Australian Adventures Part 1 – Melbourne

architectural detail on the royal exhibition building in carlton gardens, melbourne australia

Some of the detail on the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne, Australia.

I recently returned from a 15 day trip to the state of Victoria in Australia. Wonderful people, food and scenery marked this adventure. The next few blog posts will describe some of the different parts of the journey. Today-Melbourne.

I have a very difficult time explaining my job to friends and family–and even co-workers. Suffice it to say that I organize things. I also need to know who knows what, so that when someone needs to know it, I know who knows. Anyway, imagine my surprise when I was contacted by some very good people in the state of Victoria in Australia to come over and teach about my job. Thanks to them, I can call myself a “knowledge broker”. Maybe I should ask for a raise….

aami park, or melbourne rectangular stadium, as viewed from the royal botanic gardens

Melbourne’s AAMI Park (rugby stadium) as viewed from the Royal Botanic Gardens.

After 30+ hours of travel, I arrived in Melbourne on Saturday morning, August 3rd. August is winter in the Southern Hemisphere, but very manageable as the high temperatures were in the 50’s and low 60’s during the day (rather similar to the summer temperatures in my June visit to Ireland). I was able to get acclimated to a 15 hour switch in time zones in time for Sunday evening meetings with my gracious hosts.

melbourne skyline from the royal botanic gardens

A portion of the Melbourne skyline peeking through the trees at the Royal Botanic Gardens.

My first impressions of Melbourne….

  • Australia is very similar to the United States in terms of timeline or “history”. Both countries have an indigenous population that was displaced by European settlers in the late 18th through late 19th century. Both seemed to treat the native populations very badly and have experienced an awakening in terms of appreciation of those cultures. (My cynical nature tends to equate that ‘awakening’ with the potential tourist dollars associated with the interesting aspects of native cultures).
  • The U.S., for better or worse, developed an entirely new way of thinking, working, and creating infrastructure. Australia, for better or worse, is a very European-feeling culture in terms of infrastructure, speech, and
    Palm trees at the St. Kilda beach at Melbourne, Australia

    Palm trees at the St. Kilda beach area.


  • Australia is at least as multicultural as the U.S. despite our penchant for calling ourselves the “melting pot” of the world. I noticed a much larger Asian influx in Australia than I have seen in the U.S. However, there is a much greater Hispanic influx in the U.S. than Australia. I guess the old adage, location, location, location holds true.

Future posts will show some of the irrigation infrastructure and farming and other cities/towns in Victoria.

view of port phillip bay from the skydeck in Melbourne Australia

A view from the Skydeck. In the upper left you see Port Phillip Bay. I believe it is the Yarra River snaking its way through Melbourne on its way to the bay.


About jheem

I grew up on a diversified dairy farm in southeast South Dakota where I learned how to throw a hay bale, pull a calf, deal with death, and "name" the cows. I was in 4H and FFA, and was privileged to serve as a state FFA officer. In college, I studied animal science, focusing on beef cows, mostly because I figured they were less work than dairy cows....I ended up with a Masters Degree in ruminant nutrition and went to work for the University of Nebraska, first as a research tech coordinating data collection for a swine unit and beef feedlot on a research farm and then as an extension educator. In my current job, I focus on environmental issues related to animal agriculture (which is a nice way of saying I talk about manure alot). My husband and I live and work on a seedstock cattle operation in northeast Nebraska. You can learn more about our cattle operation by visiting my husband's blog at
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One Response to Australian Adventures Part 1 – Melbourne

  1. Pingback: Australian Adventures Part 2 – Victorian Farms | Fence Post Diaries

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