Tuesday, February 28, 2012

More on Federation Square

from w
Here are some of the photos I took yesterday - no gimmicks, no 'fixing'. I couldn't help but get myself into some of the photos! The little palm trees are rather pathetic. When I looked up Federation Square on wikipedia to see who designed this triangle-obsessed billion dollar block, it seems there was a competition that didn't work out properly. And then I read the following:

In 2009, Virtual Tourist awarded Federation Square with the title of the 'World's Fifth Ugliest Building.'[16] Criticisms of it ranged from its damage to the heritage vista to its similarity to a bombed-out war-time bunker due to its "army camouflage" colours. A judge from Virtual Tourist justified Federation Square's ranking on the ugly list claiming that: "Frenzied and overly complicated, the chaotic feel of the complex is made worse by a web of unsightly wires from which overhead lights dangle."[17] It continues to be a "pet hate" of Melburnians and was recently discussed on ABC's Art Nation[18]

For a while after its opening on 26 October 2002,[13] Federation Square remained controversial among Melburnians due to its unpopular architecture, but also because of its successive cost blow outs and construction delays (as its name suggests, it was to have opened in time for the centenary of Australian Federation on 1 January 2001). The construction manager was Multiplex.[19]

The designers of Federation Square did not get any work for six months after the completion of the A$450 million public space, but did receive hate-mail from people who disliked the design.[20]

However, the negativity was short-lived[citation needed], with approximately 90% of people surveyed reported liking at least some part of Federation Square.[21] Despite fears that the plaza would remain empty because of its location on the edge of Melbourne's centre, the open space has proved to be a remarkably popular place for protests, performances, cultural gatherings, celebrations and just 'hanging out'. Federation Square won five awards in 2003 at the Victorian Architecture Awards, including the Victorian Architecture Medal.[21] TheAustralian Financial Review later reported that Melburnians have learned to love the building, citing the record number of people using and visiting it.[22]
Okay, it's certainly unique and a bit crazy with this obsession for triangles, steel and glass, but I do like the tiles/bricks that we walk over, nice wood in the stairwells, but an absence of views of the river. Curved lines, arches are more attractive in my book such as the Sydney Opera House. Melbourne's 'icon' is bizarre.


Me and Federation Square

from w
After a two minute errand at the Immigration offices in Melbourne, it was too soon to just catch a train home to Geelong so I took a stroll - energetic one though, with stairs and hard pavements - around Federation Square. Occasionally taking photos, though not of exhibits as using a flash is prohibited and a helpful guide altered my camera to 'no flash' and then it was out of focus. Okay, here are some images I made, some by overlapping pics I took.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Pako Festa

from w
Though it was about 40 degrees in the shade, Pako Festa still attracted about 100,000 people to Pakington Street, Geelong West for Geelong's annual multicultural festival. Many people found respite by sitting under trees or ducking into shops, cafes, the West Town Hall, or the library to cool off. I watched the opening Aboriginal ceremony, and a Greek dance class but kept out of the sun. Peceli was at a Presbytery meeting in the morning so we met after 1 p.m. but didn't stay long this year as it was so hot and also our Fiji community didn't perform dances this time. Meanwhile our pets rested in an enclosure in the lounge room under the water cooler until the evening when they went outside again. It is a very very hot day and for a while we will try and forget the imbroglio going on in Canberra.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Reaching Ithaca

from w
The focus at the Polyglots was partly on the poetry of the Greek writer, Cavafy, and his poem 'Ithaca', so I found it on the internet and also other material. I'd first heard the reference - in the Odyssey, but also in reference to the paintings of John Wolsely. The idea of a long journey in life, culmination in reaching 'home' is a fine metaphor for so many things we do. In the process is the enjoyment and adventures, and not necessarily the final outcome. Making a large painting may be exhilerating but then the final picture may not satisfy. Doing research and making discoveries for a thesis is stimulating, but then maybe you don't really care about the final printout.

Since Homer's Odyssey, Ithaca symbolizes the destination of a long journey, the supreme aim that every man tries to fulfill all his life long, the sweet homeland, the eternal calmness and satisfaction…

There he makes an allusion of the legendary journey of Ulysses to the journey of every man through life and suggests that each person is looking for his own Ithaca, his personal supreme goal. However, in the end, it is not the goal but the journey that matters, because this journey makes us wise and gives people the richest good: experience, knowledge and maturity.

This poem was written in 1911 and has been translated in many languages since then. Its lyric words and message are touching.

As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon- don't be afraid of them:
you'll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon- you won't encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind-
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

Translated by Edmund Keeley/ Phillip Sherrard

Ithaca or Ithaka (Greek: Ιθάκη, Ithakē) is an island located in the Ionian Sea, in Greece, with an area of 45 square miles (120 km2) and a little more than three thousand inhabitants. Modern Ithaca is generally identified with Homer's Ithaca, the home of Odysseus, whose delayed return to the island is one of the elements of the Odyssey's plot.

The Destination, the Journey

Madeline E. Holland
First Place Winner, Level Three
Letter to Constantine Cavafy, “Ithaca” poem

Dear Constantine Cavafy,
Where have you been? From what shore did you depart, knowing you would return? And how was it you knew that despite millennia lapsed in between them, or perhaps miles and miles separating their starting points or destinations, that no two journeys away from home and back again--not Odysseus’, not yours, not mine-- are ever entirely different?

Maybe it is unfair for me to ask you these questions as you have already answered so many I have set forth to you. As I boarded a plane, heading off for my own Mediterranean journey to spend a year living and studying abroad in Italy, I couldn’t stop the questions from coming to mind. What am I doing? Why am I doing this to myself? Once, a long time ago, back when “leaving” was still shrouded with that same distant abstractness as, say, “being grown up,” I had answers to those questions. But as suitcases and boarding passes emerged from that abstract fog, my motivations became progressively foggier and the memory of them was poor substitute. And so, when my answers were missing, you helped me find them again.

Why am I going? You reminded me to “pray that the ride is long, full of adventure, full of knowledge.” You reminded me of what I had once known: the adventure I was ready for would not be found on the road to school and back again each day; the knowledge I was after wouldn’t be found within the pages of my textbooks.

But what if I fail? What if I don’t make friends? Don’t learn the language? My new family doesn’t like me? You told me, “The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops, the angry Poseidon — do not fear them . . .you will never encounter [them] if you do not carry them within your soul, if your soul does not set them up before you.” So you provided me with the answer I must have always known: personal failure is never dictated by mystical outside forces. I could only fail if I was too afraid to let myself succeed.

And so the plane took off and I set off on my “journey to Ithaca,” keeping in mind your assertion that the first ship sailed away from home is the also the first headed back toward it.

And what am I supposed to do now I’m here? I asked. “Stop at Phoenician markets,” you said, “and purchase fine merchandise... and sensual perfumes of all kinds.” As I stepped through the Medieval Walls of Viterbo, my new home for the next nine months, and into the midst of a large summer market, I wondered if that “pleasure” and “joy” you talked about upon entering “ports seen for the first time” had changed at all in the last thousands of years. “Visit many Egyptian cities,” you said, “to learn and learn from scholars.” And so I filled my mind with the lessons of my teachers, and took careful note as they illuminated the history of the ancient Mediterranean world, unlocked the mysteries of Latin, and traced the influence of stories as old as Odysseus’ throughout modern literature. And I took careful note from other scholars, too; the scholars my age who know the streets of Rome far better than I know the creases on my palms, and the scholars of all ages who daily string musical Italian words into symphonies of sentences.

And before I even asked, you had more answers for me. Before wanting to go home turned into nothing more than its memory, surrounding “return” with that same fog of distant future, you gave me advice. “Always keep Ithaca in your mind. To arrive there is your ultimate goal,” you said. “But do not hurry the voyage at all.” So I sip my coffees slow and drink in conversation. I do not count down days until return but rather count the ways in which to spend each one.

“Anchor at the island when you are old,” you said, “rich with all you have gained on the way, not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches. Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage. Without her you would have never set out on the road.”

So Constantine Cavafy, when will I find the destination I’m looking for? Perhaps of all the scholars I have come across by now those in history books from the times of Odysseus to those I meet every day — you have taught me the most.

Odysseus’ destination, or yours, or mine, was never a port, or city, or kingdom. The destination is the journey. Thank you for helping me on mine.

Madeline Holland

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Werribee cliffs and erosion

from w
Recently we were at the K Road cliffs above the Werribee River, taking photos, making sketches, and after checking the photos I realized how dangerous the erosion is and people should not cross over the fence, no matter how inviting the view is. There is serious erosion and slips could occur. One government website warned about this:

This site is the best natural section of the thick alluvial deposits that characterise the agricultural area southeast of Werribee. It is an outstanding record of the Late Quaternary history of the Werribee River. The meandering course and the alluvial island add to the interest of the site.

Class 1. If it is considered that engineering works are necessary to reduce the hazard river erosion may pose to K Road, the works should attempt to maintain the integrity of the steepest sections near the golf clubhouse. It would be preferable to divert the river course, by shortening the meander, rather than regrading or walling the river banks. The unmade public road south of K Road along the river bank is an unnecessary risk, and should either be closed or relocated away from the cliff edge and improved. Dredging or other interference with the channel island should not be permitted.

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Polyglots, part of Pako Festa

from w
Last night the Geelong Writers and Diversitat (Geelong Migrant Resource Centre's business name) staged a good night at the Wholefoods Cafe - theme Greek writers and Alexandria - poetry by Cavafy, info about Durrell, a beautiful Greek singer, an enthusiastic belly dancer, and local poets and readers. It was an enjoyable night climaxed by several people from the audience joining in the dance including Peceli! On Saturday the Pako Festa in Pakington Street, Geelong West will be in full swing - usually with about 100,000 people enjoying one of Australia's best multicultural festivals.

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Monday, February 20, 2012


from w
There seems to be an obsession with bridges at present - late this afternoon Peceli and i needed some fresh air so drove to Fyansford just out of Geelong to walk in the Common not far from the two bridges. We sketched and I took photos - of the hill where the Cement Works once were, the Fyansford hotel, the bridges. We're been there a few times and I've posted about Fyansford a couple or more times.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Barwon River Bridge

from w
Messing again with Picasa and Gimp,(though some Gimp images wouldn't open on the second computer!) though I don't know all the possibilities, I used a sketch of one of the Barwon River bridges as a basis for some images, some a bit crude looking, and a photo of the volcanic hollows at Red Rock.

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Barwon Park and rabbits

from w
On the way back to Geelong on Sunday afternoon we took the left turn after Winchelsea to visit the grand mansion of Barwon Park, once a rich squatter's house. It's a Heritage building owned now by the government and kept very nice with antiques and shows us how the class system once worked in Australia, the superb large rooms and the tiny servant's roomlets! But this story is about rabbits. The Austins thought that importing a dozen pairs of rabbits would be good for friends to shoot at, but over time those rabbits multiplied to become millions and millions and they became a pest. People used to eat them a lot until the myxo killed most off, but they are out and about again. Brown rabbits live in our local cemetery and I don't want our pet dwarf nederland lop going near them! Anyway at Barwon Park here and there are cute toy rabbits as a reminder of Austin's folly. Of course we must also remember that Mrs Austin was a fine philanthropist and gave money to start a hospital in Melbourne - called of course the Austin.

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