Today was Labour Day holiday here in Victoria, a day where to give thanks for not having to work all night in the salt mines you stay at home and work on your PC instead. Well, not for all of the day.
Today we all accidentally went to Moomba.
I guess that needs two bits of explanation.
First of all Moomba. It’s a festival held here in Melbourne dating back to the fifties. The name, of Koori origin, was always thought to mean “Let’s get together and have fun.” A few years ago it was revealed it actually meant ‘backside’, but a little name calling never stopped we Melbournians from enjoying ourselves.
It’s a mere shadow of its former self when crowds would be lining Swanston St ten deep for the festivals crowning glory – the Moomba parade. Scores of floats would drift majestically down the gentle slope of our major street, punctuated by marching bands and street performers. Each year the competition would be between the old Gas and Fuel Corporation and Myer’s to see who could come up with the gaudiest, most outlandish float. I’d watch each year on the television, Channel 7 from memory, thinking how lucky those people in the city were being able to see the guy on stilts ducking the tram lines overhead and the glamorous television personalities waving from the back of a flat bed truck covered in crepe paper. It was all sophistication plus for this lad from Shepparton.
This morning the Shepparton lad and his new family decided to wander in to the city and take a photo of the MCG while it was missing a grandstand. If you stand on the corner of Exhibition and Flinders St you get the most wonderful view of the Great Southern Stand and I wanted a picture of it before the new northern stand robs me of the chance.
We got halfway there when we noticed a parade was starting. But not just any parade, it was the 2003 Moomba parade! So, at the ripe old age of 32 I got to see my first Moomba procession. I waited for the crepe paper and the lumbering mountain of papier-mache, mirrors and scantily clad glamour gals that was the Myer float but it never came. Instead we had bands, dancers, community groups, volunteers and a token stilt walker. The crowds were only two or so deep, there were no other floats and no television personalities on clapped out tracks but still, it was Moomba and I was there.
I never did get to take my picture of the ‘G but an accidental Moomba and the wonderful Ned Kelly exhibition at the State Library of Victoria was almost as good. Now if only they’d have a chat to Myer I might go again some time.