Thursday, November 2, 2017

Shrine of Remembrance - Melbourne

The Shrine of Remembrance is the National War Memorial of Victoria, a monument dedicated to all those who have served in the armed conflicts and peacekeeping operations in which Australia participated.
The Shrine of Remembrance with the Eternal Flame
Originally built in the 1920's as a memorial for the 89,000 Victorian men and women who served overseas in World War 1 and the 19,000 who made the supreme sacrifice. Although other monuments in the Shrine Reserve commemorate later services, the Shrine itself now honours all men and women who have served. It belongs to yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Poppy Courtyard

As we arrived at the Shrine the first area we came across was one of the courtyards. This courtyard was black walls with many many red poppies poked into holes and what looked like a huge poppy suspended above. 

The Poppy Courtyard from above
It wasn't until we could view the poppy courtyard from above that we could see the beauty of the suspended poppy. Our tour guide also informed us that the thousands of holes in the black walls that all the poppies were stuck into actually said the "Ode to Remembrance"in morse code. 

Gallery of Medals
At the entry of the Shrine we were confronted by the Gallery of Medals. This wall of medals certainly emphasises the scale of Victoria's service since World War 1.  This hallway exhibits over 4000 replica service medals since the Boer War. Each medal represents one hundred Victorians who served in armed conflicts and peacekeeping operations.

View along St Kilda Rd / Swanston St, Melbourne
Standing on the second floor balcony you get the most amazing view of Melbourne's CBD. 

Can you see William Barak?

Looking northward up along St. Kilda Rd and Swanston St. you can see the majestic St Pauls Cathedral. Beyond the Cathedral you can see a newly built striped building. Without our extremely knowledgeable tour guide we would never have noticed the magnificence in front of us. Can you see it? Constructed into the balconies of the apartment building is the face of the Wurunjeri elder William Barak. Not only was William Barak an elder of the Wurunjeri, an artist he was a social justice leader. We were absolutely amazed at this beautiful acknowledgment of a great Australian from a private building. 

Father and Son 
Centrally placed in the crypt is this very powerful sculpture "Father and Son", with this inscription. 

1914-1918 AND 1939 - 1945

Changi Flag
Captain Kenneth Parsons,2/3 Motor Ambulance Convoy, removed this union flag from the Sultan of Johore's palace in late January 1942 to prevent it from falling into Japanese hands. After Singapore's surrender on 15 February 1942, Parsons and the other Australian medical officers concealed the flag for the entire three and a half years of their imprisonment in Changi. Between 1942 and 1945, over 100 signatures were placed on the flag. Of these, 91 are Australian, including 33 Victorians, 36 New South Welshman, 16 Queenslanders and 2 Western Australians. The rest are attributed to members of the liberating forces. 

The Devanha Landing Boat
The "Devanha" landing boat is the last remaining of the six landing boats that ferried ANZAC troops to the beaches at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.  I must admit standing beside this amazing piece of history I could almost feel the spirit of the men aboard. 

Remembrance Garden - Post World War 11 Memorial. 
Although a small out of the way area, this is a lovely peaceful spot and sit and appreciate all we have.

Hall of Columns
The Hall of Columns is part of the original substructure of the Shrine. Approximately four million bricks were used in the construction of the columns to support the original structure. This area has now been opened up to the public and with it's subdued lighting and many many artifacts it gives an atmosphere of contemplation. 

World War 11 Memorial
The World War 11 Memorial, which includes the Forecourt, Cenotaph, Eternal Flame and flagpoles, was built to commemorate all Victorians who served in World War 11. 

Close up view of the World War 11 Memorial
I've never been one for war stuff but I am so glad I included The Shrine in my adventure days. I learnt so much about some pretty sad history. War is a terrible terrible thing and these days we don't know from which direction it is coming. I don't have a solution, all I can do as one person is love and treat all other humans with kindness and compassion. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Abbotsford Convent

For this weeks adventure I went to the very beautiful Abbotsford Convent. The site consists of 11 buildings; the Convent, Convent Annexe, St Euphrasia, Providence, Rosina, St Mary's, Mercator, Magdalen Laundries, Sacred Heart, Industrial School and St Anne's. 

Founded by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in 1863, the Abbotsford Convent operated for more than 100 years through the social traumas caused by gold rush and bust,the Great Depression and two world wars. Over the period of a century, thousands of girls and women were placed in the care at the convent, with many residing in the convent's Sacred Heart Building, and labouring in the onsite Magdalen Laundries. 

One of the two woodfired ovens built in 1901 and still in use today.
This one is now used for mainly heating and the other is used for all the bakeries daily food. 
While the convent had a positive impact for some women - many of whom were destitute and had nowhere else to go - and although the convent provided critically needed shelter, food and education in the absence of state care, the convent was also a place of hardship and ordeal for some of the women, as was often the experience of those in institutional care. 

Built in 1901, the Sisters Convent is sited on what was Abbotsford House, a former gentleman's farmlet. The Convent building was where most of the Sisters, novices (nuns in training) and postulants (women commencing life as nuns) lived.

Funds for the Convent building came from a raffle held at the Royal Exhibition Buildings, with the prizes donated by Catholic families and businesses. The raffle raised over $5 million in today's dollar equivalent. 

At it's peak, the Convent housed up to 150 Sisters and was one of the largest Catholic complexes in Australia, and by 1901 was the largest charitable institution operation in the Southern Hemisphere. 

Today many of the buildings are now home to over 100 arts and crafts practitioners, the Convent Bakery, Health and Wellbeing businesses and also spaces that can be rented out for functions. 

On Thursday 31 August 2017, the Abbotsford Convent joined iconic landmarks including the Royal Exhibition Buildings, Sydney Opera House and the Melbourne Cricket Ground in achieving the country's highest level of recognition. 

The National Heritage listing states the Convent's Laundries and asylum buildings are an important record for those Australians and their families known as the Forgotten Australians. The listing also states the harm of institutionalization and the trauma experienced by many residents is acknowledged as part of the Convents heritage. 

As I walked around theses beautiful gardens gazing at the amazing buildings it was nice to think that there was somewhere that was there to help women, but also very sad to think of all those who suffered.