Monday, July 20, 2009

Open wide, come inside

Well, I did my share of stickybeaking at some of Melbourne's landmark buildings during Melbourne Open House on Sunday. I had a fun day walking around with a friend in the winter sunshine, having a natter and seeing sights I'd never seen before.

I changed my mind about starting at Queens Hall at the State Library and instead arrived early at the Manchester Unity Building to try to beat the crazy queues. And we did. And it was worth it. The highlight of the day for me was walking out on the 12th floor roof top entertainment area of the MU Building to see the corner spire-thing looming up ahead of us against the blue sky (above). I think both of us said "Wow" out loud.

If you look just to the left of the clockface of the Town Hall in the picture below, that's where the outdoor roof top area is.

We then made our way up to the State Library to see Queens Hall, which has some unusual but impressive chandeliers and beautiful pale green and gold leaf ceiling roses (below). It's a little shabby around the edges, but it's apparently going to be renovated and reopened to the public. Yay.

After a quick squiz at the La Trobe Reading Room (no trip to the State Library is complete without it), we jumped on the City Circle tram through the Docklands to our next stop, the Mission to Seafarers. It smelt enticingly of the meat pies and sausage rolls they were selling to the Open House crowds, but we resisted the baked goods. I didn't resist the urge to give the old ship's bell (from the Moreton Bay) in the Celia Little room a tentative "dong". Not quite the same as ringing a bell at St Paul's...

Pull meeeeeeeeee!

The Mission building is still in relatively original condition and features a lovely little chapel with maritime themed stained glass windows and a pulpit carved to look like the side of a ship, a courtyard (with fish pond! Oooh fish!), a private garden and a large, round, domed room that used to be a gymnasium, but which is currently hosting an exhibition of maritime themed photos (below).

We walked back into the CBD with a stop to have a look at the foyer of the Grand Hotel, which, as it turns out, is not that grand really, but it does have a little library and chess boards in it, which I thought was pretty cool. This wasn't part of MOH, we were just nosey.

Next stop was Donkey Wheel House, a narrow building on Bourke Street I'd never noticed before. The building is now owned by the Donkey Wheel Foundation, a philanthropic organisation. It's very much in original - and rather shabby - condition and is mostly empty. It's crying out to be converted into an art gallery or something like that. There are already some art installations in the basement of the building.

Top floor


After that we made another impromptu stop at the St Augustines Catholic Church which is one of the oldest churches in Melbourne (I have never paid so much attention to churches as I have these past two weekends!).

Then we had a quick look at the very modern Denmark House where the thing that most interested me was this newspaper headline:

Is there not a Danish word for sex? I'm assuming sex is not a Danish word for something else!

Niagara Lane, just because

After that we stopped at the Collins Street Baptist Church, which was also a bit of a 'wow' moment - I had no idea there was such a large church behind that facade. It's quite unlike any other church I've been in - a very open space, quite light and airy and with greeny-blue carpet throughout.

Finally, after deciding not to wait 45 minutes to see the kitchen at Jamie Oliver's Fifteen restaurant, we popped into the T&G Building (aka KPMG House). We were captivated by the glass ceiling feature, which changed colour (below).

The modern office tower bit of the T&G Building

And then we were done. I decided not to wait in line to see Capitol Theatre. Instead I treated myself to a Belgian hot chocolate and lemon cheesecake at the Chokolait Hub (becoming a habit...).

Then I caught the tram home. I'd walked just over 12 kms by the time I got home and I was worn out. I had a long soak in the bath and was in my pjs before 7pm! Just like when I was 10, only there was no soup and toasties in front of the Wonderful World of Disney on the telly.

See my other blog for a few more pictures.


dam buster said...

Did you notice if they still have the blanket boxes in the front of the Baptist church for the homeless? I know they used to provide somewhere for them to sleep on the front steps.

Frisky Librarian said...

Hi db. No, I didn't notice and I didn't know that. So they don't let the homeless sleep there anymore?

Martin said...

Yes, the Danes have the same word for sex. The headline says 'Totally ok to buy sex'.

PS found your blog through copenhagen cycle chic... somehow.

Cheers, M.

Martin said...

Correction, 'Danes say: Totally ok to buy sex'.
I forgot to translate 'Danskere' in my previous post.

chrome3d said...

Danes like to buy their sex. I have seen it happening too!

Frisky Librarian said...

Hey Martin. Thanks for popping in and ansswering my questions about the Danish language. How strange!

And what is the story actually about? A permissive attitude among Danes to prostitution?

Martin said...

Yes, especially among Danish men. (surprise surprise!).

The piece says that nearly half (48%) of the 1474 interviewees opposed the prohibition of prostitution, while 35% supported it.
But looking just at the men, 60% opposed prohibition. Of the women, almost half wanted prohibition.

(The link I looked at is which is not the same newspaper as you saw but it refers to the same poll.)