October 16, 2016

Melbourne’s Southbank

After walking (and eating!) my way through Melbourne’s CBD, I decided to spend a day in Southbank, a neighborhood just south of the Yarra River.

Crossing the river via St. Kilda Road is a particularly handy route for tourists. The road has several tram lines and boasts many of Southbank’s popular sights.

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Like the Queen Victoria and Royal Botanic Gardens …

And the Shrine of Remembrance war memorial …

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Here’s a description of the memorial from its website:

The Shrine of Remembrance was created to meet the needs of a grieving community after the extensive loss of lives in the First World War (1914 –18). 114,000 Victorians enlisted in the First World War. Of the 89,000 of them who served abroad 19,000 were killed. They were buried in distant graves far from home at a time when most Australians did not travel abroad. The Shrine provided a place where Victorians could grieve as individuals, as families or as a community and where they could honour and preserve the memories of those they had lost.

Inside the shrine, there are two floors open to the public, and both are filled with incredibly moving displays.

There was one I found particularly poignant. Next to an SS Devanha lifeboat, there was a photo sequence of soldiers who’d lost their lives during WWI’s Gallipoli campaign. Most of them were under 25 years of age, and one was just 14. You can read more about him here.

In addition to their names and ages, the photos included their occupations: stove fitter; milk carrier; school teacher; clerk; farmer; butcher; painter; fruit grower; medical student; and blacksmith.

In the past several months, I’ve seen so many war memorials, all over the world, and they always remind me of a line from this Phil Ochs song: It’s always the old to lead us to the war / It’s always the young to fall.

The shrine also has a balcony with beautiful views of the surrounding grounds and Melbourne’s CBD in the distance.

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Another popular sight on St. Kilda Road — and the biggest museum in Australia — is the National Gallery of Victoria.

The NGV is fantastic. While there are often ticketed, temporary exhibitions, admission to most of museum’s vast collection is free. During my visit, that included the Italian Jewels Bulgari Style exhibition. You can see the key works here. Wow!

There was also an Eames Chair on display. A little reminder of home.

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Here are the rest of my photos from the NGV: