Life and Outings, Memory Keeping

Three must visit places. 

Disclaimer- this post is written from my childhood memories and I may remember places differently to how they were.

“Don’t stand too close to the edge”. Nanna’s voice rang out as my sister and I edged closer to the water fountains at the Melbourne City Square. There were so many types; the cascade of water that appeared to run down little steps, the deeper pools along the Collin’s street side that always seemed a bit spooky, the shallow pools on the Flinders lane end that attracted seagulls. All that bluestone and water. The splashing, the smell of water that had been circulating too long. 

Back to my Nanna; we’d heard the story many times before, about the boy who was sucked into the filtration system. Of course the idea of being sucked into those spokky pools was so terrifying to my seven year old self, that I was never all that close to the edge to begin with. Despite the dangers of the City Square, it was always the first place we would visit when we went with mum into the city to meet our grandparents.  We’d then leave the City Square and walk up to Bourke Street and Myer. 

We’d enter Myer and walk through to the Lonsdale street side. We would stop in the china department and admire the Royal Albert. It was in cabinets, behind glass and I would dream of a Moonlight Rose dinner set. Nanna always said would buy us some, perhaps for our 21sts. We’d then head back to the ground floor with its wonderful smell of cookies. The rotating chocolate machine was here and you could buy loose wrapped chocolates by weight. They were probably Ernest Hillier, and Nanna would let us pick one. I was fond of strawberry and we’d stand there waiting for our favourites to come around. 

Back on the Bourke street side, if it were Christmas or a special event, we’d go up all the escalators, then climb the little flight of stairs to the ballroom which would be transformed into a winter wonderland or Lego city. We’d walk around in awe until it was time to get lunch. Worth mentioning here is the amazing bathroom that looked untouched since the 1950’s. It had a small lounge area at the entry, basins with mirrors down the centre, and old style toilets with a handle/lever at waist height to flush. I always imagined women in hats from days gone by freshening up in their lunch break. 

Back out into Bourke street we’d go, and we’d walk up to Coles Cafeteria. It was huge and you’d line up with your tray much like one does at IKEA. A bowl of chips, and a frog in the pond were the favourites. The quality of food was probably awful, but for kids under 10 it was the best! 

I’d love to take you to visit these three places, but sadly they’re long gone from the way they were back then. My grandparents are gone too and it’s all become distant memory. Three places I love to visit, if only in my head. 


  1. edie115

    June 22, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    Oh I loved this post, it brought back all sorts of memories of places long gone from childhood. And it’s a mix of happy and sad xxx

  2. Collette

    June 22, 2016 at 9:59 pm

    Lovely. That is how I remember a childhood visit to the city also. The City Square was always a bit of a scary place.

    1. ren

      June 23, 2016 at 7:55 pm

      Yes! I remember the water always looking shallow in places, but having a fear of big pipes that would suck you in underneath!

  3. Maxabella

    June 23, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    This is such a nice post, Ren. Your memories of your grandmother have coloured the places you speak of for me. I also remember the cafeteria in Grace Bros in Sydney and attending there with an elderly neighbour. Do you think the cafes in department stores left with the olds? It’s not really a thing we do anymore. A trip to the city isn’t the event that it used to be. Such a shame really. x

    1. ren

      June 23, 2016 at 7:56 pm

      It certainly seems to be a thing of the past. My local Myer has a cafe but it’s not somewhere I rush in to. Remember when Kmart had family restaurants? Definitely a thing of the past. x

      1. rundottyrunblog

        August 24, 2016 at 6:56 am

        Yes! Kmart cafes! I had forgotten that! x

  4. kellyfergie82

    June 23, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    I love this! Ren what a gorgeous memory you have of your special city visits with your grandparents!

    1. ren

      June 23, 2016 at 7:58 pm

      Thanks Kelly! I’m taking part in a blog writing course so my posts my posts are a bit out if my comfort zone while I get used to not just posting about things I’ve made again :)

  5. rundottyrunblog

    August 24, 2016 at 6:59 am

    Yes yes yes! I have similar memories of my own home town. Catching the bus or train into the city with Mum and Nan. They had outfits for “going into town” and outfits for “going down the street” (local shops) it took them all day to do either of those trips. We had Coles cafeteria or David Jones. “DJ’s” was my favourite. I loved their jelly and it had a swirl of cream that… possibly wasn’t even cream, it was just this hard white substance.. but I loved it. They had their own hair salon on the 3rd floor. Such lovely times. Thanks for the memories. x

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