January 20/21, 2018 - Melbourne


I'm staying at at a workaway place for a week before I head over to New Zealand. This weekend was off for me, no helping out, no deeds to do. I had time to take the train into the city and walk around for a bit. I had arrived in Melbourne last Sunday and attended the Pride Carnival at Alexandra Gardens. I had a great time. There were lots of stalls and lots of music. It was wonderful to be just strolling around and then take a seat in front of the stage and watch the shows. I didn't think I'd be there all day long, but it was so wonderful I actually spent 12 hrs at the venue enjoying myself fully. Last weekend then it was time to get to know a bit more about Melbourne. I discovered Docklands, walked about the CBD, found Chinatown without looking for it and had a nice lunch dish there. When I visit a city I often have no clear idea of the things I want to see. Sometimes of course I know some sights I want to see. Other times I just walk and see where comes along. This was the case in Melbourne. It was wonderful. I saw lots of graffiti and murals just by passing by the alleys. I went to Federation Square and enjoyed a break watching Rafael Nadal play at the Australian Open at a public viewing location. It was wonderfully relaxing. By the way, I had my own Australian Open experience last Monday when I spontaneously bought a day ticket for the Rod Laver Arena and watched three matches in a row. What a great atmosphere! What a great feeling to have been among that crowd at that place. I went to the Immigration Museum and looked at the exhibition there. I had been at the Museum in Darwin which has a great section on immigration too. This one here in Melbourne is slightly different. Their focus is a lot on British and Chines immigrants. The reason for that is that Melbourne focuses on the immigration to Victoria which makes sense, of course. I learned that hundreds of thousands of Brits were lured to move to Australia with cheap fares. Back in the 50s and 60s the ship fare only cost them 10 pounds. I asked a museum worker how much that was compared to income or today's money. Our google research came up with these numbers: 10 pounds back then were about a week's salary. Or it would be like 300 pounds today. Either way, I think it was a very decent offer and shows how desperate Australia was to get Brits over. That goes all back to their idea of securing Australia to be a white Anglo-saxon country closely connected to Britain and the Commonwealth. The people who came over during that time are called the 10 pound POMs. The Chinese immigration story is also very interesting but too long to talk about here for now. Let me just say that just like thousands of Chinese people immigrated to the USA for work and during its gold rushes, thousands of Chinese people came to Australia for the same reasons. And Chinese immigrants faced the same hostilities, anti-sentiments and racism in both countries. So much for my little history background tales. Overall I'm sure Melbourne has much more to discover than I did. Certainly two days in the CBD (Central Business District) has only given me a very limited glimpse of the city. However, Sydney blew me away more 🙂

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