Once upon a time, Melbourne’s General Post Office was the centre of the city’s postal service where thousands of letters were received and sorted. Located on the intersection between Bourke and Elizabeth Street, the GPO building was conveniently positioned in the city’s central business district and its location continues to be used as a point of reference to measure distance from the centre of Melbourne. From the mid-19th Century right up until 1992, Melbournians visited the GPO to post letters, buy stationary, check their PO boxes and pay bills, but these days the building is home to retailers and restaurants.
(note: I didn’t have the right lens to capture the rest of the building when walking through the city earlier this week, but I liked the image all the same).
In general, I rarely go into the Melbourne City’s CBD (central business district) any more as it’s so crowded in the main Bourke Street pedestrian only shopping mall and I find my senses overwhelmed.
My MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity) is super-sensitive to perfumes, chemicals, loud sounds and bright lights.
Yesterday’s visit to my favourite hairdresser, who can tame my wayward hair into some resemblance of style, and my regular Dental appointment (next Wednesday) are about the only reasons for a visit.
Yesterday was hot and airless in the crowd, but one can never predict the weather in Melbourne (when you make appointments the previous week).
As I was hurrying to catch a tram to the south side of the city, I stopped for a moment to watch the above scene. I’m not sure whether I captured this scene as well as I could have (had I more time), but street photography is often a quick un-composed shot anyway.
I couldn’t help but be highly amused at the sight of 2 women calmly sitting on the step eating their lunch(?) while the cameraman was recording a clip of (perhaps) a journalist or TV weatherman behind them?
Next minute, a man in a velour sort of dressing gown (?), complete with ankle socks and thongs, interrupted them, walked up to the person being filmed and put his arm around him (I missed that shot), so they stopped filming. I couldn’t work out whether he was part of the crew. or a passerby in a rather strange outfit on a cold winter’s day wanting to be photographed with a celebrity of some sort? I was too far away to really see much.
I rarely go in to the city centre to do street photography these days. It’s usually a quick stop, or walk down a lane, on the way to somewhere else.
From the archives…..
This image of a busker in the main shopping mall area in Burke Street remains one of my favourite images to this day.
I haven’t seen him since 2010 which is the year I first took up Photography as a hobby and I often wonder……..where is he now?
This is one image which looked terrible in colour, but B & W – just perfect.
It’s rare that I can’t think of a suitable title for a blog post, but Sunday in the City (of Melbourne) left me speechless and with more than a tear in my eye.
I’d been looking forward to my first visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens in about 18 months to do some bird photography.
After getting off the bus in the city centre, I walked down the main north/south street to the tram stop to find notice that there were tram disruptions and delays, so after waiting about 20 minutes, I decided to called the whole photography nature walk off and do a quick walk around the block in search of some street photography.
I had been through the new up-market shopping arcade linking Collins street to Little Collins street before and been quite amazed by the mirrored columns, ceilings and undersides of the escalators. The whole experience is like walking through some distorted hall of mirrors at a fun fair – quite surreal and definitely a unique experience. Many of the high-end ground floor shops are still untenanted.
You need real money to shop here.
The central atrium is filled with a modern ‘chandelier’ of hanging green/aqua light tubes. Both a work of art as well as lighting.
The previous arcade was very beautiful in itself and for the life of me, I can’t think why the current mind-blowing multi-million dollar display of vulgarity, which took 2 years to create, was ever passed by Melbourne City Council (or the town planning department).
I find it offensive. It’s a slap in the face of the homeless. It represents the extreme waste of money that really turns my stomach.
It’s one of modern western societies contradictions……….
(note: the slide show below was mostly made by looking straight up above me, except for one photo which shows a shopper riding an escalator).
When you leave this arcade and walk up to the main north/south thoroughfare linking the northern suburbs to the southern outbound highway (which runs along the west side of the Royal Botanic Gardens), you are confronted by the Bedrooms of the Homeless. Obviously during the winter, when night temperatures can drop to the low single digits, its warmer for the homeless to shift from their summer shelters along the river to the warmer inner streets of Melbourne.
After seeing the 5th makeshift shelter, where the occupant(s) was/were still fast asleep, I saw the 6th Bedroom looming up on the footpath and decided to make a photo.
I didn’t want to invade the occupant’s privacy so made the image from some distance away. An open umbrella was creating a wind break. Possessions and used food containers created a fence surrounding the homeless person and at this stage I was moved to tears.
This was the Home……… of a Homeless person.
I really don’t understand the wave of new multi-million dollar high-rise apartment blocks. Many are for the wave of Asian students who now attend our highly regarded universities at the northern end of the city) and are justified. But there are others which are not.
With some 8,000 homeless in the inner suburbs (32,000 in the whole state) and over 88,000 empty houses, the figures just don’t add up.
Some of the homeless have mental disorders like Schizophrenia. I see many on my bus running along my route to the city centre. Some have addictions – drugs, alcohol, over-the-counter medications – you name it.
There are those who prefer to live in the open without the normal links to jobs, debt and modern trappings and they are homeless by choice.
Then there are the teenage runaways with the pallor of despair etched upon their gaunt young faces. I wonder what drove them from home? Abuse, violence or drugs? Or just plain dysfunctional family relationships which made their home life unbearable? Perhaps even bullying from peers?
Most are just plain……… homeless………with no jobs to pay for affordable rental accommodation and utilities (let alone food and clothing).
……and then there are the travellers busking to make some money to advance their travel adventures. This Buddhist traveller was playing a variety of Nepalese singing bowls and from time to time, meditated or gave blessings to the passing shoppers. (the image below was made back in February 2013).
How does society justify multi-million dollar expenditure when a few hundred dollars would make all the difference to those living in poverty and homelessness.