It's a curious place, Melbourne -- third largest Greek
city in the world; football mecca; major node of Pacific Rim financial
A city of majestic parks and vast suburban sprawl; more urbane, but also
more staid, than Sinful Sydney. Today it's home to three million souls,
most with a patch of back lawn, a car, and nothing much else to sell but
their ability to work. It's also home to rampant privatisation, corruption
on a vast scale, and cops who shoot first.
Melbourne has its official history, one in which money has ruled the roost
ever since the day when the white man John Batman "bought" the
place some 160 years ago.
Melbourne has another history, one which is periodically shoved from view:
a history of struggles against tyranny in the workplace and home, of Wobblies
and commos, of Kooris and migrants, of efforts by "normal" and
"deviant" people alike to exercise some control over their affairs.
These histories are intimately connected -- joined at the waist, like Siamese
twins. Most of the time, "official" Melbourne overshadows everything.
It's my city, and I love it -- because once again, somewhere in there,
midst all the routine and tedium, a multitude of new social subjects are
struggling to emerge.