Melbourne, Australia

A very walkable city

I was in Melbourne for a conference and went for a lunchtime stroll. The conference was at the University of Melbourne and so I had a pleasant time walking around Carlton. I particularly liked the terraces houses.

Lygon St, Carlton is famous for the restaurants that line the street, in the past it was known for its Italian restaurants, but I noticed that while there still are Italian restaurants, they are interspersed with Vietnamese, Thai.

The small town that was Melbourne experienced huge growth in the mid to late 1800s as it was the main port and trading centre for the nearby goldfields. The wealth in the city can still be seen in the substantial historic buildings that are to be found in Melbourne.

Royal Exhibition Building

The City Baths, the original city baths were built in 1850 to discourage people from bathing (swimming) in the Yarra River which had started to become polluted. The original building had deteriorated so badly by 1899 that it was closed and plans for a new one was made. This is the current building which was opened in 1904, it was refurbished in the 1980s and is still used today, as well as a swimming pool it also houses a gym, sauna and squash courts.

The day after the conference I had more time so could explore more of the city.

I went south of the river to the National Gallery of Victoria. The window at the front is an art installation but I'm always reminded of a former work colleague who once referred to the gallery (rather dismissedly!)  as 'The one with the Fish and Chip show window"!! In the era before air-conditioning, Fish and Chip shops had condensation dripping down their windows, hence the comparison with the water window!

Princes Bridge, site of the first bridge built to cross the Yarra River. This substantial replacement of that first bridge was opened in 1888.

Horse and carriage crossing Princes Bridge.

Federation Square, a popular gathering place, many love the architecture, all the pattern and colours. I'm not really a fan!

The wealth of Melbourne's past can be seen in its official buildings, this was the Magistrates Court, now part of RMIT. (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology)

Little Burke Street, Melbourne's Chinatown area. It's the oldest Chinese settlement in Australia and the oldest continuous Chinese settlement in the Western world, (San Francisco's was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and later rebuilt) Chinese prospectors began passing through Melbourne to the goldfields in the 1850s. They later settled in Little Burke St and opened up shops, imported goods and established themselves as market gardeners.

Melbourne is a well known destination for the major sporting events it hosts, the Australian Open Tennis Championships, the Australian Grand Prix, the Australian Rules Football Grandfinal. It has a thriving restaurant and cafe culture, with artisan coffee shops to be found in the backstreet lanes.