A delightful mid-winter gathering in East Melbourne

A delightful mid-winter gathering in East Melbourne

While Paris was gearing up for a lively Bastille Day demonstration, on the other side of the globe, the charming neighbourhood of East Melbourne came alive with a heart-warming midwinter get-together. 

The occasion, hosted at Chez Henderson, was a delightful gathering for members of the community who came together to share stories, catch up with old friends, and listen to a captivating talk by heritage architecture consultant, Arthur Andronas.

Several points of interest were shared during the gathering. There is an exhibition at the Library by Alissa Duke showcasing her travel sketches. What’s more, Alissa is conducting sketching classes during August, providing a delightful way to engage in artistic activities while on vacation. 

Another fascinating exhibition mentioned was at the Royal Historical Society of Victoria, where they featured a book by Dr Liz Rushen on Garryowen, an early chronicler of Melbourne. The exhibition was centred around Garryowen’s work, a highly recommended visit. For those interested in delving deeper into the topic, the book is available for purchase at the East Melbourne General Store.

One of the highlights of the gathering was a proposal to establish interaction between the older cohort of East Melbourne and the young children at the Day Care Centre. A heart-warming idea was to organise an event at the library where both groups could come together, fostering a sense of community and intergenerational connection.

Marie Fels took the opportunity to extend an invitation to anyone interested in joining the daytime book reading club. For those keen on becoming a part of this literary community, they could reach out to Anne Graham at [email protected].

There was also a discussion about the unfortunate incidents of letter boxes being rifled through by unknown individuals. Attendees were urged to be vigilant and report any suspicious activities to the police on 131 444.

After these engaging conversations, the group was treated to a captivating presentation by Arthur Andronas, a renowned heritage architecture consultant. Arthur shared insights into his ongoing restoration work on St James, Gardenvale, which faced a devastating fire in 2015. His extensive connection with St Patrick’s Cathedral since 1981 added depth to his talk.

The presentation focused on the cathedral’s architect, William Wilkinson Wardell, who drew up the plans for the iconic structure within a remarkably short period after arriving from England in 1858. Arthur detailed how Wardell was tasked with incorporating parts of the pre-existing structure into the new design. Wardell’s expertise extended beyond St Patrick’s, as he was also appointed Inspector of Public Works, contributing significantly to projects like the Victoria Docks and the Mint. Subsequently, he moved to Sydney to work on the design of the renowned St Mary’s Cathedral.

Arthur’s talk delved into the symbolism and cultural aspects embedded in the design of St Patrick’s Cathedral, offering the audience a fascinating glimpse into its history. 

The event left a lasting impression on all who attended, inspiring many to plan visits to St Patrick’s Cathedral to witness firsthand the architectural wonders described by Arthur.

The anticipation for yet another delightful gathering is building with guest speaker Amanda Hampson, author of Lovebirds currently in its sixth reprint. The next meeting is scheduled for Friday, August 11, at 10.30 am. •

For more information: 

[email protected]

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