It’s what all of us want but not what all of us get. It is actually National Reconciliation Week and the 10 year anniversary of that moment in time when ex-Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologised to the Indigenous people and Stolen Generations of this land. The other lecture series at La Trobe University, Ideas and Society, will contemplate The Promise of the Future with Noel Pearson and Megan Davis on Thursday 14 June – a conversation that will examine the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Australia. I also wanted to mention that Hatch Contemporary Arts Space in Ivanhoe is showing From the Belly of the Snake by local Wurundjeri artist Judy Nicholson as part of Reconciliation Week.
La Trobe University actually has the highest number of Indigenous Australian students, as well as a significant number of students from regional locations and internationally drawn to our sprawling leafy campus, which houses a Wildlife Sanctuary and is the same size as Melbourne’s CBD. It’s been a very progressive and dynamic place to work over the past two years and I feel very privileged to be a staff member.
On a random note, this beautiful Art Nouveau house (pictures above and below) currently for sale at 11 Latham Street in Ivanhoe has caught my eye – it has some exquisite features such as the beautiful painted ceilings and intricate fretwork – as much as I also love modern architectural design – contemporary houses don’t have the same character as a period home, which can never be replaced once it’s pulled down. I do wonder how much the suburbs around here are going to change once many of the planned new housing developments and sub-divisions are completed.
Mr Rosanna has spoilt me for our anniversary presenting me with some David Parker earrings from contemporary Australian jewellery store eg.etal – part of a special consignment especially created for the Cartier exhibition currently showing at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra. David Parker’s range includes two sets of earrings and one necklace as part of the eg.etal limited edition commission – I have a number of special pieces from eg.etal’s artists including friend Amy Renshaw, Cass Partington and Yoko Fujita. Local jeweller Jeanette Dyke is also stocked there and Jeanette has very kindly done some repair work for me in the past. I’d love to do one of her ring making courses at some future stage.
The weather has got cold and if you are after a special rug, the Hali Rugs mid-year clearance starts today with 30 – 50% off all rugs in store. World Wide Knit in Public day is coming up next weekend and if you are a knitter, Wool and the Gang have some fantastic contemporary patterns including some great designs from I Love Mr Mittens. Locally, Woolybutt wool shop has been in Greville Road, Rosanna for over 10 years and is a favourite with my mother-in-law.
I wanted to mention some local happenings coming up – on the more fancy side Champagne Supernova local women’s event to connect and inspire is taking place on 19 July at Hunter Lane Cafe in Rosanna while this Sunday, Valiant Barbers is turning 1 with free burgers and beers from 12 – 3pm at their Street Party (probably a bit less fancy!) but kindly raising funds in support of White Ribbon.
Or a Duchess in this case. I thought Meghan Markle looked beautiful in her Givenchy wedding gown on Saturday night. She’s got a dazzling smile that reminds me of Julia Roberts and definitely knows how to dress. Some people have star quality whether they are on the stage or not. I’ve long loved Givenchy, who dressed Audrey Hepburn and it was interesting to see the 1960s influence not just in Meghan’s gown but also a number of wedding attendees. My outfit of the night was actually Amal Clooney in Stella McCartney – she has the same exotic beauty and class that reminds me a little of Bianca Jagger but less bohemian/rock and more pure Hollywood glamour and sophistication plus I love even more that she has brains as an international human rights lawyer.
Meghan’s gown was simple and stunning (not plain and boring!) and I love that she chose a lace train. I had a lace train when I got married (above) at 333 Collins Street, although nothing as spectacular as hers. I also chose not to wear a veil or carry flowers (but a floral wrist corsage instead) as I walked down the aisle holding both my parents’ hands (not just my Dad’s) however I did love Meghan’s stunning tiara and Cartier jewellery.
Speaking of lace, the Victorian Branch of the Australian Lace Guild is actually making individual gum leaves at the Bundoora Homestead Art Centre cafe on Thursday 24 May from 1 – 4 pm. Local artist Lindy De Wijn will continue the lace theme transforming the exterior of the Homestead with large-scale rope creations that combine traditional and contemporary lace-making techniques ‘beyond the doily’ with Connection. It’s lovely to see lace used in a modern context and I think it was beautifully used for the very modern royal wedding where a half African-American once divorced actress, and commoner, married her prince.
It’s not every day you hear those two words put together! I was out at Xenia on Lygon Street in Brunswick last night having dinner with one of my bosses Professor Chris Mackie who is fittingly, the Professor of Greek Studies at La Trobe University, as well as the Professor of Public Scholarship for the Bold Thinking Series. Xenia is the ancient Greek word for hospitality, which was plied on pretty thick last night at this Cretan hot spot. I was marvelling how my old stamping ground had changed a lot in the 10 years since I left – so much more development and a lot more built up. I can’t imagine living back in Brunswick with children, although people do.
The food was sensational – we shared starters of saganaki and haloumi and shared mains of the slow cooked lamb, moussaka and a seafood dish with rice which was like a Greek paella served in a pan. It was all pretty delicious and there is a more upmarket sister restaurant in Moonee Ponds called Philhellene.
I mention Xanadu as well because my team were very busy at the start of this week looking after Olivia Newton-John who received her Honorary Doctorate of Letters from La Trobe University on Monday. She’s someone who’s had a remarkable life and career and it was also a very fitting honour for her. I’m reminded every time I drive past the Olivia Newton-John Wellness and Research Centre in Heidelberg of her other achievements in the scientific space for people suffering from cancer. It’s a devastating disease to which most of us, including me, have lost friends and family.
On a happier note, I stopped in at Pinkie cafe (photos above) in Westley Avenue Ivanhoe today which is at the bottom of a new housing development. It’s a great idea which is working well and I know that Funkie Brewster in Rosanna is now Ivy and Pearl – it’s very handy to have a good cafe park-side.
I have now officially stepped down from the Board of Management at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre but wanted to mention Craft Lab+ which opens tomorrow if you are into knitting, quilting, embroidery, macrame, tapestry, patchwork, felting or any other textile-based craft (phew – there’s a lot to mention!) – it’s a good opportunity to join something community-based just in time for winter.
It’s the name of my next lecture that asks how can we age without getting older? It’s an interesting premise but given the fact that many of us will live to an advanced age, there are many repercussions to think about. Joining La Trobe ageing specialists Professor Irene Blackberry and Dr Rachel Winterton will be ‘Older & Bolder’ author, writer and community activist Renata Singer – wife of ethicist Peter Singer and an interesting person in her own right. She is one of the co-founders of social enterprise Fitted for Work (although no longer involved) and spends half her year in Melbourne and the other half in New York.
Speaking of interesting enterprises, I watched the news about the Melbourne Coffee Co. last night with their idea of potentially turning our old W-class trams into cafes for export. It’s such a clever, original and sustainable idea for these iconic trams that were originally built in the 1920s and now no longer in service and I hope it becomes a reality.
I spent my Mother’s Day at Hunter Lane Cafe yesterday which was packed out with multiple breakfast, brunch and lunch sittings. The owner Dennis was interviewed last week on ABC radio about the Rosanna Level Crossing so it’s been an action packed week for him. I still feel quite ambivalent about the crossing and the need for it given the great cost and inconvenience but time will tell.
I’ve started hauling out my winter clothes and heavier quilts and blankets with the cold snap we’ve had. I bought some Apiary Made beeswax liners not that long ago and have been using these instead of plastic wrap in the kitchen. My clever cousin Beck from Fabric Drawer has done one of their designs and they’re great for wrapping cheese in particular. I also now carry a glass straw in my handbag and have camp cutlery in my drawer as I’m wanting to reduce my use of single use plastics and was pleased to see that Woolworths are phasing out plastic bags by mid-year.
Ah well the rain has come and as much as I don’t like the dark and gloomy conditions outside – we do need the water. I’ve moved on from salad poke bowls for lunch to casseroles and soups although yet to have my first pie for the cold season. A work friend was telling me to check out a new cafe in Ivanhoe called Pinkie so I’ll be making my way there soon.
It does make it a bit harder to get out but being outdoors in the winter is good for you and I wanted to mention that if the weather improves that both the Heide Makers Market and the Eltham Makers Market are on tomorrow. My ceramic artist friend Lene Kuhl Jakobsen will be selling her beautiful wares (photos above and below) at Heide in Bulleen for this special Mother’s Day event before the market goes into hiatus until Spring.
Stay warm, stay active was my winter mantra a couple of years ago and there is a special Mother’s Day workshop for mothers and daughters (14+) on Sunday morning at Clifton Hill Yoga School, which also runs yoga classes for children and teenagers. As a long-time and long-term yoga practitioner, it’s a great habit to start at a younger age and like mindfulness, something which will help develop peace of mind, calmness and mental strength and resilience – all great life skills.
It’s Happy Friday today and ACMI in the city is holding its Wonderland Late Nights with DJs, bands and live art from 6pm on Fridays if you’re a CBD worker, which sounds like fun.
Mother’s Day is fast approaching and Ivanhoe Shopping Village is holding a special Autumn shopping night this Thursday 10 May from 9am until 7 pm with offers released from 9 May. I was talking about latent demand in the local area last week and it’s exciting to see that former Collins Street retailer Cose Ipanema is coming to 171 Upper Heidelberg Road in Ivanhoe. This store is a Melbourne institution, which I can still remember from the early 1990s, selling the most beautiful international labels of the time including Japanese designer Issey Miyake.
I hope those of you with deeper pockets than mine will support them and I believe it’s always better to buy fewer pieces but higher quality of anything. Most of my most well worn and loved clothing and accessories I have had for over 10 years, while my leather jacket from Florence I’ve had for almost 20 years and still wear. There is a lot to be said for the value of, and investment in, classic, quality pieces that will stand the test of time rather than cheap, disposable clothing that becomes landfill in places like China.
Speaking of Ivanhoe, I noticed too that peninsula-based ceramic artist Amy Leeworthy used to have a studio here and is currently selling her 70s style ceramics online and also through Pop and Scott, although not much is left!
Besides gifts, I think what most mothers crave, and indeed most people, is time. I was watching with interest a conversation that’s floating around on Facebook between business giants Warren Buffett and Bill Gates where they talk about the value of time and, irrespective of their enormous wealth, that they cannot buy time – it’s the most precious thing in life that no-one owns or can hold onto – we are all passengers on the same train with exactly the same amount of hours in the day – how each of us to choose to spend that time is the big question.