Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Melba shops on a Tuesday night

Each of Canberra's local shopping centres has its own character. Often they are built on two or three sides of a central carpark, but Melba's has a small piazza-type space, with deciduous trees for summer shade.

This image was taken last night, a little after 8pm. There weren't many people around, although the Indian restaurant (on the left), the takeaway (brightly lit in the centre), the small supermarket (further round to the right) and the Chinese restaurant (Fortune Cookie, where we had dinner) were all still open.

The sculpture on the far left is inspired by Dame Nellie Melba, after whom the suburb is named. Born Helen Porter Mitchell in 1861, she took the stage name Melba. 'Melba' is a contraction of Melbourne, the city where she was born. She became famous as an opera singer in Europe, England, Australia and North America, and returned to tour Australia (including quite remote country towns - she thought all Australians should have the chance to hear 'the Voice') several times to great acclaim. She led a very unorthodox life for a girl from the Melbourne suburbs, and her life story makes interesting reading.

Harmonies [Jennifer Jones & Philip Nizette, 2008]