April 7, 2008
In the past seventeen years I have been abroad - reaching Mangalore has always been by air. The take off, the landing, the flying pockets, the turbulence and all that which made up the adventure at forty-thousand feet above the ground level was breathtaking! Finally, the time had come for a change – a change to take a different mode of transport and have a different sort of experience while travelling to Mangalore. So, we decided to take the road. Yes, the ROAD… Shocked! Read on to find out how?
It was the end of the Strawberry season. We had lots of fun plucking, picking, eating and savouring those fresh Strawberries in a suburb called Red Hill in Mornington Peninsula. We were just returning home parking our car in the garage and were just about to enter the house from the rear door when our elder daughter Fay of seven years happened to ask me as usual: Daddy, where are we going to, the next weekend? Normally, whenever she used to ask me this question, I would just flutter saying: Let us see or why don’t you ask mummy, she may have some plans? This time I paused and said - How about going to Mangalore? Mangalore … there was a surprise look on her face as she asked me again thinking what she heard was not exactly what I said. Yes … Mangalore, but this time we will not fly in an aeroplane, but go by car. After that she went mum … I could sort of sense the picture in her mind … perhaps the car would have propellers like the helicopter and fly!
The enthusiasm in her grew as the days passed by. She was counting her days in the run-up to the following Saturday and reminding me every evening as to the number of days left for our journey, when I used to pick her up from the ‘After School Care’ at St. Kevin’s Primary School … Six days to go to Mangalore, Five days to go, Four days … Hey! Tomorrow is the day we are off to Mangalore? Getting up early on that Saturday morning, she woke up her little sisi Jill saying – ‘Enough sleeping, wake up and get dressed, we are going to Mangalore now by car.’ The little one opened her eyes for a few seconds wondering what was going on, shrugged off and went back to sleep.
We packed ourselves for a day’s journey and set off travelling at a steady speed of 50-60 kms/hour in the built-in areas and 80-110 kms/hour on the highways and freeways. 110 kms per hour is the maximum speed one is allowed to drive here. The weather was lovely, a cloudless sky of blue, birds making merry and the flowers that blew to the strong breeze - as we drove … and adding to the overall excitement, we recited and sometimes sung a poem about Mangalore all the way:
You are located at 12°-52’N latitude and 74°-49’E longitude…
On the south-west coast of India, you are a major port and a city.
Situated in the confluence of Nethravathi and Gurupura rivers,
Between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, you sit very pretty.
Termed by many as an ‘Entry point to the Beach Country,’
Nation’s all-weather harbour, State’s gateway, District’s headquarters,
Today, you are one of the fastest growing cities in the country!
Covering around 180 kms from where we had started and after over two hours of driving without a break, we entered Mangalore.
“See, we are in Mangalore,” I exclaimed pointing to the white name board with black upper case alphabets to the girls sitting behind. By this time they were a bit tired, nevertheless Fay was shocked after having a glimpse of the board, having a quick look around and instantly letting out a scream ‘But this Mangalore is so different.’
Yes, it was indeed different! There were no groves of coconut palms swaying around nor were there the lush green paddy fields … for that matter not even the tang of the jackfruit trees, leave alone the fragrance of the jasmines.
The oldest continent, largest island and sixth largest country by area Australia is located in the southern hemisphere, between the Indian Ocean and the Southern Pacific Ocean between 10 degrees and 40 degrees south. The Commonwealth of Australia that carries the nickname “Land Down Under” consists of six states namely New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria; two major mainland territories – Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and other minor territories.
WELCOME TO MANGALORE – VICTORIA STATE, AUSTRALIA
I recall reading in ‘Udayavani Kannada Daily’ years ago about a postal mail intended to an addressee in our Mangalooru, landing right here in Victoria State of Australia, then taking days to be redirected. I never dreamt that one day I would be here in person.
Victoria is the smallest mainland State by area but the second biggest in population after the State of New South Wales. Melbourne, widely recognised as one of the most liveable cities in the world is its capital. Mangalore is located in Victoria in the scenic countryside of the Goulburn Valley Region just north of the Great Dividing Range that separates Mangalore from Melbourne. It is 395 kms from the Australian capital Canberra and approximately 120 kms north (one and a half hours drive from Melbourne) of metropolitan Melbourne (highlighted in yellow in the big map on the right hand side above, the core of the cluster in saffron being Melbourne), north of the Great Dividing Range and North-North East of Seymour. Mangalore of Victoria had greenery all around, characteristic of any inhabited part of Australia. Though it is categorised as a settlement/locality, there were hardly people we could see unlike the hustle and bustle of our Mangalooru.
The below pictured signboard is on the Goulburn Valley Highway (see small map above). From the Western Ring Road intersection, we entered the Hume Freeway (M31) and it took us 50 minutes to reach the Shepparton exit turning right onto the Goulburn Valley Highway (M39). We travelled along the Goulburn Valley Highway for approximately 4 kms until we arrived at this sign indicating us to take right turn to proceed to Mangalore (Mangalore highlighted in red in the small map). Mangalore Airport from this highway is further northwards, instead of taking right we need to proceed straight for another 4 kms (see small map), then take right that leads to the Aerodrome road that is 3 kms long. That’s why Mangalore Airport is sometimes called as Mangalore Airport near Avenel rather than Mangalore Airport near or in Mangalore because the former is closer to Mangalore Airport than Mangalore locality.
Mangalore Real Estate
Travelling to and fro in the settlement, we had a good look at the real estate Mangalore of Victoria had to offer. One thing was sure, price wise it could have been cheaper than that of our Mangalooru where there is a real-estate boom with all the development going around. How about buying some plot here, I asked my wife?
Wherever you go in Australia, the houses are almost the same in style, design and look adhering to the Australian standards. We noticed Mangalore had a lot of empty land and very few houses. The houses in Australia are built predominantly of wood that is available in plenty with an outer layer of bricks and tiled roofs. A typical house consists of a driveway that leads to the garage (single or double) if not a car port, a front garden, a lounge, kitchen area, bedrooms, wardrobe, built in cupboards, laundry, toilets and ample space at the backyard.
Mangalore Flora & Fauna Reserve
As we drove, it led us to the direction of Mangalore Flora and Fauna Reserve. The tar road continued as no road at all.
We drove along this muddy track for a kilometre with all the sand and dust flying around and after a certain distance became impossible to have a clear look and drive ahead. So we abandoned our trip, put the reverse gear and came reversing to where we had started. The horses were all that we were able to find.
At the end of the track, we found a house and entered it to get some information from the occupants as to this Mangalore Flora and Fauna. Just as we entered the driveway, around half a dozen dogs came barking and jumping towards us that reminded me of a scene straight from a Bollywood movie. Residential houses in Australia seldom have a compound wall or a gate. So when the owners are away they normally leave their dogs if they have one. We do not find many having dogs in the suburbs surrounding the city. Well! This was away from Melbourne. We concluded, being a weekend the occupants must have gone to the city.
History has it that two explorers Hume (the Hume Freeway is named after him) and Hovell riding on their horses with their companions would stay here for the night before proceeding on their journey onward and return. Their onward journey included Australia’s commercial city Sydney that is nearly 900 kms from here. They would have their break with drinks in this Inn and give their horses the much needed rest. I gather that ‘Mangalore Pub’ exists even today, but inspite of our best efforts to discover it, failed to locate it … and adding to our woes, we couldn’t find anyone to ask as well.
MANGALORE AIRPORT, VICTORIA
Mangalore in Karnataka has an area of 132.45 sq kms with a road length of 671.68 kms, but the Mangalore of Victoria was very small, may be less than a quarter of Corporation limits of Mangalore City. Wisely concluding that the settlement of Mangalore has nothing more to offer, we decided to travel to the nearby Mangalore Airport. We took the reverse route instead of proceeding on the Goulburn Valley Highway (pictured below) and then taking right to the Aerodrome Road.
The other roundabout way was travelling from the opposite side (pictured below). Aerodrome refers to a small airport used mainly by private planes.
You can see the road we travelled behind the white boards and from there we turned right.. for a half a kilometre drive to reach the Airport’s entrance. As we entered the airport, a cool breeze blew accompanied by the chirping of the birds. The entrance of the Airport brought me back memories of our Bajpe Domestic Airport. I do not know how Bajpe Airport looks now after attaining international status. I haven’t been there as yet.
Mangalore Airport Australia (MAA) is a large, well-equipped airport with dual all-weather runways for general aviation, modern navigation facilities, runways capable of handling large passenger jets and has no night curfew and operates seven days a week. It is elevated 144 metres above the sea level and was originally used as an alternate to Melbourne International Airport because of its recorded stable weather conditions. Melbourne businessman Colin Rees (the former owner of transport and logistics company CRT Group) and two Brisbane partners own Mangalore Airport.
MAA provides a high standard of service, facilities and infrastructure. It has an advanced aviation-training centre, with a new professional pilot academy and two long-established flying schools. Its facilities are also available for use by recreational flyers. Customers include federal and state government departments (Department of Civil Aviation, Department of Defence, Department of Sustainability and Environment), the CFA (Country Fire Authority) and commercial organisations.
Mangalore Airport, Victoria State, Australia
The airport has:
- modern navigation facilities
- international-standard airport lighting (pilot-activated using PAL)
- two asphalt runways: northeast-southwest (05/23) 2027 metres in length, and the recently resurfaced north-south (18/36) 1461 metres in length
- fuelling (Jet A1 and AVGAS)
- hangars and storage
- an approved development plan for future expansion.
- MAA is covered by a special overlay zone and has the capability for 24-hour operation.
Few airports in Australia combine freehold land together with broad acreage and first-class road and rail connections, enhancing the airport's suitability as a site for a major intermodal transport hub and warehousing. The zoning of the airport protects the development of aviation and other transport services, providing a significant greenfield opportunity for any manufacturing and processing industries that require quality transport links (rail and freeways A39 and M31 are adjacent to the airport) and is the major freeway network to Northern Australia.
My good friend Paul Underwood, an executive in a Multinational Company was at hand to receive me as promised. He took us to the various parts of the Airport explaining and clearing most of my doubts. Flying was Paul’s favourite pastime. He has been a frequent flyer in his small aircraft for the last ten years. He hails from Camberwell, a suburb close to the city and would travel to Mangalore Airport on weekends to pursue his passion for flying. He did not know much about the settlement Mangalore, neither he had an answer to the origin of the name Mangalore. ‘Sorry mate, I know nothing about it,’ he said.
Paul took us a little behind the airport to show us his homebuilt BD-4 light aircraft parked in front of the hangar. Paul explained that the plane was built 30 years ago and from the last 10 years he is the proud owner. The girls were ecstatic thinking that this small aircraft was made perfect to their size. Paul obliged by seating them on the Aircraft’s seats. Asked if I should give a hand in pushing the Aircraft into the hangar, Paul declined saying he would do it later himself. ‘There is a particular technique to put it in, otherwise it might get damaged,’ he opined.
We took a bigger stroll with Paul around the airport. The Airport looked idle because of the weekend though there was some sort of activity going around on a lower scale. Other Airports would bustle with passengers and their relatives/friends on week-ends. But here we just found a few students who had come to hone their skills and learn the finer art of flying. Hearing one of those harsh takeoffs, Paul said, ‘He looks to be a complete beginner … his acceleration is too harsh.’
MAA is being developed as the focal point of an aviation cluster in the Goulburn Valley region of Victoria, with the central role of providing internationally competitive training for the aviation industry. As an advanced aviation training centre, MAA is the base for Civil Aviation Training Academy (CATA) and two large, well-established flying schools: Kestrel Aviation and Moorabbin Flight Training Academy (MFTA).
The integrated training facilities include:
- a purpose-built learning centre with classrooms, briefing rooms, a dispatch centre and CATA offices
- an examination centre for CASA theory exams (run by Assessment Services P/L)
- fibre-optic LAN to network the students, learning centre and administration
- advanced flight simulators
- four-star accommodation for students, visiting aviators and travellers
- commercial kitchen and dining room
- Mangalore is an ideal location for night training due to the lack of curfews and restrictions, and also for its isolation from city lighting this teaches candidates realistic night experience.
- The navigational aids include an NDB (non-directional beacon), and VOR [Very High Frequency (VHF omni-directional range)]. While normally operating as an unrestricted airspace, the Airport's fully operational control tower allows any airspace procedure to be simulated; allowing students to be prepared for any and all airspace procedures. Mangalore has easy access to the controlled zones to the south (or north if the weather conditions are unsuitable), yet maximum efficiencies are gained during all phases of training because of the non-requirement for clearances and repetitive travel to the training area.
Students training at Mangalore are accommodated on the airport in modern serviced units. Recreational facilities include a tennis court and 25-metre swimming pool. Various social activities are organised throughout the year, which take advantage of the large range of recreational activities available in close proximity to Mangalore, from golf and horse riding, to snow skiing and camping. Nearby, Seymour and Nagambie are also able to offer plenty of scenic attractions and nightlife.
The airport offers training and examination rooms for third-party use. Commercial organisations use the airport for product launches and private client briefings.
Professional Pilot Academy
In November 2007, a joint venture with Rex, Australia's largest regional airline, Mangalore airport's newly established Civil Aviation Training Academy (CATA) is training Rex pilot cadets and in the future, private students and cadets from other airlines. CATA will be assisted in the early stages by the third equity partner in the joint venture, Moorabbin Flying Services. Pilots will graduate with a commercial pilot licence, a multi-engine rating and a command instrument rating within 32 weeks. CATA has purchased five state-of-the-art Piper Warrior III aircraft and a twin-engine Piper Seminole aircraft.
Home to FLYING SCHOOLS Kestrel Aviation and Moorabbin Flight Training Academy (MFTA), Mangalore Airport is ideal for pilot training, with unrestricted airspace and a reputation for favourable and stable weather patterns. The airport can be used for circuit work as well as navigation training.
Established in 1985, Kestrel Aviation is a busy helicopter and fixed-wing training school, offering private, commercial and specialist training courses to international and Australian students. It also offers charter services, particularly for firebombing and reconnaissance. Kestrel Aviation’s Operational Centre is based at Mangalore Airport that is adjacent to the main car park.
(Moorabbin Flight Training Academy (MFTA)
MFTA, incorporated in February 1999 has established itself as a Company offering a wide range of flight training services at all levels for private and commercial clients. The MFTAs main training base is in the Main Terminal Building of Mangalore Airport.
Origin of the name ‘Mangalore’ of Victoria State, Australia
Do you reckon that Mangalore of Victoria State in Australia was named after Mangalore of Karnataka State in India? At least a couple of Aussies who have spent all their life here tend to believe so.
After spending a good couple of hours in Mangalore Airport, we decided to bid adieu to the Mangalore of Victoria. There were two railway crossings – one the Goulburn Valley Railway Crossing which is an unmanned railway crossing and has a single track without boom gates or lights. The other was the North Eastern Railway Crossing (pictured) that had dual tracks and had the boom gates and lights.
Crossing this Railway Crossing and driving straight across the road, just adjacent the Hume Freeway (M31) that leads to Melbourne towards the South, we made our way to the Café of Plunkett’s Winery for a much needed break … and glancing at my main car mirror, I noticed that another long car with an elderly couple seated in the front was following us right inside to the place where we were heading to.
We entered the Plunkett’s winery and I parked our car with ease in the parking lot that had an uneven terrain, a basic need to the vineyards. The man who was following us had difficulty in parking his long Chevrolet in the thin parking slots. I got down from my car and guided him to park right for which he was thankful. ‘When I was as young as you, I used to park big trucks in one go,’ he said spreading his arms as wide as he could. ‘Now I am nearing my eighties.’ (shakes his head both ways). I laughed at his humour and replied. First and foremost, I do not know whether I will get there and if I do, am not so sure whether I will be able to drive a car, leave alone parking it, I quipped. He had a hearty laugh as well. He introduced himself as Bryce and this is Mourilla, my charming wife. She blushed!!
As we went into the vineyard, I struck a conversation. The septuagenarian looked to me as having immense knowledge. He and his wife love travelling. I asked him about the nearby locality of Mangalore. He explained to me its history without a blink in his eye. ‘It has been named after a little town called Mangalore on the west coast of India,’ he said. I was dumb founded. I asked the basis of this and the confirmation. Yes of course, he quipped, that town in India was named by the British somewhere at the end of the eighteenth century and this one somewhere in the beginning of the nineteenth century. I know that Mangalore Fishing Spot in Charleville in the State of Queensland (Australia), a shady permanent waterhole on the Warrego River is named after that Mangalore in India by G. Blakeney who was one of the first surveyors in the area, I added but I wasn’t aware of this one! He went on to explain to me the history of Melbourne and the origin of its name. Bryce was of Welsh origin.
As we are aware, the term Mangalore came was introduced somewhere in 1799 when Sir Thomas Monroe became the first Collector of the Canara district that included Mangalore, Kasaragod, Udupi and Karwar, after the colonial forces marched into this coastal city after the defeat of Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore. This brings us to the notion that the term Mangalore was ‘coined’ rather than ‘copied.’ Hence, we can also conclude that the coining of the name Mangalore led to its copying and naming it elsewhere, especially here in Australia.
Bronwyn Dunwoodie, our lady at the counter and a close relation of the owner of the vineyard had many more things to add apart from confirming the origin of the name Mangalore. She has been living in this place all her life. I was amazed at her knowledge of other cities of India and the name-change that’s undergoing currently there. Here I disclosed I was from the same place. Any name-change in the offing of the Victorian Mangalore, I asked. No way, she replied. The Aussies are not fussy about all that. Perhaps they would make it short as ‘Manga’ or ‘Mang’ or ‘Man’ or simply ‘Ma’ in the years to come, she laughs. Aussies have a fondness for short names – calling ‘Uni’ for a University, ‘barbie’ for barbeque, ‘breakie’ for breakfast, ‘telly’ for television and the like.
Camp Seymour at Mangalore during World War II
Camp Seymour was originally an old WWII facility at Mangalore which was accessible by a railway line that runs directly north out of Melbourne. The 41st Infantry Division moved to Camp Seymour after finding that Camp Darley and Camp Pell were unsuitable for training purposes. They slept in tents with floors at Camp Seymour but minus cots. They slept on bags stuffed with straw.
The following units of the 41st Infantry Division were located at Camp Seymour in June 1942:-
- Headquarters Company 41st Infantry Division (Tri)
- MP Co 41st Infantry Division (Tri)
- Hq & HQ Btry 41st Div Arty & Band
- 41st Recon Trp
- 41st Signal Co
American Soldiers cleaning their dixies before their meal at Camp Seymour at Mangalore
Food was cooked in two oil drums converted into cookers. Usually one was full of mutton and the other contained stewed coffee.
The men of Cannon Company, 162nd Infantry, 41st Division camped at Camp Seymour for some time before moving to Rockhampton, Queensland, arriving there on 30 July 1942. The 84th Ordnance Company (Depot) of the US Army was also based at Camp Seymour. They were located there in June 1942.
Speciality Suburb/Locality that houses a Private Airport
Other things to see Flora & Fauna Reserve, Mangalore Pub, Unmanned Railway Crossing, Real Estate
Nearby places Seymour (South-West), Avenel (North-East)
Sub Region Shepparton & Central North
Region North/Central Victoria
Victoria State Capital City Melbourne
Other Mangalore’s in and around Australia
This list about other Mangalore’s in and around Australia is not exhaustive. But I have made an effort to cover most of them.
1 Mangalore, the homestead near Nyngan in the State of New South Wales
2 Mangalore Gliding Club that has moved from Locksley Field and is due to operate from a new airfield that is currently under construction.
3 Mangalore Fishing Spot, Charleville, Queensland State 4470
4 Mangalore Station Toilet, Cooladdi, Queensland State 4479
5 Mangalore, a locality, Tasmania State 7030
6 Mangalore Farm, Tasmania State
7. Mangalore Tier, Tasmania State
8. Mangalore Rise in Whittlesea, Victoria State 3757
9. Mangalore Street, Travancore Suburb, Victoria State 3032
It is amazing to learn that apart from our own Mangalooru, all the other Mangalores’ on this Planet are concentrated on this Island Continent Australia. It equally astonishes that at least a couple of properties here in the ‘Land of the Kangaroos’ has been named after our own Mangalooru. Being proud as we always are, we have listed them all to pay a visit hopefully in this lifetime.
On our return journey, my better-half Anita took to the wheels as we headed towards Travancore, a city not of Kerala State in India but a suburb 5 kms from the city of Melbourne to pay a visit to ‘Mangalore Street.’ I will cover this in my next piece titled ‘A Visit to Mangalore Street.’
For the moment, we will take the comfort in knowing and experiencing that after all ‘Mangalore’ is only a drive away.
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