The University of Melbourne, filled with meandering memories, plus some rambling recommendations on where to eat on campus and its fringes, bear with me. Just don't expect to find recommendations on coffee, as I don't drink the stuff.
Melbourne Teachers College and my mum studied here. These days the building is more notable to me for the magnificent Gryphon Gallery with its beautiful stained glass windows.
The foundation stone was laid in 1854, not long after Europeans had founded the town of Melbourne. It was built with gold rush wealth and made an important statement about the sophistication of the new town. For over a century it was the only university here. I will not bore you with the politics of prestige, the Group of Eight and the pompousness that comes with it. Suffice to say, I have studied and worked here long enough to see the good and the bad.
If you look at the University website it will tell you it is called the Old Quadrangle and that it now houses Philosophy, Classics and Archaeology. In my day it was the home of the Law Faculty. They now reside in one of the fancy new buildings south of the main campus.
The Quad was commenced, in Tudor Gothic style, in 1853, the oldest building on campus. Its final wing wasn't completed until 1970. A plaque on the wall of the quad points to its place in the broader history of Melbourne: "In April, 1856 stonemasons working on the building, downed tools, marched to the city and inaugurated a movement which won the Eight Hour Day for building workers in Victoria. The victory became an international landmark in the history of the labour movement."
Underground Car Park. The archway, flanked by Atlas statues, comes from an old doorway in St Stephen's Green in Dublin. The carpark is famous as one of the film locations for Mad Max. On a more personal note, I remember seeing a student play set in there. It brings back memories of student days when I saw far more plays than I do now, including many student productions.
The Bailieu Library and Educational Resource Centre (ERC) are barely recognisable to me any more. The internet means that knowledge is managed very differently now. It has changed the way students enroll and submit essays and communicate. Even buildings no longer have the same uses. I always loved that the above Babel Building was the location of many language schools but apparently this is no longer so. And don't get me started on the introduction of Voluntary Student Unionism!
One constant is the Melbourne University Food Co-Op tucked away on the first floor of the Student Union Building (apparently now called Union House). I was a member there in my student days and used to work behind the counter. I loved the cheap little salad rolls - they were usually tomato, grated beetroot, grated carrot, alfalfa sprouts with a choice of spreads such as peanut butter, tahini and hummus. The pies were lovely too with lots of hearty fillings and wholemeal pastry. Above is a recent tofu and tempeh pie. The co-op still has a bulk food section too.
Bouverie Deli at 154 Bouverie Street, is typical. Lettuce, sliced tomato, grated carrot, tinned beetroot slices and sliced cheese. Such sandwich bars are not hard to find. There is one in the Student Union Building food hall and probably others if you care to look. They are cheap and healthy, though I prefer them in summer than winter.
rotis at the Indian counter. Upstairs is a bar where I have eaten occasionally but I think it has changed hands more recently. If I don't buy a salad sandwich or calzone, I usually stroll down the hallway from the food hall to get sushi at Plush Fish.
Romano's Coffee by the ERC Library. This place also does great salads. The problem with the University is that the Parkville campus is such a cluter of tiny lanes and buildings, that it is hard to given directions.
Blueprint Catering). I didn't take my camera because I am quite shy about being snap-happy with work colleagues. It has a nice range of panini, salads and pasta. It is also easy to direct people to.
More notable though is the adjoining Ian Potter Gallery of Art. I love the artwork on the facade called Cultural Rubble by Christine O'Loughlin (see above). I was under the impression that they were rejects from the Louvre's collection but in writing this post I found it was actually made out of plaster cast moulds of the originals. The Potter Gallery is worth a visit. It has interesting exhibitions and you can always see the stained glass windows salvaged from the grand Wilson Hall that was burnt down in 1952.
When I have had time, while working at the University, I have enjoyed a little oasis of calm and culture every now and then. In addition to the Potter Gallery, there is the Grainger Museum, the recreational Roden White Library, the Systems Garden, and the Medical History Museum. The medical museum fascinating for its installation of a nineteenth century London pharmacy. It was also the museum where as a student I assisted a researcher to curate an exhibition on this social history of venereal disease.
Tsubu Cafe. Or the outside tables at Lot 6 - at the bottom of the stairs by the ERC. I particularly loved a recent lunch there of avocado, baby spinach, cherry tomatoes and goats cheese on sourdough toast. I have also eaten at University House and Graduate House, though not being a member of either. The former is ok downstairs but far more impressive if you eat at one of their function rooms.
Crepes a la Carte is a fascinating example of student entrepreneurship. It was started with a grant and since its beginning in 2010 already has expanded the premises. I stopped here some time ago for one of the surprisingly thin crepes filled with nutella. It was rather good and I have been meaning to return and try some of the other fillings such as melted chocolate and coconut or nutella and peanut butter.
Baretto sits at the bottom of the Alan Gilbert Building, Porta Via at the Law Building, Tre Sette at 139 Bouverie Street and Briscola at 157 Pelham Street are ones I have visited regularly. I love the soup and salads in Tre Sette and at one stage ate a lot of Briscola's toasted panini with mozzarella, pesto, rocket, eggplant, red capsicum and zucchini. I even ordered one and took a photo (below) for old times' sake. They all do some interesting wraps and deliciious sweet bakes.
Animal Orchestra at 163 Grattan Street (opposite the 1888 Building). Unfortunately I have lost my photos of the fantastic mural of magazine clippings that adorn the walls but you can see then at the link in the previous sentence. The top photo is the exterior of the terrace house where it is located. I love their soups. They always have a vegetarian one, though sometimes a bit spicy. Below is a photo of a takeaway soup I had at my desk with a florentine. Their biscuits are great and so is their vegetarian pizza. The staff are friendly and I love their quirky old furniture in the best of student traditions. They even have an upstairs room for private gatherings.
Seven Seeds at 114 Berkeley Street with fellow blogger Catherine of CatesCates. It is on the university fringe so I decided to include it before I discovered how long this post would be. I had a sandwich with pumpkin and herbed fetta with a side of rocket. It was very nice but rather pricey. That didn't stop us both having to try one of the amazing cakes. The brownie was divinely decadent. The cafe is in an old warehouse and was busy and hipper than thou. Only to expected in this neck of the woods.
Prince Alfred Hotel on the corner of Grattan and Bouverie Streets - better known to the regulars as PAs. It is a great place to go for a group lunch. Vegetarians can get decent pub grub classics such as burger and chips or veg pasta. It can get very full of students during semester but takes bookings.
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