidelberg Rd, the Creek wends its way through several suburbs as it meanders to join the Yarra River in Abbotsford. The recent rains we've had have ensured plenty of water flowing and also quite luxuriant vegetation.

This post is part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wednesday Waters meme,
and also part of the Outdoor Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.