Methven, a word unknown to me. I wonder if it’s a first or a last name, could it be a nickname? Standing at Methven Park’s entry from an unnamed 20m lane that branches off French Ave in Brunswick East, I search for the meaning the internet has to offer.
My phone looking down at my boots as I search for Methven’s meaning
Methven turns out to be a design agency, a company selling shower sets, and a real estate specialist committed to providing me with outstanding service. Instead of expanding my so-far futile Methven’s meaning research, I choose to keep walking into the park to find my own definition.
It’s the peak of the winter and the trees that escort the main avenue that runs through and branches into two in the middle of the park are leafless and stripped bare. A playground on the left evokes the many emotions of childhood. I stand picturing how little the rest of the world matters when you’re going down a slide, or playing on the swings. This freedom makes me smile and I continue my search.
The freedom of childhood emotions
I head south towards where Lord and Methven Street meet at a corner. There I find a house that grabs my attention. It’s unusual, even for Brunswick. To start with, it’s bigger than the average house and my first thought is it might be a community centre, but there are no signs to confirm that assumption. A few of its elements, like the red-bricked chimney, mirror the typical Victorian Bungalows but its facade is too particular to miss. It resembles a Greek temple with four sets of two adjacent columns supporting the architrave and frieze, together framing a red-bricked wall. The front door is blue, there is one window on each side and all of these three elements are beautified by a black arch held by two columns.
My tour continues along Methven St and I find the City of Moreland’s sign that shows that dogs off lead are allowed, smoking within 5m of the playground is prohibited and so is drinking between 11pm and 6am. But alas, there is no information about the park’s name, I keep walking south.
I stumble across a “High Voltage Substation” and this small green building could have been irrelevant in my excursion but an omnipresent image in pop culture and two arrows above the roof’s exhaust vents make me stop to pay closer attention. On the High Voltage Substation’s northern wall, you can see Hokusai’s Great Wave and the arrows point you into the west wall that, as a non-pretentious public gallery, holds two quirky images.
High Voltage Substation/Urban art exhibition
After the unexpected public artwork exhibition, I head west and walk along the grass. There is a wide variety of flora from different origins meaning that many of the plants and trees resist dropping their leaves regardless of the cold weather. With even two palm trees wondering how the hell they ended up there, perhaps more suited to the summer days of barbies and picnics happening.
I end my tour exiting through the opposite corner from which I entered the park. I will continue to wonder what Methven really means but I’m happy with the many details and nuances that will come to my mind when I think of the word.
My route to discover Methven Park