National Heritage in Melbourne

Mum and I went for a walk organised by the National Trust of ‘Marvellous Melbourne’, the other day. (And of course, we couldn’t avoid the curse/blessing of our family – although it was usually associated more with Dad than Mum: Mum knew the tour leader, from her Playgroup Assoc days). It was a fun walk – took us 2 hours to get from Spring St, down Collins, to Federation Square!

Started off with morning tea at the Park Hyatt, which was very swish. Then went into St Pat’s Cathedral (very impressive! Those Catholics know a thing or two about architecture and art, although I’m not entirely convinced about the Christianity behind some of the icons…), and past a couple of other little churches (including one where Nellie Melba learnt the organ, and later gave free singing lessons to poor children). It was yet another reminder to look up, when walking in Melbourne – the street-level shopfronts might be new and boring, but so many of the old facades have been retained above that – it’s great!

I love that families living in the east end of Melbourne would pack up their entire family, servants etc, and decamp for the weekend… to where the MCG is today…. Such a long trip! And the fact that the shop with the most glorious shopfront, Le Louvre, is owned by the daughter of the woman who opened it is very impressive. Of course, the mother would be unimpressed: some of their oufits are now imported, and not handmade; sometimes there are ‘sale’ signs in the window; and you don’t have to have been introduced in order to buy from there anymore. As well, finding out about the Melbourne Club (exclusively men’s), the Lycaeum (women with a degree), the Alexandra Club (women’s social), and the Athenaeum Club (men again) was a glimpse into a totally foreign world….

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