Saturday, November 19, 2022

Giipsland train

I was at South Yarra Station when this locomotive arrived pulling freight. The engine looked just like the train engine towing the carriages I used to catch from Gippsland to Melbourne in my youth but with a significant difference. The train at South Yarra did not have a pantograph on its roof to connect to electric wires. It was a diesel fuel powered train. If I catch a train to Gippsland now it will be diesel powered.

The Gippsland train once had electric overhead wires as far as Traralgon. The then State Electric Commission transported dug up coal in Gippsland,made into briquettes to make power and heating briquettes. The briquettes were transported to Melbourne by train and given the coal extraction and electricity production, it made good sense to electrify the the train line.

But the electric locomotives became old and unreliable as coal traffic reduced, to the point where a spare loco would be attached to each train to take over in case of failure of the the working loco. Things are pretty crook when you have to do that.

It is extra sad that it was a Labor government who decided to de-electrify the Gippsland train line, turning it into a diesel train line instead of commissioning new electric locos. The concrete stumps that supported the poles that supported the overhead wires are still present. One day I am sure the line will be electrified again.

When catching a suburban train at South Yarra, who would have thought a passing train would rekindle memories of the electric Gippsland train with its heated and chemical warmed foot warmers, draughty compartments, rusty and dusty old emergency train stop chains and the clunks ricocheting through the length of train as slack was taken up by couplings. Of course it fascinated me to peer down onto the tracks visible in the toilet bowl and noting signs to warn not to use the toilet at train stations. Haha, you tip the wash basin backwards to empty the water down onto the track. There were two light bulbs in each fitting ensuring you were never plunged into total darkness if one bulb failed. I can't recall ever seeing the full lights not working. Electricians who work on electric trains know their job. Overhead wire luggage racks would be filthy, the wires encased in solidified dust. Train cleaning was perfunctory at best. 

I have so many memories of the old electric Gippslander train. We are away for a few days. Back soon. 



 

Friday, November 18, 2022

Swedish Death Cleaning

It is an ongoing process. I need to be rid of cassette tapes, but there are treasures there. I've discarded most of my 'questionable' video collection on 8 and 16 MB USB sticks, consolidated to a couple of 32/64 and 100MB sticks. Much has just been deleted. No need to save special moments nowadays. They are there at the click of a button.

Some years ago R mentioned we needed to buy a new sound system to replace our 1990s sound system. I again put my foot down with a hard hand and said no. Firstly, we haven't used it for years. Secondly, it has a cassette player. As the unit wasn't used, apathy played its part.

I've made a start, by checking if the cassette player still works. Amazingly after not being used for perhaps fifteen years, it does still work. I have heaps of cassette tapes that I need to check before discarding. I will record some using my phone. Prominent on one cassette case is the word Jew. This refers to my audio recording from tv of a film called The Lucky Star. 


Thursday, November 17, 2022

Fine Dining, now Facing Poverty

Last week was an expensive time food wise. We lashed out dining at Chin Chin and then on the Saturday Ex Sis in Law's husband called and said he had won on the gee gees and asked if we would like to join him and Ex Sis in Law Sunday at a place called Wings and Fins. 

Damn, we the day before been to Mother's and taken her out for lunch. She had forgotten we were coming and was not dressed or made up. Tradie Brother was there to fix ABI Brother's garage roof drainage issues. Mother is much better when she is surprised by a visit from anyone. She doesn't suffer pre visit stress. We lunched at a local cafe and she later said it was the best afternoon ever. I managed to extract from her $50 for her meal, and the last one she did not pay for. Bills and paying for things has never been her focus. 

Anyway, the point of mentioning Mother's outing is that I had already driven Saturday on the Monash Freeway and now to visit Wings and Fins, it would be another drive on the Monash. I hate the road with a passion. Interestingly to local readers familiar with the area, rather than use the South Gippsland Highway through Cranbourne, Google suggested we use Cardinia Road from the Monash which becomes Dalmore Road, joining the Highway almost right at the restaurant gate. It was quick.

Wings and Fins sits over the Tooradin light plane airport, with a view over some seaside mudflats. It is not a cheap eats place but it was ok though rather noisy. It has a lovely outdoor partly shaded deck but hard to believe a few days later, it was a bit warm to sit out. 

This abandoned ship sits on swamp before the mudflats. Ex Sis in Law suggested we ask staff about its history. Her husband confidently said, 'It was one of the boats Vietnamese boat people used to arrive here in the 70s and then abandoned'. While waiting for our meal, I went out on to the deck to take some photos and also had doubts about the ship tale. I googled it and armed with facts I returned to the table. 

Now when you don't normally swear, you can very occasionally do so with great effect. "Vietnamese refugee ship my arse", I proclaimed. Here is the rather sad story of the ship.

It was owned by a man who was renovating the small steel ship. The swamp leading to the mudflats below our dining position was the only place he could find to store the boat while he worked on it with occasional help from his son. Between them they extended the length of the steel hull by six metres. The son was in Darwin in 1974 when Cyclone Tracy hit and was killed. The father was so distressed, he never returned to the ship. The ship has sat there ever since, slowly rusting away.



Are these passionfruit vine flowers? Interesting aren't they.


We didn't see any of these tiny planes land or take off but a light helicopter made a landing.


Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Very local newspapers

When a member of our building Owners' Corporation committee I arranged for all three local newspapers to be delivered as pick ups in our mail room. In time deliveries all ceased as local newspapers closed down, even the most read Murdoch paper. There were no electronic replacements.

No one in my council area receives any kind of local council news unless they search City of Port Phillip. This is just terrible. In a city with so many rebellious people, not one can write an online reporting of what council is up to, never mind other local matters. Good things happen in our council area too, and these also need to be reported. 

I was absolutely flabbergasted when a comment by Yorkshire Pudding led me to discover we have new mayor in City of Port Phillip, another pro business mayor. But I went from being astonished at my lack of knowledge to not being surprised, as how would I know? Unless I actively search out such information, I won't know unless I hear about it on the radio or read it in a daily paper.

This is a very bad state for local democracy. 


Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Year twelve exams

All these young people churned out by our secondary schools who are so illiterate and poorly educated. Dunno about any of this at all. I hated algebra, pure maths and trigonometry. Is that relevant or is this below about clear thinking?  They'd be a better man than me Gunga Din. I feel so old. 

As John Gray of Wales used to say, your answers on a post card. The print is a bit small, sorry. 



Monday, November 14, 2022

Monday Mural

Sami will have a Monday Mural post and so do I. 

This one is massive, painted on a Prahran College of Technology building in Windsor, once known as Prahran Tech (Prahran Technical School), a secondary school for those who wished to become tradesmen(sic). 

The mural is interesting but not particularly exciting. Can you make anything from it at all?

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Sunday Selections

As I often do I am joining in with Elephant's Child and River for Sunday Selections. 

On the side of Mitchell House at the corner of Elizabeth and Latrobe Street is this plaque recognising the former Argus and Australasian newspaper premises known as Mitchell House. Several years ago it was in a very poor state. One of my nephews, ah, I only have one, practiced some urban exploring there, climbing to the top with a friend. It is a lovely art deco building, since then restored from memory by an education institution. I can't find my photos of the building. I will take some more soon.


Old cars were on display at Victoria Market when we last visited. I was a bit footsore by the time we came across them and although I was once so interested in such cars, I have seen so many that they no longer fascinate me. Still, these two were very stylish.



I think this was taken in Fitzroy. It is a rather unusual mix of clay bricks and bluestone. It may well have been originally covered with stucco. I think bluestone was cheaper than clay bricks, so that may have had something to do with its use.


As an attempt to catch my eye this building did. I really don't know what to make of it but I will call it for architectural merit as a fail, more so upon closeup viewing. It's a boring flat block with a bit stuff stuck in front of it.


Well, he reminds me of Gassy Jack in Vancouver for some reason, but we are firmly in Brunswick Street. You don't get a statue made of yourself without reason and here is snip from online 'Poet, performer, organiser, promoter, raconteur, ratbag, stirrer, hipster ... Adrian Rawlins'. You can read more about the very interesting Adrian here. I am surprised I did not know of him.


It would only take me five minutes to get to the bottom of this rainbow and find the pot of gold, but I know so many have tried and failed.




Lighting from my far bedroom bedside lamp intersecting with R's beside lamp. It must have been winter as the door to the spare bedroom is closed to conserve heat. 


I have no idea what these pigeons are picking at in the palm tree.


At one point they were climbing up on the bark.

Call me a cynic

City of Melbourne took a vote on calling for a ceasefire in Palestine, motion lost. I am not sure it is within the remit of the City of Melb...