Just an easy two block walk from our apartment was the Malbourne Museum. While the current building at its present location is only a few years old (it opened in 2000), its origins date back to 1854 when it was part of the Government Assay Office next to the State Library in the central business district. Considered to be the largest museum in the Southern Hemisphere, its seven galleries, set at right angles ( known as a Hoddle Grid pattern, named after Robert Hoddle, designer of Melbourne's CBD streets) allows each to be explored individually, as if separate buildings, while still part of a single structure. This is both a cultural and natural history museum. Interestingly, we learned that this current location was the former site of the Melbourne Exhibition Speedway - a dirt track motorcycle venue that operated between 1928 and 1936. One of the more interesting exhibitions within the museum is the "Forest Gallery" - an actual Victorian forest environment, complete with birds flying about, reptiles crawling around, and other species of flora and fauna endemic to Australia. Of course, there were the usual exhibits of dinosaur skeletons, scientific innovations, and native culture on display. According to the staff of the museum, who apparently watch such things, the most popular exhibit is the one devoted to the life and career of the thoroughbred race horse, Phar Lap. During the Depression years of 1929 to 1932, Phar Lap won an amazing 36 of the 41 races he ran (losing only when he ran while sick), and became a hero to all Australians during a time when there wasn't much to be happy about. When he died of an apparent bacterial infection, Australia scrambled to immortalize this record breaking sports legend with an exhibit of his life and deeds for future generations to see. We had never heard of Phar Lap before, but once we saw this exhibit, we could somewhat understand why Australia became enarmoured with him.
The Melbourne Museum located within the Carlton Gardens just a couple of blocks from our apartment...
...directly opposite the Exhibition Center.
For all of my computer friends....CSIRAC, Australia's first digital computer.
Australia's Coat of Arms depicting a shield with symbols of the six Australian States, supported by the two most widely known of Australia's animals, the kangaroo and the emu.
A recreation of the 1860's "Little Lion" poor district in central Melbourne...
...in which the houses were so small that rooms had to serve double duty as bedrooms and kitchens....
...and the outhouses were in the alley.
An 1854 photo of Collins street in central Melbourne.
"Bugs Alive" is an exhibit of the many bugs found throughout Australia.
Heros come in all sizes and shapes. During the Depression, Phar Lap gave Australians something to cheer about...
...he won an astounding 36 of the 41 major races in which he competed, losing only those times when he was ill.
It was widely held that his trainer, Tommy Woodcock (shown here holding his reins) was his best friend.
One of the commonalities we've encountered during our travels, is the existence of "Chinatowns" in most of the major cities visited. Melbourne's is the "...largest continuous Chinese settlement in the western world..." and one of the oldest in the Southern Hemisphere (established in 1854). Of course, we had to experience this one. The Australian Gold Rush of the 1850's brought many Chinese to this continent as indentured servants. By 1861, the Chinese made up at least seven percent of the population of the State of Vistoria. Established in 1985, The Museum of Chinese Australian History preserves the immigration stories and struggles of Australians of Chinese ancestry, as well as to serve as Chinatown's Visitors Center. It is home to the Dai Loong Association's Millenium Dragon, the longest Chinese dragon in the world (i.e. 276 feet long, and requiring at least 200 people to carry it - eight to carry its head alone). Going through this museum has given us a new found respect for some of the obstacles these folks experienced immigrating to a new land and life.
It would be hard to miss this entrance to Melbourne's Chinatown off the main drag (Swanston street) in the central business district.
In the heart of Chinatown is this archway that leads to the Museum of Chinese Australian History.
Chinese guardian lions (or Imperial guardian lions) have traditionally stood in front of important buildings (such as the museum) to provide powerful mythic protective benefits.
Perhaps one of THE iconic images of China are The Terracotta Warriors of Xi'an (replicated here).
Part of the story of Chinese immigration to Australia was the two month journey from Hong Kong to Melbourne...
...on ships that provided less than ideal traveling conditions.
Still, they were able to preserve much of their home-grown customs, such as this elaborately painted pedicab...
...and this shrine to deceased ancestors.
Most folks are aware of the costumed traditions of Chinese New Year (in modern Chinese, known as the "Spring Festival").
The Dai Loong Association's "Millenium Dragon" (on display in the Museum) is the longest dragon in the world (276 feet). Symbolicately, the face of the dragon dancing aggressively, along with the noise from loud drums, cymbals, and firecrackers, can drive off evil spirits.
It seemed to go on forever, as it wound around the ramp.
Melbourne's memorial to all the men and women of Australia's Armed Forces is the pyramid-shaped "Shrine of Remembrance." Designed and built between 1928 and 1934 by World War I veterans/architects Phillip Hudson and James Wardrop, the Shrine was inspired by the Tomb of Mausolus at Halicarnassus and the Parthenon in Athens. The original concept was to remember those Australians from the State of Victoria killed during World War I. Today, it is a memorial to all Australians who have served in war. It's motto, "Lest We Forget" is engraved throughout the Shrine. This is a powerful tribute to all veterans. We had the unexpected pleasure and honor of meeting Msr. Arras, Mayor of Haute-de-France, when he visited the Shrine and to lay a wreath at the Sanctuary stone as a thank you to those who helped to liberate France.
The pyramid-shaped Shrine of Remembrance is located about a half-mile from Federation Square and next to the Royal Botanical Gardens.
Embedded in the floor of the Sanctuary is this symbolic gravestone to all who died in battle for Australia. The placement of this stone is such, that ..."on November 11th of each year, at 11:00 am a ray of sunlight shines through an aperture in the roof to light up the word "Love" in the inscription." To recreate that ray of light for visitors at other times of the year, every half-hour an artificial light sweeps across the stone. During our visit, while watching this ceremony, we noticed what appeared to be a seasoned warrior's face(in camouflage)in the granite, illuminated by the light as it passed by the letter "G". Staff of the Shrine had never noticed this before, but when we pointed it out to them, they agreed with our discovery.
Screen shot of the image discussed above, taken from a video I shot of the ceremony. What looks like a mouth is to the left of the letter "L" , with a nose and eye at the letter "G". Is it a fluke in the marble, or is there really a face there? We believe it is a face, but leave it up to you to decide.
Bordering the Sanctuary Hall were these elaborately carved frescos of soldiers at war.
One of the most poignant items in the Shrine is this "Father and So " statue linking two generations of warriors.
The basement area of the Shrine is dedicated to displays of armed forces paraphernalia and stories of heroism.
...including this river crossing troop carrier. (There is an interesting video of what the staff had to go through to get this boat into the building).
Part of the 4000 service medal display in the Shrine. Each medal represents 100 Australians from the State of Victoria who served in war, and of six who died.
The mayor of Haute-de-France laid this wreath at the Sanctuary Stone while we were there. He came over to speak with us briefly during his visit (one of the many unexpected happenings we've experienced during our adventures).
View of Melbourne from the upper balcony of the Shrine of Rememberance.
Originally known as "City Square" (1968), Melbourne's first public square was considered to have been a failure. The seven acre space between the Central Business District and the Yarra River previously had been home to a fish market, the City Morgue, corporate offices, and rail yards. In 1997, the City Council sponsored an intense design competition intended to make this area more appealing. The U-shaped result became known as "Federation Square", and is bordered by the Flinders Street Rail Station, St. Paul's Cathedral, and the Yarra River. Its anchor buildings include the Australian Center for Moving Images (ACMI) - which includes the SBS television station-, the National Gallery, the Yarra Building, a Jumbotron screen/stage area for major public events, and (more importantly for us) the Melbourne Visitor Center( where we were able to explore various walking tours of the city). Reminding us of the debacle surrounding Boston's "Big Dig", the final costs of constructing Federation Square ran more than four times the original estimate. According to Melbourne's own statistics, more than 80 million visitors per year pass through this square. Recently, Melbourne authorities revealed that they had stopped a coordinated terror attack on Federation Square, planned for Christmas Day. This news was partly responsible for our posting about the Square at this time.
This seven acre, U-Shaped Federation Square attracts more than 80 million visitors per year.
The Australian Center for Moving Images (ACMI) building is one of the anchor tenants of the square. It also houses the SBS television station...
...as is the National Gallery...
...and the uniquely designed Yarra building.
For us, the most important building was the Melbourne Visitor Center. Here, we were able to explore what city attractions we wanted to see and what free walking tours we wanted to take.
Directly opposite Federation Square is the Flinders Street Rail Station, a tourist attraction in its own right.
Diagonally opposite the Flinders Street Rail Station, St. Paul's Cathedral also borders the square.
Across the Yarra River, and within sight of Federation Sqaure, is the Eiffel Tower-looking Melbourne Art Center, dedicated to the performing arts.
The Jumbotron screen/stage area is used for special public events...including major sports broadcasts.
As we mentioned in a previous posting, Melbourne has a large number of fantastic parks, gardens, and green spaces throughout the city. Perhaps, one of the finest examples of Victorian era landscaping in the world is the 94 acre Royal Botanical Gardens. Founded in 1846 by Charles La Trobe, and located near the center of the city, these gardens are home to over fifty thousand individual plants representing more than 8500 species from around the world. Landscape designer, William Guilfoyle is credited with the development of this beautiful tranquil setting within an urban environment. And it truly is a relaxing spot in the middle of Melbourne. What really impressed us was the effort to acknowledge the "traditional caretakers" of this land, the Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation, with the inclusion of the "Aboriginal Heritage Walking Trail." Visitors can explore some of the native culture along this trail, including the traditional uses of plants for tools, food, and medicine, as well as experiencing a Wurrung "Smoking Ceremony." This was one of the best botanical gardens we've explored during our travels.
The Royal Botanical Gardens main Visitors Center is adjacent to one of two observatories on the grounds...
...The other one is about a hundred yards away and includes a special camera to photograph the sun, and a separate house for the "South Equatorial Telescope."
...and nearby to both is the Government Astronomers' Residence (built in 1863).
The residence had its own vegetable and herb garden...
...with a very unique gate (someone had an artistic sense of humor).
The many winding trails through the gardens begin at thes ornamental entrance gates.
How did these two get in amongst the topiary? They don't look Australian!
Some of the ponds in the gardens are absolutely stunning!
...as are the "Birds of Paradise" (which are everywhere).
"Rain Gardens" act as natural filters to keep storm water pollutants from getting into nearby rivers and streams.
We've never seen trees like this before. They almost looked like something out of a "Sci-fi" movie
That is a black swan in the middle of this Lilly pond.
We were amazed at how perfect this Lilly looked.
While we usually think of libraries as great repositories of information, we don't normally consider them as tourist attractions. One exception to this is the State Library of Victoria (originally known as the Melbourne Public Library). Located in the heart of Melbourne's central business district, it opened in 1856 (following two years of construction) and was modeled after the British Museum and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.. We immediately saw that it's front lawn is a popular lunch-spot for local workers and students from the nearby Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). At the time of its construction (1909 to 1913), the magnificent dome of the La Trobe Reading Room was the largest reinforced concrete dome in the world. The octagonal shape of the Reading Room itself allows over 320 visitors the opportunity to peruse some of the two million plus books stored here, and the surrounding balconies house the two permanent collections; "The Changing Face of Victoria" (paintings, drawings, and photographs of the evolution of this part of Australia), and "The Mirror of the World" ( a history of books). One of the finest Rare Book collections in the world are contained within the State Library of Victoria, including original folios of Captain James Cook. We enjoyed the great opportunity of a private tour of the Rare Book section, during which we were able to view, up close, a first edition of "Alice in Wonderland" , as well as to handle some of the books in the James Emerson Collection. What a thrill!
Enjoying lunch on the front lawn of the State Library of Victoria is a popular past-time.
The octagonal shape of the La Trobe is aesthetically pleasing and has a capacity of over three hundred visitors.
Commissioned (1862) by George Coppin for the facade of the new Apoolo Music Hall , this Shakespeare Window was donated to the library in 1960 by Coppin's daughter, Lucy Coppin.
The 480 glass panes of the dome over the La Trobe Reading Room is 105 feet wide. When first constructed, this was the largest reinforced concrete dome in the world.
"The Changing Face of Victoria" is one on the permanent collections on display along one of the balconies overlooking the main reading room...
...and provides some historical perspective about the evolution of the communities in this part of Australia, including the remnants of this 1803 water cask...
... As well as numerous paintings, drawings, and photos of life over the years. This 1870 photo by Fred Kruger depicts 19th century aboriginal life in Victoria.
The other permanent collection on display is a history of books, called "The Mirror of the World". This 2050 B.C. Cuneiform tablet is part of that collection.
The highlight of our visit to the library was a private tour of the Rare Book section, during which we had the opportunity to view this first edition of "Alice in Wonderland"...
....and its glorious illustrations. What a thrill!
We also got to explore the James Emerson rare book collection. The library staff were unbelievably gracious I. Showing us around.
The 1850's were a boom time for Melbourne because of the discovery of gold in the surrounding area. Population exploded, building expansion quadrupled, and money flowed into the city. One of Australia's finest examples of Rennaisance Revival archeology was created during this period; the Old Treasury Building (1858-1862). Representative of the grandeur of the 1850's, this building was constructed to house the Treasury Department, and the offices of the Governor. Premier, and the Treasurer, as well as the massive amounts of gold eminating from the gold fields, Today, the Old Treasury Building is a museum, depicting the early history of Melbourne, and the State of Victoria since 1830. The museum also displays the lives of the local aboriginal peoples. In the basement is a recreation of the apartment of John and Emma Maynard, along with their eight children, caretakers of the building from 1912 to 1928. These are the kinds of historical attractions that really enthrall us.
The Old Treasury building along Melbourne's Spring Street.
One of the major offices housed in the Old Treasury building is that of the Governor of the State of Victoria.
In the basement of the building , vaults holding ingots from the gold fields were off this corridor.
....but we weren't able to find any gold just laying around, waiting to be picked up.
This particular vault displays a replica of the gold that was once stored here.
Replica of the 2217 ounce "Welcome Nugget" discovered in 1858. In today's market, this gold piece would be worth over 3.7 million dollars.
Part of the apartment of John and Emma Maynard, caretakers of the Old Treasury Building...
....which includes their kitchen...
...and the living room.
One of the first things we noticed about Melbourne was the vast number of parks and gardens throughout the city. Apparently, Melbourne is considered to be "The Garden City" of Australia. Perhaps THE premier garden, and the oldest, is on the southeast edge of Melbourne: Fitzroy Gardens. Founded in 1848 as a public reserve, these 64 acres were officially named "Fitzroy Gardens" (after Charles Fiztroy, Governor-general of Australia from 1851 to 1855) in 1862. The original concept was to create a memorial for the first Europeans who died in the colony. A Conservatory, in the Spanish Mission style, was constructed in the gardens, for displaying glass-house plants. When we were there, a glorious exhibit of hydrangeas decorated the Conservatory (these exhibits are changed five times per year). In 1934, "Cook's Cottage" (the 1755 parental home of Captain James Cook) was brought from the village of Great Ayton in Yorkshire, England, and reconstructed in the gardens. It is one of the garden's top tourist attractions. Fitzroy Gardens is an absolutely wonderful place to explore and in which to relax.
Several of the winding paths throughout the gardens, take a stroller past beautiful English Elms.
The Spanish Mission architectural style of the Conservatory creates a great backdrop for the displays of glass-house plants that change five times per year.
During our visit to the Conservatory, hydrangeas were in full bloom...
...and we met some "new friends."
One of the top tourist attractions in the gardens is "Cooks' Cottage" - the 1755 parental home of Captain James Cook, discoverer of the east coast of Australia. Originally located in the village of Great Ayton, Yorkshire, England, it was dismantled, brick-by-brick and rebuilt in Melbourne's Fitzroy Gardens in 1934.
As in most of the homes of this time period, the kitchen of "Cook's Cottage" was the focal point of family life.
A statue of Captain James Cook stands in the herb garden behind his parents' house.
Also within the gardens is this model Tudor Village, created by Edgar Wilson of London, England, and presented to the city as a "Thank You" to the citizens of Melbourne for sending food to Britain during World War II..
This "Scarred Tree" reminds visitors that the Wurundjeri tribe of Aborigines were the original settlers of Melbourne for 40,000 years. The scar was created when the tribe removed bark to make water containers, shields, and canoes.
From 1931 to 1934, sculpturer Ola Cohn carved a series of fairy likenesses on the stump of this 300 year old Red Gum tree. It is a top children's attraction within Fitzroy Gardens.
Another great day trip with "A Tour With A Difference", this time along Victoria's Great Ocean Road. This one hundred fifty-one mile stretch of road between the towns of Torquay and Allansford was constructed (between 1919 and 1932) by approximately 3000 returned soldiers as a memorial to their comrades killed during World War One. That makes the Great Ocean Road the world's longest war memorial. Prior to WWI, Australia's south coast was pretty much accessible only by sea or over very rough bush tracks. So the plan was to build a road that would connect the isolated settlements, act as a war memorial, and provide better transport for Australia's burgeoning timber industry. The Great Ocean Road Trust was formed as a private company to solicit funds, from the public, for its construction efforts. Toll booths were set up along the road, also to help defray costs. In October of 1936 ( four years after construction was completed) the road was gifted to the State of Victoria, and the toll booths were removed. Hugging much of the Southern Ocean coastline, the road passes through surfing beaches, rain forests, and cliffs. Leaving Melbourne by 7:00 am, we spent the whole day exploring the many beautiful sights along the way (Bells Beach; the Twelve Apostles - limestone formations created by erosion; the Maits Rest rain forest - named after the districts first forester; and the cliffs of Loch Ard Gorge, also known as the "Shipwreck Coast"). We arrived back in Melbourne by 9:00 pm (a fourteen hour day), exhausted but thrilled by what we had just experienced.
The start of the Great Ocean Road is marked by the Memorial Arch, where the first toll booth stood.
The Island Archway in Apollo Bay was formed by erosion of the soft limestone cliffs.
Bell's beach is a renowned surfers location, and home of the world's longest running surfing competition, the Rip Curl Pro Surf & Music Festival...
...and where we stopped for a bit of tea made in a "billy bucket."
A little further down the road, we stopped to feed some of the local residents.
Maits Rest rain forest was named after the district's first forester.
Some of the giant trees have a naturally formed hollow. In ancient times, the Mora aborigines, and in more recent days, loggers, would use these hollows as shelters because they remained dry.
One of the Twelve Apostles (now only numbering eight because of further erosion) in Port Campbell...
...and the remaining members of the Twelve Apostles.
Wind-blown spray created the sharp edges and bumps of the Razorback ...
...which also helped to create caves in the cliff face.
A short distance from the Twelve Apostles is "Shipwreck Bay" where, in 1878, the sailing vessel "Loch Ard" ran aground and sank.
Old photo of the "Loch Ard."
One the very top tourist attractions in Australia ( and the one we most eagerly anticipated) is Phillip Island. In order for us to truly enjoy this experience, we went with " A Tour With A Difference" ( a family owned tour company that specialized in small number -no more than ten people- personalized excursions). They were terrific! We were happy with their presentation, and having such a small group allowed us to get to know the other folks during the trip. Located approximately 67 miles south of Melbourne, Phillip Island (named after Arthur Phillip, first governor of New South Wales) is connected to the mainland by a half-mile concrete bridge. Before the arrival of the Europeans, its earliest inhabitants were members of the Bunurong aboriginal peoples. Today, more than 3.5 million visitors per year come to this area to see and feed the kangaroos and wallabies in a wildlife park, explore the history of chocolate manufacturing at the Panny Chocolate factory, and to see the largest fur seal colony in Australia at Seal Rocks (on the western end of the island). But by far, THE largest attraction occurs at sunset each evening on Summerland Beach; the Parade of Penquins! Upwards to nine hundred "Little Penguins" (the smallest species on earth) return from a day of fishing out to sea, and travel up the sand dunes to their nests on the island. This is an amazing spectacle! The Penquins time their emergence from the ocean with the arrival of dusk, so as to minimize the threat of predators. Watching the crowds' anticipatory reactions was almost as much fun as watching the Penquins come out of the surf and march up the dunes (right next to visitors on the protective Boardwalk) to their underground habitats.
The one disappointment to this event is that photography is NOT allowed once the Penquins start arriving. Because of this restriction, (and they are extremely adamant about this, so as not to disturb the Penquins), we've had to resort to using professionally taken photos of the parade for this blog posting.
This map shows the relationship of Phillip Island (the red square) to the city of Melbourne.
The family owned "A Tour With A Difference" ten passenger van that took us to Phillip Island. This is definitely the way to experience this attraction. It is a comfortable, personalized, well thought out tour. We were happy going with them.
The Maru Koala and Animal Park allows visitors not only the chance to see wildlife native to Australia...
...but also an opportunity to get close to and feed them.
Look closely at the Koala in the background...who's watching whom?
The Emus very aggressively came up to get some food. If you are not careful, you will get bitten...
...however, the pheasants were a little more friendly.
Our next stop was the Panny Chocolate Factory...
...where everything is made of chocolate...even the mosaics...
...as well as the model gold field village.
But THE main attraction (and the one we most eagerly awaited) is the Penquin Parade. The crowds (numbering upwards to 5000 per night) await the arrival of dusk ....
...and the emergence of the "Little Blue Penquins" (at one time called "Fairy Penquins") from the ocean...
...and march up the sand dunes...
...to their nests, which are nothing more than holes in the ground. The park rangers put boxes over the nests to protect them from the elements and to help prevent them from collapsing.
Followers of our blog may have noted that we often write about churches, synagogues, and/or temples; but not because we're fanatically religious. Throughout our travels around the world, we've found that some of the most beautiful architecture in each city could be found within its religious structures (regardless of its denominations). This is true of Melbourne, Australia as well.
Located in the heart of Melbourne, on the edge of Federation Square, is St. Paul's Cathedral; the seat of the Anglican Archdiocese of the city. It was built on the site of the first Christian service held in the city, which also happened to have been a corn market (until 1848). The first religious structure built here was St.Paul's Parish church, which was demolished in 1885 to make way for the current structure. At the time that the new Cathedral was completed, St.Paul's was the tallest building in Melbourne ( until the building boom in the 20th century). While photographs of the interior of this impressive edifice are allowed, you must purchase a permit to do so, first.
St.Paul's Cathedral sits at the edge of Federation Square (on the corner of Swanston and Flinders Streets).
Looking down the central aisle towards the main altar.
We couldn't decide which was more beautiful; the elaborate high altar, or the impressive stained-glass windows above...
...but there were other stained-glass windows that also caught our eyes.
As with all Cathedrals, side chapels often competed with the main altar in grandeur.
Of course, they all have impressive pipe organs.
While Melbourne was founded in 1835 by John Batman (who wanted to call it "Batmania", but was overruled), it was not incorporated until 1842, and did not get its first town hall until 1854. Construction had begun in 1851 but was interrupted by Australia's Gold Rush. The current building was opened in 1870, after the original structure was demolished; with the clock tower (which was named after Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh) being added in 1874. A disastrous fire in 1925 destroyed much of Melbourne 's Town Hall, including its auditorium. It was quickly rebuilt, and enlarged. The newly reconstructed auditorium now houses a magnificent 9000 pipe concert organ and serves as a multipurpose venue (e.g.theatrical plays, concerts, exhibitions, and weddings).This beautiful building is one of the showcase features for the city. We thoroughly enjoyed the free tour of the structure offered by the city.
Melbourne's Town Hall decorated for Christmas.
Portrait of Viscount Melbourne, Prime Minister of the Victoria, after whom the city was named.
The City Council, composed of eleven members, which includes the Lord Mayor and the Deputy Lord Mayor, meet regularly in these chambers.
Like all government buildings in the city, Melbourne's Town Hall displays the Coat of Arms for the city...
...even in the ceiling skylight.
On the day of our tour of Town Hall, the impressive auditorium was holding a concert for seniors.
In 1964, the Beatles visited Melbourne and greeted their fans from the balcony of the Town Hall.
Since we've finished with our doctor and dental appointments, as well as catching up with some of our old friends, it's time to resume our travels. Wanting to avoid that four-letter word that begins with "S" and covers the ground in winter, we've headed to the "land down under"; Australia. During this phase of our adventure, we spent 21 hours on a huge aircraft (with 800 hundred other passengers), lost two calendar days (because of passing through several time zones and an international date line), and have arrived in Melbourne, Australia. This is the capital , and most populous city, in the State of Victoria. Prior to the arrival of the first European settlers, people's from three indigenous tribes (Wurundjeri, Boonwuming, and Wathaurang) had inhabited this region for close to forty thousand years. Melbourne, in 1835, was founded by free settlers from the British Crown Colony of Van Damen's Land ( now Tasmania). It was incorporated two years later. During the 1850's gold rush days, it became one of the world's largest and wealthiest cities. For the last six years, Melbourne has been ranked as "The World's Most Livable City." The boom of immigrants from around the world has created a truly cosmopolitan enclave of distinct neighborhoods. For that reason, we're having a bit of a problem grasping the true "culture" of Melbourne (i.e. that which makes Melbourne uniquely Australian). What we are finding is that Melbourne is a very walkable city, in spite of having the world's largest urban tram network (with 250 kilometers -or 155+ miles) of track. Our current plans call for us to winter here below the equator before returning to North America in the Spring.
Melbourne's Coat of Arms.
Town Hall was originally built in 1854. The current building was officially opened in 1870.
1850's painting of "Canvas Town" during the gold rush days of Melbourne.
The 1854 Flinders Street Train Station opposite Federation Square.
Federation Square is the central plaza in Melbourne.
Looking like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, this is the Melbourne Art Center for the Performing Arts.
Also adjacent to Federation Square is St. Paul's Cathedral. Built in 1835, this is the site of the first public Christian service to be held in Melbourne.
The tram system here is the largest urban tram network in the world with over 155 miles of tracks.
There are many beautiful parks within the city. Centered in one of the larger parks is this Conservatory featuring some beautiful displays of flowers....
...that were absolutely stunning....
Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.