Fitzroy Gardens

I recently wrote that we went to the State Library of Victoria yesterday and it seemed like we spent the whole Sunday afternoon there. Actually, we didn’t. Although we stopped by the State Library first for a few minutes, we did go to the Fitzroy Gardens just east of the Melbourne CBD right after.

First, here is a description of the Fitzroy Gardens as described by the site:

The Fitzroy Gardens is one of Melbourne’s two best gardens (the other being the Royal Botanic Gardens). It is situated on the corner of Clarendon Street and Wellington Parade, and along with the Treasury Gardens adjoin the eastern perimeter of the CBD.

I just felt like going to a park yesterday so when we decided to go to the State Library in the city, I looked up the parks that are in Melbourne. The nearest largest park from where we’re planning to go to was Fitzroy Garden so that’s where we went.

We waited along La Trobe Street for a tram (tram 23, 24 or 34) that could take us to Victoria Parade. The idea was that from there, we could get off the corner of Lansdowne Street and just take a short walk south to the gardens.

The tram that came along, however, was the City Circle Tram. Now, for the benefit of those who aren’t from Melbourne, let me explain the City Circle Tram. Unlike all the other trams in Melbourne, the City Circle Tram is completely free so you can get on and off them with impunity. There is a tram approximately every 10 minutes. Another cool feature of riding this tram is that there is a voice recording that describes and explains the area being passed through by the tram. The downside though is the limited route they take. As the name of the tram suggests, the route is in a loop around the city’s edges. Still, it’s a pretty good free service if you intend to visit all the main tourist attractions within the city.

So we took the City Circle Tram and got off Spring Street instead as the tram doesn’t go to Victoria Parade. From Spring Street we walked through the Treasury Gardens and on to Fitzroy Gardens.It was a very pleasant walk in the park, really. The temperature was just about right and the towering trees were a beautiful sight.

When we got there, we consulted the map posted by the west entrance to see what other main attractions there were in the park. We proceeded to pass by most of them. To see our photos in the park, go here or click on the small photo above.

After wandering about in the gardens for almost an hour, we returned to the State Library of Victoria in the city where we spent the rest of our Sunday.

Published in: on April 18, 2005 at 11:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Jobs for sale?

The story is eerily familiar – workers being recruited to work abroad, made to attend seminars, asked to pay “processing fees” and finally leaving the Philippines to seek their fortune in a foreign land. However instead of living happily ever after, their passports are taken away from them once they land at their destination and they’re made to slave away, not as nurses, but as toilet cleaners. An episode of The Correspondents(a public service-oriented show produced by ABS-CBN in the Philippines)?

Sadly, this story was shown on Seven’s Today Tonight here in Australia. The illegal recruiter featured was a certain Angelica from Angeles City, recruiting nurses to be sent here in Australia. The workers were promised a salary of at least $60,000 annually, free accommodation and transport. In exchange, they are made to pay $20 for an application form, attend a $60 seminar at Holiday Inn and made to pay a processing fee ranging from $11,000 to almost $30,000. When they got here, these nurses were made to work as toilet cleaners in nursing homes for up to 19 hours a day without pay, virtually trapped because their passports were confiscated by the recruiter. They were supposed to be paid $7.29 per hour but was just given $50 weekly as an allowance for food. To get an idea of how inadequate this amount is, click here.

As for the promised free accommodation, they were made to sleep 3-4 to a room with thin foam mattresses laid out on every available space on the floor. To add insult to injury, they were even made to pay $200 for this horrible accommodation.

The segment finished with the reporter saying that the illegal recruiter’s ability to sponsor visas has now been closed down. (But who’s to say that it won’t be reincarnated by a close friend or relative?) The report mentioned that she found loopholes in the immigration laws and abused them. As for the hapless nurses, they were able to find real nursing jobs after they applied in job placement agencies here – at least one bright spot in this cautionary tale.

It’s sad that Filipinos would do this to fellow Filipinos, live off the sweat of other people and act like they are doing these workers a huge favour. Be careful of people like these. If it sounds too good to be true (worse, when they start to ask for money), it might be a wise move to walk away. Consider your options, as applying for a migrant visa directly with the Australian immigration may be your safest and best bet.

Published in: on April 18, 2005 at 7:35 pm  Leave a Comment