I have been away from my nest/desk visiting Marvellous Melbourne (as coined by a London journalist in 1885 so who am I to argue). These are my stories from the metropolis.
Walking along Spring St and the 6ish year-old boy behind us asks his dad, “What’s that building?” His father replies, “Parliament House, that’s where the politicians go to work and make the rules.”
“Oh,” says the boy, ” I thought that was in America.”
The State Library Victoria, as much as I love Queensland’s open and airy state library, the Victorian State Library is a library to adore. With its domed roof and green lamps it comes from a more romantic era. It was built in the 1850’s for anyone over the age of 14 even if they “be coatless” as long as they had clean hands.
At the library you can see the jerilderie letter and the first issue of Verve with Matisse’s artwork on the cover. Most fascinating to me were excerpts from the diary of an 18-year-old Melbourne girl (probably May Stewart) from 1906.
May liked to go out mashing – the word of the day for flirting. On tram did a mash had fare paid made appointment for Thursday. Then there was the day she bought some shoes, had a mash but left because he was red hot. Apart from mashing she also smooges with M and Charlie.
We had a nice trip in the Yarra Valley tasting wine and eating blue cheese. Here a Dutch man tried to explain to his new Korean friend that the leeches are – no not like mosquitoes – more like a little snake that sucks your blood.
My last Melbourne story is from the National Gallery of Victoria where we saw Patrick Pound: The Great Exhibition. Pound collects things – notably photos he buys from eBay. He displays his collections playfully, for instance “People who look dead but probably aren’t.” While each photo might be of interest individually – some are of famous people but most are snapshots from any photo album in the world – but viewed collectively in their categories they are a different journey.
I am done with Melbourne now. Whenever I travel I return to Brisbane and my corner of Queensland with renewed appreciation.