You might have noticed we have some horse races happening in Melbourne this week so we have decided to publish our racing tip. There was a much-read publication in Melbourne that people purchased “only for the racing tips” although I’m sure none of OUR readers would have done that. We have decided to publish a racing tip so that you can tell your friends “Yes, I read the White Hat Newsletter – but only for the racing tips!”
So our tip for the Cup is: “Ladies should bring a plate”.
For those who are really interested in horses (rather than using them as an excuse to buy a new frock) there is the Equitana exhibition at Jeff’s Shed this week featuring all things horsy.
This weekend at Surrey Hills is a “Forty Red Bangles” sale. Why would anybody need forty red bangles? To go with their forty pairs of shoes of course. At Kyneton there is a contemporary art fair, at Mathoura there is the Annual Cadell Fair and in Bendigo is the annual Gems, Gold & Collectables Expo (after several years an expendable become a collectable - don’t throw out those empty milk cartons). Details at Fairs & Fetes in Victoria.
Get out your Brownlow Medal frocks, relearn how to tie that bow tie – the inaugural White Hat Awards are approaching. Some years ago we presented some awards and you still may see some of them around. Has anyone spotted one of our cheap eats awards in a frame at a Chinatown eatery? Well, now it is time to resurrect them with you, dear subscriber, as the ones who vote. Not only are you the ones who vote, you are the ones who decide what categories the awards should be for, and also make the nominations. To show our bipartisan nature, the whole thing will be as democratic and transparent as a Labor Party pre-selection and I, in the spirit of a Liberal Party power broker, will keep an eye on the votes to see that they are turning out the right way – we know where you live and where you work. To get you started here are some suggestions for awards – best cheap eats, best festival, best family outing, best romantic outing. We leave it up to you. Send you suggestions to: email@example.com.
Just a few guidelines. We are not interested in ‘worst’ awards and voting things off rather than voting them in – TV has all that area cornered. And for those of you planning on doing some branch stacking to get your brother-in-law’s restaurant voted in – we will restrict final voting to newsletter subscribers of at least three month’s standing.
This weekend is the Chookahs festival at the Arts Centre. There is also a children’s Latin American Dance Festival so mum can go along in her Carmen Miranda outfit and fade into the background while the kiddies are the centre of attention. You all know that “break a leg” is the good luck phrase you say to an actor entering the stage whereas “chookahs” is the phrase used for dancers. Try not to get them mixed up. Meanwhile there is another phrase used to break up two scuffling mothers in Carmen Miranda outfits arguing about the merits of their daughters’ dancing, but because this is a family newsletter (and because not all of you speak Spanish) we won’t mention it here. Details at Children's Events in Melbourne.
All Hallows Day or All Souls Day is that part of the Christian Calendar which remembers those who have died. In America a popular tradition known as Halloween with various trappings grew up around this date. It was never part of Australian culture and would have remained that way but for the tireless work in recent years of certain primary teachers to use American popular culture as the basis for the education of Australian children. Now the National Trust (the organisation set up to preserve Australian heritage) has come to their aid by running Halloween Night Tours of the Melbourne Cemetery. For details see Tours of Melbourne Cemetery (atthe botto of the page). For my part I will probably sit quietly with a glass of red wine and honour the memory of a few departed friends and relatives and listen to Richard Strauss’ All Souls Day. I will possibly also ponder why those who appoint themselves to decree such things deem it offensive to wish someone a Merry Christmas or to display a nativity scene, but not offensive to promote another festival from the same religion provided it is wrapped in the clothing of American popular culture.
Congratulations to Janet who recognised last week’s backdrop photograph as being the Wimmera River at Horsham. I suppose that wasn’t too hard, since she lives in a homestead on the Wimmera River just outside Horsham. She informs me that the homestead was built by the Wilson family who later donated a hall to Melbourne University. Some of our readers may be able to guess the name of the hall. Janet also says:
“Medibank is of course the new housing estate - on the old Livestock Market site - where many of the Doctors have built new homes.”
Well, seeing we have had a backdrop from the blunt end of Victoria, we had better have one from the pointy end. I wont tell you which beach it is, but it looks pretty long. See if you can recognise the two beaches in this week’s backdrops.
Last week the Lygon Street Festival was absorbed into a festival called Celebrate on Lygon and our reader feedback indicates that the whole thing was about as Italian as a can of Heinz spaghetti and most of our subscribers said words to the effect “I came, I saw, I left”.
The Lygon Street Festival in the form we have known it may be dead, but there are still plenty of Italian celebrations around. The Italian Film Festival continues. See Film Festivals in Melbourne. This weekend there is an Italian Festa at Wonthaggi, and in the High Country in a couple of week’s time is an event that looks particularly promising called Eat Italy, Drink Italy. You may well spot a white hat in the crowd if you go to that one.
“Thank you for your information on a cheap family outing. It was very useful – not because I have children but to shut up two of the whiners I work with. They are always telling me they don’t have enough money to take the children anywhere. They always seem to have enough money to take the family to McDonalds. I made a copy of your newsletter and left it on both their desks. That should give me a bit of peace for a week or two.
That was very cunning Mandy. If you left them a copy of the newsletter they have possibly subscribed and are now reading this newsletter.
“WHERE”S THE STORY? I have been following you little white hat story and it suddenly stopped at the first clue. Is this some sort of trick?
Sorry Jason – it should re-appear next week.
“Two years ago we were due to visit Melbourne on business so subscribed to your newsletter. The business deal fell through and the trip never eventuated but my partner and I continue to read your newsletter every week. We have decided we may never visit Melbourne because it may shatter the vision we have built up of this faraway place with curious hidden gems and unusual people. For all I know, you may work in an office around the corner and have invented this place called Melbourne. We don’t mind if you have, because the first words in our office on a Friday morning are “Has the newsletter from Melbourne arrived yet?” Keep them coming. They help keep us sane, but not too sane.
George & Peter – Chicago”
Now George and Peter, I don’t know the nature of your partnership. Are you partners or are you “partners”? If you are business partners, then I know a certain business lady in New York who owns an apartment, is unattached and interested in the arts. On the other hand, if you are “partners” you probably wouldn’t be interested. Pity.
Melbourne really has three levels of hidden gems. Firstly there are the public places that aren't on the mainstream or backpacker tourist routes and but are still publicly accessible and frequented by those 'in the know'. Over the years we have mentioned many of these in this newsletter.
Secondly there are those places into which individuals observing the appropriate dress and behaviour codes can wander and investigate, but where tourists carrying guide books let alone tour buses or school groups would disturb the function of the place and if that happened access would soon have to be officially restricted.
Thirdly, there are numbers of remarkable 'private' hidden gems. These are places like private homes, "off-limits" sections of public buildings, private clubs, 'protected' sites, corporate boardrooms and places which require security clearances, safety accreditation or high level 'letters of introduction'. As a result, these places are for invited guests only and many have specific dress and behaviour codes. If you receive an invitation to one of these private hidden gems we thoroughly recommend that you take it. In the next few weeks we will take a look at some of Melbourne's Hidden Gems which are 'by invitation only'. Let us start with:
A remarkable penthouse and art collection
Please note: This section of the newsletter has been removed as it forms part of a forthcoming publication.
This weekend is the Wangaratta Jazz Festival (big if you’re into jazz), the Lake Goldsmith Steam Festival (big if you’re into traction engines), the Castlemaine Festival of Gardens (big if you’re into gardening), and the Bendigo Gold, Gems and Collectibles Expo (big if you’re into discarded milk bottles from the 1950s). Details at Events in Victoria.
The following weekend there is open house at numbers of arts venues in Melbourne, the Halls Gap Film Festival, the Buddhist Spring Festival, a pottery expo at Fed Square and at Phillip Island an orchestra in distinguished headgear. For details go to our home page and choose the appropriate weekend form our drop-down menu under ‘events’.
How well do you know Melbourne?
First to last week's quiz
Where in Melbourne would you find:
- A pub named after a prime minister?
- An apartment block named after a Melbourne painter?
- A suburb named after an American industrialist?
- A bar named after an Australian poem?
- A bridge named after a premier?
- The scene of the Great Bookie Robbery?
Lots of correct answers so we summarise them below.
Please note: This section of the newsletter has been removed as it forms part of a forthcoming publication.
Now to this week’s quiz.
Melbourne and horses.
- A prominent statue in Melbourne depicts a man in riding boots with a saddle underneath the chair on which he is seated. Who is that man?
- In the inner suburbs is the remains of a veterinary hospital with the symbol of a horse’s head on the façade. Where is this?
- Various statues in The Domain and connected gardens show people on horseback. How can you tell the status of a person from a 19th century equestrian statue?
- There is a memorial to war horses in Melbourne. Where and what is it?
- A bar in Melbourne has a large wooden honour board showing every winner of the Melbourne Cup since Archer? Which bar?
- What was remarkable about Archer’s journey to the Melbourne Cup?
- When watching the television, how can you tell if the race you are watching is in Melbourne or Sydney?