Bookmarked Australia Has a Flesh-Eating-Bacteria Problem by Brendan Borrell

The latest news from Australia is that just 30 cases of Buruli have been reported in 2020, compared with reports of 50 or so by this time in recent years. That could be good news, or it could just be a consequence of people staying away from doctors’ offices because of COVID-19. Stinear had to temporarily halt his on-the-ground surveys in March because of the coronavirus, adding Buruli to the list of diseases, such as tuberculosis and polio, that may gain ground as a result of the pandemic. With coronavirus cases on the rise again, Australia’s tourism minister has recently announced that the country may shut its borders until 2021.

But cooped-up locals will still need an escape. Nothing, after all, can keep the tourists away. And maybe they’re not entirely wrong to take that risk: They’ll probably end up all right. Others aren’t so lucky. That’s because this disease—like COVID-19, like so much else—will be tamed in Australia long before the suffering ends in Africa. And the reason for that is no mystery at all.

I love how it takes a publication from half-way around the world to find something out about your own backyard.
Liked Tonnes of sand along this Melbourne beach are hiding a dark chapter of Victoria’s history (ABC News)

It’s a tale that has everything: ghastly crimes, executions, exhumations, grave robbery, publicly-funded Great Depression-era mass-employment construction schemes and, of course, Ned Kelly.

Bookmarked Beneath modern Melbourne, a window opens into its ancient history (the Guardian)

Researchers are drilling into remnant billabongs across the city to document the landscape as it was under Aboriginal management

Along with Zach Hope’s article on buried Melbourne, Jack Banister’s discussion on Melbourne lush waterways provides a perspective of another world.

By analysing the sediment – from the traces of pollen, and layers of charcoal and organic matter, to the DNA of lost creatures and micro-organisms – with the local Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung elders and community, Fletcher will add to the collective knowledge of this secluded spot.

This touches on what Tim Flannery has described as a ‘temperate Kakadu‘.

Bookmarked ‘It’s a bit Pompeii-like’: The unexpected ‘buried blocks’ of Melbourne (The Age)

The Heritage Council of Victoria commissioned a study to find answers. It would become, says Jeremy Smith, principal archaeologist with Heritage Victoria, one of the “most significant combinations of historical and archaeological research that’s ever been conducted.”

The report has now been delivered and “It wasn’t what we expected,” Mr Smith says. “It’s going to have implications for the way we do archaeology for the next 50 years.”

The Alliance Archaeology study, Heritage in Ruins: An investigation into Melbourne’s ‘Buried Blocks’ reveals details of a forgotten campaign throughout the 1850 and 1860s by Melbourne’s then-council to raise the levels of swampy Melbourne’s putrid streets.

Hills were flattened and low-lying areas filled, the reason for today’s milder up-and-down cross-town walks.

However, the bombshell in the study was its discovery of a law passed in 1853 requiring those in low-lying areas to bury their homes. If a landowner refused or was too slow, the council was empowered to raise the level of the land itself and charge the costs.

Zach Hope provides a look into the early years of Melbourne where some houses were buried in an effort to raise the swampy areas.  This is a fascinating insight into the development of Melbourne and what we assume today. It has me wanting to go back and read Paul Carter’s book Road to Botany Bay and his discussion of the cartographic creation of what we know today.
Replied to a post by Aaron PareckiAaron Parecki

Goodbye #Melbourne! A short but sweet visit! I enjoyed your coffee and blue fairy penguins thoroughly.

Aaron, I enjoyed following your take on Melbourne while you visited. It is always interesting to see what stands out for others in a place that you come to take for granted.

Just wondering, where did you catch site of the penguins? Did you make it down to Philip Island or somehow see them at St. Kilda?

Replied to

Your suggestion of a dedicated Bendigo line via the airport would resolve the bottleneck between Sunbury and Sunshine. However, I think the most telling point to the article is that the 2027 timeline is far too long.
Bookmarked Pattern and Forecast (Vol. 5) – Believer Magazine (Believer Magazine)
Josephine Rowe discusses Nevil Shute 1957 book On the Beach written about a nuclear holocaust in the northern hemisphere. The story documents people’s response of people in Melbourne on the coming nuclear cloud progressively moving south. Rowe compares this with the current milieu around the threat of global warming. With record heat waves in Central Australia and bushfires caused by lightning in Tasmania.
Checked into SEA LIFE Melbourne | Official Website
Took the girls to the aquarium. We were sold on the opportunity to ‘meet the yetis‘. The snowball throwing and snow pit for five were disappointing, although the 3 year old loved having her photo taken with Migo and Meechee. I also thought there was more hands/interactive opportunities than there were. Blame that on my poor memory.

On a side note, I was reminded that it the aquarium is a private business when I was asked to provide a dearth of information when buying tickets online. What was interesting was there was no mention of what that information would be used for. I wonder if such approaches will change or if such habits are now ingrained?

Liked Melbourne’s population explosion threatens to create a ‘Bangkok situation’ – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) by Jessica Longbottom and Ben Knight (ABC News)

By as early as 2028, it’s projected to be Australia’s biggest city. By 2050, it will have grown to 8 million — the size of London and New York.

“It’s the fourth-fastest growing developed city on the planet today,” demographer Bernard Salt said.

“If we don’t invest, and continue with this rate of growth, then we collapse under our own weight. You end up with a Bangkok situation — where you have an extraordinary level of growth and congestion, and you simply cannot move around the city.”

Replied to Why Public Transportation Works Better Outside the U.S. (CityLab)

The widespread failure of American mass transit is usually blamed on cheap gas and suburban sprawl. But the full story of why other countries succeed is more complicated.

Reading your discussion of public transport, it is interesting to think about Australia and in particular Melbourne. It feels like we sit somewhere between America and Europe. Although the network is integrated with a tap on and off system in place, there is still the lack of regularity in some places.

Living in a new suburb amoungst the sprawl, we have one bus route which runs every hour, which is pretty useless and another which runs every twenty minutes. I usually end up driving to the station, where the trains run close to every six minutes during peak. However, there are only a limited number of parks.

There is the promise of new infrastructure, new tunnels and ring around the city. However, this will still take time and there is no political guarantee, especially when many of the ideas were first mooted in the 60’s.


Instead of building highways first, which tends to make neighborhoods auto-centric and de-prioritizes transit, European cities tended to put transit first when they built new neighborhoods.

Why do we only run decent service on expensive subways that were built from scratch?

Germany, for example, high-speed Autobahnen go just about everywhere. The land of BMW and Mercedes-Benz boasts a strong car culture, and its plans for a national network of expressways were first formed in the 1920s; indeed, these highways helped inspire America’s interstate build-out. But Germany never stopped building rail systems

Fares need to be low enough that people can afford to take transit. New York City will soon join other cities like Tucson and Ann Arbor in having discounted fares for low-income people. That is important to make transit accessible to everyone. But fair fares isn’t just about keeping fares low. It’s also about eliminating arbitrary inequities. People shouldn’t have to pay a transfer penalty or a double fare just because they switch from bus to rail, transfer between agencies, or travel across the city limits. A transfer is an inconvenience—you shouldn’t have to pay extra for it

Nearly every Torontonian is within a 15-minute walk of a 24-hour bus route. Virtually every one of the major roads on the city’s grid has a bus route that comes at least every 10 minutes, all day long. People making long trips across town usually transfer to the subway for a quicker ride, but it is also convenient to make cross-suburban journeys by transferring between buses—they come frequently enough that there is little risk of standing for an hour at a forlorn suburban bus stop waiting for the connection

Bookmarked Melbourne moves underground | PROV (Public Records Office Victoria)

In 1969 a bold new vision for Melbourne’s public transport system was presented to the state government with a deadline for completion in mind; the year 1985. It’s not clear why the Melbourne Metropolitan Transportation Plan set its target date a modest 16 years past the publication of the plan. Perhaps to coincide with a mid 80s visit from Bruce ‘The Boss’ Springsteen when throngs of double denim fans would descend on the city and demand an efficient train ride? Whatever the reason, the public transport developments that emerged from that plan have more than outlasted the ’80s rock star era, in fact, almost fifty years on and it continues to transport millions of Victorians in and out of the City every week.

A look at underground rail loop developed as a part of the Metropolitan Transportation Plan. Interesting to contrast this with the recent announcement of an outer loop.
Bookmarked Melbourne suburban train loop, including 12 new stations, promised by Victorian Labor – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) (

A plan to build a multi-billion-dollar underground rail loop connecting Melbourne’s western and eastern suburbs via the airport, and link all major train lines, has been unveiled by the Victorian Labor Government.

I am intrigued by the announcement of a ring rail around Melbourne. Will they still complete Metro Tunnel 2 connecting the Werribee line with Clifton Hill? I also assume that the Werribee link would probably involve connecting the Wyndham Vale V-Line (which will surely become a part of the metropolitan transport system) with Werribee. It is intriguing to place this against the plan proposed in the 60’s.
Bookmarked Sweeping archways, open spaces for Melbourne’s new ‘landmark’ stations (ABC News)

Final designs for Melbourne’s five new underground train stations have been unveiled, with Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan predicting they will become new landmarks for the city.

It will be interesting to see these spaces when finished and how they will change the surrounding environment.

Replied to Vic budget 2018 by Dan Bowen (

Essendon and Watergardens DDA, business cases for Broadmeadows/Pakenham, improvements Kananook and Seaford $16m — I’m a bit surprised Watergardens needs major works given it was only built in 2002. Does it suffer from capacity problems?

Dan, I wonder if the changes to Watergardens relates to issues around accessibility. It is currently built around steps and lifts. When the lifts break, as they seem to, it can be a problem.

This issue is only amplified by the capacity on the Sunbury line. I would imagine that this is only going to increase with the development of land between Caroline Springs and Melton. Really they are in need of ramps similar to Sunshine Station.

Bookmarked 1969 Melbourne Transportation Plan – Wikipedia (

The 1969 Melbourne Transportation Plan was a road and rail transport plan for Melbourne, the state capital of Victoria, Australia, instituted by Henry Bolte’s state government. Most prominently, the plan recommended the provision of an extensive freeway network, much of which has since been built.

The Victorian Government has announced the development of a tram to Rowville. I have long followed these on and off again project, having grown up in the outer suburbs. I remember talking to someone about the electrification of the Melton line, I did not realise that such plans were proposed 50 years ago:

1969 Rail Proposal

It is intriguing to think about this about what it might look like in the future. Some talk about fluidity of public transport in the future, will this put a stop to things such as train lines. Time will tell.