Abbotsford woman wins Australian Social Entrepeneur of the Year Award

Abbotsford woman and Opera singer Tania de Jong founded The Song Room and has been crowned Australia’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year for her efforts. Given that we also boast the latest Metropolitan Local Hero Award in the Australian of the Year Awards, it suggests that we Abbotrigines are good folk. Schooled in Waco, Texas on a tennis scholarship, and subsequently in law at Melbourne University, she does not have the typical background of an opera singer. The Song Room’s website says: Continue reading “Abbotsford woman wins Australian Social Entrepeneur of the Year Award”

St Vincent’s stands on the site of John Wren’s Cyclorama

The Fitzroy and Collingwood Sketchbook also told me this:

“St Vincent’s, the most easterly of these great [charity] hospitals, became closely linked with the residents of the inner suburbs. Today it is still conducted by the same order of nuns who founded the institution [the Sisters of Charity].

The more recent extension of the hospital, and those sections erected in 1928, straddle what was once a roaring colonial fairground, where a host of noisy and sometimes disreputable sideshows attracted a wide-eyed throng on weekends and holidays.

Later, at the turn of the century, part of the site was used for a wondrous structure called the Cyclorama, owned by the well-known sporting entrepreneur, John Wren. At the Cyclorama there were regular boxing and wrestling contests and later it was used to house a spectacular series of dioramas where the public could pay for the privilege of seeing tableaux showing the Battle of Waterloo, the Eureka Stockade and the Panorama of Jerusalem.”

Funny thing is, a cyclorama is not a place where cycles go around and around. It is a long painting affixed to the walls of a circular room. The punter stands in the middle. Now there is a book about them by Dr Mimi Colligan of Monash University (“the only historian to have made a detailed study of Australasian panoramas”, quite a claim to fame). They were very popular in the 19th century:

“The most popular traveled from city to city to provide local entertainment — much like a modern movie. As the viewers stood in the center of the painting, there would often be music and a narrator telling the story of the event depicted. Sometimes dioramas were constructed in the foreground to provide additional realism to the cyclorama.

Many circular and hexagonal shaped buildings were constructed in almost every major US and European city to provide a viewing space for the cycloramas.”

Wren’s cyclorama was variously a cycle track and boxing and wrestling theatre, but he bought it at the moment when cinema began to throw cyclorami into a decline.

Yarra Leisure Centres membership sale

Miss K, nascent gym bunny, has alerted me to a handy deal on membership to Yarra Leisure, an amalgamation of what used to be the Fitzroy Pool on Alexandra Parade, down the end of my old haunt, Napier St, the Richmond Pool off Bridge Rd in Gleadall St, and the Collingwood Pool on Hoddle St opposite Clifton Hill station. They are offering 6 months’ full use of all three pools, spas, saunas, lockers, gyms, and classes for $307 (and tennis court for family memberships) with no joining fee. After the first 3 months you can suspend your membership for up to 9 weeks a year in blocks of 2 months or more which is unusually generous. That makes it a bit more than $1.50 a day and a bit more than $11.50 a week. After the first 6 months, the special deal is off, and you pay about $2.50 a day or $16.50 a week. Unless you join with your better half, in which case you can pay $2 a day or $14 a week each, but you have to join for a year. Thanks to the cameraphone weilding Doubtful Guest for the pic.