Monday, 23 November 2009


Today I took myself on an excursion to the Old Melbourne Gaol. Have to do some actual work tomorrow so thought I'd better get myself on track and go and do something interesting in this here fair city. Besides, they service the room on Monday and it was a bit embarrasing last time when the guy came in while i was getting out of the shower....
I really enjoyed the museum - although to tell you the truth the whole place absolutely gave me the creeps. I loved looking at the death masks - I always find it so facinating to be confronted with a 3D image of a person who died over 100 years ago. I mean, I know we have photographs dating from around then, but its the scale of a face, the little asymmetries, that make it interesting. And the fact you can see their eyelashes and stuff.
I loved reading all the stories. Since i've been writing, I've been finding story sparks everywhere i go. Just wish I could catch the spark and turn it into something more.
As with all historical buildings it was facinating to look at what life must have been like. I could touch both walls of the ground floor cells when i held my hands outstretched. The stone showed through under layers of paint. It smelt slightly damp and even though the day was relatively mild, I felt cold. And then the claustrophobia started to kick in. i am not usually someone who gets that worried about it - i mean, I managed underneath the great pyramid at Giza in 40 degree heat bent over at the waist - but something about the place, perhaps just knowing it had been a prison, set my mind pounding around my scull. The gallows, with the floral wreaths wilting above the trap door was the kind of eerie i can't even describe.
I am getting so into Australian history these days. The second half of the 19th Century in this country seems such a brutal and facinating place. Its interesting that after a 25 year love affair with all kinds of European and American history, I am finally finding a facination with this place that I have always felt like such an interloper in. Maybe its my own alienation that helps me understand the alienation that europeans and early Australians must have felt when confronted with this incredibly different and distant place....

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