Melbourne 2023 – Part 3

Monday 6th February

Following on from the previous weeks I decided to make Monday a day of rest, so I chilled out catching up with the UK paper, doing my regular puzzles and reading my book. By lunchtime I had had enough so decided to dig out Graeme’s mower and set about cutting the grass, this was followed by me attacking the weeds on the paths, boy is the ‘onion grass’ here one tough weed. Job done, I felt that I had earned the right to sit in the sun with a beer with Joffrey beside me.

Tuesday 7th February

Today was the day to visit one of Pat’s favourite haunts, the Bayside Men’s Shed. I got picked up by Pat & Kay, Kay left us there and went off to join her walking group , leaving Pat and me to play with all the big boy toys. It was nice to meet up again with some of Pat’s friends that I had met on a previous visit, and it was interesting to see all of the various projects taking shape. At 11:00 everything stopped and we all gathered to see a presentation by one of the members on model aviation, it was quite interesting with some practical demonstrations using model planes of all sizes and types. The presentation was followed by a BBQ lunch where all the members had a chance to socialise and have a blether. We then were collected by Kay and we returned to their home in Beaumaris for a coffee, Pat then decided to bring out his collection of RC helicopters and drones to try to put into practice what we had been shown. We had a short stroll around Beaumaris before returning for dinner when Graeme and Briony joined us. Another good day.

Wednesday 8th February

Today I decided to hit one of Melbourne’s suburbs to take some photographs of street art as shown on one of my apps. I chose to visit Fitzroy as it was fairly easy to reach, a train to Flinders Street then a tram to Gertrude Street (2nd coolest street in the world according to Time Out magazine) before a long walk up Brunswick Street and its associated lanes and side streets. I was not disappointed with what I found, there were some decent quality murals, especially the Fitzroy Faces on Cecil Street, this 50-metre wall has 7 large portraits by the artists; Rone, Adnate, Sofles, Heesco, Dvate, Cam Scale and Jason Parker. I did find, however, that there was the usual amount of tagging in the area which had wiped out some good work I had seen on previous visits. Back in the city, I had a wee wander before stopping for a late lunch before heading back to Aspendale where after dinner I started to get some order into my street art photographs of Frankston.

Thursday 9th February

Today I decided to try out Graeme’s bicycle, I pumped up the tyres and figured out how to reset the lock before going down the track alongside the creek for a bit, to say that I didn’t enjoy it was an understatement, I found the bike heavy and a bit difficult, I tried to change gear and the chain came off, so after I put it back on I returned home and spent the rest of the morning sitting in the sun reading my book. After lunch I walked to Mordialloc to pick up some shopping and a bottle of cough syrup before meeting Graeme off the train, rather than waiting in the pub, I took a stroll down to the beach and spent some time enjoying watching the local surf club training for beach rescues, much too energetic for me. Before heading home, Graeme and I had a lovely curry in Saffron, the local curry shop.

Friday 10th February

Today I decided to revisit the Richmond suburb to see if the street art scene had changed and to find some new pieces as shown on my Street Art Cities app. I was a little disappointed to find many good pieces painted over and not too many new works. I wandered quite a bit trying to find some from the app to no avail. In fact, the only thing I found of interest was the Ikea store where I stopped for a lunch of some traditional meatballs. I returned to a traditional Aussie BBQ out on the deck, we were joined by P&K and we finalised details for our Silo Art tour.

Saturday 11th February

Today P&K and I set off on our Silo Art tour, it took us around 6 hours, with a break in Ballarat for lunch, to reach our Grampians destination of Halls Gap, where we checked into our rooms in the Gariwerd Motel (Gariwerd is the aboriginal name for the Grampians). Once settled in and unpacked we went for a wander around town, stopping off for a coffee where we planned our next few days. We returned to the Motel for an afternoon siesta, before heading out for dinner in the Halls Gap Tavern, it was interesting watching the local wildlife such as, wallabies, cockatiels and Kookaburras in their natural habitat. As we had an early start in the morning we decided to have an early night and returned to the Motel.

Sunday 12th February

After a nice breakfast, provided by Kay, we were picked up by Justin from Grampians Tours for the start of our trip, our first stop was the Stick Shed at Murtoa this was an interesting place to visit, created during WWII, to store surplus grain, it is built using 560 unmilled Ash trees and corrugated iron, at 270 metres long, it certainly is a sight to see, We then stopped at the Woods’ Farming and Heritage Museum in Rupanyuip for a coffee and chickpea flour brownies, which were very nice, the museum was a fabulous place to visit, jammed full of interesting articles collected by 5 generations of the Woods family.

From the museum we made our way to the Sheep Hill silo painted by Matt Adnate, the bright colourful mural, featuring 4 local Indigenous people, certainly takes your breath away when you first see it.

Our next stop was at a town called Brim to see a silo painted by one of my favourite artists, Guido Van Helten, this mural in his familiar monochromatic style, features 4 local farmers and was actually the first silo to be painted on the mural trail in 2016, over the years the colours have faded until the artwork look as if it was almost a part of the original concrete of the silo.

We returned to Rupanyup to view a silo painted by Russian artist Julia Volchkova in 2017, this artwork, again in a monochromatic style, features 2 of the youngsters of the town wearing their sports attire (netball and Australian Rules football), on a pair of squat steel silos. The evolving rust spots on them add to their appeal in my opinion. Whilst staying in the town Julia forged friendships with many of the locals, and after a fire nearby painted a tribute to the volunteer firefighters of the community.

Unfortunately, this was the final silo on our tour, when we found out that we would only visit 3 on the tour, we were a bit disappointed, however, once we had seen the distances between the silos and the conditions of the rural roads, we could understand why the tour was limited, however, this was more than made up by the additional elements of the tour and the friendliness and generosity of the people we met on the way. On our return to Halls Gap, we oldies had a well earned nap before visiting the Paper Rock Scissors brewery for dinner, and very good it was too.

Monday 13th February

To compensate for missing many of the silos yesterday, we planned to visit a couple within driving distance of the motel and that wouldn’t add too much travel time to our journey home, so after another excellent breakfast, we headed to the town of Horsham to see a silo painted by Smug, this stunning full figure mural is a tribute to Yanggendyinanyuk, an Aboriginal warrior, sitting alongside it is his painting of a Black Cockatoo, which was the characters totem. Whilst at the silo we met a lad flying his drone, it turned out that he was the photographer for the Melbourne artist Jimmy Dvate, who was painting a mural next to Horsham Town Hall, so off we went to see him in action, it was great to see just how he approaches his work and to see the piece develop.

Our next stop was the sleepy little town of Dimboola, a stop on the way to Arkona, see another silo pained by Smug, this was a great place to have a coffee break and a chat with some of the locals in Oma’s Cafe, it transpired that Smug stayed in the town whilst painting the silo and while he was there he also painted a mural on a building next to the local library, this mural, a study of some local birds, was magnificent indeed. After our coffee, we went up the road to Arkona to see another stunning and interesting mural by Smug on the silo. The mural depicts Roley Klinge, an Arkona local who championed tennis for the local community. Being unable to meet Roley, who had passed away in 1991, Smug decided to paint him in an innovative way, showing only his clothing and tennis gear, however, he did manage to fit in a small portrait of him at the base of the silo. This truly is a spectacular mural that finished off our trail to perfection.

As we liked it so much, we returned to Dimboola for lunch before starting our return trip, after chatting to the cafe staff about the town’s up-and-coming Steampunk Festival, we paid a visit to the Dimboola Imaginarium, a quirky gift shop, housed in an old bank building. Run by 2 guys who are currently converting the former managers accommodation into guest bedrooms which are decorated in a unique way, we were invited in to see all the rooms and we even visited the old vault to see a pictorial history of the area, the place and the people certainly were interesting.

We then hit the Western Highway for an uneventful journey home from a fun, interesting and enjoyable trip, which will stay in our memories I’m sure.