Glimpses - A lightning visit to Melbourne
|Melbourne looked much
greener than I’d seen it in quite a while and there was some lovely Autumn colour about|
Had a quick trip to Melbourne for family reasons this week. Though I didn’t get a chance to do much sightseeing, there were a couple of things which caught my eye and some ideas worth sharing.
|Bringing nature inside. This vertical garden refreshes body and soul|
The first thing that struck me was that greener airports are catching on. Though modest compared to say, Singapore’s exotic indoor gardens or even Sydney’s, Hobart now has some lush green living wall panels which add a bit of life and colour and give a foretaste of what’s to come. I’ll swear the air quality was much better too. A Children’s Corner has been added as well with a cubby -house made of local timber, depictions of native animals and a carpet that looked like moss. It’s all very low key and calming after the frenzy of getting to the airport, standing in check -in queues and going through security.
Gone are the days when airlines only catered for businessmen. On this flight the cabin crew included an older woman. That makes sense given that the passengers included a high proportion of seniors. I like to think that she would be more tolerant of those who needed a bit more time to get up those stairs or who had trouble getting their luggage into overhead lockers.
Both the passengers and frontline staff were more diverse too. A young Asian man helped with the check-in and baggage drop. A lady wearing a headscarf did the screening and many different faces could be seen behind the counters. Although this reflects the changing composition of Australian society, it must also be very reassuring to those travelling here from other countries – tourists, students, migrants and business people, to have someone who can explain things in their own language. That trend was even more pronounced in Melbourne.
|A seed library. Expect to see more of these soon too|
At the local community centre where I first saw a little street library many moons ago, things had moved on too. There was still a free book exchange but now there was also a place for exchanging general household goods, a community garden with a sensory garden and a fairy tree for the children. I was rather intrigued by the seed library and I understand that these are becoming popular in other suburbs too.
Inside the building, people were enthusiastically exchanging garden produce at a food swap and one man was offering to sharpen knives and scissors. In another room it looked as if a First Aid course was in progress and a Men’s Shed flourished out the back. I also saw a small free food pantry -about the same size as the street libraries, in another suburb. Here people could leave or take excess produce or leave groceries for people in need. All excellent ideas which add to the friendliness of these communities. Perhaps it's one of the reasons Melbourne is consistently voted one of the world's most livable cities.
Another reason to like Melbourne. In the wake of the latest interest rate hikes, Melbourne's inner city Yarra City Council which takes in suburbs such as Richmond, Collingwood and Fitzroy, has just decided to divert part of its substantial marketing budget to create an emergency relief fund for renters. Even better it hopes to top it up with a tax on Air B & B properties which are soaking up all available rental properties. Several Victorian Councils have already implemented the latter.