Things I’ve learned in Melbourne
“I once sang ‘Summer Nights,’ from ‘Grease,’ at a bar in Melbourne with John Travolta. He looked cool singing the part of Danny – sitting in an armchair, smoking a cigar – while I got stuck playing Sandy.” Hugh Jackman
When you are making a right turn in Melbourne, you do it from the left lane. It is so confusing.
Australian Rules Football ( footy ) is a combination of rugby, soccer, wrestling and ballet. They had the grand final in Melbourne the week before I arrived. They are “mad for footy” in Melbourne.
The Collins and Swanston Streets intersection in Melbourne was the first intersection in Australia to get a traffic light.
Here is the Australian Center of Contemporary Art. (ACCA) It is closed today.
Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt died while swimming off the coast of Melbourne. I never heard about this in the US. They built a memorial to him. It was a municipal swimming pool. You can’t make this stuff up.
Melbourne was originally named Batmania after one of the founding colonists, John Batman.
The city government was going to get rid of the clocks at the Flinders St. station. The Melburnians (yup) protested. They were not ready to give up “Meet me under the clocks”. The clocks are still there. (Photo-Sean Dirks)
Laneways and arcades are as synonymous with Melbourne as street art and coffee. (one small laneway, urban art laneway)
The Block Arcade is one of the finest examples of a 19th Century shopping arcade. It is known for its impressive etched glass roof with decorative wrought iron and timber supports and has the largest mosaic floor area in Australia. (Block Arcade, Royal Arcade)
Melbourne is the third largest Greek city after Athens and Thessaloniki.
Here is the National Gallery Of Victoria. They are between exhibits.
During the gold rush of 1850 Melbourne became one of the wealthiest cities in the world.
There are fifty vinyl record stores in Melbourne. They have the most vinyl records left in the world.
Melbourne is the only city in the world to have five international standard sporting arenas. The city hosts some of the major sporting events of the world such as Australian Open, the Melbourne Cup and the Australian Grand Prix.
It also has art, film, music and fringe festivals throughout the year.
Two things you can always talk about in Melbourne are sports and art, and sometimes even with the same people.
Melbourne had the first gay and lesbian radio station in the world.
If black is your color, Melbourne is your city. People love to wear black.
The Tramway system in Melbourne is the fourth largest in the world. It stretches along 244 kilometers and has 450 trams. There is a free tram that circles the city.
Bicycling is a good way to get around the city. If you run into trouble, there are cycle vending machines.
The Melbourne Museum has just opened a permanent exhibition called First People. It is done really well and gives us some insight in the Aborigine life in Australia. It is worth seeing.
The Queen Victoria Market is a good place to grab breakfast, lunch and souvenirs on the weekend. In fact as well as food you can buy just about anything. A market is always a great way to soak up the culture of a city. Open Tuesday, Thursday -Sunday.
Lygon St. is Melbourne’s Littly Italy. Stroll down the street with block after block of Italian restaurants, cafes, bars and traditional shops.
There is no shortage of tattoo parlors and second-hand clothing stores in Melbourne.
I wish that I had the time to go in to the Immigration Museum on Flinders St. It looked really interesting.
Coliban Park (http://www.colibanpark.com.au) an Australian sheep farm outside of Melbourne, is a good place to see sheep shearing, sheepdogs, and wild kangaroos. Duncan, his wife Jess, his mother Rita and their daughter show us around the farm. (Photo – kangaroos – Sean Dirks
Melbourne has been named the world’s most livable city by the Economist magazine. I could live there.