A city always looks different from the river. Melbourne is no exception. The Yarra actually starts off as pristine clear water in Gippsland and runs 242 kilometres out to Port Philip. It’s ‘muddy’ complexion is caused by the easily eroded clay soils of the water catchment…and it passes through nine all up. Intensive land clearing by European settlers was the start of the slippery side from clarity to soiled. So often the way.
The Southern Star Observation Wheel or Melbourne Eye had such potential. It is 40 storeys high and was intended to attract 1.5 million visitors a year. Which you would hope for, given that it cost $100 million to construct. It took two years to build, opened and within a month of the opening, buckling and cracks in the structure meant that it had to be closed. The 2009 heatwave was blamed. Reconstruction work began at the start of 2011, with the hope that the wheel would be turning by the end of the year. Last month, the wheel broke free from its restraints and began turning in strong winds, resulting in minor injuries to one of the workers as he fled the site. There is no completion date for the wheel. Easter 2012 at the earliest. It is unlikely that I will ever take my life in my hands and take on the wheel.
Bolte Bridge, I know it well. This is the infamous bridge where I spent many a weekday afternoon in imposed reflection and patient meditative thought when a truck had jack-knifed and blocked an exit, thus holding up traffic or a car had broken down in a lane thus holding up traffic…It’s an impressive bridge, all the same. twin cantilever bridge for the engineers amongst us.
The Port of Melbourne is Australia’s busiest port for containerised and general cargo.
Originally Melbourne’s first sea port, Williamstown is a little bit Akaroa, for Christchurch readers…a nice place to visit on a sunny day, stroll around and buy a crystal or a $10 pair of skimpy shorts, have lunch, preferably fish and chips from somewhere with a ridiculous name like The Town Fryer or Hunky Dory. I did none of that, but had a lovely time all the same.
Willliamstown Botanical Gardens.
Sittin’ on the dock of the bay watching the tide roll away.
While the visit back to the home country may have turned out differently from what I had imagined or had been led to believe, in the full and satisfying wisdom that is retrospect, it was perfect. I reconnected with friends and with my broken city and without wanting to sound annoyingly new age, I have come away again feeling grounded and calm.
As one who abandoned Christchurch and came to Melbourne to breathe, it was humbling to be back with those who stayed. Those who, in the five months since I left, have absorbed into their everyday life road closures and detours, an increase in shipping container walls around the city, a lack of places to go and things to do, further demolition of properties and decisions on the particular colour and shade of their zoning. My Christchurch people are so resilient and optimistic, but they are also tired.
I, on the other hand, felt happy to see the progress. The Christchurch water is back to its delicious pre-quake and pre-chlorinated wonder, bars and restaurants and shops and businesses are re-establishing themselves…largely in containers…I was glad to be there.
Deans Bush Market
Cashel Mall, CBD
Sydenham, Wayne Youle, Shadowboard Mural I seem to have temporarily misplaced my sense of humour.
Sydenham, cnr Wordsworth and Colombo. Back of the rdunit, a horse float. Newsgirl for 6 mornings felt good. Mine was the last voice to be heard from the Student Union rdu studio at the University of Canterbury on 22 February. I had been up doing some training with Spanky, the rdu Breakfast With Spanky host, in preparation for a Tuesday lunchtime current affairs show. I had just done a voice break when the earthquake hit. Spanky and I stood under the doorframe and then we all had to run down the stairs out of the building. But rdu keeps trucking on.
Christchurch Aiport. Departure day under blue sky. Lovely Christchurch. Thank you ALL x
Chez Dré is a patisserie and boulangerie in South Melbourne. It opened earlier this year and is the clever conception of AnDREa Reiss and her business partner, Steve Sam. Andrea worked as a pastry chef for four years in Paris and knows her stuff. The cakes and sweet treats at Chez Dré are incredible. Works of art.
I had a very unimaginative (on my part, given the vast array of other possibilities) croissant and coffee. The croissant was just like in France! Which is what I was after!