Centre Place Laneway In Melbourne

Centre Place in Melbourne

The other day I mentioned that I didn’t take nearly as many vertical photos as horizontal ones. With that statement in mind, I went looking for some unpublished vertical images to prove to myself that I actually did take them. This is one I found taken on the streets in Melbourne, Centre Place laneway to be precise. I always thought it was called Degraves Lane, however it seems that Degraves Lane is just across the road and this one has a completely different name. Either way, both lanes are filled with amazing places to eat, featuring cuisine from all over the world.

Across the River Liffey

Apartments on Wolfe Tone Quay in Dublin

Back to the streets of Dublin and looking across the River Liffey from Victoria Quay. This shot made me think, I don’t actually take a lot of vertical shots anymore. My first thought is always to shoot horizontally. Maybe that is something I should change.

Swanson Street In Melbourne

Painted Vinyl on Swanson Street

I spent a pleasant afternoon in Melbourne, wandering its busy streets and narrow alleyways before and after lunch, admiring the Yarra River, its modern skyscrapers, historic architecture, bustling laneways and looking forward very much to seeing it in the evening. I like Melborune, partly because it is very walkable and easy to navigate thanks to all the bridges across the river, but mostly because of the trams.

Belfast’s Finest

The Crown Liquor Saloon in Belfast

Once upon a time this Belfast pub had the reputation as one of the finest Victorian gin bars in the whole of the British Isles. Known as the Crown Liquor Saloon dating back to 1826 it features stained glass windows, mosaic tiling, an amazing carved ceiling. There are also 10 snugs that had gun metal plates for striking matches and an alarm bell system for patrons to alert staff for service. It’s a true masterpiece in bar design and architecture.

Corn Market In Belfast

Corn Market and Arthur Square in Belfast

If I went back to Belfast I would take a lot more photos than I did! It really is an interesting and fascinating city with something intriguing around every corner. On my wanderings I found this location, the corner of Corn Market and Arthur Square which is also an entrance to Victoria Square shopping mall and the location of the Spirit of Belfast art sculpture.  Personally, I couldn’t help but wonder about that street name, Corn Market. There must be some type of historical context to it.

The Bankers Bar In Dublin

The corner of Dame Lane & Trinity Street in Dublin.

While we are on the subject of photos from Dublin, this one I took while zigzagging through the city streets on a balmy evening in early January. I can’t remember where I was coming from, it might have been a restaurant. However, I do know I was heading for the Stags Head at the end of Dame Lane. A location where a tavern has existed in some shape or form since the 1780’s.

The Great Irish Hunger

The Irish Famine Sculptures of Dublin

This is another unpublished photo I came across. While in Dublin, I was walking alongside the River Liffey in the city’s Docklands on Custom House Quay. It was then that I came across the Irish Famine statues. An event that had a profound effect on Ireland and the worldwide Irish Community. There are a great many stories of the Great Irish Famine (1845-1849), many of which are hard to read due to the level of suffering that was involved.

One story is that of Rodger Cantwell and his family who survived the Irish famine that began in 1845. At the age of 30, living and working as farm laborer on the estate of Englisman George Fawcett in Toomevara, Tipperary, he and his wife Mary had come to rely on the potato as their main source of sustenance.

On a bleak October morning in 1845, after a prolonged period of heavy rain, he awoke to find a dense blue fog had settled over his fields. The air filled with the scent of decay. He was soon to discover, like his many neighbors, that his entire potato crop had been destroyed. For Rodger and his wife, the next few years were miserable. Often hungry, underweight and in ill health, the Indian corn and maize provided by the English as relief only managed to cause abdominal pain and diarrhea. To make matters worse, while the Irish farmers were starving, food exports to England that included oats, bacon, eggs, butter and beef continued. Eventually, many Irish farm laborers were dislodged from their homes by English landlords who hired crews to destroy their lodgings. Overnight, families found themselves starving and homeless. For people like Mary and Rodger, they joined the many waves of migrants fleeing starvation by immigrating overseas to places like America. 

Rodger and Mary Cantwell went on to settle in Rochester, New York before shifting to Milwaukee where they raised a family. Rodger eventually passed away at the age of 55 in 1870 while his wife Mary lived to the age 76. 

Following the Irish famine, between 1845 and 1855, the population of 8.2 million was reduced by one-third with 1 million dying of starvation and disease. Another 2 million emigrated to other countries. The Famine statues on Custom House Quay, are a somber and poignant commemoration of one of the most profound disasters in Irish history.

Daniel of Dublin

Daniel of Dublin

Amongst the jigsaw puzzle streets of Dublin that twist and turn across the city, you’ll find St Stephen’s Green. Within St Stephen’s Green, I found a man called Daniel. The few items that he was carrying with him were carefully placed on a park bench while he chatted to anyone who would stop by to talk. He was polite and friendly and spoke in a gravelly tone that told of a less than comfortable life on the streets of Dublin. He spoke of having many favourite spots in the city centre but this spot was by far his favourite. Manly because of how peaceful it is and the calmness of the place. Then just as he spoke they arrived, pigeons. Lots and lots of pigeons. 

It turns out that Daniel works for one of the homeless shelters in Dublin. Collecting money and donations, along with doing other ‘odds and ends’ that need to be done. But, what he really likes to do is feed the pigeons. As he threw seed out for them and gently poured it into the hands of strangers who stopped, the pigeons were quick to find the food source. In an instant, three to five pigeons were on heads, shoulders and arms, gently pecking. Suddenly, as quickly as they had arrived they were off into the sky. They swooped in a massive loop before landing in exactly the same spot and continuing their hunt for food.

Only then in the peace and beauty in Dublin’s St Stephen’s Green did he ask for a small donation.

Hotels In Hong Kong

The New Lucky Hotel

While looking through my unpublished photos I found this one from my time in Hong Kong. On the coroner of Nathan and Jordan Road in Kowloon, you’ll find the New Lucky Hotel and Hostel. Curious to find out what it is like, I went to the review section of Tripadvisor. If you want a good laugh, I’d recommend reading the poor reviews on Tripadvisor, it really is rather entertaining. On this occasion I discovered that New Lucky Hotel had 21 reviews, of which 14 were rated as Poor or Terrible. To sum up what guests had said, it seems that the place is alright for one night if everywhere else in Hong Kong is booked! Further to that, while it’s convenient and cheap, in general it’s a bit grotty, pretty horrible and should be avoided at all costs. Unless of course you’ve learned to live like an unwashed sardine before you arrive, then you’ll probably be ok.

Melbourne’s Evan Walker Bridge

The Evan Walker Bridge in Melbourne

Walking across the Evan Walker Bridge in Melbourne felt like stepping into a postcard where an urban landscape blends with a sense of whimsical charm. The Yarra River ambling its way past the city’s modern heart. On one side, Southbank’s bustling promenade with cafés and street performers, their eclectic sounds mingling in the air. On the other, the historic Flinders Street Station stands as a monument  to yesteryears, its yellow facade glowing in the afternoon sun. As I strolled, I could help but marvel at Melbourne’s effortless fusion of old and new.

The Brisbane River

The Brisbane River

I was never aware that the European settlement history of Queensland dates back to a penal settlement. However, I shouldn’t be surprised. I had always assumed once Britain stopped sending convicts to Australia, people started emigrating and one of the locations they chose is now the city of Brisbane. It turns out, this wasn’t the case. It seems that Queensland’s European history as a settlement started when the location of Brisbane was selected in 1825 as the location for a penal settlement for the more difficult convicts in New South Wales. Thus we have a situation where Britain was sending its undesirables to New South Wales in Australia, and they sent the convicts they didn’t want to Brisbane. Maybe that’s why the rest of Australia looks at Queenslanders being a little backwards. 

The Kurilpa Bridge

The Kurilpa Bridge in Brisbane

When a name was needed for Brisbane’s new $63 million bridge, a competition was held. Local residents could submit suggestions which they did in their thousands. Among the suggestions were Aboriginal words, maritime suggestions  and names linking the bridge to its location between Tank Street and Kurilpa Park near the State Library. On 23 November 2008 it was announced that the winning entry was Kurilpa Bridge. The name Kurilpa reflects the Australian Aboriginal word for the South Brisbane area, and means “place for water rats”.

Nathan Road In Kowloon

Nathan Road in Kowloon

Apparently Hong Kong’s 13th governor, Sir Matthew Nathan was quite influential. He must have been, after all he does have a road named after him. Yet, that wasn’t always the case. Nathan Road was originally called Robinson Road with the first section being completed in 1861, making it the first road built in Kowloon. However, due to the fact there was already a Robinson Road on Hong Kong Island, the name was changed to Nathan Road in 1909 to avoid confusion. These days Nathan Road is known as the Golden Mile. It is a must for shopping enthusiasts, it requires comfortable walking shoes, it can get very crowded and there’s always a hidden gem to be found.

Temple Street Night Market

Temple Street Night Market In Hong Kong

Not long after this, I ventured into the vibrant depths of Hong Kong’s Temple Street Night Market. You can wander through stalls that have everything from Chinese souvenirs, to arts and crafts. There’s electronics, clothing, jewellery, stationary, hair combs, bangles, bags, t-shirts, carvings and all sorts of nic-nacs. In fact, almost anything you’d like. There’s wall to wall street-food and just for good measure fortune tellers You could spend hours getting lost in the tents that line the streets that come alive after 9pm. It’s completely bizarre in a very fantastic way.

Buckingham Street

Buckingham Street

If there’s one change that would instantly improve Arrowtown it would be to completely pedestrianise the main street of Buckingham Street. So, it was with interest that I recently read that the local council ran a trial closing the street to traffic. In a town that is quickly becoming overrun with vehicles, it’ll be interesting to see what the future holds. 

Paraparaumu Beach & Kapiti Island

Paraparaumu Beach & Kapiti Island

Strolling along Paraparaumu Beach in summer is a glorious treat. The sand stretches out into the horizon as Kapiti Island looms in the distance, while the crisp, salty breeze playfully lingers in the air. There’s a soothing murmur of the waves that lap at the shore and gulls wheel overhead prompting a momentary pause in the day’s ambling.

Honouring The Māori Battalion

Whare Maumahara

During World War II the name Te Rau Aroha was given to a mobile canteen truck, which was sent from New Zealand to Māori Battalion soldiers who served on the battlefields overseas between 1940 and 1945. Once near the front, the canteen became a place for soldiers to gather and hear the latest news broadcasts, while enjoying home sweet treats and comforts from home. Almost 3600 men served with the Māori Battalion, of which 649 were killed in action, 1712 were wounded and 237 were prisoners of war.

So, when a name had to be chosen for a new museum in the Treaty Grounds honouring the Māori Battalion, naming it after the treasured Te Rau Aroha canteen truck seemed a logical choice. Now, there aren’t many places that I would legitimately call humbling, however the Te Rau Aroha Museum is one of them.

The Haunting Of The Vulcan Hotel

The Vulcan Hotel in St Bathans

I stayed here one night and almost had the place to myself. I’m not sure what I would have done if it was busy. It was the perfect spot to process a few photos over a pint or two of Speight’s. Apart from a Grandfather and Grandson at the end of the bar happily sharing tales about fish and a lady in the dining room, it was a very quiet night. They certainly didn’t mind me setting up my camera for a photo before the landlady told me about the local ghost.

The story goes that many young ladies came to the Otago gold fields seeking employment in grog tents, bars, and dance halls that sprang up all over the region. At the time, it was thought that a lady could earn a substantial wage on the gold fields, and thus create a better life for themselves. So when a lady called Rose started working in the area as a prostitute near the town of St Bathans, she most likely wasn’t alone. During her time in the area, Rose worked at the dance halls while also renting a room at the Vulcan Hotel at night to see male clients. Having collected a small amount of gold in payment, one night a male client of Rose strangled her, robbed her of her gold and threw her body into the nearby lake. 

The killer was never found and to this day the restless ghost of Rose haunts the Vulcan Hotel and particular male gentlemen who stay in the famous Room 1.

Tobins Track In Autumn

Tobins Track in autumn

Before I change direction away from autumn, I thought I’d show you a few more images that haven’t been posted on my daily photo blog. This is one I took on my Arrowtown trip while wandering the autumnal Arrowtown paths (Tobins Track) near the river and Chinese Village. It really is a colour overload at times. By the time you leave the path and head back towards the town, your eyes take a few seconds to adjust from seeing colours apart from yellow, orange and the occasional red! Is that what colour theory is?   

Former Police Cottage In Arowtown.

Butlers Green and the former Police cottage

On my last morning in Arrowtown I went for a stroll along the Arrow River Bridges Trail which on my way back, linked onto Tobins Track. A trail that gently ambles its way alongside the Arrow River. When the town came into view, I made my way up onto the Village Green before headlong on Buckingham Street. From there, I took in the view that looks out over Butlers Green to the Chinese Village and the Arrow River. From that vantage point hidden amongst the trees is a former Police Cottage. Built in 1863, the old Police hut is the oldest surviving wooden building in Arrowtown and originally located in Cardigan Street, it formed part of the Arrowtown Police Camp during the gold rush.


Josephine at Toitu Early Settlers Museum

The first thing that greets you at Toitu Early Settlers Museum is a steam train called Josephine. One of two Double Fairlie locomotives that were imported from England, Josephine started life on the Dunedin-Port Chalmers Railway in 1872. She went on to serve on trainway lines all over the country. Until around the time of 1917 when she was sent to the scrap heap. After spending several years outside rusting away, she was eventually restored, moved indoors and now sits proudly on display in the foyer of Toitu Early Settlers Museum for all to see.


The Alexandra Bridge

The drive through to Alexandra was simply marvellous. In fact, there was only one word that could describe the day, and that is ‘delicious’. Everywhere I looked, everything had a radiant autumnal glow as the sun hung in a rich blue sky that reflected off the shop windows as I drove past. The whole town had a relaxed, lazy sort of feel. It was almost as if no one was in a hurry to do anything at all. I was certain that if at that moment a meteorite the size of texas had come hurtling out of the sky and headed straight towards this spot, all the town residents would have casually looked up at the sky and said, “well, would you look at that”. 

As I passed through the town, I suddenly decided to detour to look at the former town bridge, a structure that is a true feat of skill and engineering. Built in 1882, the remains sit right next to the newer version that spans the Clutha River. Beyond the bridges, the banks of the river were lined with autumn colour that was reflecting off the water. I wished I had longer to enjoy my current surroundings, however time was now starting to press against me and I really did need to get back to Dunedin. I vowed to return at some point to do the place justice.

The Kawarau Gorge

The Kawarau Gorge

Leaving the serenity of Lake Hayes, I double back to Arrowtown for one last look at the autumn colours, before starting the three hour drive to Dunedin. Before long, I had left the surrounds of Arrowtown behind, passed through Arrow Junction and the popular Gibbston Valley before getting stuck in a long line of traffic at the Nevis Bluff. The bluff is a prominent rock outcrop close to where the Nevis River meets the Kawarau River and the Kawarau Gorge begins. As I approached the bluff, up ahead a long line of traffic seemed to be building. Facing the prospect of a slow drive through the upcoming gorge, I pulled over, scrolled through a few podcasts, loaded one and set off again. 

The podcast I had finally settled on came under the category of “True Crime”.  It was about an ordinary Australian family, having an ordinary Sunday lunch that went terribly wrong. It centres around Erin Patterson, Australian lady from the town of Leongatha, Victoria who invited her former inlaws around for an afternoon meal. The tragedy occurred when guests at the lunch ate a Beef Wellington. Unfortunately, the dish was tainted with “death cap” mushrooms which left three people dead and a fourth in critical condition in hospital. Now, a year later Erin Patterson is facing criminal charges and an Australian journalist is following the court proceedings and releasing a weekly podcast called “The Mushroom Cook”. 

So, with several hours of driving ahead of me and a juicy crime filled podcast to keep me company, I settled into a long line of traffic on the winding road that heads through the Kawararu Gorge and arrives at Cromwell.

Lakes Hayes

Autumn at Lake Hayes

I arrived at Lakes Hayes to find a man peeing in the bushes. There really is nothing like arriving at a family holiday and picnicking spot to be greeted with a bit of public urination. While Lake Hayes is relatively small as lakes go (276 hectares), it’s big enough for there to be plenty of options to park, meaning I could get well away from where he was standing. As far away as I could in actual fact. 

Finding a spot that wasn’t being used as a public toilet, I abandoned my car and set off on foot enjoying my recently purchased morning sustenance. While the coffee was good, it was the cinnamon scroll that was a pleasant surprise. I hadn’t had high hopes for it but feeling the need to eat something, I gave it a go and was rather pleased with my selection. I ate as I enjoyed the still, tranquil scene in front of me. 

The morning was still relatively young and the lake was as calm as a mill pond as the sun rose from behind the hills. Every so often a group of walkers would pass by, or an overly enthusiastic couple on a bike. Out on the lake in the distance a rowing crew seemed to be enjoying having the whole place to themselves, only sharing it with a scattering of ducks and a gaggle of geese that looked like they could turn ill tempered at any moment. Still, I worked on the theory that they would leave me alone, if I didn’t disturb them. An arrangement that seemed to work just fine. Finishing my nourishment, I walked for a bit taking in my surroundings. The whole lake is surrounded by mountains that remain covered in snow for most of the year once winter hits. This gives the place a spectacular dream-like feel. Enjoying the autumn colours, I could have stayed for hours. Just as I was tempted to start negotiating with myself regarding my time of departure, A campervan with markings on its back bumper indicating a recent entanglement drove past. It was closely followed by a very expensive looking SUV. It arrived and parked almost directly beside me. In an instant, three kids ejected themselves from the backseat and in the blink of an eye they were at the edge of the lake, throwing stones at the ducks and geese. Just then one of them announced they needed the toilet! I took this as my cue to leave!


The Last Post

For The Fallen
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal 
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: 
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again; 
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound, 
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust, 
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness, 
To the end, to the end, they remain.
By Laurence Binyon

A Case of Misconception

Autumn on Lake Hayes

Before I go any further with my tale, I feel it best to clear up a little confusion. Lake Hayes (or Hay’s as it was first officially named) is not named after local Arrowtown legend and notorious scoundrel Bully Hayes. Nor is it named after pioneer Ernest Hayes who settled in the Ida Valley. The lake is named after Donald Hay, an early Scottish farmer who came to New Zealand via Western-Australia and discovered the lake after surviving a winter storm and freezing conditions while sailing over Lake Wakatipu. It seems that at some point in history an erroneous ‘e’ was added to the spelling of hays between the ‘y’ and the ‘s’ giving the spelling of Hayes instead of Hay’s. My guess, and I’m just speculating here, is that local pub landlord Bully Hayes got whammed on whisky one night and told a whopping great big lie claiming the lake was named after him! Then, history and gossip did the rest.


Autumn in Arrowtown

The next morning I decided to start the day with a stroll through some autumn leaves. It was one of those cool, clear autumnal mornings where everything was covered in dew. I noted that before too long, on mornings like these a heavy frost would have settled over night. It was clear that winter was approaching so, I was pleased to be able to enjoy my surroundings as I walked along the banks of the Arrow River. Eventually, after a number of scenic distractions, I pointed myself towards my intended target. The historic Chinese Village in Arrowtown. 

In 1865, when the initial Otago Gold rush had settled, many of the miners ventured to other gold fields. Such as on the West Coast of the South Island. So, the Dunedin Chamber of Commerce decided that they wanted to keep the economy going. To do this they invited Chinese miners to the region. For many of the invited miners, the plan was to send large amounts of money home before returning themselves in a few years. So it was that by the mid-1860’s the first of the recruited Chinese miners reached the goldfields in Otago. When they arrived, they discovered they were not allowed to have claims of their own, instead being granted permission to pickover the claims European miners had abandoned. By 1876, around 4000 male Chinese could be found on the goldfields. Spread over a number of locations throughout Central Otago, one of these locations was Arrowtown. It’s a sad tale really, as many of the miners never made anywhere near enough money to send home. In fact, many of them never made it home. Penniless and persecuted by many of the Europeans, a large number of those invited to the Otago goldfields died, never seeing their families again. 

The last time I visited the Chinese Village in autumn, everywhere was covered in a blanket of colour. An autumn palette of orange, red and ochre had taken over and there was something very tranquil and surreal about the whole scene. I was very much looking forward to seeing it once again. When the Chinese miners first arrived at the gold fields to work claims that had been abandoned, they weren’t allowed to settle in the main part of the village. Instead they set up homes and market gardens on the outskirts of the town beside the river. Not more than a 5 minute walk from the town’s main street, the Chinese Village and associated tracks beside the river used to be separated by a number of paths that twisted and turned through the trees and past streams until you reached the main car park. From there, the main shopping area was a short walk past buses and vehicles of various sizes circling the town looking for a parking spot. 

In my walk to the Chinese Village, I discovered that In recent years, to solve this problem and to provide enough parking spaces for the overflow of traffic that arrives each day, the main car park has been extended towards the river. This now means there is no separation between the carpark and the scenic vistas that people have come to see. So, while there is ample room for all the daily traffic, it also means you can step straight out of your vehicle and onto a walking track. You can stroll by the Arrow River or stand by landmarks of national significance while a campervan parks right beside you or you can watch families disembark from their SUVs as the kids squabble over who’s turn it is with the iphone! There really is nothing like having a gleaming white SUV as a backdrop for a piece of 1870’s history. Feeling a little disappointed that some of the tranquillity had been lost, I meandered back through the car park and went in search of a bakery for some morning sustenance. 

A short time later, I found myself standing in a short but busy line making a careful selection from the menu on the wall behind the counter. When at last my turn came, I approached the counter and said “good morning” in the friendliest voice I could muster, while realising this was the first person I had spoken to in 12 hours! “How can I help?” came a direct yet short tone that suggested urgency and speed was paramount. Placing my order at speed that I hoped would satisfy the lady standing behind the counter, paid and waited for the transaction to complete. I waited and waited and waited as the machine whirled. I waited and waited and waited yet the machine didn’t seem to want me to leave. As I continued to wait, I could feel the unease and grumblings of the customers behind me that were being held up. I could sense their frustration and annoyance at this idiot at the front of the line as the machine continued to whirl. Just as I was considering cancelling the order (out of embarrassment as much as anything else), the machine announced ‘approved.’

Feeling a sense of relief and having held up a line that was now snaking out the door, I collected my things, apologised to everyone and scurried out onto the street hanging my head in shame! Clutching a fresh cup of coffee and a Cinnamon Scroll, I headed to my car with a mind to enjoy the fresh morning air of Lake Hayes, and that’s where I headed next.

The Catlins River

The Catlins River 

When I was growing up, most of the history of Aotearoa that I was taught started with the arrival of Europeans. Very little mention was made of earlier inhabitants which were actually here for quite a significant period of time. Take the Catlins for example, Captain James Cook first sighted the area in the 1770’s when he sailed past. However, archaeological evidence points towards Māori tribes occupying the area to about 1350AD.