Melbourne: Trees and Trams

(For some reason this morning none of my photographs would load for the early post. Thankfully, and for no apparent reason, later on the problem fixed itself – apologies to earlier readers who missed out on these few pictures.)


In New Zealand this would be called a Dairy in Ausralia they call them a Milk Bar.  Interesting, these colloquialisms.

In Melbourne yesterday, when we were all  walking  down to Lygon Street to have breakfast, we found a Paperbark Tree. The tree itself was not an unusual find but we had my cousin with us and she is a teacher in the Northern Territories working way out in the outback with indigenous peoples and told us how important this tree is to the indigenous peoples of Australia.


Maria: Traditionally, in the East Arnhem, N.T, when a person passes, their body is wrapped in paperbark (a member of the Melaleuca genus) and laid to rest out-bush in the final stages of the sorry-business ceremony. After a year has passed, the remains are collected and placed inside a hollow log; lorrkon. These are decorated according to their country, tribe, family and painting style specific to the area. Effectively, the loved one is returned to their ‘country’.


(When the indigenous peoples of Australia refer to their ‘country’ this means the small area in which they live or come from. As in the mob (people) from the salt lands country, or the sunshine country or the sunset country. A country can be just a few square acres or larger.)  

As an interesting aside Archeological digs have shown that the Northern Territories were originally settled by the indigenous  peoples of Australia almost 40,000 years ago.


Melbourne is a comparitively new city with a good port.  In the early days it was founded by renegade politicians with wool money and then the gold rushes of the mid 1800’s pumped it up to city level.  By the late 1800’s many of Melbourne’s streets were serviced by a well designed network of electric trams and these exist to the present day as an efficient means of public transportation.  They have their own lanes with wires above and tracks below.  The tram lines run right down the center of the very wide streets that characterise Melbourne. When a tram stops it puts out little Stop signs to stop the vehicular traffic so passengers can alight into the road and move to the footpath without fear of being run over. Sometimes small areas of the  tram lanes into fenced  into safe bus stop area so the passengers can wait safely in the middle of a four lane roadway for their transport to appear. In fact many more streets were designed to run trams than actually have trams, some of these extra wide streets now have parking in the center, some have a wide grassy strip with trees. This adds to the peaceful feeling of the area of Princes Hill where my daughter lives and where I spent yesterday exploring.


It almost seems to me that the town fathers designed this very lovely town around the trams instead of designing a town  first then thinking about public transportation later.

Today we launch ourselves out into the city again. Then tomorrow we go camping.

Have a lovely day.


61 Comments on “Melbourne: Trees and Trams

  1. Have a lovely day. Camping sounds exciting! I hope you get your photos sorted in time for that trip. 😀

  2. C. did you ever read the book, Morgan’s Run by Colleen McCullough? It’s about how the British decided to populate Australia in the latter part of the 1700’s, then a pretty much unknown continent with English criminals. It’s one of my favorite books by her..who as we all know, wrote the Thorn Birds!

  3. I recently had problems uploading photos on WordPress. Discovered that I had used all my space and had to add more.

    Your trip sounds absolutely wonderful, by-the-way.

  4. I loved learning all this about a city I really enjoyed visiting. Had to smile about how people relate to their own little patch of “country ” as the Spanish folk I know are all fiercely loyal to their birth village in the same way.

  5. I never knew the story of the Paperbark tree, thanks for sharing it. Enjoy your time camping and climbing walls!

  6. This summer on one of my morning walks I found a large piece of paperbark that had shed from it’s tree. I carried it home to use in my still life photos. It is so gorgeous. Love the trams in Melbourne too. Good luck with the WordPress issues. I have that problem every now and then and I think the problem is on their end. It seems to self correct in half a day or day.

  7. I love that first photo! I’ve always dreamed of having a place like that.
    Gosh Melbourne is beautiful ! Good times – thanks for sharing 🙂

  8. I love the mini history/cultural lesson today. Thank you for sharing Miss C 🙂

  9. Wonderful stories and pictures.. Australia has such oodles of space,they can spare the land for ultra wide roads. I love wide streets – something that really impressed me about Berlin.

    Enjoy your varied programme.
    ViV xox

  10. I like the forethought of the Melbourne town fathers in designing a city which would carry people around sensibly, economically and without disruption. I’ve always loved the trams, and am so glad they are an established part of city life; so many other cities abolished them and dug up the tracks. Now, they’re sorry.
    And on the subject of Country, I respectfully acknowledge the traditional owners of the Kulin Nation, the place we know as Melbourne. For the Wurundjeri, Boonwurrung, Taungurong, Dja Dja Wurrung and the Wathaurung people who make up the Kulin Nation, Melbourne has always been an important meeting place and location for social, educational, sporting and cultural events and activities. I’ve always been very grateful to share it!

      • Oh! I’m sorry, I hijacked your theme! One thing I love about Melbourne is that you come across acknowledgement of the traditional owners in all sorts of unexpected places, it’s like a tiny window into the past.

  11. Thank you for the history and the photos of the paperbark tree. Fascinating!

  12. I thought the area looked familiar, I grew up not far away in Kew, and there’d always be a Sunday afternoon walk out to the cemetery, up Princes Hill, back along the river and home to great grandma’s, with my mum and brother, cousins, aunties, grandmother and great grandmother, and sometimes great uncles as well. There were always scones and fruit cake at great granny’s and weak tea or home made ginger beer for us kids. I loved those walks, especially in autumn, when we’d crunch through all the leaves in the cemetery.

    • OMG, I lived my first 6 weeks in Australia with my sister in Kew, and I know *exactly* the walk you mean! She lived in Asquith Street, now living in Dorrigo. The world truly is a village…

  13. Love your last two photos: methinks they could come from almost anywhere in Australia . . . this is so typical of the ‘feel’ we experience here . Coming from Europe way back the ‘look’ seemed very strange but there has been a slow ‘falling-in-love’ for me. Yes, Melbourne trams must be world famous, but other cities like Sydney are returning them mostly as a ‘tram – light-rail’ network in the middle of the streets. Am lucky to have two paperbarks very close to the house – love them and go talk to them about my problems . . . Hope you have a wonderful time in the city: there is so much on in Melbourne at the moment I am quite sorry that my long hospitalization prevented me from enjoying one of my very favourite cities as well as meeting you . . .

  14. WordPress can go flaky at times – I have had some funny upload problems in the past. Great pictures – I was there long enough ago to have seen much older trams and I remember it being a challenge (for a Noob) keeping out of their way in a car. I seem to remember that trams have the right of way.

    • Exactly! I went through a day or two not long ago when WordPress went ‘flaky’ on me and wouldn’t save my work. It’s so very frustrating!! ; o (

  15. I have absolutely no early familial, historical, or cultural connection to Melbourne or Victoria. .. but upon visiting 3 decades ago I fell in love, and delight in our visits. You’ve captured it beautifully in words & pictures. Our travels have now moved on from Melbourne to the coast of the Bellarine Peninsula and it’s just lovely.

  16. You know I love that paperbark tree. Do they tend to grow in clusters or do they stand alone sporadically here and there? I am enjoying your travels… There has been a lot happening here, and the bright part of each day has been to read about your trip. 🙂

    • Clusters in my neck of the wood, but I am ‘talking’ off the top of my head . . . 🙂 ! Once they ‘are there’ sort’of in twos and threes . . .at least here!!

  17. Thank you so much for that educational lesson! Loved learning about it. I love paperbark trees for different reasons but that was very, very interesting!

  18. Love those trees, we have a paperbark tree here too but it belongs to the Acacia (thorn tree family). Melbourne is lucky to have had such thoughtful town planners, usually the city is built up and then the transportation added in later, with detriment to established businesses and homes. Love the history and customs of the people, thanks. Laura

  19. The balcony metal railing on the graffiti building is just gorgeous as is the paperbark, each in its own way.

  20. Another advantage of the tram lines is that ambulances can move down them with ease, they don’t have to get tangled up in traffic. I remember an ambo referring to the tram tracks as Melbourne’s arteries 🙂 So glad that you enjoyed your wander around Carlton.

  21. As was already mentioned,one of the fascinating parts of travel to far off places is to see how “they” address problems common to all urban life. Melbourne’s trams are that city’s answer to mass transit. Amsterdam uses bicycles. Sydney’s water taxis are a favorite. We have gridlock. 🙂

  22. Amsterdam has trams too…. and sometimes it’s a bit scary when your bike tyre get stuck in the tram track (I’m half Dutch and have experienced it at first hand), especially with the tram bearing down on you 🙂

  23. My mother lives on Pigdon St. I thought the park looked familiar. I love Rathdowne St when I visit, The Kent, the organic grocery both lovely. Sydney road nice to explore when kiddie free. Sigh. I don’t get down there as often as I’d like. Thanks for the pics.

  24. I think I would love Melbourne. Have you been to New Orleans and the Garden District? The trolleys run the same way – down the middle of the boulevard. I love it and my Hubs who’s so passionate about trains has a blast.

    • It does look similar to parts of NOLA!
      And parts of what were booming towns of that era in TX have/had similar architecture – many of those have disappeared, but sometimes you can see the remnants – that first picture looks so similar to what was a small grocery store at a crossroads when I was a kid.
      Love the post. WP is tweaking things along with Google to supposedly make things load faster… zones always create unintended dust and irritants. Some have found their blogs listed as “not active” and deleted from reader. Reader itself wasn’t working normally for a couple of days. So it’s not you!

  25. Well, I learned a lot from today’s post – both from you, Celi, and from your followers!! ; o )

  26. “the sorry business” is a wondrous euphemism that I shall adopt….and the “country” concept resonates with me perfectly… opposed to the “stab/tag” on that beautiful little house:)

  27. Hi Celi, I’m new to your Blog- referred by ‘redhairedgal”. I have a little something to add regarding Melbourne’s wide streets. I’m 3rd Gen. Aussie, but live in California now. Growing up, my Mother told me that the main streets of the City Center were 1 chain wide. I bet 99% of people will ask, “what’s that”? It’s an old English measurement that is 66 ft. or 22 yards in length. And my Mum said that before there were trams, the wool wagons pulled by 6-8 pairs of oxen or horses- (think the Budweiser get-up), needed that amount of roadway to make a U-turn. Now who was I to question?- Mum was born in 1905. Cant’ say it’s God’sTruth, but it makes sense to me. And I also second the recommendation of “Morgan’s Run”- fabulous book.

    • ME! I know what a chain is.. there is a chains worth of land on either side of the NZ rivers that is public land. Wonderful info – I will send this to my daughter – we spent ages discussing the pros and cons of why the streets were so wide.. Thank you!!

  28. The cars parallel parked in the photo look like they are so close together it would be hard to get out of the space!

  29. Pingback: Melbourne: Trees and Trams — thekitchensgarden | theBREAD

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