This is our last full day in Melbourne. As we are soon leaving Melbourne, let me share some city information we collected. It is the largest city in Australia as well as the capital of Victoria. Regardless of the spelling of the name, it is pronounced Mel-bun. Almost one-third of Melbournians were born overseas or had parents who were. With a population of over three million, it is the cultural hub of the country, getting plays, concerts, and cultural events beating out other Australian cities.
Although Adelaide was founded by free settlers, not convicts like Sydney, Melbourne was not only settled by free settlers, but it had a gold rush too in the 1850s. This made for a wealthy city that has maintained its prosperity.
We both have fallen in love with the city and agreed that if it were not so far from everything else, we would look into immigration. Melbourne has been voted one of the most livable cities in the world. There is no doubt in our minds as to why.
For our last day here, there were still things we wanted to see, but with the closing times over the Christmas holidays, we knew we could not fit it all in, but we tried. Our first stop this morning was the National Gallery of Victoria in Federation Square. We had heard they have a large exhibit of aboriginal artwork, so we needed to get back here when it was open. We arrived at 10:30, but found a free tour by a docent was being offered at 11:00, so decided to wait for it. Our docent was extremely knowledgeable about the aboriginal art work, taking us to selected pieces and explaining the differences in the themes, the tribes the artist came from, and the significance of the work. The second half of the tour included the temporary exhibition by a New Zealand artist, who had made Australia her home. Rosie Ganlian….I did not write her name down and it is not in my brochure. Regardless, she is a modern artist who collects junk and then assembles it into art pieces, calling it assemblage art. Now if I had wandered into this room on my own, I would have called this a collection of junk and left. The docent was able to give me insight that would not have occurred to me left to my own devises. I walked away with a greater appreciation of contemporary art. The tour was almost two hours long and I was getting sensory overload, so it came to a conclusion just as I was deciding to go AWOL.
From here, we went to the St. Kilda area, described as chic and bohemian. It has the highest concentration of restaurants in the city. The esplanade is snuggled next to a beach and next to it is Luna Park, one of the world’s oldest fun parks dating to 1912. With the opening being an open mouth of a demonic looking clown, rides shaped as a giant spider or called ghost train, and a fun house that promises to make you laugh yourself to death, this seems like a masochists haven. The rest of St. Kilda is a cross between funky, shabby, shocking, and amusing. I wish we had discovered it sooner; we could have spent more time here, but we wanted to make the Immigration Museum.
As the name suggests, the Immigration Museum celebrates the immigration history of the city. Located in the old Customs house, there are a number of stories from people from many different countries telling how and why they came to immigrate to Australia. Regrettably, by the time we arrived, the museum was only going to be open for an hour, but I paid the $6.00 entrance and Ron got in free as a senior. For some who fled here, it was refuge status, while others were seeking freedom, and yet others prosperity. I did wish we had more time to read all of the stories and look over the displays; we barely covered the first floor and did not get to the second floor at all, but at least we could check it out.
We went for an early dinner and then back to the hotel to pack. We have an early train tomorrow. Or rather we have an early suburban train to get to the bus to get to the train that will take us to Sydney.