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Published: January 4th 2011
On Wednesday morning, even though we both felt that we were coming down with colds, we set off early to Daphne’s. David wanted her to go with him to choose some tiles so she said she would try to go to the MCG later and hopefully catch up with us. So Graham, proudly wearing his new tee-shirt and me wearing my new cap, caught the tram into the city and had a much more comfortable ride in than we had on Monday as there weren’t many Aussie cricket fans going to watch the last rites of the match. When we got there we were surprised and disappointed to find that we would have to pay the full amount to get in – with 6 wickets down, how long did they think the Aussies would last? No doubt eventually they would lower the price but because we wanted to see all the action we paid the $31 each and went in to the family stand which had a side on view of the wicket. This time we had been allocated seats and they were fine although “out in the open”. Because there was a clear blue sky and it was actually HOT
we felt we would have been very uncomfortable sitting in the blazing sun (what a difference a day makes in the weather cycle of Melbourne – famous for often having ‘four seasons in one day’). Knowing we could always go back to those seats if it got really busy we found a couple of empty seats under cover and most importantly, in shade. For 10 minutes or so the England team was out doing their warm up exercises which was interesting to watch. I wandered down as close as I could to where the players would come out on to the field but I was still too far away to get a really good view.
Play started bang on time and within minutes Australia lost another wicket which sent The Barmy Army into raptures. Their three sections of the stand were absolutely packed and they sang and cheered their hearts out. They were really entertaining and even the Aussies had to accept that their own support paled into insignificance compared to The Barmy Army. The Aussie tail-enders began to put up a bit of stiff resistance but we were really miffed when, after just half an hour’s play, they
opened the gates and allowed people into the ground for FREE!! Play continued for about another hour so we paid $31 each just for the privilege of watching the first half hour! Nevertheless, the result and subsequent celebrations were what we had gone for and the beginning of the end came with a magnificent “running” catch by Kevin Pietersen right in front of The Barmy Army. Their reactions were a sight to behold and, with one Aussie player unable to bat through injury, the end came swiftly.
After the initial celebrations had calmed down it was time for the official presentations. Both captains spoke well of the cricket but Ricky Ponting was clearly subdued as his team’s performance and his own form was poor. Jonathan Trott was voted “man of the match” for the century we had watched him score two days previous. Then it was time for the whole England team to parade around the ground and their response to the cheers from The Barmy Army brought tears to the eyes – it was very emotional and very special.
Alas, our efforts to meet up with Daphne were doomed. We probably stayed in the ground longer than
she expected and although we then waited outside the Member’s entrance for some time we couldn’t spot her. She didn’t have a mobile phone so we couldn’t make contact - they do have their uses sometimes! So after enjoying the atmosphere of the Barmy Army coming out of the stadium we drifted into the centre of Melbourne, along with all the delirious England fans. They were making themselves heard and filled the pubs and cafes along the way. Of course they are a different sort of crowd to the football crowds and we hope that no problems occurred because of their merrymaking. We strolled over the Yarra River, found a spot in Southland for a bite to eat and enjoyed being back in the centre of Melbourne again.
As we still had plenty of time it was our intention then to make our way to Old Melbourne Gaol to complete our interest in the Ned Kelly saga. We had followed his dastardly deeds at Jerilderie, Beechworth, Euroa and Glenrowan, and we knew that the gaol was where his life finally ended. Daphne had told us that The City Circle Tram, a free tourist tram which went near to all
the major city attractions, went within a few yards of the gaol. So we waited, determined to catch the next one from Flinders Street. What Daphne couldn’t foresee was just how busy it would be – probably because it was free and also because there were thousands of extra people in the city!! It was absolutely packed but because two people got off we thought we could get on. How we did is still a mystery but eventually we made it to the stop for the gaol. Getting off was just as difficult as getting on but we managed it. We then spent an absolutely fascinating time at the gaol, the entrance fee for which included three different events. Firstly, we were taken into what was the original remand unit where we were all treated like criminals, locked in cells, including a padded cell and a “wet” cell (don’t ask!) and experienced what it would be like if we fell foul of the law. If Sergeant Adams (nephew Grant) is only half as frightening as Sergeant McMillan was then Box Hill should look out!! (except we know he's a lovely guy and wouldn't frighten anyone). She was so realistic one
poor young lad ended up in floods of tears! (but they made a fuss of him then so he could see it wasn’t for real). Then we went into a courtroom and experienced a re-enactment of Ned Kelly’s trial. Although a criminal, he was a bit of a “Robin Hood” character who had gathered a lot of support. But his trial was hardly fair and, according to records, was interspersed with shouts of support and abuse in equal measure (I would have been one of those shouting for him of course). Sadly, the guilty verdict was almost inevitable and the sentence of death by hanging was carried out on the 11th November 1880. We then toured the actual gaol where he spent his last days and where he was eventually executed. It was a fascinating tour which detailed not only Kelly’s history but that of other notorious criminals male and female, who had met their end at the gaol.
The journey back on The City Circle Tram was no more comfortable than the first journey. At one point, with seemingly every spare inch of room taken up, a young oriental couple with four young children – ONE IN A
PUSHCHAIR!!!!! – managed to squeeze their way on - remarkable. Conveniently, the tram stopped at the point where we could catch the 75 back to Camberwell and with the strains of The Barmy Army still celebrating in the city centre, our homeward journey went very well. The frenetic activity of the day had worn us out so we made our way back to the caravan for a quiet night.
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