Freelance writer exploring Melbourne and beyond. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe. I'll update you with yummy and often free events. Like my photos? I instagram @redbagwilltravel
Published June 22nd 2012
Melbourne has its secrets, its urban myths and legends.
Now comes a tour which reveals all and the information comes by mobile phone.
The technology is relatively simple. Pay your $30 and you are sent a link which gives you 24 hours access to the necessary material. The only equipment you need is a smart phone like an iPhone or Android and some headphones.
The second unique aspect of this tour is that instead of listening to a history lecture, you are immersed in scenes from the past as if you were a fly on the wall. That means you listen to engaging little vignettes played out by experienced and convincing actors.
So wham-o, there you are right in the thick of it. At the first stop, for example, you are asked to look up at a window. Then you listen to an argument going on in the room where a politician and prostitute are making out till they are rudely interrupted about the whereabouts of the missing parliamentary mace. The mind boggles.
As this scene suggests, this tour is a giggle.
Some of the adlibbing and playing around with history might have a history professor shaking in his walking boots (humans chopped up for dim sims, really!) But history should be fun and accessible.
Humans in dim sims, now really!
Another unique element of this phone walk is that it delves into more recent history. In fact, it is a pity in some ways that a couple of the well-known stories, such as the disappearance of the mace 1891 and the police strike of 1923, are not left off the agenda because it is the more recent events (the ones we are already starting to forget) that makes for even more interesting listening. Although of course, tourists won't have this inside knowledge.
You stand outside the Rialto Tower and look up at the 38th floor. This is where call centre employees were locked out of their workplace on the 25th of May 2001 after Onetel collapsed. It is as if you are there caught up in the flurry of trying to retrieve hand bags and bashing on locked doors.
You hear the tread of a demented young boy climbing the tower of the Manchester Unity Building in 1964, below him a sea of screaming girls in Swanston Street gripped by Beatlemania. This young man had certain plans for John Lennon.
You stand at 331 Flinders looking at a small door which was the entry to The Tasty Nightclub. Here on August 7th 1994 police forced over 400 gays to take off their clothes and subjected them to a humiliating strip search. You can hear the strong language and the police prejudice is palpable.
It is the language in this last scene which gives this walk at least an M rating. Otherwise it would be a great way for kids to learn some history.
As for adults you certainly don't have to be Einstein to enjoy this unique tour. It is light, frothy and fun. Hats off to the actors for so convincing portraying Melbourne's history and getting the old girl to spill her secrets.