Federation Square, Melbourne Australia

Triangles at Federation Square

Triangles at Federation Square

Melbourne is a city designed without a central public square. Various attempts to build one have been in process since the 60’s.  In 2001 Federation Square was completed.  It is almost eight acres of open area pavement and modern designed buildings for the arts and public events.  Similar to Millennium Park in Chicago, Federation Square is built on a foundation created above unsightly train tracks.

Melbourne, Australia

Successfully returning a rental car after a week or more of driving on the left side of the highway is always a huge relief.  Our car return logistics in Melbourne were great, as the rental car company turned out to be across the street from our rental condo.  We mostly felt at home and safe in Melbourne, as we did throughout all of Australia.  There were many ethnic restaurants to choose from, including Thai and Indian, our favorites.  We were ready to explore the city.

Melbourne at Night

Melbourne at Night, view from our condo rental. 

There is always much confusion when exploring a new city and figuring out the trolley or bus routes.  However, Melbourne goes above and beyond all reasonable expectations to confuse the tourist.  Admittedly I have a very poor memory.  So all I can really remember of the street I’m looking for is Flinders.  Turns out there is a  Flinders Lane and a Flinders Street which run parallel and are adjacent to one another.  Of course, connecting these two similarly named streets is Flinders Court.

To make navigation even worse, the next two adjacent streets are Collens Street and Little Collens Street, which also run parallel to each other.  Collens Street and Little Collens Street are connected by two streets, Elizabeth Street and Elizabeth Place.  Walking many, many blocks on the wrong street in the heat looking for your restaurant has a way of putting a damper on lunch.  At least they served cold beer.


Federation Square

Federation refers to the uniting of the six separately governed colonies into one Commonwealth of Australia.  It is a great place for abstract photography and a gathering place for locals and strolling tourists.  For these photographs, I returned at sunset and blue hour.

Modern Architecture in Federation Square

Modern Architecture in Federation Square


Trolley lines

Trolley lines

Melbourne Graffiti Scene

Opposite Federation Square and joining Flinders Lane with Flinders Street, the cobble stoned Hosier Lane was said to be the central point of the city’s street art scene.  There were a couple nice pieces, but all were a very distant second to what we saw in Valparaiso, Chile.


We were still experiencing the Chinese New Year crowd, so a clear shot of the murals was virtually impossible to get.  We find there is no such thing as a normal pose anymore.  Jumping, contorting and modeling school now seem to be required.  My wife blames such behavior on Facebook.


Crazy Airline Rules

Our exploration of the city was limited by the summer heat, comfort inside our rented condo and preparation for our many plane flights ahead. Gayle, who thankfully reads copious travel sites and prepares for all travel events, discovered our airplane carry-on bags would be strictly limited to 7kg, or about 15 pounds.  After successfully shopping for luggage scales we discovered my empty camera backpack weighs 6kg.  Fully loaded with cameras and lenses it weighs about 38 pounds, or over 17kg.  Packing my camera equipment as luggage is simply not an alternative, so we devised a complex packing plan which involved purchasing a large suitcase that would contain my empty camera backpack and purchasing another carry-on bag. Our two carry-ons would now contain most all my camera gear, and weigh 7kg each.

Our carry-on bags were indeed weighed by the airline and found to still be over the 7kg weight limit.  I therefore had to remove my laptop computer from my carry-on and now carry two items on the plane, my carry-on bag and the computer separately.  Clearly their weight is exactly the same, but now I have two items to carry on board and load into the overhead compartments. How does this help me or the airline? It does not matter if I weigh 150 or 300 pounds, just that no single carry-on bag weighs over 7kg.  For future trips we stuffed our coat pockets with camera gear, decreasing the carry-on bag weight.  We had 12 more such flights ahead of us.

Gas Brigade Fire Show

Along the riverfront of Melbourne’s Southbank numerous flame throwers shoot what are billed as the world’s largest fireballs into the night sky. Photographing from across the Yarra River, the heat from the flames could be easily felt. Weather permitting, this display goes off on the hour until midnight.

Goodnight Melbourne, next stop Tasmania.

11 thoughts on “Federation Square, Melbourne Australia

  1. Ah ha!!! A new product idea! Cargo clothing. The idea is clothing that increases the overall volume of a person, providing compartments for carryon. It’s taking the cargo pants concept up 10 notches. All outfits end up occupying the maximum volume to fit in a standard airline seat (or perhaps a bit more, since that seems to be customary . . .), but the smaller the wearer is, the more cargo can he/she can carry. With the high density battery technologies available to us, built in peltier cooling is a comfort option. Uncomfortable sitting on a curling iron? No problem — once you fill the suit with cargo, compressed air is pumped into the compartments, making for a cushy ride.

    As always, great photos and writeup, Harold.

  2. This does not appear to be one of your more picturesque stops. However, your creative problem solving of short sighted regulations is most impressive.

  3. Enjoyed the article about Melbourne. I lived there in 2003 down at Station Pier. The pictures of downtown show how much things have changed in the years since we have been gone. So much to see in Melbourne, I hope you got out and saw more than what you picture here. As for the weight limits on things I know a person that took the coat out of their checked baggage because it was too heavy and put it on to get around the stupid regulations.

  4. I just have to ask — did you two see a street performer along the river named Miss Vickie? When we were there about 10 years ago, Miss Vickie was stealing the show and creating great crowds in Melbourne. I have no idea if she is still at it or not, but I have to admit that her costuming and antics were really quite amazing! I still remember it vividly 10 years on!!!

    Anyway, as always, Harold, great photos and blog. Keep them coming………

    • We are very sorry but it seems Miss Vickie was a no show, we missed Miss Vickie. The best you can hope for us we turned in early as usual and missed her evening performance. We will keep the posts coming each Sunday morning for quite a while. Thank you for continuing to follow our travels.

  5. For some reason my favorite umbrella shot is missing 🙂 A label for Orange Umbrellas but no image.
    And I thought the Africa carry on 25 lbs was strict! I started wearing a Scotty vest after our trip to Israel. For the flights stuffed it with the heavy stuff batteries etc. etc. and took it off put in trays at security with nothing in my pockets and my carry on under the weight limit but the vest weighed a bunch and could not be zipped up 🙂

    • The Red Umbrella shot is still in the Australia gallery, third from the bottom row if you are looking at the screen with ALL images selected. I totally agree with your Scotty Vest solution. I thought of it after encountering airplane boarding issues, but did not find a place to buy one. It makes no difference if the guy behind me weighs 300 pounds, my carry on can’t exceed their paltry limit…

      • Yup I am playing catch up. I started at the end and then went back to where I had left of and started back toward the end so that is coming up. After guiding birding outing and teaching a bit of photography and prepping for our move I forced myself to take this marvelous break. Right now in Sydney 🙂

  6. I need to get back to going through my old Aperture files. Right now on Alaska from 2013 🙂 Just got an external hard drive yesterday that keeps up with the new I mac. Uses the same memory card etc that is in a macbook pro and the imac and the thunderbolt 3 ports.

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