Melbourne, we’re on the move again ……

Having recently spent the better part of 2 months in Brisbane doing all the essentials after a year away, we’re back into the swing of traveling and house sitting, currently in Melbourne looking after 2 very adorable brothers.

Here are Sprocket and Boo. If they’re not in their favourite big bed spot we’ll find them positioned over one of the floor heater vents. We love them a lot and get so much pleasure from being around them. They’re both very vocal and we all have lots of robust conversations together. I just can’t imagine putting these lovely fellows into a kennel and we really do think it is so much better for pets to stay in their own home with loving carers.

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We chose Melbourne as our first stop because #2 daughter Carly lives here with husband Bevan and kids Jackson and Poppy, and we haven’t seen them in the flesh for a year. At ages 5 & 3, a lot changes in that time. So for the next month we’ll certainly be getting more of our grand-parenting on.

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When we first arrived in Melbourne we stayed in a nice little Airbnb flat in Brunswick for 3 days, here is a link. Great location, right on the Merri Creek pathway and an easy walk to all the fab eating places of Lygon Street. And yes, we are still eating a bit too well with so much choice in Melbourne!

A stroll in the other direction was Carly & Bevan’s place so we were indeed well placed for our brief time here.

Those who have read the fabulous novel Shantaram will recall that the author, Gregory David Roberts, famously escaped from Melbourne’s Pentridge Prison, hence setting off a series of adventures through India and beyond, and onto bookshelves around the world.

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Penal Establishment Pentridge

The site of the former Pentridge Prison (established in 1851, closed in 1997) is not far from our Coburg house sit home and we were pretty keen to have a look around. What we found was the sales office for a planned high-density high-rise urban development within the 15 acre Heritage listed grounds. We really wanted to get inside the walls so we went through the whole sales spiel, and were very lucky not to have left with a contract to buy a 3 bedroom penthouse. The development is quite controversial because of the likelihood of gentrification of an historic suburb with great ethnic diversity.

Anyway, back to the prison. We found our brief visit immensely fascinating though a bit disappointing as just last week there was an open day for the entire site that would have allowed us to venture through all the old buildings on guided tours.

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B Division building

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The infirmary

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29 prisoners escaped over the bluestone walls during the 150 or so years of the prison operating and 186 people were executed.

Well known notorious prisoners spent time at Pentridge:

  • Ned Kelly: a prisoner at Pentridge for 3 years in the early 1870’s  Ned_kelly_day_before_execution_photograph
    following arrest for horse stealing. When convicted of murder and robbery in 1880, the outlaw Ned Kelly was subsequently hanged at Melbourne Gaol. In 1929 his remains were moved to a grave at Pentridge, then in 2011 his remains were exhumed and delivered to the Kelly family for burial.
  • Julian Knight: murdered 7 people in the “Hoddle Street Massacre”.
  • Mark “Chopper” Read: gang leader and standover man, his story was made into the movie “Chopper”.
  • In 1968, as a Conscientious Objector,  John Zarb was the first person to be found guilty of having failed to comply with his call up notice during the Vietnam War.
  • Ronald Ryan: So here I will mention that in 1968 Ronald Ryan was the very last person executed in Australia, at Pentridge prison. This sad episode in our history remains clear in my memory as I recall my mother’s outrage about the hanging of a person without an option for appeal and the possibility of innocence.
    Here is a Youtube of Adrienne Lovelock & Peter Day performing Mark Cryle‘s Ronald Ryan ballad which I think presents a fair representation of events.

 

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2 Comments on Melbourne, we’re on the move again ……

  1. I am happy that you have re-started your travels, after a couple of months at home. The bluestone walls of Pentridge Prison must have a lot of stories to tell. I enjoyed the ballad…very moving.

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