Multifaceted Melbourne

Interesting things to see and do ::: by the full time MBA students of Melbourne Business School

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Bibliothecas Melbourne

Bibliothecas Melbourne

Primitive men slept in caves, drank water from rivulets and fought with animals for existence and food; their needs were rudimentary and their dreams were confined. But through the evolution cycle, humans realised that muscle power alone will not offer him a secure and satisfied life but intellectual power and the ability to gather, decipher and manage information was paramount to their basic needs and well-being. The quest for information and knowledge and the need to access the same as and when it is required geminated the early seeds of knowledge repositories which later developed into libraries.

The history of libraries can be traced back to as early as 2500 BC where records were kept on stone and clay tablets. What started off as a private collection of records by elites soon made way for a centralised repository for storing and accessing information. The Egyptians made great contributions to the conceptualisation of libraries by setting up one of the greatest libraries of ancient world, the Library of Alexandria. Over the years, libraries have undergone enormous changes in its form, content, appearance and display from the ancient Egyptian papyrus to the 21st century digital libraries.

The initiative by Reverend Samuel Marsden in 1809 aimed at establishing a ‘Lending Library for the general benefit of the inhabitants of New South Wales’ marked the beginning of library services in Australia. The opening of Melbourne Public Library in 1856 by the Victorian colonial government was a significant moment in the annals of Australian bibliotheca history.

Since then, libraries have become an integral part of Melbourne- its people and culture. Listed as one of the cities of literature by UNESCO, Melbourne currently is home to some of the greatest libraries in Australia. The numerous libraries spanned across the CBD, suburbs and municipal councils are temples of study, literature, reference, literary festivals and melting pots of cultural diversity.

Here is a short compilation of the libraries in Melbourne city.

1)    State Library of Victoria

2)    Melbourne Library Service (City Library, East Melbourne Library, North Melbourne Library, South Bank Library at Boyd)

3)    Melbourne Athenaeum Library

4)    Yarra Libraries (Carlton, Collingwood, Fitzroy, North Fitzroy and Richmond)

5)    Port Phillip Library Service (Albert Park, Emerald Hill, Middle Park, Port Melbourne, St Kilda)

6)    The University of Melbourne Library (Baillieu Library)

7)    Monash University Library

State Library of Victoria

The State Library of Victoria established in 1856 as Melbourne Public Library is an iconic landmark in the city of Melbourne and is one of the preeminent libraries in the world. With over 2.5 million books and tens and thousands of electronic resources, the library has been a seat of learning and research for decades and a hub for many national and international literary events and festivals.From the green lawns to the dome shaped reading rooms to the gallery, a visit to the State Library has inspired and sparked countless creative ideas and continues to ignite human minds from every walk of life – be it arts, science, engineering, literature, economics, medicine or fashion, to name a few.


State Library of Victoria

A visitor to the library is greeted by the lush green lawns sprawling in front of the heritage architecture and is studded with numerous statues including that of Sir Redmond Barry who instigated the idea of a public library and Charles La Trobe, the first Lieutenant  Governor of Victoria.

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Sir Redmond Barry Statue                             La Trobe Statue

As you enter the library through the grand portico, one can see the Keith Murdoch gallery, on the right, which showcases exhibitions on various themes and subjects. Currently, the gallery is featuring an exhibition on the culinary history of Victoria named ‘Gusto!’.


Keith Murdoch Gallery

A welcoming and friendly group of library staff at the information centre is always willing to help you with any information or resources you seek. I had a chance to speak to some of the staff about the new developments and events in the library and also about the opportunities and challenges posed by digital revolution on libraries. The library is collaborating with National and State Libraries Australasia (NSLA) under the ‘Reimaging Libraries’ plan in integrating more and more electronic resources as part of a digital world and is also promoting more participation from the local citizens in shaping the cultural and intellectual life of the society.The library is constantly increasing its budget allocation for acquiring and storing electronic resources. While the internet has enabled the library in establishing better communication and providing access from home to the public, the ever changing digital landscape is throwing challenges with respect to licensing and adoption of new technologies.

Redmond_Barry_Reading Room

Redmond Barry Reading Room


Cowen Gallery Victorian Painting

The Cowen gallery which showcases the Victorian paintings leads us to the La Trobe Reading room and its dome. Opened in 1913, it’s an architectural splendour and was the largest of its kind in the world back then. The octagonal structure is six storied and can lodge 32,000 books while the study desks, elongating from the centre which constitutes for a unique design, can accommodate 320 readers at any given time. The dome is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2013


La Trobe Reading Room


Study desks

The State Library also provides avenues for games and recreation. Chess room which houses tables with chess boards is popular among the young and the old.


Chess Room


The Dome

Whether you are a regular visitor or a casual traveller, a visit to the library is an enriching experience.  As I climbed down the marble staircases, the words of Mark Twain resonated with me “In a good book room you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.”

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In January, 2013, the Full-time MBA students at Melbourne Business School participated in a half-day challenge to jointly author a website showcasing interesting things to see and do in our city. The goal was to go beyond “regular touristy things”, and to present new experiences for visitors to enjoy.

Eleven teams of students brainstormed, observed and interviewed people, and put together a blog post showcasing a particular activity. Here are the results of their hard work.

Please  share your feedback and suggestions with each team by entering comments at the bottom of each blog post. Also, if you like a particular activity, kindly share it with friends and family or on your favorite social networking site.

Thank you for reading. Do try something adventurous when you visit Melbourne.

Kwanghui Lim

Associate Professor, Melbourne Business School


A Kids Weekend in Melbourne

They say that the best things in life are free, and for kids in Melbourne that is very much true. Finding a cheap yet entertaining weekend for the kids can be a challenge. So to help you out, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best free and cheap activities on the north of river Yarra on Saturday and on the south on Sunday.


Starting the day off at Birrarung Marr, just a short 5 minute walk down the river from Federation Square, there is plenty of play equipment available to keep the kids busy. All activities at Birrarung Marr are completely free.

Birrarung Marr 1Play equipment includes:

                        • 4 slides
                        • 2 swings
                        • A special swing for wheelchairs
                        • Plenty of climbing equipment

The play equipment is open all day everyday, and has plenty of sun cover for kids.

Located next to the play equipment is ArtPlay, a civic studio where kids (and their parents) can be creative and express themselves in a safe and supportive environment. ArtPlay is open Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm.DSC_0253_副本

Located a 2 minute walk from ArtPlay are the Federation Bells, a collection of upside down bells that plays seven different compositions (of 5 minutes each) that can be heard daily between 8-9am, 12.30-1.30pm and 5pm-6pm.


Ian Potter Garden 4

A 15 minute walk from Birrarung Marr takes us to the Botanical Gardens, a treat for young and old, but the highlight of the gardens (for the littlies at least) is the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Gardens. Located near the visitor centre and observatory, the Children’s Gardens is focused on introducing children to the wonder of plants by giving them a space to get dirty, wet and have fun in a safe environment. Highlights include the numerous water features that spray water out of the ground, the little river that courses through the gardens, the bamboo forest, and the ‘kitchen garden’ a veggie patch to help kids understand where vegetables come from.

Ian Potter Garden 3

Great on a hot day, or when looking to relax while letting the kids go wild in a safe location, the Children’s Gardens are open 10am to Sunset, Wednesday to Sunday and all public and school holidays and entry is free.



Where to go Saturday (click  for an interactive map)

Day 1 - Map


QVmarketStart the morning at  Queen Victoria Markets. Covering an area of approximately 7ha, the Vic Markets are the largest open markets in the Southern Hemisphere. Find fruit and snacks for the days adventures as well as bargain priced toys and clothes. It’s a 10 minutes walk from MBS (there is a big carpark on the southside if you are coming from the suburbs but watch out, parking in Melbourne is expensive)

From the markets, take a 20 minutes walk up Lygon St. for an icecream and head towards the Carlton Gardens.

Carlton Gardens Play Equipment 2

The Carlton Gardens playground consists of two areas, one, sandy junior area for 3+ kids and a larger, two fort, multi tunnel/barricade area for older kids. There are also public basketball courts for older kids (with a 9ft and a 10ft ring).
There are public toilet facilities available and dogs welcome on leads (but not running free).



2013-01-07 14.21.48Just south of the playground is the Melbourne Museum & IMAX Theatre where both educational programs and the latest 3D blockbusters are screening. The Museum has a range of special exhibits but admission is free for children under 16 (and $10 for adults). They also do combination deals with the IMAX so if you are going to do both, save yourself a couple of dollars and buy a combination pass.

A short 10 minute through the park will have you skirting the edge of the CBD and on track to visit the Parliament Gardens Water Feature which is an overhead fountain that the kids will love (especially on a hot day). It’s a nice stop on the way to the next park, at  the Fitzroy Gardens.

Fitzroy Gardens Dragon 2 Banner

2013-01-07 14.56.19The Dragon is a combination slide, tunnel and climbing frame in a sandpit and (much to childrens delight) glows in the dark! It is accompanied by a set of giraffe swings and there are shaded areas and public toilets available.

Keep and eye out on your walk through the park for the Fairy Garden!

From Fitzroy Gardens, walk up to Victoria Street (5 mins) then catch the 103 tram down to Nicholson Street in North Richmond. There’s plenty of good Asian food along the street in this area if you need to stop to refuel as well as a shopping centre for anything that you haven’t been able to find at a corner shop.

Convent Gardens SheepWe’re now headed north up Nicholson Street towards the Collingwood Childrens Farm and the Abbotsford Convent. For the scenic route you can take a left at Gipps street and head along the Yarra River. While this path is a little longer, it takes you by all the animals so that sheep, cows and horses can be fed and patted through the fences.

This little touch of farmland comes at a price though ($16 for the family), there’s a cafe which makes a decent coffee and activites like milking cows, finding the chickens eggs and cuddling the guinea pigs (see website for details).Secret Garden @ the Convent Gardens

The Convent itself is a arts, learning and cultural precinct with artist studios and creative spaces for writers and designers, spaces for arts organisations, spaces for rehearsal and development, indoor and outdoor function spaces, a school, a radio station, a bakery, cafes, restaurants and bars.

There are traditional bread baking courses as well as summer nights markets and outdoor cinema sessions. See the website for what’s currently happening.

Where to go Sunday (click  for an interactive map)

Day 2 Map

The Old Melbourne Gaol: Ned Kelly’s last journey in Melbourne

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A modern cell?

A modern cell?

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A unique experience available only in Melbourne, the Old Melbourne Gaol is a living documentary of the history of Melbourne.
It’s claim to fame is that this is where controversial Australian Folk Hero and criminal, Ned Kelley, was brought to justice.
Ned’s story is one that traces the breadth of Victoria and culminates in Melbourne, yet impacted the entire nation.
As an experience it is involving and educational, giving attendees a flavor of the life and end of a man who is often regarded as representing the spirit of Australia.
Visitors can wander the cells of the old Gaol and see the gallows where Ned was hanged, live the life of a prisoner in the watch house exhibit and take a role in the recreation of Ned’s trial.
But who was Ned?
Dress up as Ned!

Dress up as Ned!

The most important question surrounding Ned Kelly was whether he was a hero or a villain? Some saw him as a symbol of the Australian spirit, someone who challenged authority and killed people. While other people saw him as a criminal and a cold blooded murderer. Despite this bad press, he is a well-publicised historical figure who enjoys fame many years after death.
Ned Kelly started off well, saving another boy from drowning when he was a child himself. However, when he was 14, he was accused of assaulting a Chinese man. A year after that, he was accused of being the accomplice of Bushranger Harry Power.
The real trouble started in 1878 when a police officer went to Ned Kelly’s family home to arrest his brother for stealing horses. The police officer claimed that Ned Kelly shot him in the wrist, although the evidence now suggests that he accidentally shot himself while drawing his gun. As a result, Ned’s mother was arrested for aiding her son with attempted murder and was sentenced to 3 years jail.
Although Kelly tried to earn honest money to appeal his mother’s sentence, he was unfortunately hunted by the police. Kelly and his gang engaged in a number of shot outs with police, which resulted in the deaths of a number of cops.
Eventually, Ned Kelly was captured, convicted of murder and executed at what is now known as the Old Melbourne Gaol.
Although Kelly was robber and a murder, he was a symbol of the Irish Australian resistance against the Anglo Australian ruling clash. One final disturbing fact about Ned Kelly was that he was in love with his cousin, Kate Lloyd.
The Court Room experience : Re-act the Ned Kelly’s trial


Be the Barister and try to save Ned from his destiny, death!

Be the Barrister and try to save Ned from his deadly destiny

Put yourself on trial in the old Melbourne Court room, where one of the most wanted criminals in Australia were judged and sentenced to death.
This is your opportunity to play the role of the Judge, Prosecutor, Barrister, Witnesses or even if you have an Irish accent Ned Kelly himself!
You’ll feel the tension and drama that was played in this old court over the last centuries.
The watch house experience
If you’ve never been arrested by the police, here is your chance to experience life in jail (30mins).
You’ll be charged of a crime and locked up in a real jail by a very convincing Sergeant.

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From Dusk to Dawn: A Laneway Tour

Avoid the main streets and take advantage of the labyrinth of laneways in Melbourne to explore both familiar and unfamiliar shops, restaurants/cafes, and bars. From street art to name brand designers, breakfast to nightlife, Melbourne offers a variety of experiences within a few short blocks. Start at the oldest train station in Melbourne, the iconic Flinders Street Train Station and duck into the cozy lane that is Degraves Street. As the day comes to a close and the sun begins to set, end at Hardware Lane by Little Bourke for drinks and live music.



Melbourne is called the “coffee capital” and one step inside of Degraves Street makes it clear. The narrow laneway is filled with boutique coffee shops and small restaurants, and a lively and friendly crowd of Melbournians and saavy tourists. Here you can enjoy a delicious breakfast and a coffee freshly brewed to your liking by an expert barista.



THE CENTERPLACE: The laneway narrows

Sights and smells become more prominent as the laneway narrows. It is hard to stop salivating on the windows of small bakeries and all-day breakfast cafes. With tight corridors and intimate seating arrangements at every restaurant, the Centerplace is a perfect place for a cozy lunch time date. Just before exiting the Centerplace, don’t forget to take a peek at the alley of street art.



more street art IMG_0658


If the outdoors and tight corridors aren’t your thing and you prefer the comfort of name brands and air conditioning (especially in the blistering January summer heat), just continue down the walkway mall between Collins and Little Bourke for an art deco retail centre that offers an interesting blend of boutiques and well known fashion outlets. From Melbourne’s largest atrium to sequin studded wedges and loud motorcycle boots, there is something for everyone. Overall though, the experience is much more sterile and traditional.


The Causeway is notable for the heritage listed former Union Bank a tall curved palazzo styled building constructed in the 1920s which has a mezzanine entrance at the corner of the lane. Like Australia on Collins, the experience is more sterile but still has a number of boutiques and sushi bars.


As you exit the Causeway, you’ll end up on Bourke Street, one of Melbourne’s liveliest streets; it is closed to cars but full of activity from the talented street performers, shoppers visiting the major retailers and happy tourists. Bourke Street also contains many arcades, such as the Royal Arcade and major retailers and department stores such as Myer and David Jones.




End your day trip at Hardware Lane with another great selection of restaurants and cafes. Hardware Lane, like Degraves Street, is an eclectic mix of traditional shops and independent boutiques. Grab a couple pints or cocktails at any of the numerous bars, listen to some live jazz, and mingle with the beautiful people of Melbourne until the next dawn.



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Melbourne on Bikes


If you have only 2.5hrs to spare and would like to visit Melbourne city, how would you do it?

A leisure bicycle tour on a breezy summery day would do the trick and it allows you to cover expansive city grounds all within 2hrs.

The plan20130107_124515

Start with renting a bicycle from the University Square that is right across the Melbourne Business School… For a daily rental, it only costs $2.70 for the first 30mins; and $17 for up to 2hrs


Syndicate 11 on bikesStart

Remember, you need a helmet to ride around Melbourne, so head off to the nearest 7-eleven store and purchase a helmet for just $5 (tip: you can re-sell your helmet back to the7-eleven store for $3).

Getting the helmetWP_000500


Putting on the helmets..

Now, we are ready to explore the celebration of diversity, culture and history that the Melbourne city has to offer!



Melbourne Old GaolWP_000519


State Library of Victoria



Bike shop on Elizabeth Street20130107_135508



Flinders Station20130107_140835




As we made our way toward the huge ‘Merry Christmas’ sign hanging at the end of exhibition street, we found we had picked up a new member of our group. His name was Javier, and he was a tourist from Mexico.

“How do you find your bike?” I asked.

“It’s ok I guess, for what you pay” Javier replied. “Hey, what’s this for?”

“It’s a bell”
“What does it do?”

“It goes brriiinnng brriiinnng”

“Oh. Useful.”

Javier was intrigued why six locals would hire bikes together. “It’s like you’ve made yourselves tourists in your own city!” he laughed. And I guess he was right; riding around Melbourne, weaving in-and-out of traffic, jumping onto the bike paths when available and trying to ride one-handed whilst taking photos enables you to see Melbourne and its people from an entirely different perspective.

WP_000534Federation Square – where sporting enthusiasts gather to watch matches from the big screens.

Crossing the Yaraimage[2]


Shrine of Remembrance: Melbourne’s iconic landmark and Victoria’s  war memorial of National Significance, dedicated in 1934.

One of the activities which is a must do on a hot Melbourne afternoon is finding a spot of shade under a tree and having a nap on the grass. It should also be noted is an old tradition of scholars past especially Issac Newton, I do believe he did his best thinking under a tree while having a nap.20130107_142715

At the Shrine of Remembrance, we made a resolution to be the best syndicate “11”.20130107_143016

Now, we are ready to leave from Victoria’s memorial….Ready, Set, Go, heading back to MBS!20130107_143120


This little chap found a wounded wood pigeon on the Yarra and was intent on taking it to the safety of the Police….?! We weren’t exactly sure what the police might say but were more curious about the thought process going through his mind – a very honourable gesture but a feral city pigeon carried in hand to the police…! we encouraged him on his adventure thinking ‘we were all young once!’ as we progressed onto our next mini escapade…WP_000558


The uphill trip back homeWP_000563

Syndicate 11 is…



Hyeyoung and PamIceCream




No matter whether you may be a local or a tourist biking around a little ways from the CBD can be rewarding experience. In our little trip we witnessed a daring pigeon rescue hero, tourists who took the “Do not talk to strangers” to heart and sign language love.  Members also felt a wide range of emotions from ouchies, exhilaration, elevated heartbeats, penetrating Sun and a strong spirit of group bonding.

Though short, it was an enriching experience to see Melbourne from a different perspective and definitely a welcoming team bonding opportunity.

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Tattersall’s Lane – A Laneway to the Heart of Melbourne

Tattersall’s Lane is one of Melbourne’s hidden laneway gems. Located between Lonsdale and Little Bourke the lane is a collection of bars, eateries and street art which are characteristic of the city’s lively and alternative vibe. Starting in the heart of Chinatown at Little Bourke wander up past Indian and Chinese restaurants, reaching the eclectic bars of Section 8 and Ferdyduke whilst keeping an eye out for street art before getting to the modern Mexican heaven of Touche Hombre.


Section 8

The trendy outdoor bar made out of a shipping container claims it offers a unique lane-way experience. It is a bar in a box and a beer garden without a pub. The Container Bar represents Melbourne’s alternative lane-way culture with graffiti artwork, Chinese lanterns, parasols and packing crates. Also it offers top-shelf spirits to long necks and gets eclectic DJ’s playing which makes it extremely busy and – noisy especially on a Friday or Saturday.

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An Indian restaurant Situated on the Corner of Tattersalls La in the middle of Chinatown is known for its Indian cuisine. With lush traditional interiors, Gaylord provides rich flavored food cooked with Indian spices and a variety of dishes. Gaylord offers classical music nights on Friday and Saturdays with a loud decor. It is usually over crowded on weekends and also offers discount for group bookings. During weekends, it is common to find People celebrating birthday parties and other occasions. In comparison to other restaurants, Gaylord offers food in the reasonable price range of $ 15-20. For a food connoisseur, Tandoori chicken is worth giving a try.

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IMG_9491    66566_66350_gaylord

Shanghai Dumpling House

Shanghai Dumpling house is one of the few Asian restaurants located in Tattersall’s Lane. The restaurant is well-known for its good-quality and cheap dumplings (a plate of 8 piece of dumplings only costs $ 5!). It also offers Chinese beers for its customers: Tsingtao and Harbin beer.

Even though there is nothing fancy about the restaurant interior and ambiance, Shanghai Dumpling has its share of loyal customers in Melbourne. During the lunch time, the place is relatively crowded and due to its limited space, different parties of guest have to share the same table. While the service is pretty efficient and the food comes quickly, do not expect too much of warm greetings and chats from the waiters/waitresses. Regular drinks are self-serviced – you have to get your own cup and fill it with tea by yourself.

While there are some areas of improvement to be done in Shanghai Dumpling, it is still one of the places worth visiting in Tattersall’s Lane. In the end, the good dumplings combined with good price overweigh the so-so service!

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Street Art

From building side murals to quirky hidden portraits keep an eye out for Tattersall’s Fantastic Street Art.

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Ferdyduke is a bar on the corner of Stevenson Lane overlooking Section 8. The bar offers an interesting range of hot dogs with names including the Paul Newman, Pope John Paul & the Bohemian Rhapsody.Watch out for the alternative staff traipsing up & down the stairs. There is an abundance of art work on the walls including a plethora of Melbourne’s favourite bushranging son Ned Kelly & is also a great place to play spot Merv Hughes.
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IMG_5233 ferdyduke pic1

Syndicate 3 – GM 3