Sunday, 3 June 2012

Melbourne'11 part II,

A continuation from Part I, we travelled down to Federation square the very next morning. Even though the temperatures reported comfortable levels of about 12 degrees, it was awfully cold in the morning (think icy cold gush) so we marched out in our winter overalls. The mist that shrouded the town that morning was hauntingly beautiful, as if the scene came out from a film set. While it was slightly tormenting to sacrifice my gloves for these shots, they were worth it.

Federation Square has been international recognized for its award-winning architectural design since 2002, serving  as a cultural and entertainment precinct which lies in the heart of Melbourne, there are an array of eateries and shops along the parameters for both locals and tourist alike. We also managed to bag some souvenirs in the gift shops around the area (not exactly the cheapest, but uniquely Aussie for sure) It's a very tourist friendly area, and if you ever lose your way or require any assistance or map, the Melbourne Visitor center is located at the corner Swanston and Flinders streets, opposite Flinders Street Station. I left my pair of gloves there and had to walk all the way back, thank goodness it was kept safe! You can also checkout ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) as they have occasional film festivals and exhibitions that may be worth the buck. They recently featured Woody Allen and Jazz on Film!

While we were sitting on the amphitheater-shaped steps, we were entertained by a stand-up comedian who was busking around the area with the help of his crew. A crowd naturally formed, and I really love the light-heartedness of busking in the vicinity - the zest for which cannot be compared to the busking scene in Singapore so it was indeed a refreshing change of culture!

We had a complimentary APT (Australia Pacific Touring) day tour to catch (to familiarize ourselves with the outskirts of the city), so we headed down to the other end of Federation square - most of Melbourne's tours depart daily from Russell Street extension and Flinders Street from there. You can find other tours as well (Philip island, Great Ocean Road, Yarra Valley, etc.) As you can tell, the morning mist hasn't died down yet, but it enveloped Fitzroy Gardens with an eerie yet mesmerizing atmosphere. This is the beautiful park which houses the famous Diana and the hounds statue by the Conservatory. And because it was partly in transition from Autumn to Winter, the surviving leaves were of lovely gradients ♥ 

Architecture around the city area

We also stopped by the Shrine of Remembrance, which was built to commemorate those who had served in the First World war, as well as the courage of those who remained at home.  This was located in Kings Domain, on St. Kilda Road. It was a pretty solemn place, and they have annual observances on 25 April (ANZAC day) and 11 November (Remembrance Day) which are taken very seriously. Red poppies are the official flower of remembrance is many of the First World War allied countries, and symbolize a salute to those who have sacrificed their lives. Visitors could lay a poppy to show their respect for a gold coin.

The most memorable part of the remembrance grounds was definitely the Sanctuary, which housed a crypt with the bronze statue of a soldier father and his son, with names of every unit of the Australian Imperial Force on inscribed unto panels. It reminded me of the US Holocaust museum I visited back in 2006, which truly evoked an overwhelming deal of emotions and thoughts of fragility of life. 

The Sanctuary itself was a high enclosed space surrounded by four tall parameters carved with classical designs, with an amazing interior structure. In the centre lied the Stone of Remembrance, which was marble stone settled a bit lower than the ground level so that visitors would have to bow their heads in order to read the inscription. On it it read: "GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN", possibly taken from the Bible verse John 15:13 "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends". The Stone is aligned strategically with an aperture in the roof, so that on 11 November 11am, it falls on the word Love - which symbolically marks the time World War I ended.

Other highlights included the tree-lined beauty of Collins Street (shopping and business centre) as well as fine examples of Melbourne's architectural splendour including St. Paul's Cathedral, Princess and Regent Theatres. We passed by Melbourne Town Hall and Royal Exhbition building, before stopping by for a short stroll in the Royal Botanic Gardens and crossing the Bolte bridge for the view of the city's skyline. That's all for now amigos, adios!

Melbourne Visitor Centre
Corner Swanston and Flinders streets
Melbourne 3000 (Opposite Flinders Street Station)

Australian Centre for the Moving Image (website)
Federation Square, Flinders Street, Melbourne
Victoria, Australia

Fitzroy Gardens (website)
230-298 Wellington Parade Melbourne
VIC 3002, Australia

Shrine of Remembrane (website)
Birdwood Avenue, Melbourne

Pictures taken by my trusty Canon IXUS 1000HS

Melbourne Part IV
Melbourne Part V

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