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  • Writer's pictureEllen Frazer-Jameson


DAY 65 - 16 MARCH 2023 (SHIP'S date)


Queen Mary 2 World Centenary Voyage

102 days, 31 ports, 18 countries.

Ellen Frazer-Jameson reporting from Queen Mary 2

PORT REPORT - 15 March 2023

Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the southern state of Victoria. Located on the large natural bay known as Port Philip, the city centre is positioned at the estuary of the River Yarra. Melbourne was founded in 1835 (47 years after the European settlement of Australia) by settlers from Van Diemen’s Island. It was named in honour of the British Prime Minister of the day, William Lamb – the 2nd Viscount Melbourne. Referred to as the “cultural capital of Australia”, Melbourne is often placed alongside New York and Berlin as one of the world’s greatest art meccas and the city is admired for its mix of modern architecture which intersects with an impressive range of nineteenth and twentieth century buildings.

Melbourne may qualify for the title of “Australia’s friendliest city”, at least that was an initial impression judging by a cross section of people encountered in an admittedly short, one day visit, Confronted by a couple of dozen cruise ship guests, descending on their early morning inner-city tram service, residents and locals offered their welcome to the city and went out of the way to be helpful.

Conversations could be heard all over the carriages as the ancient tram, one used primarily on a sightseeing route, trundled along. Information on where to go, how to get there and crucially, how to avoid paying for services that can be accessed for free.

Queen Mary 2 is currently home to a large number of Australians who boarded in Sydney and are taking a cruise along the country’s coast line. “Sydney is like an American city”, one couple explained to me, “Melbourne is more European.”

In 1851 a discovery of gold in a city just 16 miles from Melbourne led to a gold rush with 200,000 immigrants from Britain and 25,000 from China arriving to pursue their dream of striking it rich. Gold transformed Victoria from a pastoral backwater into the most celebrated colony of the empire.

The Yarra River has spiritual and cultural significance for Aboriginal communities and is the vibrant heart and soul of Melbourne. The muddy river, which looks pretty murky but is in fact verified as clean, is known as the upside-down river, attracts tourists and locals with restaurants, bars, river cruises and cultural centres.

Melbourne’s historic buildings are well preserved standing proudly in place beside modern architectural marvels and sky scrapers like the Sky Deck Eureka Tower, with 360-degree views of Melbourne through its giant glass windows.

Along the free sightseeing tram route, Parliament House, the Treasury Building, State Library of Victoria. Melbourne Museum, the Royal Exhibition Building the Shrine of Remembrance are accessible in parkland settings.

Flinder’s Railway station is Australia’s oldest railway station, a central landmark, its renovated green copper dome, yellow façade arched entrance tower and clocks harks back to a magnificent age of steam travel. “Meet me under the clock,” in Melbourne means only one thing, meet me at Flinders Street Railway station.

St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, with its triple gothic spires, towers over the busy intercity crossroads by the station and offers visitors an Aboriginal “Welcome” in the word,

Wominjeka”, the language of the first people of the Kulin nation. St Paul’s Cathedral stands on their land. We pay our respects.” A large banner outside the church also proclaims, “Let us welcome ALL refugees.”

Walk the length of Elizabeth Street and a jamboree of retail opportunities exists. From the Emporium to David Jones department store to a hundred and one fashion, music and phone and game station shops. A parade of red lanterns beyond an imposing archway, decorate China town and all around, Asian food, Thai street food and Korean barbecues. McDonalds and Starbucks as always are easy to find – but I am reliably informed, on this occasion, the number one favourite, Free wi-fi , sought out by travellers, all over the world, was not available.

Broad tree lined, multi -lane avenues with frequent tram stopping places, line the shopping streets and showcase an eclectic wardrobe of street fashion, pop-up, unique boutiques and high-end designer shops, featuring the youth market style and expensive signature brands.

With a fit-bit already showing almost 10,000 steps, the highlight of a day in Melbourne, was still to come. In brilliant sunshine, a leisurely walk along the Yarra River past the Arts Centre Melbourne where the Australian Ballet are presenting Don Quixote, based on the Rudolph Nureyev 1973 film.

The National Gallery of Victoria, known as NGV, is Australia’s oldest public art museum with over 70,000 works. The impressive fortress-like entrance way features dancing fountains and an innovative, rainbow waterfall producing an optical illusion as the flowing curtain of water appears to part to allow entry. A wonderful introduction to step into the NGV’s much-heralded building, relocated from the original art museum founded in 1861.

British fashion designer, and couturier, Alexander McQueen CBE

Mind, Myth, Muse, showcases the flamboyant designs of British fashion designer, and couturier, Alexander McQueen CBE, who was chief designer at French fashion house Givenchy from 1996 to 2001 and founded his own label in 1992. Born in London in 1969, he took his own life in 2010, the label was millions of dollars in debt. McQueen’s signature collections featured “Angels and Demons” and he explored themes of romanticism, sexuality and death.

More than 120 garments and accessories are on display in the current exhibition which runs at the NVG until 16th, April and showcase McQueen’s original designs were guaranteed to shock and outrage and led to him being called a “hooligan” of fashion.

He was also an artist, affectionately described as ‘pure and brave and uncompromising” referencing his far-reaching sources of inspiration, creative processes and capacity for storytelling.

McQueen was one of the most important fashion designers of this century and his creativity and innovation live on in this collection and the choreography of an experimental McQueen runway show. Beauty and glamour and the profound exposure of the human capacity for pleasure and pain, ensure that this retrospective engages the on-lookers, a tribute to Mind, Mythos and Muse.

The power and purpose of artistic endeavour is laid bare as the vision and insights of the artist continue to trouble the imagination, leaving more questions than they answers. Exiting the gallery, a cascade of coloured waves form a glass curtain - the show ends.

Back to our mother ship...out to sea...

A majestic day it was as Melbourne fades away into the sunset as we head toward our next port, Kangaroo Island...more exploring and more memories...

Happy Sailing... Ellen

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16 MARCH 2023


Current position of Queen Mary 2: Under way from Melbourne to Penneshaw (Kangaroo Island)

  • Departure was 1 d 9 hrs 34 min ago. (at 18:00 h local time)

  • Arrival will be in 3 hrs 56 min. (at 07:00 h local time)

  • Traveled distance since Melbourne: 322.39 nm (597.06 km)

  • Remaining distance to Penneshaw (Kangaroo Island): 138.20 nm (255.94 km)

  • Traveled distance since Sydney: 980.36 nm (1,815.62 km)


Photo of the day (from the archives of JD Schwartz)


Further updates will be posted as soon as we get them from Ellen onboard Queen Mary 2.

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