Spring has sprung

Spring has sprung
Roses at the Cottage

Thursday, 12 December 2013

The Wigmaker of Richmond

I don't know how many times I have driven past this shop and never seen it! Then for some reason last weekend after I had just finished a lovely breakfast at Cheerio (323 Lennox Street - just up from Swan Street) as I walked out I was fascinated by the tatty venetians gracing the front door across the road!
Louis Barnett & Son & Son - I wonder how old the venetians are!
Wandering over to photograph them I was duly informed by my friend that this was THE place to come in the 60's for a wiglet for those extremely bouffed hairdo's that were in fashion in those days (this is dating me!) - she still has hers! Louis Barnett & Son & Son Pty Ltd (the second & Son is not a typo!) has been in the wig-making business since 1900! And some of the fittings looked like the originals. 
Wigs in the basin, wigs on the chair (1900?) here a wig, there a wig, everywhere a wig wig!
There was the odd head with a half-finished wig in the basin - and heads of hair were everywhere! It was rather surreal and I have to say a bit creepy!
Hair rugs for men or..
As the website states - they specialise in first class Natural European Hair-the Rolls Royce of Hair. 
They only use 'virgin' hair! (not previously coloured or permed)
There are ladies wigs and hairpieces, mens wigs and toupees, and theatrical wigs and hairpieces. They even provide 'movember moustaches' - and Santa wigs!
Ho ho ho
So take a wander past 312 Lennox Street and have a peek in the window - then cross the road and enjoy a Cheerio coffee.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

The Eureka Stockade - 3 December 1854

I'm a bit late - well just a day or three - but whose counting after a mere 159 years.
Eureka Stockade
The Eureka Stockade is a significant part of our history (along with bushranger Ned Kelly) and one in which most Aussies would have at least some knowledge. In the year of the rebellion there were around 25,000 diggers at the Ballarat goldfields. The policing was done by the Gold Commission and enforced by soldiers. And then along came Governor Hotham (you'll find a street names after him in nearby East Melbourne) who instigated twice-weekly licence checks to enforce licensing laws.  As you can imagine the diggers were outraged. (click the link here for the story) They were also concerned about 'official corruption'.

Although most would know about the Eureka Stockade I found the timeline is interesting:
A group of men (including the publican James Bentley) beat to death a drunken Scottish digger. Bentley was a friend of the local magistrate - and surprise, surprise he escaped prosecution. 
17 October - a group of diggers met to bring Bentley and the other 3 men to justice. After the meeting a crowd of diggers burnt Bentleys hotel to the ground.  Not suprisingly 3 of them were arrested and charged with arson
11 November - 10,000 diggers met to demand the release of the 3 diggers (now that's what I call crowd persuasion) and to demand the abolition of the licence and the vote for all males (females came later - see my post 11 September on the Suffragettes here). The Ballarat Reform Leage was formed at the meeting. 
29 November - the diggers publicly burnt their licenses. It was at this meeting that the famous Southern Cross flag, later known as the Eureka Flag, was displayed. Not surprisingly the Gold Commissioner ordered a licence hunt for the following day.  
The remains of the Eureka Flag (Ballarat Art Gallery )
30 November -  Under the leadership of Peter Lalor (more about this Richmondite later) there was another mass burning of licenses. The diggers then marched to the Eureka diggings and constructed the famous stockade. 
3 December - the authorities (with the assistance of the 12th and 40th Regiments supporting the police troopers) launched an attack on the stockade. The 500 diggers were outnumbered and the battle was over in twenty minutes. 22 diggers and 5 troops were killed. The Southern Cross flag was pulled from the flagpole and souvenired by the victors (a piece the size of a matchbox was returned just this week! - see here) Peter Lalor escaped the scene even though his arm had been badly injured (later requiring amputation).
6 December - martial law was declared.13 diggers were committed for trial
February 1855 all were acquitted. Peter Lalor avoided capture.
March 1855 the Gold Fields Commission handed down its report, and the government adopted all of its recommendations. The Commission resulted in all the demands of the diggers being met. 
In 1854 a bill was passed to extend the vote to diggers possessing a miner's right at a cost of one pound. The hated Gold Commission was replaced by a system of mining wardens.
In 1855 Peter Lalor later became the first MLC for the seat of Ballarat. The Ballarat miners were given eight representatives on the Legislative Council.

The one-armed Peter Lalor MLC
And so finally we come to the reason for this post! It's where Richmond comes into the picture! If you wander up Church Street (between Bridge Road and Swan Street) you will come across a rather foreboding home at number 293.  I was thrilled to see the rare sight of the Eureka flag flying proudly when I popped out to photograph it. 
293 Church Street - with the Eureka Flag flying
This is the former home of Peter Lalor (I've heard on the grape-vine that it's still owned by his descendants) - an activist turned politician who rose to fame for his leading role in the Eureka Rebellion, an event often identified with the "birth of democracy" in Australia. He died in Richmond on 9 February 1889. 

Bowen Cottage client comment: We're here in your beautiful cottage (a lot smaller than 293!)

Thursday, 7 November 2013

A hole in the head

I am appauled by what I guessed was part of the Yarra Council's quirky-waste-of-ratepayers-money regarding some hideous 'installations' (a grand word for them) which are currently featuring in Bridge Road. I have subsequently discovered that they are a promotion by the Bridge Road Traders Association (but they would require the permission of Council) Perhaps they are supposed to be a joke. I hope so. By why do it? If I want to meet the mayor I don't want to put my head in a hole I want to meet her in person. Interestingly the sign is of a man when our current mayor is a woman!! Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! I can see nothing - repeat nothing - on the council website. Perhaps they are as ashamed of them as I am. 
An embarrassment
They are dotted along Bridge Road and I just fail to see their purpose. There is no explanation attached to them. So there is miss-hole-for-a-face-Skipping-Girl - with nary an explanation of who she is, her fascinating history - and more to the point where you can find her. I wrote about her here in an earlier post (20/9/12). Coming from interstate, overseas, and even from Melbourne there would be many people who have never heard of her! And that's just one example. 
A far distant skipping girl on the corner of Punt Road and Bridge Road
Then we have Dimmeys Stores (I wrote about it here in an earlier post - 23/5/12) Well Dimmeys has now closed and is now a shell of a building with just a facade - while 10 storey apartments are being built and yet there it is featuring outside the Richmond Town Hall. Now Dimmeys was in Swan Street - not even Bridge Road.  And where is the explanation that the clock tower was 'saved'.
Outside the Town Hall - stick your face in the middle of the Dimmeys Clock Tower!
Just look at the writing - no dot on the top of the i in find - no explanation - unbelievable
Discussing this at the hairdressers this morning the following comments were made "but they're so tacky", and "they're so poorly made" and "they look like children have done them - but why." After leaving the hairdressers I photographed the one on the corner of Bridge and Church Streets. Not only has it replaced a rather interesting yellow metal sculpture but just look at the back of it. Truly dreadful. 
I have never seen anyone put their face in a hole! Would you?! Bottom left - Here we grow?!?
The reverse side - replacing a sculpture on the main corner of Bridge Road/Church Street
I decided to Google Here we grow - hooray for Google because no other information is forthcoming. Just read their reasons for these dreadful signs here. They state that 'Here We Grow is a creative marketing campaign, activated by The Projection Room for the Bridge Road Traders Association.

Truly dreadful. They are an embarrassment. Do you agree? Am I missing something here. If so tell me!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Painting 'the trams' red!

Art trams were first introduced to Melbourne in 1978 as part of the Transporting Art project which ceased in 1993 - budget cutting!?!? Back in the 'good ole days' we loved the art trams - with works by renowned artists including Howard Arkley, Clifton Pugh, Mike Brown and the cartoonist Michael Leunig. Our own Richmondite Mirka Moira (see earlier post March 2013) also painted one. They pysically painted their designs directly onto the old W-class trams.

Ye olde Leunig Tram outside Luna Park
Now as part of the 'extended' Melbourne International Festival of Arts, Arts Victoria - and surprise surprise - Yarra Trams a new generation of artists have created 8 artworks (tramworks!) The 7 individuals and one 6-member collective were chosen from over 100 entries. However instead of painstakingly painting their own creations their designs have been printed onto vinyl and then affixed to the trams.

The one that most appealed to me is the art of David Wadelton which features houses from his own suburban Northcote neighbourhood. He used his photo archive of over 700 images to create a wallpaper to wrap the tram.
Bit hard to see but up-close-and-personal the Northcote house tram is a great concept
And another that appeals is the Lakorra tram. As it states on the website "Lakorra is the Wathaurung word for sky. Once upon a time, Melbourne city would have been an open expanse with a generous view of the sky, offering a reminder that it's not all about self. Today' the city is densely populated with skyscrapers and billboards dominating the landscape, full of consumerism with a constant focus on the self. Lakorra brings a bit of that sky and open expanse back into the streetscape. It reminds everyone of a time before the city stood in its place and of a people who walked those streets long before they were streets".
Lakorra Sky tram
And while we are talking trams if you are a tram obsessive (except to ride on one) then why not visit The Historic Tram Depot to see one of the world's most significant collections of heritage displays at the equally historic building (just a hop, step and a tram ride from Richmond. From the Cottage take the 75  to the depot on the corner of Power Street and Riversdale Road). It's open 11am - 5pm every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month except December when the trammies are obviously having holidays!!
Ye Olde Historic Tram Depot in Hawthorn
So keep your eyes out for one of the new vinyl artworks affixed to 8 of the trams running around Melbourne. 

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Beautiful Burnley Gardens

The greater Richmond suburb incorporates Cremorne and Burnley and at the Burnley Gardens is the Melbourne School of Land and Environment - part of Melbourne University. It is here that students learn their 'gardening' and other skills to take out into the big wide world. But their world at the Gardens is pretty special. 
'Abseiling' a tree! Learning how to lop a branch
Students can be found throughout the gardens weeding, planting, digging, learning to lop a branch and generally keeping the beautiful grounds in tip top condition. I guess they get good marks for good weeding, good tree lopping, mowing and much much more! The gardens were established way back in 1863 and are listed under the auspices of the Australian National Botanic Gardens. They are located at 500 Yarra Boulevard, Richmond and are open to the public 7 days a week. The coffee shop however is only open Monday-Friday mainly to serve the staff and students of the campus - but as it is run by Tansy Good (of the famed Tansy's Restaurant in Carlton which sadly closed a number of years ago) if you drop in during the week there will be a great cake, coffee, soup and famed chicken sandwiches etc to fill the cockles of your heart! 
The on-campus cafe
What is not generally known is that the gardens are open to anyone! And what gardens they are - just look at the following! The Heritage listed Summer House was built in 1911-12. It's a lovely place to sit and ponder the gardens and their lovely vistas.

The pretty heritage listed Summer House with the ubiquitous palm in the background!
Then there is the 'sunken garden' which is built on the site of the Principal's House (lucky him - I'm sure it wasn't a her in those days!) c. 1870 - 1980. 

The sunken garden on the site of the Principal's House
And then of course there are the vistas - of which there are just so many on this 8 hectare site. 

Rolling lawns and ancient trees
More gorgeousness!

I hope you've got the picture!
So take yourself off to visit this hidden gem. You'll have it to yourselves except for the students and staff on campus and just a few visitors. The gardens are tranquil, interesting and frankly a joy to behold. 

Bowen Cottage client comment: Thanks for the chocolate treat by the bed!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Como House and The Stables

The first time I tried to get into the trendy new cafe The Stables at the elegant National Trust Como Historic House and Gardens in Toorak (just across the river from Richmond) was on a Sunday. It was packed to the rafters with eaters and those waiting to eat. 'Bookings' were being taken by Prue and Trude look-a-likes (as seen in Kath & Kim). We fled the scene! Well I have now been back mid-week and although popular certainly not overflowing as it had been that weekend (and not a Prue and Trude in sight - well except for some of the clientelle look-a-likes!). And I discovered that they take bookings - 9827 6886. (I'm not sure if they do at the weekend - but I'm sure Prue and Trude will put your name on the list and you can wander the divine gardens and admire the house until your table is ready)
Prue and Trude - awaiting your visit to The Stables (twitter)
The Stables of Como is open for breakfast, br/lunch and afternoon tea daily. They will also organise a picnic basket for you to enjoy in the gorgeous gardens (of course you can take your own!). With or without Prue and Trude it is well work a visit.
Entrance to The Stables (Prue and Trude were absent)
Inside - light, friendly and tasty!

Sitting next to us was Andrew Prior - now unless you follow Masterchef you may not know who I mean. He was in the show this year but due to stress fractures in the feet (not from the cooking!!) he could not continue. He is now doing some terrific Food Tours of Melbourne (and France!) and was having a reconnoitre at The Stables of Como.  Hop onto his website to join one of his tours (www.queeniesfoodtours.com) they are fun, informative and most importantly yummy!
Andrew from Queenies Food Tours (recognise him from Masterchef?)

Spend some time wandering through the gardens and admiring the elegant Como Historic House and Gardens which was build in 1847. It was established by Edward Eyre Williams (not a relation unfortunately! - but his name remains as the House is on the corner of Williams Road and Lechlade Avenue). It is thought that Edward proposed to his wife at Lake Como in Italy (lucky her!). 
The elegant Como House - I love the all-white look
It was sold to Frederick Dalgety in 1852 (founder of the Dalgety Pastoral Company) and finally came into the hands of the Armytage family (10 children!) in 1864 for the princely sum of £14,000. The family remained at Como for 95 years until they handed it over to the National Trust in 1954. Unfortunately the house is only open to group tours at this time. 
Through to the herb garden
Stroll in the gardens or take a picnic

Bowen Cottage client comment:  To say that this cottage is a 'home away from home' is an understatement. We are regular visitors to Bowen Cottage and enjoy spending time there, as do our little dogs. It is perfectly located for people who love AFL, shopping, walking, eating out, and keeping fit at either the local pool nearby or the many yoga classes in Bridge Road. We look forward to getting back there again. (normally I don't include such a long comment but how could I resist this one. A big thankyou to Lisa, Will and a woof woof to Betty Jo and Este Belle)

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Spring into Spring Street!

One of my favourite city 'streets' is Spring Street - rather appropriately named at this time of the year. There is so much to offer whether it be a visit to the wonderful Treasury Building (see post July 2012) the old Windsor Hotel (my parents loved staying in this once grand hotel and in particular in room 323 (I think) because it was larger, on a corner and had - wait for it - an ironing board included! - oh how things have changed!) Then of course there is our magnificent Victorian Parliament House. 
Parliament House  (wikipedia)
But it is the block between Bourke and Little Bourke Streets that I think really typifies Melbourne and all that it has to offer.
The view of Spring Street from The Supper Club
This mini-precinct comprises the continuously hatted restaurant The European, the divine clubby The Melbourne Supper Club on its first floor, The City Wine shop (and bar), The Spring Street Grocer and in its bowels (!) the very new and wonderful The Cheese Cellar (ooh the smell - cheesy heaven) and my altime favourite for rooftop views of Melbourne is Siglo (open from 5pm - 3 am daily!) When I'm at Siglo (2/161 Spring Street, 9654 6300), and in fact at any business in this mini-precinct I always feels as though I am transported to Europe! All businesses are owned by the same company and what a great entrepreneurial development it is. 

The Siglo view looking towards Parliament House and St Patrick's Cathedral
And of course there is the grand old Princess Theatre right next to The European, The Melbourne Supper Club and Siglo. What a city block! 

Arriving at Siglo - met by the Princess Theatre wall - amazing
The Princess Theatre wall abutting Siglo - Sir Benjamin Fuller - a theatrical entrepreneur 1875-1952
The Princess Theatre 'dome' (a bit washed out!)
While you are in the vicinity do pop over to see the pretty fountain and the Sir Doug Nichols sculpture (see post May 2013) in the lovely Parliament Gardens opposite, and just a hop step and a jump away you will find the Suffragettes Sculpture (see post September 2013) and also the rock bollards (see post July 2012)

As far as I'm concerned this precinct is Melbourne style personified and a must for locals and visitors to experience.

Bowen Cottage client comment: Wonderful cottage - many thanks

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!

Pooh Bear would be delighted by the number of beehives that now grace our city and suburbs. 

Isn't it funny
How a Bear likes honey?
Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!
I wonder why he does?

It's a very funny thought, that if Bears were Bees,
They'd build their nests at the bottom of trees.
And that being so (if Bees were Bears),
We shouldn't have to climb up all these stairs.

I love that we are slowly becoming aware of how important bees are to our survival. Without them busily pollinating the world our plants would not 'bear fruit' and feed us. The first time I became aware of honey being collected in a city was a film I saw about the nee-baroque Paris Opera House. To see beehives on the top of this wonderful building astounded me! 
Can you see the hives - I can't!
And now we have our very own Roof Top Honey Company. What a great initiative. There are beehives dotted around the city and on the roof of Federation Square there are now 10 beehives in a 'bee village'. They will deliver around 15-30 kilograms of honey in the 'high honey season' of October - April. The busy bees travel around 2-3 kilometres to collect their precious nectar. 
Scary - but look at the view!
I was surprised to read on their website that 'city' honey is more productive than 'country' honey The main reason for the success of urban bees is the variety of flora growing in the city compared with to what is now present in much of the countryside which often has just one crop dominating an entire area.  When that has finished blossoming, there is no more nectar for the local bees.  In Paris, after analyzing the honey it was discovered that it contained more than 250 different pollens. In the countryside there can be as few as only 15 or 20 different pollens. 

My friend stocks it at her marvellously eclectic Ganim's Store at 61 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. You will also find it at the wonderful new Spring Street Grocer (more on this precinct in a future post) at 157 Spring Street in the city. 
Honey jars or tubes (Pooh would love to drink straight from the tubes without getting his fingers sticky!)
Heide Gallery also have their own hives which are dotted around the property. Of course the honey is available at the lovely Cafe Vue (see earlier post 9 July 2013). And more people are now putting beehives in their backyards (I hope with Council/neighbour approval!) 

There are Apiary courses held every weekend at the Abbotsford Convent by the Urban Honey Co. The bees are moved around the area (Ceres, Abbotsford etc) on a trike - what fun! 
Beehives on the move!
So with Spring in the air the Abba song seems pretty appropriate  
Honey, honey, how you thrill me, ah, ha, honey, honey!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Les trams

Bridge Road is great for tram travellers (and therefore Cottage stayers!) as there is a choice of two trams heading into the city - the 75 lumbers along Flinders Street (Federation Square) and around past Southern Cross Station while the 48 lumbers down Collins Street, past Southern Cross and over to Docklands. Either are great for the city and also for Etihad Stadium. To have the choice of two trams so close to the Cottage really is a bonus. And they run pretty regularly - except when you're in a hurry!
Laying the lines in 1927 - ready for the 75 and 48 trams!
I used to receive a questionnaire from Yarra Trams who have the contract for both tram routes but obviously I didn't answer the surveys with enough positive responses as I have been 'dropped' from their circulation list! One of their proposals was for 2 mega-stops in Bridge Road. I questionned why and recommended that they spend the money on more trams and better service. Silly old me! As you will see if you board near the Cottage my answer was ignored and Yarra Trams have now installed what I consider two dangerous mega-stops along Bridge Road. One wonders why? I suspect it has something to do with easy access for the disabled, wheelchairs and prams. Now I have absolutely nothing against those very valid and important needs but by providing only 2 stops between Punt Road and Church Street - and no others - seems rather bizarre. If you need to board the tram with a pram or wheelchair on the remainder of the 50 stops (on the 48 route) then it's back to the old way of boarding (passengers helping and/or sometimes the driver having to help passengers to board and disembark). And - most of the trams still require a step up into them even from the mega-stop island. Which rather defeats the purpose of the exercise in my opinion. I think the mega-stops are dangerous - not just for those wanting to access the trams but also for cars travelling past them. 
When is a road not a road - when it's a dangerous ramped mega-stop
A friend reported seeing a car mounted at a bizarre angle - half on the road and half on the mega-stop. I watch drivers dithering as they try to decide whether they are allowed to travel following the tram tracks or whether they can drive over the hump of these new instillations. Strip shopping which is so integral to Melbourne with carparking along the kerb has also been diminished. Around 24 carparking spaces (6 x 2 x 2) have been removed just for the 2 stops - I just can't fathom the reasoning behind it at all. It can't make the shop owners who are already struggling very happy.
The tram recovery vehicle - a good old truck!
I hate to think of the cost of these two mega-stops.  And for me the piece-de-resistance recently was seeing a bevvy of 8 trams (if that's what a line of stationary trams is called!?) in a row waiting in Bridge Road for the lead tram to be towed away by a truck! And to make matters worse it was one of the new French trams that wobble at speed and turn corners with difficulty, but do provide access for those wheelchairs and prams. It certainly made a farce of bringing our trams into the 20th century!
A 'bevvy' of 8 trams waiting patiently (?!) for the new tram to be towed away!
If you have a smartphone you can make your tram travelling easier by downloading the free apps. For your iPhone it is Tramtracker and for android phones it is Tramhunter. Both give you the time of arrival to the minute of your choice of trams/routes. I find Tramhunter great to ascertain when the next trams are coming as it lists their arrival time at your chosen stop - for example 3, 9 or 15 minutes. It gives me time to cram another thing into my schedule and not waste time waiting for the tram - or worse still - missing one by 30 seconds! 
A great app - as is Tramtracker
So armed with my MYKI card (a pretty useful tool now that I'm used to it - sort of!) and taking 'on board' the above provisos I do use the 48 and the 75 a lot. They're pretty quick, easy and safe. On the whole we're lucky to have them. Enjoy.

Bowen Cottage client comment: What a location! (and near the trams!)

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Success of the Suffragettes - 111 years ago

Well the Federal election is over - thank goodness. But this is an opportune time for all women to reflect on the extraordinary work of the suffragettes who ensured that we were able to vote in the election! It is almost unthinkable to imagine not having a voice. 

111 years ago this month Australian women won the right to vote federally. (My home state of South Australia was the first to grant the right for women to vote in 1894 - while Victoria was the last state to grant the right!). In 1902 Australia was the first country to give women both the right to vote in Federal elections and also the right to be elected to Parliament on a national basis. The Indigenous population was only given their right to vote federally in - 1962.  

Suffragettes was a worldwide term used to describe all women who campaigned for the right to vote in elections (the famed British political activist and suffragette Emmeline (Emily) Pankhurst comes to mind). The thought that a woman was capable of focusing her attention on matters such as politics was incomprehensible to many men, and some women, who opposed the fight for female suffrage. They portrayed women as emotional, weak and unable to make decisions as well as being consumed with domestic and trivial matters. (I wonder how many still think this!)
Thank you Vida Goldstein
The first petition sought that 'Women should Vote on Equal terms with Men', and was gathered during 1891 when a few dedicated women including Marie Kirk, Vida Goldstein and Annette Bear-Crawford, literally went from door to door, eventually gathering almost 30,000 signatures from women all over Victoria and from all walks of life. It was presented to Parliament in September 1891.

Now one of Victoria's archival treasures and UNESCO listed, the document is known as the Monster Petition because of its size. It comprised fabric-backed sheets of paper glued together and rolled onto a cardboard spindle. It bears the statements ‘that government of the People, by the People and for the People should mean all the People, not half’, and ‘that all Adult Persons should have a voice in Making the Laws which they are required to obey’.
The Unesco listed Monster Petition
At 260 metres long it takes three people three hours to unroll it from one spool to another. Although this petition did not have an immediate effect on the voting rights of women in Victoria, it was an early and important stepping stone towards women's participation in politics, not just in Victoria but for all of Australia. (wikipedia and Public Record Office Victoria).

Beautifully located, beautifully simple
One of my favourite outdoor sculptures can be found in Burston Reserve/St Andrews Place (near the Park Hyatt Hotel and St Patrick's Cathedral) on the very edge of the city (off Spring Street!). The Great Petition was installed in 2008. I think it is beautiful.
I wonder if the young man climbing it stopped to read the history of the sculpture
Have you seen the sculpture? If you haven't do drop by when you are in the area. We take so much for granted these days. Did you know the history of the Australian suffragette movement?

Bowen Cottage client comment: The 'girls' (rather appropriate in this post!) give the thumbs up for my choice of the Cottage. Thank you for allowing us to stay.