UFO playground – Clayton South

I was talking to my friend Andrew about this, and realised I never posted photos.

In Clayton South (The Grange, Osborne Avenue) there’s a playground with a UFO theme, to mark the day in 1966 where a large group of students at nearby schools spotted an unidentified flying object in the sky, seen landing and then taking off close to the park.

A recent Herald Sun article notes the view that the object was actually a secret military balloon designed to measure radiation, launched at Mildura but blown off course, part of nuclear testing at Maralinga.

In any case, for those with kids, the playground is recommended!

The Grange (UFO-themed playground), Clayton South

The Grange (UFO-themed playground), Clayton South

The Grange (UFO-themed playground), Clayton South

The Grange (UFO-themed playground), Clayton South

Photos from August 2004

Continuing my series of ten year old photos… This month there’s a few domestic pics thrown into the mix.

This is the view out onto St Kilda Road from the National Gallery of Victoria, one rainy afternoon. Quite arty, isn’t it. The photo I mean, not just the gallery.
View out of the National Gallery of Victoria, August 2004

The pedestrian bridge over the Yarra, back when there weren’t gazillions of padlocks on the wires. Looks like the Eureka Tower was still under construction. (Wikipedia reckons it was built between 2002 and 2006.)
Yarra pedestrian bridge, August 2004

The entrance to the Degraves Street subway aka the Campbell Arcade to Flinders Street station. Most of the shops in the subway have got a bit more hipster since then. The background has changed a bit — no giant tram Superstop back then.
Flinders Street, subway to station, August 2004

Flinders Street station clock tower opposite Elizabeth Street. Hasn’t changed much.
Flinders Street Station tower, August 2004

Richmond station: a Siemens train, then in very plain colours, arrives. I think they were still coming into service at this point, and Connex had only just taken over M>Train’s routes, so liveries and so on were probably in limbo.

Glenhuntly station’s resident pigeon feeder in action. He used to bring an enormous amount of bird food, which of course led to an enormous amount of bird poo on the platform. Some years later, one of the station hosts subsequently told me he’d passed away. A smiley-faced former M>Train is heading to Frankston.
Glenhuntly station, August 2004

Moving to domestic matters, the rental house we had in Carnegie from 2003-2005 had a big backyard. Here it is one winter’s morning, with frost on the grass. The trampoline’s been put on its side to reduce the moisture getting onto it. In the two years we lived there, I never touched the vegie patch. Being a big block, close to Carnegie’s shops and railway station, the site is ripe for redevelopment — a quick Google shows it sold for $805,000 in May 2013.
The back garden, August 2004

This was the garden shed/car port at Carnegie. When I moved out, the agent optimistically described it as a lock-up garage — it didn’t lock. It was pretty ramshackle. I never kept the car in it, myself — at the time I had the Magna, which would have been uncomfortably tight. Most of the crap in it wasn’t mine, though I did own the discarded red noticeboard and the TV antenna which I’d bought for the previous flat.
My shed, August 2004

Lunch for myself and the kids, ready to go. The small boxes must have been Play Lunch. Hmm, chocolate muesli bars, not a particularly healthy choice, and I guess I’m to blame for that.
Packed lunch, August 2004

Here’s an interesting find. Taken at work (well, at a client site) by then-colleague Linda, we were just about to have cake for my birthday. At the time I had a lot less grey hair, wore a tie (stopped in 2011), and obviously wore the phone (a Nokia 6100) and its (wired) hands-free kit, along with an ID card and key hanging from my belt. I think that’s another colleague’s desk/computer in the background, but mine would have been similar (less tidy, probably). Another colleague, Gary, is evidently keen to get into the cake, and on the far right is John, who passed-away in 2007.
Daniel at work, August 2004

Update Sunday 17/8/2014: Since Michelle wanted to see the cake, here it is:
Daniel's birthday cake, 2004

Photos: the loveliness of elevated roadways

It’s easy when looking at aerial pictures to see the vast amounts of land taken up by freeway interchanges.

South Melbourne freeway interchange (Google Maps)
(Pic: Google Maps)

What is sometimes forgotten is the impact at ground level from elevated roadways. Here are some snaps from around South Melbourne — which of course being inner-city, has some of the most valuable land in the country.

I suppose there’s a certain grace to the roadway structures themselves, but underneath it’s certainly not pretty.

Car park below Westgate Freeway

Tram line below Westgate Freeway

Beside the Westgate Freeway

Tram stop below Kings Way

It really does seem that the only use for the land underneath roadways is parking — mostly for cars, but some for trucks/hire companies.

Car park below Westgate Freeway

Car park below Westgate Freeway

I only saw one exception: McDonalds seemed to be the only other business willing to be located underneath the freeway.

McDonalds below Westgate Freeway

Of course, elevated railway bridges also have an impact at ground level. But the carrying capacity for the space taken is much higher with rail, and “interchanges” (eg stations) don’t have the huge footprint, as humans alighting trains don’t need the big turning circles found on freeway interchanges.

East West Link

It’s important to note that while some is proposed to be tunnels, a big aspect of East West Link is elevated roadways. Both the western and eastern sections will involve new elevated sections. The Clifton Hill interchange will involve connections up high above the railway line, and the interchange from the eastern section to Citylink includes elevated roads — infamously surrounding the newly built Evo apartments, as well as from a tunnel portal in the middle of Royal Park. The new elevated sections won’t be just at the interchange itself, but also providing an expansion of lanes along the existing Citylink in both directions — north and south.

EWLink interchange to Citylink at Royal Park

That is, of course, if it’s ever built.

I’m told that the expansion will take the northern end of Citylink near Bell Street up to a total of fourteen lanes. Maybe one day we’ll stop pretending that motorways are an efficient form of transport for big cities.

Want to avoid Chuggers? Now you can, with City of Melbourne’s handy map

One of the great things about Melbourne’s CBD (the Hoddle Grid) is that it’s so easily navigable. There are lots of parallel streets and laneways, so when walking around it’s pretty easy to take an alternative route, and still not get lost.

You can use this to avoid Chuggers.

Charity Muggers are notorious for getting in the way of pedestrians, desperately trying to get people to sign up for direct debits to charities, to the point of irritation.

As reported in the Herald Sun today, the City of Melbourne has decided to restrict Chuggers to 26 specified locations in Melbourne’s CBD. And they’ve published these locations on a map.

City of Melbourne: Chugger map

(See more detail in the full map, in PDF form)

Some of the spots seem a little unlikely — for instance Lonsdale and King Streets, in the middle of the CBD’s strip club district, where even at lunchtime there aren’t many pedestrians around.

Some don’t seem quite logical for other reasons. At Collins and King, I often see the Chuggers on the SW corner, as it has plenty of space. But the map dictates they use the SE and NW corners — the latter is quite constrained.

There are further restrictions in the policy:

Each Registered Charity Organisation may apply to collect funds within the central city at six of the 26 specified locations per day, for a maximum of 40 days per year.

It’s not immediately clear to me if this will restrict other (non-Chugger) types of fundraising. Policies can be a bit of a blunt instrument. As seen when Metro decided to restrict them, then changed their minds, policymakers sometimes can’t seem to distinguish between Chuggers, whom many people find annoying, and more socially acceptable fundraising such as the Salvos, the RSL or Legacy asking for once-off donations of change. (Metro has since seen the light.)

Anyway, back to the map…

While it’d be impractical to memorise all the locations, if there are some on, say, your usual walk to lunch, and you’d rather not face an over-enthusiastic Chugger leaping around, trying to shake your hand, calling out to you in the street, or just generally getting in your face, then you can use this map to avoid them.

Chuggers are also increasingly found in the suburbs. Not sure they’re mapped anywhere — you’ll just have to use the other avoidance strategies: keep walking, don’t slow down. Smile or acknowledge but don’t engage otherwise — and certainly don’t shake hands with them if they offer.