Butt or Bug?

The latest fire has hit quite close to home for us.  Graham and I were only at Birdsland Reserve in Belgrave on 14th February and you can see some of my photos at my photoblog.  Today there is a fire tearing its way through the park and heading towards houses that we had only been looking at a month or two prior.

The fire started at the edge of one road (Nixon Road) and then headed north as it was fanned by the strong winds and heat of the day.  It also has burnt some of Lysterfield Park – the very place my husband and his mate ride every weekend and where I was taking photos just yesterday.  The fire is further up the hill from where we were.

I can’t understand this.  There was no thunder and lightening and unless there were problems with a powerline there, that pretty much leaves it to two possible things:

1.  Someone threw a cigarette butt out of their car window – something I’ve seen happen so many times in the past, or

2.  Someone deliberately lit the fire.

Either way it was a deliberate act and I can’t help feeling that the person in number 1 above is just as liable for the damage and terror as the person in number 2 above.  And the person in number 1 could have driven on their way merrily totally oblivious to what they have done.

cigartettebuttI don’t like the fact that smokers litter places anywhere – you just have to walk around cities and suburbs and see cigarette butts where smokers congregate. There aren’t always ashtrays or sandboxes available and it seems to me that many just seem oblivious to their actions. But to throw a live butt out of a car window as they drive along is totally irresponsible and I expect they’ll be eligible for a jail sentence if ever anyone was seen to do that immediately before a fire was started.

Tonight the wind is blowing strongly and I remember back to the year we first shifted to Melbourne.  It seemed to rain all year long in 1992 and we wondered what on earth we had done, shifting to such a wet city!  How I wish it were like that again, this drought has gone on for far too long and our beautiful state is really suffering.

Emblems of Victoria, Australia

I’ve been looking for things relating to the city and state I live in and then realised there should be some emblems.  A quick search soon proved that to be true and here they are:

The emblems of Victoria include…

Floral emblem: Pink Heath
Animal emblem: Leadbeater’s Possum
Bird emblem: Helmeted Honey-eater
Marine Faunal Emblem: Weedy Seadragon

Sadly, the Leadbeater’s Possum and Helmeted Honey-eater are considered to be endangered species in 2007.

You can find out more about our emblems here.

Moomba Festival coming soon

I remember as a kid watching the news on TV about the Moomba Festival in Melbourne and all the festivities. How I wished my life were more exciting and things like that happened where I lived at the time.  It seemed like everyone who was famous and well known did not live anywhere near me and were distant in another city and another state.

I remember when Bert Newton was crowned King of Moomba one year and I know that John Farnham was another year.  There’s a full list of the ‘Monarchs’ here.

Moomba will be held this year from 6-9 March and you can see the programme here.

To give you an outline from the City of Melbourne site:

Moomba history

 In 2005, Melbourne’s Moomba Waterfest turned 50. Since it’s establishment in 1955, the festival has become something of an institution, unfolding in the city’s parks, along the streets and on the waters of the Yarra River. The festival is as familiar to post-war Melbourne as the AFL and the Melbourne Cup have been for more then a century. Moomba has touched the lives of millions.

One of the largest and longest running festivals in Australia, Moomba has survived in spite of its critics, and it commands a strong place in the social history of the city.

Moomba has always sought community involvement. In early festivals, post-war migrants typically displayed their ethnicity through traditional costume and performance and in the mid 60s, with a turn towards a more arts-orientated program, Aboriginal, Jewish, Italian and Latvian arts featured prominently. Multiculturalism has been widely accepted since the early 1990s, and from this period particularly cultural diversity has been well represented in Moomba.

For more information and a timeline of the history of Moomba, you can go to the City of Melbourne site.

If you’re in Melbourne between 6-9 March (that is a long weekend here too by the way), then you may like to take in the delights and festivities of the Moomba Festival.

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Summer in Melbourne

The daily news is full of the aftermath of the bushfires in our state and I don’t think it’s something we’ll get used to hearing about.  However, people in other parts of the state are continuing with their daily lives, in between donating to charities, or giving of their time to various relief efforts to assist those who have been affected by this natural disaster.

I guess if people in other countries didn’t know where Victoria, Australia is, or hadn’t heard of it, they probably have now.

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For those visiting here you’ll find we have wonderful beaches and when the weather isn’t too hot, it’s lovely to be there.  Closer to the city there is St Kilda Beach with Luna Park and worth paying a visit. There is a long boardwalk on the beach where people are often skateboarding and skating, cycling, running and walking and there’s a kiosk almost on the sand with icreams and drinks and other things.  There are heaps of eateries down there too.

Other beaches worth visiting (and closer to where I live) are Half Moon Bay in Sandringham and Rickett’s Point in Beaumaris.

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Half Moon Bay, located on the shoreline of Pt Phillip Bay,  is home to a Surf Life Saving Club and swimming competitions and is a very popular area.  It is also the resting place for the shipwreck the Cerberus which is an historical feature you can read about here.

beach_2We’ve been to Rickett’s Point lots of times – a great cafe which is very popular in that area and lots of local artists have their works displayed on the walls inside the cafe.  Outside is a delight for children and adults who love to walk over rocks searching for the delights the sea brings with it of all sorts of shapes, colours and sizes.  We took our girls there many times when they were young and Graham and I still go there on occasion, usually when friends or family have come to visit and stay with us for awhile. Nice place for breakfast on the weekends!

New home for “Much About Melbourne”

This blog has just been shifted to my own server and imported into WordPress. Hope you like the new look! The header image was taken by me looking out from near the top of the Crown Towers towards the Flinders Street Station (long yellow building) over the other side of the Yarra River in December 2007.

Orange glow in the sky

It’s 6.39pm and I went outside to see what the bright glow was coming through my office window. There had been news reports earlier in the day not to panic, that burning off is happening in the hills to help protect areas around Melbourne from the bush fires but that Melbourne would be shrouded by smoke.

It’s really eery out there. I’ve taken some photos to give you an idea of the contrast of colour from the orange cloud and sun shining on the garden at a time when the sun is getting low.

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Hottest day on record in Melbourne

Yesterday was the hottest day ever recorded for Melbourne since records were started in the 1800s. 46.4C or 115.52F.

We’d been warned all week that the weekend was going to be a horror weekend and the forecasts were true. So far over 100 homes lost and 26 lives have been lost but they expect that to rise to around 40.

Graham and I live about 30 mins away from the nearest latest fire although there was a fire some days ago only about 15 or 20 mins away from us. We live in the suburbs!

If you live outside of Australia then this link from The Age will show you some of the devastation we’ve experienced.

We have people we know who are in areas where they can’t get out and have to stay with their houses and just this morning I learned of a couple in their car, with their family, in the middle of a football oval with other families, surrounded by the CFA in a country town. They can send text messages from their phones but have to stay put – it’s not safe to leave.

Graham and I have been watching the incident alert website to monitor fires near the home of a friend of ours. They are unable to get radio reception and are dependent on neighbours to keep them informed and also our periodic phone calls to them.

Please pray for the people of Victoria, the fireman, the authorities, the pilots of the planes dropping water bombs, the paramedics, hospital staff and the people living in those areas, for everyone affected.

Melbourne Summer

Well, we’ve had weather a bit more like our normal Melbourne summer – cooler for a couple of days and then it began to heat up again. But the sultry stickiness of last week’s heatwave seems to have stayed with us.

My poor garden looks burnt and not green. We are recyling shower water into buckets and then a watering can to keep our garden alive but of course you can’t stop the sun from burning the leaves on top.

And if you’re planning to show your house to other people (we’re contemplating shifting closer to the hills) then you want it to look its best. Perhaps summer isn’t the wisest time to consider shifting?

Thought I’d share with you some links for Summer Events in Melbourne. Victorians (our state) are sports mad so it’s not surprising that we house the Open Tennis and also have cricket matches playing here.

Check out:

Melbourne, Victoria site, and

That’s Melbourne for more events.

Sweltering heat in Melbourne

Around Australia many would know we’ve been having the worst heat wave we’ve ever had. 43C or above for 3 days in a row. The last one on record was in 1875 for 2 days so we’ve broken a new record.

I keep watching the Bureau’s website but I don’t know if that is bad or good – the temperature just keeps rising and no sign of rain. My poor garden has turned from green, to green-grey, to black or dark brown. 🙁 It’s not a pretty site.

We’ve had buckled lines that have forced many train cancellations (hundreds I believe), people stuck on train platforms for hours, bush fires, house fires, power outages, and all sorts of things. It’s hard to believe it’s like this in Melbourne. Beautiful Melbourne that always seemed to be raining, even in summer, only a few years ago. And now we’re in a drought that has been lasting a few years and then this.

We only live 5 mins from the beach, believe it or not, but rarely go there. Heaps of people did though, just to get some relief from their hot homes.

Summer in Melbourne

Well, we’re past Christmas and the New Year and January is already more than half way past. It goes quickly, doesn’t it?

Summer is now upon us, although thankfully the blasts of heat have been in short bursts, at least in Melbourne. Other parts of the country have had longer blasts of near 40C and there have been floods in the north. We’re still lacking water in our state and are on 3a restrictions – my poor garden is really feeling it. Thankfully I have buckets in the shower and they fill whilst we’re showering and I use that to keep the garden going. I had someone visit my home a week ago and they commented on how green our garden is looking – everywhere they’ve been that’s not been the case.

I’ve been spending my time in the country on weekends. I long for space, peace and quiet, fresh air, no traffic noise or traffic itself and have been taking photos around Belgrave and Lysterfield. You can see some of them at my photo blog but thought I’d share a couple here with you as well.