Archive for the ‘Living in Melbourne’ Category

Melbourne Awards 2009

melbourneawards08logoThe City of Melbourne runs the Melbourne Awards every year to honour individuals, businesses, and community groups that contribute to making Melbourne awesome. Unfortunate for us, that doesn’t include blogs but it does honour people who really go above and beyond to promote our city. Judging is done by a panel but nominations are done by the public via their website.

Looking at some of the past winners, they all seem to contribute to groups that help the underprivileged or the environment.  Some  interesting mentions from last year are Flexicar (the community car share program), The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival,  and the Chill On Ice Bar, a bar that I’m amazed it is still in business.

The nomination process seems like a daunting process involving up to 5 pages for your submission,  a 150-word overview of the project,DVDs, supporting materials, and industry testimonials among the many things recommended but is probably worthy of a good cause. Nominations close Friday May 15.

City of Melbourne: Melbourne Awards

Buy one get one free!


Hello readers,

after a short hiatus, I’m back.  As I sat in front of my telly yesterday evening, wondering how I could re-introduce myself back into the Melbourne Metblog fold, I chanced upon this wonderful ad. In light of our dire spending power in the last six months, it couldn’t be more apt!

Paul’s Sports Warehouse has just one outlet in Victoria. Now there’s the good news and the bad. The good? It’s in Melbourne. The bad? It’s in the western suburbs. If any of you west of the Maribyrnong or south of the Yarra fancy a free pair of runners and are willing to dust off your flak jacket, bring your life policy along with you and check out what the wonderful deals available. If anything, purchase them runners and hit the track. Lose the weight before the brunt of winter beckons!

Paul’s Sports Warehouse is located in 77 Wright Street, Sunshine, VIC 3020. To come at the safest time where stabbings or shootings occur the least, make an appointment with them at (03) 9310 2044. If you truly believe the western suburbs are as dangerous as the media makes it out to be, you’re an idiot.

The Age reports on new cycling spending transport plan

It’s really good to hear cycling is now being formally recognised as part of the transport plan by the Victorian government, especially in Melbourne. It’s even better to hear the Premier recognise that regular commuting cyclists (existing and potential) not only get people healthier and happier, but also that every cyclist is one less car in congested traffic or one less passenger on the struggling public transport network.

Every commuting cyclist out there should feel proud that they probably do more to “keep Melbourne moving” (to borrow a slogan) than any new freeway could. Cyclists minimise congestion or public transport crush, maximise the carrying capacity of roads, maximise the availability of parking for those who need to use it (loading, couriers, the elderly or disabled), reduce the burden on the health care system from sedentary or stress related illness, reduce the family/workplace losses from early death or illness, and reduce use of polluting fossil fuels. All while having fun on wheels!

Accessed 24/03/2009 from The Age website / Peddling priority, Clay Lucas, March 24, 2009

When the road builders start riding their bikes to work instead of driving, it’s clear something different is happening. That was confirmed yesterday with the launch of the Victorian Cycling Strategy, a $115 million Brumby Government plan to get more people cycling.

A Melbourne City Council report issued in October showed that bikes as a percentage of vehicles in the CBD between 7am and 10am had risen from just 4 per cent in 2006 to 9 per cent last year.

In suburbs such as Northcote, Brunswick and Fitzroy, up to 13 per cent of adults now ride to work.

“(Cycling) is good for your personal health. It will get your blood pressure down, it will get your cholesterol down. It also takes pressure off the public transport system and our road system,” [Premier John Brumby said at yesterday’s launch of the bike plan that the new strategy aimed to boost cycling all over the state].

“Cycling is now an essential part of the transport plan,” the Premier said. “That is a big shift from where we were a decade ago, where really what funds were available to cycling were just an add-on.” Now [Premier Brumby’s government] has boosted spending levels [each year on cycling] to $18 million a year.

The reaction from Bicycle Victoria to yesterday’s plan was little short of euphoric. “This is a history-making document,” said Bicycle Victoria chief executive Harry Barber. “For the first time in Australia, bike riding has been formally recognised as part of the core transport system.” The era of “discrimination” — where bike riders were lucky to get a few left-overs when roads were built — had officially ended, Barber said.

Yesterday the Premier said Victoria needed the plan to achieve success in helping more people to start getting fit, and cycling was a great way. “We are losing more people from the non-communicable diseases than we are from the communicable diseases for the first time in our history. These are all the lifestyle diseases. The best way to counter a lifestyle disease is to keep fit and to keep healthier. And you can do it walking, you can do it running, or you can do it cycling. Every one of those people who is cycling into work in the morning could be someone who is using a car, could be someone using public transport,” he said.

See the full article for more about the plan.

Bushfire thoughts

As the previous posts have extensively covered, large areas of Victoria are still burning. People have died, undoubtedly more than have been found so far. Communities (the physical parts of them, at least) are being destroyed. At the moment, the air in Melbourne is full of ash, because of an anticyclonic system sweeping weather down from the north. The sun has this eerie yellow-orange light, that most of us here remember from the last huge bushfires (not that long ago at all).

Some news sources have breathlessly listed the donations made by “Corporate Australia”, $14 million combined from the richest corporations by my latest count; fairly piddling, token amounts, considering the proportion of the countrys wealth controlled by some of these contributors (i suggested they donate their entire tax savings since Howard came to office… it seems fair). As usual for this sort of thing, “Non-Corporate” Australia has been far more impressive, reaching the $50 million mark – a level that is actually going to make some kind of a dent in the damage that has been done, though more is still needed.

You can donate at the Australian Red Cross website.

I have a friend who has been in view of the fires; in Warrandyte, on the edge of the suburbs. He’s described some pretty terrifying sights, like being able to watch individual gum trees explode (eucalyptus oils + heat) through his binoculars. They’re not very far away at all.

Have been tracking down information on Flowerdale, the town where i grew up (we moved when i was eight). It’s apparently been pretty badly hit, do a Google search for the town right now and you’ll find more of those nightmarish pictures of burnt out cars sitting in the middle of the road.

After we moved, the people who bought our old house let a whole bunch of trees grow up close to the house itself. I remember my parents commenting on that. It’s a fairly dangerous thing to do. I only spent Prep and Grade 1 there, but in school we had it drummed into us that you don’t let leaf litter get near the house, among other things.

I wonder how they are. I hope they’re okay. I might drive up in winter, when i won’t be getting in the way of emergency crews (or fires), and see if the house is still there.

Generosity of everyone

It is amazing how generous people can be; here in Victoria, across Australia and across the world. So, far the Australian Red Cross Victorian Bushfire Fund has raised at least 51 million today.

And everyday, there is a new fundraising event, from cricket matches, AFL games, to tonight’s channel nine telethon Live streaming of Channel 9 telethon for Bushfire Fund. It is beginning to be difficult to keep track of all the events. Herald Sun is attempting to list all known events in case there are con artists out here who are trying to benefit from all this.

Personally, I’m looking forward to tomorrow, not because its Friday the 13th, but because Coles will donate all profits earned on Friday to the Red Cross bushfire fund. It is the only time to shop at Coles.

Bushfire Disaster, 84 and climbing

It is one thing suffering through a really hot day but another when a bushfire devastate an entire region of Victoria. At the latest report, there has been 84 accounted deaths but there could still be more as police and fire crew continue their work in the region.

The bushfire has burnt the entire township of Marysville, Kingslake and surrounding areas, destroying more than 312,000 hectares.

Many residents were trapped in the region because the bushfire surrounded the roads in and out of the area. Some residents perished while trying the escape the fire in their vehicles. Victims included Brian Naylor, a veteran news reader, and his wife Moiree.

People concerned about friends and relatives known to be in the affected region, should call 1800 727 077.

Victorian Bushfire Relief Fund is now accepting donations through either the NAB or Red Cross.

News Links
The Age “Death toll …”

The Herald Sun “Witness gallery

Herald Sun “Bushfire figures

ABC’s “Bushfire Emergency

Getting through another hot day…

I though it might be timely to post about how people can keep cool on hot days.

In particular, how to keep cool without air conditioning.

Victoria’s power supplies are often stretched on scorcher days, resulting in power outages as resources find their limits or equipment is working harder than it was designed for. We need to be good citizens towards those who live in areas where air conditioning is their last resort for health – whether it be the sick, the elderly, or those living and working in hot buildings or environments. There is potential for the power you use to cause a power outage for someone who needs an electricity supply to survive.

So, how can it be done? (more…)

Public Transport rally this Tuesday

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) are holding a rally Tuesday lunchtime (from 11.30 am, speakers begin at Midday). It will be held at Parliament House (Bourke and Spring Streets) and will coincide with the first sitting day of parliament for the year.

A coalition of community groups, led by the Victorian Water Forum, is holding a rally to call on the Brumby government to listen to the people and provide real solutions on water, climate change and public transport. PTUA is supporting this call, and will be attending.

Come along to the front steps of Parliament in your lunch hour and stand up for better public transport and real action on climate change.

See the PTUA website for more information.

Free on conditions …

That one is able to catch some form of public transport today. The only form of transport which I didn’t have any problems catching today, was the bus, travelling from station to station.

At the time of penning this post, the city loop was closed or shut down due to a massive power failure. Most if not all the lines are affected. From where I was left stranded, I had the impression most or all the lines are completely down, and no trains were running.

The whole situation worsened as power outages affected many suburbs, including mine, in the outer western area. Just what else can go wrong today? And its not even Friday the 13th. If only I had taken that ferry heading towards Tasmania …

News Links
The Age “Rail network meltdown
Herald Sun “Huge power outage hits Victoria

What time did you get home tonight?

The temperature soared to 43 degrees at around 5 pm. I certainly didn’t look forward to taking the crowded train home tonight. And with more than 150 train cancellations today, I was sure my train was not going to turn up on time. So, instead, I decided to hang out, stayed late at the office, went to the supermarket and kept to the freezer section, window shopping, did everything to stay cool.

The thermometer showed a high 38 degrees at 9 pm, I’m sure many Victorians are staying cool by staying out of the home, either by choice or because of canceled trains. Many went to the beach, stayed by the river and pretty much hanged out and ate out.

So, what time did you go home tonight?

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