Seven OM:NI Seniors go to Town

It was 8-30 am Tuesday 31st October 2017 when we headed off by train to Flinders St Melbourne. the weather was fine and sunny, we arrived at the station and crossed the road to Federation Square and picked up our tickets for the Ferry ride down the Yarra River to explore Williamstown. We negotiated our fare with a lovely Chinese lady (Ching). After a hug and paying our fare we were informed the river was to high from overnight rain, a king tide and yesterdays strong winds the river water was too high to get under some up river bridges so we would have to walk downstream some good half hour to the Exhibition St ferry.

It was a lovely walk along the banks of the river we were soon spread out like Browns cows we were concerned we would miss the boat. However Mike hurried along and negotiated with the captain to delay his departure. There were a lot of passengers on board waiting to experience a Melbourne Historic River Cruise, the captain said if you fall overboard hold your arm aloft with a $5 dollar note in it and I will stop and pick you up. With a $100 note in your hand I will  pick you even quicker but no money in your hand I will pick you up on my return trip if you are still afloat. The captain gave us a running commentary of the history of the buildings both residential and wharves commercial development and current usage today during the one hour plus journey. One water front 3 level home sold recently for excess of $9 million, and across the river the early high rise government apartments rent out for $80 per week.

We went under the Bolte Bridge, the West Gate bridge were 27 men lost their lives during construction. The river was awash with large ships many laden with large containers many from china there were lots of jetties, many boats and yachts, old war ships.

We pulled into the jetty and alighted beside a mine sweeper, it was a short walk to the active township which still had some lovely early architectural buildings, what craftsmen they were back around the 17 and 18th century around the corner down Nelson St. We ambled along amazed at what there was to absorb and into the Seaworks Museum. We were even more astonished with the history of Williamstown and the early history of the sailing ships and learned that each state in Australia had its own navy prior to Federation.

 

Daryl enhancing his fish & chips.

Time to sample the temptation of the Piers fish and chips $10. Andrew had secretly eaten a cut lunch he had brought along but that never stopped him from enjoying the huge feast put in front of him. We said good-bye to Pauline (Oh yes, after the traditional Hug) she had looked after us so nicely. Across the road by only 2 minutes it was suggested coffee was in order but before we could leave we had watch Andrew devour a large portion of Apple Strudel and Cream – he was heard to whisper to himself I hope we don’t have to walk too far!

We walked half a kilometer past some lovely old and derelict home to get to the rail station and guess who was last there?

Williamstown is the last or first station depending on where you wish to go and the station reflects its age. A 20 minute wait and we were on our way to Spencer St Station back into the noise, chaos of modern Melbourne, and people everywhere like ants going every which way.

We jumped on board the Hurstbridge train, just managed enough seats for us all, we headed towards home via the underground loop, we laughed and discussed our experiences of the day,

We all agreed the day had ended too soon (5pm) and one by one we disappeared from each other’s company as we got to our various home stations.

Another great adventure in Marvelous Melbourne …. “Ken’s quote”

Williamstown in a day.

Thanks Daryl for another pleasant OM:NI day out exploring Marvelous Melbourne. Who was to know that the high level of the Yarra due to heavy rain, high tide and a little wind would mean that the Ferry couldn’t sail under the bridges? The long walk from Fed Square to Jeff’s Shed was a big step for some. Apologies to Andrew in particular. We should have taken the advice of the booking Lass and caught the tram down to Spencer Street. We made it however and enjoyed the trip and the commentary from the Skipper.
The Maritime Museum at Williamstown –staffed by volunteers,was excellent. Especially the 90 years old film of a sailing ship rounding Cape Horn in a wild storm. That such a film was made so long ago and preserved for us to see what sailors of that era had to endure was an eye-popping opener! The Guide was very good and quite hospitable.
What can I say about ‘barra and chips’ by Gem Pier? A typical OM:NI meeting over a meal.
Coffee in the main Street of Willy, watching with envy as Andrew devoured an apple strudel – with cream – followed by a stroll back to the train Station for the trip back home. A great day.

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The Labyrinth at Diamond Creek


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 Creek Community 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 showing the older you get the better you become.

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.
emcm0014_1As we crossed the street we were confronted with our destiny “The Old Treasury 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?
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Old Treasury Building Visit

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.

 

 

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Tour conductor Lynne explains the Welcome Stranger gold nugget ( 97.14 kg )

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St. Francis church ( Cnr Lonsdale and Elizabeth streets ) by  J. Atwood circa 1854

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Chief penguin makes his protest

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Chief penguin passes the pennant

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Off to Chinatown for lunch

 

OM:NI & COTA Victoria

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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