If you've been living under a rock, you might not know that Cranbourne East, a residential suburb about 50kms south east of Melbourne, is the fastest growing suburb in terms of people, in Australia. The flood of residents has given rise to an influx of bogans (normal in any housing estate), an upswing of crime (new houses are often full of shiny things) and endless cries for public transport infrastructure to cope with the area's growth (trains, anyone??).
But it also has something very different. A mere stone's throw across the South Gippy Highway is the very excellent 'Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria at Cranbourne' where one can easily spend the best part of a day exploring the different gardens, structures and waterways and generally forgetting the rest of the world exists.
I thought it was about time I stopped lurking about on Twitter and actually used my brain for a bit, so here it is. A blog post containing some pictures featuring impossibly blue skies that may or may not cheer you up if your Seasonal Pissed Off Disorder (SPOD) is in full swing, and some fantastic artworks that have brought a different aspect of life to rural Victoria. I had to do actual research about these works, so you better start appreciating. I don't do this for the good of my health you know!
Right...so....six grain silo sites in the Mallee/Wimmera region of Victoria now have massive portraits painted on them, and it’s a thing and the thing is called the Silo Art Trail and if you can, you should go look at them because they’re really super.
Hidden away on a gravel road a bit past Warburton in the Yarra Ranges is a plantation of California Redwoods that seems so isolated that it supports my theory that nature can either soothe your soul or give you the heebie jeebies. Of course, these things can depend on your state of mind and whether you’re alone or not.
What's next I hear you ask? Well....it's Victoria Fossil Cave at Naracoorte in SA! Yaaaayyyy!!! [And the crowd are going wild!] Yes, it appears that many moons ago, in the time before The Internet, people actually socialised with each other, and went outdoors and explored stuff. And some guys explored so much that they eventually found a cave with loads of fossils in it, and they got all excited and shouted “Victoria!” instead of “Eureka!” and that’s how the Victoria Fossil Cave was named. Possibly.
No girlie road trip is complete without being a Terry Tourist, so after a quick lunch at Warrnambool, where this groovy painting was on this otherwise non-descript building, we meandered on to the Princess Margaret Rose Cave in Mumbannar near the Victoria/South Australia border.
I was invited to submit some designs to the Secret 7" initiative for 2016, having had one chosen in the 2015 round, so I sent a few off. Last year there were about 5000 entries, including designs by Yoko Ono, Martin Parr and David Shrigley.
The little South Australian township of Lobethal is noted for its yearly Lights of Lobethal Festival, which essentially sees every house, shop, tree, sleeping dog etc bedecked in a million Christmas lights. It’s said to be the largest Christmas Light display in the Southern Hemisphere. That’s a big call. Clearly nobody’s been to see what’s going down in suburban Happy Valley!
Me and Nic Granleese (www.nicgranleese.com) went on walk around Melbourne one morning on a reccy for an upcoming job for a utility company. It rained.
After finishing uni early for the day, I took myself off for a little jaunt around Port Melbourne for some fresh air and exercise, followed by potato cakes for lunch. (I walked a lot, I deserved a potato cake, shut up!)
The Celebrity Solstice was in dock at Station Pier, having a day's rest before heading out to the Pacific Ocean. The newly revamped Princes Pier, originally built around 1915 to supplement the goings on at Station Pier, was accessible again after its recent facelift. There's about 200 metres of new pier before you get to the bare pylons of the old pier. Hopefully nobody burns the new bit down.
This is Silva, an Australian Fur Seal, at Melbourne Zoo. Silva’s keepers explained that she’d lost her partner of many years and in order to combat depression, they were trying to keep her busy by teaching her to paint.
Winter in Hampi: 36c, blue skies and sunshine and more sunscreen than you’ve ever seen in your life.
We pre-arranged a touring day with Raj from a local tour company, and met up with him shortly after watching the morning elephant washing ritual on the banks of Tungabhadra River. Raj had organised wheels for us (3 motorcycles and a tuk-tuk) to move about between monuments and we managed to cover quite a bit of the Vijayanagaran empire area.
The Hampi shrines and memorials contained in the UNESCO world heritage site are a sub group of the broader Vijayanagara ruins. Most of these were built between 1336 and 1570. The notable exception is the Virupaksha Temple which is a 7th century Hindu temple. The area contains various examples of civil, military and religious architecture and includes the Sacred Centre, the Royal Citadel, Hemakuta Hill Temple Complex and Zenana Enclosure.
I’ve often wondered if the guy that made Vault (Ron Robertson-Swann) painted it yellow because it looks good against a blue sky. Even one with clouds.
He designed it in the late 70s and the tradies who constructed it called it Steelhenge. Melbournians called it The Yellow Peril for years. I think it was ahead of its time.
I’ve decided my Major Folio this semester will be an exploration of large interiors that dress to impress.
I'm not really sure what that's got to do with Vault or Swann but I'm impressed enough to look for other impressive things.
ANZAC Day is just around the corner.
This year we have to photograph an assignment on the day - we can choose dawn services, ANZAC parades, breakfasts, lunches.... even the football (which I personally don’t see as having ANYTHING to do with ANZACs and is just an excuse to get more people to go to the football, but I digress...) so I’m planning to go to the dawn service at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne, and the main parade in the city. Lots of documentary work; must remember to get names of people; must wear warm clothes, must not sleep in!
Melbourne has some of the best street art! The place is filled with lanes and alleys that have full scale art works plastered all over them and they often last only a short time before someone paints something new in their place. Good places to visit include AC/DC Lane, Corporation Lane, Hosier Lane and Croft Alley.
And some weird-arse buildings...
A couple of months ago I chucked in my corporate job, cleared my wardrobe of suits and heels, bought some new Cons and the obligatory Crumpler bag, and returned to school full time to study photography. Yes, I'm the oldest person in my class, but my groovy sneakers and funky messenger bag give me an air of youth so I look like I'm down with the kiddies even if I haven't got a scooby why every sentence contains 17 instances of the word 'like'.
Like, as if I'd know. I'm too, like, busy looking after my pet dinosaur.
So here's an exercise in spatial illusion.
Today I wandered through the Queen Victoria Gardens opposite the National Gallery of Victoria on St Kilda Road, and made this picture. All in camera, no software trickery.
It's the Pathfinder bronze statue by John Robinson which depicts an Olympic hammer thrower.....but he often has no hammer because people keep stealing it. People can be such tools!