The Tote tunnels myth turns out to be common Aussie pub lore

I journeyed out of the ‘wood today to North Carlton, and bought from Alice’s Bookshop two books which will stand this blog in good stead. My uncle had an Alice’s Bookshop addiction for a long time. Its owner is an old Cambridge man, a fact noted on his website, a bookseller for 20 years. The first was Bill Brodie and Brian McKinlay’s Collingwood and Fitzroy Sketchbook, published in 1978 when the Convent was still inhabited by nuns and the Eastern Freeway was just opened. It is a lovely hardback and has taught me some fascinating tidbits which I will feed you with over time. It is one of a series of 175 published in Adelaide as the Rigby Sketchbooks which also include Old Melbourne Hotels Sketchbook, River Yarra Sketchbook, and Richmond and East Melbourne Sketchbook.

The other was J.M. Freeland’s The Australian Pub; An Illustrated History of the Development of the Australian Pub from the 1790s to the Present one of the more interesting books to come off Melbourne University Press’s Presses. I declared to those I met for coffee at the Paragon Cafe that I was hitherto an amateur pubologist. The book was last owned by Thomas Hazell from 11 April 2005. Google suggests he is a Melbourne University fine arts academic and one-time president of the Dante-Aligheri Society.

And so I learned from Mr Freeland that the myth which I have come to know relatively recently about secret tunnels under The Tote is one of frequent occurrence: Continue reading “The Tote tunnels myth turns out to be common Aussie pub lore”

New Yarra River Flickr Group

There is a long list of Flickr groups about things Melbourne here (including Abbotsford, Collingwood Children’s Farm, Abbotsford Convent, Richmond, Fitzroy, Kew, Fitzroy North, Collingwood, etc.).

Someone has set up a Yarra River group. Here it is.

This photo is by Alan Lam. His photos are stunning. I am noticing a lot of talk about something with the acronym “HDR” in relation to photos that are a bit more stunning than usual. I’m working on working out what that is exactly.

A helpful guide to some of Melbourne’s bike paths

Given how big and successful Bicycle Victoria is, how popular cycling is becoming in Victoria, and how many fantastic bike paths there are, the signage of bikepaths, and their ease of use is astonishingly bad. For a long time after moving into Abbotsford, I remained confused about which of the two possible ways to proceed in order to get to the city, starting from the Walmer St bridge near Victoria Gardens or the Gipps St bridge. The thing is that to get to the city from there, you have to go in the opposite direction from the city, via Hawthorn, before looping back with the Yarra towards the city. Very counter-intuitive. Continue reading “A helpful guide to some of Melbourne’s bike paths”

Shooter of cyclist on Merri Creek bike path fined $6,000 & ordered to do 100 hours’ community work

I have earlier reported the shooting of Melinda Zygarlicki, noting with amazement the fact that she thought she had been struck by a tennis ball, and continued riding home. This is a crime with a quicker than usual denouement — I read in the paper just a day or two ago of the sentencing of one of the characters who carved up one bloke with a sword after a fight over a girl in July 2002 and chased two others, instilling such fear into them that they jumped into the Yarra and drowned — no doubt because Andrew Pernell turned himself into police and then pleaded guilty to firearms offences. ABC Online reported: Continue reading “Shooter of cyclist on Merri Creek bike path fined $6,000 & ordered to do 100 hours’ community work”

Flow, a cafe on the bike path, near the Skipping Girl

On the way to Kew on Victoria St, or on the bike path, (or even on the river), depending on your perspective, is Flow. I rode past it regularly, then my dad said it was great, then Matt Preston seems to have given it the thumbs up. It certainly has a good location. I haven’t been there yet, but more when I have. Matt says:

“It’s a great spot. The look is modern, without being cold, and this cosy cottage is a warren of places to sit. Panels of swirly fabric cover one wall, while the bar is fronted by dark-stained timber blocks. The room is open to the roof beams and the floor is laid with rough, stone pavers stained charcoal. The best places to sit are by windows – in a comfy, raised red booth or at the narrow window ledge. …

We’ll come back again for their smoked salmon pizette or that burger, or maybe breakfast. I’ll order scrambled eggs with chorizo and some porridge with palm sugar and sultanas”.

They’re open from breakfast to afternoon tea and on Friday nights for drinks.

Abbotsford Convent and the Slow Food Festival

John Lethlean from The Age‘s “Epicure” reports on the imminent benefits to Abbotrigines of the slow food movement’s taking up of residence in the Abbotsford Convent. (Here’s another Age article suggesting what interesting things are already going on there.) I am innately attracted to the slow food movement — I like the small shop, I wish I were slower, and I like the way the popularity of the baker in Altamura, in southern Italy forced McDonald’s out of business in the small town of 65,000 souls (20 of whom lost their jobs). The Movement itself was founded by an Italian incensed by McDonald’s opening up in a historic building near Rome’s Spanish Steps (always a foreigners’ hangout in the Caput Mundi anyway — he doesn’t seem to have been so upset about Babbington’s Tea House). Continue reading “Abbotsford Convent and the Slow Food Festival”