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Chapel Street
Bread & Circuses
Yellow Pages
Docklands
Melbourne Myths & Legends
Free stuff
Festivals & fetes
Country Victoria
Cheapskate Romantic Night Out


Chapel Street

The old-style Chapel Street Festival seems to have disappeared but this weekend there is an event called Chapel on Show. It is a no-alcohol and no-BYO event (which gives a clue as to the demise of the old style street party) and is centred on fashion parades and fine food. And in case the alcohol ban hasn’t reduced the testosterone levels enough, the organisers have also introduced numbers of flower arranging demonstrations. Details at Chapel Street.

This could prove a crucial time for Chapel Street which may have to reinvent or reinvigorate itself to compete with the burgeoning of new women’s clothing stores in the QV Centre, Melbourne Central and the Post Office. It will be interesting to observe what happens.


Bread & Circuses

This weekend is the Spring Harvest Festival at Werribee Park where you can enjoy a picnic while watching the children chasing the parrots.

f you don’t want to go that far or spend that much there is a fund raising BBQ in the St Kilda Gardens where you can enjoy a snag while watching the locals chasing the dragon.

There are also circus performances on the beach at St Kilda and in the ballroom at Yarraville


Yellow Pages

The Yellow Pages were delivered in our area last week and the forlorn yellow piles have hardly diminished at all – most people now use the internet.

For instance, if you try searching for things as diverse as “Myers Christmas windows” or “waiters club melbourne” chances are that the White Hat listing will come out on top of the list. If you have a friend who is having trouble getting exposure for their business you could suggest that they get in touch with us and we can help them for less than the price of an ad that will sit in an unopened pile on the front steps. (There I think that was subtle enough for no-one to notice that it was really a shameless plug for our web site.)


Docklands

For those who only get to Melbourne occasionally you could be in for a surprise. Most of the major projects of the 90s are now finished or approaching critical mass. Jeff’s Shed, the new Museum, Fed Square and its associated park Birrarung Marr, City Link, refurbishment of the State Library, Treasury Buildings, Exhibition Buildings and National Gallery, numbers of apartment blocks, some of which are stylish and many of which are downright ugly (try the corner of Swanston & Queensberry Streets), the whole block of the QV centre, and lots of new cafes, bars and clubs where you can sit and discuss “what have the Romans ever done for us?” But the biggest transformation is at Docklands. It is still far from finished but you can start to get an idea of what the ‘new town’ will be like. There are lots of free activities there over the next few months including music, dance and children’s stuff in the new park. You can find a list of these activities at Melbourne Docklands.


Melbourne Myths & Legends

Happy birthday Eureka – 150 years old. The Victorian Government is funding lots of activities to celebrate an armed insurrection against the Victorian Government. Women and Aborigines are celebrating the values of Eureka though the colony of South Australia which had no such armed confrontations achieved votes and associated rights for both long before Victoria. Every day tens of thousands drive past the Lalor Mansion in Richmond where the bewigged Peter Lalor lived while carrying a completely different image of him in their mind.

The celebrations remind me a little of a 21st birthday back in the days when people moved out of the parents home once they reached 21. There are numbers of speeches which are vaguely based in truth but have become elaborated over the years. After a while the custody squabbles may abate (who ‘owns’ the flag), the myths will grow old and tired like fading photos in a family album and then one day Eureka will return through the door as a mature fully-fledged legend to whom people will pay a newfound respect.

It was the same when Gallipoli left home some decades ago as a series of myths and some fading photographs. Gallipoli has now come home as a respected legend. The thousands of young Australians who now make the pilgrimage to dawn service in Turkey are often dealing with complex thoughts and emotions rather than simple jingoism or nationalism. In most cases they appreciate both the value of the historical facts and the value of the legend.

Happy birthday Eureka. I look forward to seeing you come back some time in the future as a mature legend.


Free stuff

SBS have a free screening of landmark productions in the city. details at Film Festivals.

You can be part of a gospel choir outside the Exhibition Buildings on a Sunday at Gospel in the Carlton Gardens.


Festivals & fetes

This weekend there’s a Philippine Festival at Laverton. Now there’s a community that understands that powerhouse of the economy is frocks (Filipinos, not Lavertonians) search for “ethnic festivals melbourne” – we’re probably the top listing

There is a billycart festival in East Melbourne (which is a bit like having a Saab Festival in St Albans). Details at Community Festivals.

There are also a number of school fairs and fetes. The gaslight night markets have started again at the Vic Market on Wednesday evenings.


Country Victoria

This week there are Eureka festivities at Ballarat, a major music festival at Queenscliff, orchids at Stawell and a country roots and rock festival in Bendigo.

(just search for “events country victoria” and you'll probably end up on the White Hat site.)


Cheapskate Romantic Night Out

The Friday night stargazing in Royal Park will start again – a jug of wine, a telescope and thou.

Or you could always go and watch the luminous swans. Find a secluded parking spot overlooking the Yarra. “Yes, Sharon, there really are luminous swans. Sometimes you have to wait a while before you see one so make yourself comfortable. Now, tell me a bit more about yourself . . .”

More ideas at Romantic Melbourne.

You can find a comprehensive guide to markets around Australia at The White Hat Guide to Markets in Australia.