Identity — a lesson in keeping the best and moving on

Cafe in Degraves Street, Melbourne

Melbourne’s vibrant Degraves Street

It’s been a while since I was in Melbourne with time to look around; but there I was, the day after the first meeting of the Victorian Rural Women’s Network Reference Group.

With my train due to leave the city for home at 1.20pm, I took the leisurely approach and was entranced to find Melbourne’s identity has evolved.

I saw inner-city alleys that used to be the receptacle of rubbish bins and vandalism, transformed. Now they are the hub of cafés, outdoor dining and retailers with narrow fronts hiding long galleys.

They have transformed the inner city from dinginess to vibrancy. These are public spaces alive with people, musicians, art installations and an urban life I want to explore more.

The siege mentality that plonked cement blocks in high human-traffic areas is being met with individual creativity — political statements, froufrou tutus, yarn bombing (the art of covering public structures with knitted material) contrasts with Australian wildlife, flying umbrellas and bicycles with baskets of flowers painted on cement blocks.

This evolving, multifaceted identity that is Melbourne seems to reflect the identity of the new Victorian Rural Women’s Network — which keeps the best of its rich heritage while evolving through exciting prospects over time.



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