Thursday 31 May 2012


Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery has on exhibit world class art works, and its collection is rich with cultural and artistic value. The art gallery focusses on showcasing traditional and contemporary concepts of Eastern philosophy, with a special emphasis on the expression of the Buddhist concepts of virtue, compassion and wisdom. One may view extensive and varied collections of paintings, sculptures, calligraphy, embroidery, pottery, decorative arts and antiques from local and international artists and collectors.

Set in the heart of Melbourne at 141 Queens St, since it opened in November 2001, the gallery offers a tranquil oasis from the stress of today’s city environment. Apart from viewing the series of world-class exhibitions, one can also enjoy special blends of teas and vegetarian refreshments offered at the Tea House. One can also simply drop in to meditate or relax in the Meditation Hall. Admission is free. The entrance foyer is quite spectacular and the rows of Buddhas high up on vaulted ceiling line were rather difficult to photograph well.

This post is part of Pat's Things in a Row meme.

Wednesday 30 May 2012


Brisbane is the capital and most populous city in the Australian state of Queensland and the third most populous city in Australia. Brisbane's metropolitan area has a population of approximately 2.1 million, and the South East Queensland urban conurbation, centred around Brisbane, encompasses a population of more than 3 million. The Brisbane central business district stands on the original European settlement and is situated inside a bend of the Brisbane River, approximately 23 km from its mouth at Moreton Bay.

The metropolitan area extends in all directions along the floodplain of the Brisbane River valley between the bay and the Great Dividing Range. While the metropolitan area is governed by several municipalities, a large portion of central Brisbane is governed by the Brisbane City Council, which is by far Australia's largest Local Government Area by population. The demonym of Brisbane is Brisbanite.

Brisbane is named after the river on which it sits, which, in turn, was named after Scotsman Sir Thomas Brisbane, the Governor of New South Wales from 1821 to 1825. The first European settlement in Queensland was a penal colony at Redcliffe, 28 kilometres north of the Brisbane central business district, in 1824. That settlement was soon abandoned and moved to North Quay in 1825. Free settlers were permitted from 1842.

Brisbane was chosen as the capital when Queensland was proclaimed a separate colony from New South Wales in 1859. The city played a central role in the Allied campaign during World War II as the South West Pacific headquarters for General Douglas MacArthur. Furthermore, Brisbane has hosted many large cultural and sporting events, including the 1982 Commonwealth Games, World Expo '88 and the final Goodwill Games in 2001. Brisbane is the largest economy between Sydney and Singapore, and as of 2008 is classified as a Global city. It was also rated the 16th most livable city in the world in 2009 by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

This post is part of Kim's Water World Wednesday meme,
and also part of Nature Footsteps Waters meme,
and also part of Outdoor Wednesday meme.

Tuesday 29 May 2012


Bazaar Del Mundo is located in Old Town San Diego and we visited this in 2001 during one of our trips to the USA. We loved San Diego and the admittedly touristy Bazaar del Mundo was nevertheless fun to visit, rich in Mexican culture and very enjoyable to stroll through and shop at. One feels as if one is visiting Old Mexico. Shops are bright and cheerful and filled with all of the products you would find if you were on the other side of the border. It is a well designed area with lots of plants, flowers, fountains and other attractions.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme.

Monday 28 May 2012


Walking to work every morning from Southern Cross Station, up Bourke St to work, there are quite a few striking buildings to admire and always an invigorating walk to start the day off well.

This post is part of the Mellow Yellow Monday meme.

Sunday 27 May 2012


The Lady Chapel within St Francis' Church is a most beautiful and sacred place. In 2000 Mulholland Restorations were commissioned by the community of the Blessed Sacrament Fathers to restore the chapel paint work.  Starting from its original highly decorated scheme, the chapel had undergone a number of changes and abbreviations since it opened in 1858. Over varnishing and water entry had also had a negative effect and the interior was quite smoke stained. 

A decision was made to restore the chapel to its full original painted design. Works proceeded to remove all extraneous matter and coatings to regain the ‘lost design’. The walls were consolidated and the repainting works advanced. Paint scrapes revealed what was added and what was missing and allowed the company to undertake the redecoration of the most beautiful chapel in Melbourne.

This post is part of Robert's and Louis' Psalm Sunday meme,
and also part of Charlotte's Spiritual Sunday meme.

And here is the concluding chorus of Mendelssohn's setting of Psalm 42, op 42.

Saturday 26 May 2012


Docklands (also known as Melbourne Docklands to differentiate it from London Docklands) is an inner city suburb in Melbourne, Australia occupying an area extending up to 2 km west of and adjacent to Melbourne's Central Business District (CBD). It is a primarily waterfront area centred around the banks of the Yarra River.

Contemporary Docklands is the product of an ongoing urban renewal project to extend the area of the CBD (excluding Southbank and St Kilda Road) by over a third when completed around 2015. It is now home to several of Melbourne's modern landmarks including Etihad Stadium, Southern Cross Station and The Southern Star.

Docklands has become a sought-after business address, attracting the national headquarters of National Australia Bank, ANZ, Medibank Private, Bureau of Meteorology, Myer, National Foods as well as the regional headquarters for Ericsson and Bendigo Bank. The business park model of medium-rise office buildings combined with transport and proximity to city centre is seen by many in the real estate industry to be one of the reasons behind the success of the Docklands office market. While still incomplete, Docklands developer-centric planning has been widely criticised and many Melbourne politicians and media commentators lament its lack of green open space, pedestrian activity, transport links and culture.

This post is part of James' Weekend Reflections meme.

Friday 25 May 2012


In the early 1990s I spent some time in The Netherlands, living and working there on several occasions. It was a wonderful series of stays and I took many photos, however, they were taken using a film camera. It is a long process to go through my archive and scan them in, but here is one which has been scanned. It is a typical Dutch windmill close to the city of Leiden, a renowned university town.

This post is part of Sylvia's Skywatch Friday meme.

Thursday 24 May 2012


"Meet me under the clocks at Flinders St Station..." is a well-known Melbourne catch-cry. The central railway station at Flinders St has always been a popular meeting place and the row of clocks in the façade is another Melbourne institution.

This post is part of Pat's Things in a Row meme.

Wednesday 23 May 2012


A rain shower drenches,
And makes late jasmine flowers drop
An autumn perfume.

This post is part of the Water World Wednesday meme,
and also of the Nature Footsteps waters meme.

Tuesday 22 May 2012


Hacıbektaş 46 km from the city of Nevşehir is notable in that it is the home of a famous dervish dergâh (lodge) in the centre of the town. Hacıbektaş is the sacred centre of Alevi Islam, and every year on 16, 17 and 18 August, tens of thousands of faithful flock here. They come from communities that follow the teachings of Hacı Bektaş Veli, whose emphasis on peace and tolerance make his a universally relevant doctrine still widely popular today.

The life of Hacı Bektaş Veli is shrouded in mystery. All that is known are stories and legends passed down by word of mouth until they were written down several centuries after his death in a book entitled the Velayetname by a Bektaşi dervish. It is believed that Hacı Bektaş was descended from the Caliph Ali (Alevi means those who follow in the footsteps of Ali), and his date of birth is given variously as 1209 and 1247. The Velayetname tells us that Hacı Bektaş came from Nishapur in Turkistan, where he was the student of Lokman Perende, one of the followers of Ahmed Yesevi.

He later migrated to Anatolia, where he settled in Sulucakarahöyük and began to spread the teachings of the Alevi mystic tradition in Turkey. These teachings, which came to be known as Bektaşi, address the heart, and urge friendship and humility instead of strife. Much later his teachings were given systematic form by the 15th-16th century Bektaşi dervish Balım Sultan, and so the Bektaşi dervish order gained its body of tradition over the centuries.

The dergâh or dervish lodge of Hacıbektaş became a museum in 1964. The entrance leads into a large courtyard, to the right of which once stood buildings accommodating the dervishes who worked the land and farm labourers employed by the lodge. These buildings were demolished when the lodge was being converted into a museum, and a wall built here.

At the far end of the wall is the Üçler Fountain symbolising the Creator, Muhammed and Ali, a fundamental concept of Alevi faith. An open space on the left is like a small park, and originally there were stables for the horses of guests, barns and other outbuildings here. At the end of the courtyard a gate leads into a second courtyard, where there is a pool with a border of flowers. If it is not too crowded you can drink from the holy water of the Lion Fountain. The inscription over this fountain explains that the lion statue was brought from Egypt as a gift to the lodge in 1853.

The second courtyard was the busiest part of the lodge, with the aşevi (refectory), pantry, hamam (baths), guest house, hall where the sacred services known as cem were held, and the pavilion where the lodge’s leader, the Dedebaba, received guests.

The final gateway leads into the third courtyard where the tomb of Hacı Bektaş Veli stands. On the right are the graves of dervishes belonging to the lodge, and in the small mausoleum just beyond lie Balım Sultan and Kalender Şah, two great figures of the order.

The ancient wishing tree in front of the mausoleum is one of the places which visitors never fail to stop at. Before entering the mausoleum it is customary for visitors to embrace the cylindrical marble stone in the right-hand corner. If you can embrace it with two arms, then it is regarded as proof that your heart is clean and your intentions pure. The tomb was built by Şeyhsuvar Ali, lord of the Dulkadirogulları principality, in 1519 following the death of Balım Sultan.

The walls of the mausoleum are decorated with painted kalem işi (ornamental decorative arabesque brushwork), and there are examples of Bektaşi calligraphy. The door is original. The mausoleum of Hacı Bektaş Veli himself is known as Pir Evi, and at the entrance are the graves of the baba’s of the order, dervishes who attained the highest degree.
As you walk towards the Kırklar Meydanı hall, on the right you pass the çilehane, a cell where the dervishes spent time alone in the presence of God. If you wish to see inside you must bend almost double, and a few minutes alone in that dark cell gives you an impression at least of what it must have been like for the dervishes who came here. On the raised platform to the left of the Kırklar Meydanı are buried the descendants of Hacı Bektaş who sat on the ceremonial fleece of office and were known as çelebi or bel evlatları.

In this hall where the dervishes performed the ceremonial dance known as the kırklar semahı, are now exhibited the twelve sided stones known as teslim taşı which the dervishes hung around their necks as symbols of the Bektaşi order, earrings worn by unmarried dervishes who devoted their lives to serving their lodge, handwriting of the Caliph Ali on gazelle skin, beautiful examples of calligraphy, torches, censers, and the Kırkbudak Candelabra which according to the Velayetname came from India. Finally a small door on the right leads into the tomb chamber of Hacı Bektaş Veli, where visitors walk three times around the sarcophagus before offering up a supplication to Hacı Bektaş Veli. 

In the 14th to 15th centuries, lived Balim Sultan who was the great master who enriched systemic Bektaşism. He was born to a Balkan Greek mother. Balim Sultan’s tomb/shrine lies in the compounds of Haci Bektaş. Visitors that pay their respects to Haci Bektaş Veli also visit Balim Sultan’s shrine.
Near the lodge is Dedebagı, an open park scattered with trees, where visitors who have come for the commemoration ceremonies gather to picnic and drink the ice-cold spring water from a fountain known as Şekerpınar. A lay moslem cemetery is also found adjacent to these grounds.

The teachings of this sect of Islam seem particularly humane and enlightened and are summarised by the key teachings of Hacı Bektaş Veli:

“Search and find.
Educate the women.
Even if you are hurt, do not hurt others.
Sages are pure and sometimes purifiers.
The first stage of attainment is modesty.
Whatever you look for, search for it firstly within you.
Do not forget that even your enemy is human.
Control your hand, your words, your lust.
The beauty of human beings is in the beauty of their words.
Prophets and saints are God’s gifts to humanity.
The road that does not pass through science is perilous.
Do not try to find faults in either nations or individuals.
Blessed are those who try to enlighten the darkness of thought.
Do not do unto others what you do not wish to be done unto you.
Peace be with you!”

This post is part of Julie's Taphophile Tragics meme.

Monday 21 May 2012


Last time I was in Perth, friends took me to the Hula Bula Bar (sic!). The place is so kitch that it’s definitely worth visiting. It styles itself as Australia’s only Tiki bar and is decorated garishly using a Hawaiian/Polynesian theme. It is located at 12 Victoria Avenue in Perth’s CBD. The cocktails served are absolutely lethal! The bar was full and noisy, obviously very popular with the locals. The high  prices of the drinks didn’t seem to deter the many people who were intent on drinking themselves under the tables! I had a single drink and went back to the hotel… Just goes to prove that I am an  old fuddy-duddy!

This post is part of the Mellow Yellow Monday meme.

Sunday 20 May 2012


St Augustine's Catholic Church was built in 1869 - 1870 in the Victorian period in the Neo-Gothic style. It is situated at 631-651 Bourke Street, Melbourne CBD. The church is set back approximately 20 metres from Bourke Street frontage constructed in decorated Gothic style of axed bluestone with sandstone dressings. The entrance has Malmsbury stone and is surmounted by a crocketed gable. The exterior has the appearance of a triple nave with the gabled roofs of the aisles and nave springing from the same level. The tower with caps and finials in cut bluestone is the most prominent feature of the Bourke Street.

In the interior, the central nave is separated by the aisles with cast iron columns with moulded ribs and the arched cast iron spandrels are filled with ornamental scroll patterns. Above these spandrels an open ivy pattern frieze extends the entire length of the nave on either side. The timber ceiling and closely spaced timber trusses are varnished. The windows include stained glass. I must make an effort to visit this church later int he day when it is open and photograph the interior.

This post is part of the Psalm Sunday meme hosted by Robert and Louis,
and also part of the Spiritual Sunday meme

Here is the beautiful "Agnus Dei" sung by Andreas Scholl, from J.S. Bach's Mass in B minor, BWV 232.

Saturday 19 May 2012


Hobart is the state capital and most populous city of the Australian island state of Tasmania. Founded in 1804 as a penal colony, Hobart is Australia's second oldest capital city after Sydney. In 2009, the city had a greater area population of approximately 212,019. A resident of Hobart is known as a "Hobartian".

The city is located in the state's south-east on the estuary of the Derwent River. The skyline is dominated by Mount Wellington at 1,271 metres (4,170 ft) high. The city is the financial and administrative heart of Tasmania, also serving as the home port for both Australian and French Antarctic operations. Hobart was named Australia's 6th most sustainable city, by the Australian Conservation Foundation in 2010. For economic and social innovation, Hobart was the 11th placed in Australia in 2009, and listed as an innovation influencer city in the Innovation Cities Global Index scoring equal with Reykjavik, Katowice and Casablanca by 2thinknow.

Hobart supports a huge tourist industry. Visitors come to the city to explore its historic inner suburbs and nationally acclaimed restaurants and cafes, as well as its vibrant music and nightlife culture. Australia's first legal casino was the 17-storey Wrest Point Hotel Casino in Sandy Bay, opened in 1973. Tourists also come to visit the massive weekly market in Salamanca Place, as well as to use the city as a base from which to explore the rest of Tasmania.

This post is part of James' Weekend Reflections meme,
and also part of the Scenic Sunday meme,
and also part of Madge's Weekly TopShot.