- FIRE POLICE AMBULANCE Dial 000
- CFS – Rural Fire Service (bushfire alert) see www.cfs.vic.gov.au Tel: 1800 240 667
PHARMACIES – Drug Stores, Chemists –
In Australia, drug stores, are called Pharmacies or Chemists – and these can be found both in and around the city, and in most suburban shopping areas.
Doctors can provide medical care, and write prescriptions, which you would then take to a pharmacy to prepare for you.
Most public hospitals also have an emergency and ‘Outpatient’ care set up.
DEPARTMENT STORES – Supermarkets and Discount stores
Melbourne is the home of Myer, and the other big department store is David Jones.
The biggest shopping centre in Melbourne is located at Chadstone, which is east of the City and about 30 to 45 minutes away from the city centre.
The main discount stores are K.Mart, Big W and Target, and the two main supermarkets are Coles and Woolworths. These supermarkets and discount stores can be found in shopping centres in the suburbs.
There are clothing stores in the city and suburbs – with everything from high fashion, wedding gowns, sports and gym clothing, to suits, casual wear and also recycled and vintage clothing stores too. Melbourne loves fashion, and some of the best designers are based here too. The markets also have clothing sellers too – and you may pick up a bargain there too, or even at ‘car boot’ and garage sales’ where people have the sale happening in their front yard. In Australia, the truck of the car is referred to as the ‘boot’!
Summers in Victoria can get very hot, and bushfires in the mountains and also open grassland can become very dangerous – caused by both ‘firebugs’ (people), dry lightning strikes and other factors.
High temperatures and hot winds are a lethal combination and so right across Victoria there are CFS (Country Fire Services) volunteer groups in local communities who set out to stop bushfires raging out of control. These are absolute local heroes.
When you think of fire, you generally think of a small campfire or bar-b-cue set up where the fire quietly burns away. The colour of the flame gives you an indication of the heat level. In an out of control bushfire, the flames may be 10 or 20 metres high, and the fire sucks the oxygen out of the air and grabs at new pockets of air as it moves forward – so it can leap from tree to tree or even create fireballs as it races forward. The wind also picks up burning leaves too and these can be blown further ahead of the fire with the smoke and ash, and when they come to land, they can also start a fresh new ‘ember attack’ fire too.
When they talk about fires, they talk about a ‘path of destruction’, where one house is burnt to the ground and another not. This is due in part to the fire following the air flows and terrain, creating a track or pathway as it moves forward. A house in its path can literally explode as the fire hits, with bricks and sheets of iron becoming a smouldering pile of rubble in just a few seconds.
The small towns in the mountains and people are very aware of the dangers associated with bushfires, but many also rely on tourism to provide an income too – so while the bushfires form a danger, they also pass too, and life returns to normal – so keep in mind the bush fire danger, but also help support the small towns with your visit. The local economies depend on it.
Enjoy your time in Melbourne.