Penultimate Day – 26th March 2019

After 160 days in Australia it is now time to squeeze all our belongings into our bags in preparation for heading off to Wellington, New Zealand tomorrow at the ungodly hour of having to arise at 6.00am. It has been a great trip reconnecting with all of our friends, family and the sunburnt country of Australia. We have seen more of the country on this trip than ever before and it makes you realize just how vast it is and beautiful – but in its own particular way.

Today we headed out for a walk with Barb up to the Flagstaff Gardens. There is now a nip in the air and leaves are starting to fall so it won’t be long until the toques, scarves and gloves start appearing – as us Canadians would say “Harden the f@#&k up!” In the 1840’s, the flag pole was erected on the hill in the gardens for the signalling system between the town and ships in the Port of Melbourne. Flagstaff Gardens is the oldest park in Melbourne, first established in 1862.

From there we looked out across to the St James old Cathedral which was relocated to this spot from where Henty House stands today (apartment building where Frasers parents live). It was relocated in 1913-14 to its present location. In the apartment, there is a blue print up on the wall in the lounge which shows the orientation of the church prior to its relocation and by our calculations the apartment sits where the altar use to be. So we are indeed on holy than thou sacred land.

We took note of this dead sugar gum tree and wondered why it hadn’t been taken down for safety reasons. It had a fence around it preventing anyone going too close and like all gum trees had managed to shed a number of its dead branches. On closer inspection, it was noted a number of holes had been drilled into the tree to make nesting areas accessible for the birds. Trees do not develop these nesting areas naturally until they are about 100 years old and because man decides that all dead trees should be ripped out, there is a shortage of real estate for the birds. Like the prices in Melbourne, supply and demand have created a nightmare for man and birds.

It was then a short wander from the gardens over to the Victoria Markets which we had been to before back in January. We made our way through to the cheese hall hoping to score some free samples but they have started getting really stingy on freebies. We were heading across to the Post Office to pick up the mail from the post box and then look for a coffee shop.

You may remember this photo taken in Elwood back in January when we explained how Barbs father use to import and sell Singer sewing machines with his two brothers.

Well today on our walk we went passed the building where he use to run his business from in Elizabeth Street. He eventually retired from the sewing machine business from this building in the early 1950’s. The business use to support three families – six adults and seven children. Our walk was a lovely trip down memory lane for Barb.

It was our last opportunity to catch a Melbourne tram so we indulged and caught it back from the Burke Street Mall up towards the apartment. We stopped off for our much needed coffee and not so much needed cake before walking the short distance home.

It was time to finish the packing and get around to teaching Barb our new card game of golf. Tonight we had Imogen come over and share our last supper with us which was Barbs favourite, crumbed lamb cutlets and veggies. So it is adieu to Melbourne and Australia tomorrow.

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