A Travellerspoint blog

Ahoy Matey!

solway_lass.jpg

We boarded the Solway Lass tallship ready for a 3 day/3 night sailing adventure through the Whitsunday Islands! She was a beautiful ship that was built in 1902 in Holland and also worked in both World Wars. It was eventually sold to Sydney Harbour as a floating restaurant where it was restored and then finally purchased by Southern Cross Sailing Adventures where it now works in the Whitsunday Islands via Airlie Beach.

jade_sailing_the_boat.jpg

Not much was done the first night we set sail. It was 7 o'clock by the time we boarded so we mingled with our fellow ship-mates and got our eyes adjusted to the darkness. We finally set anchor around 10 pm in the passage between Whitsunday Island and Hook Island. We couldn't really see much because it was so dark so we just went to bed in our cabin below the ship deck.

whitehaven_beach.jpg

The next morning we set sail again and travelled around the northern tip of Whitsunday Island and south along the eastern side. We anchored in Tongue Bay and 10-12 people at a time boarded the little dingy to be transported to dry land for a hike through the trees to Whitehaven Beach. Whitehaven Beach has been voted the sexiest beach in Australia. I don't know what that means because I didn't think it was that great. However, the weather was cold and raining so maybe it could have been better if there was sunshine and a heat wave. The pure white silica sands and the blue green water was still amazing. We found a spot in the bushes to change into shorts, in the meantime getting bitten by millions of mozzies (mosquitoes). I have 15 mozzie bites on my legs alone! We walked along the shore and in the soft sand until it was time to head back to the ship for lunch. During lunch I spotted a brown sea turtle swimming near the surface.

After lunch we set sail again, this time north along the eastern side of Whitsunday Island and then up along the same side of Hook Island until we anchored at Luncheon Bay. The rope swing was introduced and a few brave souls decided to plunge into the water. It looked cold, just because the weather was cold and windy, but everyone who jumped in said the water was amazingly warm. I didn't trust them, but I wouldn't have jumped off the rope anyway.

aaronandjade.jpg

thumbs_up_snorkelling.jpg

retarded_j..kelling.jpg

The weather the next morning was even worse. It was raining a little harder and the wind was bitterly cold. We were supposed to go snorkelling, but I really didn't want to and not just because of the cold. Dying crossed my mind of course. But Aaron's puppy dog eyes convinced me to try it out. We grabbed our snorkelling gear and a noodle and headed out towards shore in the dingy. We hired wet suits for this event but forgot them in storage with our big bags. Damn. In just our bathing suits it was freezing. We waded into the water and I temporarily forgot that I hate water. I shivered the whole time. I managed to get over my fear for a little bit and actually try snorkelling. It was really cool! We saw lots of neat coral and bright coloured fish. To our surprise we were the last ones to get out of the water and head back to the ship - we didn't even want to brave the cold in the first place. Everyone else only stayed in the water for about 15 minutes. We were proud of our Canadian cold bloodedness.

brain_coral.jpg

blue_coral.jpg

yellow_fishy.jpg

rainbow_fishy.jpg

coral.jpg

neon_fishy.jpg

blue_tipped_coral.jpg

curious_fishy.jpg

Back on board the ship we stopped for lunch and then sailed to the next little cove, Maureen's Bay to do some more snorkelling. This time not so many people wanted to snorkel for a second time so I managed to convince someone to let me borrow their wetsuit. Aaron still went without a wetsuit - very brave. This time it was much warmer and my lips weren't blue for half an hour afterward. There were so many neat fish and coral. It was amazing! I even got to swim through some fish and touch them. Back on board the boat Aaron decided to play Tarzan and swung off the rope swing. Like a little kid he kept going back for more. It looked like fun but there was no way I was going in again.

rope_swinging_aaron.jpg

rope_swinging_aaron_2.jpg

crew_and_sails.jpg

Instead of using the engine to power the boat along the crew actually climbed up the masts and lowered the sails. We sailed with air power alone! It was so cool. We were actually travelling quite fast. We anchored again at Cid Harbour and stayed up late talking to some crazy Scottish and Australian people.

aaron_on_l..s_beach.jpg

camouflage.jpg

The next morning we got a ride in the dingy over to Sawmill Beach and then hiked through the trees to Loggers Beach. There were lots of cool stuff in this area. We explored the shore for small creatures and shells and were not disappointed. We saw lots of snails crawling up rocks and crabs scurrying underneath the rocks. I also spotted a black sea cucumber hiding under a rock. Of course I had to poke it with a stick and it sucked everything up like an accordian. We walked further along the beach and climbed some rocks where we spotted another sea turtle lazily floating along the surface, but he disappeared as quickly as we spotted him.

That was pretty much the end of our trip on the Whitsunday's. We tried to sail back to the Airlie Beach Harbour but the wind was not strong enough, so Captain Marcus succumbed to engine power so we would make it back in time. The crew was awesome and the sailing experience was great, despite the bad weather.

The next morning we made the long journey to Cairns and are thinking about doing some more trips out to the Great Barrier Reef and to the rainforest in Cape Tribulation before we begin our journey back home! Yay! There would be no better time to come home than just in time for Canada Day.

Posted by Jaders 22:00 Comments (0)

4 Wheel Drive Camping Adventure

P6030012_2_.jpg

P6030035_2_.jpg

P6030036_2_.jpg

P6030049_2_.jpg

P6030045_2_.jpg

P6030046_2_.jpg

Byron Bay was a little chilly but we still braved the cold and tried to go in the water. There were crazy waves (well probably not) and I was scared but Aaron made me get in the water with him anyway. It was very chilly. Later we played frisbee on the beach and played fetch with a stray pooch. It made me miss my puppies. Aaron eventually got bored of frisbee and wrestled me to the ground and buried me in the sand.

Oz_003_2_.jpg

n651311328..25_1967.jpg

Next stop was Noosa. Surrounding Noosa were beautiful everglades but we did not get to see them entirely. There was crappy weather here until the day we left, figures. For one day we took a day trip out to Beerwah to the Australia Zoo. This is where Steve Irwin started his career and where his wife and two kids continue his legend. It was a really cool place. We saw lots of crocodiles, giant tortoises, cassowaries, dingoes, kangaroos, koalas, snakes, lizards, elephants and tigers. I had a great time! We sat and watched the crocodile show where a guy fed a large croc by hand! It was awesome! I wouldn't want to run into one in the wild.

n651311328_203619_492.jpg

We settled into Hervey Bay next, our starting point for Fraser Island. We rented a Landrover Defender 4x4 and boarded the ferry over to the largest sand Island in the world. After a 30 minute ferry ride we set off through the trees down a narrow sandy road towards Eurong Beach Resort where we picked up some ice to put in our esky. Then we set off for the beach. It was so awesome driving along side the ocean on a sandy road that seemed to go on forever. We stopped at the starting point to the Lake Wabby trail and hiked about 45 minutes through bush until we reached the deepest lake on the island. However, it is slowly disappearing because of the impeding sandblows. It wasn't a very clear lake so we didn't swim in it. But all around were sand dunes! We climbed to the top of a dune and we could see the ocean so we started to head towards it. We came out a few hundred meters from where we parked the vehicle so we had to walk down the beach a little bit. We headed north towards the start of the Rainbow Gorge trail. Rainbow Gorge contained sand dunes of many different colours. It was really pretty to see all of the colours in one area.

n651311328..12_8798.jpg

n651311328..13_9045.jpg

P6100067_2_.jpg

We stopped for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Canadian backpacker special, and then drove further north to the largest creek on the island, Eli Creek. We had to cross the creek with our vehicle and I held my breath because it was deeper than the other creeks we had previously crossed. But we made it alive. We parked and walked up the creek. It was so clear and green and very cold. But like good Canadians we adapted to the cold temperature and continued on. After our trek up and down the creek we sat on the beach and watched the waves. Low and behold Aaron spotted a couple of humped-back whales playing in the distance. It was so cool! We watched them for a while until we could not see them anymore and then we headed out to find our campsite for the night. We picked a cozy little spot just off the dunes from the beach and under a couple of trees. We set up camp and then watched the colours of the ocean change with the sunset.

n651311328..12_8798.jpg

We bundled up cozy in our tents expecting to freeze to death during the night because someone had warned us about the temperature drop at night, but it was suprisingly warm. I didn't freeze at all and almost took off my socks. The next day we got up bright and early and watched the sunrise. It was so pretty. We had breakfast and then headed out towards Indian Head, a cliff outlooking the beach and the ocean. On the way Aaron let me drive the vehicle up the beach a little way. It was hard to drive on the wrong side of the vehicle, with the shifter on the left hand side, and then on the left hand side of the road. It was especially hard for me too since I haven't driven a vehicle since I left Canada in January. I was really nervous too crossing the creeks. I didn't want to crash or get stuck or drown for that matter.

P6110077_2_.jpg

We got to Indian head and hiked up the giant hill. At the top we looked at the waves crashing into the rocks at the bottom and spotted a couple of manta rays swimming below searching for food. They were so pretty. I wish we could have gotten closer to them. It started getting quite busy at the top of the cliff so we headed back to the vehicle. We drove further north to the Champagne Pools, which are pools filled with water from the ocean at high tide. They were very cold and filled with lots of interesting creatures. We could see little tiny black and white striped fish and a few other not so interesting fish. We saw lots of anemones and bugs and we even came across a few crabs. The waves were smashing violently against the rocks and into the pools and looked pretty cool, from a distance.

n651311328..23_1463.jpg

After looking for creatures stopped being so interesting, we hopped back into the Landrover and drove south where we had originally come. We stopped at Red Canyon and The Pinnacles which were giant mounds of red and yellow sand, respectively. The Pinnacles here were not nearly as neat as the Pinnacles in Western Australia. Further south we reached the S.S. Maheno shipwreck. It served in both of the world wars and eventually was sold to the Japanese in 1935 for scrap metal when it was deamed unsea worthy. However, a freak winter cyclone caused their boat to loose the Maheno and it eventually washed up on the eastern shore of Fraser Island. Since it was such a hassle to removed it and haul it back to Japan, they left it there. It was just lying on the side of the beach, all rusted and mysterious. We could walk right up to it and investigate but we could not climb on or in it. Oh well, it was cool just the same.

We headed back towards the Eurong Beach Resort and set up camp along the beach again. Then we headed into the resort 'town' and got some ice cream from the bakery. Back at the campsite a friendly dingo came along, however right when I had my pants around my ankles ready to do my business in the bush. It was a little frightening to look up and see a dingo looking at you. He was probably wondering what the heck I was doing. I quickly pulled up my pants and went back to the campsite. Aaron was telling him to go away but he seemed to want to play instead. He layed down and put his head between his paws to look cute but it obviously didn't work. He eventually took off and searched the beach for scraps. Later on another dingo came along but it didn't look too friendly. I didn't see it coming either, I was too busy taking a picture of a pretty laurikeet in the trees when I heard Aaron making noises back at the camp. Then I turned around and the dingo was looking at me again. He looked meaner and I didn't stick around by myself for very long.

Day three we got up early again and drove to the bakery for breakfast. Then we headed to Central Station which was only a big parking lot and a little museum. But lots of walking tracks started from this point. We decided to walk to Pile Valley. We walked through the rainforest and beside a really clear and calm creek. At the end of the trail we decided to walk up the road but soon discovered that it went the long way back to Central Station and that was too far. We turned around and eventually got kind of lost. Don't worry we found another trail that luckily led us back to our vehicle.

P6120091_2_.jpg

We drove to Lake Mackenzie, the most popular lake on the island. It was so clear and green but darn cold. There was no swimming involved. I tried to wear my bikini but that seemed to be too cold as well. Instead of hanging on the cold beach we hiked the whole way around the lake. We found some really cool things along the way. We saw this really weird land anemone (I don't know what it was but that is what I am calling it) and it secreted a gooey substance from its tentacles when you poked it with a stick. We also saw lots of turtle shells and even a rotting turtle, but no live ones.

It was now time to board the ferry back to the mainland. It was sad to leave Fraser Island, but we hadn't showered the whole time and we were very stinky. We were looking forward to showers back at the YHA.

Posted by Jaders 22:09 Comments (1)

Heading North

I finally left Melbourne after stalling for 3 weeks. I needed to work a little bit but somehow things didn't work out. Not many people want to hire you for only 3 weeks. So I tried to keep myself busy and managed to get a job for the last week that I was there. I was only handing out fliers on the street but that is better than nothing. I learned a lot about human character while doing this job. Many people are rude. Most people would not even acknowledge my good mornings or hellos and instead would rudely scoot passed me in hopes that I wouldn't give them a flier. But, there were also some people who had some manners. During my time here I managed to find the weirdest people. I was talking on a payphone one day and this guy came along and was standing on the curb. I looked to see if he was waiting to use the telephone but it didn't seem like he was. I talked another 5 minutes and he stormed passed me into a liquor store and then stormed back out while screaming into my face "grievance!!!" I did not know what was going on. So I asked him if he needed to use the payphone because I was uncertain. He told me in no uncertain, and quite rude, terms that duuhhhh he needed to use the phone. I was pretty upset and no one else was on the street so I let him use the phone for fear of my life. There were many more crazy people in this place. Two days before I left for Sydney my ipod was stolen from my room. Nice. I was terribly upset and went straight to the police. But what are they gonna do. Apparently there was a serial theif in the hostel because another guy two doors down from my room had his ipod stolen as well and a girl on another floor had her locker broken into and her camera and passport stolen all in the same day. It was pretty strange because I was in the room most of the day. Note to theif: I hope you are enjoying my iPod or the dirty money you received from it. Karma will get you eventually.

I took the longest bus ever to Sydney. I left at 7 in the morning and arrived in Sydney at 8:30 at night. I was glad to finally get to my hostel, take a shower and go to bed. I could sleep though because I was too excited for the great event occurring the very next day. I was to pick up Aaron from the airport early in the morning! I hadn't seen him for nearly 5 months and I missed him terribly. He's here now and he's the greatest boyfriend that exists. He travelled almost 15,000 km just to be with me! I feel so special and I'm glad that he is here now.

We spent a week in Sydney taking in the sights. The first day we walked down to Darling Harbour, a posh little harbour development with lots of cool cafes including the Lindt Chocolate Cafe. We restrained ourselves from the chocolate for the first day, but don't worry we stopped there a few days later and stocked up on chocolate Lindt balls of all sorts! This first day we also headed up to the AMP Tower, the tallest building in Sydney. It is similar to the Calgary Tower and overlooks the city. We got a good perspective of the beautiful city and what it contained.

The next few days we chilled out so Aaron could get used to the time difference. After that we did a lot of walking around the city. We made it to the Sydney Opera House and took many photos of its unique architecture. We also walked to the Harbour Bridge, which is also a unique piece of architecture, and walked across it. In the middle of the bridge is the Pylon Lookout. We climbed to the top and gazed at the different view of the city as well as the Opera House.

Steve_001.jpg

Steve_002.jpg

The last day in Sydney we went on a tour of the Blue Mountains and the Jenolan Caves. The Blue Mountains were spectacular but nothing like our mountains. These are merely hills compared to our beautiful Rocky Mountains. We stopped at Echo Point to view the Three Sisters and travel down the valley in a cable car, the steepest of its kind. After that it was a long drive to the Jenolan Caves, but the view was extraordinary. Once at the caves we were led on a tour of the Lucas Cave. It was amazing! Much better than the other caves that I have toured in New Zealand and on the West Coast of Australia. It was a very long tour and had many different types of stalactites and stalagmites. Many pictures were taken.

Steve_003.jpg

Steve_009.jpg

Steve_004.jpg
Nice smile, Aaron!!
Steve_005.jpg

Steve_011.jpg

Tomorrow we are on starting our journey along the East Coast of Australia, next stop Byron Bay.

Posted by Jaders 04:05 Comments (3)

One More Week In Melbourne

I've been in Melbourne for two weeks now. I had to change rooms in my hostel and this was not pretty. My new room was a dark dungeon with no windows and I shared it with vampires. My new roomates slept all day and went out all night. When they returned they were not quiet. I felt really claustrophobic in the back of the room, on the top bunk, blocked by a partition in the room. It is safe to say that I did not sleep well that first night. I got up the next morning bright and early to see if I could switch to a room with a window at least. This proved to be no easy task. The guy at the front desk was smug and very unfriendly. He told me no rooms were available and I'd have to wait until people checked out before he would even consider giving me another room. He wouldn't even tell me if people were scheduled to move out of such a room. Jerk. So I pestered him relentlessly every half hour for two and half hours. Finally he caved and gave me a choice of about a dozen rooms. I finally picked my room and went to check into it. Alas! It was the most perfect room anyone could have! The only bed available was a double bed and the room contained a giant window! The room was nice and bright and I had a giant bed. I met my roomates later that night and so far they have been one of the best roomates I've had. They actually have jobs so they are long term residents of the Greenhouse Backpackers so they actually go to sleep at a decent hour. If they do go out, I do not hear them come back in at all.

I had two jobs when I came back to Melbourne which I was kind of excited about. I only had 3 weeks to work so I had to have these two jobs set up before I came back from Tasmania. However, they both turned out not to work. The first job I got was working functions and events at a posh hotel near the beach. However, I stayed at the accommodation there one night and didn't like the scene and did not have transportation after work to my new accommodation so I had to turn it down. The second job I thought that I really needed so I went to the training day. It was a fundraising job for the Fred Hollows Foundation. This foundation raises money for unfortunate aboriginals in Australia as well as funds and training for cataract surgery in third world countries. However, I needed to be an exuberant and outgoing person in order to convince people to donate $25 a month for a two year period. I'm not that outgoing and didn't feel like I would be able to convice people to do such an outstanding deed. So I regrettably quit that job too. I was a little upset with having no job for a 3 week period with nothing to do, when the Canadian government stepped up to the plate and gave me money! Good old income tax saved the day just in the nick of time. But I have a job for next week only handing out fliers. It'll give me something to do since I have run out of things to do in Melbourne.

So far I've gone to the Victoria Market almost every day that it has been open. This is such an amazing place. There are stalls upon stalls of fruit and vegetables, a deli selling meats and cheeses and breads, clothing and souvenirs gallore! Everytime I go there I see more and more.

I have also gone to a Footy Game with a group from the hostel. This game is called Aussie Rules Football. It is a mixture of football and rugby but can't really be defined unless you are actually witnessing it in person. I've gone to a game twice now and I am going to go to a third one this coming weekend. It's so much fun!

Also with a group from the hostel, I went on an organized walking tour of the city. I could only go half way with them since I needed to meet an old friend that I had met in Adelaide for coffee. But I saw such amazing architecture. I saw the worlds first heritage restored toilets. Yah, gross hey. Who would restore old toilets? Only Australians. I also went into the hidden dome of Melbourne which used to be an old bank. It is laced with real gold on it's interior but the whole dome is covered over by another building. Amazing. We went along some of the cities famous back alleys and laneways and discovered interesting graffiti that is actually encouraged here in Melbourne, only on these streets and is considered art. We stopped at a pub in one of these hidden laneways for lunch and it contained a giant buddha and chinese lanterns. Very interesting. I could only go this far because my time was up. But I went walking the rest of the tour the next day and discovered the Melbourne Museum and St. Patrick's Cathedral, a huge gothic church that is so magnificent!

I've managed to keep myself busy in Melbourne for two weeks and I hope that I can sustain this for another week. Then I am headed off to Sydney to pick Aaron up from the airport where we engage in our journey up the East coast of Australia before I head home with him.

Posted by Jaders 03:16 Comments (1)

Marvelous Melbourne

Aboriginals were believed to come from Southeast Asia to the Australian mainland about 45,000 years ago. Because of the remote areas of Australia, there are many different tribes with many different languages. One tribe on one side of the country cannot talk to a tribe that lives on the other side. Their culture was based on a close spiritual bond with the land. Their religious beliefs center on the continuing existence of spirits that lived on the planet during the creation time or Dreamtime (see next blog entry for Dreamtime Story). The word 'dreamtime' was coined by two anthropologists, Baldwin Spencer and Frank Gillen in their attempt to translate the Arrernte word Altyerrenge. A similar word, alcheringa, used by the Arunta, Kaitish and Unmatjera tribes meaning the past in which their ancestors lived. A direct translation of alcheri means dream. These spirits were the ancestors of all living things and created all of the features of the natural world. Individuals who are spiritually bound to a certain site are required to perform rituals in order to keep the natural order of things. Victoria's aboriginal people (that state that Melbourne is in) before European's colonized Australia were called Koories. They had 38 different dialect groups and 10 different languages. They were seminomadic people based on seasonal variation and the need to be in certain places for rituals. Melbourne is in the Yarra Valley and contains the Woiworung clan of the Kulin Nation and are called the Wurundjeri.

In 1788 the First Fleet sailed into Botany Bay, New South Wales and Australia's first colony was created. This fleet contained 1030 people, which included 540 male and 188 female convicts. In 1803 a small group of convicts, soldiers and settlers headed south towards Sorrento on Mornington Peninsula, south of Melbourne. This became Victoria's first European settlement. However, the settlement was abandoned because a lack of fresh water. Instead a group sailed to Van Dieman's Land, as it was called back then and today is called Tasmania. They then founded Hobart and established a settlement there. In 1834 Portland became Victoria's first permanent settlement and was settled by Edward Henty who came from Tasmania.

Picture_032.jpg

The founding of Melbourne was done by two Tasmanian men, John Batman and John Pascoe Fawkner. Batman illigitimately purchased 202,000 hectares of land from the aboriginals in the area. He then established a settlement on the northern side of the Yarra River. Fawkner, on the other hand, left for the Port Phillip Bay area 6 months after Batman with a group of Tasmania settlers and settled near the southern side of the Yarra River. Fawkner was known as the 'Grand Old Man of Victoria.' He was the driving force of the new settlement and because he was a son of a convict, he compaigned labourously for the rights of settlers and convicts while he sat on theh Legislative Council of Victoria for 15 years. He was a dedicated publisher, publican and self-taught bush lawyer. At his death, 15,000 people attended his funeral. Batman on the other hand was not thought highly of because of his dealings with the aboriginals, died of syphillis and no one attended his funeral.

The aboriginal population was hard hit by the settlement of Europeans. Before colonization by Europeans the aboriginal population was between 60,000 to 100,000 people. However, by the late 1940's, the population was cut down to about 15,000 and then by the 1880's dwindled at 800. The European settlers regarded the aboriginals as a hindrance to their settling of the land. They often accused them of stealing their crop and animals and many were killed either by gunfire, poison or herded up and driven off of cliffs into the ocean and drowned. In Tasmania a bounty was set over their heads and anyone who killed them was offered 1500 pounds. Back then that was a lot of money. If the aboriginals were not killed off directly by the Europeans they suffered from diseases such as smallpox, dysentry and measles.

Melbourne developed at an astonishing rate. By 1836 there were so many settlers moving into the area that the administrators of New South Wales had to declare the area open to settlement. In 1837 Robert Hoddle drew up plans for the city in which he layed out a geometric grid of straight lines along a conveniently straight stretch of the river.

In 1851 Victoria separated from New South Wales and Melbourne became it's capital city. Gold was then discovered in Bathurst in New South Wales. In hopes to keep Melbourne residents in the area, businessmen offered a reward to anyone that could find gold in Victoria. Little did they know that they were in an area that had the country's richest source of gold. The Colonial Gold Mining Company was created and between 1857 and 1894 approximately 15.96 tonnes of gold worth about $280 million dollars was found. The famous Welcome Stranger nugget was found in this area and was a record 72 kg and costing about $4 million by todays markets.

Gold was sweated from rocks buried deep beneath the surface of the earth approximately 400 million and 370 million years ago. Dissolved gold and silica was carried towards the surface of the earth. This boiling solution travelled along the fractures in the earth's soil and eventually cooled before reaching the surface. This resulted in gold and silica crystalizing into quartz reefs.

The gold rush brough about 1800 prospectors to Melbourne each and every week. This resulted in chaos! Businesses came to a standstill because most of the labour force headed off out in search for gold. However, few struck it lucky overnight. At this time the famous outlaw Ned Kelly emerged. He was defiant against institutionalized injustice but what eventually hung in the Melbourne Gaol. He was the subject of the first Australian feature film in 1906 called 'The Story of the Kelly Gang.'

The area was overwhelmed with wealth and decided to build a city of extravagance. This resulted in Renaissance style buildings and many public parks and gardens being erected within the city. By the 1880's, Melbourne was referred to as the 'Paris of the Antipodes.' However, all great must come to an end. The significant prosperity lasted only 40 years. The gold rush resulted in recklessness and money was invested in real estate and building works which resulted in extremely high land prices that would inevitably never last. The International Exhibition which promoted new industrial products was hosted at the Royal Exhibition Building in the Carlton Gardens in 1880, a famous building still standing today. In 1889 the property market collapsed and in 1890 investment in Australia from London started to deteriorate due to a financial crash in Argentina. The 1890's were known as a period fo severe economic depression.

Picture_050.jpg

On January 1, 1901, Victoria became an official state of Australia. The federal parliament was held at Melbourne's Parliament House and the state parliament was held at the Royal Exhibition Building. The country's capital was moved to Canberra in 1927. The Great Depression hi in 1931, which caused approximately one third of the working force to become unemployed. Poverty became widespread and the government decided to implement numerous major public works programs such as Yarra Boulevard, the Shrine of Remembrance, St. Kilda Rd and the Great Ocean Rd. Phar Lap, a champion racehorse, became a national icon in order to divert attention from hardship.

During World War II, non-British migrants fled to Australia. The Australia government hoped that the increase in population would strengthen the country's economy and contribute to it's ability to defend itself. Between 1947 and 1968, 800,000 non-British migrants immigrated to Australia.

Today Melbourne is a bustling city of close to 4 million people. That is the whole population of Alberta alone! However, it does not seem to be quite so busy as Sydney. The streets, architecture as well as Melbournian culture have changed dramatically since the 1860's, even though many of the early aspects still survive today.

From the 1860's, getting around was not very easy. There were dirt roads that became mud roads when it rained and therefore made it very hard to manoever. The main streets were rivers! When the town site was built, the main street, Elizabeth St., was in the center of a valley. On either side of this street were hills. Therefore, the rain naturally rain down each side of the two hills into the main street! People and animals drowned regularly. If that wasn't bad enough, in the dry summers hot winds created regular dust storms. Water carts were implemented to dampen the streets, but thus created the mud again. Deep potholes also claimed many lives. Imagine a pothole that could kill you. Edson potholes don't seem to be so bad anymore. Pedestrians were at a constant risk of being trampelled by galloping horses through the streets. In 1855 footpaths were created to help separate pedestrians from horse-drawn traffic. After 1855, crushed bluestone on a base of well packed stones were introduced as the new streets.

By 1880, the city started experimenting with differnet street surfaces including asphalting parts of Elizabeth St. Horse-drawn vehicles were the predominant mode of transport. A thing called 'horse jams', similar to traffic jams of today, became a huge problem. Policemen were stationed at major intersections to maintain order. As many as 20,000 horses were stabled in the inner city. Sewage flowed in large open gutters on the street. To get from the footpath to the road pedestrians crossed over wooden footbridges. Because of the sewage being out in the open, many diseases such as diphtheria and typhoid fever flourished. It wasn't until the 1890's when underground sewage was introduced and eventually the footbridges disappeared.

One of the most common social activities was promenading along Collins St. Wealthy ladies and gentlemen alike paraded around in the latest fashions. On Saturday mornings, these wealthy people would called what was 'The Block.' This simply meant they would walk a section of Collins St. to show off their new clothing and gossip to their friends. The Block still exists today even though it is highly more modernized with designer shops and people generally just go to shop.

1910 sparked the introduction of cable trams and hand pushed carts of vendors along with the horse-drawn vehicles. Bicycles and the earliest forms of motorized vehicles were also introduced. This was the first time that the street surface was truly sealed. Footbridges were replaced by curbs adn drains. The city became wired by this time and networks of pipes and cables were created underground and drooping across the streets. The usage of trains and trams doubled between 1898 and 1917 and therefore resulted in Flinders St. Station to become the city's new gateway.

Picture_049.jpg

In 1930, traffic became more organized. Trams had their own tracks and pedestrians kept to the footpaths. Because of an increase in motorized vehicles there became an increasing amount of traffic and therefore new regulations. Traffic lights were implemented along Swanston St. Tram safety zones were marked by painted lines and beacons were erected at the main intersections. However, the Great Depression slowed these changes and the number of horse-drawn vehicles increased again. The tram network became electrified between 1926 and 1940.

The 1960's brought on the modern day streets of Melbourne. In the beginning there was so much traffic looking for vacant parking spaces within the city that council workers erected roadside signs that stated: 'no parking', 'no standing', 'metered zone', and 'loading zone' to organize people. Pedestrian road signs were erected and flashing 'walk' and 'don't walk' signs were implemented. In 1958 Melbourne's famous hook turn was introduced to keep the traffic flowing. This is a really wierd concept in which to turn right a vehicle must hang out in the far left and let all of the traffic pass before they can cross over to the other street. I have almost been hit by cars many times because of this rule. By 1962 half a million cars were on the streets daily. Glass and steel skyscrapers emerged and immigrants brough their distinctive cultures to the area. There is a distinct Italian precinct in Melbourne and many European cafe's.

Even though Melbourne seems like a bustling unorganized city at first, as you get to know it it is very well organized and seems to run more smoothly than most cities, especially in comparison with Sydney. They have erected many laneways or back alleys between major streets to increase the pedestrian traffic. These have resulted in many hidden areas of the city that prove to be quite interesting if one happens upon them. Many are allowed graffiti and there are some very interesting parts of the city. There is lots of traffic in central Melbourne, which includes cars, trams, pedestrians, and even horse-drawn carriages! I think that is pretty cool.

Posted by Jaders 22:43 Comments (1)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 26) Page [1] 2 3 4 5 6 »