What I love about the Melbourne suburbs



I was born and bred in the Melbourne suburbs. Recently I winged my way from to Stockholm to Helsinki to Hong Kong to my home town (praying for a lot of it- gets a bit rocky especially nearing Hong Kong) for a few weeks to visit family and friends. They treated me to some great Melbourne hospitality. It was fantastic. The webber bbq got a good workout as did the umbrella. But in spite of the rain and clouds I managed to get to a few favourite places. Mainly in the inner city, which is a great  place to walk and ponder with it's parks, galleries, cafes and shops. Not that I'm much of a shopper.

Melbourne's all about the suburbs and I have my favourites. Mainly the inner suburbs such as St Kilda, Fitzroy, Collingwood, Northcote, Williamstown. They have a great mix of people and all the best music and art venues are there. They're also distinctive for having retained their original architecture though it's a constant battle to keep it. (A lot has been torn down since the 1960’s in a mad frenzy of development which doesn’t end. The suburban battle cry ‘Save our Suburbs’ on placards in windows all over town continues.) But there are hundreds of other suburbs to visit and people from around 270 different nationalities in Melbourne all have their favourites. And are very happy living there too.


Down by the beach having a coffee in Acland Street, St Kilda. One of the fantastic Readings Bookstores is located here.

 Melbourne's changed a lot though. When I was growing up in the 70’s I thought it was the most boring place on earth. Ava Gardner, who starred in the Hollywood post-apocalyptic film ‘On the Beach’(1959) - shot on location in Melbourne- was reputed to have said that it was a great place to make a movie about the end of the world. I agreed. There were virtually no cafes, little entertainment of any kind except the local pub on the weekends. I remember me and my friends as teenagers on a perpetual and mostly fruitless search for excitement. Mostly we’d end up at the beach. Still the highlight of Melbourne for me. 

Street performer in St Kilda. Now in Melbourne there’s a large amount of galleries, live shows, events to go to for the 4 million residents. Though sadly the number of live music venues have shrunk thanks to the insane pokies obsession in Australia taking over the pubs. But the fantastic musicians remain. Playing on and creating regardless. You can always hear a few busking around the city at any time.

The energy of an early city evening. 

Tiepolo's fantastic painting 'Banquet of Cleopatra' (1743) at the National Gallery of Victoria. One of the best paintings in Australia I reckon.

The Yarra River divides the north and south on a typical Melbourne grey day.

I managed to get one or two uncloudy autumn days during my visit. I went for a walk through the beautiful Fitzroy Gardens to take advantage. St Patrick's Cathedral is adjacent.

The cosmic stained glass ceiling of the Great Hall at the National Gallery of Victoria. Designed by Roger Kemp.


Followers line up for a celebration of Buddha's birthday at Federation Square, Melbourne. Everyone in town basically meets there.


A mixture of Australian and European trees line St Kilda Road.

Sunset over the Melbourne suburb of Williamstown.

Gorgeous Queen Anne style architecture. I think it's Queen Anne? 

A full moon rising over Carnegie.

The view at Doyle's Bridge Hotel at Mordialloc. Fresh, reasonably priced food and you can relax looking at the boats go by.

Looking up the pillars of the State Library. It's a good place to go and read the latest international magazines, newspapers or access the free WIFI. It also has a number of art galleries so you can peruse them if you feel like it. As well as the thousands of books.

The brilliantly coloured and noisy Rainbow Lorikeets were everywhere feeding and socialising in the trees.

A pensive daughter on Mother's Day at Donovan's Restaurant, St Kilda. It's expensive but with great food and a view. There are many gorgeous paintings done by the 19th Century group of painters known as ‘The Heidelberg School’ who recorded the beaches dazzling light on a summer day.
Brilliant violets and blues light up the sky at dusk.

A contrast of styles. The spire of the Neo-Gothic architecture of St Paul's Cathedral (1891) stands out with it's delicacy.

The storm clouds gather at St Kilda beach. The old Luna Park (1912) amusement park is on the left. It's fun unless you get stuck up on the scenic railway which some people did while we looked on rather smugly. The number 96 tram goes straight there from the city.

 Flinders Street train station is the centre of the city for commuters and teens. I tipped a street musician one day at Flinders St and he said to me in an accent that sometimes sounds like a cockatoo squawking, 'Thaanks maayte'. I never thought I'd be so moved by those words. It does make walking around a real joy. People chat away like you've known them forever.

Pacific Gull in the shallows.

Boatsheds at Aspendale beach.

Walking barefoot on the sand.

The gang.

Thankyou to my incredibly generous mum and Mand and Larne for flying down. Plus Barry and Fay, Libby, Joy, Helen, Laura and Jim and John for some superb Melbourne hospitality. Great souls every one. I miss you.


Top image by Christopher Groenhout. All other photos by Susan Wellington

Comments

  1. Great post! It made me miss Melbourne a little bit more. :)

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  2. Thanks Anna glad you enjoyed it. Though the swedish weather beats Melbourne hands down at the moment.

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  3. Wow, I am in Melbourne and it's really lovely to see the beauty through your photos :)

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  4. Thanks for your lovely comment Expat wife. Hope you're enjoying your stay there.

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