Brunswick Street Fitzroy is a favourite haunt of mine in Melbourne, I fell in love with it as a uni student and love visiting when life in the middle suburbs feels a little boring. It’s a melting pot of university students, artisans, housing commission dwellers, professionals, hipsters and sadly, the homeless. It’s a bit grubby and definitely not conservative. It’s laden with coffee shops, restaurants of many ethnicities, groovy little clothing shops and galleries, housed in old Victorian shops with peeling paint. Tiny little terrace houses pack the streets under Plane trees and lanes are paved with bluestone. I thought I’d give you a little tour….
Businesses often commission graffiti artists to decorate their walls to deter the less skilled graffiti vandals.
Can you see tram lines in the middle of the road? Trams are a big part of Melbourne’s public transport in the city and inner to middle suburbs.
Fitzroy Artist’s Garden
A giant Kewpie doll? Well why not?
Side street coffee shop
The side of a small house
A street performer
Hopefully not made from real dogs….
Brunswick Street Fitzroy
When I was a little girl around four years old, I had a beautiful red coat. There are a few photographs of me in the red coat in family albums. My hair in pigtails with red ribbons and wearing a black and white smock under the coat, little white socks and black shoes. I think this would have been around 1970. I can’t really remember wearing the red coat, but I can remember being a happy confident little girl. As I grew older, I lost that confidence for a long time and became a dreamy, rather solitary child, not lonely, just happy with my company, quite timid and shy. Now, I still enjoy my company and am never bored, but am a much more social creature. My confidence in the last few years has returned but I am still very much a day dreamer. This painting is nostalgic, looking back towards that little girl I was in the red coat, when life was so simple.
“In my red coat – 1″
Sometimes, I think it might be nice to be a dog and live a life in pursuit of pleasure. No bills to pay, work to go to, housework, cooking, no telephones to answer. Nothing much to remember to do, other than finding the most comfortable spot in the house. Can you tell I’m feeling a little tired?
Ruby is always trying to sneak on to the throw rugs on the sofa, especially if there is a patch of sunlight. She loves nothing more than snoozing in the sun (apart from eating of course). I found this lovely crocheted rug in a charity shop for $4.00. Someone has put a lot of work into it and I love the bright sunny colours they chose. It’s too small for me to use so I’ve given it to Ruby; as you can see she just adores it, hedonist that she is.
Her most important job
Snug as a bug in a rug
Someone’s amazing crochet work
When I was a little girl I slept with my old baby sleeping bag. I had loved it to pieces, so soft and comforting, a little rabbit stitched on it, I called it Baggy. I still have Baggy but do not fear dear reader, I do not still sleep with it! I could never bear to discard Baggy after a sleep over at my grandparents around the age of five. My grandmother was rather aghast that I still slept with such a ragged old thing and so, she sent Baggy to the rubbish bin. I rescued Baggy and hid it inside my pyjamas until I went home. This is the inspiration behind my Blanket Bunny Rabbits. They are made from vintage pure wool Australian Blankets and have their own little blanket firmly attached to their paw. Nobody is taking away their blankets!
I wanted to show you a very show offey (is offey a word? I’m going to use it anyway, I like it.), Australian tree called the Red Flowering Gum (although I just learnt it is actually a bloodwood, not a gum). This tree is native to Western Australia but it seems to be flourishing on the other side of the country, in my parents in law’s garden on the Mornington Peninsula.
This is a tree you cannot ignore and apparently neither can the bees. The bee below flitted from flower to flower, immersing himself in them. I think you could say he was in Bee Heaven.
The Red Flowering Gum
A headless bee?
Pale flower buds spring open to reveal the unfurling red flower.
Purple is an interesting colour. It is the combination of the warmest and coolest colours red and blue and depending on the proportions of these, can be warm or cool, delicate if white is added or overpowering if dark and on mass. Although I wouldn’t like a bedroom painted all in dark purple, I have fond memories of my childhood 70′s room. It had white walls and touches of purple in the blinds, light shade and a dark purple woollen blanket. It lives in my memory as a sun filled happy room and though we moved house and I had to leave it at age ten or eleven I think, I remember it well. I’ve assembled a little collection of purple here for your pleasure.
Purple is the night
A top brought back from my husband’s annual trip to Kiribati. These tops are commonly worn by women there in all colours of gingham.
A purple house in our neighbourhood stands out for its colour and obvious love of plants
Echium candicans, commonly known as pride of Madeira hosting a bee.
A purple eyed owl shelters in a purple leafed tree.
A fascination for chimneys and rooftops developed from childhood film favourite Mary Poppins. Featuring a very sooty scene on London rooftops complete with singing and dancing chimney sweeps and fireworks and ending up with votes for women in an elegant house. What’s not to like about that?
Apparently New Zealand was the first country to grant votes for women in 1883 and Australia in 1902 was second(earlier in South Australia). Something not to be proud of in our history is that Queensland and Western Australia barred Aborigines from voting until 1967 and most Indigenous Australians in the other states were not made aware that they had the right before then. For anyone interested in reading more about this you can visit the Australian Electoral Commission.
But I digress, back to chimneys. Listen to “Step in time” from this scene but don’t blame me if you find yourself humming it for the rest of the day, it’s very catchy. One early childhood memory has me standing on top of a dog kennel with an open umbrella, jumping off just like Mary Poppins, but sadly not floating gently down.
An attribute that really draws me to old houses is the detail included on functional parts of the building such as chimneys. Everything was made to look attractive on these homes. Whilst I like modern homes too for their simplicity and easy upkeep, it is really old homes that grab my imagination. Our suburb consists mainly of 1920′s to modern day homes with a couple of Victorians dotted here and there so not a lot of decorative detail. In the nearby swanky suburb of Canterbury however, I can soak up decorative details on lovingly restored old homes from the Victorian, Edwardian and Between the Wars eras, as I walk along it’s leafy streets. Here are some chimneys that I thought you might like.