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Exhibition Building
Poetry
Theatre
The Streets of Melbourne – part 2
Ongoing events
Reader feedback
Music
Horses are smarter than people
Dance
Country Victoria
Advance notice
The White Hat Quiz

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Exhibition Building

This Sunday is open day at the Royal Exhibition Building. Details at Royal Exhibition Building.

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Poetry

I have written a little poem:

tonight on friday
there is a poetry reading in the city
and next week
is the overload poetry festival
yeah’

Alright, I know it doesn’t rhyme and doesn’t scan but it is deep because I left out all capitals and punctuation. Details at Literary Festivals in Melbourne.

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Theatre

Melbourne currently has an embarrassing choice of live theatre productions. Everything from the classics to improvised spontaneous productions, blockbusters, bubblegum music repackaged as ‘sophisticated entertainment’, cabaret, scripts without capitals and punctuation, musicals, theatre to make you think, theatre to reward the faithful for not thinking, theatre performed by people with no money but real talent, theatre performed by people with no talent but real arts grants, underground theatre and theatre that is off the planet. If you can’t find some live theatre to your liking in Melbourne at the moment, then you’re not trying.

Some of the offerings which you might not find in the mainstream media include The Cave improvised theatre, Love for Sale at the Butterfly Club, and Closer at Monash University. Details at Theatre in Melbourne.

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The Streets of Melbourne - part 2

(This section of the newsletter can now be found at our Melbourne Street Names page.)

As to the Rowena’s query regarding “lost suburbs” Allan has sent us an excellent contribution which we will place in next week’s newsletter.

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Ongoing events

The Melbourne Film Festival continues this weekend as does the quilt and craft fair and winemakers expo. Go to our homepage and select this weekend on the dropdown menu for what’s on.

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Reader feedback

Thank you to a number of subscribers who pointed out that the Royal Historical Society of Victoria has a fine pamphlet available on the names of streets and lanes of central Melbourne. This is available from the RHSV in the city.

“Greetings Whitehat
A lack of classical Italian (or regionally-based dialect) language skills does not prevent me from having a go at the Barocca style furniture question. I can hear his fantastic accent ringing in my ears as he announces: "Migale, migale, migale da Franco Cozzo; comprade da Franco Cozzo d'ove v'Intale" ... or words that sound a bit like that.
While I am sharing my astonishing grasp of the Italian language, I would also like to share the other Italian phrase in my repetoire which has impressed the dickens out of many an 8 year old: "il Palazzo della bomboniere".
Regarding the words "do not spit" painted on the walls and why ... I concur with Debra that they appear on tiles on the up/down ramps at Flinders St Station. Not so sure about the tobacco chewing good ol' days though. I was always led to believe that the Health authority of the day had them installed in an effort to rid the population of TB (tubercolosis). My dad told me ... he also taught me everything I know about the Italian language.
Cheers, Karen.”

Karen, thanks for your feedback. As to the “do not spit” signs - still not quite right. They went in as a result of a catastrophic epidemic - one for which the Exhibition Building was called into play as an emergency hospital.

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Music

Purplenights is a combined fashion/music event on the banks of the Yarra. Details at Fashion in Melbourne. Glisten vocal quartet are performing at BMW Edge and Eavesdropping is a classical contemporary performance involving improvisation. Return Journey (whose album Footscray Station has been so successful) have a performance at Footscray. Details at Music in Melbourne.
This performance will be preceded by an information session for bands and smaller arts organisations on ‘incubators’ as a method of survival and growth. Details at Forums in Melbourne.

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Horses are smarter than people

You set twenty horses running around Flemington and how many people turn up? - tens of thousands. You set twenty people running around Olympic Park and how many horses turn up? – none. They’re smart. When people miss a relative’s birthday they feel obliged to grovel and send a bigger gift than they would normally have done. Horses are smarter. They got together and decided they would all have their birthday on the same day so that nobody could forget. It made it much easier for all those stallions out there who can’t be expected to remember their children’s names let alone their birthdays. This Sunday is Horse’s Birthday celebrations (that’s where the Racing Museum put the apostrophe Gillian) at Fed Square with lots of activities for kids. Details at Family Activities in Melbourne.

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Dance

The Annual 3D dance festival starts next week. The spectacular Chinese production of Tales of The Silk Road also begins next week. Details at Dance in Melbourne.

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Country Victoria

This week there are one-act plays at Ararat, a Sheepvention in Hamilton, food and wine festival in Glenlyon (near Macedon), and a Winter Blues Festival in Echuca. There is also a family fun day at the Mooroopna Country Music Club. Details at Country Victoria.

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Advance notice

The following weekend is the Montsalvat Food & Wine Festival and the Daylesford Words in Winter festival. And for those of you who had booked a holiday on the Great Barrier Reef, you may wish to cancel in order to experience the Winter in Banyule festival.

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THE WHITE HAT QUIZ

How well do you know Melbourne?

Firstly, a reminder of last week’s quiz. Distance measurements play an important part in the character of Melbourne so here are some questions related to measurement. 1) Mr Hoddle’s surveyor’s chain is on display in the excellent exhibition in the dome gallery at the State Library. How is this tool related to the width of Melbourne streets and also to the archaic sport currently being played between Australia and England? 2) Another measurement in Melbourne that can still be seen is the building height limit that was observed until the middle of last century. It is 132 feet (one wide street plus one small street) high and can be observed particularly along Swanston Street. Buildings such as the Nicholas Building, Century Building, Manchester Unity and T&G buildings all observe this height even if they have decorative towers protruding above it. Obviously this height limit produces some aesthetic unity with Mr Hoddle’s grid, but the approximate height was chosen for another reason. What was that reason? 3) At a certain radius (I think 25 miles) around Melbourne you would find a large number of pubs until thirty odd years ago. Why were they at that distance?

We didn’t have any fully correct answers, and here is one reply:

“White Hat Top-notch newsletter - as new-boy Melbournite from Perth, I enjoy it every week. My guesses for your quiz are . . All the best Rob”

Guesses! Guesses!! Rob I fear you are not treating this newsletter with the seriousness it deserves. Guesses indeed!

Alright let me give some answers. 1) A surveyor’s chain is 66 feet (22 yards) long. Hence Melbourne’s large streets are a chain and a half wide and the small streets are are half a chain wide. Mr Hoddle’s surveyor’s chain thus dominates the proportions of Melbourne. (It is interesting that recently when a conceptual artist in possession of a real arts grant chose to depict Mr. Hoddle holding his tools of trade, he shoed him holding – a theodolite.) One chain is also the length of a cricket pitch. 2) With building heights growing ever higher in Melbourne (thanks partly to the Hydraulic Service Power Department), authorities became alarmed at the safety implications if a fire should occur in one of these high-rise (ten story) buildings. The largest fire ladders in Melbourne could reach about 130 feet so the authorities capped the height of buildings based on this. Presumably, someone with an eye to aesthetics evoked the ‘rule of thirds’ used in many of the arts to make the building heights exactly one and a third the street width at 132 feet. Once you get a feeling for what led to Melbourne being what it is today, a walk down Swanston Street becomes a different experience. 3) For a good (or bad) part of the twentieth century, Victoria was the wowser (a Melbourne-invented word) state. You could not buy an alcoholic drink on a Sunday unless you were a ‘bona fide traveller’. To be a bona fide traveller you needed to show that you had travelled a certain distance that day. Hence the popularity of pubs at that radius around Melbourne which could legally serve drinks to such travellers. I believe the distance was 25 miles, but I’m sure we have some old soaks who subscribe to this newsletter who can correct me.

Now to this week’s quiz. We have looked at what some Melbourne streets and suburbs are named after. Let us ask you about things that are named after some Melbourne streets and suburbs.

1) Melbourne is named after Lord Melbourne. At least one person and one overseas city is named after the city of Melbourne. Who and where? 2) Gurners Lane in the city is named after Henry Gurner, Crown Solicitor in the nineteenth century. Who was named after Gurners Lane and why and when was his birthday? 3) What bicycle was named after a Melbourne suburb? 4) Certain major crimes are named after the streets in Melbourne where they took place. Name three.

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The White Hat Quiz

How well do you know Melbourne?

Firstly, a reminder of last week’s quiz. Where in Melbourne would you find:

Distance measurements play an important part in the character of Melbourne so here are some questions related to measurement.

  1. Mr Hoddle’s surveyor’s chain is on display in the excellent exhibition in the dome gallery at the State Library. How is this tool related to the width of Melbourne streets and also to the archaic sport currently being played between Australia and England?
  2. Another measurement in Melbourne that can still be seen is the building height limit that was observed until the middle of last century. It is132 feet (one wide street plus one small street) high and can be observed particularly along Swanston Street. Buildings such as the Nicholas Building, Capitol Building, Century Building, Manchester Unity and T&G buildings all observe this height even if they have decorative towers protruding above it. Obviously this height limit produces some aesthetic unity with Mr Hoddle’s grid, but the approximate height was chosen for another reason. What was that reason?
  3. At a certain radius (I think 25 miles) around Melbourne you would find a large number of pubs until thirty odd years ago. Why were they at that distance?

We didn’t have any fully correct answers, and here is one reply:

“White Hat Top-notch newsletter - as new-boy Melbournite from Perth, I enjoy it every week. My guesses for your quiz are . .
All the best Rob”

Guesses! Guesses!! Rob I fear you are not treating this newsletter with the seriousness it deserves. Guesses indeed!

Alright let me give some answers.

Please note: This section of the newsletter has been removed as it forms part of a forthcoming publication.

Now to this week’s quiz.

We have looked at what some Melbourne streets and suburbs are named after. Let us ask you about things that are named after some Melbourne streets and suburbs.

  1. Melbourne is named after Lord Melbourne. At least one person and one overseas city is named after the city of Melbourne. Who and where?
  2. Gurners Lane in the city is named after Henry Gurner, Crown Solicitor in the nineteenth century. Who was named after Gurners Lane and why and when was his birthday?
  3. What bicycle was named after a Melbourne suburb?
  4. Certain major crimes are named after the streets in Melbourne where they took place. Name three.
You can find a comprehensive guide to markets around Australia at The White Hat Guide to Markets in Australia.