FARMERS DOWN UNDER 2006 travel blog

Andrea At Queen Victoria Park

Zither Master

Riker At Southbank Promenade

Yarra River

Kristen With Southbank Promenade In The Background

We spent Sunday afternoon wandering around Melbourne's arts precinct. This small area on St. Kilda Road is the high-culture heart of Melbourne.

Our first stop was the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). The NGV originally opened at a different location in 1861, providing culture to the young colony. As the 1900s began, an increasingly affluent community viewed the NGV as vital to the city's development. In fact, a wealthy Melbourne businessman bequeathed one half of his fortune to the NGV, enabling the Gallery to compete on the international art market.

The NGV provides the visitor with a whole world of art. On the ground floor, treasures from Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome are on display. On the second level the NGV displays its collection of European paintings dating from 1200 to the present. Art from the Pacific Rim also has its own display area. There is even furniture, works on paper, video art, and textile items on the third level for those who consider such things to be art. Given that we were viewing the gallery with four young children and that we aren't real art aficionados, we browsed mainly the exhibits of European paintings and sculptures circa 1700 to 1950 and were impressed with the works of some of the European masters such as Monet, Renoir, and Rembrandt. The building itself is a work of art with a stained-glass ceiling in the Great Hall which reportedly took five years to create.

After spending a couple of hours in the NGV, the Queen Victoria Gardens across the street provided a chilly but otherwise pleasant setting for our picnic lunch. After lunch we strolled along the Southbank and Yarra Promenades along the Yarra River to take in the weekly arts and crafts market. This area was lined with cafes, bars and restaurants all with city skyline and river views. Our walk took us close to the MCG where we could hear a crowd of close to 100,000 cheering an AFL playoff game.

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