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Kindness My art work

My Dad

My Dad
My Dad

I often think about my Dad, but he has been in my thoughts even more over the last few days. He was a most generous, compassionate man.

He left school when he was 14 and always resisted anything to do with writing. That was until he found the computer in his early 70s. Then he discovered that he had a gift for writing stories. He began ¬†writing down the stories that he had told us when we were children. Every family has those stories, about grandfathers and and great aunts, tall tales and funny ones. But Dad’s stories then developed to family history, all written as if he was sitting there with you, telling you the stories over a cup of coffee.

Then Dad wrote about his war experiences. He was very proud to have them accepted by the War Memorial in Canberra. He wrote stories for the children in the family — my cats had a starring role! His work is a treasured possession.

But I am lucky too because I have some of Dad’s other creative work. He tried drawing for a little while, but was never satisfied with what he did. “I can only copy, Anne,” he would tell me. I would reply that that is all I do with botanical art; I copied real specimens rather than the photos he used. But he was never convinced. I have his wooden art case and remember him every time I take it to art sessions. (It is perfect too, because it will fit everything necessary in, without room for the unnecessary.)

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Dad then took his drawing skills to design stained glass work. He made these blue wrens for me and they are in a window in my study. (Birds were another passion of his.) I paint my leaves and feathers and plants, look up at these birds and be reminded of all the treasures that my Dad has given to me.

However, I think the greatest treasure he gave to me was his humanity ~ the knowledge that all people have the right to be treated with decency and compassion, regardless of who they are and where they come from.

Categories
Melbourne Odds and Ends

Women’s Peace Garden, Newmarket Saleyards and the Maribyrnong River

The Women's Peace Garden, (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2015)
The Women’s Peace Garden, (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2015)

We have had some glorious Autumn weather in Melbourne the last couple of days. I decided my walk would be also be an exploration.Two or three times a week, perhaps even more, I travel down Epsom Road, through Kensington. For a long time I have seen a sign pointing to the Women’s Peace Garden, but have never seen any real indication of where it is. Now a larger sign has been erected on the road. This was the day to find out more.

This is the view that I now see from the car.

The Women's Peace Garden, (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2015)
The Women’s Peace Garden, (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2015)

So I went through the entrance, under the Morten Bay figs and down the steps,

past the mosaic,

Pass by the mosaic, in the women's movement colours of green, purple and white
The mosaic, in the Women’s Movement colours of green, purple and white

to see the garden spread out below you. It has been designed with the peace symbol and the woman symbol in mind. You can see the peace symbol easily on the grass. The other is more difficult. The bluestone colonnades at the bottom form the cross. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a photo of that.

 

The garden was built in 1986 to commemorate the International Year of Peace. It was designed by a team of women and is now maintained by the community and local schools. The plants were chosen to fit with the colours of the Women’s Movement — green, purple and white — and to symbolise remembrance — the peace rose, rosemary and olive trees.

I sat for a while and did a very poor sketch of the garden. As well I thought about war and peace, soldiers and civilians. Australia has recently celebrated ANZAC Day (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps), our day of remembrance. I have a very ambivalent attitude to ANZAC Day, as so I was grateful to find a place where peace was celebrated and the innocents of war cherished.

This garden has been built on the old Newmarket Saleyards. They were built in the 1850’s and by the twentieth century they were amongst the biggest saleyards and abattoirs in the world. They closed in the 1980’s. When I first lived in the local area I remember hearing the bellowing of the cattle, and if the wind was blowing from the south the smell was not pleasant either.

After they were sold the yards were developed into medium density housing, the first in the area. As I wandered through the other day I was impressed with how the development had been done. There is a lovely tangle of streets, lanes and mews. The houses seem to open to walking lanes and many of the old peppercorns have been kept. The heritage of the area has been remembered with the bluestone paths and post and rail fences. I wandered along the old stock route to the Maribyrnong River. These photos might give you a little feel for the place.

Bluestone paths, post and rail fences, peppercorn trees.(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson)
Bluestone paths, post and rail fences, peppercorn trees.(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson)
The road narrows so that cars have to give way to pedestrians (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson)
The road narrows so that cars have to give way to pedestrians and on-coming cars. (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson)

And finally, some images of the Maribyrnong River from the bridge the cattle used to cross on.

The city from the bridge. The water was so smooth. (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson)
The city from the bridge. The water was so smooth. (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson)
The bridge (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson)
The bridge (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson)

Thank you for joining me on my meander on a beautiful Melbourne day.

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