Tuesday 31 October 2017


The Princess Theatre is a 1488-seat theatre in Melbourne's East End Theatre District, Australia, and is the oldest continuous entertainment site on mainland Australia. It is listed by the National Trust of Australia and is on the Victorian Heritage Register.

Entertainment on the site of today's Princess Theatre dates back to the Gold Rush years of 1854, when entrepreneur Tom Moore constructed a large, barn-like structure called Astley's Amphitheatre. The venue featured a central ring for equestrian entertainment and a stage at one end for dramatic performances. It was named in honour of the Astley Royal Amphitheatre, also known as Astley's Amphitheatre, near Westminster Bridge, London.

It was soon leased by the prolific actor-manager George Coppin, who had already established himself as an actor at the Queen's Theatre, and would go on to build the Olympic (known as the 'Iron Pot') on the corner of Exhibition and Lonsdale Streets - the future site of the Comedy Theatre, build the Haymarket Theatre and Apollo Music Hall, and lease (and eventually rebuild) the Theatre Royal in Bourke Street. In 1857, the amphitheatre was extensively renovated and the facade extended, re-opening as the Princess Theatre and Opera House.

By 1885, the theatre came under the control of 'The Triumvirate', a partnership between J. C. Williamson, George Musgrove and Arthur Garner. The existing theatre had become rundown, and so the Triumvirate resolved to demolish the existing building. The new theatre, designed by architect William Pitt, interiors designed by George Gordon, and built by Cockram and Comely, was completed in 1886 at a cost of £50,000. The design is in the exuberant Second Empire style, and the theatre forms part of the Victorian streetscape of Spring Street. When completed, it featured Australia's first sliding or retractable roof and ceiling. It also featured state-of-the-art electrical stage lighting.

The theatre re-opened, again, on 18 December 1886, with a performance of Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Mikado". The marble staircase and foyer was hailed as equal to that of the Paris Opera, the Frankfurt Stadt and the Grand in Bordeaux. Williamson left the Triumvirate in 1899 to form his own company, and Musgrove continued operate the theatre until 1910. The Princess came under a rapid succession of different owners until 1915, when Ben Fuller took control. Fuller then went into partnership with Hugh J. Ward, and in 1922 they engaged the architect Henry Eli White to extensively renovate the auditorium and foyers, and add the grand copper awning. The New Princess Theatre reopened on 26 December 1922 with a performance of "The O'Brien Girl".

The theatre was purchased from Fuller in 1933 by Efftee Films, the film production company of F. W. Thring, the theatrical and film entrepreneur, who had his initials FT carved over the proscenium arch. He produced several musicals there, and made it the first home of his radio station 3XY, founded 1935. When F.W. Thring died, Ben Fuller and Garnett Carroll took over the lease of the Princess in Melbourne and in 1946 they formed another partnership forming Carroll-Fuller Theatres Ltd to purchase the Princess Theatre.[2] The theatre at dusk, July 2010 After Sir Ben Fuller's death in 1952, Garnet H. Carroll assumed complete control.[3] For the following 12 years, often in association with other entrepreneurs, he presented an eclectic array of opera, ballet, musical comedy and drama, though he was constrained by the lack of an interstate circuit.

Garnett Carroll died on 23 August 1964 and ownership passed to his son, John Carroll. For some years he maintained the pattern set by his father, but in 1969 the family company, Carroll Freeholds Pty Ltd, leased the Princess to the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust. In 1986, David Marriner purchased the theatre and commenced a renovation and refurbishment to restore the building to its 1922 state, and improve its technical capacity. The refurbished theatre reopened on 9 December 1989 with the musical "Les Misérables", followed by "The Phantom of the Opera", which established a new record for the longest running show ever staged in Victoria.

The theatre has experienced several reported ghost sightings. On the evening of 3 March 1888, the baritone Frederick Baker, known under the stage name "Frederick Federici", was performing the role of Mephistopheles in Gounod's opera Faust. This production ended with Mephistopheles sinking dramatically through a trapdoor returning to the fires of hell with his prize, the unfortunate Dr Faustus. As Federici was lowered down through the stage into this basement, he had a heart attack and died almost immediately. He never came back onstage to take his bows, but when the company was told of what had happened at the end of the opera, they said that he had been onstage and taken the bows with them. Since then, various people have claimed to see a ghostly figure in evening dress at the theatre. For many years, a third-row seat in the dress circle was kept vacant in his honour...

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.
The Façade of the Theatre on Spring Street

The interior of the Theatre

The Theatre ca 1875 from a contemporary drawing

The performance of "The Mikado" in 1886

Frederick Federici and his gravestone in the Melbourne General Cemetery

Monday 30 October 2017


I have edited some photos I took at the Parklands in Photoshop, to give them a touch of mystery and imagination. The final image is a mosaic of all three previous ones.

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

Sunday 29 October 2017


Melbourne is well-known as the "Food Capital" of Australia due to its many restaurants, cafés, patisseries, bars and various other eateries. Generally, the standard of food is very good as the competition is brisk and the public demanding and fickle. It's not unusual to see many business people closing a deal or doing other business over lunch...

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme,
and also part of the My Sunday Photo meme,
and also part of the Photo Sunday meme.

Saturday 28 October 2017


The Australian pied cormorant, Phalacrocorax varius, also known as the pied cormorant or pied shag, is a medium-sized member of the cormorant family. It is found around the coasts of Australasia. In New Zealand it is usually known either as the pied shag or by its Māori name of Karuhiruhi. Older sources may refer to it as the "yellow-faced cormorant".

Although typically found in marine habitat (sometimes solitary, sometimes in pairs, sometimes in vast flocks of hundreds or thousands) it is also attracted to inland waters, including lakes, deep and open swamps, and rivers. The pied cormorant appears to feed largely on benthic fish. It will dive both in shallow, still water and in rapidly moving currents. Typical dive times are around 40 seconds, with a recovery period of 10–15 seconds between dives.

Here it is seen in the Darebin Parklands in Metropolitan Melbourne, living quite happily on the waters of a pond.

This post is part of the Weekend Green meme,
and also part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the I'd Rather Be Birdin' meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme.

Thursday 26 October 2017


Goodenia is a genus of about 200 species, almost all of which are confined to Australia although a few occur in the islands to the north. The genus gives its name to the Goodeniaceae family which includes several other well known genera including Lechenaultia, Dampiera and Scaevola. With a few exceptions goodenias, generally, are not widely cultivated despite the fact that most are small shrubs or herbs with colourful flowers and well suited to smaller gardens.

Goodenia ovata, commonly called the hop goodenia, is a flowering plant endemic to Australia. It grows in all states except Western Australia and the Northern Territory, near the coast as well as in drier inland areas. The plant is usually a fast-growing groundcover, though upright shrubby forms also exist. As a shrub it grows to about 2 m high. Goodenia ovata has glossy green ovate (oval) shaped, serrated leaves, and yellow flowers. It flowers for most of the year, but especially from October till March.

James Edward Smith named the species. The species name ovata refers to the oval leaves. It is a shrub that can reach 2 m high, with either an upright or spreading habit. The leaves are oval and slightly sticky, measuring 3–8 cm in length by 1–4 cm across. They have serrated margins and sit on 3 cm long petioles.

Goodenia ovata grows on medium-nutrient clay soils derived from shale, as well as siltstone and sandstone, in areas of good drainage in a partly-shaded location in moist eucalypt forests alongside Themeda australis and under such trees as turpentine (Syncarpia glomulifera) or blackbutt (Eucalyptus pilularis), or in open forest under swamp oak (Casuarina glauca), forest red gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis), thin-leaved stringybark (E. eugenioides), or woollybutt (E. longifolia).

In cultivation, the species prefers a situation in part shade and with some moisture. It copes with a range of soil types and tolerates moderate frost. Fast-growing, it can be used as a "filler" plant in the garden. It is readily propagated by cuttings. This species is not widely cultivated as it is perceived to have a "weedy" growth habit. It tends to grow quickly and can become open and untidy. However, it responds well to hard pruning and is a good plant to use as a quick-growing "filler". A recent introduction is a completely prostrate form. This has a lot to offer as a quick growing and robust ground cover, although it does not tolerate extended dry conditions well.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 25 October 2017


"If you're walking down the right path and you're willing to keep walking, eventually you'll make progress." - Barack Obama

A quiet path in the Darebin Parklands, lending itself to quiet contemplation and the enjoyment of nature.

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

Tuesday 24 October 2017


Mordialloc, also known simply as Mordi, is a suburb in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 24 km south-east of Melbourne's central business district. Its local government area is the City of Kingston. At the 2011 census, Mordialloc had a population of 7,537. The name is derived from the term moordy yallock which originated from the Aboriginal language Boonwurrung, which is listed in some sources as meaning 'muddy creek', and in others as 'little sea'.

Mordialloc Post Office opened on 17 October 1863. In 1995 it was renamed Braeside Business Centre, and a new Mordialloc office opened near the railway station. Mordialloc Creek is arguably the most significant feature of the suburb. Home to Pompei's boat works, Mordialloc Creek has a rich history of traditional wooden boat building. Many classic boats line the banks of the creek.

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

Monday 23 October 2017

Sunday 22 October 2017


We are currently experiencing a housing shortage in Victoria with supply unable to keep up with population growth. This is especially true in Melbourne, where booming population is forcing extensive development. People are urged to embrace higher density living if the city is to keep up with demand for new homes.

New data from the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) found that despite record-high levels of housing development, the state had a shortfall of 9,000 new properties in the past two years. It said if that trend continued it would lead to an undersupply in excess of 50,000 houses by 2020...

The homelessness crisis in Melbourne is much worse in the suburbs and on the urban fringe than in the CBD. It's just not as obvious because people are taking shelter in places such as toilet blocks, bushes and cars. Private rentals are expensive, shared accommodation is often full, cheap motels are only a short-term fix and the waiting list for public housing is only getting longer.

Victoria is the fastest growing state in the nation because of the remarkable population growth in its capital. From congested roads to overcrowded public transport, energy, housing affordability and public safety, managing Australia’s most rapid population growth is an extraordinary challenge.

A total of 77 per cent of our state’s population live in Melbourne and about 90 per cent of our annual growth settles in the capital. If we continue as “business as usual”, Victoria by 2051 will see another 3.8 million people in Melbourne but only 690,000 people moving or settling in the rest of state — a pattern that is reflected across much of the country.

Not only is decentralisation important to protecting and conserving the capital’s liveability, it makes economic sense. Essential Economics observed: “It is less costly for government to ­develop the regions than provide for increased infrastructure to manage increased growth in Melbourne. Indeed, it has been estimated that to provide infra­structure to support a 50,000-person population increase in regional Victoria, it would cost $1 billion, compared with $3.1 billion to provide for the same increase in metropolitan Melbourne.”

Victoria has not had a decentralisation agenda since the Hamer Liberal government in the 1970s, and during that period Victoria witnessed 10 consecutive years when the population growth rate in the regions outperformed the capital. Now we are overdeveloping Melbourne, we are overcrowding the city and the increasing density is such that the infrastructure cannot keep up. Regional Victoria is languishing and country towns are experiencing population decreases. Building more and more apartment buildings in the city is not the answer.

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme,
and also part of the My Sunday Photo meme,
and also part of the Photo Sunday meme.

Saturday 21 October 2017


The Pacific black duck (Anas superciliosa) is a dabbling duck found in much of Indonesia, New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, and many islands in the southwestern Pacific, reaching to the Caroline Islands in the north and French Polynesia in the east. It is usually called the grey duck in New Zealand, where it is also known by its Maori name, pārera. This sociable duck is found in a variety of wetland habitats, and its nesting habits are much like those of the mallard, which is encroaching on its range in New Zealand. It feeds by upending, like other Anas ducks.

Mating in Pacific Black Ducks coincides with availability of sufficient food and water, and often with the onset of heavy rains or when waterways are at their peaks. Courtship is accompanied by ritualised displays including preening, bobbing and wing-flapping. This behaviour is often initiated by the female, and, other than copulation, the male helps little in the breeding process. Often, two broods will be raised in a year. The number of offspring produced may seem quite high, but only 20% of these will survive past two years of age.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the I'd Rather Be Birdin' meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme.

Friday 20 October 2017


Spring in Melbourne means highly variable weather, and I mean more so than usual... One needs to be prepared for cool to hot, and dry to wet conditions. However, the vegetation is all bright green and the sky more often than not a brilliant blue which is broken up by clouds so that it doesn't get too boring. Here is the big pond at the Darebin Parklands looking particularly attractive.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also part of the Friday Photo Journal meme,
and also part of the Weekend Green meme.

Thursday 19 October 2017


Prostanthera, commonly known as mintbush or mint bush, is a genus of flowering plants of the family Lamiaceae. There are about 90 species within the genus, all of which are endemic to Australia. The word is derived from the Greek for an appendage. Within the flowers are small spur-like appendages on the anthers.

They are bushy, evergreen shrubs, usually with strongly aromatic leaves, and 2-lipped, 5-lobed flowers. They are cultivated as ornamentals and for essential oils and spices. All require varying degrees of winter protection in temperate regions, and are usually grown under glass. Prostanthera species are used as food plants by the larvae of hepialid moths of the genus Aenetus including A. eximia and A. ligniveren.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 18 October 2017


In Australia, the common oak is an exotic plant - i.e a non-native plant, which was introduced into the country by the early settlers from the late 18th century onwards. Modification of the Australian environment by Indigenous Australians and following European settlement has affected the extent and the distribution of the flora.

The changes since 1788 have been rapid and significant: Displacement of Indigenous Australians disrupted fire régimes that had been in place for thousands of years; forestry practices have modified the structure of native forests; wetlands have been filled in; and broad scale land-clearing for crops, grazing and urban development has reduced native vegetation cover and led to landscape salinisation, increased sediment, nutrient and salt loads in rivers and streams, loss of habitat and a decline in biodiversity. The intentional and unintentional release of invasive plant and animal species into delicate ecosystems is a major threat to floral biodiversity; 20 introduced species have been declared Weeds of National Significance.

While the common or English oak (Quercus robur) is perhaps the best known of all the oaks, it is just one of around 600 species that make up this genus belonging to the beech (Fagaceae) family. The genus is mostly comprised of deciduous or evergreen trees, but there are also a few shrubs. Many species are large and impressive trees that live to a great age. Although most will grow too large for the average garden, these ornamental trees are suitable for parks, large properties, and street planting, provided there is sufficient space for them to reach their full potential. The timber has long been valued for ship-building, furniture-making, and panelling.

Here, oak trees are seen to grow beside Merri Creek in Clifton Hill. The lush green of the leaves is quite different to the drab olive green of native eucalypts and these and other introduced exotic trees would have made the early settlers feel a little less nostalgic for the "home" they left behind in Europe.

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

Tuesday 17 October 2017


Ballarat is a city in the state of Victoria, Australia, approximately 105 kilometres west-north-west of the state capital Melbourne situated on the lower plains of the Great Dividing Range and the Yarrowee River catchment. It is the largest inland centre and third most populous city in the state and the fifth most populated inland city in Australia. The estimated urban area population is close to 100,000 inhabitants. It was named by Scottish settler Archibald Yuille who established the sheep run called Ballaarat in 1837 with the name derived from local Wathaurong Aboriginal words for the area, balla arat, thought to mean "resting place". The present spelling was officially adopted in 1996.

It is one of the most significant Victorian era boomtowns in Australia. Just months after Victoria was granted separation from New South Wales, the Victorian gold rush transformed Ballarat from a small sheep station to a major settlement. Gold was discovered at Poverty Point on 18 August 1851 and news quickly spread of rich alluvial fields where gold could easily be extracted. Within months, approximately 20,000 migrants had rushed the district. Unlike many other gold rush boom towns, the Ballarat fields experienced sustained yields.

Ballarat was the site of the Eureka Rebellion, the only armed civil uprising in Australian history, which took place on 3 December 1854 at the Eureka Mining Lead, and the event is controversially identified with the birth of democracy in Australia. Many significant Australian cultural icons are also a legacy of Ballarat's gold rush boom. The rebellion's symbol, the Eureka Flag has become a national symbol and is held at the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Australia's oldest and largest regional gallery.

Other nationally significant heritage structures include the Ballarat Botanical Gardens, established 1857, the best example of a regional botanic gardens in Australia with the greatest concentration of public statuary including the official Prime Ministers Avenue; the longest running lyric theatre building, Her Majesty's, established 1875; the first municipal observatory, established 1886; and the earliest and longest memorial avenue, the Avenue of Honour, established between 1917 and 1919. Several Australian mining innovations were made at the Ballarat diggings including the first use of a Chilean mill in 1851 and the first use of a safety cage in 1861.

Proclaimed a city in 1871, its prosperity continued until late in the 19th century, after which its importance relative to both Melbourne and Geelong rapidly faded with the slowing of gold extraction. It has endured as a major regional centre hosting the rowing and kayaking events from the 1956 Summer Olympics. It is the commercial capital of the Central Highlands and the largest city in the Goldfields region of Victoria—a significant tourist destination. Ballarat is known for its history, culture and its well preserved Victorian era heritage.

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.