Chinatown, Melbourne.

After the discovery of gold near Melbourne in 1851 Australia received its first significant number of Chinese immigrants. Later many of these immigrants settled in the area which is now known as Chinatown, where they worked in markets and restaurants. Melbourne’s Chinatown is now the longest continuing Chinese settlement in the Western world. This recording was taken inside a Chinese-Malaysian restaurant, the sound of hot oil bubbling in a wok whetting my appetite:

The night of the following recording coincided with an Australian Football Grand Final – a huge event filling the city with fans from around the country. It seemed they had all chosen to dine in Chinatown.

Determined to eat at one of the more popular restaurants we waited with several others outside in the rain until a table was available. Once a table was ready we were assaulted by the sound of 100s of people inside:

The wait in the rain and the temporary hearing loss caused by the room of diners was more than compensated by delicious plates of dumplings and fried rice. It was a night when the culinary and sonic worlds collided.

4 thoughts on “Chinatown, Melbourne.

  1. Very nice historical reference, I don’t know about chinese population in Australia.

    First record – preparing and cooking something tasty?

    The second record is just amazing. Anthill as it is… At some point all the sounds merge into one and it becomes possible to observe it separately. Truly meidtative.

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  2. It sounds like it was recorded with some other device rather than usual but despite that it is still an impressive account of life in Melbourne. I have also noticed that your blog seems to be gaining popularity in the former USSR countries!

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    1. No, same old recorder. I didn’t have my headphones with me that day so I couldn’t tell which recording level or angle was best. Still, the recordings are a nice way to remember that strange night. And yes, lots of enthusiastic views from deepsweet in Crimea – his blog is worth a look (listen).

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