Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The old and the new and nostalgia

from w
Yesterday in Melbourne I traipsed around the city and then Carlton.

Yesterday I set myself four tasks with a train trip up to Melbourne (one hour away – and only $7.50) to buy music books at the Uniting Church bookshop for our local Geelong East church, to make some quick sketches around Melbourne on the way going some place or other, to wander around Melbourne University, find the Union and eat there and check out the art history book fair associated with the Congress on History of Art, find the Rathdowne Tavern in Carlton to meet with a dozen or more former art students at our second reunion.

Well, it went well, but there were numerous stairs to climb up and down. I bought four lovely song books, and then noticed St Michael’s Uniting Church against the huge hotel so sketched that. (I went to this church many years ago – it’s still vibrant and a very inviting kind of church – art, music, inclusiveness.)

Then took the tram up to Melbourne Uni, found that my old corner café where we used to buy Danish pastries and cinnamon scrolls was now a Kentucky! I sketched my old Teachers’ College with its ornate fake baroque twists and twirls and even the griffen emblem on top.

Then I meandered through narrow streets to find the Union building, up many stairs to see the art book fair and great posters on what research students are investigating these days. Then I was starving so bought wedges and Fanta and sketched the sail through the window. The old cafeteria is gone and there are now numerous food bars.

On the train journey I had yacked for an hour with a friend (about my age) who is at last studying at Deakin Uni. (When she was a teenager the kids at her school were told that if their father worked in a factory they could forget about tertiary studies! How gross is that, with such a class system. Thank goodness at my little country high school the whole ten of us in Form 6 went to the city for further studies!) Anyway she said to check out the Potter Gallery at Melbourne Uni (not the Potter down at the bottom of Swanston Street). So I did so – two more flights of stairs and besides the rather bizarre stuff about the composer Grainger, and detailed botanical and bird paintings, I found the Heavenly Things kind of exhibition. Glorious Starry Night paintings by Asher Bilu and even paintings by Ema, the Aboriginal woman.

And there’s more! I’d looked up Rathdowne Street in the Melways so knew to walk 10 minutes east and soon found the street, but the address seemed odd. There was this derelict distressed paint job cement building. There since the 1800s! But what superb colours and textures! Wish I had my camera with me.(Hey, Jenny, it’s a ghost tavern! Why did you recommend this one?)

photo from flickr!

But…. a door was open and inside were some of my friends amidst the gleaming tables, a marble bar, and chandeliers dripping from the ceiling. What a put-on job with the outside all peeling paint! Anyway about 15 of us laughed and cried a bit remembering earlier times, missing friends, and illness had caught up with some and we passed around old and new photos. One old photo of a beach picnic with us glossed up, looking glam, sent us into reels of laughter as we remembered those art student days.

I caught the train by 4.55 p.m. and was rather footsore and weary after a super day of remembering the old, discovering the new, a real mix of nostalgia and the sudden wake-up reality of my friends and I all getting older.

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Blogger Penny said...

Wendy what a wonderful day. I love the outside of the place you met your friends. Must look it up next time we are in Melbourne.Love the sketches

5:12 PM  
Blogger Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Yes, the outside of the Tavern was astonishing. I immediately was intrigued by the peeling paint on peeling paint. But it's a strange gimmick to have the outside looking so derelict and the inside so tizzed up! Makes it stand out of course and be quite unforgettable!

5:15 PM  

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