A Melbourne Morning Walk to the Gallows

I like walking through cities in the morning, as they are just waking up. I started my Melbourne morning walk just after sunrise, which here on the day before winter solstice was around quarter to eight.

It was cool and grey outside, four degrees Celsius according to my phone, with just a hint of yellow and pink in the sky. A year ago I would have found it cold, but having spent A Christmas with Seoul, where my morning walks along the Han River were met with snow and ten below zero was the norm, four degrees above freezing now feels nearly cosy.

I started my walk from my accommodation at Crowne Plaza, my preferred place to stay whenever I am in Melbourne. I had planned my rough trip out the day before, using my normal process of saving locations I am interested in Google Maps and using my phone to work out the best way to navigate to them as per this article.

My first stop was to be breakfast in Degraves street, which is famous for its boutique stalls serving interesting fare, especially for the morning meal.

I set off walking along the Yarra River, admiring the commitment of the rowers as they stroked themselves along the still water and amazing at the optimism of the fishermen I passed. I took the photo above, then entered the underpass at Flinders Street station, which took me into the heart of things. I made my way past the alluring smells of hot jam doughnuts and coffee, into Degraves street, my first destination.

Degraves Street Breakfast

Degraves Street is a quaint collection of small boutique cafes hidden away in a small Melbourne alleyway, the kind of place you discover by happenstance while on the way to somewhere else. Melbourne is renowned for its food, and the cafes in Degraves street are a goods example of why. I settled into an inviting café called Issus and ordered breakfast.

[content_box type=”with-header” text_color=”dark” title=”Issus Smashed Avocado”]Avocado SmashI ordered the Smashed Avocado, a vegetarian dish that included 2 poached eggs on some delicious sour dough. With a hot chocolate that had real chocolate in the bottom, my breakfast cost $21[/content_box]

Hopetouns Tea House

From Degraves street I made my way through Centre Place to The Block Arcade, a heritage shopping centre that is a great example of Victorian architecture. It is part of Melbourne’s Golden Shopping Mile and home to Hopetouns tea house, which has a cake display that stops crowds.

Melbourne's Golden Shopping Mile

I continued on through the Block, then crossed over into the Royal Arcade which took me too Bourke Street Mall.
The Mall was very subdued which was understandable, it was only just past 9am on a Saturday morning. The buskers weren’t signing and the protesters had yet to unfurl their banners.

I made my way past a series of clunking and clanking trams and settled in for my main hike up to the markets.

Bourke Street Mall in the Morning

I made my way up little Londsdale, past Hardware street and the interesting looking Hardware Socitie Café, which had a long queue, up past the law school and forensic medicine department until I hit the corner of Flagstaff gardens.
I noticed the many of the trees in the park had bands around their trunks, I think to stop native possums climbing them. Some of the trees didn’t have the metal rings, so I assume these were allocated housing.

Hot Jam Doughnuts

I made it to Queen Victoria Markets, which is a large sprawling collection of different types of stalls, shops and stands.
The main part of the market sold all the standard stuff you expect to find; stuffed koalas and other souvenirs, cheap clothing, mobile phone accessories and the odd bit of art. I was happy to see an old Hot Jam Doughnut van outside the market, these were quite frequent along the bay during the cold winter months when I was growing up, but I had not seen one for years and was beginning to think I had imagined them.
Nothing like a hot jam doughnut on a cold winters day!

Queen Victoria Markets

What I really came for though was the organic market and ajoining food hall. The market had a great range of food and produce, including the biggest collection of free range eggs I have ever seen. You could even go to the source a buy hen or two.

I made my way into the food hall and was immediately assaulted by a vast range of exciting odurs, coming from dozens of shop fronts selling everything from cheeses to macaroons. There were stands selling homemade pies, sausage rolls, many shops selling different varieties of cheese, wine, pasta, dips, honey, spices, cake and truffle shos and huge delicatessens selling all types of meat products.
I took a few photos of this very interesting place, then went back to the organic market where I enjoyed a freshly squeezed Berry and Acai juice.

Old Melbourne Gaol

My last stop on my morning walk was the Old Melbourne Gaol, in Russell Street. ‘Gaol’ is the old fashioned spelling of ‘Jail’.
After the gold rush started in the 1850’s and Victoria became a separate state from NSW, the new colony needed a place to hold all the miscreants and law breakers.


It cost $25 to enter, and took an hour to tour through. Each of the small cells that were open to the public featured the history of a certain infamous criminal, often with his or her macabre ‘death mask’ which was a cast made their face and head after they had been hanged.

I found the history fascinating, especially the multiple cases of very clear injustice. What I really came to see was the final fate of Ned Kelly.

The Gallows

Ned Kelly was an infamous Australian Bushranger who’s story has been featured in a variety of films, most lately one a few years ago staring Heath Ledger.
When finally caught after police shot his legs out while wearing his suit of armour, he was tried and imprisoned in Old Melbourne Gaol until his execution at these gallows in 1880

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One Response

  1. kanchan June 22, 2015

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