Winter Plans

Earlier this week, John, a twenty-something Brit living in Sydney, left a comment on my blog entry Winter is Coming, which led me to his blog and his entry on his first winter down under.

It’s very much the same as how winter approaches in England. After the clocks go back there’s that week or so when nothing seems to have changed, but then all of a sudden it’s pitch black outside at tea time and there’s a definite bite to the wind. Children walk to school in the dark, and when the sun does finally show up, it doesn’t make it up very far; hovering just above the horizon by lunchtime, it attempts to kill the nation’s drivers, one-by-one, by dazzling them with an inescapable glare.

Australia is no different. The low-hanging sun, the nights drawing in, and the breeze really does get a little cooler. But there’s something definitely missing. There’s a distinct lack of excitement about winter in Australia; an excitement which fills the freezing air at home. An excitement that makes us deck trees with twinkling lights and sing ridiculous songs about flying caribou. It’s the promise of Christmas; a massive great festival in the middle of an otherwise barren season. Winter in England is about parties, decorations and, almost ironically, warmth. I love the promise of snow (although not, I hasten to add, snow itself). I love the way that even though we know shops are out to rip us off, we put cynicism aside because of the Christmas spirit. To me, that’s what winter is.

John’s observations resonate with me. I’m used to a mild winter in Miami, but winter very much means the same thing: Christmas. The excitement actually begins weeks earlier with Samhain/Halloween and continues through Christmas to New Year’s Day. But here in Australia, there’s nothing to look forward to in winter, just darkness and cold.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to do, at least in Melbourne, if you’re brave enough to face the chill and willing to bundle up. Here are some cool things to do this fall and winter in Melbourne.

The Light in Winter is Fed Square’s annual, month-long program of free events, exhibitions, film screenings, and art that culminates in the Solstice Celebration, which I’m really looking forward. Find out more and view the entire program at Fed Square’s website.

Cosplay at Oz Comic-Con.

Cosplay at Oz Comic-Con.

Comic-Con is just about every nerd and geek’s dream convention and it’s coming to Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building July 6 and 7. Guests include Nell Campbell and Patricia Quinn, who played Columbia and Magenta in the 1975 film The Rocky Horror Picture Show; Craig Parker (The Lord of the Rings); Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride); Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs, and Brian Krause from the TV show Charmed; Raphael Sbarge who plays Jiminy Cricket/Archie Hopper and Keegan Connor Tracy who plays the Blue Fairy/Mother Superior in Once Upon a Time; Tia Carrere; Gigi Edgley (Farscape), as well as voice actors and comic book designers and illustrators. The event also includes exhibitions and, of course, cosplay. For more information, visit the website.

Visit a museum. This is a great way to stay warm and Melbourne has a lot of terrific ones. There are some great exhibitions going on. Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures runs through July 28 at the wonderful Melbourne Museum. The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Fed Square explores the central role costume design plays in cinema storytelling in its current exhibition titled Hollywood Costume. It runs through August. The National Gallery of Victoria is hosting Monet’s Garden through September. This exhibition is devoted to the gardens of  Claude Monet,  the father of French Impressionism.

It may not be Halloween, Christmas, or New Year’s, but it’s still pretty good. Do you know of any great events happening in Melbourne this winter?




  1. Oh cool I didn’t realize Melbourne had a Comic Con too. The NYC one is in the fall and apparently my company gives free passes to its employees (I work in digital comics now hence the perk).

    • I didn’t know either and I just sorta stumbled on it a couple of months ago. I’ve never been to it because it never came to Miami, but I’ll be at the Melbourne one!

  2. Sydneysiders can also check out the last couple of days of Vivid – the late autumn/winter light festival. We’re going tomorrow, so I’m putting my own cynicism aside and embracing some winter cheer and celebration!

    Thanks for reminding me that winter here isn’t SO bleak.

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