Melbourne: The Final Chapter…

Melbourne: The Final Chapter…

Our final weekend in Melbourne (‘sob’) was as fun packed as every other one we had experienced there, but before I go into detail about just what we got up to, Richard has insisted that I tell you about the story behind ‘ Hungry Jacks’ – which those of us who aren’t Aussies, know better as Burger King.

So, in a nutshell: When Burger King decided to expand its franchises into Australia it found that the business name ‘Burger King’ was already trademarked by a takeaway shop in Adelaide. This meant that they had to choose an alternative name and gave the Australian franchisee, Jack Cowin, a few suggestions. He chose ‘Hungry Jack’s’ and began opening outlets throughout the county – rapidly becoming known as the ‘father of fast food’.

However, as soon as the original ‘Burger King’ trademark in Adelaide expired, the US corporation decided to play dirty with Hungry Jack’s and tried to terminate their franchise agreement to enable them to open their own Burger King branded outlets. When Burger King started opening restaurants (effectively competing against Hungry Jack’s), Jack Cowin took out legal proceedings against them and won! Burger King were forced to award Hungry Jacks US$41.6 million and retreat from the Australian market altogether. A great David v.s. Golliath story and a great example of how the ‘little man’ really can beat the bullies!

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Getting back to this post – after we polished off a burger and fries in Swanston Street’s Burger King, erm, sorry I mean Hungry Jack’s, we took the tram up to Queen Victoria Market for a proper look around. We’d been there before – to the night market – but had never had a good look around during the day.

As expected, it was bustling and packed full of fresh local produce, clothes, trinkets and food. The sheer range of foods from all over the world sold in the Deli halls was amazing and a testament to Melbourne’s multiculturalism.

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Having worked up a thirst exploring the huge market, we popped into Boost Juice on the way back to the tram stop. A colleague at work had been raving about their smoothies and made me promise to try one before we left Melbourne. I can’t even remember how many different types of fruit were packed into our giant cup – raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and more all blended with thick (healthy!) fresh yoghurt! It was delicious but sooo filling.

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Thirst quenched, we headed up to Carlton Gardens, a 64 acre UNESCO World Heritage site which houses the stunning Royal Exhibition Building. Completed in 1880 in time to host the Melbourne International Exhibition, it was the first building in Australia to be awarded its UNESCO status. Thanks to some restoration work done in the 1990s, the building looks as beautiful now as it did when it was first designed.

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In fact, the building’s setting is so picturesque that many Melbournian newlyweds get their wedding snaps taken here. We came across two weddings that day where the bride and groom were being photographed alongside the elegant Exhibition Fountain in front of the building’s entrance.

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Next on our list were the Treasury Gardens, followed by Fitzroy Gardens, where we headed straight for Cooks Cottage. This cottage was constructed in 1755 in the English village of Great Ayton by the parents of Captain James Cook. Cook, as you probably know, is famous for being the first European to encounter the east coast of Australia, which he subsequently claimed as British Territory in 1770. The cottage was shipped to Victoria and re-erected in the Fitzroy Gardens in 1934, thereby effectively making it the ‘Oldest Building in Australia’.

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It was then time to head out of the city and down to the coast – St Kilda to be more exact! We wanted to check out the town’s famous Fitzroy and Acland Streets and I in particular was looking forward to the many bakeries and cake shops I had heard these streets were famous for. The tram dropped us off at the seafront near St Kilda Pier so we decided to take a walk out to sea and down to the Kiosk (aka St Kilda Pavilion) passing a load of kids catching fish on the way.

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The Pavilion is listed on the Victoria Heritage Register and was originally built in 1904. After being destroyed in an arson attack in 2003, it was reconstructed thanks to massive public support from local people!

Now, don’t be fooled by the beautiful blue sky in the photo above – Melbourne was about to do what it does best and turn the weather completely upside down. With a sudden gust of cold wind, the sun and heat disappeared and huge lashings of rain came thundering out of the sky towards us. Everybody around us was also completely caught out by the sudden change in temperature and we all began running back up the pier towards the shelter of St Kilda’s shop fronts.

It never ceases to amaze us just how unpredictable the weather is in this part of the country and instead of taking a leisurely stroll down Fitzroy and Acland Street as we’d planned, it forced us to rush past the boutiques and cafes, taking quick glimpses at the trendy businesses lining the streets, before hopping onto a tram back into the city!

Later that evening we celebrated our last weekend in Melbourne with a night out with fellow Oz Bus passengers Chris & Cheryl, who were also living and working in Melbourne at this time. For a little taste of home we started off at a little English pub called Charles Dicken’s Tavern, before going all Aussie at the stylish Cookie Club and finally Transport bar. It was a bittersweet night since we knew we were leaving in a few days and didn’t want to say goodbye to our friends or the city, but we did have a rather eventful and generally quite awesome night!

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So that’s it – the end of our write up about our last weekend in Melbourne. Writing this post has brought back some great memories, but I think it’s about time I stopped typing as it’s getting rather long. Join us next time when we head back to Sydney and wave goodbye to our ‘second home’ Down Under…

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