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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

Getting things in order (Day 162)

Sometimes it's nice to get things in order, in colour or alphabetically.

Up early and off I popped down the road to the Op Shop (Charity Shop for us Brits). I was volunteering at the Brotherhood of St Lawrence – Working for an Australia free from poverty. (Not sure about the “Brotherhood” bit, but the rest is all good.) I knocked on the door and Marie greeted me. She volunteers 3 days a week and is in charge when the Manager isn’t there. A lovely lady whose passion is making cakes. She showed me loads of photos of the many cakes she has made for family and friends, and her flowers made from icing are exquisite. I had heard that she usually brings some cake in. None today though.

Marie showed me what to do and I quickly got going, taking all the empty clothes hangers off the rails and ensuring that the clothes were in good order. I was in my element putting all the colours together. While I was doing this, I had a lovely chat with another of the regular volunteers, Jane. She loves travelling and is off to Paris in a fortnight to look at the markets. She buys antiques and sounds as if she also goes round helping many of the homeless over there as well. A few more of the helpers arrived, a lovely group of women who generously give up their time each week.

I noticed that the shelves of books were in a right mess. I so wish that I’d taken a “before” photo. Books were piled up onto and in front of one another. There was no structure at all. I suggested that I’d get the books sorted. I think Marie was amused, probably knew what a task that would be. I decided to get the books in alphabetical order by Author. The top shelf to have A – D, then E – K, L – Q, R – Z. Mmm there were far too many books for each of the shelves. Sometimes doing this sort of task, things need to look worse before they get better. That definitely was the case! I had books everywhere.

Luckily as I was having a quick tea break, Tim popped in and I cajoled him in helping me. We gradually got a system going, as there were too many books for the space, we boxed some up for the main office in the city. I’m not sure that Marie was too enamoured about us filling up 5 boxes. This took us up to lunch time, I still had the non-fiction books to sort out. Managed to get these all done after lunch. What an achievement. A few customers seems very pleased with the book shelves, One lady said that she used to feel overwhelmed by all the books and that they look so much more inviting now. How lovely.

I had a quick rummage amongst the clothes, making sure that they too were in good order. A lovely elderly lady was trying on coats, so I gave her my honest opinion if they suited her. She went for a greeny blue thick jumper in the end which looked gorgeous. She was thrilled. Whilst delving into the rails, I spied a very nice brand new Merino wool long sleeve turquoise t-shirt. I was the one thrilled this time. On cue, Tim turned up which was handy as I didn’t have any money on me (Am getting like the queen - who needs to hold money when there’s Tim?!) We paid the A$5 (£2.50), took some photos of the ladies and then on our way into the City.

Sarah, who connected with me on Facebook, had recommended going to the new NGV Australia building – The Ian Potter Centre in Federation Square which has Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian art from colonial period to present day. It is part of the legacy of businessman and philanthropist Sir Ian Potter. Having read up on Sir Ian, he sounds a remarkable man and passionate about life. Born in Sydney, he left school at 14, but at 22 funded himself to read economics at University. He moved into Stock Broking and in 1935 set up his own stock broking firm, Ian Potter & Co. This became one of the leading firms on the Melbourne Stock Exchange. He was key in financing the growth of the manufacturing industry after the war, then the mining industry and was an advisor to state and federal governments of all political persuasions. Always learning he had a keen interest in Australian arts, science and medical research. Such energy and vision, he set up The Ian Potter Foundation so he could distribute funds for philanthropic purposes. What a legacy he has left.

We discovered that the Gallery had a small art exhibition similar to ArtExpress2018 we saw in Sydney of young students’ artwork, so that was our first port of call. Again, amazing art. Both one of our favourites was of a face. A very moving one by Madeline King, where she had a block of plastered brickwork and had chipped off the plaster to form a stencil portrait of Nujeen Mustafa. She had to flee from her home in Syria and made the 5000km journey to Germany, seeking refuge in her wheelchair. Madeline’s work features an Arabic word, which means “belong” on her piece and the whole work represents the devastating effects of war, the violence on humans and their homes. A very poignant piece.

Up to the second floor to seen the main exhibition and greeted with a whole range of Aboriginal memorials. These hollow logs are a memorial for the thousands of Aboriginal people who have died defending their country from the British.

On a lighter note, one of the artworks, Tim was particularly drawn to, was a simple advert that said “Eat Cake”, I wonder why. We so enjoy this type of exhibition, such an array of art, from the more formal paintings, a beautiful one called The Pioneer by Frederick McCubbin to John Brack’s portrayal of the ritualised drudgery of 9 – 5 office workers to John Olsen’s weird and wonderful “Man absorbed in landscape”. I love the movement and colour of this.

The Gallery was closing (mmm, a pattern here?), so we had a walk around and came across a street absolutely covered in graffiti. The cobblestones Hosier lane is overflowing with street art even on the large waste bins! Some graffiti overlays other works of art so the scene changes over time. I did spot one guy with his spray can out, but he’d disappeared by the time we got there.

A quick walk to St Paul’s Cathedral, passed a statue of Captain Matthew Flinders, who this area is named after, onto Chinatown, the main zone is in Little Bourke Street and dates back to the gold rush days of the 1850s. Time passing by so we needed to get back for Murphy. We hopped onto the train, commuter time, I felt like one of the subjects in one of John Brack’s paintings! No thank you!

Crikey, I thought this was going to be a short write up – I need to get myself in order! Must dash, off for another day of Adventure.

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