Melbourne – A Tale of Two Cities

January 2022

This is the time of year that we try to take a break from caravanning while those who work can get away to the bush and the beach. After all, we grey nomads can wander about whenever we feel like it for the rest of the year. Weatherwise, it’s a lovely time to be in Melbourne as the temperature is usually in the high 20’s and 30’s and both bays sparkle.

Now triple vaxxed and in need of scenery, a sure sign of itchy feet, we decided on a walk around the CBD last Sunday masked and as socially distanced as possible to see what changes there’ve been of late. Thankfully the city is always quiet at this time of year.

Like all cities, ours always manages to toss us a glimpse of something from the past that we may not have seen before*. A favourite place of mine is the 19thcentury Mitre Tavern tucked away in Bank Place. But this time we snooped around the eastern end of Lonsdale Street.

The bluestone Manse of the Wesleyan church in Wesley Place off Lonsdale Street caught our eyes. It is now The Manse Café and dwarfed by glassed office towers. The Wesleyan Church was built in 1858.

Protected by the towers above, The Manse

Stumbling back to the car after a cold beer and a G&T in a quiet atrium we chanced upon Little Lon Distillery at 17 Casselden Place off Little Lonsdale Street another old building hidden from sight by modern architecture. Built as a house in 1877 it was once the place of business for a Chinese prostitute by the name of Yokohama**. How different it is nowadays with a few people sitting in the sun enjoying a chat and a pleasant tipple. Damn, how we wished we didn’t have to drive.

17 Casselden Place, if only those walls could talk…or perhaps not.
  • *We were once wandering around the leafy gardens of East Melbourne, the streets were deserted and we stopped at Lansdowne Street to let a motorcade pass when low and behold waving at us was The Pope! Us in our shorts and thongs on a Sunday arvo. Bloody hell, that was a lot cheaper than flying to Rome and finding that he wasn’t in.
  • **Wikipedia gives a fascinating account of the history of the Little Lon area of Melbourne in the 19th century. Slums, crime, larrikins / pimps and prostitutes like Yokohama, Madam Brussels and Scotch Maude.

13 thoughts on “Melbourne – A Tale of Two Cities

  1. Absolutely love the photo of the Manse. I always have a chuckle to myself that when the nightly News is something about Melbourne you can almost bet the image will be of the Railway Station.


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