Monday August 30, 2021’s Smile of the Day: Melbourne
On this Day:
In 1835, Melbourne, Australia was founded. Of course the natives living there had been putting shrimp on their barbies for a lot longer than that. A whole lot longer.
Melbourne is the capital and most-populous city of the Australian state of Victoria, and the second-most populous city in both Australia and Oceania. Its name generally refers to a 9,993 km2 (3,858 sq mi) metropolitan area known as Greater Melbourne, comprising an urban agglomeration of 31 local municipalities, although the name is also used specifically for the local municipality of City of Melbourne based around its central business area. The city occupies much of the northern and eastern coastlines of Port Phillip Bay and spreads into the Mornington Peninsula and the hinterlands towards the Yarra Valley, the Dandenong and Macedon Ranges. It has a population over 5 million (19% of the population of Australia, as per 2020), mostly residing to the east side of the city centre, and its inhabitants are commonly referred to as “Melburnians”.
Home to Aboriginal peoples for over 40,000 years, the Melbourne area served as a popular meeting place for local Kulin nation clans, Naarm being the traditional Boon wurrung name for Port Phillip Bay. A short-lived penal settlement was built at Port Phillip, then part of the British colony of New South Wales, in 1803, but it was not until 1835, with the arrival of free settlers from Van Diemen’s Land (modern-day Tasmania), that Melbourne was founded. It was incorporated as a Crown settlement in 1837, and named after the then British Prime Minister, William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne. In 1851, four years after Queen Victoria declared it a city, Melbourne became the capital of the new colony of Victoria. During the 1850s Victorian gold rush, the city entered a lengthy boom period that, by the late 1880s, had transformed it into one of the world’s largest and wealthiest metropolises. After the federation of Australia in 1901, it served as the interim seat of government of the new nation until Canberra became the permanent capital in 1927. Today, it is a leading financial centre in the Asia-Pacific region and ranks 27th globally in the 2020 Global Financial Centres Index.
Melbourne is home to many of Australia’s best-known landmarks, such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the National Gallery of Victoria and the World Heritage-listed Royal Exhibition Building. Noted for its cultural heritage, the city gave rise to Australian rules football, Australian impressionism and Australian cinema, and has more recently been recognised as a UNESCO City of Literature and a global centre for street art, live music and theatre. It hosts major annual international events, such as the Australian Grand Prix and the Australian Open, and also hosted the 1956 Summer Olympics and the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Melbourne consistently ranked as the world’s most liveable city for much of the 2010s.
The Melbourne Airport, also known as the Tullamarine Airport, is the second-busiest airport in Australia, and the Port of Melbourne is the nation’s busiest seaport. Its main metropolitan rail terminus is Flinders Street station and its main regional rail and road coach terminus is Southern Cross station. It also has Australia’s most extensive freeway network and the largest urban tram network in the world.
Aboriginal Australians have lived in the Melbourne area for at least 40,000 years. When European settlers arrived in the 19th century, at least 20,000 Kulin people from three distinct language groups — the Wurundjeri, Bunurong and Wathaurong — resided in the area. It was an important meeting place for the clans of the Kulin nation alliance and a vital source of food and water. In June 2021, the boundaries between the land of two of the traditional owner groups, the Wurundjeri and Bunurong, were agreed after being drawn up by the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council. The borderline runs across the city from west to east, with the CBD, Richmond and Hawthorn included in Wurundjeri land, and Albert Park, St Kilda and Caulfield on Bunurong land.
The first British settlement in Victoria, then part of the penal colony of New South Wales, was established by Colonel David Collins in October 1803, at Sullivan Bay, near present-day Sorrento. The following year, due to a perceived lack of resources, these settlers relocated to Van Diemen’s Land (present-day Tasmania) and founded the city of Hobart. It would be 30 years before another settlement was attempted.
In May and June 1835, John Batman, a leading member of the Port Phillip Association in Van Diemen’s Land, explored the Melbourne area, and later claimed to have negotiated a purchase of 600,000 acres (2,400 km2) with eight Wurundjeri elders. Batman selected a site on the northern bank of the Yarra River, declaring that “this will be the place for a village” before returning to Van Diemen’s Land. In August 1835, another group of Vandemonian settlers arrived in the area and established a settlement at the site of the current Melbourne Immigration Museum. Batman and his group arrived the following month and the two groups ultimately agreed to share the settlement, initially known by the native name of Dootigala.
Batman’s Treaty with the Aborigines was annulled by Richard Bourke, the Governor of New South Wales (who at the time governed all of eastern mainland Australia), with compensation paid to members of the association. In 1836, Bourke declared the city the administrative capital of the Port Phillip District of New South Wales, and commissioned the first plan for its urban layout, the Hoddle Grid, in 1837. Known briefly as Batmania, the settlement was named Melbourne on 10 April 1837 by Governor Richard Bourke after the British Prime Minister, William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, whose seat was Melbourne Hall in the market town of Melbourne, Derbyshire. That year, the settlement’s general post office officially opened with that name.
Between 1836 and 1842, Victorian Aboriginal groups were largely dispossessed of their land by European settlers. By January 1844, there were said to be 675 Aborigines resident in squalid camps in Melbourne. The British Colonial Office appointed five Aboriginal Protectors for the Aborigines of Victoria, in 1839, however, their work was nullified by a land policy that favoured squatters who took possession of Aboriginal lands. By 1845, fewer than 240 wealthy Europeans held all the pastoral licences then issued in Victoria and became a powerful political and economic force in Victoria for generations to come.
Letters patent of Queen Victoria, issued on 25 June 1847, declared Melbourne a city. On 1 July 1851, the Port Phillip District separated from New South Wales to become the Colony of Victoria, with Melbourne as its capital.
The discovery of gold in Victoria in mid-1851 sparked a gold rush, and Melbourne, the colony’s major port, experienced rapid growth. Within months, the city’s population had nearly doubled from 25,000 to 40,000 inhabitants. Exponential growth ensued, and by 1865 Melbourne had overtaken Sydney as Australia’s most populous city.
An influx of intercolonial and international migrants, particularly from Europe and China, saw the establishment of slums, including Chinatown and a temporary “tent city” on the southern banks of the Yarra. In the aftermath of the 1854 Eureka Rebellion, mass public support for the plight of the miners resulted in major political changes to the colony, including improvements in working conditions across mining, agriculture, manufacturing and other local industries. At least twenty nationalities took part in the rebellion, giving some indication of immigration flows at the time.
With the wealth brought in from the gold rush and the subsequent need for public buildings, a program of grand civic construction soon began. The 1850s and 1860s saw the commencement of Parliament House, the Treasury Building, the Old Melbourne Gaol, Victoria Barracks, the State Library, University of Melbourne, General Post Office, Customs House, the Melbourne Town Hall, St Patrick’s cathedral, though many remained uncompleted for decades, with some still not finished as of 2018.
The layout of the inner suburbs on a largely one-mile grid pattern, cut through by wide radial boulevards and parklands surrounding the central city, was largely established in the 1850s and 1860s. These areas rapidly filled with the ubiquitous terrace houses, as well as with detached houses and grand mansions, while some of the major roads developed as shopping streets. Melbourne quickly became a major finance centre, home to several banks, the Royal Mint, and (in 1861) Australia’s first stock exchange. In 1855, the Melbourne Cricket Club secured possession of its now famous ground, the MCG. Members of the Melbourne Football Club codified Australian football in 1859, and in 1861, the first Melbourne Cup race was held. Melbourne acquired its first public monument, the Burke and Wills statue, in 1864.
With the gold rush largely over by 1860, Melbourne continued to grow on the back of continuing gold-mining, as the major port for exporting the agricultural products of Victoria (especially wool) and with a developing manufacturing sector protected by high tariffs. An extensive radial railway network spread into the countryside from the late 1850s. Construction started on further major public buildings in the 1860s and 1870s, such as the Supreme Court, Government House, and the Queen Victoria Market. The central city filled up with shops and offices, workshops, and warehouses. Large banks and hotels faced the main streets, with fine townhouses in the east end of Collins Street, contrasting with tiny cottages down laneways within the blocks. The Aboriginal population continued to decline, with an estimated 80% total decrease by 1863, due primarily to introduced diseases (particularly smallpox), frontier violence and dispossession of their lands.
Since the mid-1990s, Melbourne has maintained significant population and employment growth. There has been substantial international investment in the city’s industries and property market. Major inner-city urban renewal has occurred in areas such as Southbank, Port Melbourne, Melbourne Docklands and more recently, South Wharf. Melbourne sustained the highest population increase and economic growth rate of any Australian capital city from 2001 to 2004.
From 2006, the growth of the city extended into “green wedges” and beyond the city’s urban growth boundary. Predictions of the city’s population reaching 5 million people pushed the state government to review the growth boundary in 2008 as part of its Melbourne @ Five Million strategy. In 2009, Melbourne was less affected by the late-2000s financial crisis in comparison to other Australian cities. At this time, more new jobs were created in Melbourne than any other Australian city—almost as many as the next two fastest growing cities, Brisbane and Perth, combined, and Melbourne’s property market remained highly priced, resulting in historically high property prices and widespread rent increases. In 2020, Melbourne was classified as an Alpha city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Out of all major Australian cities, Melbourne has been worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (per Wikipedia).
First, a Story:
Letting you all know that a friend of mine volunteered for the Covid Russian vaccine trials being held in Melbourne. He received his first shot at 9.00 am this morning and shortly after texted: “It’s completely safe with иo side effects whatsoeveя, and im currently feelshκι χoρoshό я чувствую себя немного странно и я думаю, что вытащил ослиные уши.”
Second, a Song:
The Seekers are an Australian folk-influenced pop quartet, originally formed in Melbourne in 1962. They were the first Australian pop music group to achieve major chart and sales success in the United Kingdom and the United States. They were popular during the 1960s with their best-known configuration as: Judith Durham on vocals, piano, and tambourine; Athol Guy on double bass and vocals; Keith Potger on twelve-string guitar, banjo, and vocals; and Bruce Woodley on guitar, mandolin, banjo, and vocals.
The group had Top 10 hits in the 1960s with “I’ll Never Find Another You”, “A World of Our Own”, “Morningtown Ride”, “Someday, One Day” (written by Paul Simon), “Georgy Girl” (the title song of the film of the same name), and “The Carnival Is Over” by Tom Springfield, the last being an adaptation of the Russian folk song “Stenka Razin”. It is still one of the top 50 best-selling singles in the UK. Australian music historian Ian McFarlane described their style as “concentrated on a bright, uptempo sound, although they were too pop to be considered strictly folk and too folk to be rock.”
In 1967, they were named as joint “Australians of the Year” – the only group thus honoured. In July 1968, Durham left to pursue a solo career and the group disbanded. The band has reformed periodically, and in 1995 they were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame. “I’ll Never Find Another You” was added to the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia’s Sounds of Australia registry in 2011. Woodley’s and Dobe Newton’s song “I Am Australian”, which was recorded by The Seekers, and by Durham with Russell Hitchcock and Mandawuy Yunupingu, has become an unofficial Australian anthem. With “I’ll Never Find Another You” and “Georgy Girl”, the band also achieved success in the United States, but not nearly at the same level as in the rest of the world. The Seekers have sold over 50 million records worldwide.
The Seekers were individually honoured as Officers of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours of June 2014.
The Seekers were formed in Melbourne by Athol Guy on double bass, Keith Potger on twelve-string guitar and Bruce Woodley on guitar. Guy, Potger and Woodley had all attended Melbourne Boys High School in Victoria. In the late 1950s, Potger led The Trinamics, a rock ‘n’ roll group, Guy led the Ramblers and, with Woodley, they decided to form a doo-wop music group, the Escorts. The Escorts had Ken Ray as the lead singer and in 1962 they became “The Seekers”. Ray left the group to get married. His place was taken by Judith Durham, an established traditional jazz singer who added a distinctive female lead voice. She had earlier recorded an extended play disc on W&G Records with the Melbourne group, Frank Traynor’s Jazz Preachers.
Durham and Guy had met when they both worked in an advertising agency – initially Durham only sang periodically with the Seekers, when not performing at local jazz clubs. She was replaced in Traynor’s jazz ensemble by Margret RoadKnight. The Seekers performed folk-influenced pop music and soon gathered a strong following in Melbourne. Durham’s connections with W&G Records led to the group’s later signing a recording contract with the label. Their debut album, “Introducing the Seekers”, was released in 1963. Their debut single was the traditional historic Australian bush ballad from 1894, “Waltzing Matilda”, which appeared in November and reached the Melbourne “Top 40” singles chart. and peaked at number 74 on the national chart. When being photographed for the album’s cover, Potger was replaced by Ray – his day job with the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) as a radio producer barred him from involvement in a commercial enterprise.
The Seekers achieved their first success in the United States in 1965 with their highly popular hit, “I’ll Never Find Another You”, reaching peaks of #4 pop and #2 easy listening in Billboard magazine surveys. They followed “I’ll Never Find Another You” with “What Have They Done to the Rain?” in February 1965 which did not chart in the Top 40.
The band were named “Best New Group of 1964” at the April 1965 New Musical Express Poll Winners Awards. They appeared at the annual celebratory Wembley Empire Pool concert, on a bill which included the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Dusty Springfield and the Animals. In May, another Tom Springfield composition was issued, “A World of Our Own”, which reached Top 3 in Australia and the U.K. and Top 20 in the U.S. Malvina Reynolds’ lullaby “Morningtown Ride” was issued in Australia in July and peaked in the Top 10. That same month, Durham had to temporarily leave the group due to emergency nasal surgery; she was replaced on live dates from July to early September by Scottish-born singer Ellen Wade.
Durham quickly returned to the group, and their next single “The Carnival Is Over” appeared in November. The melody is based on a Russian folk song, while the lyrics were written by Tom Springfield; it reached #1 on both the Australian and the U.K. charts, and at its peak, the single was selling 93,000 copies a day in Great Britain alone. However, although “The Carnival Is Over” became a signature song for the group, it was a flop in North America, peaking at #105 in the US and missing the Canadian charts completely.
On 16 November, they appeared at a Royal Command Performance at the London Palladium, before Queen Elizabeth – the Queen Mother (spouse of the late King George VI).
Also in 1965, the group met Paul Simon (of the American duo Simon & Garfunkel) who was pursuing a solo career in the U.K. following the initial poor chart success of the duo’s debut LP, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. In 1966, the Seekers released the Simon-penned “Someday One Day”, which reached #4 in Australia and #11 in the U.K. Their version was Simon’s first U.K. success as a songwriter, and his first solo major hit as a composer outside of his work with Art Garfunkel. Woodley co-wrote some songs with Simon, including “Cloudy”, “I Wish You Could Be Here” and “Red Rubber Ball” which became an American #2 single for The Cyrkle. The Seekers’ version was provided on their 1966 LP, “Come the Day” (released on the album “Georgy Girl” in the U.S.A.).
Early in 1966, after returning to Australia, the Seekers filmed their first TV special, At Home with the Seekers. In November, a re-recorded version of “Morningtown Ride” was released in the U.K., which reached #2. The song had been recorded earlier as an Australian single from the 1964 album “Hide and Seekers” and appeared on the 1965 American debut, “The New Seekers”.
In December 1966 they issued “Georgy Girl”, which became their highest charting American hit when it reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Cashbox Top 100 in February 1967. It was the title song and theme for the British film of the same name starring Lynn Redgrave and James Mason and sold 3.5 million copies worldwide. The band was awarded a gold record certificate by the Recording Industry Association of America. Meanwhile, it was #3 in the U.K., and #1 in Australia. Its writers, Jim Dale and Tom Springfield, were nominated for the 1967 Academy Award for Best Original Song of 1966, but lost out that year for the “Oscar” to the title song from the film, “Born Free”.
In February 1967, “Morningtown Ride” reached the Top 50 in the U.S.
In March 1967, The Seekers returned to Australia for a homecoming tour, which included a performance at Music for the People, at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne, attended by an estimated audience of 200,000. Guinness Book of World Records (1968) listed it as the greatest attendance at a concert in the Southern Hemisphere. Melburnians were celebrating the annual Moomba Festival, a free community festival, and many thousands were enjoying other attractions but are included in the crowd estimate. The Seekers were accompanied during their 20-minute set by the Australian Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Hector Crawford. Film of their appearance was incorporated into their 1967 Australian television special The Seekers Down Under, which was screened on Channel 7 and drew a then record audience of over 6 million. It was also screened in the UK on BBC1 on 24 June 1968, and repeated on 27 December 1968.
In January 1968, on Australia Day, in recognition of its achievements, the group was named joint Australians of the Year – the only group to have this honour bestowed upon it. They personally accepted their awards from John Gorton, the Prime Minister of Australia, during their tour. During this visit, the group filmed another TV special, The World of the Seekers, which was screened in cinemas before being screened nationally on Channel 9 to high ratings and is in the Top 10 most watched TV shows of the 20th century in Australia.
On 14 February 1968, during the New Zealand tour, Durham approached the other group members to announce that she was leaving The Seekers to pursue a solo career and the group subsequently disbanded. Their final performance, on Tuesday 9 July, was screened by the BBC as a special called Farewell the Seekers, with an audience of more than 10 million viewers. The special had been preceded by a week-long season at London’s Talk of the Town nightclub, and a live recording of one of their shows was released as a live LP record, Live at the Talk of the Town. It reached No. 2 on the UK charts. Also in July, the compilation album The Seekers’ Greatest Hits was released and spent 17 weeks at No. 1 in Australia. It was released as The Best of The Seekers in the UK and spent 6 weeks at No. 1 in 1969, managing to knock The Beatles (White Album) off the top of the charts and preventing The Rolling Stones’ Beggars Banquet from reaching the top spot. The album spent 125 weeks in the charts in the UK.
On 21 November 1969, Durham married her musical director, British pianist Ron Edgeworth, at Scots’ Church in Melbourne.
They lived in the UK and Switzerland until the mid 1980s when they bought property in Nambour, Queensland. In 1990, Durham, Edgeworth and their tour manager, Peter Summers, were involved in a car accident on the Calder Freeway. The driver of the other car died at the scene and Durham sustained a fractured wrist and leg. The response from her fans made Durham consider getting back together with the other members of the Seekers for a Silver Jubilee show. During this reunion Edgeworth was diagnosed with motor neurone disease. He died on 10 December 1994 with Durham by his side.
In May 2013, during The Seekers’ Golden Jubilee tour, Durham suffered a stroke which diminished her ability to read and write—both visual language and musical scores. During her convalescence she made progress to rebuild those skills. Her singing ability was not affected by the stroke. (per Wikipedia).
Georgy Girl was written by Tom Springfield (music) and Jim Dale (lyrics), and was the title song performed by The Seekers for the film of the same name. In the United States, it proved to be the Seekers’ highest charting single thanks in part to the wonderful voice and lead singing of Judith Durham.
The Seekers reunion concert of 1993 displays a terrific live performance of “I’ll Never Find Another You” (written and produced by Tom Springfield who was also responsible for most of the band’s subsequent hits). It was The Seekers first hit song in America as well as in the UK and the best selling UK song of 1965. The group, formed in Melbourne Australia, were the first Australian pop music group to achieve major chart and sales success in the United Kingdom and the United States. The vocal harmonies and great melody of this number might only be outshined by the engaging voice of Judith Durham (per YouTube.com).
Here are The Seekers in two videos mashed up together…one (George Girl) from 1966 and the other “I’ll Never Find Another You” from 1993, both in HD audio. I hope you enjoy this!
Thought for the Day:
“I like the fact that Melbourne always seems to support their chefs and promote them in ways I find really admirable.” – Anthony Bourdain
Further to the Chop Suey Smile, Frank Fowlie (Retired RCMP) of Richmond, BC, Canada writes:
I love love the one line on that album Cognac and Bologna by Doug and the Slugs from the song: “Drifting Away”:
“There could be countless reasons
Tension rules this house
That it does goes without saying or doubt
You of course claim it’s a force that rules from stars far away, I say,
Could be the communists
Maybe the RCMP
More likely you and me, just drifting away…”
Have a great day!
Dave & Colleen
© 2021 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky