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Posts tagged ‘history’

Influencing Us: Self Portraits

Today every where you go people have their phones out, some on selfie sticks, others arms outstretched to take a photo of themselves where they are. The selfie seems to be a massive phenomenon since the advent of mobile phones.

However, if we consider that the portrait, before cameras, were painted, then it seems that many artists have been doing selfies for a long time. Of course, artists were the only people who could do selfies back then, as you needed to be able to paint or draw.

It seems to be something that nearly every artist did, a self portrait, and it is good to see that they are still around. I thought today we could take a look at some of those self portraits. Some of them are straight forward portraits, while some are done in a very artistic style.

I am just going to leave you with a gallery of the self portraits today.

Influencing Us: The Art of Christmas

As it is Christmas in a few days I thought it might be nice to look at art work with a difference for the Introductions/Influencing Me post this week.  What I thought would be nice would be to look at how Christmas, St Nicholas and Santa Claus have been depicted in art throughout the ages.  They are images that we often see at this time of the year.  I really enjoyed going over websites and find images for you.  Of course there are many more on the internet. I have some links at the end of the post.  I always find Christmas a great time to get new gear, though not this year, might have to wait until my birthday.

I thought we could start with different depictions of the birth of Christ from as early as the 4th century to about the 1800’s.

Then I thought what about St Nicholas, how was he depicted and how did he end up looking like what we think of as Santa Claus.  So these are very old images up to more modern day ones. There has been this myth that he wears red and white because of Coca Cola, but it isn’t true, if anything Coco Cola stole santa to advertise their drinks.

Then I thought how different  the modern Santa Claus is now or the image that many of us have of him.


Then I thought, as a final thing we could look at Christmas cards and the Christmas scenes they depict.  It is interesting that Christmas is nearly always depicted with winter scenes. It is so different here, though I guess depicting Christmas scenes where it is in the middle of summer would be a bit weird, Santa would be in red shorts and a red t-shirt with a white trim.  Perhaps he would be wearing  a red sun hat, his nose would be red with sunburn, but then he would have white zinc on it to stop the sun burning him anymore.  I am sure he would wear thongs on his feet and, of course, they would be red.  Santa often arrives at functions here in a fire truck.

Below are some links of the places where I got the images and you can read more about the history of Christmas. I’ve tried not to do too much Christmas posts this week, but sometimes, you just have to do them.

Weekend Wanderings: Quarantine Station

A friend and I have decided to start hiking.  Of course, for me, this means going to places and taking photos. We decided that the first place we would go for a hike would be Point Nepean. We went down past Portsea to see what we could find.

We found ourselves at the Quarantine Station, which stopped being one a long time ago, but all the buildings are still there.  With all the talk of Ebola and the possibility of it spreading, many people are talking about quarantining people again, it was interesting to visit a place that was used for that sort of thing over 150 years ago.  There are many sites about the history of the station, but the best one I found was Nepean Historical Society, and their page on the Quarantine Station 1854.


There’s no doubting that where the quarantine station, and the area around, is beautiful.  It is an amazing place and we are so lucky that it is now parklands and will be protected, well we hope.  The Victorian Government is going to allow private developers to build a resort in this area, which means land that is available to everyone will become basically private land unless you have a lot of money to pay to stay at the resort.  Not good in my books.


The Disinfecting Building

Many of the buildings are open and you can just wander around them and inside them.  Best to start by going to information and getting a map to see what is there and what is open.  The above image is from the disinfecting building, where they disinfected the luggage.  Massive boilers and, I don’t even know what the thing in the photo is called.  Quite amazing.

I photographed some of the signs that might give you more information about some of the places here.



One of the hospitals.  Quite amazing and imposing buildings really.  This one was open and we were able to go inside, there will be photos from inside in the gallery.  Must have been an incredible place, scary, people arriving here and having survived the trip, to be put away with the fear of disease hanging over them.  I’m so glad travelling overseas is much different these days.


There are places that look lovely, like this avenue of trees and you can see the ocean here, just over on the right.


Cook House

People were responsible for cooking their own meals, from what we could tell, in the beginning anyway. This little building is right behind the hospital and it was called the Cook House.



This was one of the best things we saw all day.  We first saw the Echidna when we got there, but some other people were watching it and it basically ran away from us. As we were leaving to head out on our hike, we saw it again, and this time it didn’t run away, it was too busy looking for ants, sticking its nose into the ground.

We really didn’t get enough time to explore the Quarantine Station as we needed to move on and do our hike, but we both realised that we had got their too late in the morning so next time the plan is to get there much earlier.  I love places like this so would really like to do that. I have a map for you as well.

I am going to put some more images into a gallery for you now, just click on one to see them individually.  I hope you are having a great weekend, Christmas is finally starting to make an impact on our house, present are being brought and a small tree has made an appearance.


Weekend Wanderings – Around Warracknabeal

While I was up at my mums I was given an opportunity to go and take photos of some of the more historical places around Warracknabeal.  One of the things I’ve found about the country is how they are tied to the past.  I always thought that was a bad thing, but now I’m not so sure.  Melbourne is about the future and changing things, and there aren’t many places that have been left the way they were.  Progress they call it, they leave the outside of the building, but then gut the inside and rebuild.  I don’t like it, but unfortunately people don’t listen to me.  I got some lovely surprises when I went to Warracknabeal.


I went early in the morning, well I got there at 8am, and the light was just stunning, and not to mention the clouds.  It was a perfect morning for taking photos and long before the heat of the day set in.  This is the water tower, it is near the train tracks.  It is a great tower, I didn’t go inside this one, no need to really.


Then it was onto the court house.  As with many places one of the biggest problems I had was with power lines, they were all across this, so I had to spend quite a bit of time removing them, they were too distracting.  It is a lovely old building.  It is no longer a court house and is used by the Warracknabeal Historical Society, but when you walk inside, there is a little surprise.


It still looks like a court house.  They could have a judge there tomorrow and start using it as a court house again, they wouldn’t have to do anything.  It was really amazing to see it all set up like this.


The old State Bank is now the Historical Centre and when you walk inside it, you can see the bank as it was, how banks used to be.  You can walk around this and look at it.  There are ledgers open on the benches behind the counters.  In the rooms behind the bank and above you can see how they lived.  They are full of wonderful old things.  I have more photos and will put them in the gallery.


I don’t know a lot about this building, it is the Wheatlands Warehouse, and now is used as a secondhand dealership.  Inside you will find so many things, and it seems to go on and on.  I have more photos  of the inside in the gallery.


I have a map for you of Victoria and you can see where Warracknabeal is.  I don’t know if this helps, please let me know if it does, as I just used google maps and if you would like to know where I am going, I would be happy to do more maps for you.

It was a gorgeous morning, I am going to put the above images and some more into a gallery for you now.  The file names should give you an idea of what building you are looking at. Of course, I was able to go in to many of these buildings thanks to the Yarriambiack Shire and the Wimmera  Mallee Tourism Association, so I would like to say thank you to them.


Weekend Wanderings – Royal Exhibition Building

Last weekend we had a Social Snappers Excursion and it was to the museum, though more importantly, to the Royal Exhibition Building.  There was no exhibition on in the building, so it would be possible to do a tour of the inside of the building as well.  The Royal Exhibition Building is a very historic building in Melbourne,  and is one of only two buildings in Australia that have World Heritage Listing.  Surprisingly it was given that listing before the Sydney Opera House.royal-exhibition-building-museum-7

The above is quite an iconic image of the building.  There are four points to the building, so from a central dome, it reaches out to the north, south, east and west.  The north and south wings are shorter, and the other two much longer.  In the above image you are seeing the south wing entry doors.  There are doors at each end.  This is possibly the nicest entrance with the fountain, but for the management of the building, these are like the back doors, so when an exhibition is on or has just finished, all the trucks and rubbish and everything like that is here as well.  So disappointing that they choose this side to do that. Makes it very ugly, but beautiful too.


This is a view from the other side, and the doors there are for the north wing.  This is the side that faces the museum, and for those that saw my monochrome madness image the other day, this is what was reflected into the glass.


I planned the trip so the building would be empty.  It was still being cleaned from an event the previous day, but I really wanted to see the building’s bare bones, so to speak.  It is so easy for things to get hidden when there are exhibitions on.


The tour was great in giving you the history of the building and why it is significant. I learned a lot with it.


The tour is good for that, but not great if your purpose for the doing the tour is to get lots of photos.  I found we only stayed in a small part of the building.  So I had to take photos of what I could.  I’m not too disappointed, if that is all you can get, then you have to do what you can.  It would be nice if they did tours so people could get good photos of it.  Maybe I will suggest it to them.

The building is historical because during the 1800’s there were many many exhibition buildings built, the most famous being the Chrystal Palace in London, but today not many of them of survive, and apparently this building is the only one in the world that is still being used as an exhibition building.  There are big exhibitions on there all the time.

I am going to leave you with a gallery now. If you are interested in doing a tour of the building, then contact the Museum of Victoria.  I hope your weekend has been good.  The weather is finally turning good here.  It is less than 0 degrees here now, apparently that is 32 in Fahrenheit, it is cold, well really cold for here, but it also means good weather today, yay, no rain.

From the History Books

Today is the last Friday of the month and time for another post on Deaf Children Australia.  I know I had previously stated that I was going to go back and take more photos, well it hasn’t happened.  I don’t know what has happened with the time in the last month.  It has vanished.  So today I thought I would do something a little different.  I was lent a book about the history of the school, “The History of the Victorian School For Deaf Children” by J.H. Burchett, MBE, published in 1964, and I have’t read all of it, but there are lots of photos in it.

I have wanted to show photos of how the school used to be, a different time, a different way of life, but it has been hard to get access to the old photos, so today I thought I would show you a gallery of images from the book. I scanned them for you.  They aren’t great, you can see that they are from a book because of some crazy grid stuff, but hopefully you can get an idea of what it was like.  There are images from when the school first started and into the 20th century.  I left the explanation under each photo so that should help explain them to you.

There is also a DVD that has been produced, it is called “Behind the Bluestone” and is full of footage from the school and stories by people who went there.  It is very inexpensive at $15 and a great way to support Deaf Children Australia.  If you are interested in purchasing it then you should go to this link, click here.

Don’t forget you can also donate money to Deaf Children Australia and there is a donate button on their website.

How a Bluestone Came to be on St Kilda Road

On my last visit to the Bluestone for Deaf Children Australia I was allowed to borrow a book The History of the Victorian School for Deaf Children.  The book was written by J.H.Burchett, MBE and was first published in 1964.  I don’t think the book is still available, so I have to be very careful with the copy I have.


It is great to actually read some of the history rather than just getting bits and pieces from this person and that.   So for today’s post I thought I would share some of the information of how the DCA ended up where it is today.  The photos are going to be all the ones I have taken of the building so far, I think that will work with this.

The history starts before this, but I am more interested in the bluestone and I am going to look at how it came to be.  The book isn’t great with dates, but we can assume that by the early 1860’s the enrolment numbers in the school were increasing at such a rate that operating the school from various houses was not possible anymore.  So the school applied to the Board of Land and Works for a land grant.  The land on St Kilda Road was not the first piece of land offered, but the one they finally settled on.  We know, and have been told before that the land was marsh land, which is probably why they were offered it, what would be today considered prime real estate.  Not sure it was back then, but today any land on St Kilda Road is worth millions.


From what I can work out to get a grant of money from the Treasury they needed to raise money from an “apathetic public”.  So lots of public meetings were held to raise money for the building fund, and they managed to raise £1,054 and then the Treasury granted them £3,000.  With these funds architects were then employed to draw up plans for the new building, I don’t like using the word institute.

The book also states that FJ Rose, the original principal of the school, had ideas and the architects used many of these for the building that was then built.

The contract for the building was signed on the 4th of January in 1866 and work began on it in February, the following month. Sir C.H. Darling, K.C.B. laid the foundation stone for the building on the 6th of March and by September the building was occupied.  His Excellency Sir J.H.T. Manners-Sutton K.C.B. officially opened the building on the 13th of October, nine and half months after construction began.  Could you imagine a building being built that fast today?

Here is a quote about the way the building was built.

“When the solid nature of the structure is considered and the materials from which it is built, that every stone had to be shaped by hand, the scaffolding an affair of poles and ropes, and then note a modern structure under way with all the modern electrical and other equipment in use, one is amazed at the speed with which the building arose.”


While the building was going ahead and the costs were mounting up, the Treasury wasn’t very forthcoming with the promised funds and the committee found itself struggling financially.  In the end seven members of the committee made themselves personally responsible to the bank for the funds and they became the first trustees.  Eventually the £3,000 promised was received from the Treasury, much to everyone’s relief.

The building cost £7,266/18/6 to build the central 3 stories with the tower, and the south wing with its two stories.  Over the years the building has been added to, with the north wing and various other additions.

Now I find myself part of the story of a new chapter in the building as it prepares for the next 100 years and it changes as the world does around it.

Now here is a gallery of images of how the building is today. There are a lot of them, I was surprised, but it was good to see them again.



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