‘The Tan Track’ – Walk, Run or Slip Stream

WINTER ON THE TAN TRACK
What a great place to be at lunchtime to eat your sandwich or early evening between  5.00 – 7.30pm, just to watch the slip stream of walkers, joggers and runners or perhaps as you cross the track to enter the Botanical Gardens .

If you’re on the way to an event or one of the other attractions in the area, whether it be a game at AAMI Park Stadium to see Melbourne Storm Rugby League or to the MCG [Melbourne Cricket Ground] for Aussie rules football, you’ll inevitably find yourself walking around part of the track as well.

However, most are users including the 3.8km track length in one circuit of their daily exercise ritual – but it is OK just to go for a stroll!! The tan is a lush tree lined perimeter to the Botanical Gardens and at times also borders the Yarra River. In early evening you might smell the scent and waft of ginger flowers coming across the fence on the Alexander Avenue stretch – M’mmmm glorious. You’ll find people there at all times of the day and I have colleague who joins her running group before dawn to prepare for their next half or full marathon together.

The track made up from sand and crushed rock, has lighting all the way. Although the last phase of an upgrade to the track and lighting is just being completed on the southern side and still requires a little fine tuning.

Whether you are running or walking most people tend to go around the track clockwise and I suspect this is to take advantage of the short but steep hill climb on the Anderson Street side doing their fartlek exercise on the straight. If walking, as I do, my suggestion is to walk anti-clockwise. That way it’s easier to keep left and see the rest of the world as they slip by.

What’s underneath the Onion Skin – other things nearby:

Butting up close to the track are numerous attractions too many to name. A few include AAMI Park the home of Melbourne Storm, Melbourne Rebels and Melbourne Victory. Flinders Park the home to the Australian Tennis Open. Melbourne Olympic Park one of the athletics tracks for the 1956 Melbourne Olympic games.

A mix of Melbourne Rowing Clubs on the Yarra River, along the banks of which are several inbuilt BBQ’s and tables available for use, free of charge.

Government House, home of the Victorian Governor General and the Sidney Myer Music Bowl where the annual Carols by Candlelight are performed and over the summer months several free orchestral concerts by MSO and other performers.

The Shrine of Remembrance, the Royal Botanical Gardens [RBG], the National Herbarium, the Observatory Gate and Café and the Historic Places Trust property – La Trobe Cottage.

Suburb/Neighbourhood: MELBOURNE CBD, SOUTHBANK, SOUTH MELBOURNE, RICHMOND & SOUTH YARRA [5 minutes from South Melbourne Homestay]

Food:
On this walk [run] there are several water fountains drink stations on the track, or you may like to continue you walk [run] along to Southgate to pick up a refreshing drink from Boost Juice.

How to get there: Melway reference – Map 2F J9

By Car: Parking around the Tan, there are a range of two and four hour parking spots or weekend s on St Kilda Road
By Tram: Any tram along St Kilda Road except a number one, which turns off to South Melbourne.

By Train: Flinders Street Railway Station

The Melbourne Magic Festival, 4-16 July 2011

The Melbourne Magic Festival

To make it easy for you to choose which shows to see the Festival organsiers have divided them up into five different categories:

MAGIC SHOWS FOR KIDS

This year the Melbourne Magic Festival has TEN great shows especially designed to appeal to kids under 10 years old. These shows are perfect school holiday entertainment.

MAGIC SHOWS FOR FAMILIES

In 2011 we have EIGHT completely different shows perfect for the whole family to enjoy together. Some are daytime shows while others are perfect after dinner shows.

MAGIC SHOWS FOR ADULTS

Magic is no longer “just for kids”. With TEN shows designed for adults to enjoy, this year you’ll see world class sleight of hand, mind reading, hypnotism, ventriloquism and live horror! All perfect for ‘after dark’and most are family-friendly but slanted towards adults.

WORKSHOPS & CLASSES

Last year over 1,100 kids took part in our magic workshops and this year we’re expecting even more! We also have classes for adults in close up and stage magic, plus special international guest lecturers for the more experienced prestidigitators.

SPECIAL EVENTS

The Australian Junior Championships of Magic are back, and this year we have the first FISM Oceania Championships of Magic – open to all ages! Plus free entertainment nightly in the bar courtesy of the honest conman Nicholas J Johnson with his show ‘Wanna Bet’.

TICKET SALES
The Melbourne Magic Festival offers four easy ways to guarantee your tickets in 2011:
1 – Group Sales – Come in a group of ten and get generous bookings and priority seating! Click here for more details. Call the Group Bookings Hotline on 0459 487 381

2 – Phone bookings – You can call the Northcote Town Hall on (03) 9481 9500 to book your tickets, but be aware you will be paying a $5 ‘per transaction fee’ on top of your ticket price.

3 – In Person – Just roll on up to the Northcote Town Hall Box Office in person during normal business hours and you can even buy your tickets with good old fashioned cash if you like! The Box Office is also open one hour before show times but we can’t guarantee the show you want to see won’t be sold out. Play it safe, book in advance. (The Box Office is located at 189 High St, Northcote)

If you’d like to check if a show is almost sold out click here and take a look at it on the Daily Schedule page.

4 – Online – Just go to the page of the show you want to see, click on the CLICK HERE TO BOOK link, and get your tickets instantly and with no extra charges. Or you can go directly to the Northcote Town Hall Online Box Office by clicking here.

Suburb/Neighbourhood: NORTHCOTE

How to get there: Tram 86 to High Street, Northcote – but refer to the festival website for details of tram track maintenance details over the period of the festival.

Celebration of Winter Solstice at Federation Square

What a great buzz as we walked in to Federation Square to explore and enjoy ‘the Solstice Celebration’ , 18 June 2011. In the background was a performance ‘MWENDA’ meaning Light, by Jerusalem Gospel Rumba, from the Congolese community.

What has become an annual gathering the Saturday closest to the true winter solstice, the Celebration forms part of the program of ‘the Light in Winter Festival’ at Federation Square and is well timed for those with young families between 5pm – 8pm. The full festival program runs 2 June to 3 July 2011 Federation Square, Melbourne.

Winter and summer Solstice in many cultures aligns to a significant celebration or feast day and this Solstice Celebration here was no different. It was celebration of multi-cultural Melbourne, displaying the richness that makes up the weave of the community. Throughout the evening we were treated to performances of dance, music and song either on the main stage or around one of the many fire pits dotted around the square. The MC did a great job in conjunction with a group of a Ghanaian dancer and drummers leading and enticing the crowd to the next performance and location. Three performances that I particularly enjoyed were:

‘HOLD the LIGHT’ – a Butoh Performance form the Association of New Elderly [Japan Community] remembering the people of Japan following the earthquake 11 March 2011.

‘TORITO’
Mexvic presented Torito a dance symbolising people overcoming evil which was represented by a bull.

BABOUGERI and other rituals of cleansing, regeneration and fertility performed by ‘the Folk Group’ of the Greek Orthodox community of Melbourne and Victoria

We also were treated to other performances from the Burmese, Turkish and India communities. If you ventured on the installation ‘Light Hearts’ by Canadian-born, Bruce Ramus you could also sample Turkish Delight, Hot Chocolate or Mulled Wine and try your hand at origami by making a crane and there was even something for the kids in lantern making.

Continuing for another two weeks, with events such as ‘Guerilla Lighting’ ‘Iranian Fire Jumping’ and ‘Projector Bike’, the program concludes on the 3 July 2011 with a closing ceremony – follow the link to the square website for more details.

How to get there:
Train – Flinders Street Station
Tram – Any tram along St. Kilda Road or Swanston Street to the Federation Square / Flinders Street Station interchange. The free City Circle tram around the city grid stops right outside.

Food: Try the Petaling Street a Malaysian Hawker Food Restaurant nearby in Swanston Street. Relatively new, but always full with what seems members of the local Malaysian community. It is well worth the wait if there is a queue, the tables turn over pretty promptly. Recommended: Roti bread, Beef Rendang and the whole Fish Thai Style.


The Light in Winter

The Light in Winter – Light, Enlightenment, Hope.

2 June to 3 July 2011

Federation Square, Melbourne – follow the link to the website and a full copy of the program.

Walking home one evening I came across people gathered around what looked like a camp fire in Federation Square – it was!! Closer inspection I discovered it to be the month long annual program ‘Light in Winter’, which looks this year to the natural element – FIRE, to bring light and warmth to the heart of mid-winter Melbourne. The major feature is a communal arts sculpture installation ‘Light Hearts’ by Canadian-born, Bruce Ramus [picture above]. It is anticipated that the piece will grow over the season as members of Melbourne’s community add their own piece to the installation, be it a lantern, light shade of piece of knitted fabric.

Another piece for the duration of the season is ‘leempeeyt weeyn’ the fire pit which is in centre square, Artist – Vicki Couzens.

These two pieces are well worth a visit to the Federation Square on their own, but a cultural and arts program though out the whole month will get you heading back there a couple of times.

Some of the program highlights include:

• Camp Fire Program
• Solstice Celebration 18th June 5pm – 8pm arrive at 4.30pm to get your lantern, including African flame dances, Pacific Island hot rocks performance and a Mexican fire-breathing bull
• On the Big Screen “Enlightened” Illuminates the diverse meaning which individuals from different cultural backgrounds have expressed on the topic of light
• The Fire in Winter Closing Ceremony 3rd July at 5pm

Refer to the full program to plan when are going to get in to the square.

Peel back the layers of the Onion Skin – other things nearby: It’s well worth spending a couple of hours in the square the Art of the Brick Exhibition, Nathan Sawaya’s large scale Lego sculptures is on display in Federation Square for a limited time only.

Food: In the square there are several eateries to tempt you taste buds including the Transport Hotel or close by and a hop across the bridge at Southgate, the family friendly food court.

How to get there:
Train – Flinders Street Station
Tram – Any tram along St. Kilda Road or Swanston Street to the Federation Square / Flinders Street Station interchange. The free City Circle tram around the city grid stops right outside.