Spring has sprung

Spring has sprung
Roses at the Cottage

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Mighty MCG

On the last Saturday afternoon in September around 100,000 fans will gather to witness the AFL Grand Final between Hawthorn (the next suburb to Richmond) and Sydney. So not only will it be a rivalry between the top two teams it will also incorporate the Melbourne/Sydney rivalry that seems to continue unabated when in fact we all know that Melbourne is the 'world's most liveable city'. End of story! Of course I am devastated that my team Geelong - the mighty Cats - winners of 3 of the last 4 Grand Finals won't be there. Oh the ebbs and flows of our teams. But there's always next year!
The Mighty MCG viewed from the city
 This year the (Hawthorn) Hawks will play the (Sydney) Swans who between them have beaten the (Collingwood) Magpies, the (West Coast) Eagles and the (Adelaide) Crows. So no wonder the (Geelong) Cats didn't get a look in this year! Perhaps next year they will play the (Richmond) Tigers or the (Brisbane) Lions or the (North Melbourne) Dogs!

I was fascinated to read on the base of the following photo that 'the first recorded game of Australian Football was begun on the tree-dotted parklands outside the Melbourne Cricket Ground by teams from Scotch College (located in Hawthorn) and Melbourne Grammar School on 7 August 1858. After three playing days the game ended in a draw with each team kicking one goal. 

Each team selected its own umpire: Scotch College chose Dr John Macadam and Melbourne Grammar School Tom Willis, who is depicted as the third person in the sculpture. Tom Willis a son of pastoral Australia and educated at Rugby School, England, did more than any other person as a footballer and umpire, co-writer of the rules and promoter of the game to develop Australian Football during its first decade.'

The first footy match in 1858

The MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) is hallowed ground - not just for cricket and footy. It's the stadium that hosted the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games. It's just a pivotal part of Melbourne as the Richmond mural I wrote about earlier captures (it even includes a television - which arrived in 1956).

The 1956 Melbourne Olympics with the MCG top right
Mike Brady's famous song 'Up There Cazaly' is now a sporting catchphrase inspired by former St Kilda and South Melbourne great Roy Cazaly. How appropriate that the old South Melbourne team is now the Sydney Swans! (how the South Melbourne footy team became the Sydney Swans is another story!) How many of you know the words? I didn't - so here they are:

Well you work to earn a living
But on weekends comes the time
You can do what ever turns you on
Get out and clear your mind
Me, I like football
And there's a lot of things around
But when you line 'em up together
The footy wins hands down

Up there Cazaly, in there and fight

Out there and at 'em, show 'em your might
Up there Cazaly, don't let 'em in
Fly like an angel, you're out there to win

Dick Reynolds
Now there's a lot more things to football
That really meets the eye
There are days when you could give it up
There are days when you could fly
You either love or hate it
Depending on the score
But when your team run out or they kick a goal
How's the mighty roar

Up there Cazaly, in there and fight
Out there and at 'em, show 'em your might
Up there Cazaly, don't let 'em in
Fly like an angel, you're out there to win
Haydn Bunton
Up there Cazaly, you're out there to win
In there and at 'em, don't let 'em in
Up there Cazaly, show 'em you're high
Fight like the devil, the crowds on your side


Up there Cazaly, in there and fight
Out there and at 'em, show 'em you're might
Up there Cazaly, show 'em you're high
Fight like the devil, the crowd's on your side
The - crowd's - on - your - side...

Even if you aren't a sports fan I recommend a wander around the outside of this enormous stadium set in a lovely dog friendly park where you will find the Scarred Tree I wrote about earlier. Walk the circumference of the stadium and marvel at the talent of the sculptor Louis Laumen who has created more than a dozen life-like sports stars. 

And so this weekend Richmond will be throbbing with excited footy fans making their way to the 'G' and those in the city and surrounding suburbs 'we'll hear the mighty roar'. May the best team win in 2012 and "Go Cats" for 2013!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

The Skipping Girl Sign

I skipped along Victoria Street (often called little Vietnam) to the corner of Burnley Street (Victoria Gardens Shopping Centre) to photograph Melbourne's oldest neon sky sign. (I wrote earlier about the Pelaco Sign)  
Daytime 'Little Audrey'
'Little Audrey' stars in this first animated neon advertising sign in Australia. She was first turned on (!) in 1938 and is now heritage listed. Advertising early 20th century Skipping Girl Vinegar (was the company bought out by a multi-national or has imported vinegar replaced it? I can't find the answer - do you know?) she's been through her ups and downs - loved and unloved - but she's resiliant and won't go away - thank goodness. The original sign was sold by the wreckers in 1968 to a used car dealership (oh how the mighty fall!) but in 1970 a smaller version of 'Little Audrey' was created. There are many theories about who 'Little Audrey' was - from a child who became a nun or the one I like better - the daughter of the local milk bar owner (almost extinct themselves). 
Nightime 'Little Audrey'
Survival looked grim in 2008 until a 'Help Audrey Skip Again' campaign co-ordinated by the National Trust of Australia (Victoria), the Heritage Council of Victoria and the Melbourne Restoration Fund ensured that Little Audrey will skip on. She once again underwent 'structural repairs (a face lift!) and significant work has been done on her electrics and neon tubing.' The mind boggles. I could do with a little of that. I'm pleased to say that she now runs on solar power in her 75th year (perhaps we can all wear a solar panel on our heads as we age!). And so she has graced our skyline since 2009 and long may she skip.

Ikea and 'Little Audrey' competing for air space
She's currently easy to spy but that may change with the amount of development going on around her. (here I go again on my hobby horse) 

Does a sign become iconic when you come upon cushions and prints in fashionable boutiques? Or when you have your own website?

Or when you see her as part of the mural on Richmond which I wrote about earlier in Our history on a wall

I think it's just a confirmation that we treasure part of our history. After all she has been part of many of our lives in some small way and her simple design has become part of the fabric of our city. So stop by when you're in the area. Take the children in the evening to see her when she's lit up. Long may 'Little Audrey' skip on our skyline.

Do you have a 'Little Audrey' memory?

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Spring has sprung

I must admit I didn't remember that it was Winnie the Pooh who said "Spring has sprung, the grass has rizz, I wonder where them birdies is"? Well I guess it was actually A. A. Milne who wrote it but ....

Melbourne is bursting with new colour, buds, green shoots, baby birds and all that Spring brings. It always amazes me how quickly nature responds to the 1st September!
Floral borders bursting with (overexposed) colour
Walking through the Fitzroy Gardens the other morning I was thrilled to come across a family of ducks. I love that 'father' is doing the patrol work bringing up the rear. He was very protective.
Mother Duck said "Quack, quack, quack, quack"
The ducklings were so fluffy and cute. It put a spring (ha ha) in my step as I enjoyed my 'constitutional'. And then I came upon Mother Magpie with her two youngsters. It really was a busy morning with the 'early birds catching the worms'. 
Mother Maggie wouldn't let me get any closer to her two youngsters
Cook's Cottage in the Gardens looks a picture with it's welcoming spring garden display.
Commonly known as Captain Cook's Cottage it was built in Great Ayton, North Yorkshire in 1755 by the parents of our most famed explorer who was the first European to land on the eastern shores of Australia. In 1933 it was sold to Russell Grimwade - a notable Melbourne businessman and philanthropist - for £800 (the highest offer in the UK was £300). The cottage was then deconstructed and shipped to Melbourne and reconstructed brick by brick. Grimwade donated the house in 1934 to the people of Victoria to celebrate the centenary of the settlement of Melbourne. Not surprisingly it's a very popular port of call on the tourist beat.

Did Captain Cook actually lived there as a child? The question still arises. It's such a tiny cottage one wonders how a family with eight children could have done so. But things were different then. Certainly there were no McMansion's for farm labourers in those days.
Captain Cook 'at home'
Do you love spring as much as I do? Is it your favourite season?

Bowen Cottage client comment this week: It's so convenient!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

If I could talk to the .. elephants

Elephants are every where in Melbourne at the moment! The Age newspaper recently called it a Pachyderm breakout!
A 'pair' of elephants in Carlton
50 life-size baby elephant sculptures are dotted around the city and environs. Each of these  sculptures have been decorated by well known artists including Mirka Mora, David Bromley, Deborah Halpin and Graeme Base (of Animalia fame). 
Deborah Halpin pachyderm outside the Town Hall
They have hey-de-hoed (the great big elephant is so slow) into town to mark the 150th birthday of the Melbourne Zoo. The project is named the Mali in the City art project and on the website will you will find a list of all the Mali locations. Mali is our most famous Asian elephant calf born recently at the zoo. She's so clever she's even decorated one herself!
Mali painted by Mali
I love the fact that Mali's in all their creative glory pop up in the most unexpected places. I've been on a bit of a mission this last week to try and find (and photograph) them. They are such fun and have changed the 'face' of our city. 
'Pure' gold Mali outside the beautiful Treasury Building
Sadly the project only runs until 21 September 2012 although I was pleased to read that on 25 October 2012 the entire herd will go under the hammer at an Auction Event at the Zoo's Leopard Lodge (don't you love the name). I must say that's nearly a month after the conclusion of the project - does it take that long for them to 'swing their trunks from side to side as they take the children for a ride' back to the zoo? It would have been lovely if they had graced our city spaces for a little longer. The Zoo is calling for potential buyers to register their interest to attend the Mali in the City Auction via email at maliauction@zoo.org.au. All the proceeds will go to the Zoo's conservation work as it fights the extinction of animals both in Australia and overseas.
Tiger Mali - sponsored by the Richmond (Tigers) Football Club!
I encourage you to set out and see how many pachyderms you can find in the next few weeks before it's too late. It's a fun thing for both adults and children to do now that the spring weather has finally arrived. I'm confident that once you find one others will miraculously appear. 
The many faces of young Victorians
I just wish I had a big garden - well actually one that's the size of an elephant and not an inner urban postage stamp  - where I could tuck my favourite Mali in the undergrowth amongst the palms and ferns. 
Mali with endangered orangutangs
Have you seen any in your wanders? If you do then give Mali a pat and just remember - elephants never forget! 
Graffiti Mali