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Sunday, 20 August 2017

Top 10 or so churches to visit

My recommendations

The idea for this post came about from a recent discussion with a friend about our overseas travels, both of us agreed that we like to visit churches as the buildings are all lovely. For me it's not just the ornate and large churches but also the smaller, local churches and their importance to the local community makes them beautiful places to visit.

The Duomo Milan, duomo means cathedral, so you'll find the main church in other Italian cities also called 'The Duomo'. I think this was the first major church I ever visited, I was taken there when I was 11 and have seen it many times since. The outside with all the spires makes it so impressive, years ago I went up onto the roof and walked among the spires, I think it's still possible to do that today.

The Euphrasian Basilica, Porec Croatia.
Another childhood experience and memory, this photo from a more recent visit, the basilica and the mosaics have undergone restoration, it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is the oldest of the churches that I've visited, with parts dating back to the 6th century.

The Duomo Como, Italy
This Duomo sticks out to me as it's such a large building in what it quite a small town and would have been small in the past as well. And yet this enormous, ornate cathedral was built, well worth a stop when enjoying the Italian lakes.

In the distance, the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, St. Petersburg Russia
This is the oldest church in St. Petersburg built in the early 18th century. It's on an island and is the burial spot of the Russian Imperial Family. Super interesting to visit for those (like me!) who are fascinated by Russian royalty. Beautiful building and it also has a side chapel which now holds the remains of Tsar Nicholas II and his family.

Berlin Cathedral, Germany. This was one of those pleasant surprises when you don't over research the place you visit! I basically stumbled over this huge cathedral when I was walking to Alexander Platz. Never made it to Alexander Platz and instead spent all my time exploring this amazing cathedral.

Storkyrkan, Stockholm Cathedral Sweden
It's located in Gamla Stan, which is the old historic part of Stockholm, go into the cathedral as part of your visit to that lovely area. I liked the cathedral for its Scandinavian architectural touches, its use of red brick. Cathedrals tend to be in stone I found.

The Church Our Saviour on Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg Russia.
The church is built on the site when Tsar Alexander II was fatally wounded in March 1881, he was travelling in a carriage along the canal, and now the church butts out onto the canal, the Imperial Family paid for the construction of the church. A beautiful church and historically interesting, it was closed as a church by the Soviets in 1932 and hasn't been reconsecrated, it now functions as a museum.

St. Ignatius Church Dubrovnik, Croatia
Dubrovnik has numerous churches, my recommendation is to visit this one, if you're going to just see one. The frescos are gorgeous, it's a really beautiful church.

These are called 'The Spanish Steps' (in imitation of the ones in Rome!) and lead up to the St. Ignatius Church. This week I watched a youtube video of a couple holidaying in Dubrovnik who were Game of Thrones fans. Parts of Dubrovnik are used as location shots, this is one, and the church is CGIed to make it bigger. (I don't know exactly what the GoT location is as I binged watched season 1 of GoT on a long haul flight and was upset as my favourite character was killed off at the end of that season! Have boycotted the rest!)

Holy Trinity Church, Devonport New Zealand
Really lovely church in the bayside suburb of Devonport, loved all the use of wood. The church is over 140 years old and really well preserved.

St. Paul's Wellington, New Zealand

It's also known as 'Old St. Paul's Wellington', from its consecration in 1866 until 1964 it had been the Anglican Cathedral for Wellington, a larger one was built nearby. Old St. Paul's is still used for weddings, funerals and other services.

The Church of Saints Peter and Paul, Istria Croatia
This is the church in my father's village, it dates back to the 16th century and even though it's a small village church it has really lovely artwork. The church has been restored over the past few years and the artwork around the altar has all been cleaned. I can remember seeing it quite black from generations of candle smoke.

St Mary's by the Sea, Port Douglas Australia
A sweet little wooden church, now used mainly as a wedding venue, the window behind the altar looks out to the sea.

St. Saviour's Kuranda, Australia
Another lovely little wooden church in far north Queensland, to me there's something special about these little churches. 

Lastly my favourite little church, St Gregory's Armenian Church in Singapore.
Ever since I read about this church I fell in love with its history. The Armenian Church as its known is the oldest church in Singapore, built by what was then the very small Armenian community in 1835. This community is still tiny and hasn't had a resident priest since the 1930s and yet the church is cared for, in recent years it was restored, it's now surrounded by tall buildings. I just find it a little oasis when visiting Singapore.

These are all Christian churches, I have also visited non christian religious sites so will try and collate the photos I have of those for a future post. 

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Moonta, South Australia

A Copper Coast Town

Moonta is one of the Copper Coast towns, and the one to me at least, most known as the town that serviced the local copper industry. Copper was found in the area in 1861 and the government town of Moonta was surveyed two years later. It was a commercial and business town, rather than a mining town, the miners lived on or near their mine leases at the township of Moonta Mines. 

Moonta has a number of rather grand buildings that were built at the height of the mining era in the late 1800s. There's a little heritage walk that you can do and I set off after having some lunch. A Cornish pasty! It is the Cornish triangle in Australia, so had to have something traditional!

The walk begins at the Town Hall, it was built in 1885 and the clock tower was added in 1907. 

As Moonta was a commercial centre, the main street contained various banks. (Generally in small Australian towns, they're the most grandiose buildings in the main street!) This had been the Union Bank and was built in 1873.

The second most grandiose buildings in a country town are the pubs!

The Cornwall Hotel

The Royal Hotel

As well as the banks and pubs, churches and buildings to do with beliefs were important, and all could be found in Moonta.

This large gothic style church is now the Uniting Church, it had been built as the Methodist Church in 1873. The Moonta Mines township also has a large Methodist Church, it seems that was the faith of most of the miners.

All Saints Anglican Church, also built in 1873.

This building just across the road from the Methodist Church, had been the Bible Christian Church, another Moonta church built in 1873. It must have been a big year for church building! Or as the stonemasons were on site, everyone got their church built. It was later sold to the Church of Christ in 1913 and closed in 1976, it looks well cared for, just not in use.

The Salvation Army Barracks, as the sign says from 1901. According to the Heritage Walk pamphlet, the Salvation Army establish a corp in Moonta in 1883 and the hall was built later.

The Freemason's Hall, it's called the Duke of Edinburgh Lodge. I was a little confused as to me the 'Duke of Edinburgh' is the current one (Prince Philip). I did some research, in 1868 a group of Freemasons met in the Royal Hotel and agreed to set up a Lodge and call it the Duke of Edinburgh Lodge. (So nothing to do with the current holder of the dukedom) It seems that it was named after the previous duke, Queen Victoria's son Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh who was the first British royal to visit Australia in 1867. So fresh from this royal visit, the patriotic Moonta freemasons decided to name their Lodge after him. It took a while to raise the necessary money for the actual building and it was finally opened in 1875. (The stonemasons were still very busy in Moonta!)

This is now a private residence, an Anglican Church was built at the rear of this parcel of land, and this building followed in 1866 and it was the church school room. It was sold to the Druids in 1902 and was used by them as a meeting hall until 1988. That's a Cornish flag on the flagpole.

The Moonta Post Office, had been the Telegraph Office as well and was established in 1866.

The School of Mines
The Moonta School of Mines was opened in 1891 to provide training in mining, it was an adult education centre well into the 20th century. It's now a Family History Resource Centre, for those people wishing to research their connection to the local area.

Inside there's an exhibition space, and as I visited soon after the Cornish Festival of Kernewek Lowender, there were displays set up for people to see.

A 19th century chemist's store, all the items come from an old chemist shop in Moonta.

Loved the old sewing machines! All hand powered ones.

Walked past the Moonta Area School and saw their old buildings, I like old school buildings and it's nice to see them preserved. The Area School is quite big so there are more modern buildings on the campus as well.

The rotunda in Queen's Square, back to where I started, the park is next to the Townhall. The park (as with anything named for a royal in late 19th century Australia, is named for Queen Victoria. It commemorates the 25th anniversary of the incorporation of the town of Moonta in 1897. Adelaide and Kadina have a Victoria Square, Moonta has a Queens Square!)

Moonta has an interesting history, going on the Heritage Walk is good way to see the town and work up an appetite for lunch, there are some nice cafes in the main street. Or eat first like I did and exercise it off!

Sunday, 6 August 2017

The David Roche Foundation Museum

Adelaide, Australia

The David Roche Foundation Museum is a house museum set up by David Roche, he collected antiques and fine art which he displayed in his home. As he got older he researched house museums around the world and set up a foundation for the establishment of what is now the David Roche Foundation Museum. The Museum itself opened in 2016 (David Roche lived in the house until his death in 2013) and I recently went to have a look through it.

The house is an example of a Federation Villa (built between 1901 and 1910), David Roche bought it in 1954 and changed the outside slightly. He had the grecian style columns added to the verandah, next to the house he had kennels as he bred dogs. The kennels have been demolished and exhibition space and a carpark were built there for the museum. (The carpark is very important as it's on a main road with very limited parking!)

The exhibition space with the main entrance to the museum.

I had read about the museum when it first opened and was fascinated by the fact that there was a private collection of so much decorative art in Adelaide. The location of the house also intrigued me as it's on a main bus route in North Adelaide and I had spent much of my teenage years passing by on a bus going to the city centre with no idea of the amazing collection of art housed there! The house is behind a high brick wall so hidden from passerbys, a section now has been opened up so the exhibition hall and carpark at least can be seen.

David Roche had this room added to the back of the house and it's now used as the meeting place for the beginning of the tours. It's necessary to book onto a tour to visit the house, it's all done online and there are 3 tours a day.
David Roche Foundation Museum

 A really nice touch is that when you arrive tea and coffee, plus biscuits are offered to you as you wait for the tour to begin. The tour I was on we had Martyn Cook who is the Director of the foundation and had been a close friend of David Roche's give us the introductory talk about the museum.

This room is called The Russian Room and David Roche planned out this what the room would look like shortly before his death.

The hallway down the centre of the house with rooms either side.

David Roche's bedroom, my reaction when entering was "Wow there's a lot going on! So many patterns and so many objects!" Quite a few things have been moved to the exhibition hall, so there had been a lot more things in the room when he lived there! Apparently he liked animal prints and they can been seen the the house.

The Roman bathroom.

The French Room, this was my favourite room in the house. The colours and patterns on the curtains and rug seemed familiar, then the guide pointed out that David Roche had them made up as they were a copy of Marie Antoinette's soft furnishings at Versailles. "Ah that's why I thought I had seen them before!"

The living room (again with the animal prints!) David Roche had this set up with his television set, the paintings reflect his interests, dogs! He was a breeder as well as a judge and had judged at Cruffs the famous dog show in the U.K.

The second bedroom which was used by his mother when she visited, I loved the curtains, the tassels have beads inserted in them. The wallpaper is handpainted, he certainly had the money to buy beautiful things!

I walked into this room and thought, "The military room?" and that's what it was called! Originally had been the dining room but the large table was removed and a smaller table placed in the centre to make it easier for the tour groups to circulate in the room.

The second bathroom, called The Chinese bathroom.

The tour also goes into the kitchen, which originally made me smile because it's such a stereotypical 1970's kitchen with the cabinets and appliances! It did also have collectables to look at.

From the outside the house looks like a simple villa, it's the inside that takes one's breath away with all the various antique and objects d'art. There's so much to take in, with the first overall look of the rooms, to the close up detailed examination of the smaller objects, the paintings, the furnishings (I really liked the drapery!)

Having visited all the rooms we then went over to the exhibition hall where more items were on display. It's also where the special exhibitions are held.

I thought the David Roche Foundation Museum was wonderful, I'm planning on visiting again. I love visiting stately homes, in this case, it's not the actual house that's the attraction but rather what's inside. The guides were knowledgeable and happily answered all our questions. Considering the house isn't all that large, the tour itself took 2 hours, there was no rush, we could take pictures and it was such a lovely place to visit.