Thursday, August 28th, 2003 – Day 191

Thursday, August 28th, 2003 – Day 191

I was up early again today. I am in a sightseeing mood. First I walked to Old Melbourne Gaol.

I had to wait around for 20 minutes as it did not open until 9.30am. I was the first man in. The main reason I visited here as it has a large NED KELLY Collection.

I love this cramped former prison with its tiny cells and spooky collection of death masks and artifacts of 19th-century prison life. Some 135 hangings took place here, including that of notorious bandit (and Australian hero) Ned Kelly, in 1880. The scaffold where he was hung is still in place, and his gun, as well as a suit of armor used by a member of his gang, is on display. The jail closed in 1929. The display profiles of former prisoners give a fabulous perspective of what it was like to be locked up here. Chilling night tours run every Sunday and Wednesday (call ahead and check the schedule); they cost A$18 (US$12) for adults and A$10 (US$6.50) for children (though the tour is not recommended for children under 12). Allow 1 hour or more.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – Gaol (28-08-2003)

It was expensive to get in at 12.50 AUS but if you use coupons from the official Melbourne visitor guide, can can get a 2 for 1 bargain. I have been to three formers prisons in Ireland. They were Kilmainham Gaol , Wicklow Gaol and Cork City gaol. They are all based on the same structural system. I have alos been to the notorious Tuol Sleng Proson (S-21) in Phnom Penh.

A little about Ned Kelly History

“Ned Kelly was a wild ass of a man, snarling, roaring and frothing like a ferocious beast when the tamer entered the cage. Mad Ireland had fashioned a man who consumed his vast gifts in an insensate war on property and on all the props of bourgeois civilization – the police, the bankers, the squatters, the teachers, the preachers, the railway and the electric telegraph.”

So wrote historian Manning Clark in his classic History of Australia.

Good ol’ Ned Kelly. Australia’s greatest mythological character. Icon of the Australian imagination. But who was the man behind the mask? Was he a bloodthirsty, brutal killer, or Australia’s answer to Robin Hood, waging a war against injustice and inequality?

Greater minds than ours have tackled this question, so let’s just try and stick to the facts as they are known.

Ned’s old man, ‘Red’ Kelly, was transported to Australia in 1843 for the heinous crime of stealing two pigs. Edward “Ned” Kelly was born in country Victoria in June 1855. Eventually, there were five girls and three sons in the family. Red died in 1866.

The Kelly family became known as notorious cattle and horse thieves and had frequent clashes with the law. After one altercation in 1878, Ned’s mum, Ellen, was arrested and gaoled for three years.

Outraged at what they saw as a terrible injustice, Ned, his younger brother Dan and their mates Joe Byrne and Steve Hart fled to the bush. The Kelly Gang had been formed and their bushranging days began in earnest.

In October of the same year, Sgt Michael Kennedy and Constables Lonigan, Scanlon and McIntyre set out to capture Ned and his gang. At the now infamous shoot-out at Stringybark Creek, Kennedy, Lonigan and Scanlon were shot dead.

The reaction to the killings varied dramatically. The establishment and media portrayed Ned and his gang as ruthless killers and a 500 pound bounty was placed on their heads. In the bush, Ned was seen as a people’s hero.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – Ned Kelly (28-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – Ned Kelly (28-08-2003)

The Kelly Gang’s bushranging exploits grew in daring. In February, 1879, they raided the town of Jerilderie, just over the New South Wales border, rounding up the local police and menfolk in the town’s pub.

It was Ned’s grand ambitions which led to his downfall. In June, 1880, he planned his greatest crime: to lure a trainload of police to the town of Glenrowan, where he would rip up the railway tracks and send the carriages plummeting down the side of a hill.

Unfortunately for Ned, the police were tipped off. They stopped the train outside of town, cornered the Kelly gang in the Glenrowan hotel and riddled the pub with bullets. Joe Byrne was the first to die.

In the morning, Ned emerged from the hotel, clad in the home-made armour and helmet for which he is now best remembered. Despite the armour, Ned was brought down by a volley of shots and captured.

The police, with their main prize captured, ordered the hotel to be razed to the ground. The charred remains of Byrne, Steve Hart and Dan Kelly were later discovered.

Ned was tried in Melbourne’s central criminal court and found guilty. Again, the reaction was divided. The establishment argued that Ned was getting all that he deserved. His supporters rallied behind him and glorified his deeds.

On the morning on November 11, 1880, the noose was slipped around Ned’s neck and he was hanged. History recalls his final words as either: “Such is life” or “Ah well, I suppose it has come to this”.

Tuol Sleng Is in stark contracts to the ancient Khmer culture. It is perhaps one of the most gruesome places that you will every see. In 1975, the Khmer Rouge’s Security Forces took over a former High School and turned it into Security Prison 21, which rapidly became the largest centre of detention and torture in Cambodia. Over 17,000 people were held in the Prison before being executed in the “killing fields”. Detainees who died whilst being tortured were buried in mass graves with the prison grounds. Each detainee was meticulously photographed and these photos cover the museum walls from from floor to ceiling.

I enjoyed the full story of the Kelly family and different notrioius killers. Information on Ned can be found here , here (which is an excellent site with excelelnt photos), and here.

I then walked back into town and visited the The State Library of Victoria to read some Internatrional papers and magazines.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – Library (28-08-2003)

It has the largest collection of reference material in Victoria, historical and current, from newspapers to books. The library also has specialist collections such as children’s literature and theatre programs. Free tours operate on weekday afternoons and some weekends. There are approximately 1,687,420 visitors to the Library each year.

The Library houses approximately 1.5 million books and 16,000 serial titles.

Special collections include Manuscripts, Pictures, Genealogy, Maps, Newspapers and Rare Books.

I then walked to the Shrine of Remembrance .

The Shrine of Remembrance was built between July 1928 and November 1934 in remembrance of those 114,000 men and women of Victoria who served and those who died in the Great War of 1914-1918. 89,100 of them served overseas and 19,000 did not return.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – Shrine (28-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – Shrine (28-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – Shrine (28-08-2003)

The people of Victoria felt that their debt to these volunteers, who had defended them at such great costs to themselves and their families, should be recognised by a worthy permanent monument of remembrance.

Although the country was faced with frightful unemployment and financial difficulty in the late 1920s and the 1930s, so great was the gratitude of the people that the huge amount required to build the Shrine was raised or promised within six months from the opening of the appeal in 1928

I syaed here quite a long time. Its a fantastic building in a great setting and the views of the city from the Balcony are great.

Acdfross the way was the The Royal Botanic Gardens,

They are the best of their type in Australia and well worth a few hours wander. More than 40 hectares (99 acres) of gardens are lush and blooming with more than 12,000 plant species from all over the world. Don’t miss a visit to the oldest part of the garden, the Tennyson Lawn, with its 120-year-old English elm trees. Other special corners include a fern gully, camellia gardens, an herb garden, rainforests packed with fruit bats, and ponds full of ducks and black swans. You can either discover the gardens by wandering at your own pace, or you can take one of the free guided walks that leave the National Herbarium Building, F Gate, Sunday through Friday at 11am and noon. Bring snacks and your picnic blanket to Shakespeare in the Park, a popular summer event. Performances are in January and February, and tickets cost around A$30 (US$20). Call tel. 03/9252 2300 for details. The gardens are open November through March from 7:30am to 8:30pm, in April and September through October from 7:30am to 6pm, and May through August from 7:30am to 5:30pm. Admission is free. To get there, catch the tram on Route 8, traveling south, and get off at Stop 21. Allow 2 to 4 hours

I did not spent long here and spend some time in the gardens visitoer centre.

I then took the City Circle Tram around the city.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – City Tram System (28-08-2003)

It is the best way to get around the center of Melbourne–and it’s free. These burgundy-and-cream trams travel a circular route between all the major central attractions, and past shopping malls and arcades. The trams run, in both directions, every 10 minutes between 10am and 6pm, except Good Friday and Christmas Day. City Circle Tram stops are marked with a burgundy sign.

Trams can be hailed at numbered green-and-gold tram-stop signs. To get off the tram, press the red button near handrails, or pull the cord above your head. It took 30 minyutes to go the full route. You pass FIFTY city attractions and you can get to visit each of them. WOW, FIFTY.

Federation Square

Touted as “Melbourne’s civic and cultural hub for the 21st century,” Federation Square is expected to attract more than 6 million visitors a year. Here you’ll find the National Gallery of Victoria–Australian art. The three-level Nation Gallery of Victoria building is huge and hosts the largest collection of Australian art in the country, including many works by Sidney Nolan, Russell Drysdale, and Tom Roberts, as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The Gallery will also be a major focus for art festivals and special events. There are two cafes here too. The ACMI center includes two state-of-the-art cinemas, and large areas where visitors can access movies, videos and digital media. It’s worth visiting the square though just to see the extraordinary architecture, made up of strangely reflective geometrical designs, and the very impressive glassed galleria-like Atrium. Lots of events are planned for the square’s 450-seat amphitheater, including theatrical performances, and free concerts and other events will take place on the Plaza and along areas of the banks of the Yarra River.

Either you love or hate this palce. It has inhabitants divided. I liked it but you need big crowds to make it come to life. While I was there, thye Victorian Police Showband were playing in full uninform. They were pretty cool and relaxed. I can see the NO WORRIES attitute here.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – Federation Square (28-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – Federation Square (28-08-2003)

What a day of sightseeing. It was now 5.00pm and I wanted to see Melbourne duriing day and night hours. t was time to go to the Rialto Towers Observation Deck

From this observation deck, near the top of the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere, you get 360° views of the whole of Melbourne and beyond. See if you can spot the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and the Crown Casino. A 20-minute film costing A$2 (US$1.30) shows you what you’re looking at, but you might as well just take a map up with you and figure it out for yourself. Of interest are the displays telling about life in Melbourne, past and present. There’s a licensed cafe here, too. Allow 1 hour.

I spent about two hours here watching the sun go doen. It was 10 AUS in a discount coupon from a visitor guide. I enjoyed the views and you get a goofd view of the sea and city attractions like the MCG.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – View of the City from Deck (28-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – View of the City from Deck (28-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – View of the City from Deck (28-08-2003)

After a shower, shave etc. I decided to go out and listen to some music. I went to Goo – at the Melbourne Metro nighclub (20-30 Bourke Street)

The name Metro ensures quality, professionalism, and nights directed at students. Goo is all of these things, because like other Metro nights, it was set-up with the help of students. It is the best of the grunge, alternative nights in town. If you like Regurgitator, Doors, Violent Femmes, Nirvana, Powderfinger, or anything like them or heavier, you will like Goo.

Dress is grungy, gothic, punk or black. Outside of uni holidays, outrageous hair, and excessive body piercing seems popular too. Despite the sometimes frightening appearance, the crowd is remarkably friendly, and fun. You have a pretty diverse spread of ages, although 18-22 is the norm. They always arrive before I do, so must get there before eleven, although a big concert, or Monash Union Night sees the crowd arrive later. During holidays, you want to be there pretty early as the full house sign gets a work-out. During semester it varies, but lately it has faired well.

If you like alternative music, and have never been to a club before, Goo is a good starting point. Its size and effects are something else, and all the experts tell me the music is great. A good genuine uni night.

I went home around 2.00am.