Spring has sprung

Spring has sprung
Roses at the Cottage

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Between a rock and a hard place

Walking into the city from Richmond the other day (about a 45 minute walk through my favourite Fitzroy Gardens) I came upon a 'cluster' of rocks - so close to the city.
They are located in front of 55 St Andrews Place (part of the precinct for politicians and associated bean counters). I was fascinated by them. 
 A lyrebird
Every rock contained a bronze skeleton of an Australian animal - some were large and some small. All were beautiful - and recognisable.
A platypus
Sadly there seemed to be no explanation of who created them, when they were created or in fact why they are there. Perhaps it is up to us to imagine the how and the why.
An echidna (I guess!)
The bronzes are beautifully placed in the rocks and wonderfully tactile.

Soar like an eagle
I would love to know their history. It seems such a pity that there is no explanation. If you can shed any light on their story I would love to know. At the moment all I know is that they are wonderful. 

Bowen Cottage client comment this week: Miss Daisy (the dog!) is so at home here.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

A surprising find

Walking near the Yarra River the other day I came across a plaque I had never seen before (writing blogs has made me open my eyes to my surroundings!!) I was surprised to discover that one of our local members of Federal Parliament for the seat of Yarra was James Scullin (18 September 1876 – 28 January 1953). 

Scullin had the misfortune to be elected Australia's ninth Prime Minister just 2 days before the Great Depression in September 1939.
James Scullin

I was interested to read that he first stood against Alfred Deakin - one of the leaders of the movement for Federation (6 States and 2 Territories) which took place on 1 January 1901. Deakin (3 August 1856 – 7 October 1919) went on to become Australia's second Prime Minister. 
Alfred Deakin

Richmond has until fairly recently been considered a 'working class' suburb but things are changing rapidly as the yuppies move into gentrify the suburb. Certainly Scullins' home has been gentrified to a point that I am sure he wouldn't recognise it!
6 Park Avenue, Richmond - with a new coat of paint and a new owner
Bowen Cottage client comment: The perfect home away from home in a great location - we wanted for nothing extra during our stay

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Parlez vous francais?

With Bastille Day fast approaching (well this Saturday 14 July) it's a great opportunity to introduce all things French in downtown Richmond.

For baguettes, petite lemon and strawberry tarts, chocolate eclairs, millefeuille (hard to say, hard to eat - but worth every calorie!) my favourite French Patisserie is Almost French at 138 Swan Street - telephone 9429 2080.
Calories aplenty

Run by a charming (and attractive) Vietnamese couple it is always a joy to see - and smell - the bakery in action whilst enjoying a coffee seated on its rustic french cafe chairs.
A shrine to delicious Almost French food
With macarons the new petite morsel featuring at every cafe and on every cooking show the newest member of our community is La Belle Miette at 432 Church Street - telephone 9024 4529. Divine macaron combinations including pistachio, raspberry, chocolate, nougat and caramel there is a taste sensation for everyone. My favourite is Mariage Freres tea.
Presentation Presentation Presentation
Walking into macaron paradise takes me straight back to Paris!

And finally my favourite French restaurant in Richmond is Noir at 175 Swan Street - telephone 94283585
I could continue but for now enjoy le quatorze juillet with a glass of Beaujolais nouveau, perhaps a Boeuf Bourguignon and mop it up with a crusty baguette, some smelly French cheese from the Cheese Room at Richmond Hill Cafe and Larder (see post of 16 May 2012) and a lemon tart and finally with un petit macaron. What more could one wish for!

Bowen Cottage client comment this week: Gorgeous

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

The Old Treasury Building

One of the most beautiful and I would say 'handsome' buildings in Melbourne is celebrating its 150th anniversary. The Old Treasury Museum is currently hosting a FREE exhibition entitled Gold and Governors.  
The Old Treasury Building - seen from the top of Collins Street
I was fascinated to learn that the architect J J Clark was just 19 years old when he designed this icon of Melbourne. I think of many 19 year old's today - still studying, partying, looking cool and going .... in many cases they don't know where! Well J J Clark certainly knew where he was going in the 1850's! He joined the Colonial Architects office when he was just 14!

John James Clark arrived in Melbourne at the height of Victoria's most extraordinary expansion when many of our most beautiful and historic buildings were built in a 30 year period on the back of the gold rush.  As its name implies the Treasury was built to store the massive amounts of gold arriving from the goldfields. Gold was stuffed to the rafters in the vaults.
The Old Royal Mint (Wikipedia)
The Renaissance Revival Treasury building launched him in his career and from there he designed some of Australia and New Zealand's finest buildings - including Melbourne's Royal Mint - 280 - 318 William Street and the Melbourne City Baths (what an old fashioned name) at 420 Swanston Street. The Treasury Building in both Brisbane and Auckland are also part of his 'portfolio'. He also designed Melbourne's Government House located right next to our Royal Botanic Gardens. It is interesting to note that both  current and retired Victorian Governors have an office in the building.
Government House abutting the Royal Botanic Gardens (Achim Klaustermeyer) 
The recently published Architect of the Australian Renaissance by Dr Andrew Dodd celebrates the work of J J Clark and is available to purchase at The Old Treasury Building.

Located in Spring Street right opposite the top of Collins Street I recommend a visit. This building and its contents are one of the hidden gems in this city - and one that many Melburnians have failed to celebrate or dare I say to visit.

Bowen Cottage - client comment this week: It's good to be back!