Living in Melbourne, Australia
I have lived in Melbourne, Australia, for all of my adult life.
It was during this journey as an adult that I discovered myself, alongside with which I have also discovered the beauty and character of this wonderful city that I live in. The streets, the sights, the sounds, the smells, the energy, the vibrancy, the surroundings, the suburbs, the people. This hub and subsequent ones on Melbourne will paint my observations and adventures as a Melburnian and my close encounters with these people, places and things.
There is a subtle texture that is uniquely Melbourne. A texture I hope to convey to you in words that you may be able to visualise in your mind this lively, consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities (Economist Intelligence Unit's livability poll) from an insider's point of view.
Hub Entry 1
13 January 2011
It is now the middle of summer.
I had stepped out of the house this morning, headed towards the car, destination the office. I took a deep breath as I absorbed in the sounds of birds chirping, kookaburras laughing, a rooster crowing, a llama bleating... Ah, what music. These sounds had left a smile on my face.
I have always enjoyed living in this secluded suburb of Melbourne, Park Orchards. Quiet, serene, surrounded by animals and nature. The fresh overnight rain had let slip a fragrance of life and growth permeating through the air. I truly consider myself one of the fortunate ones to be able to live and work in a spirited city like Melbourne, being able to access all the fun and facilities of this great city while coming home to a suburb that has the charm of a peaceful country town.
The city centre slowly awakens during the breaking hours of the day, the sounds that you will hear would be the rumblings of the train in the distance shuttling commuters to their place of work, vehicles zooming past and gradually causing a bit of a traffic lock in the city centre anywhere from 8am onwards till the end of the work day. Workers hurry to their workplace, majority of whom are dressed in suits and in black. When the traffic lights change, it is quite a sight seeing this sea of black suits crossing the streets and all very much in sync with each other.
Melbourne has as much collections of smells as she has collections of trees.
The city is a plethora of tree-lined streets and quiet lane ways, of busy restaurants, vibrant cafés and towering offices. From one lane way to another I often detect soft subtle odours: freshly ground coffee as I stroll past an open door to a café, sweetly fragranced flowers being exhibited outside a florist, exciting aromas of all kinds of exotic cooking inside busy restaurants.
Some city smells make me sigh contentedly and draws me to think warmly of old friends or a cup of hot chocolate on a winter night. Others (we are fortunate there aren't too many of them!), like those that sneak out of damp back lanes, make me hold your breath and quickly skip a step.
However. I do love Melbourne.
The soul of the city
Where I used to work on the fringe of Melbourne city in a suburb called Collingwood, there were a number of small unique boutiques and quaint bookstores a few doors down the street from my office. Come lunch time, I'd sometimes set foot in some of them. Funky art galleries that featured collections of local artists were within walking distance too. Sigh! I have promised myself that I must one day make tracks into these appealing haunts. That is the great thing about this Arts and Culture capital of Australia, there is so much to see and explore.
Having said that, Melbourne has a terrific art gallery smack in the city, the National Gallery of Victoria. It regularly showcases artists' works from overseas but there are collections of local works that are on display on a permanent basis. The talents on display are breathtakingly superb. I had spent hours in that precinct staring at wide array of paintings and drawings, totally zoned out from life and its cares!
To those on the outer edge looking in, Melbourne may appear cosmopolitan, formal and reserved, yet there is a sense that the city and its residents are quietly pushing the boundaries in search of new and foreign ideas. Melbourne has a subtle, creative and entrepreneurial soul as can be seen in the various cultural festivals and vibrant arts scene that are held here annually.
This 'soul' and 'pushing the boundaries' mentality are also reflected in the dressing of Melburnians. While residents in other cities like Sydney, Brisbane and Perth may go for the more casual laid back look for their office attire, there is a stoic sense of belief amongst my fellow Melburnians that how one dresses reflects one's attitude to life in general. "Melburnians are the nation's most traditional dressers, with 43 per cent shunning casual attire for suits at work," according to a report in the newspaper, Sunday Herald Sun. This penchant for style has its origins from the country's rag trade being focused in the suburbs around this Fashion Capital of Australia and has a large number of small fashion boutiques selling stylish designer label clothes. Melbourne is host to the L'Oréal Fashion Festival in March annually.
Now that festival will be coming up soon, but not before the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, which I intend to attend and give you a hub on soon.
...for the adventurous traveler who wants to live like a native.' --Real Simple Magazine, June 2005
"...offer glimpses into the psyche of a faraway world." New York Times
Written in an entertaining style with a touch of humour, Living and Working in Australia is designed to provide newcomers with the practical information necessary for a relatively trouble-free life and is essential reading for anyone planning to spend an extended period in Australia.
Where is Melbourne?
Home to 4 million Australians, Aussie Rules Football, the Australian Open (tennis), the Grand Prix, the Melbourne Comedy Festival, the L'Oreal Fashion
Its people and population
There are approximately 4 million people living in Melbourne. At this point, it is the 2nd largest city in Australia, on its way to overtaking Sydney as the city with the biggest population in 2037, according to an ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) report. And no wonder. We have a high rate of immigrants coming into Melbourne, approximately 1500 people arriving weekly on our shores and our people is now from 200 nationalities. Almost every other person I meet on the street is either a migrant or a child or grandchild of a migrant. One of the first few questions asked after the obvious, "Hi, my name is May. What is yours?" is "Where are you from?"
The diversity is grandiose and rich. The remarkable thing is except for a few nincompoops and twits, we all live quite in perfect harmony.
Honestly. Seriously. I do love my city.
Look out for my next hub
on Melbourne, touching on the topic of our furry, feathered and scaly friends. I might just throw in some words on aromatic coffees as well. You might also like to read another hub which I had just written titled 'A fabulous One Day Rest at Crown Promenade Hotel'.
Keep in touch by opting to follow me, meanwhile you take care.
Melbourne Australia Resource
Four local writers, over 1000 research hours, 126 well-tested bars and pubs followed by 126 restorative lattes
Unique walking tours, created by local legends, that take you beyond the city's famous landmarks
From slowfood restaurants to ecotours: we cover the best green options the state has to offer.
Discover Twice The City In Half The Time...
Full-color pull-out map to navigate the city and neighborhoods
Our Melbourne expert gives the lowdown for families, foodies and fashionistas
Detailed background as well as forward-planning tips so you don't waste a moment
Locals share their city's secret experiences and top spots
Lavishly illustrated in full colour, this book features irresistible self-guided walks and tours, written by a local expert and packed with great insider tips.
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