This miscellany farewells Melbourne (for now) and summarises the pleasures it gave me: the Queen Victoria Markets; architecture and its details; amusing signs; nature; sculptures; food and cafes; reflections; a 20th floor apartment and its views; and, of course, trains, trams and people.
Here’s a list of things I missed this time, as I begin shaping my next visit:
1: A whole day in the Australian part of the NGV, especially its Aboriginal galleries
2: A visit to the Centre for the Moving Image
3: One or more of the street art lanes: Caledonian Lane, Union Lane, Degraves St, Centre Place, Duckboard Place, Yarra Place and AC/DC Lane
4: The arcades, early in the morning
5: The immigration museum
6: The State Theatre to see its artworks, if not a performance
8: The golden mile heritage trail
9: Dome to Dungeons tour of the State Library
10: A few stately homes
11: 19th century Carlton
This post is to say thank you to Desley who met me for breakfast in the middle of a monumentally busy schedule. For once “the best coffeee in …” lived up to the hype, and we chatted over two cups and a classy Melbourne breakfast.
My date with Desley nearly came unstuck because I can’t read maps, paper or Google. Nor can I follow g-map verbal instructions. But I can ask a man in a hard-hat, at least in Australia, and that’s how I found Seven Seeds, pretty well spot on time, although I almost walked right past it. The buzz of conversation behind an anonymous door prevented that disaster.
Breakfast set me up for a day of walking, beginning at the war memorial.
After its grandiloquence it was a relief to reach the Botanical Gardens and more humble buildings built to suit their more practical functions: an observatory, a small building for the study of magnetism, and a house whose purpose I have forgotten.
After days absorbed by the city, it is a relief to walk on soft green grass and be towered over by trees. I follow the camellia walk and then venture via rainforest into the Chinese plantings, passing two special trees on the way. I suspect I’m not a city person at heart. I felt at home particularly amongst tree ferns, buttress roots, splotchy bark, and the sound of gurgling water. I’ve been a long time out of rainforest.
I leave the gardens at Gate H, and head back towards the city along the lunchtime jogging trail bordered by shapely plants chosen for sturdiness, accompanied by the smell of sweat and spurts of dust as joggers pant past.
I’m heading towards the Australian section of the National Gallery of Victoria for a quick look at their Aboriginal gallery, but first there’s a sculptural treat in the parkland leading to Federation Square.
The gallery taunts me with far too many possibilities for the short time left. I certainly can’t resist the corrugated iron (Rosalie Gascoigne created the horizontals; Victor Meertens the verticals; time the materials) …
… but I’m really here for something else, which turns out to be bark paintings, weaving and basket work by women artists. The natural colours of country affect me the same way rainforest does. Again, I feel at home.
The Aboriginal artists are Nonggirrnga Marawili (bark paintings); Linda Ganyila Guyula (woman’s string hat); Mary Muyungu (string bag with shells); Margaret Robyn Djunginy (suite of woven bottles); Delissa Walker (baskets with shells); Yalakupu 1 (string bag with feathers); Mary Mutumurruwuy (fish net); Elizabeth Djutarra (woven floor mat).
That’s not the end of my day. There’s still Australia Opera’s performance of “Carmen” to come.