The lure of the DVD Box Set – Part 2

It goes like this…

You are seated together on the sofa, each with a glass of wine, engrossed in the story. You are often surprised by something that happens in the storyline and you talk about it, not always agreeing. You think you know what is going to happen next, but you are usually wrong. When one of you hasn’t followed the plot, the other explains. You marvel at how the creators have ended the series.

And there it is: you have been complicit in the experience and have lived through the story together.


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The lure of the DVD Box Set – Part 1

It’s late; I’m usually in bed by this time. I look at myself in the mirror: my eyes are bleary and I feel like a zombie. What’s happened to me?

I have just spent another evening in front of the TV with my husband watching the last episodes of a quality TV series, the series Breaking Bad*. Continue reading

Art from function—Princes Pier

Princes Pier piles aucourantnow

For the first (almost) 100 years of their life, these piles performed their utilitarian function. Today, they form a work of art.

In their wisdom (and likely for pecuniary considerations) the state government at the time opted for a low-impact restoration of the derelict Princes Pier in Port Melbourne in 2006. The result is this evocative sculpture comprised of 380 metres of unrestored piles that were left in place, exposed in their raw beauty.

The redevelopment of Princes Pier

While nearby Station Pier has remained in operation, Princes Pier was closed in 1989.

The pier, built between 1912 and 1915, suffered neglect and vandalism following its closure. By 2006 there was virtually nothing left of the original buildings on the site. From the early 2000s, options for the development and use of the site were debated.

Early proposals submitted to the state government for the restoration and redevelopment of the pier included plans for apartments, restaurants and cafes.

In recognition of the heritage value of Princes Pier to Australia’s war effort (departing soldiers during the two world wars) and immigration (post-war migration arrivals), the state government decided on a low-impact redevelopment. Budget considerations may have also played a part—the cost of total restoration was estimated at $60m, while partial refurbishment could be achieved for $14m.

The final project allowed for the first 196 metres of piles to be repaired, the deck and the gatehouse to be restored, and the remaining 380 metres of the pier to be cleared to expose the piles. The final budgeted cost was $34m; the restoration was opened in December 2011.

Then and now

img677 As the daughter of a post-war migrant, I have fond memories of being packed up as a child to head to Princes or Station Pier to greet the latest arrivals from my father’s Italian village.

Today, whenever I pass by this site, I take time to stop and reflect upon the piles—the grace of their lines and the grandeur of their scale. And I remember my father.

Princes Pier piles aucourantnow (2)The pier in numbers:

  • It is the second largest timber structure in Australia (Station Pier is the largest).
  • The pier is 580 metres long, made up of 5000 piles.
  • The length of the piles ranges from seven metres at the shore to 21 metres at the end of the pier.


Princes Pier is located in Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
My father is the man on the left in the family photo

Major Projects Victoria – Princes Pier Restoration
Major Projects Victoria – Princes Pier Project Update September 2010 (pdf; 2 pages)
Interpretive signage at Princes Pier

Other foreign films

The films we get to see here in Australia are fairly homogeneous. The stock of movies shown are largely American, British, and to a lesser extent Australian. Independent cinema groups are doing their bit to promote films from other countries by running foreign film festivals – still, these are predominantly French, Spanish, German.

So I do enjoy watching a film that comes from outside these bounds, and recently have seen films from Iran, Turkey and Russia. Each showed contemporary life in those cultures and dealt with familiar familial and societal issues.

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