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Published: August 8th 2007
Today was a beautiful day, the sun was shining brightly and it was a bit of a hard decision whether to stay and lounge about by Robyn’s pool or actually get off my arse and do something. Liz, who had come to stay at Robyn’s for a while elected to stay home and enjoy the comforts of not being in a hostel for a while but Sarah was up for doing something so we decided to head to the Old Melbourne Gaol.
The Gaol was certainly a sight to see. It was very dark and set on three levels and after I started reading about the notorious men held in these cells the place seemed to come alive. What was brilliant was the addition of death masks that were present in some of the tiny cells: A death mask is a cast taken of the men’s faces moments after their death and it added to the whole eerie experience.
We also read about some of the women felons and for some reason the terrible crimes that committed seemed worse than the men’s. Things such as killing children other peoples that they were paid to look after and their
One of the highlights to the trip was the Ned Kelly stuff. This is the gaol where he was incarcerated and here you can read a bit about him as well as see his death mask and try on the famous armour he wore back in his out law days.
We also saw the actual gallows used to hang the men as well as equipment like old ropes and bags that they placed over the heads of the men. They have also done the gift shop very well as you can buy your own Ned Kelly helmet or even a little magnet that you can insert a photo in that says: WANTED.
After this Sarah and I split up and I decided to walk through the area that is the Greek Precinct. In case you didn’t know (and I only just found out) Melbourne is the second biggest Greek city in the world. Lonsdale Street is the home base to Melbourne's Greek Community and comprises; restaurants, cafes, gift shops- everything Greek can be found on this street. I had also heard that in particular cakes are a speciality to be found here but I couldn’t see
much evidence of this, probably because I wasn’t searching in the right place so if any one knows of any good cake shops here, let me know.
Next I wandered through China town and you definitely couldn’t miss this one. It is located between Exhibition and Swanson St taking in Bourke St, Little Bourke St and Longsdale St. It is full of interesting shops and places to eat- I recommend you need to spend quite a bit of time here to see everything it has to offer including all the tiny shops and places to eat plus the China Town Museum.
Any way, time was not on my side and I was late to meet Sarah on Fed Square. Federation Sq is a very unique looking icon of Melbourne. I have heard that Melbourne-ites either love of hate it but I actually really like it. So far (and I am writing this quite retrospectively) I have spent a great deal of time there and I love it very much. If not for the bars and interesting architecture, it is for its totally laid back feel, you can just sit down pretty much anywhere and people watch, it is
The following day I went back into central and decided to investigate the famous NGV; the national Gallery of Victoria. This is a huge art gallery on St Kilda road and it is one half of the NGV, the other half is on federation square and houses a huge collection of Australian art.
This bit of the NGV is the oldest public art museum in Australia and houses many important international works. Yes, I was in my element. I was also very lucky as I just managed to catch a talk on contemporary art where I saw some of the artists I had studied in my degree and learned a bit about some of the works that I would not have had a clue about otherwise. The photographic exhibition which showed social documentary photography in the 20 centaury was just beautiful and touching but some of the video exhibits were so confusing and weird and that with out any curatorial guidance it was impossible to properly enjoy them. I sat next to a complete stranger through one video instalment that had a parental warning, where the artist did some horrendous things to his body- lets just say
and the stranger didn’t look each other in the eye as we left!
This gallery is full of amazing artists from the classical to the modern as well as comprising exhibition space for stunning examples of furniture, clothes and ornaments not to mention artefacts from Ancient civilizations. Totally worth a look.
In the evening back at Robyn’s I watched Wolf Creek all on my own as the others were too chicken to sit though it. * note to self: avoid all help from strangers if car breaks down in the middle of desert in Australia.
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