Little Gem – University of Melbourne

Text and photos Mick Liddell

We gathered by Gate 3 as planned, first just a few of us, then more and more till we were 16, then 18,and then finally 19.  Margi’s collaborative walk through our collective campus memories worked a treat.

First stop and Joan reminded us of the history of the NSW Bank facade, strangely adhering to the ultraflash Architecture and Design building.

We roved freely in the Arts and Medicine, in lecture halls and the subterranean vaulting under the South Lawn.  We peered across to the colleges, scattering for coffee and lost track of many of us from time to time and mostly we were wowed by the luxury undergrads now enjoy. 

The restored System Garden (because it displays Australia’s plant naming system) was THE highlight, with wondrous explanations by Meg’s guide, Horticulturist Virginia McKally (35 years service). What a hidden gem this is behind the Botany Building that was the MUAB birthplace.  

Joan, Keith, John and others recounted tales of our indefatigable founder Gretna Weste, engineering wiz Dick Van deMoulden and High Court Judge Ray Northrop. Eventually in Lygon Street Brunelli’s provided lunch. Afterwards a hardcore pushed on for the Science Gallery Museum and an interactive exhibition called Mental.