It’s firmly autumn in the Southern Hemisphere, so on days when the sun is out and the breeze is light, it is savoured as all beautiful days should be (but often aren’t). Rather than my usual route of hopping on the tram and riding past the Paris End of Collins Street, I decided to take a stroll by the Yarra River back to my house in Fitzroy.
Like many a city in the Commonwealth, Melbourne provides a home to a popular sport that many Antipodeans take up in high school and continue doing throughout their lives: rowing crew on a river. It lends a certain air of (New) England to the muddy Yarra.
Although it looks like the Eiffel Tower, I am assured that the spire atop the Arts Centre is meant to look like a ballerina (its ruffled bottom can’t be seen through the trees). Gold-capped Eureka Tower is named after the goldminers’ battle at Eureka Stockade, and, as befits the tallest building in the state of Victoria, has a Skydeck atop it, from which you can view the city.
The CBD of Melbourne reminds me a lot of Chicago: relatively flat and on a grid system, it contains skyscrapers alongside old theatres and churches (that’s St. Paul’s Cathedral sticking up on the left).
Surrounded by gardens, it’s entirely possible for me to walk from the CBD to my home in the inner suburb (think neighborhood if you’re from the U.S.) of Fitzroy by traversing well-manicured parks. Occasionally the odd parrot will fly past, and at dusk, the nocturnal Australian possums come out.
Inspired by my friend Leimomi‘s visit to Cook’s Cottage when she was staying with me last month, I finally got around to visiting a Melbourne icon that heretofore had escaped my ($5) patronage. Nautical explorer Captain James Cook is such a hero to Australians (and New Zealanders) that his parents’ cottage [note: not his — Leimomi discovered he wasn’t even born there] was brought, brick by individual brick, from Yorkshire to Melbourne. As you do.
What Australian garden would be complete without a Miniature Tudor Village? I’ll leave it for another blog post to examine Antipodeans’ obsession with Mother England, and instead let you imagine how much fun it would be to take an architecturally-minded child here.
Almost home, I passed by one of the many Northern Hemispherean trees that are so liberally planted in Australia — captured so beautifully last June by my friend Simon. They, at least, know that no matter how blue the sky, how green the grass, how balmy the temperature, autumn has come at last to Melbourne town.