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These early posts were very wordy, but I’m still impressed with the research. These deserve a second look.

Down Under

The development of the city of Melbourne and the state of Victoria was a land grab, initiated by a handful of settlers who had arrived in Australia a little too late for the first big land grab– New South Wales.  This was Terra Nullus, after all, the “empty land,” and land was there for the taking.

According to British law, the territory of Australia beyond the borders of NSW belonged to the Crown.  The Crown acknowledged the rights of Aboriginal people to occupy it and discouraged squatters, but these were niceties.  And niceties did not discourage people like John Batman, who let it be known that he wished to establish a new settlement along the banks of the Yarra River and to call it Batmania.  I want you to know, dear reader, that “Batmania” very nearly started here, long before the comic books made their appearance.

What attracted Batman and…

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Ironically, I have managed to attract a new cold virus, so I’m sleeping a lot and trying to drink lots of liquids. I always go for good, strong coffee, beer, wine or both. I don’t seem to have progressed much during the last seven years. Go figure.

Down Under

Despite the taboo against bringing foreign pests into Australia, I managed to get a nasty one past the sniffer dog.  It was a cold virus, and it seemed determined to hang on as long as possible.  I was into my second round of antibiotics when it struck me that this was never going away.  I simply had to get out of the house and stop letting it have the upper hand.

For a couple of weeks, I had been considering an invitation to join a group of cyclists intent on doing the High Country and Myrtleford Trails. Tempted but not committed, I booked a couple of cottages.  I would wait until the last minute to see if I would be well enough to do it.  My wife was not encouraging.   VICHPV rides are not  fast, but they can be long and taxing.  I finally decided that if my body wasn’t…

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My plan to reblog the best of came a cropper as soon as I put it in place. I was distracted by a quick trip to Saskatoon and a few other obligations. I’m back to work, now, and while I am not as reliable as a Swiss train, I’ll pull into the station on time.

Down Under

Chugging along on a boat in Hong Kong harbour is an odd place to get intrigued by the architecture of a train station in Melbourne, but it happened. The weather was miserable. Neil, an old friend from our days in Hong Kong, had seized on the excuse of visitors to gather a few friends, drink some gin and tonics, and gab.

One of Neil’s British buddies had slipped away that afternoon from a high pressure job as managing director of a substantial HK based corporation.  His company had just purchased the business that supplied the roof of Southern Cross Station. He talked of the architecture in awe inspiring terms. “The station is the roof,” he said.

The original train station was called Batman’s Hill (after John Batman, one of founders of Melbourne). It was later changed to Spencer Street Station. In 1856 it became the Melbourne terminus of Victorian railways…

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