This week my armchair travel destination is Melbourne. I’ve visited Melbourne many times over the years. I first went there in 1977, my last visit was in 2017 when Gillian and I celebrated our 60th birthdays. I’ve seen a lot of changes in the city during that time and while I haven’t liked all of them I still enjoy visiting.
Flinders Street Station is my absolute favourite building in the CBD. I love its grandness. I do think it has been rather spoiled by some of the modern renovations inside though. I hear it’s being renovated again which in my eyes will probably completely ruin it but at least the outside still looks good.
From the sublime to the ridiculous as they say. Words cannot describe how much I hate this building. I find it physically jarring to look at it.
Sandridge Bridge was still a rail bridge when I first used to visit Melbourne. I can remember seeing trains going over it. Now it has been repurposed as a pedestrian bridge and these sculptures were installed. This is a renovation that I do like. Much better than demolishing it.
Probably the first street in Melbourne that I got to know my way around. It was always full of trams. David and I took a lot of pictures of trams in Swanston Street. Of course I always think of AC/DC on the back of a truck going down Swanston Street whenever I am there. I think that video was made around the same time that we started going to Melbourne for holidays.
The Melbourne Town Hall is another grand old building and one that I associate with my earliest visits to the city. I’ve never been inside but I like the flower boxes and benches outside. We stayed at the Victoria Hotel in nearby Little Collins Street a few times and loved to eat at a cafe called “Chat & Chew” a little further down Swanston Street. It had mini jukeboxes at the tables and you always got a good feed for not much money. I miss that place.
I’m always drawn to the Yarra whenever I have some free time in Melbourne. I kind of liked it better before all these office towers appeared but I still like to take a river cruise and go down to Williamstown or St Kilda or just the round trip.
I always places like this. It is Banana Alley a complex of old buildings under the railway viaduct near Flinders St Station.
Bourke St Mall is another familiar street to me. It’s where the big stores are and there are some handsome arcades. I always forget what a long walk it is from Swanston Street to Spencer street when I go this way. You’d think I’d know by now.
Southern Cross Station is one I have very mixed feelings about. It was formerly known as Spencer Street Station and when we took The Overland train to Melbourne from Adelaide it was always the first and last place we saw. How excited we used to be as we’d start to recognise familiar landmarks near the railway line such as Festival Hall and “The Age” building. Spencer St felt like a foreign place to us. We’d always stop to see if the “Spirit of Progress” or “Southern Aurora” had arrived from Sydney. We’d gaze at the wonderful transport mural, now shoved in a corner in the retail sector of the new station. We’d sometimes get a meal at the cafeteria located on the mezzanine level not far from the mural or we’d enjoy the novelty of using vending machines to get hot chocolate or soup and think how strange Victorians were to have a “Man in Brown”, instead of a “Man in Blue” like we had back in Adelaide.
The new station has practically nothing of this left. It does have lots of cafes and shops but it doesn’t feel the same.
The thing that I like best about Southern Cross is the pedestrian overpass which carries you over the tracks to nearby Docklands.