Collingwood lost! It was a gr8 game up to 3/4ter time, with excellent demonstrations of Aussie Rules skills. The lead changed 10 times, & there was constant noise from the 99,617 fans. But in the end Geelong steamed ahead.
This morning I wore my C/wood scarf to Mass at All SS. The choir were absent today (school holidays) so 2 men sang the propers & we had Merbecke. Haven’t sung that for 40 years! Once again the hymns were old familiar ones, which I enjoyed singing. Much footy banter afterwards. I was invited to the vicarage for lunch again. At 5 pm I attended the performance of Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius by the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir & Orchestra in the Melbourne Town Hall. Despite my love of Elgar & Newman I have never heard this monumental work – & it was magnificent. I was interested to find that the Conductor & Mus Dir of RMPC is a brilliant young conductor who used St Mark’s for a small choir when I was Vicar. RMPC is over 150 years old, making it Australia’s oldest cultural organisation, & has produced The Messiah every year – surely a world record?
It has been an interesting week settling in to Melbourne. I now have a Dr & must get my health records from SD. Dentist & optician to follow. I have discovered that the newsagent around the corner is also a post office, dry-cleaners & Myki agent, & I have used it for all 3. (Myki is the transport pass you use for Melbourne trams, trains & busses, like London’s oyster pass). I have also noted bars where there are daily meal specials. One of them is the famous Esplanade Hotel, where my family stayed on our 1st holiday to Melbourne in the 1950’s. I am sure my father chose it because we lived on the Esplanade at Sema4. I remember walking across the Esplanade to the beach some 55 years ago. From next July it will be my address, for that is where the condo that I own is. In fact, when I bought it in 1998 the connection with my Sema4 address was part of the attraction.
Last week was Seniors Week, with free transport. So I took trains & trams to nearby beaches, Port Melbourne, Sandringham & Brighton. On Thurs I caught the train to Bendigo to visit my former bishop, + Andrew Curnow. It was good to see him & discuss matters to do with the church. He is a bishop with integrity, pastoral concern & good old common-sense – a rare commodity in Anglican bishops these days! Sunday I attended All SS again. The music was good – the boy choristers were still away, but the men sang Byrd’s Mass for 3 Voices. The congregation continue to welcome me & would love me to be involved in the parish – but it is hard to make a commitment as I plan to start travelling again in Nov. They also have the best morning tea…….as well as cake & biscuits we are offered cheese & crackers, along with sherry & port. Almost as good as All SS, SD, coffee hour 🙂
This week is more leisurely as I settle into a regular routine. Monday was much like my day-off in SD: washing, cleaning, financial matters, etc. In the a/noon I did what I would do on a day-off in a US city……went exploring the locality. Walked along the seafront of St K & back thru the suburbs. As in all cities I visit, the architecture fascinates me. There is a wonderful mix of beautiful old mansions, federation & tudor style homes, 1930’s apartment buildings & modern apartments/condos. And also hideous 1970’s flats….like the one I live in! St K is in an interesting suburb indeed. In the evening I went to a discussion group at All SS, Kooyong organised by my friend, Fr Chris Seton. About 16 of us, some of whom I knew. It was most interesting & they want me to speak at a future date. It meets every Monday night & is only a 40 min tram ride away.
Last week was the reverse of the previous 2 weeks: relaxed week & busy w/e. On the Tues I visited Sr Angela, a Good Shepherd nun at Abbotsford Convent. She has been a good friend since I moved to Melb in 1985. It was good to see her again, & she was very interested in my travels & future plans. Wed I enrolled in a local gym. I haven’t been to gym since Jan – so the 1st work-out took it out of me! On the way home I called in at St K Botanical Gardens. This is a 16 acre park established in the 1860’s. It is quite interesting, with a rose garden & a giant chess board, amongst plants/shrubs/trees & lawns. Thurs I went to 7 am Mass, but had nothing else planned for the day. It was a nice sunny day, so I explored Albert Park – just 5 mins walk from my flat. Albert Park is huge – about 3 miles long & 2 miles wide, with a huge lake in the centre & playing fields on the sides, as well as a golf course. As I walked along the lake’s edge, black swans & their young came up to me as well as birds. They are not scared by humans, & no doubt wanted food! I explained to them that I had none, which brought forth a response. So as well as living like St Francis I am also, like him, attracting animals & talking to them 🙂
Friday I went shopping for a fridge, crockpot & various kitchen items. Sat I went back to my old parish, St Mark’s, Fitzroy, for a Walsingham festival. Bp Lindsay Urwin, the administrator of the shrine, is touring Australia, & St M’s hosted his Melbourne visit. It was gr8 to be back at my old church & with him. He celebrated Mass at 10.30 am & after a wonderful morning tea spoke to us for an hour. He is such an arresting speaker, none of us wanted him to finish! I returned to St M’s at 4 pm for a concert presented by a choir that had been part of the AIDS Requiems at St M’s 20 years ago. The conductor was an enthusiastic young man then…now he, like me, is older – but still enthusiastic. It was good to see the church full & the concert brought back memories of those days when I was heavily involved in the community.
Sunday I returned to St Mark’s for the 9.30 Solemn Mass celebrated by Bp Lindsay again. He preached a wonderful sermon, beginning with when he lived in the vicarage in 1975, & the part St Mark’s played in his life & spiritual journey. The Mass was excellent & the congregation still sing the hymns & Mass with vigour. It was nice to be back at St M’s – albeit in the congregation – & welcomed in the notices by Fr Stuart, the new PP. It was good to meet up with old friends over morning tea. At 5 pm I went to Evensong & Benediction at St Peter’s in the city, to hear Bp Lindsay preach yet again. Afterwards I took him out to supper in nearby chinatown. We had a lot to chat about & catch up on….not least the state of the Australian church!
Last Mon the fridge & crockpot arrived, so on Tues I went shopping, & spent $108 on foodstuffs, kitchenware, etc. As I write this a week later, a lovely casserole is cooking back at my flat. The vicarage casserole, in case you are wondering, dear reader! My 1st home-cooked meal in my flat 🙂
The weather has become very warm. On Wed I caught the train out to Eltham to visit an old friend from St M’s, Ian. Eltham is an outer suburb that is like the country – gum-trees, shrubs & plenty of green parks. It is easy to forget that most people in Melbourne live in areas like this, not in inner city apartments. Ian cooked me dinner & I stayed overnight. Caught the train back to the city next morning. Thurs night I attended the SSC Mass & chapter meeting. It was good to catch up with my SSC brethren again, tho they are diminished in number since I left here in 2003. Fri after 10.30 am Mass I attended a meeting of the retired clergy who assist at All SS. Fr James provided an excellent lunch. He is a generous priest, & invited us to take part in the parish ministry in whatever way we wanted.
On Sat the weather changed from hot to thunder & rain….I am back in Melb! I had been invited to a BBQ, but in the end most of the guests didn’t brave the rain & we had party-pies & spring rolls in the kitchen! Sun I was back at All SS for the 10 am High Mass. I then caught the train to have lunch with Meigs, who was my secy when I went to St Mark’s in 85. Lovely meal, good wine & conversation. It was a beautiful sunny a/noon.
It has been an interesting week. Last Mon I had my 1st home-cooked meal in my flat. Tues I went to the movies, to see Contagion – a thriller on the overdone subject of a world virus. Tues is half-price in Melb, but I discovered that I could get even cheaper admission as a Senior on any day. Wed was appointments – which meant I couldn’t join the crowds cheering HM the Queen. Thurs I went exploring the Outer Circle Railway. This was a railway built in 1885 in a circle around what was then the edge of Melb. It went from Fairfield to Kew to Camberwell to Oakleigh. It ceased after 5 years, except for a remnant which is now the Alamein line. I caught 3 trains to end up at Alamein station, & from there walked several miles along the old line, which is pleasant walkway thru parks. The trail was restored in 1985, & has wonderful parks along it. I finished up at the Huntingdale station, & discovered another private rail line that is only obvious by the curved streets where it used to be.
Fri I went to the Ireland v Australia footy. This is a combination of Aussie Rules & Gaelic Football, retaining the speed & skills of both sports. Unfortunately Australia lost badly! Saturday I decided to explore the part of the Outer Circle trail which I didn’t on Thurs. This went east from Camberwell to Kew. It was really interesting, as it mainly went in a gully & passed under several of the old bridges. There were also remnants of 3 old stations & a level crossing. It was not hard for me to imagine steam trains running thru those Melb leafy suburbs. That night I went to the Astor Cinema – a 1930’s cinema still operating & just 15 mins walk from my flat. The movie I saw was Some Like It Hot. This was partly filmed in the Hotel Del Coronado, where I often took my overseas visitors in SD.
Sunday I went to 8 am Mass at All SS then spent the rest of the day at home as the weather was lousy. In the evening I had dinner at the home of an old friend. Monday I got my new contact lens…..which do not seem a good fit, so I’ll have to go back & see the optomerist. That evening I went to the Melbourne Symphony in the Melb Town Hall. They performed Mozart’s Linz Symphony & Great C Minor Mass. The Gloria was particularly stunning. After being away 8 years I was pleased to realise that I knew 2 in the orchestra & 2 in the choir. I went home deciding to be an MSO subscriber in 2012, as I was with SD Symphony.
Wed Nov 2
Yesterday was Melb Cup day. Melb must be the only city anywhere that has a holiday for a horse race! It was also All SS Day, & the day started with 8.30 am High Mass at All SS. Fr James asked me to be Subdeacon, which was kind of him. There was a congregation of 50, which I thought was excellent, even tho it was a public holiday. The choir sounded the best since I have been attending All SS. Afterwards a big breakfast was served in the hall: cereal, fruit, eggs, bacon, tomatoes & sausages. Like all Anglocatholic parishes, they know how to throw a party! It was good to sit with some of the women I have got to know at All SS. I was home at 11.15 pm, then an hour later caught the tram & train to Werribee. On the tram I was fascinated with the young people all dressed up….the women looked fabulous, esp their hats. It was hard not to hear their loud conversations, & most seemed to be Irish backpackers! Where did they get those outfits?
The reason I went to Werribee was for a typical Cup BBQ, hosted by my friends, Geoff & Sharon. I have known Geoff for 40 years – we served at the altar at St Paul’s, Port Adel all those years ago. The BBQ was typical Aussie – lovely food & lots to drink! Everyone seemed to be neighbours & there was typical Aussie banter & laughter…..& much talk about footy, even tho the season doesn’t start ’til March! After being away 8 years I found it wonderful & fascinating – until Sharon decided I needed to meet a Pentecostal woman!! I left her with the challenge to go read John 6 🙂
Today is All Souls’ Day & I have chores & shopping to do. Then at 7.30 pm I’ll be at All SS for Solemn Requiem Mass. A quartet is singing a wonderful Mass setting – I hope it gets the attendance it deserves. I am thinking of all the names I have read out every year when I have celebrated All Souls Day Mass in my parishes. I also reflect on my immediate family, & how each died relatively young.
Yesterday I went to the movies to see In Time, a sci-fi thriller. It was an interesting comment on modern society’s worship of youth & money – & the gap between rich & poor. Friday I had various chores to do, incl vaccuming my flat, which had to be done on my hands & knees, it is so old!
On Sat I flew to Adelaide. I left here in ’85 & have returned regularly. Apart from the funerals of my father & brother my visits have always been happy as I have reflected on growing up here & then moving away to achieve things & explore the world. Now I am retired I notice Adelaide as a city to be rediscovered, as well as my memories of growing up here. It is a joy to come back, but I also realise I have been fortunate that my work as a priest has led me to interesting places all over the world, culiminating in my wonderful years in San Diego.
Sunday morning my old friend, Rosemary (who visited me in SD) drove me to St George’s, Goodwood for Solemn Mass. This used to be Adelaide’s gr8 anglocatholic church – in fact it was banned by the bishop in the 1930’s & 40’s! It has had a enormous influence on generations of Anglicans & was an exciting place for me as an enthusiastic young anglocatholic. Nowadays it is just a shadow of its past – like most of the Adelaide diocese, it seems. A most unispiring Mass with a sermon I could hardly underdstand, & just 40 people. Ironically, the mass setting was Healy Willan, the Mass we sang at All SS & loved by most Episcopalians – tho sung as a choral offering rather than a congregational setting. I sang along anyway! Over morning tea I caught up with 3 woman whom I knew 35 years ago.
Sunday a/noon I caught up with old friends from my time at St Margaret’s, Woodville, & in the evening I visited my Auntie Pat – not a real aunt, but my mother’s bridesmaid – who has been a gr8 friend & support for 40+ years. I used my seniors card to get to her place by bus, as I have not hired a car this visit. I can not remember the last time I caught an Adelaide bus!
It was nice to wake up & look at the River Torrens & Adelaide Oval from my hotel window. Today I went to Hahndorf – a lovely old German settlement, now a popular tourist town – for a reunion lunch with 3 cousins & my last surviving uncle, Rich, who is 85. I remember visiting Hahndorf with my German class in 1961, when the famous Academy was first restored. The lunch was a lovely family get-together – in fact I don’t think I have ever done this apart from weddings & funerals. We cousins are all retired now, & so have the time, esp now that I am back in Australia. We talked about Nobles who had been clergy, notably Norm & Moreton, after whom my father was named. Moreton was killed in France on April 26, 1918, & I have been to the war cemetry where he is buried. My cousin Noelene drove me back to the home of my old Sunday School teacher, Claire. She has been a gr8 friend & supporter for decades & came out to SD for my 60th birthday. In the evening I had dinner with an old friend from my days at St Martin’s, Campbelltown. Nigel helped me with the youth group there, & he & his friend Alison visited me in SD 2 years ago.
I have had a lovely week. On Tuesday I caught the train to Largs Bay, to stay with my old friend from St Paul’s, David. I used to catch this train every day when I was in High School, so I was interested in seeing the old stations with their familiar suburbs. In the evening David hosted a BBQ for several old friends from my St Paul’s days. It was a gr8 night of reminiscing & laughter. On Wed David drove me to Goolwa, where I was to stay with my friend, Fr Reg, the local PP. I stayed with him in July, & commented then that I wanted to return when the weather was warmer. I was not disappointed & had 5 sunny days there. Reg was an excellent host. He is also a good priest with a thriving parish. 2 very old churches in 2 delightful country towns on the coast. Thurs I explored the town & went for a wonderful walk along the beach. Fri I attended 10 am Mass at Goolwa & in the evening attended a monthly men’s BBQ called The Shed. With the feminization of the Anglican Church a place & active role for men is very important. I enjoyed myself & meeting the guys. A significant number of parishioners have moved to this area from the city, & several knew parishes, people & places that I had been associated with.
On Saty Reg hosted lunch for Marc & Sylvie – a couple I had married at St M’s, Fitzroy who subsequently moved to the area. A wonderful couple, & we had lots to talk about. 6 hours later they left…….one of the longest lunches I have had for years! On Sun I went to 8.30 am Mass at Goolwa. Excellent attendance & a superb sermon from Reg about using your gifts, no matter your age or situation. It was relevant to everyone present – & I found it particularly challenging. I was made very welcome, tho not dressed or identified as a priest. I told Reg I would test out how friendly his people were. It was probably the Port Adel FC shirt I was wearing! Reg had 10.30 am Mass at Port Elliott & a children’s Service, so I had breakfast, then caught the 12.15 pm tourist train to Victor Harbour – a 30 min trip. A railway was erected between Goolwa & Port Elliott in 1854 & was Australia’s 1st railway. It was subsequently extended to Victor Harbour, then back to Strathalbyn, Mt Barker & Adelaide. Sometimes they have steam trains, but today it was a 1926 railcar – the same ones I used to ride in in the 1960’s along Sema4 Rd from Sema4 to Glanville. The train trip was wonderful, & part of it was right on the coast. The ocean sparkled as we passed well-known surfing beaches. I then spent 3 hours in Victor, incl walking out to Granite Is & exploring that. I had not been here since I was a teenager – it is now a tourist town that hosts the notorious Schoolies Week. I caught the train back, & we had a light supper. On Mon Reg drove me to Noarlunga station – the end of a railway line into Adelaide – & I caught the train to the city. Tues I fly back to Melb.
Arrived back in my flat safely. 3 days of ordinary jobs: washing, correspondence, gym, etc. Then this morning I received a phone call from the USA – an interview from a travel magazine concerning their Board. As a subscriber I was invited to apply for the Board 2 months ago, which I eagerly did. I have now reached the short list, & will know if I am successful in 4 weeks time. I would enjoy this position, given my love of travel & all my experiences. It would be a fascinating transition as I move into retirement. And a perfect excuse to travel back to the US……if I needed such an excuse 🙂
Tomorrow I catch the train to Camperdown, to stay at St Mark’s Benedictine abbey for a week. I have been staying with this community regularly since 1976, when they were at St Mark’s, Fitzroy. The abbott, Fr Michael, has been a friend & counsellor to me for over 40 years. I have not been on a retreat there for many years, & am looking forward to this week as a time to reflect on this year and what lies ahead.
I had a wonderful week at Camperdown. The 2.5 hour train trip was good – except I couldn’t see much of the beautiful scenery because it rained most of the a/noon. Fr Michael was waiting for me at the station to drive me to the abbey. The abbey is at the top of a crater lake, a common feature in this part of the state. This was the 1st time I had stayed at the abbey on a w/e. I enjoyed the Saty night Vigils & the Sunday Mass – & esp Sun lunch which included wine & talking! The day finished with Vespers & Benediction. It was a wonderful celebration of the Feast of Christ the King.
Monday I walked into the town & explored it. I was fascinated to discover a 1930’s theatre which had an old sign: “Picture Theatre”. In the evening I went to the local pub for supper with Fr Michael & Naeidra. We laughed a lot, & I was humbled when Fr Michael thanked me for being me. By Tues I had come down with the sniffles, but I decided to walk to the nearby Botanical Gardens. This is a lovely little garden established in the 19th cent. I then walked down to the lake & along its shore until I came to what I thought was the abbey property. I climbed up the steep hill & was pleased with myself when I found the track to the abbey………….I had not walked from the abbey down to the lake since the 90’s. Wed the sniffles were worse & it was cold & went, so I stayed indoors.
Thursday was sunny & warm, so at 10 am I set off for an old railway trail. This is the line that ran from Camperdown to Timboon, now restored as a walking/cycling trail. It was a delightful walk, going past farms & with an abundance of trees, shrubs & birds. It took 3 hours to walk to Cobden, where I had a sandwich & explored the town. I then walked back to the abbey along the main road, passing thru a little hamlet that still has its old public hall. I had walked 25 km & slept very well that night! Fri it was time to say farewell & catch the train back. I arrived home refreshed & spiritually renewed – & resolved to make more frequent visits.
On Saty poured with rain. I would have stayed indoors, but my flat was open for inspection (the landlord is selling it). So at 10.30 am I caught the tram to the Art Gallery. A new exhibition had opened the previous day & I had made a note to see it. So I decided today was the day & off I went. The exhibition was of German art from 1910-37, & covered the art of the WW1 & Weimar Republic eras, the Bauhaus & the rise of the Nazis. I found this very fascinating – not only because of my gr8 interest in this era of German history, but also because since I returned in Sep I have read 2 books about Germany & Berlin during WW2 & have now commenced a book called, “The German Genius”, which covers German thought, philosophy, writing, art, etc from the 18th cent to the 1950’s
As if to underline it all, I had already decided to go to the Astor Cinema that night to see “Metropolis” – the German classic made in 1927. This new version incl footage found in Argentina a few years ago. It made more of an impact on me than when I 1st saw it years ago. Not just the visual impact, but the theme & messages, which are still strangely relevant.
Sunday I was subdeacon at All SS. It was good to be back, & various people said they were pleased to see me. The parish AGM followed. I sat at the back, rather glad that these things are no longer an obligation for me!
Sat Dec 3
A week of practical jobs. On Monday I did my overseas Christmas cards with the traditional letter. I had bought 100 stamps, so had to be prudent as to who got one! Tues I met my agent’s assistant at my condo. A few repairs are still outstanding & we planned other jobs to be done over the next 6 months. Wed I posted the o/s cards. On Thurs I did my Aussie Christmas cards. This was an opportunity to revise my address book. Fri night I had dinner with friends. Sat midday I was interviewed on radio – about living in the US & all my travels. I commented afterwards that now everyone will know Fr Tony is back! After the interview I caught the train to Seaford – a beachside suburb that took 1 hour by train. As we passed thru familiar suburban names I reflected that Melbourne has really interesting suburbs, with individual character & lots of trees, shrubs, etc. This is in marked contrast to Sydney, where there are endless suburbs that all look the same & have an industrial feel. Adelaide is a bit like that, too. My purpose in going to Seaford was to visit the wetlands there – a re-creation of what this area looked like before settlement.
Sun Dec 4
I was Deacon at High Mass. The ceremonial was more complicated than at All SS, SD & I wasn’t too perfect with singing the gospel because of my new contact lens. But several people thanked me. In the a/noon I went to Victoria Park, the old home of Collingwood Football Club. It has been converted to a community ground, & this was the grand opening. I could not help reflecting on the matches I had attended here in the 80’s & 90’s, & checked out the seats where I sat. After that I walked along the Merri Creek trail to North Fitzroy, & met up with an old friend for dinner. I met him when he was 21 & now he is a fine young Dr.
Fri Dec 9
An enjoyable week, with something on every night. Monday night I spoke to the Melbourne Ordinariate Group about Anglocatholic devotional societies. This turned into an outline of my spiritual pilgrimage & growth in the catholic faith. The Society of Mary was a significant part of my faith when I was 21…& it was fun! Now these societies are just a shadow of their former days. It prompts the question if anglocatholicsm has a future in the modern liberal Anglican church?
The summer weather has finally arrived – so Tues a/noon I walked along the seafront to Elwood, then down to Prahran. In the evening I went to the opera, La Traviata. This was my 1st Aussie opera for 15 years, & I really enjoyed it. The Melbourne audience went wild at the end of it, as they usually do. Wednesday night I had dinner with 3 old friends from St Mark’s. Unfortunately the host forgot I do not like fish….but there was good wine to make it taste okay 🙂
Thurs I went for a walk along Albert Park lake – the opposite side to last time. It was a nice walk, with a path all along the edge of the lake. That night I went to the Symphony. Yes, a week of culture! The 1st half was a piece for orchestra & violin by Brett Dean, an Aussie composer who has spent time in Germany. He spoke before MSO began playing. It was dedicated to a German violinist, who was actually playing the violin tonight. To add to the international flavour, the guest conductor was from Britain & the concert master was from NZ. The 2nd half was the magnificent 5th Symphony by Shostakovich. The audience was in raptures after each piece, & so was I. On Friday I went to Montmorency for dinner with friends. This is one of Melb’s nice “leafy” outer suburbs. I caught the train there & stayed overnight.
An interesting w/e began with excitement on Friday. 3 books about German history arrived from the UK. This is the 1st time I have bought books online….I could not get them in bookshops here, but found them on the internet. My dinner at Montmorency Fri night was nice. Afterwards we watched a British police drama, “Lewis”. As I do not have a TV in my flat, watching it has become a novelty for me! The story concerned an American woman bishop who was poisoned at a college in England. There were several sub-plots, so that I didn’t know the motive or culprit until the end – which is how good TV drama should be.
After I left Montmorency on Sat I caught the train to the end of the line at Hurtstbridge. Melb suburbs soon reverted to real countryside. Hurtsbridge is still a country town, with small shopping centre & 1 bank – but for how long? A Collingwood football flag hanging from a house reassured me that I was in friendly territory! The local football club is the centre of life in these towns, of course….I could see the local footy ground near every station. After walking around the town I caught the train back to the city, stopping off at another station, Diamond Creek, a country town that is rapidly becoming part of Melb suburbia.
Sunday I caught the 8 am tram to the city, then the 8.45 am train to Sunshine. My destination for Sunday Mass was Holy Apostles, Sunshine. An old friend & SSC priest, Fr Ian Hunter, & his wife, Margaret, had invited me to lunch. Fr Ian was doing a locum at Sunshine, so I said I would attend Mass & then he could drive me to their home after. I was also interested to see the church, as it had only been opened in April. It was an interesting complex, with a nice atrium at the front. The church itself was not very inspiring & had a font with perpetual running water. Also, there were no kneelers, so everyone sat for the prayers. This lazy protestant habit is becoming more common in Anglican churches. Consequently the liturgy left me cold & some of it I could not join in. The congregation was just 30, & I was one of the youngest. Once again I am left pondering the future of the Anglican church?
The Mass wasn’t the only disaster. I had carefully wrapped a bottle of wine for lunch & brought it in a plastic bag. It seems I had accidently cracked the bottle & by the time I got to the church wine was dripping everywhere. Such a waste! When I explained my misfortune to Fr Ian, he said it was a nice gesture. I replied that it would have tasted nicer!! After lunch Fr Ian drove me to Yarraville Station. I still had the travel bug from yesterday, so instead of going back to the city went along the line to Altona. This is a beach suburb on the opposite side to St K over Port Philip Bay. It is quite a nice place, esp for families.
I have had an enjoyable week. Monday I went to an exhibition at the Old Treasury Building. There are various displays on Melbourne’s early history, which I found most interesting. Tues I went to the dentist – I have to get a new dentist now that I am, back in Melb. A nice Russian, just 15 mins walk away. And no dental problems, thankfully.
Today I am flying to Canberra for 4 days. I have only been there 3 times in my life, & since I have visited Washington DC 10 times in the past 10 years, I figured I should visit Australia’s capital!
I arrived in Canberra Thurs 2.30 pm. 1st thing I noticed was how quiet it all is – almost like a ghost town. The city is surrounded by Australian bush & hills, & this adds to the sense of quiet. After checking into my hotel room I went for a 4 hour walk to get my bearings. Walked along Commonwealth Ave over Lake Burley Griffin to Parliament House, then to Manuka Oval (where there was a cricket game), down to the lake, & on to Kings Ave over the lake, past the Australian/American memorial (erected in thanks for America’s support during the Pacific War) & the National War Memorial, then finally visited historic St John’s church (built 1845 – the oldest building in Canberra). For a national capital it is both breathtaking & impressive…….Walter Burley Griffin designed a marvellous capital city.
Friday I set off after breakfast for the new Parliament House. This is a truly inspiring building, not only in its design & architecture, but in the history & practice of Aussie democracy, which it reveals. As I walked around it I felt quite proud to be an Aussie. I then went to the old Parliament House, now a museum of Australian democracy. I enjoyed the displays as the PM’s & much of our politics over the past 50 years are part of my life as an Aussie. From there I walked to the National Gallery. This was another impressive institution, with a wide variety of art to see. My 1st stop was the room containing Sydney Nolan’s “Ned Kelly” series of paintings. I passed by Pollock’s controversial “Blue Poles” to the Aussie galleries, containing familiar works, such as Russell Drysdale’s “The Driver’s Wife”. I was most impressed with the galleries of colonial & federation art & the Indigenous gallery.
After a wonderful day at these impressive national institutions, a real highlight was yet to come. I went to an Indian restaurant for dinner. As I was sitting there a woman came up & asked: “Are you Fr Tony”? I was quite taken aback – who could possibly know me in Canberra? To my “yes” she said: “You married my daughter….& she is just over there”. Sure enough, there was a lovely young woman I distinctly remembered – married by me in St Mark’s in 2000. What a joyful reunion that was! Janine invited me to have a/noon tea with her & Nick next day. I walked back to the hotel overwhelmed by the joy of that chance meeting.
Sat morning I went to the National Museum. The fact that I spent almost 5 hours there will tell you that this museum is fantastic! A wonderful portrayal of Aussie history, with some fascinating exhibits. A highlight was a special exhibition, where I saw a photo of the father & sister of an Adelaide friend I knew 40 years ago. There was also a fascinating exhibition of Chinese art from 1949, illustrating the politicial changes, as revealed in art. In the a/noon Nick phoned, & subsequently picked me up & drove me to his house, where their 6 yr old daughter, Cho, entertained me. We had a wonderful time talking about so much – none of us seemed to have changed, but we had all achieved so much in 11 years. Janine even remembered some of my “words of wisdom” & I felt so pleased to see that another of my marriages had turned out so well.
On Sunday I will go to a local church for Mass, then visit the National War Museum. I am, sure I shall find this emotional, as so many do. Monday I fly back to Melb.
Sun 25 Christmas Day
It has been an unusal week, very quiet. For the 1st time in 30 years I am not organising Christmas as a PP. It was wonderful not having any obligations…..but I did miss all the preps, arranging the liturgies & ensuring they are going to be good, writing sermons, visting the sick, hearing confessions, etc. I have always been told that I really rise to the big liturgical occasions – esp the challenge of preaching to many visitors. And afterwards there has always been a sense of satisfaction of a job well done. But I did miss celebrating Mass – & oddly, the tiredness that envelopes me in the a/noon of Christmas day!
I went to Midnight Mass at All SS, E St K. It was nice – but nothing compared to the wonderful Services I had at All SS, SD & St M’s, Fitzroy (esp the music at All SS). Perhaps it was to be expected that I felt this way, being the 1st time since 1974 that I have sat in the congregation. I got emotional in the last verse of “Once in Royal David’s City”. This was the hymn always sung after HC at All SS & St M’s. It began with kneeling in adoration of the sacrament whilst the 1st verse was sung solo, then doing the ablutions & concluding with wonderful contemplation in the last verse. I could never be accused of not getting emotional during Mass!
Christmas Day I flew to Adelaide. This is the 1st time I have been in Adelaide for Christmas since 1984, & also the 1st time I could go where I wanted for Christmas since 1974! I arrived at 4pm, checked into my hotel, then caught the tram to Glandore to have what was left of Christmas dinner with the family of my oldest friend, David Hunt. It was wonderful to be with them, a real Aussie family Christmas. We realised that the last time we were all together was my ordination as a deacon in 1979!
On Monday I had lunch with my cousin, Noelene, at the Port Adel FC. Tuesday I picked up a hire car & drove to the Barossa Valley. For my American friends, this is Australia’s premiere wine district – settled by Germans in the 1840’s – the home of Jacob’s Creek & Wolf Blass wines. These Germans were escaping religious persecution, & brought their faith & culture with them. The 1st settlement was called Bethany. Today the valley is dotted with little townships, always with a Lutheran church, & 76 wineries. The cemetries are filled with old Gothic inscriptions, tho teaching & publishing in German was forbidden in SA during WW1, & some town names were anglicised. The most famous example in SA was changing Germantown Hill to Vimy Ridge! There are just 4 Anglican churches in this Lutheran valley & one is dedicated to St Boniface, who was the gr8 English missionary sent to convert the Germans. A touch of humour by the Anglicans as they made their presence felt amongst the German Lutherans!
It took just over 1hr to drive to Nuriootpa, where I was staying. That gave me time to walk all around the town. After that I drove to Angaston & explored the history of that town. Wednesday I drove to Tanunda – the main town in the Valley. There are 4 Lutheran churches here & lots of historic buildings. I then drove to Bethany, where there is a little picnic ground. We came here for a family picnic when I was 12 & I remember my brother cutting his foot in the creek. I then drove to a small winery I used to visit 30 years ago. The owner is still there, & he remembered me (after I jogged his memory). He still has “the gift of the gab”! Then I drove to one of SA’s little known history spots, the Barossa Goldfields. It is not a tourist destination, but I had always wanted to visit it. In the 19th cent there was a brief gold rush here. Today it is deserted, but you can walk around the area & see the old goldmines & deep shafts, remains of buildings & some excellent signs & descriptions. Of interest was the remains of a dwelling built in 1930 for a Mr & Mrs Edwards & their son. They lived in Port Adelaide & when the bank foreclosed on their home during the Depression, they thought they would try their luck in the old goldfields. I returned to Nuriootpa, had dinner in the local pub, then walked along an old railway trail which is now an excellent walking/bike path. It seems I am always finding old rail trails when I travel
I returned to Adelaide for the w/e, staying with my friend David in Largs Bay. This is where I stayed in Nov, & he is organising a party for our old friends on NYE. I jokingly said that we would all fall asleep before midnight! But we didn’t & I had a lovely night. At midnight we watched the fireworks at Sema4.