Wednesday 25 January 2023

JJ's Wargames on Tour - Melbourne, Australia

Having celebrated Christmas in Christchurch, New Zealand, we caught a Quantas flight to Melbourne on the 27th December to start the Australian leg of our continuing odyssey and to enjoy celebrating the start of 2023, Aussie style as we enjoyed a few days getting to know the capital of the State of Victoria and some of the local sights.

Victoria is the second smallest state in Australia, by land mass and has the second largest population with just over 6.6 million people, making it the most densely populated of the states.
As with my posts charting Carolyn's and my progress through New Zealand, I will use the map above to similarly reference our journey through Australia and the area featured at any given time.
Map courtesy of

In 1770 Captain James Cook claimed the east coast of the Australian continent for Great Britain, and from 1788 the area that is now Victoria was part of the colony of New South Wales.

The first European settlement was established in 1803 at Sullivan Bay, with much of what is now modern day Victoria incorporated into the Port Phillip District of New South Wales in 1836, before the creation of the new State of Victoria as a separate Crown Colony in 1851, achieving self governance in 1855 with the state being named in honour of Queen Victoria.

Between the Lights, Princes Bridge, Melbourne - Arthur Streeton
This wonderful picture shows Princes Bridge just after its opening in 1888

The Victorian gold rush in the 1850's and 60's saw the colony's rapid enrichment and population growth, and by the time of Australian Federation in 1901, Melbourne had become the largest city in Australasia and served as the Australian federal capital until Canberra took that role in 1927.

Princes Bridge, Melbourne over the River Yarra today, with the MCG seen in the background

As well as being a centre for the service sector and particularly banking and finance, Melbourne can also boast an important cultural role being home to a number of museums, art galleries and theatres and of course the spiritual home of Australian cricket and the MCG, Melbourne Cricket Ground, with the Melbourne Cricket Club being formed in 1838.

Cricket at the MCG in 1864

So naturally being big cricket fans, Carolyn and I were keen to get a taste of the game Aussie style and so got tickets for the second day of the test match against South Africa.

Walking from our hotel to the ground took us past The Parade of Champions, with statues dedicated to all time Australian greats, that as a card carrying Pom, brings back lots of unhappy memories, having had the privilege of watching Dennis Lillee bowl at the Oval in the late seventies and of course horrified admiration seeing the ball Shane Warne bowled to England batsman Mike Gatting, pitching on the leg stump and taking out his off, on the 4th June 1993 in the first test at Old Trafford that became known simply 'as that ball'.

Dennis Lillee represents a time when as a young lad, I became familiar with what fast bowling was all about, in a time when batsmen didn't have all the fancy helmets and protective gear that they wear today, Lillee could terrorise any batting line up.

An extraordinary talent that graced Australian cricket for over twenty years from 1991, and very much missed by the cricketing world after his untimely death in March 2022 aged just 52. 

When first arranging this trip, the plan had been to be in Melbourne for an Ashes match but sadly Covid messed up that part of the trip and so our day saw us feeling quite unusual in being neutral onlookers and enjoying the atmosphere and the game purely on its merits rather than with any passion about the outcome, as we would be use to when watching England play. 

'Up in the Gods' and appreciating the splendour of the MCG a true temple to cricket

Australia looked to be, and as it subsequently turned out, very much in firm control of the game, with us seeing just one Aussie wicket fall in the three sessions, before the astonishing heat of the day saw us forced to retreat under cover to recover and rehydrate.

Not the most enthralling game of cricket, but a classic display of fast bowling by the South African attack, if a little samey by the four pace men, not ably supported by their only spinner

The MCG is a very impressive stadium with a capacity of over 100,000 but also with a great atmosphere and Carolyn and I really enjoyed our day.

The last time I saw Steve Smith was at Lords a few years ago, getting seen over by England fast bowler Jofra Archer in the 2019 Ashes Tour, that saw the Australian forced to retire hurt after taking some rather nasty strikes to the helmet and with the ball regularly going past the bat at some 96mph.

The next day we decided to get a bit more familiar with the layout of the city and enjoy a quieter town that was drawing its breath during the time between Xmas and New Year, with much preparation obvious for the upcoming street party and usual fireworks display to celebrate the onset of 2023.

Captain Matthew Flinders, RN - Antoine de Chazal

Thus we made our way from Flinders Street, close to our hotel, to Flinders Walk alongside the River Yarra, named in honour of Captain Matthew Flinders RN who in the latter years of the 18th and early years of the 19th century conducted the first inshore circumnavigation of Australia, the first to name the continent as such, mapping and producing charts of the continent and proving that the east coast, first mapped by Captain Cook was part of the previously known area of land named New Holland, as well as clearly delineating the extent of the island of Van Diemen’s Land, later known as Tasmania.

Turning right across Princes Bridge over the Yarra we walked up St Kilda's Road that would take us up through the parks and gardens leading to the Shrine of Remembrance war memorial and museum.

Our route up St Kilda’s Road took us past the historic Victoria Barracks, home to the Australian War Cabinet Rooms during WWII and displaying some rather interesting guns outside to boot.
As the plaque in front of the building records, the first war cabinet meeting was held in the barracks in September 1939, with the declaration of war against Nazi Germany, presided by Prime Minister Robert Menzies, succeeded by the government of John Curtin whose cabinet continued to meet here until the end of the war, with Curtin dying on 5th July 1945, just five weeks before the final defeat of Japan.

The Officers Quarters part of the barracks was built between 1860 to 1871, serving as living quarters for officers and senior NCO's, between 1862 to 1905, when the building was later converted to offices. The guns are Russian 12-pdr muzzle loaders, captured by British troops, on the 17th Octiober 1854, during the attack on the Redan Fortifications in the Crimean War

German 8cm howitzer captured on the 18th-19th September 1918 near St Quentin, during the attack of the 1st & 4th Australian Divisions, A.I.F., on the Hindenberg Outpost Line

Turkish 5.9inch Howitzer, captured on the 8th November 1917 by the Australian Mounted Division near Huj during the offensive against the Aza Beersheba Line which culminated in the occupation of Jerusalem

The approach to the Shrine of Remembrance is a classic piece of Imperial architecture perfectly capturing the shock and grief of the loss paid to gain victory in the Great War in an effort to ensure future generations would not forget that price paid to ensure freedom, later paid again in full by the next generations contribution to the winning of World War Two and the defeat of the Axis powers in 1945.

As a centre piece monument to the human cost of war, it continues to the modern day with memorials to modern generations from Vietnam to Afghanistan and is where government officials and the public pay their respects on Remembrance Sunday in a pyramid like structure designed to put the spot light of the November 11am sun on the central plinth declaring ‘Greater Love Hath No Man’.

The approach to the Shrine of Remembrance along the Cenotaph WWII Forecourt 

Of the 114,000 Victorians who enlisted during the First World War, 89,000 served abroad and 19,000 died, with the shrine designed to be a place where families could come to remember their loved ones.

The monument to the troops that fought WWI and WWII reflects that fathers who fought the First World War had to watch their sons go off to fight in the Second and the terrible cost inflicted on multiple generations in the 20th century.

The shrine was selected from eighty three submitted designs that saw the award of the project given to two returned Melbourne soldier/architects, Philip Hudson and James Wardrop, with the inspiration for its design coming from the mausoleum at Halicarnassus to King Mausolus of Caria in South West Asia Minor.

The shrine was officially opened by Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, and son of King George V, before a crowd of 300,000 people in November 1934, with other memorials added by successive generations since.

The Union Flag, donated by the people of the United Kingdom

The view from the top balcony of the shrine offers splendid views out over the surrounding gardens and out towards the city.

As well as being a centre for reflection and ceremony the shrine is also very much about engaging with visitors through education and learning, with an excellent team of guides, many former ex-service men and women themselves, very happy to help explain what the building is all about and what can be seen.

On the ground floor, galleries have been created to display over eight-hundred artefacts and photographs that help bring to life the various conflicts, Australians and Victorians have been involved in from the early days of the British Empire through to modern times, that combines perfectly the personal experience of war with the general history of a given conflict, and I've included some pictures of just a fraction of the collection that caught my interest.

Men of the 1st Australian Light Horse Brigade are seen awaiting to embark for Gallipoli aboard the transport ship Devanha in May 1915.

The lifeboat seen below in the WWI display gallery is a tangible link to the men who boarded the transport Devanha that delivered them to the shores of Gallipoli and would be the last ship to depart from the area, later going on to serve as a hospital ship.

The Devanha was a P&O steamship requisitioned as a troopship for the Gallipoli landings in 1915, transporting men of the 12th Battalion, the 3rd Field Ambulance and the 3rd Infantry Brigade Headquarters ashore on the 25th April. This is Lifeboat No. 5 from the Devanha donated by the P&O Steam Navigation Company to Australian War Memorial in December 1919.

This tunic was worn by a member of the 3rd Machine Gun Squadron of the 3rd Light Horse Brigade in the ANZAC Desert Mounted Corps. The Squadron was formed in July 1916 and supported the 8th, 9th and 10th Light Horse Battalions in the Middle East until the end of the campaign on 17th October 1918.

Leather Great Coat circa 1915 worn by Major Murray Jones of the Australian Flying Corps. This coat was the same worn by motorists and motorcyclist in the pre-war years and were worn to help provide some warmth in an open cockpit at altitudes above 10,000 feet, but were certainly not draught-proof.

Flying Leathers circa 1915, worn by Lieutenant Alec Paterson, No. 3 Squadron AFC
The jacket and hood are lined with fur for warmth and the breast pocket is designed to store a readily accessible map.

Turkish Flag, taken as a souvenir by Sergeant James Offard after the battle of Beersheba on 31st October 1917. Offord enlisted in the 4th Light Horse Regiment on 4th January 1916, and served in the light-horse throughout the Sinai-Palestine campaign and was awarded the Military Medal.

A photograph allegedly showing the charge of the Australian 4th Light Horse at the battle of Beersheba, supposedly taken by a Turk whose camera was later captured.

Towards the end of the First World War the ever increasing speeds of the latest fighters which only increased in the interwar years revealed the inadequacies of hand held and directed machine guns for defence, which in Britain in particular, led to the development of power operated multiple gun turrets for bomber defence, themselves made obsolete in the post Second Word War era with the development of even faster jet fighters.

The Bristol Beaufort was a twin-engine torpedo bomber that first entered service with Royal Air Force Coastal Command in 1940, but also saw seven-hundred of the over 1,800 Beauforts built in WWII being built in Australia for the R.A.A.F.

Swivelling in his seat, the Beaufort dorsal gunner could swing the hydraulically-powered B1. Mark. IV turret left to right in a 130 degree arc.

Beaufort Bombers of No.100 Squadron R.A.A.F on their way to bomb Japanese aircraft on the airfield at Wewak in Papua New Guinea.

A mechanical arm linking the twin Browning .303 inch machine guns and the gunners seat allowed him to elevate and depress the guns through 92 degrees, with a twist of twin handles, whilst keeping his eyes in line with the Mk. IIIA reflector gun sight.

The entire turret cupola could be lowered further into the fuselage to reduce drag when not firing.

A B1. Mk. IV Dorsal Turret, c 1942, assembled by the Department of Aircraft Production Gun Plant, Fairfield, Victoria, restored by the Australian Aviation Heritage Centre, Caboolture, Queensland

The war waged by Australia in WWII changed dramatically in February 1942 with the fall of Singapore and the seemingly remorseless advance of the Japanese towards mainland Australia that would see Darwin bombed and Japanese mini-submarines attack R.A.N vessels in Sydney Harbour.

Empire Troops surrender to the Japanese in Singapore in February 1942

The British Empire was at full stretch coping with the Germans and Italians in the Western Desert that threatened the loss of oil supplies from the Middle East as well as links with India, Australia and New Zealand, with troops from all three committed to that theatre, but seeing the Australian government take the decision to recall its now veteran, regular troops of the A.I.F. for war against the Japanese much closer to home as Home Defence Forces were rushed to New Guinea to contest and hold the line in magnificent style against Japanese advances towards Port Moresby and Milne Bay.

The olive green uniforms worn by the Japanese were far better suited to Papuan conditions than the khaki issue fatigues worn by the Australians, with the Japanese often improving them with the addition of attached foliage to webbing and helmets as stressed in their military doctrine.

Australian troops were still wearing khaki when they first encountered Japanese troops in Malaya and New Guinea on the Kakoda track in July 1942. By late 1942 the men were dying their uniforms green, a common practice until 1943, when manufactured jungle green uniforms began to arrive in large numbers. 

Australian commitment in the Second World War extended across all three arms, as in the Great War, with the largest ships in the Royal Australian Navy being the 10,000 ton, eight inch County Class cruisers such as HMAS Canberra and her sister ship HMAS Australia, illustrated in the model below in her pre-war paint scheme, built by Engine Room Artificer, 4th Class, Bill Gummow, RAN who was killed when HMAS Perth, a Leander Class six inch light cruiser, was sunk on 1st March 1942, during the Battle of Bunda Strait.

HMAS Australia, flagship of the Australian fleet in WWII, a Kent sub-class of the County Class of cruisers built in 1925 in Glasgow, Scotland. Her battle honours are Atlantic 1940-41, Pacific 1941-43, Coral Sea 1942, Savo Island 1942, Guadalcanal 1942, New Guinea 1942-44, Leyte Gulf 1944, Lingeyan Gulf 1945, later scrapped in 1955. 

In the latter stages of WWII, HMAS Australia would be the target for several kamikaze attacks and it was during one of these attacks in January 1945, Lieutenant Commander Mackenzie Gregory, aboard HMAS Shropshire, ex Royal Navy cruiser transferred to the RAN following the loss of HMAS Canberra, remembers receiving a signal from his old ship Australia:

'Glad to be near you but hope we don't bring the flies (kamikazes)'.

Joint Australian-United States Naval Task Group 17.3 under air torpedo attack by Imperial Japanese land based bombers during the Battle of the Coral Sea, 7th May 1942. A Japanese G4M Type 1 (Betty) bomber flies past the cruiser HMAS Australia, with the US Navy destroyer USS Perkins beyond, and the smoke astern marking where another Japanese bomber has just been shot down.

The collection of artefacts from the soldiers unfortunate to end up as prisoners of war of the Japanese held special meaning for me having travelled to the Burma-Thailand Railway with my paternal uncle and fellow veterans in 2005, courtesy of the Royal British Legion.

He and many of his comrades had been taken prisoner with the fall of Singapore and had survived the worst deprivations and sheer brutality that the Japanese and their Korean guards could throw at the Allied soldiers, sailors and airman, not to forget the thousands of Chinese and Asian labourers.

Between 180,000 and 250,000 Southeast Asian civilians and 60,000 Allied prisoners of war were subjected to forced labour during the construction of the railway with around 90,000 and 12,000 deaths resulting among them respectively.

The picture displayed in the museum brought back recollections of similar beatings described by Uncle Les and the other veterans which only increased during the 'Speedo' period of construction, a term used by Japanese guards to the prisoners to step up the work rate, usually followed by beatings with batons and prodding with bayonet tips, particularly during the dangerous work cutting Hellfire Pass; with giant spikes hammered into solid rock by the prisoners, before dynamite was placed in the holes and the explosive ignited to blast out the rock, with not any attention to health and safety, and with a very serious risk of fatal injuries.

The work was carried out on near starvation rations, no access to medical supplies and the constant risk of a minor skin abrasion turning into a serious jungle sore or abscess caused by the unsanitary conditions of working it a hot rain forest and the fact that men's bodies were emaciated and lacking the vitamins to fend off infections. 

I well remember one of the veterans recalling how a 'Scouse' sergeant offered to interpret the Japanese demands to up the work rate, in hammering in the spikes and laying the sleepers along the prepared rail bed, explaining that if the Japanese would allow the troops to manage their own work rate, then things might progress quicker.

The guards agreed to the compromise, seeing the said sergeant climb up on a large rock and explain to the men that they needed to get a rhythm going and that the effort would keep the guards happy, but that they would need a work chant to get into the rhythm of hammering the spikes and dropping the next sleeper.

He immediately called everyone to readiness and began by beating out two loud clangs on a metal bucket, followed by the chant which they all happily joined in; 

'Tojo's a bastard!'

Shouting out in unison as they worked, with the sound of the beating bucket followed by the rhythmic chant echoing through the jungle and with the guards contentment at the seemingly improved work rate adding to the mirth.

When faced with the treatment dished out by their captors these little expressions of resistance proved remarkable boosts to morale and illustrated an indomitable will to resist.

The flag below once flew over the Sultan's Palace in Jahore, Malaya in 1941, and was later removed from the palace to prevent its falling into enemy hands.

After the fall of Singapore in 1942, Captain Ken Parsons, Australian Army, who had removed the flag originally, together with other medical staff, arranged for the flag to be kept hidden when the primarily 50,000 British and Australian prisoners were moved to the Selerang Barracks, near Changi Prison in what would become one of the most infamous Japanese prison camps

The Changi Flag

The flag remained hidden from the Japanese for three years, only brought out on ceremonial occasions or for the burial of prisoners, soon becoming a symbol of the courage of the prisoners of war.

Between 1942 and 1945 over one-hundred people signed the flag, with ninety-one names being Australians and with sixteen signatures of men who were sent to work on the Burma Railway in 1943 and who didn't survive, and the remaining signatures from members of the liberating force and from foreign personnel treated by the Australian medical corps. 

Captain Parsons brought the flag home with him to Sydney and it would be passed to his son until he decided to sell it in 2004, after which it was bought by a Melbourne businessman who donated it to the Shrine of Remembrance. 

Note the message of best wishes penned to Captain Parsons, Xmas 1942

The Shrine of Remembrance is well worth visiting if the opportunity presents, providing as it does a very moving experience as well as an interesting insight into the development of the military forces of Australia and the position it has carved out for itself as a modern democracy from its involvement in some of the most pivotal wars that have shaped our modern world, the cost of that involvement and the rejection of tyranny and oppression, sadly, it seems, a still unfinished job.

On exiting the Memorial building we progressed back into the city, getting acquainted with familiar birds first encountered in New Zealand, and the occasional new one in the case of the Magpie-Lark, looking like a rather overlarge Pied Wagtail from home.

Australian Magpie, Gymnorhina tibicen 

An adult female Magpie-Lark, Grallina cyanoleuca 

The route along Linlithgow Avenue has trees planted along it dedicated to specific units that have served in the Australian Forces, with a magnificent equestrian statue of the Marquis of Linlithgow, the first Governor General of Australia close by, together with a memorial to some of the first Australian Imperial Soldiers, namely the men from Victoria who served in the Boer War.

The final monument to grab my attention was on my recognising the name 'Weary' Dunlop, and not immediately realising why it was so familiar, until my memory of my time visiting the Burma Railway came back, as this gentleman, Colonel Sir Edward 'Weary' Dunlop was a name famous among Australian and British troops held prisoner by the Japanese.

Sleepers representing his time on the Burma Railway form the first steps up to the statue of Weary Dunlop

Lieutenant Colonel Edward Dunlop was a doctor in the Australian Army Medical Corps, commanding No.1 Allied General Hospital, Bandoeng, Java when he was captured by the Japanese, having served in the Middle East in Greece, Crete and the Western Desert supporting the men of the 6th and 7th Australian Infantry Divisions before their recall home.

Having first been moved with other prisoners to Singapore, he was then moved to Thailand in charge of 'Dunlop Force' to work on the railway, where he would remain until the war ended.

A Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, Colonel Dunlop would become a legend among Australian prisoners of war, tirelessly working to save wounded, sick and mal-nourished men, whilst putting his own life at risk by repeatedly standing up to Japanese brutality, recording his experiences in a diary.

The resourcefulness of the medics like Dunlop are exemplary of men forced to work in the most difficult of circumstances, seeing the development of saline drips, using rubber hose from stethoscopes, connected to bamboo improvised syringe needles and using the left over salt water from tinned vegetables to try and save men dying from cholera.

Sir Edward would continue in medicine after the war and surgery in particular, serving on Community Health Committees to develop better health strategies around cancer, alcoholism, drug dependence and fluoridation.

He died at home on the 2nd July 1993 and was accorded a state funeral on the 12th July at St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne, with over 10,000 people witnessing his funeral and a measure of the great esteem he was held in as a man and a great Australian. 

Melbourne or what would become the city on the Yarra river, seen here in 1836, only one year after settlers set up camp with just a few numbered shacks having been built. - Melbourne State Library

One of the really interesting aspects of visiting places for the first time is getting a feel for them historically and to get a progressional perspective of why a place is the way it is, perhaps somewhat easier in New Zealand and Australia, where cities and towns are relatively new, with just over a couple of hundred years of development, compared to say the UK with my home city of Exeter tracing its history and layout back to the 1st century AD.

So while in Melbourne we made our way over to the Melbourne State Library and Melbourne Museum, with the former being home to two classic pictures, among some other interesting stuff, that shows the city from its very earliest beginnings.

A view of Melbourne from, Wellington Parade, East Melbourne, looking North-West, circa 1872 where the MCG now stands, just about where the shepherd is herding his flock. The prominent tower of the Independent Church, now St. Michael's is in Collins Street and was completed in 1867.

As mentioned, Melbourne’s development took off in the 1850’s with the discovery of gold and the gold rush that followed, with the picture below of a flourishing Collins Street dating from 1854 and indicative of that development.

Collins Street, Melbourne, looking west across Elizabeth Street, 1854. This picture made a fascinating comparison, as with the one above, when we recalled how the modern cityscape looks today on this same street.

The map pictured below is from the Melbourne Museum, showing the extent of gold mining activity at the time, with gold first discovered in Ballarat in 1851, sparking the arrival of some 6,000 miners a week and reaching its peak productivity between 1852 and 1853.

Over the space of a year, nearby Bendigo was transformed from a sleepy sheep station to a bustling town of 40,000 people, a quite extraordinary situation, with all the likely problems of lawlessness and other antisocial consequences that would have likely occurred.

Victoria produced up to 32% of all the gold mined in Australia equating to about 24 pounds of gold per kilometre, greater than any other Australian state and earning Melbourne the title of ‘Marvellous Melbourne’, drawing at the time comparison with London and Paris due to the influx of wealth and migrants.

With a dramatic increase in population, the demand for transport and communication increased, represented by this classic Royal Mail, Cobb & Co seventeen passenger, four to five horse drawn stage coach that dates from circa 1880, but the company having started in the 1850’s during the gold rush era.

This wood panelled coach was last operated back in 1916 and could carry nine passengers inside and three more passenger seats on the rear and three more on the front of the cab behind the driver.

As Melbourne developed into an Imperial capital, vying for that status with the other great Australian city Sidney, it strove to consolidate its position by participating in the International Exhibition Movement that saw fifty industrial and technology exhibitions, following on from that held in the UK in the Crystal Palace exhibition of 1851 run up to 1915, around the globe.

The Royal Exhibition Building is a classic reminder of that exciting period in history that reflected the confidence in the industrial future, built in 1879-80, it hosted the Melbourne International Exhibition 1880-81 and even more impressive Centennial International Exhibition in 1888, focussing on Australian music and painting.

Restored in the 1990’s, it was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status in 2004 and serves as a grand monument of the wealth and civic pride felt by the citizens of Melbourne in the 1870’s.

The Royal Exhibition Building, built 1879-80 and a UNESCO World Heritage Building

Other buildings reflect the opulence of the ‘Marvellous Melbourne’ era such as the Princess Theatre seen below, built in 1854, and rebuilt in 1886 in the elaborate ‘Second Empire’ characteristic of Paris under Napoleon III; it is the oldest surviving entertainment site in mainland Australia.

The glorious Princess Theatre, Melbourne, reflects perfectly the spirit of ‘Marvellous Melbourne’

The Commonwealth of Australia came into being on the 1st January 1901, with the federation of six Australian colonies, and the inaugural election took place on the 29th-30th March, that saw the first Australian Parliament sit in the building below, Parliament House, Melbourne, on 9th May 1901, when it was opened by the then Prince George, Duke of Cornwall and York, later King George V.

In 1927, the Australian Parliament moved to the new federal capital of Canberra, and today, Parliament House, Melbourne is the meeting place for the Parliament of Victoria.

Parliament House, Melbourne, the first home of Australia’s Parliament, until it moved to the federal capital of Canberra in 1927. Now home to the State of Victoria’s Parliament.

Just outside of Parliament House, I came across this rather magnificent statute of Major General, Royal Engineers, Charles George Gordon, who fell at Khartoum, January 26th 1885, erected by the people of Victoria to honour his memory and inscribed;

'I have tried to do my duty
This is the happy warrior - This is he that every man in arms should wish to be'

Melbourne today is very much a thriving modern city with a cosmopolitan and diverse population, and with its rich history very much underpinning the new look city that has sprung up to tower over the old one, but showing modern Australians where they have come from, and the role they play in leading the world forward as a free modern democracy in the Pacific region.

As it was fast approaching 'Australia Day', the 26th January, on the day I was planning to publish this post, a new date to me on my calendar of National Commemoration Days, I thought I'd conclude, with not only the commemoration of the death of General Gordon, but a look at this rather stunning replication of the Australian Coat of Arms, on display in the Melbourne Museum.

Granted in 1912 by King George V, when Melbourne was the capital, the Commonwealth star sits on a blue and gold wreath, Australia's livery colours, it's seven points represent the six states and territories.

The shield bearing badges from each of the six states is supported by a Red Kangaroo and an Emu. Both animals are widely accepted as Australia's faunal emblems.

The six blazons on the shield represent the states of Australia (Top left to right - New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, bottom left to right - South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania)

In the next post our journey continued through Victoria as we made our way towards Canberra and I plan to take a look at some of the other interesting stuff we saw on our journey through the state.

Until then, I would like to wish all my Australian friends, Happy Australia Day.