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Melbourne

My wounded Melbourne

I am a proud Melbournian. My great-grandfather came here in the late 1800’s. (You might remember a couple of the family stories I shared last year. “The cable tram” and “Grandpa Mason”.) I have lived here all my life. One of my treasured joys was to wander through the lanes and alleys of Melbourne, and it is one thing I have really missed through the long lockdown. (And just in case you feel like having a binge on my posts about Melbourne, go for it!)

Melbourne has been crowned the Most Liveable City for quite a few years. Not lately though. And one of our main (unofficial!) exports has been baristas, sending them out to all parts to give the world decent coffees.

But this week Melbourne has hit global headlines, for all the wrong reasons.

Let’s start with the most serious. You may have seen footage of (mostly) men rioting around the Shrine of Remembrance. They had been out on the streets for a couple of days, including holding up and terrifying traffic on the Westgate Bridge, the main bridge over the Yarra River to the west of Melbourne.

It began as a protest against mandatory vaccinations on building sites and a closure of building sites for two weeks. I don’t support anti-vaccination or anti-mask demands, and to gather in large numbers is plain stupidity. It seems that the protests were quickly taken over by extreme right groups who leeched onto the anger over lockdowns and vaccinations. As a consequence footage of the protests have given succour to the extreme right wing around the world.

That is not my Melbourne. We are a proud multi-cultural city, with a long history of supporting progressive issues.

That this can happen is partly a product of the second news item about Melbourne. Apparently we now have the dubious record of the city with most days in lockdown. We have spent 235 days in lockdown, just overtaking Buenos Aires. That’s not continuous days, but fairly close, and it’s not over yet. I think all of us feel every one of those days.

Of course there is frustration, there is anger. Small businesses have been shut down for most of that time, parents have been home schooling, we can’t see the people we love. A tragic consequence is that mental health problems have really escalated. However, most of us recognise that lockdown is a necessary measure to give us time to get vaccination rates high enough to not overwhelm the health system. Most of us are not out on the streets. In fact there are way more people getting vaccinated than protesting.

So, let me say again ~ my Melbourne is there getting tested and vaccinated and helping out those who need an extra hand, not on the steps of the Shrine.

The other Melbourne news you may have seen is that we had an earthquake this week. Again, that is not the Melbourne I know. We don’t do earthquakes! Occasionally we have little tremors, but not 5.9 quakes! Fortunately there was little damage done.

I was about to hop in the shower when I heard an odd noise and then felt the house move on its stumps. I dressed quickly (no one wants to see a naked me out on the street!) and checked things with the Fella. All good, no damage and our neighbours were okay too.

The ongoing effect is that it has given us something other than lockdown/riots/covid/vaccinations to talk about!

And the last indignity that Melbourne has had to suffer this week is having the AFL (Australian Football League) Grand Final played in Perth. Melbourne is the heartland of Aussie Rules football, and the Grand Final has been played at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) for always. Well, until last year, when it had to be played in Brisbane. An empty MCG is a sad sight.

What’s more, there are two Melbourne teams playing ~ the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne (yes, there is a team called Melbourne.) In 2016 the Bulldogs won their first final since 1954; Melbourne won their last in 1964. Both are well due for a win. If the decorations in the streets around my house are any guide support is pretty even.

For me? Well the Fella has barracked for the Doggies ever since he arrived in Australia in the 1950s, so I will be cheering them on. But really, I don’t mind. Many members of my family are keen Melbourne supporters, so I will be happy to see them win. As we all say “As long as the game is a good one”!

So come tomorrow night most Melbournians will be in front of the telly, forgetting about lockdowns and riots and earthquakes, engrossed in a game that has a very Melbourne feel. And thinking that maybe next year the Grand Final will be back where it belongs and we will be celebrating out in the streets.

26 replies on “My wounded Melbourne”

Wounded Melbourne may be but it is a beautiful city with beautiful people who for the most -and that which they haven’t is barely worth a mention- have handled lockdown and many other challenges over the years with heart and grace, and that is the Melbourne which will prevail.

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I remember the relief when non-covid news stories cropped up (I think it might have been the US election for me). It all just gets too much, otherwise. Our news cycles has lots of stories of quite a few young (30s and 40s) unvaccinated people dying from the Delta Variant.

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We need those distractions, although earthquakes and elections are pretty dramatic ways to achieve that! It is so unfortunate and frustrating that those people have not had vaccinations. What a terrible waste.

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Go the Doggies! (well, had to deal with first things first – I am, after all, a former western suburbs girl). Melbourne is a great, great city. and despite war, flood, fire and famine, it will continue to be great. As for the protestors: their dishonour of the Shrine weighs far more heavily on the consciousness of decent Australians than their original message. You speared yourselves, you grubs. Sorry about the frankness, but I can’t help hoping that karma is swift and appropriate.

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They certainly picked the wrong spot to desecrate. Karma has been swift, as apparently at least one grub has COVID. The nasty part of me 😈 wants to deny him access to the medical system, but hopefully the angel in me will come out on top.πŸ˜‡ Thanks for your words about Melbourne. I know it has a strong place in your heart. Go Doggies!

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It strikes me that the quickest way to change the minds of anti-vaxxers is for them to get Covid-19. The nasty part of me agrees with you; after all, it’s self-inflicted. My angel side is totally in abeyance after hearing what they did to the Shrine….

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It’s lovely when a national event unites people and lifts the spirits in times of difficulty. It happened in the U.K. this year when England got to the final of the Euros (football) and team GB did so well in the Olympics. Enjoy watching your game!

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I despair at the way some people are daft enough to be manipulated into thinking there is a conspiracy going on around Covid. They are a minority but full of self-righteous indignation. Enjoy the game and I hope things settle down in your city soon.

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It beggars belief to me too. How much more evidence do they need? But I guess that evidence plays no role in their strange universe. I will be enjoying the game tonight ~ a glass of wine and some chips!

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As I started reading your post I thought Covid is just making people make bad decisions! And you pretty much address the same thing when you acknowledged all the frustration that has come out of people tired of shutting their lives down. I love that you love where you live and I’m sorry of the terrible things that is going on. I hope the sports event does provide a well needed distraction.

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It is so unfortunate that those bad decisions have such an impact on the wider world. Not only do they disrupt the city, but they also create a potential super-spreader event. (One protester has been diagnosed with COVID.) Fortunately these people are only a small number in our lovely city.

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I have only lived in Melbourne for the last 28 years but believe me my heart & souls reverberates every last word in your blog. I came from India at the age of 27 and have officially lived a longer part of my life now in Melbourne… I love this land so much and pray we will be back to what we know and love soon ❣️

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So much grief – from all angles of this time period – at least the sporting matches are going ahead but not where expected. As for the riots and the earth quake they are just not on… virtual hugs from me to you…

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If I were to barrack for a footie team, it would be…Melbourne! lol I knew nothing about football, or even that there was such a thing as Aussie Rules until a Finnish friend got all excited about the Grand Final. Grand what? -blush-
I had a school girl crush on that friend, and it was all a very, very long time ago, but even I got a liiiiitle excited to have Melbourne win again after so long. πŸ™‚
2,000 morons are a drop in the ocean compared to the over 5 /million/ Melbournians who are doing all they can to protect each other. We pulled together after Black Saturday. We pulled together during the second wave last year, and we’re pulling together /now/. I love this city /and/ its people. πŸ™‚

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Your last paragraph is so true, Meeks. We will get through this, and I will be able to wander at will through the city. (It’s all about me!!)
Ignoring the footie in Melbourne must be very difficult to do, an art form in itself!

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lmao – my first boy friend and his family were Essendon supporters and I was dragged along to more games at Windy Hill than I care to remember. The hot dogs were okay, but the post mortem on the way home was….yawn…so interesting I’ve worked hard to ignore the footie every since. Like vegemite, it’s an acquired taste. lol

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What a lot’s being ‘going down’ where you are, Anne. Anti-vaccine protests have happened here too, people going on the train to London to protest in large numbers. Still not out of the woods by any means and I think the protests will escalate again at some point. No earthquakes, we’re very lucky here in Britain and even more fortunate in Scotland to be honest with a lower population. A fuel crisis began a few days ago, with cars queuing around the block to top up their levels, and some shelves are empty in the supermarkets due to a freezing up of lorry drivers – just one crisis after another. Like you, I love where I live, and we are a pretty sensible lot here in the Borders. Now skipping over to see what you’ve been sewing/painting!

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