Saturday, April 17, 2021

Melbourne's Oldest House

Within the city boundaries is perhaps the correct qualification for the oldest house in Melbourne. Former actor Lola Russell is 98 years old and now in care but she lived in the house since she was one month old until not so long ago she moved into care. Her husband George Dixon died some years ago.

The house was in the Lola's family since since 1899. Lola inherited the house in 1970 and set up a café called Russell's Old Corner Shop on the ground floor and lived upstairs with her husband and children until they, or maybe just he, left home.

A few years ago with great concern about the house's structural integrity, City of Melbourne unusually assisted pensioner Lola with props at the side of the house which can be seen in behind the scaffolding. With no one living in the house after Lola  it became a haven for squatters. I believe in some countries squatters can have rights but I am fairly sure here they are just trespassers.

Lola's family has decided the house will be sold. Although before you know what, City of Melbourne was in discussion to buy the house but it seems now with a reduced income, it is not proceeding. I think it will be repaired and made into something nice, but I fear it will be enveloped by a large highrise building or worse, just the façade kept.  

It isn't particularly attractive but it was built in pre gold rush days, so it is very historically and culturally important. 

Lola was quite a looker.

With her husband George in the café.

Keeping it vertical at the side.

While it literally Victorian, unlike late the Victorian period it has little ornamentation. Maybe it is more Georgian. Hels? The side street is Latrobe Street and the house faces the very busy traffic sewer King Street.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Geordie Speak

To make up for this morning's awful post, here is another hopefully not so awful. 

R comes from Newcastle in the north of England and the people there are known as Geordies and have their own accent. To most people the accent sounds Scottish but it isn't. Really broad Geordie speakers aren't so common now as English accents are sadly becoming homogenised. That's a mixed bag really. Sad to lose accents but helpful to other people in understanding what some people are saying.

I've mentioned this before but I went to order a meal in a Lancashire pub. I couldn't understand a word of what the lad who was trying to take the order was saying. I gave up and told R to order, but he could not understand what the lad was saying either. 

There is much to like about the Geordie accent and expressions. Take greetings. You don't get to ask someone how they are when you meet them before they say 'orright'. You may introduce someone to Mickey; "This is Mickey." Mickey replies, "Orright", meaning he is quite well, happy and pleased to meet the person.

Then there is the 'eeeee', mostly used by women if they are excited about something. When one of R's sisters and her friend were visiting us, and the sister dropped her wallet in the street and someone handed it in to the local police station, they were both eeeeing all over the police station reception area.

I am not sure if it really is Geordie or English, but if you are drunk, you could be bladdered. Does that mean you have a full bladder I wonder. Another one for being very drunk is being mortal.

If a place is really busy, it is heavin'.

It is very easy for me to slip into the Scottish way of saying yes, that is 'aye' and Geordies tend to use that too.

Also 'man' is used a lot even if addressing a female. 

While we may say we will throw something out, Geordies might 'hoy it'. Maybe heave? 

I wonder if anything puzzles you about the way English people use English? 

We won't even mention the Welsh, will we John Gray of Wales

Readers, your homework today is how is Pontcysylite Aqueduct pronounced? Oh, well done you. You pronounced Aqueduct correctly. Blog mate Cro has travelled along that aqueduct. 

Friday Funnies

"I laughed so hard tears were running down my legs". Ok, incontinence is a serious matter, but still I thought the joke was funny.

A Quebec politician was caught out naked during a parliamentary video conferencing call with fellow politicians. Nice work, William Amos. Show us more.

My own post, well learning about no wheels for trams amused me greatly.  

Social Security stopped Mother's pension and took away her concession card as she has half a million dollars after the sale of her house. Fortunately we had advised her to use a private company to deal with the SS paperwork etc and she took our advice. A call to the company and her pension and concession card were reinstated. Laughing at the sad sacks who have to deal with SS and impossible paperwork on their own. Well, no, not really.

R's high caret gold finger ring doesn't fit anymore. His fingers are too fat. I said to him you need to be like Mother and halve your weight. Mother now weighs 47 kg, a bit less than half the weight she was twenty years ago. And R, when you are wasting away from cancer, your ring will fit. 

Ok, not funny at all. Perhaps my worst ever post. I feel old and tired and I am going to bed.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

What I do

I came across this photo and I did already know what it was about but I had to check. There aren't trams now in Napier Street, Essendon but here is a line up of trams in Napier Street.

There was a siding in Napier Street. Sidings are used mostly for special events and Melbourne still has sidings for trams, where trams are stored with a driver ready to move people after the end of a sporting event. There is one for Caulfield Racecourse, the Melbourne Cricket Ground, another at Docklands for the sports stadium there, The Showgrounds, The Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre and the Grand Prix. There is also one in my street St Kilda Road near the city where defective trams are parked until they are recovered by a break down crew and taken back to the depot.

But the Napier Street siding has gone, I think in the 1990s. It serviced what is described on the map as the Essendon Cricket Club ground but better known to some as Windy Hill, once the home of the Essendon Football Club. 

The siding was centre in the lower half of the map, maybe 200 metres from the footy ground. Note it is close to Essendon train station, surely a preferable way to get to the city and find your way home from there.

Trams lined up in Napier Street ready to take the punters home from the footy ground after the siren sounded. 

Google Street View shows the same three buildings are still there, and the single storey building next to them. My curiosity about Napier Street is sated, but I did note the paving on the road shows the centre of the road has different road paving to the side, the centre being where the tram tracks were removed or covered over. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

You Chube Narrowboating

I think it was a former blogger Craig in Scotland who Grace of Perth Daily Photo introduced me to, who suggested I might like to watch a short You Tube video of an English canal pleasure boat sailing along a narrow viaduct. I watched it and it was way cool. But canal boats in England were of no interest to me.

Then one day something clicked and I began watching an Australian couple traversing English canals and they were interesting and I watched some if not all of their canal boat videos. Once they stopped canal boating, I lost interest in Life in a Nutshell, the name of their boat. 

I had a hiatus of a couple of years and up popped Robbie Cummings with Crank It. He is nice looking, a good talker and a great presenter. His canal boat touring was noticed by the BBC and two series of his solo canal boating have been screened. Of course the BBC won't allow us in The Antipodes to see the shows. Eff you BBC. But I have kept watching Robbie's You Tube videos and financially supported him at AU$1 per video. In Britain at least you can see his BBC tv shows aboard his canal boat called The Naughty Lass at

More recently I came across a gay couple who narrow boat in the UK and who are reasonably entertaining and I have watched a few episodes of them travelling canals. I think Paul and Anthony at Narrow Boat Life Unlocked are really nice guys. They are not so out there gay, but it is quite obvious. I'll watch more of this pair down the track in their Morning Star?

Then just a week or so ago I came across the very amusing Foxes Afloat, Colin and Shaun and the first episode I watched was them sailing up the Thames in their narrowboat. There are something like 150 episodes varying from six minutes to over twenty minutes. They are a very openly gay couple from Yorkshire and I find them quite amusing as they go about selling their house and buying a canal boat they named. I think Silver Fox (a term for older gay men). I watched some episodes at random before I decided to watch from the beginning. One tearful episode was when one of their fans committed suicide. It was so nice when they got a new dog, but what happened to the dog in the beginning of the series? I am yet to find out and that won't be a happy episode. In spite of doing the right thing, somehow they both contracted COVID with Shaun hospitalised and around the same time Shaun's father died. In a few episodes Colin talks about his Asperger's. But if that all sounds a bit down, most of their videos really are not. They are very copyright protective but given I am giving them a plug, I am sure I can get away with a photo of them at least. Dog Otis fell off the boat into the canal.

Only about 110 episodes to go. Retirement is such a luxury. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

No wheels, lol

How extraordinary. Yarra Trams has run out of new wheels for the ageing Z and B model trams and so has reduced peak services as there are insufficient trams with sound wheels to operate the full service. Radio 3AW explains it here.

Apparently it is beyond Australia's, a huge iron ore exporter, capability to make a steel wheel and we import tram wheels. From where you may wonder? One of the great tram cities of the world such as Budapest, Amsterdam, Prague, Moscow? Even maybe cities with more modern trams/light rails like the US, UK and France? The Middle East even.

No, from the great tram country known as South Africa, which as far as I know doesn't have trams. 

We have the trams, we have the tracks, we have the wires, we have the staff, but our trams don't have wheels. You really wouldn't read about such incompetence. 

Town Hall Tuesday

Well, Williamstown Town Hall is bit different. Generally I am only using my phone camera of late because carrying a back pack with my proper camera does not agree with my arthritic neck. My neck pain is lessening very slowly. As old people say, I have my good days and bad days.

This photo of the town hall is nicely lit.

This one is better framed. As I snapped I had not noticed the old roof peaking above. New inserts of some kind, the red brick part. It makes it look strange and I really don't like it much.

During the 1990s the City of Altona and City of Williamstown were amalgamated to form the City of Hobsons Bay. The town hall was completed in 1919 and the extension behind in 1927. Of interest to note, and maybe it shouldn't be noted, but local councillor and one time mayor of Hobsons Bay was a intersex person. You can read a little about Tony Briffa here

The front part is still used as council offices and the council does meet in the building at times, but there is a nice modern building in Altona which is preferred. 

Monday, April 12, 2021

Monday Mural

As I walked from Coburg train station towards Sydney Road to take photos of Coburg Town Hall I came across this very happy mural. I like happy murals. What you see requires no thinking, just appreciation of happiness. 

Locally there used to be annual competition and later a showing of really bad art. This would make a good entry and received a high popular vote.

Sunday, April 11, 2021


While Prince Philip took his mother's name Mountbatten. his father's family name was Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg. He was German and Danish

I would have chosen Mountbatten too.

It is a bit hard to be really sad about a bed ridden cadaver dying, but I am a bit.

Phil the Greek could say some amusing and at times very inappropriate things. Google them if you want to know. He was called Phil the Greek because he was born in Greece.

The variety show Penthouse Club was on commercial tv on Saturday nights in the 1970s. The show would cross to horse harness racing at local meetings. The funny woman co-host to the straight man horse racing person was Mary Hardy.  Mary could be vulgar but her humour was more inclined to double entendre. Grandma, you are old and not supposed to know what that means. Haha, but your 17 year old grandson has a pretty good idea of what she meant  My Presbyterian church going Grandma would slap her hand across her mouth in horror at what Mary said as Grandma laughed and made shocked shriek noises and audible sharp intakes of breath I can't remember really but some of Mary's humour wouldn't be acceptable now, for good reasons.

Haven't we done that with Prince Philip? OMG, you can't say that and then laughed behind our hands at what he said. While some of what he said was just plain funny, some borderline and some of his utterances were just very offensive and warranted apologies.

It seems he was good support to HRH Her Maj and of course did good works. He is to be admired for that but otherwise I don't feel pain about him dying at the age of 99 after living a very privileged life. I feel like I do when I hear of a very old person dying an accidental death. Fancy getting to that age and getting taken out by a motor car. Fancy getting to 99 and 10 months and dying.

Sunday Selections

Joining with Elephant's Child, River and others for Sunday Selections.

This week's selection is mostly from my unused collection of building photos taken over a few months.

I've shown you the delightful Kia Ora apartments before but here are a couple of close ups.

Urban renewal, higher population density in areas with good transport and services we are told. A developer has bought three blocks of flats and to turn into one apartment development with the number of people occupying the same land about one third of the number there now.

The eighties has a lot to answer for.

This was written on the edge of a rubbish bin, She had a gun. Curious.

A self drive hire car that are found in designated parking spaces around inner Melbourne. I think they are a great idea and I didn't know they had names.

Maybe used before. A Yarra Trams officer parked on grass in the shade of a tree and became bogged and had to be winched out.

It is very unusual in Australia, but this is local council owned public housing. Seed money initially funded the Port Phillip Housing Trust and I believe it is now self funding. Rents will be matched as a percentage of income, as per normal government housing.

When we moved to Balaclava in the early 1990s you could not get a decent cup of coffee in the main street for love nor money. Then two gay guys opened The Wall and while there are many places to buy good coffee now, The Wall is still going strong.

They could do with a clean but I thought these decorative glass tiles in a gate were quite beautiful.

Man, you are dong it wrong. There shouldn't be any cars facing my camera. Aside from trams, it is one way. The other way. You haven't noticed you can't see any traffic lights?  Now if only a tram nipped around the corner you would see him making some panicky manoeuvrers as he came face to face with tram headlights.

Having a return on a terrace Victorian house in unusual. A most unsympathetic fence, if I may say so.

Would scrub up nicely, I think.

Reminds me of houses that line the canal banks in Amsterdam.

Mind the gap, and the step.

While it is not a barrier fence, this fence is to discourage people from heading towards the part of the platform where the gap is the greatest. It is a real problem with curved platforms.