This weekend is the Sydney Road Street Party, the Knox Festival, the Banyule Festival and a ”Welcome Platypus Festival” at Hurstbridge. Details at Community Festivals in Melbourne. There is also a Hungarofest in Wantirna. Details at Ethnic Festivals in Melbourne. and a food, wine and music festival at Gasworks Park in Port Melbourne called ‘Taste for Living’. Details at Food & Wine in Victoria.
Cinema under the Stars at the Botanic Gardens concludes its season this weekend, so this is your last chance for a romantic fling with your current partner before they (or you) become “so last summer”.
New city café
(a White Hat ramble so may be best to skip straight to the next section)
White Hat is invited to numbers of openings, but as soon as we arrived at this one it was obvious that this was more up-market than most. The beautiful people were there along with Melbourne’s famous socialite, Lillian Frank (not to be confused with the famous cricketer Lillian Thompson). Having accepted a glass of champagne I turned around to look for some canapés only to find myself looking at the neck of a statuesque young lady. Knowing that it was impolite for a lad like myself to appear to be staring I thought the delicate thing to do was to slowly lower my eyes. However the cleavage seemed to go on forever. “There’s no going back now” I thought and continued my downward journey until I finally reached the safety of fabric. I proceeded to lower my gaze but within an alarmingly short time had reached a hemline. With the cosmopolitan savoir-faire I had learned growing up in Ballarat I quickly lowered my focus to my own shoes and while slowly transferring my weight between each foot slowly rotated through 180 degrees. Our male subscribers will find that this technique renders them almost invisible in such social gatherings. At last I reached the sanctuary of a pair of male shoes and trousers and it became safe to raise my eyes. On the ascent I became aware of a particularly luxriiant growth of chest hair and then a gold chain that could serve the dual purpose of towing a small car. As I reached the five-o’clock shadow the horrible realisation occurred – this is the boyfriend! On such occasions, White Hat knows there are only two choices – flight, or pray to the gods of Melbourne for a diversion.
My prayers were quickly answered with a deus ex machina. The mayoral limousine arrived and during the confusion of our Lord Mayor performing without surtitles I was able to remove myself to another section of the gathering. Such are the dangers that White Hat endures just to bring you information about new Melbourne establishments.
The café in question is called Divertiti and serves gelati, coffee, fresh panini and pastries in the Milanese style. It is a couple of doors up the hill from the Regent in Collins Street (opposite the old George’s) and complements well the dignity and style of the area. We suggest you give it a visit next time you are in town.
This weekend there are fetes at St Jude’s in Scoresby, Boneo (near Rosebud), Wilmott Park Primary School in Craigieburn and Brandon Park Primary School. Details at Fairs & Fetes in Melbourne.
Normally around this time of year in Melbourne there is a Seniors’ Festival with lots of free and cheap things for seniors. This festival has been postponed until later in the year because we need the seniors to run the Commonwealth Games for us in the form of volunteers. However there is a seniors’ film festival at ACMI in Fed Square with lots of cheap screenings. Details at Seniors in Melbourne. We should issue a warning to seniors heading into Fed Square. Some of you may have memories of elderly relatives who went dotty and were even known to wander about in public wearing just a tattered, stained old slip. If you come across young ladies heading into Fed Square in this state, wearing a tatty old slip on the outside, don’t call the authorities - they are just going to the fashion festival.
"Dear WhiteHat Detectives,
I usually commute to Melbourne from Ballan by train. But occasionally I drive down. When I drive I go past a sculpture that always impresses me: the "house". It's on the triangle of land where the Ring Road, Westgate Freeway and Geelong Roads intersect.
- Q1: I would really like to know who did it and what it's correctly called. I assume there are many other sculptures & public works of art throughout the greater metropolitan area, as well as those around the CBD. I see some from time to time but rarely note them nor enquire - until now.
- Q2a: Could you suggest where I might find a map or catalogue of those (in the greater metropolitan area)?
- Q2b: Do you know of anyone who might run such tours [i.e. as well as your CBD "arts" tour]?
I still love your newsletter and will continue to follow your recommendations even at the risk of again being branded a whinger when I am not equally enthralled. “An Inspector Calls” was brilliant and it really challenged the audience to examine his/her life and conscience. It demonstrated to me that our youth still have open minds which we should nurture. Nat would enjoy it but it would be over Nathan and Crystal’s head. I would go so far as to say that it was one of the finest productions, if not the best, we have seen. Thanks for alerting us about out this wonderful show
Clyde, the celery growing capital of Victoria"
This week, the classical music season really gets under way in Melbourne with performances from the MSO, Flinders Quartet, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Melborne Chorale, Australian String Quartet and Ensemble Gombert. Also on Tuesday morning you can hear James Morrison in performance at Hamer Hall. Full details at: Classical Music in Melbourne There is also a world music benefit concert for Tanzania at the Fairfield Amphitheatre. Details at World Music in Melbourne
This weekend there is the Oppy Family Fun Day in the Dandenongs, the Shepparton Arts Festival (I’m sure all performers will have legal work visas), the Superbike Championships at Phillip Island, the Boolara Folk Festival, the end of the Benalla Festival (with fireworks over the lake?), the Wadong Country Music Festival, the Taste of Tatura Food & Wine Festival and the Elmhurst Festival of the Wind celebrating all things to with the wind (except maybe the dust-storms which removed much of their best topsoil). Details of all these can be found by going to our home page and selecting the appropriate weekend from the drop-down menu of events in country Victoria.
There are many wonderful historic buildings in the Melbourne, but one usually has to use a sort of selective vision to see them in their original context. They are often surrounded with buildings and infrastructure from much later eras, or surrounded with garish advertising hoardings or constantly passed by travelling billboards (often in the form of trams), or disfigured with modern OHS additions which are legally required and socially laudable but historically jarring and often downright ugly. When you are wearing a special white hat you find that such visual distractions fade from view, but this can be more difficult for the infrequent visitor to Melbourne.
For this reason there is one block in Melbourne which is our favourite because it can still be appreciated as a largely intact 19th century streetscape. It is largely ignored by the tour buses, backpacker guides and popular tourism advertorial programs on television. However it repays quiet and informed contemplation.
Please note: This section of the newsletter has been removed as it forms part of a forthcoming publication.
This weekend is a ‘Pets in the Park’ day in East Malvern. There is also a microchipping day for dogs in Sunshine. That way, if your dog is found wandering lost and dazed in some distant suburb, authorities can contact you to come and retrieve it. You might want to have your boyfriend done at the same time. Details at Animal Events in Melbourne.
The following weekend is Labour Day Weekend and so there are many more events and activities than for a standard weekend. Although Moomba has been truncated for the Commonwealth Games there will still a parade and a mayoral speech. There is also the ‘In the Realm of the Senses’ film festival
In country Victoria tension is mounting in Ballarat and parents are resorting to the traditional Ballarat method of getting excited children to sleep – having them count begonias. There are jazz festivals at Inverloch and Moe, the Port Fairy Folk Festival, festivals at Harcourt, San Remo, Cobden, Myrtleford, Avoca and Mansfield. And up is spa country there is a 'Chill Out Festival’ for those who are finding the pace and stresses of Daylesford life are getting too much for them.
For details, go to our home page and select the appropriate weekend form the drop-down menu of events in either Melbourne or country Victoria.
How well do you know Melbourne?
Melbourne & Victorian Streetscapes
- If you stand in the middle of Swanston Street you can see the Shrine at one end. Until the 1980s, what could you see at the other end?
- In what Victorian country town can you find the main street almost unchanged since the 1930s?
- What small suburban shopping strip maintains a full set of ‘corporation verandahs’ on both sides?
- What Victorian town has a railway line running down the middle of the main street?
- Where in Victoria would you find a submarine as part of the streetscape?