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Melbourne

Credit for the founding of Melbourne is generally given to John Batman, the son of a Sydney convict. In the best tradition of Australia's pioneer spirit where a man was judged by his word and what he has accomplished rather than the manner of his up bringing, he came to this area in 1835 to establish a new city. In the 1850's gold was found in the surrounding area and the rush caused a population explosion. A land boom in the 1880's continued Melbourne's expansion. By the end of the 19th century it was the financial capital of Australia as well as the home of its national parliament until 1927, when it was shifted to the federal city of Canberra. Melbourne is still the capital of the state of Victoria.

Melbourne2.jpg (41660 bytes)Melbourne1s.jpg (37507 bytes)Melbourne is now Australia's second largest city and that what brought me there; the site of its annual Grand Prix. It has many things to offer including Albert Park, landmark Victorian houses and gardens and fine shopping around Melbourne's Central Station and along Chapel Street. Melbourne is about 900 kilometers from Sydney which is similar to the distance between San Francisco and San Diego. Like Northern and Southern California there is quite a rivalry between Australia's two largest cities. Escalated by Sydney's Olympics and Melbourne's Commonwealth Games.

River WalkCentral StationFree City Circle TramThis rivalry is especially strong in each city's quest for the tourist dollar. In fact until recently both scheduled their local film festivals on competing days. Visitors to Melbourne will find a more European city than Sydney with less Chinese and is home to large populations of Turks and Greeks. A mode of transportation common to the cities of Europe is the citywide network of trams which are gone from Sydney. Especially welcome is the free City Circle tram which runs during the daylight hours, every ten minutes. Dividing the city is the Yara river, to the east of the city is the Dandenong Ranges and the Yara Valley while south across the Bass Straight lays the island of Tasmania.

 




F1 Expo - Australian GP
mclaren1.jpg (22882 bytes)The following photos were taken at the F1 Expo at the Australian GP. One difference between here and Silverstone was that the cigarette companies were not to be see and actually there were signs everywhere stating in no small way that smoking kills. Getting to Albert Park which is located right in Melbourne couldn't have been easier as was exiting the park after the race. The Grand Prix itself was marked with many retirements as this was the first race of the season. After leaving the field high an dry during the opening laps both McLarens succumbed to mechanical problems. Michael Schumacher's problems were somewhat self induced as he stalled his car on the restart and later shredded his tires trying to catch up. Eddie Irvine drove a wonderful race and claimed a well deserved maiden victory. It's been a long road for the Irishmen who returns to his supporting role for the next event on the calendar in Brazil. For McLaren it was more a matter of what could have been. The race also saw fine drives by Heinz-Harald Frenzen and Ralf Schumacher in a Jordan and Williams respectively.

JordanMcLarenWilliams    

While in Melbourne I went to the International Car Show which was held in conjunction with the Australian Grand Prix.

Lamborghini going ...
and coming.

Lamborghini

Lamborghini

MG SpecialAston MartinTVR

Some more cars from the Auto show including from left to right a TVR, Aston Martin and MG Special.