Friday, August 15, 2014

What we all need: a flag and a staff

There is in Melbourne, a comparatively new city, a sense of ongoing expansion. It would be a graceless expansion if that expansion obliterated the existing beauty from out of which it, that expansion, expands.
Street-life, cities, the movement of people...these all need to work circumspectly, and together.
I was off to the Flagstaff Gardens in William Street, West Melbourne, on the edge of the city. But there was plenty to see in the built world, before I got to the unbuilt.
There's so much to be fond of, in Melbourne. Of course, you'll need to do some hunting, get on a bike or a tram. This part of Melbourne, not yet subsumed by development, has some of its oldest remnants.
This is St James Old Cathedral, the oldest church in Melbourne, as seen from the Flagstaff Gardens, doing its best to wave its flag in a sea of not altogether congruous newness.  
The oldest park in Melbourne - established 1835 - these 18 acres of - 'reality', I want to say, but OK then - 'free space' - allow the wandering city worker to get a glimpse of what life was like here before money and careers and even time perhaps were invented.
As much as there's nothing like strolling through perfect grounds, I like to be able to see what's happening, here in a space still elemental.
There ARE some garden beds, a little disparate, semi-tendered, but comforting anyway.
And memorials. This memorial above was erected in 1871, "In the memory of some of the earliest of the Pioneers of this Colony whose remains were interred near this spot". The Flagstaff Gardens have long since welcomed those needing some shelter.
The former Royal Mint, nearby, a stone's throw away, has new tenants.
Many of them may have only been represented. Though temporarily closed for renovations, The Mint had not long ago "An exhibition celebrating the lives of those who came to Australia during the period of mass assisted migration post 1952". 
I'd hope that all the money that had churned through this city, leaving a multitude of questionable developments, had allowed for more to be opened for a bright future
and for a remembrance. Without means, we may as well all be statuary. But it is with a staff of some kind that we can move forward 
and stop sometimes.