Saturday, 25 April 2015

War Memorials and Anzac Day: Lest We forget

War Memorials and Anzac Day: Lest We forget

         Countless Australians fought and died in The Great War. It was a war fought in Europe and extended to the Middle East. Australia was then with the Allied Forces that were up against the Axis Powers. Australia was also actively involved in World War II. It likewise sent men to fight in the Crimean War, in Greece and on other battle fields. Australians have always been part of peace keeping missions in different parts of the world.

         To recognize the gallantry and sacrifice of these men, war memorials were built all over Australia. Almost all towns have war monuments dedicated to local heroes. They can be located at rotundas, near public squares and reserves. Inscribed are words attesting to the bravery of those who fought and perished. The names of bonafide residents who fought in the wars can be seen in the memorials. Starting with WWI heroes, the memorials now include casualties of WWII and of the other wars.

          To remember and honor these war heroes, the Australian government has declared every April 25 as Anzac Day. New Zealand also observes Anzac Day. Ceremonies are held in almost all states of Australia. As it is a national holiday, many Australians participate in the usual parade and watch the rituals that follow. The Laying of Wreaths, singing of hymns and the sounding of The Last Post are regularly done. In Melbourne, the focal point of celebration is held at The Shrine of Remembrance. Anzac Day is a time of remembering, a time of paying respect to those men made of sterner stuff who gave their lives for freedom, for democracy.

- Konted

The Shrine of Remembrance stands on a very wide prime land near St. Kilda Road .

The Shrine of Remembrance is one of the most popular landmarks of Melbourne City.

The Shrine of Remembrance as seen from the Remembrance Garden.

The Forecourt built in honor of War War II heroes.

The Eternal Flame at the WW II Forecourt

Wipers Statue. Wipers refers to a battle field in France where many Australians died in action in World War I.

Remembering fallen comrades

Memorial to those who fought and died in South Africa in 1901-1902.

Names of those who died in action

Memorial to those Australians and Hellenic who fought and died on Mainland Greece and in the Battle of Crete  during World War II.

Never to be forgotten

Dedicated to those who defended the island of Malta in 1942

Recognition from US President Franklin Roosevelt

German Howitzer on display at the Department of Defense across The Shrine of Remembrance. It was captured from the Germans when an Australian Division attacked the Hindenberg Outpost Line.

War Memorial at St. Kilda


War Memorial near Brighton Beach

War Memorial built in Williamstown

War Memorial at Sandringham

Reminding everyone of Anzac Day which is on April 25th.


Sunday, 19 April 2015

The Amazing Webb Bridge

The Amazing Webb Bridge

        Eel is a snake-like fish that is known to be slippery when one tries to hold it. To catch one, an indigenous Australian uses a woven basket. It is called a Koorie Eel Trap. This popular catching device inspired the builders of a bridge in Melbourne to design it like a Koorie Eel Trap. Its unique design has made the bridge a top tourist attraction. 

        The Webb Bridge, one of the many bridges that span the famed Yarra River in Melbourne, connects the Docklands area to the south bank which is near the South Wharf and the South Edge. Representing the nets or woven basket are steels connected to each other to make a Koorie Eel Trap shape. This design is concentrated near the southern part of the bridge. The northern part has plain arches only. Webb Bridge is for pedestrians and cyclists only.

        Perhaps this unique architectural design was adopted by the builders to make the walk across Webb Bridge more exciting. This is different from the ordinary bridge we usually see. When negotiating the southern part, one is enclosed within that eel trap shape but does not feel stifled as there are gaps between the steel enclosures. After entering the mouth of the steel cage and as the pedestrian or cyclist negotiates that bend or curve coming from the south, he regains "freedom" as he reaches the upper part of the bridge where there is no more enclosure except for arches. Steel as material for the enclosure gives it the impression of stability and durability.

        At the bend are stainless railings at both sides and at the middle which were installed for safety purposes especially when riding a bike. And as one continues his walk, he is treated to majestic views of numerous tall buildings, a marina, a long highway bridge and other small bridges spanning the ever-flowing Yarra. One realizes that he stands on a vantage point. He then begins to take pictures as everyone else traversing the bridge is trying to capture that one beautiful view, that one beautiful moment. Click, click, click.

- Konted

The Webb Bridge in Melbourne

Entry point as one starts from the south bank of the Yarra; exit point when one comes from the north bank.

The Webb Bridge is for pedestrians and cyclists only.

The bridge is shaped like a Koorie eel trap.

The Webb Bridge spans the Yarra River.

Stainless steel railings and a partitioner as one negotiates the bend.

Nearing the summit of the bridge

View from the bridge

View of the West Gate Bridge

Stainless steel railing as divider as the bridge is a shared path. It is installed for safety purposes.

Steel enclosures about to end

As one reaches about 1/3 of the bridge, only steel arches can be seen.

View of the ANZ Bank building from the bridge

Approaching Webb Bridge from the north or the Docklands area.

The ascent is gradual.

View of the southern part of Webb Bridge.

An easy ride

The curve at the southern part of the bridge.

For safety purposes

Lady cyclist makes the ascent at Webb Bridge.

Coffee shop near Webb Bridge

Trident bikers approaching Webb Bridge

Friday, 17 April 2015

The Tranquil Town Of Sunbury

The Tranquil Town Of Sunbury

         The officer-in-charge of the Court of Petty Sessions wanted me to wear a magistrate's robe and wig and sit on the raised bench. I was to act as judicial officer for the day. Of course, that was only for souvenir shots, for picture taking. The Court of Petty Sessions was created in the early days to hear minor disputes in Sunbury. Though no longer a part of the judicial system of the state of Victoria, the Court of Petty Sessions of Sunbury has been preserved, still complete with a bar table, witness stand, judge's bench and a gallery. It now functions as a Visitors Information Center.

         Sunbury is a quiet town that is about 45 kilometers away from Melbourne's Central Business District (CBD). Populated as early as 1836, which was many years before the gold rush and with George Evans as its first settler, Sunbury is northwest of Melbourne City proper. A laid back town with still a great part of its land planted to agricultural crops, Sunbury in recent years has been progressing with housing projects being carried out along its borders. It is now part of Greater Melbourne.

         At the town center are bars and restaurants, gift shops, supermarkets, hotels and other business establishments that cater to the needs of its growing population. Sunbury has a health center with complete facilities, library, museum, a customers service established by the council, memorial hall, schools and many more. Near the town reserve are two churches focused on the spiritual needs of Sunbury residents.

         Near the fountain at Greenland reserve, I had a brief talk with a Sunbury resident. He was with his young son. When I was asked about my impressions of Australia and Australians, I said that generally Australians are mild mannered, disciplined, courteous and very accommodating. Yes they are. 

         On my way back to the train station, I took a rest at one of the many benches along the sidewalk. I took out from my backpack a canister of Pringles and started munching. A few meters away was a woman in her 50s, humming a song. An Australian Raven was squawking as it perched on a tree branch. Several ladies were walking their dogs. Cars passed me by. It was delightfully quiet that precise moment at Sunbury. 

          After gulping a Berry apple juice, I continued my walk, somewhat limping. I wanted to walk faster, but I could not. I have lost that nimbleness or quickness I had many years back. Anyway, there were still many train trips back to the city. No problem at all.
- Konted

The old Court of Petty Sessions of Sunbury.  It was established in the 1800s.

Beautiful flowers of Sunbury

The old Court of Petty Sessions taken from the right flank. It now functions as a Visitors Information Center.

Though no longer functioning, the Court of Petty Sessions of Sunbury has been preserved.

The Aitken's Gap Gaol used in the 1800s. Gaol is a prison cell.

The water fountain near the  reserve.

Father and son gamely pose for a souvenir shot.

St. Andrews Uniting Church

St. Mary's Anglican Church

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Parish

Sunbury' s War Memorial

Joseph Starkie Fountain.  It is the first public memorial in Sunbury.

The Health Center of Sunbury

Sunbury's Public Library

Museum of Sunbury

Customer Service Center

Statue of George Evans who was the first settler of Sunbury.  He settled in Sunbury in August, 1836.

Offering spa services

Typical house in Sunbury

There are benches along the sidewalks at the town center of Sunbury.

The Royal Hotel on Evans Street

Olive Tree Hotel at the town center

Fresh fruits always available at the Sunbury Fruit Market

Delicious barbeque chickens and fish n chips

This store claims: We serve local grass-fed beef & lamb

Thai resto and a cheesecake store

More fruits and veggies at Sunbury

Sunbury's Post Office right on Evans Street

Revolving chairs and benches near an intersection.

An Australian Raven

Bus terminal of Sunbury

Bus services are on time.

Sunbury Train Station

Train takes commuters to Melbourne city proper in 40 minutes.