I thought I will be more prepared for my day 2 OHM after yesterday viewing of two of the newest office buildings in Melbourne – Aurecon Centre with its occupants moved in just a month ago, and the Lifestyle Working Collins Street which is very new and yet to be occupied by its tenants. Both of these new buildings are eco-friendly with stunning architectural design, and strategically located in front a Tram stop.
Before I left my apartment, I surfed the OHM 2013 website to see which buildings are opened in Day 2. I narrowed down to the following buildings;
The first 3 buildings are within the vicinity of each other on the eastern side of the CBD. The fourth buidling Southbank theatre is across the south side of the Yarra River and finally the last building Forte is across the Yarra River from where I live. The plan is to “Go East” first, then south across the Yarra River and then back across north side of the river and “Go West” of the CBD on the way home. Sounds like a good plan.
An early start to the morning will be good. But nothing stay to plan. By the time I finished ironing all our shirts for the week – yes, included my partner’s shirts – it was almost late morning. I quickly got changed, left the apartment and headed east on the city tram, and got off at the Collins Street / Spring Street intersection. Directly across Spring Street is the Old Treasury Building. I saw the familiar sky blue teardrop with a middle white dot symbol of OHM outside The Old Treasury Building and people were walking into the building. This building was outside the scope of my itinerary. The organised side of me was telling me to stick to my itinerary. But, the inquisitive side was telling me to seek and explore the history behind this old historical building built between 1858 and 1862.As I walked up the stairs to the entrance, I could hear someone beside me asking a OHM volunteer if the lower ground floor Gold Vaults is opened for viewing. He was excited when told that it was opened. He got me excited as well. I was glad that my impromptu visit to this building was not regretted.
The lower ground floor Gold Vaults has a very long and narrow corridor with its brick wall painted white. The gold bullion was once stored in here. There are several individual rooms hosting a multimedia exhibition, Built on Gold, which follows the journey of gold from the Victorian diggings, as it passed through the hands of gold buyers, escort troopers and occasional bushrangers. The gold bullion encased on the ground covered with glass. I wonder if they are real gold.Next was the Parliament building – a short 2-3 minutes walk on the same side of the road. Directly across from the Parliament building is the heritage listed Hotel Windsor.
There was a long queue when I got to the Parliament building. It was an hour wait in the queue. The OHM included a 1-hour guided tour taking through the Queen’s Hall, Upper House, Lower House and the Library. It was my first experience visiting a parliament, sat in the Upper and Lower House chamber, listened to our guide explaining the running of each of the House, and the librarian explaining the function of the parliament’s library and collections. It was also fascinating listening to the history of the Queen Victoria in the Queen’s Hall. I was getting hungry by the time I finished at the Parliament Building. It was almost 2pm. I went searching for a place to eat. Something Asian. The Parliament building overlooks the east end of Bourke Street.I walked down Bourke Street. There is the Midtown Arcade with a few small Asian cafes – there is Sichuan, Japanese, Chinese and the most well known dumpling place raved by food bloggers and food critics called Shandong Mama. I have been there once but I still prefer my “Shanghai Street” dumplings on Little Bourke Street. The thing with foodies and bloggers and food critics is that if one of them started raving about a new place, the others have to follow. It is like a swamp of ants or bees attracted to some honey. Across from Shandong Mama in the small arcade is the Pancake Dessert House. I am not sure why it’s called a “pancake” or a “dessert”. The food is nothing like the name. I have looked at the shop a few times and the menu on the window. I have also noticed each time I walked past, it was always busy. I have decided to try it this time, and I was very hungry. The menu is a street style food ranging from stir fried noodles, soup noodles, fried rice to small dishes to accompany steamed rice. I chose the Beef Brisket Noodle Soup for $9.60. It was as expected delicious for a cold winter day. I will definitely go back again to try the stir fried noodle dishes. By the time I finished my bowl of noodle soup, I have enough of the OHM and decided to head home. I was exhausted by the time I finished at the Parliament Building and the long 1 hour wait standing in the cold winter weather. There is always next year for the other buildings.