Monday, 25 February 2013

Melbourne Escape

We have headed off to Melbourne for a little break away. It has been years since we have holidayed south from home. Our lunch break came at Goulburn a truly lovely town with real country atmosphere and charm.

Rotunda in Belmore Park Goulburn
Belmore Park is situated in the center of the city on the site of the original market place from 1833. It 
was the site where merchandise was exchanged, including livestock and garden produce. It is a prominent landmark and popular with residents and visitors alike. Featuring a number of beautiful monuments and ornaments including the Band Rotunda, gardens, fountain, glass house conservatory and war memorials. The band rotunda is a prominent structure in the Park and celebrates the record reign of Queen Victoria. It was constructed in 1897 at a cost of £80, and is evocative of the flamboyant High Victorian period and reflects popular entertainment and lifestyles of the period. The design is attributed to EC Manfred, a prominent local architect.

The Hollis Fountain on the right of the photo was built in 1898–99 to commemorate Dr L.T. Hollis, a parliamentary representative for Goulburn and is a duplicate of the Diamond Jubilee Fountain at St. Leonards Park, Sydney. Sculptured by Grant and Locke, it is a significant example of concrete civic statuary in a highly decorative Victorian style. The Hollis Fountain was restored in 2009, some sections being rebuilt. The Knowlman Memorial erected in 1910 to commemorate John Knowlman, a former Mayor and prominent Goulburn citizen is seen in the photo between the rotunda and fountain. The stone is believed to be Bowral “trachyte” (microsyneite). Originally there was a symbolic wreath on top made of brass that has been removed for safe keeping. Similar stone was used in the commencement column of the Federal parliament House (Canberra), and the Railway Square Post Office. The lights are supported by masonry beams and are now disconnected from the power supply due to safety regulations. The style of this monument
is very different to others within Belmore Park and appears to make a specific statement about John Knowlman’s character.

Goulburn's Big Merino
On leaving Goulburn we passed the famous Big Merino. The World's Biggest Merino is a 3 storey structure of concrete and steel measuring 15.2 metres high and 18 metres long. This monument built in 1985 as a monument to Goulburn and surrounding district's fine wool industry is an impressive life-like model of 'Rambo', a stud ram from a the local property 'Bullamallita'. In May 2007 this grand structure moved 800 metres to its current location. The move has given Rambo a new lease on life with the construction of a new gift shop and a permanent exhibition from Australian Wool Innovation. New legs and an underbelly have been constructed so Rambo now represents a more complete, free standing model than before. He has also gained a little weight and is estimated to now weigh in at about 100 tonnes. Standing proudly as a symbol of Goulburn - 'the Fine Wool Capital of the World'. The Big Merino houses an exhibition on the 200 year history of wool in Australia.

We passed many trucks on our drive however we fell in love with the precious cargo on this semi.
The highway was four lanes now all the way to Melbourne which made a very relaxing drive. We stopped overnight in Albury to break up the trip. Then continued our drive the next day to Nepean Country Club in Boneo on the Mornington Peninsula which is our home for the next week. Set in a very relaxing rural area surrounded by produce farms of all types, vineyards and ocean villages.

Views back towards the entrance of the resort.
Views of the area's produce farms from the resort.
Indorr and Outdorr Swimming Pool areas.
Yesterday we drove to Melbourne and went to the Famous Victoria Markets before going to our 1pm matinee performance of Ovo by Cirque de Soleil which was extraordinary. What some people can do with trampolines, rock climbing walls, trapeze and a few rocks leaves you wondering.

Of course I found the beautiful Christmas shop.
Meat, Fish, Diary and Baking markets are all inside this very nice produce market.
In its 130 years, Queen Victoria Market has had a colourful and sometimes controversial history. During that time, the site has been a cemetery, a livestock market and a wholesale fruit and vegetable market. Each of these operations has its own history and an element of controversy. The Queen Victoria Market was officially opened on 20 March 1878, a range of markets having operated from the site in varying forms prior to that date. Melbourne has always been a Market town. Its residents have always had a fascination with Markets, and this tradition continues even today. The Melbourne City Council was originally established in 1842 to manage the City's many markets, of which one was Queen Victoria Market. 

The Lower Market (bounded by Elizabeth, Victoria, Queen and Therry Streets) is the oldest part of the Market. It was originally set aside in 1857 for a fruit and vegetable market due to over-crowding and congestion at the Eastern Market but the location was unpopular and the market gardeners wouldn't use it. Instead, it was used as a livestock and hay market until it was permanently reserved as a Market in 1867. The following year, a substantial brick building was erected on Elizabeth Street and this became a Wholesale Meat Market. However, the wholesale meat trade soon became dissatisfied with the site and relocated to the Metropolitan Meat Market building in Courtney Street, North Melbourne. The building was then turned over to a Retail Meat and Fish Market and slaughterhouse. In 1878, the Market sheds G, H, I & J were built on the site and wholesaling and retailing of fruit and vegetables occurred for the first time. While H & I Sheds still stand, G Shed was removed to construct the current Meat Hall loading bay and a block of public toilets. The original J Shed burnt down and is now a public plaza. In 1880, the Elizabeth Street shops were constructed following the realignment of Elizabeth Street. This also allowed the Meat Hall to be extended, and the present facade to be constructed in 1884. The Dairy Produce Hall (also known as the Deli Hall) was the last of the buildings to be built on this part of the Market, and was constructed in 1929.
Surrounding the markets are historical building with lovely boutique shops inside.
The Upper Market (bounded by Queen, Victoria, Peel and Franklin Streets) was not originally reserved as a market but had a number of other uses including a school and drill hall. Its predominant use, however, was as Melbourne's first cemetery. Construction of A-F sheds began in 1877 at the northern-most edge of the Market. This site was chosen because it contained the school, drill hall and the least-used section of the cemetery.

By 1930, the remainder of the site had been built upon. Between 1903 and 1905 A-C Sheds were extended to Peel Street, while D-F Sheds were not extended until 1922. That same year, the Queen Street and Peel Street verandahs were also constructed. The roofing of the centreway occurred in 1927. In 1929-1930 the large K and L Sheds were constructed for growers.

In 1929-30, the City of Melbourne constructed 60 brick stores on the current car park to house the wholesale agents and merchants. However, allegations of corruption and racketeering and a Royal Commission in 1960 led to the decision to relocate the Wholesale Market to Footscray in 1969. A single row of the Agents stores along Franklin Street is all that remains of the Merchants section of the Market.

Walking to the dockside area to find the Big Top Tent for the Cirque De Soleil we passed a theatre restaurant which looks like it would be lots of fun.

Witches in Britches Theatre Resturant
Famous Melbourne Tram.
Melbourne's tram system began operations in 1885, when the first cable line operated by the Melbourne Tramway and Omnibus Company opened for business. The cable tram system grew to be very comprehensive and operated successfully for 55 years.

Australia's first electric tram line, from Box Hill Station to Doncaster, was built by a group of land developers using equipment left over from the Great Exhibition of 1888. It opened in 1889. At this time the line must have been right out in the sticks, since Box Hill itself was many kilometres beyond the existing tram system. It had one or two problems, such as arguments with land owners who fenced over the line and pulled down the power lines, and poor reliability, since its owners knew nothing about running a tram system, and it died by 1896. The only hint now that there was ever a tram system in the Doncaster area is a road along the former route - Tram Road.

The first serious electric trams in Melbourne began in 1906 with the North Melbourne Electric Tramway and Lighting Company (NMETL) who built a line from the edge of the cable system out towards Essendon, and the Victorian Railways who built a line from St. Kilda to Brighton. The NMETL, a British concern, was interested in selling electricity to customers along the route. The company commenced operations with single bogie saloon cars and unpopular toastrack cars.

The Victorian Railways (VR) line came about when the well-named Thomas Bent became Premier of the state. He used the position to enhance the value of his property interests in Brighton by forcing the VR to build and operate a tram service in 1906. The reluctant Railways then insisted that the tram be called a "Street Railway"; built it using the 5 ft 3 inch VR railway gauge instead of the proposed tramway standard gauge of 4 ft 8.5 inches, and connected it with the St Kilda Railway station instead of the cable tram terminus.

Ready to enjoy the performance.
A marvelous idea began to take shape in the early 1980’s in Baie-Saint-Paul, a charming village nestled on the north shore of the St-Lawrence River, east of Quebec City. Les Échassiers de Baie-Saint-Paul (‘The Stiltwalkers of Baie-Saint-Paul’), a theatre troupe founded by Gilles Ste-Croix, walked on stilts, juggled, danced, breathed fire and played music. These young entertainers, among whom was Cirque du Soleil-founder Guy Laliberté, constantly impressed and intrigued Baie-Saint-Paul’s residents.

In 1984, during Quebec’s 450th anniversary celebrations of Jacques Cartier’s discovery of Canada, the province sought an event which would bring the festivities to all Quebecers. Guy Laliberté convinced organisers the answer was a provincial tour of Cirque du Soleil performers and it hasn’t stopped since!

From then on, Cirque du Soleil tale is that of a remarkable bond between artists and spectators from around the world. And it is the latter who feed the sacred fire of Cirque du Soleil.

After the performance whilst Kevin walked to get the car I browsed around the Dockyard area.

Dockyard Waterfront

Dame Edna Bronze Statue

Melba Bronze Statue
View over dockyard into the CBD.
Modern Sculptures on foreshore.

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