in honor of melbourne’s 181st birthday, let me dish out these photos of the yarra river up in warrandyte. taken like, 50 years ago. because procrastination is the operational word for this blog. lol.
jeff and i drove there sometime in december of 2014. it was so long ago i can barely remember what happened. i can still remember what i wore, though. that’s how i remember dates and events. on this day, i wore one of my favorite dresses i bought in thailand. in retrospect, i shouldn’t have belted it so looking at it now is making me go, “wtf was i thinking?!” but, oh, well. chalk it up to #yolo.
jeff just bought a drone then so he was always taking me out for drives so he could test out his new toy without feeling too guilty for making me come along.
“it’s gonna be blog-worthy!” is his usual sales pitch and i always fall for it. because i’m a sucker like that. well, guess what, this “blog-worthy” day had been sitting in my hard drive for 20 freaking months i was planning of scrapping it altogether.
partly also because the photos of us in front of a transformer are cheesy as. haha. jeff loves those, by the way. i reckon that’s his ideal scenery — an endless stretch of green fields punctuated by the poetry of electrical wires.
the fresh peppermint tea at this cafe we had lunch in, i remember. but not what we ordered.
just as i remember jeff having a long conversation with a man who looked so much like his dog you could’ve sworn they were brothers. i kid you not.
so, anyway, warrandyte is a charming little place. one of those quiet suburbs filled with dear old grannies who would like nothing more than to retire close to nature.
and having the yarra river course through there is just perfect.
you probably heard about this famous river before. yep, it’s the same river as the one in melbourne city.
the same one you stare at and wonder how soon you’d get hypothermia and die if you jump into it while leaning over the rails on southbank. at least that’s my thought process anyway.
it’s funny how i never really thought about where the yarra river starts and ends. or that it even has a starting point and an end point. i just saw it as it was — a river right in front of me. flanked by the city that grew up beside it.
for what it’s worth, the yarra river is a historical figure on its own. without it, melbourne wouldn’t be the melbourne that we know and love. recently hailed the #1 most liveable city in the world. and i’m not surprised. melbourne IS beautiful! save for the weather because the cold is always a bitch but they said city, not utopia. fair enough.
if you jump on this website, you can actually read the river’s interesting history and how melbourne came to life.
and also how unfair it was to the aboriginals, the true owners of the land.
On the banks of the Yarra on 8 June, 1835, Batman (john, a tassie farmer who represented a land-hungry launceston group known as the port phillip association. NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH BRUCE WAYNE.) encountered a group of aboriginals and, with an exchange of goods that included scissors, shirts, tomahawks, knives, blankets and handkerchiefs, secured the marks of the “chiefs” on a pre-written “grant of land”.
Batman returned to Launceston boasting “I am the greatest landowner in the world”.
He claimed his exchange had secured 500,000 acres of land, including the Yarra River, for the Association.
Having no common language, but heeding the conventions of their own culture, the aboriginals had apparently believed they had taken part in a friendship ceremony that would allow Mr Batman temporary rights to cross through their country.
This riverside transaction signalled the beginning of the end of the traditional tribal life of the Wurundjeri.
From then on they would be progressively disinherited from their land as more and more white settlers arrived and as disease and falling birthrates took their toll.
of course, the discovery of gold in 1851 played a huge role in the city’s development too. since then, everyone wanted to emigrate to victoria because, duh, GOLD!
By 1860, the city had a resident population of 500,000 people and the 25 million ounces of gold that had been mined in the state during that period – worth about $10 billion today – meant a city of imperial proportions began to arise along the muddy grid of streets.
Gold wealth gave Melbourne some of its finest public buildings: The Treasury, Parliament House, the State Library, the GPO and the Town Hall.
that last line is basically what made me fall in love with melbourne. the old buildings stand proudly with the new. it’s like being frozen in time, except that everyone’s moving and changing the landscape without daring to touch the past, except maybe to do some touchups here and there.
and as far as the name goes, the city was named after the british prime minister, viscount william lamb melbourne. who must be smiling in his grave right now for bearing the name of the #1 most liveable city in the world 6 years in a row.