Saturday, September 14, 2013

Inner Circle The End (why there was a station in the middle of a park?)

When I reached the end of the Inner Circle line, I set off for St Georges Road to catch a tram back a couple of stops to walk the remaining section of line. This is a nice sports ground and what a wonderful grandstand.

Strange building. Is it an electric substation?

Around the other side its purpose became clear. It was for selling tickets. Ah. Suddenly everything meshed. It is the old Fitzroy football ground, home of the Fitzroy Football Club that went on to become the Brisbane Bears? Lions? Whatever, it was a shameful piece of football history. Now if you have a footy ground, people have to get there and that was a pretty good reason for the Inner Circle railway line to terminate at Fitzroy Station in the middle of park, right next to the ground.

Our State Government wants to build a road tunnel in the inner north of the city. While a tunnel sounds innocuous enough, getting cars into and out of tunnel will have a dreadful impact on inner northern suburbs and parkland. It might not be so bad if it was a clearly needed tunnel, but it is not and seems to be mainly to be to benefit freight companies with big trucks.

The fabulous old Fitzroy Post Office. I think it houses a bar now. I try really hard to be positive about modern architecture.

Somehow I missed the remains of North Carlton Station. Here is a photo from someone who had walked the same walk as I had, but without with commentary. Photo by Oliver Gigacz. I see peppercorns. Was that the peppercorn row in my last post and I missed the station remains?

New infrastructure by the mob who look after railway lines in our state in a place where there is a closed and nearly disappeared old railway line. There must be some important power cables for trains below the covers. There was an electric substation as I neared the operating railway line. Is this the one a power company want to upgrade but locals are protesting against?

Here we go. This is where the diversion from the Inner Circle line met with the mainline to the once Whittlesea line but now only South Morang. I don't trust Collie looking dogs much. They have a slightly wild look in their eyes. But I have not had problems with Collies. It is just their eyes that spook me a bit. Local community garden to the right, and of course railway power staunchions without a train line below them.

Tra la la la. I'm on a road to nowhere....

The connection heading south was closed down before 1910 and I don't think any of that piece exists now.

As I do, I just missed a train back to town at Rushall Station. You can see that at times the Merri Creek runs a banker. A good bit of rubbish was to be seen.

It looks a bit nicer upstream. I played a bit with my phone while surreptitiously checking out some of the local talent who had joined me on the Rushall Station platform. Actually, they were pretty plain, but it passed the time.

Well, that is a tick for the Inner Circle railway line. I enjoyed the wee project a lot. It is nothing like walking the Thames from the barriers to its rising, but it was very enjoyable. What shall I do next? Outer Circle railway line or perhaps Merri Creek?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Sipping Soda

The Sydney Bolter, my father's mother was an excellent pianist, a teacher of piano and a composer. I don't know of any internet connection from Andrew Highriser to Dorothy Hodges, so you can look her up if you want. But she did take on her piano student's surname who she ran away with from South Oakleigh to Balmain in later life, so her earlier life won't be there.

In my grandmother's footsteps, mid eighties I learnt the piano too, with a weekly one hour lesson. Pity he turned out to be a pedo. He was somewhat creepy. The lessons went for a couple of years and I learnt to read music and translate it to my fingers and then translate it to hitting piano keys. It never came naturally to me. It was a slow mechanical process where I played very slowly while reading a particular piece of music and with practice, improved and if I kept practising that piece, I could play it. And then there was the next piece of music to read and the whole process started again. If R ever hears Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata again in his life, he will scream.

Mother could play the piano when she was young and did for her Sunday School students' when she was teaching them the way of the lord.

Tradie Brother has the Sydney Bolter's own piano and Sister has Bone Doctor's mother's piano. I have sat down at times and tried to play, but Mother and I both agree, playing a piano is not like riding a bicycle. You just forget. I did have another crack at learning by a different style in the early nineties. I learnt major minor major seventh, diminished, or something like that. It was so different to what I had learnt earlier. Again I was unsuccessful beyond the basics. I sold my piano in the mid nineties, I think.

I remember Mother being at a friends' house, the friends being Jehovah Witness who also believed in witches. I think Father may have had a drink or two one night and called all their silly religious nonsense into question, especially when the woman started raving about witches and frightening us kids and then the friendship was no more. I have just remembered, Ann Bacus was her name. I never saw her name written, so I don't know the spelling. Her husband was less of a religious fanatic. How old was I? Maybe seven.

Nevertheless, they also had a piano and once Mother sat at their piano, put the music up on the piano fold out ledge (that thing must have a name) and played and sang. I don't know if she turned her own music pages or someone else did.

Mother's piano playing ability died from thereon. I might use this tale at her funeral. I will really struggle to find positive things in her later life.

Vividly but through defective memory, I remember what Mother played and sang. She hit the piano with gusto and 'The prettiest girl, you ever saw, was sipping soda through a straw'.

I thought it was an Andrews Sisters song, but You Tube is not being helpful. The lyrics are wrong, the pace is wrong. It was much brighter and breezy the way Mother sung and played it. Perhaps I am mixing up soda with  rum and coca-cola (love your work Andrew). Sipping Soda may well get an audio run at Mother's funeral.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tram Ads

Our full advertising trams can look wonderful, from the outside. God forbid if you are a passenger and want to see where you are going, through the dimming advertising. If it is wet, it is even worse. Darkness, you better damn well know where you want to get off the tram. Wet and dark, you may as well be in windowless prison. These are public transport vehicles and passengers need to be able to see outside. It is an utter disgrace that Yarra Trams allow this for a few filthy shillings.  Nevertheless, as I said, some look good from the outside.

The Samsung one is my favourite at the moment.

Off topic, but what is this monster thing doing in my street.

BP, I think. It is, let us say, striking.

I think the other side of this tram is better, with an underwater scene, but still, the Malaysia Tourism is very nice.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The apalling Mirabella

Let me see, ex PM Gillard was compared to Colnel Gaddafi

She did not declare on the Parliamentary Register that she was bequeathed a large sum of money.

hen a fellow panellist collapsed during a tv broadcast, she let him slump and pulled back. It was left others to help him

Outrageous statements about Australian Aborigines and the stolen generation.

Ex Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser is supporter of fundamentalism.

Sacked her homosexual staffer.

Ah, her daughter knows some homosexuals, so clearly Sophie is not homophobic.

If the respected departed MP Tony indsor said she is nasty piece of work, then that is good enough for me.

It is with glee I observe that she looks like loosing her seat. I care not to whom. hile the country has swung to the Liberals, Mirabella had a 10% swing against her. Absolutely delicious.

(I know, there is a problem with the w key)


I don't know if you have ever noticed it, but in my side bar is link called Banned. Banned comes from the Australian National Archives and so far has been about banned books.

I have always thought it a curious thing that some people are allowed to read a book in order to judge it to be unfit for other people to read, likewise with movies. The censors watch the a movie and say, no it is too extreme. You can't watch that. 

"But Sir/Mme, you read the book and watched the movie."

"I am morally superior to you."

I reckon heavier censorship should brought back. I would have never been guided to read Lady Chatterly's Lover, Portnoy's Complaint or Another Country if they had not been banned.

Do have a quick peek at the last post from Banned, about a Another Country. Welcome to Australia of the 50s and 60s.

Rear Window

Rear Window would be a good name for a movie, I think. This is the second window in my bedroom. The building behind us blocks the view, but when our place was built, the building was much shorter. By the time we moved here when our building was three years old, the view had already gone. Owners' of rear apartments lost tens of thousands of dollars as their view disappeared.

But, if I move in close to the window and look to the side there is a very good view. I pulled out my binoculars and I am sure I saw a person known to me as Mr Hitchcock walking his dog around the lake.

And if I look straight down, I can see if anyone is in the spa or using the tennis court, but with little detail from our height. In a moment of confusion I once dropped not only my towel but bathers too before getting into the spa. R quickly pointed out the error of my way. There is a notice that PROHIBITS nude bathing.

The ever changing lift notices also inform residents of what is VERBOTEN. What a sad looking bird. A cat will have it before the day is out. Pigeons are the problem birds. One older woman who used to feed them became quite distressed when the pigeons she started to feed decided her balcony was a  good place to nest. Much mess, tears and some healthy squab later, the pigeons were removed.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Unfit for Office

It is our fault. Australia has chosen some right loons this election. But some existing loons have been re-elected, such as Bob Katter.

Go here and have a listen to the attempt by Cameron Wilson to interview Katter. I would hardly call Cameron of Bush Telegraph a conductor of aggressive interviews. The man is not fit for office and surely is slightly unhinged with his preposterous statements of 'facts'. Katter begins his nonsense at about 12 minutes.

Monday, September 09, 2013

More Inner Circle

Travelling to Melbourne's Heildeberg by train in the year 1900 was a torturous adventure. You caught the train at Spencer Street which set off on the Upfield line as far as Royal Park where it then went along the Inner Circle railway line and joined what is now the main line at Rushall where it headed south back towards the city. The line finished at Collingwood and  the train stopped a station short at Victoria Park, crossed over tracks and then headed north on its way to Heidelberg.

This rather explains what Marcus helpfully showed me with diagrams. It was a dual line, rather than a single one that you would expect for a quiet local railway line. It would have seen many trains a day, far too many to be a single line with passing loops.

By 1910 the mess had been sorted out with the the gap between Collingwood and the city, Flinders Street Station, constructed and thereby giving a more direct route and it would have saved a lot of time if you were travelling by train to Heidelberg.

The above was also the same for users of the Whittlesea line, without the need to travel to Victoria Park. That is Spencer to Royal Park on the Upfield line, then onto the Inner Circle and then a leftish turn near Rushall. Yes, the train went on past its recent terminus of Epping, now re introduced to South Morang and continued on with stations at South Yan Yean and at Yan Yean before terminating at Whittlesea.

The part I was most interested to walk was Lygon Street to the old Fitzroy Station, located in the middle of Edinburgh Gardens in Fitzroy. While I wasn't directly setting out to find why a train terminated in the middle of a park, it was niggling at the back of my head.

In  one of my earlier Inner Circle walks, works were happening along the Inner Circle railway parkland and so instead I walked along Brunswick Road/Holden Street where a tram line used to run. This time I started at Lygon Street and closely followed the Inner Circle line.

Inner Circle Royal Parade to Lygon Street.
Inner Circle parallel disused tram line.
Inner Circle Royal Parade to Royal Park Station.
Inner Circle Lygon Street to Fitzroy Station.
Inner Circle Lygon Street to Rushall.

Ah, I viewed this building from afar when I walked the old tram route. It is cable engine house for the Rathdowne Street cable tram, also know as the North Carlton tram. Unlike most Melbourne cable trams, it was not replaced with electric trams but buses in 1936. It headed towards the city straight down Rathdowne Street, right into Elgin Street, left into Lygon Street, onto Russell Street and right into Lonsdale Street.

Just a little wall decoration on what could be a nice house if you took out the modern aluminium windows. Let me rethink. No, it is not a very nice house, aluminium windows or not.

Not much in the way of evidence so far. I believe these villas are public housing and were built right where the train tracks were.

Very nice brickwork.

A new path and I think they have every user covered. I was quite surprised by the number of cyclists using the path. I really had to be careful to stay to the left and not do anything erratic while walking.

St Ali in South Melbourne is famous for its coffee. They have a branch here too, nearly at the corner of Nicholson Street in Park Street. I would have liked to take a wider picture, but there were so many people looking my way.

Aha, evidence as I crossed Nicholson Street.

A Railway Hotel where there is no longer a railway.

These poles are quite different to earlier overhead support poles, but they follow the path of the line.

A fine row of peppercorn trees.

Further evidence, although what it is, I am not sure.

Double track remains as I cross Rae Street.

This building spoke of something to me, so I took a snap or two. Once home I discovered it was once the power house for the Inner Circle line.

Even more tracks. This must be where the Inner Circle parted, with one line to Fitzroy and the other to the mainline at Rushall.

This is a very odd piece of railway line, set in concrete. No idea what it is about.

Yes, the line peaks through grass here and there.

In parts, it looks like the reservation is still there, just needing some tracks.

The path curved right and I crossed St Georges Road. Funny little thing to do to fence.

I really don't know if I am still following the train route. There is a lack of evidence and houses are quite close on both sides. This is looking back towards St Georges Road.

I am happy now. There is evidence again. Look how close the train was to the houses!

This sheet of hard plastic circles the tree to prevent possums climbing into the tree and damaging it. Someone has been creative.

Here we go into Edinburgh Gardens.

I diverted slightly to see what this thing is. In spite of reading a sign with information about it, I was not much the wiser. It is temporary modern art.

This is what used to be here, good old Queen Vicky, she of a dour visage.

And it seems here is the end of the Inner Circle Railway line, right in the middle of nowhere in a park. Or is it nowhere? Was it? Find out another day in the last of ICR walks.

This post is dedicated to an ex work mate Rene who died a week or so ago at the age of 52. He was of Italian parentage and grew up in Brunswick and used to ride in what Rene called the caboose of the ICR train (freight line only by then). He was only boy and the guard who used to heat up milk on a pot belly stove in the caboose to make Rene a cup of Milo.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Sunday Selections

Check out River's Sunday Selection post, up an hour before mine.

The leaves just collapsed, but the flowers are fine. Good value for $6.

I had never seen a round avocado until we bought this one. Guess what it tastes like? Yep, an avocado.

What a fab hat I saw on tv, not only with a peacock feather, but a miniature  peacock.

Castrated lilies, that is the flowers' stamens cut out.

A splendid Moreton Bay Fig. They grow very well in Melbourne, although struggle when there is a drought.

It was a complete double rainbow with the dominant rainbow as close as I have ever seen one. Oh for that pot of gold.

Before I left for work I asked R to take the camera with him when he walked dog Jack.  It is a splendid magnolia, and R was not the only one there with a camera or just looking. Within a couple of weeks the flowers will be gone and it will just be a nondescript small tree. It's a nice house too. (Note, that was last Sunday, by Wednesday it was already spoiling badly. It will be all over red rover by the following Sunday)