When the Nillumbik Shire Council recently completed another footbridge over the Diamond Creek, it opened up to the public, parts of the Diamond Creek Reserve many had not seen before.
OM:NI – Mens Discussion Groups within Nillumbik Shire thought about how this experience might be enhanced. The northern part of the reserve has Marngrook Football Oval, Lawn Bowling, Netball, Community Centre, Child Minding, Children’s Playground and Off Leash Dog Park.
OM:NI felt a more passive opportunity was needed. They came up with the idea of a Labyrinth. Labyrinths are known to have existed in many parts of the world for over 4,000 years. With no knowledge of each other, they all had the same purpose. To provide a space for people to be quiet and to meditate and contemplate their place in the world. Nillumbik Shire Council has built a ‘Pop-Up’ straw bale labyrinth for citizens far and wide to experience and to ‘like’ and to comment on Facebook at Diamond CreekCommunity Hub. Visit the site or take a drive out to Diamond Creek.
Photo – Peter Clark, Hurstbridge OM:NI, Leon Higgins, Eltham OM:NI, Nick Grange and Ken Ramplin Diamond Creek OM:NI.
***** In Greek mythology, the Minotaur was a creature with the head of a bull and the body of a man or, as described by Roman poet Ovid – as being “part man and part bull”. The Minotaur dwelt at the centre of the Labyrinth, which was an elaborate maze like construction designed by the architect Daedalus and his son Icarus, on the command of King Minos of Crete. With the aid of Ariadne, the keeper of the Labyrinth, the Minotaur was eventually killed by the Athenian hero Theseus.
OMNI men from Diamond Creek and Hurstbridge visited the Chinese Museum in Chinatown on Tuesday. Our guide Nick took us through the history of the Chinese people in Australia then a walkthrough of Chinatown.
TV threatened rain and storms for today but us, 10 OMNI men from Diamond Creek and Eltham would not let that stop us from our planned trip to the mysteries hidden behind the bluestone walls and brick architecture in the gold laden streets of the city called Melbourne.
8.34am, the packed electric train pulled into the Eltham station and disgorged lots of human cargo, mainly children heading for the Eltham College, as us 70 plus year olds boarded we found enough seats close to each other to be able to excitedly chat amongst ourselves like escaped convicts on our first trip into the big city some 45 minutes away. We left our homeland of trees and open spaces and travelled along the ribbons of steel over polluted creeks and graffiti painted walls and broken timber fences. We could see into the backyard of homes through the scratched windows as we speed past, some were tidy many had old rusty car bodies, rubbish and struggling vegie patches.
Trees were displaced by homes and commercial buildings being built wall to wall, the further we go toward our destination the higher and denser they become with total disregard for any other persons light, sunrays and views, this is no doubt an artificial way to live, may be in 20 years’ time we will grow long ears and look like rabbits living in concrete burrows.
We headed south past the MCG into Flinders St and onwards through the tunnels of the loop and with excitement flowing through our veins we alighted at Parliament Station heading up the very steep mechanical staircase to the bustling and noisy throng of Spring St, down past Parliament House to the Princess Theatre and a lovely coffee shop where we stopped for coffee and cake. Our hostess was a delightful lassie from Vancouver she enjoyed our Aussie crappie jokes and took photos of us together and also the cook. The theater is a magnificent building.
Leaving there we crossed the road past Parliament House to the busy intersection of Collins st where a skyscraper was being built it seemed to disappear in the fog clouds above it glass walls reflecting the struggling sunshine, an outside lift was racing up and down the skyscrapers ribs as if in a frantic endeavor hoping not to come adrift.
We crossed the very busy intersection with crazy taxi drivers seeming to be competing for the next Mad Max movie role plus fire trucks all lights flashing ,horns screaming and a beautifully dressed woman eating a sausage roll calmly ducking and weaving amongst it all against a red light. As we crossed the street we were confronted with our destiny “The OldTreasury Building “ a 3 story bluestone government building with the lower level used to store gold back in the 18th and 19th century.
This building was designed by a 21-year-old Englishman and built in 6 years, on inspection the foundations of heavy bluestone and curved brick ceilings makes you wonder how this building was constructed so quickly, the levels above ground encompass many offices for the government, there is one office the Victorian Governor attends once a week to sign official papers.
The walls are very thick even the inside walls, high ceilings, very ornate wood work all made in Australia from local cedar includes doors and furniture. Great display of early household goods and many documents mostly hand written, lots of photos and stories of First World War, farming and industry difficulties. We were ably guided by Lynne around the building with knowable descriptions on all subjects including the development and layout of the city streets.
After the tour of the Treasury Building we headed back along Spring St opposite Parliament House where a protest was in process, there were many police in attendance but it seemed peaceful and ok.
With rumbling tummies we headed down to China Town for a tasty lunch, we had been there before, we had made contact with a Chinese food store owner two years ago who looked after us very well , we approached him again and he gave us a meal as much as you could stack on a plate for $8.00. We were looked after by an Indonesian waitress she was so lovely we took a photo of her, Les jumped up and gave her a hug just as the shutter did its job, what a lovely photo and moment (see photo included at end of story). It was a large food hall nearly all tables were occupied, I would say he is a great business owner.
After a filling lunch we headed back to Parliament station, down the scary shiny metal mobile staircase, all the OMNI pioneers landed safely at platform one where we waited for our silver train to safely return us all back home again there was much chatter and discussion about our day of enlightenment, we realized that when you have retired you have time to explore and pursue history of your local area and country. We are so lucky to live long enough to see and enjoy evolution.
Well they were wrong about the rain and storms again, luck favors’ the brave and the dills.
We started to disperse at different stations, three of us left the train and walked together to the top of the steep hill, we stopped, shook hands and went our own ways. Like 10 puffs of smoke we separately disappeared and as darkness sets in you stop to wonder did this day really happen?
A very enjoyable visit to the Old Treasury Building was had by OMNI men on the third Tuesday of the month ( 30 August ).Built in 1858-1862 it was a product of the 1850’s gold rush. Built in the Renaissance Revival style from Sandstone from Bacchus Marsh and Bluestone mined from Footscray.
The architect was John James Clark, a 19 year old immigrant from Liverpool who also designed Government House, the Royal Mint, City Baths and the Queen Victoria Women’s Hospital.
Tour conductor Lynne explains the Welcome Stranger gold nugget ( 97.14 kg )
St. Francis church ( Cnr Lonsdale and Elizabeth streets ) by J. Atwood circa 1854
OM:NI group representatives meeting at COTA Victoria headquarters – April 2016
The OM:NI organisation is much bigger than any one group. There are currently 21 groups in Victoria with representatives from each who meet regularly to report on group activites, to discuss future plans and to exchange news and ideas.
During the quarter ending 31 March 2016 attendances at individual OM:NI meetings ranged from three to 30 with an average of around ten. Of the 21 groups, seven had an average attendance of six or less, thirteen groups had averages between nine and fourteen and one group, Eltham, an average of 29 – our Diamond Creek group averaged 13 for the quarter.
The OM:NI organisation is a program of COTA Victoria (Council On The Aging)
COTA Victoria has been the voice of older Victorians for 60 years
COTA Victoria is governed by an elected Board of Management, dedicated staff and volunteers who continually strive to ensure that the contributions of older people are proudly recognised and acknowledged within our community.
*** If you want to know more about COTA Victoria click the link on the sidebar of this page.
*** Photograph supplied by John Habbouch – Banyle OM:NI Group