Good to know before we talk about Melbourne. Aussies pronounce it MEL bun.
This past week has been busy and eventful. Missionaries normally have to stay within the boundaries of their missions which for us is New South Wales, a huge state which goes north for about 6 hours, west and south. But our boss, Elder Johnny Leota, wanted us to benefit from learning from our counterparts for self-reliance in Melbourne, another large city to the south and west of us located in the state of Victoria.
So we packed up last Tuesday and flew to Melbourne, also a city of more than 4 million people. Joe actually wanted to drive so he could see some “country”, but it is a 9 hour drive, so Elder Leota said he wanted us to fly.
Sydney and Melbourne are quite different. For one thing, Sydney is warmer. I did not realize that Melbourne would be so cold so I only took a couple of light jackets. Melbourne is closer to the Antarctic, so it is about 10 degrees cooler normally. It also happened to be a rainy week which was bad news for me. Joe loved the cooler weather. Though it was cool, the weather still rarely gets cold enough to freeze. Lots of palm trees thrive in the landscape but it rather reminds us of the east coast of the U.S. while Sydney reminds us of Los Angeles. Melbourne is supposed to be the more “cultured” city. There are lots of nice museums although we didn’t get to go to any because we had real work to do,
discussing all of the best practices, learning more about Facebook, and attending classes which they taught and others which they had trained the teachers.
The Joses are from Perth, a city on the west coast which is much drier and warmer than Melbourne. Sister Jose says Perth is like San Diego. Elder Jose is a CPA and they had their own business there. They are splendid people, very hard workers and smart. We loved them before because we Skype with them every Tuesday. We love them even more now.
We did have about 10 hours to “play”. We went to the Queen Victoria Market downtown. It was my favorite. They had everything from nice leather purses to splendid food. I bought some aboriginal art and some great shoes. Sister Jose and I could have spent much more time there, but Joe and Elder Jose kept ringing us every 10 minutes. So we sadly did not get to complete our “retail therapy”.
We did go up in the hills to a place called Sassafras and Olinda, darling little towns with wonderful shops. Sadly, it was raining, so we didn’t see it the way I would have liked. But the landscape of this mountain was extremely lush. Ferns grew everywhere
We did stay in a fairly nice hotel in a room that was about the same size as our flat. We walked around the neat little Melbourne neighborhoods every morning.
Our last day, Saturday, we spent helping the Joses with their day long Returned Missionary Seminar. We do a similar thing here. As part of that we attended a temple session with the missionaries. The Melbourne Temple is much newer than the Sydney Temple which was built in 1984. Melbourne Temple is clad with white marble and actually glistens. It is also located in a quiet neighborhood, while the Sydney Temple is located on Pennant Hills Drive, one of the busiest streets in the city.
Australia has temples in all of its major cities including Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide in addition to Melbourne and Sydney. The Australia government requires all the tithes that are paid here to remain here, so there is nothing here going to places like Papua New Guinea. 85 percent of the population of Australia lives in those five cities which are all fairly near the coast. The center of Australia is a vast desert like land though it is replete with resources like ores for mining.
There are about 38 stakes in Australia. We work with 11 of those. Daunting, isn’t it? Sometimes we feel quite unequal to the task.
I have included some pictures. the one of the residential construction is for the Carter Enterprises folks. They build quite differently here and use a lot of brick. The roofs are thick tile.