Saturday, May 19, 2012

Library, wonder-chamber, beach

Today was the annual open day at the Supreme Court of Victoria and I finally got to see the impressive interior of the library. Apart from two volunteers on hand to answer visitors' questions, there was no one else in the library when we arrived. It was just Luke and me  standing under the dome with our mouths open, going "Wow". 

Sadly we weren't allowed to take photos but there's one here that shows the lower circumference of the the dome. The library is set out in a radial pattern, with the large inner circle lined with portraits of former Chief Justices and judges - including a portrait of my ancestor Sir Leo Cussen, who was a judge and also a President of the Melbourne Cricket Club and trustee of the National Gallery of Victoria and the State Library of Victoria. 

Beneath Sir Leo's portrait was a glass cabinet containing the handwritten court record of Ned Kelly's death sentence in 1880. 

Branching off from the centre were alcoves lined with shelves of legal books which gave off a faint aroma of old books. 

While we were at the court, we had a look in two of the court rooms, including one that had a very narrow winding staircase to bring the accused from the dungeon (yes, they call it a dungeon, although it's not used these days) up to their seat in the middle of the court room.  Access to the court room was by way of a removable section of floor a bit like a manhole cover. 

After leaving the court we dropped into one of the kookiest shops in Melbourne called Wunderkammer, which is a German word meaning 'wonder-chamber'. It sells 'scientific curiosities, artefacts and ephemera', including an array of stuffed animals, animal skeletons,  fossils, a rug made from the pelt of a mountain lion (with head), mounted butterflies, insects and spiders, and antique scientific and medical instruments. I was quite taken with the murder of crows. The door to the storeroom was open and there was a box of stuffed ravens in the doorway. 


 Say 'aaaaah'

Disapproving elk disapproves 
(you can't blame him)

As we left Wunderkammer, I spotted this quaint old mail box near the shop door. 

We had lunch in the city before heading to South Melbourne. We walked past one of my favourite old signs - or collection of old signs - on an old chemist shop on Cecil Street.  

Luke spotted this large, but difficult to read, sign near the market. 

 'Produce' is about the only word I can discern

And then I saw this one...

Something 'Boot Repairer'

Then we caught the tram to South Melbourne beach to take photos. 

 Out the front of the South Melbourne Surf Lifesaving Club

 A tall ship way off in the distance

 This bird was hanging around near the fishermen on 
Lagoon Pier hoping for a snack

North Pacific Sea Star (a pest in our southern waters). 

 Faces in places - telescope thingie at Princes Pier

Little dark cloud doing its own thing

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