Saturday, December 14, 2013

Trugo - Melbourne's own sport

Me write about sport when there is not a hot guy involved? Unheard of.

R's work christmas party was last week. It was in the the trugo club rooms in South Melbourne. "What is trugo?" he asked me.  "Don't you remember when we lived in Balaclava and used to catch the train to Prahran and then walk to Commercial Road to have breakfast, we passed by what was like a lawn bowling green, but there were always old men playing a game that was like croquet but with black rubber things." He does remember. The ground has long gone. I think it was in behind the Cullen Hotel, perhaps where the playground now is.

A couple of you will know what trugo is, most of you will not. I will explain. Many stories and details conflict so I will use the details I like the best, which are the most plausible.

It was a game invented by the workers at railway workshops in Yarraville in the 1920s. The workers would whack a rubber ring, something to do with the train buffers, the things where they bump against each other when carriages connect,  down the length of a train carriage. Eventually it was moved to the outside where the length of the carriage was transferred to be the length of the field and the goal was the width of an internal train door/aisle width/track gauge (believe which ever you like).

In the 1950s the game changed in that instead of side swiping the wheel, it was hit between the legs like tunnel ball, with the competitor facing away from the the goal. The mallet is made from timber and is carefully  balanced. In these more recent times trugo wheels are manufactured especially for the game.

Photo by Bohemian in Brunswick.

The were clubrooms sprinkled around the inner Melbourne suburbs and attempts were made to introduce it to the rest of the world, with an initially successful d├ębut in the Netherlands and a club survives in Sydney's Bankstown. Surviving Melbourne clubs are to be found in Ascot Vale, Brunswick, Port Melbourne, South Melbourne and Yarraville (unverified).

And the name? That was a good shot. It was a true go.

PS Between beginning to write this and publication, I have learnt that there is something about trugo at the Melbourne Now exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria.

Friday, December 13, 2013

A non productive day

I have seen a written version of something similar, but I like this little clip. Ultimately the point was the same. It is damn depressing when you spend a day working hard and you get nothing done.

For me it more tech based. I go to the computer to check something. I am quickly distracted by things that apparently need immediate attention. An hour later, I go to the computer again to check the same thing. I am again distracted. The next day I go to computer to check the same thing. Yep, distracted again. A week later, maybe I might have checked what I intended to, but not necessarily so. Very sorry if it was your comment or blog post that I meant to check.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Bad Management

It is always a sign of bad government when a country starts on a downhill slide, just as it is a sign of bad management when a company fails or has bad worker relations. Wars and worker strikes/lock outs begin because of the inability of those in power to successfully negotiate.

Clearly our PM, The Abbott, was not prepared to negotiate and thousands will be added to the unemployment lines with the closure of of GM car manufacturing in Australia, as was the announced closure of the Ford plant under the previous Labor Government.

I think our car manufacturing is reasonably efficient. I don't think that the workers were overpaid and that high wages to assembly line workers led to the closure. Car manufacturing is very automated now with little hands on to be done.

Third world countries avoid high tech assembly lines and mechanisation that will do away with many jobs. They know they have to keep workers in jobs.

Not so in Australia. I don't know if that is right or wrong, but I think what is the best for the country is a good idea, with qualifications.

I'm trying to find someone to blame. I dislike people who are so sure they are correct about a matter that many argue about. It is shows extreme arrogance. Former Prime Minister Keating has been on the tv of late and his pure certainty about himself and his actions when he was PM and earlier the Treasurer was disturbing.

The principal reason car manufacturing is closing in Australia is that we are a small domestic market, we don't do it well enough to export much and the high Australian dollar.

Who is responsible for the high dollar? Many are but why can the Australian dollar be manipulated by overseas money markets? You whistle and I will point, one Paul Keating who floated the Australian dollar and let go of government control of the dollar so that the government can set its world value to our Australia's benefit.


The Bikie War

I think it was day we lunched at Clematis. In the morning and once we were home in the afternoon the noise of motor bikes was horrendous in The Highrise. A week or so later on the radio I heard the Deputy Police Commissioner take a call from someone in the country complaining about the noise of motor bikes in the bush. In the meantime I had sent an email to the Station Commander at the St Kilda Road Police Station who told me noisy motor bikes was a matter for the Environment Protection Authority.

This was very naughty of him. Noisy motorbikes are a roadworthy matter and certainly up for policing by VicPol. A police officer should pull over a vehicle they suspect to be in breach of noise limits and order them to attend the EPA for a noise check. What I am annoyed about is that a blind eye is turned to all these noisy motor bikes that ride around and the offenders not policed at all by VicPol. The noisy bikies are a law unto themselves.

After 9/11 all rubbish bins were removed from outside the St Kilda Road Police Station. The result was litter of cigarette butts everywhere. It was a long time before cigarette butt bins were installed.

When the motor bikes were at their worst, R came up with the theory that they were 'buzzing' the police station. I think he may have correct. Bikies and the police had been much in the news of late. As the police have removed fortifications at bikie club houses, the police have been fortifying their own buildings.

A week or so ago I noticed the door to police station car park was not open during the day. It is normally open during the day with a guard inside. It is now locked all day and only opened as required.

Over the past year or so extra external lighting and cameras have been installed. It seemed wasteful to me as the police are supposed to move out of the building soon.

And then this. I couldn't believe it. They have barricaded their own easy street parking at 412 St Kilda Road.

I think it is very clear that police feel under threat, and who else but from bikies? Of course if they enforced noise laws, there would be barely a bikie on the road. That is all they have to do. There is no need for absurd laws such as have been enacted in Queensland and other states. Enforce the existing laws and the bikies will be harassed off the roads. Too easy.

Closed car park. I did not really frame the photos. It was a quick snap as I was moving. There are so many cctv lens on the building.

St Kilda Road barricades. Are we living in 70s Belfast?

Bowen Crescent. It is not even Police Headquarters, although the media say it is at times.

Protecting the electricals in Queens Lane.

If I disappear without explanation, you can assume that it was an extra big bomb that went off. It may be the actions of bikies at the police station or Moslems at the synagogue. Lordy, threats in all directions.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

It's all in a name #37

I assume the marriage of my sister and her partner, the Bone Doctor, went ahead today without a hitch. I just sent each of them an sms, Congrats Mrs J to Sister, and Congrats Mrs C to Bone Doctor. Except Mrs C is my mother.

It is hard to think of anyone else being Mrs C, but the the wife of my paternal uncle must be Mrs C and his two sons have partners who are perhaps Mrs Cs.

Tradie's wife was a Mrs C, but she is now officially a Mrs A.

Maybe if Non Dreaded Nephew marries his Jewish partner, she will be a Mrs C. She looks Jewish but her mother does not at all. Curious. The relationship is a few years old and maybe I will in time get to know about her family.

While the two older nieces both have partners and one is pregnant to her partner, neither show inclinations to marry and/or change their family name.

Little Jo is already lumbered with a double barrelled family name, Sister's and Bone Doctor's. But officially it should be a triple name as our family name is double barrelled. It is on some birth certificates and some official documents but not on others. I have never used it and officially I don't have it but it on my late Father's birth certificate, his second wife's marriage certificate, and Tradie Brother's children's birth certificates.

We never learnt who Little Jo's biological father is although we know we have met him, but Little Jo sees him at times and she knows her half brothers and sister. His name is on Little Jo's birth certificate. From the mouths of babes, Little Jo sometimes mentions seeing her cousins in Geelong to us. She doesn't have any cousins in Geelong. Geelong is where Sister and Bone Doctor lived and where Little Jo was born and where her biol father lives. One can only assume.

Later Edit: The High Court of Australia has overturned the ACT law allowing same sex marriage. Sister and Bone Doctor were married for less than twenty-four hours.

Old Sign

Last week while driving along High Street, Armadale, I noticed a little bit of an old sign showing as a building was being demolished. I couldn't work out what it was as I drove past. This week it has been revealed and I have taken a photo of it and of course I have already loaded it to Our Fading Past. The sign is about to be covered over by a new building and won't be seen again for decades, if not a hundred years. While Bournville Cocoa is something people my age are aware of, in a few decades, no one will know. The address is 1152 High Street, Armadale.

The OFP site is not functioning properly at the moment but Tony has promised to fix it up, haven't you Tony? but you can see the signs on Google Maps here. There are three pages of old Melbourne signs to look through. Some are absolutely wonderful and the contributors generous.

This is my latest addition, as mentioned above. It is almost unimaginable in the trendy High Street, but then it is not far from a grocer, Thomas Dux, kind of the equivalent of Waitrose in the UK.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Albert Park Manor

Some time ago I noticed what I thought was 'boutique accommodation' across the road, Albert Park Manor, had closed. Quite a while ago we saw a planning permit application notice that the owner wanted to build six storeys of accommodation  behind the hotel. Where we wondered? There is not much space.

Well, the rear portion has just been demolished. Underground car parks will go in and the six storeys on top of that. Given modern two storeys are almost equal to one old storey, the addition to the rear shouldn't be much taller than the existing building.

It is quite a handsome building but after looking at some reviews on Trip Advisor, it think it must have been pretty shabby inside. Some people are terribly fussy about accommodation and expect a lot for a little. Once you learn the price, then adjust your expectations accordingly.

There is little about original building online that I can find. Judith Buckrich's book Melbourne's Grand Boulevard informs me that it was once the Misses Quinlan Private Hospital, then by 1918 called Coonara Hospital. I am guessing there was more than one Miss Quinlan.

Most of what I can see in digitised newspapers are death notices of people who died at the hospital. As I read on, I gained a suspicion that the hospital had a connection to the Catholic church. Many nuns and priests spent their last hours at the hospital. This adds further: According to the Argus, the owner and matron, Miss Mollie Quinlan, died in 1934 and a requiem mass was conducted at St Josephs Church, South Yarra. Miss Quinlan was also the head of the Private Hospitals Association.

This photo by Antoinette Birkenbeil shows the building in 1994. By the front fence, I would suggest it wasn't a hotel then.

You can't really see while comparing the photo above with mine below, but there are some differences. Of course the garden has gone and at the base of the building modern windows and doors have been added.

Up the top are second windows that would have acted like double glazing against the noise of cars and trams in St Kilda Road. Yes, there is some photo bombing skywriting. It dissolved before the words were finished.

A few broken pots and dying plants sat on the front terrace. The modern doors led to a convenience store the owners opened a few years ago. This was after the nearby Kings Cross Plaza 711 closed and it was very useful to have the convenience store there for us.

But then another 711 opened at Illoura on the other side of the road and down a bit. Then almost next door, this B convenience store opened and killed off the one at Albert Park Manor. There was a last day sale where remaining stock was sold off for a quarter to half shelf price.

Work began with removing part of the rear roof. I wondered if they were just replacing the roof.

The back ceiling has been removed now.

 Brickwork is starting to come down. Note the dark construction site wall built at the front.

Well, they are getting serious about this. How much is being demolished?

 Even with watering, there is lots of dust as very old brickwork comes down. Some back roof remains.

Take two. There back roof has gone entirely, with just dormer windows sticking up.

Not much left now, just some shabby blinds and a lot of rubble behind the fence.

All that remains now is the big machine with the site cleared of rubbish and ready to hand over to the builders.

I wonder what Matron Mollie Quinlan would have thought.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Pianist History

Of friends, we have few. Of acquaintances we have many, or we used to. Pat was one of them.

If you look at my header photo, just to right of the spire of Christ Church at the Punt and Toorak Road corner is a medium rise apartment block. It is not easy to see, but it is a white framed brown brick building with a very desirable Toorak Road West address. (it is even harder to see with my new 'leaves on trees' header. Thanks to Fen who fitted it all together) There lived one Pat Murphy and we were his dinner guests one evening. He was a good host but his apartment was chaotic and not the cleanest place either.

Pat was one of the heirs to the Crittendans chain of supermarkets. I can't remember where they all were now, but the Woolworths in Hawksburn was one. I don't know if Pat ever really worked a normal job but he honed his piano skills in his early life.

He played at various gay and straight venues around town, probably best known as a pianist at Pokeys at the Prince of Wales in St Kilda, but also Jocks, later known as Gay Trade Bar in Collingwood. Jocks was formerly a well known up market restaurant called Clichy, opened  by Iain Hewitson and Sigmund Jorgenson in 1977.

I came across this scan of a poster posted to the Face Book group Lesbian and Gay Archives. I never knew Pokey's was originally held at the Koala Motor Inn. I wonder if Pat played there? The late Dame M once told me she went to a party there before it was converted into own your own flats. A friend bought one about a decade ago, but he didn't like living there and soon sold. The flats are really only bedsits. His flat was on the tenth floor, which was quite high in the building, so I am thinking the 14th floor may have been at the top and probably where the party was attended by Dame M. The top was turned into a large penthouse.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Stop the presses

Sister and Bone Doctor are getting married and Little Jo will be flower girl. Apparently they are flying to Canberra mid week to do so. How interesting to find out via Face Book.

R is very cross with Mother because she sent two letters and failed to include him. Today he refused to go to a family gathering at the Leighoak Club for ABI Brother's birthday. Mother said she will call tonight. I told her not to bother as R will not take her call. I suggested she write to him. She will do that and be very humble. R is a sensitive soul.  R is often very cross with Sister and he is extra cross now. He is on the cusp of cancelling us doing christmas. The trouble with R is that he cares too much.  But I am quite cross too about finding out about Sister's marriage via FB, but I see a bigger picture, keeping the family connected.

Redfern Now and House of Cards

The first series of Redfern Now was very good. The second series has been unbelievably good.  I could not fault it until the this week's episode where the husband of the gambler was unconvincing. It  may have been that he wasn't a good actor, his lines in the script were not great, or he was poorly directed. Whatever, it has been gripping and at times grim television, but always with a little hope at the end.

It is a tv show about Aborigines who live fairly normal sorts of inner suburban lives. It could have been made with Anglos in the roles at, but the stories would have lost something.

Where did they dig out all these brilliant Aboriginal actors from? There is clearly some serious talent there and they should be cast in more mainstream roles, not just in a separate tv show about Aborigines. Truly, the acting in the show was brilliant, as were the plots.

Perhaps the US will buy the rights and recast it with black Americans.

I never really got the English show The Office. It just seemed like reality tv to me. That is how offices work. I have not seen the US remake and I doubt I would be very entertained by it.

Broadchurch was a quite brilliant UK tv show. I have read that the US is remaking the show for US domestic audiences. Why would the US do that? It was already brilliant. Why would it need to be remade?

It reminds me of the recent hit US tv show, House of Cards. It was originally a brilliant English tv show that had me entranced for its duration. Why would it be remade for a US audience and how could it be better?

A classic line from the show. You don't really see it in this clip, Frances Urquhart was truly scary in the show.

I am really not sure how the American version could be better than the British version and so popular while the original is ignored. I don't understand why it needed to be remade.

I just came across this clip. It is television at its finest.