Saturday, August 25, 2012

Elephant Hunting Part I

Imagine my surprise the other week. Here I was, harmlessly making my way to the Elks Lodge just before dusk, walking through the Treasury Gardens, when, to my surprise, I saw this apparition.

In the middle of the gardens stood an elephant.

Of course, it wasn't a live elephant. This one was on a concrete podium, it was about five foot high and made of fibreglass or concrete. It was also brightly painted.


I looked over the elephant, thought nothing more of it and walked on.

Then to my surprise, on walking for another few minutes, I stumbled over another elephant, again, about five foot high, on a low podium, brightly painted and standing there like it owned the Fitzroy Gardens.

What was going on?

Having to get to Elks in a hurry, I thought no more of the rogue statues sitting in the middle of the gardens. Somebody was playing funny buggers. That had to be it. Why else would there be small elephants sitting in the middle of the gardens? This is Australia. We don't have elephants. Kangaroos and koalas and vogelbekdiers (oops, platypuses), but not elephants - or lellyphunts as I call them.

Anyway, hard, tiring weeks at work have started to take their toll. I thought I was dreaming.

After a month in my new job, which I am loving, adoring the challenges, enjoying the people and thriving in the role - I've come back exhausted. I need my weekends. I need to time out and I certainly need to get away from sitting in front of a computer screen. I've gone back to walking to work as often as possible as it means I get a bit more exercise in and a clear head.

So Tuesday morning, I made my way through Fitzroy Gardens, passing across the top of the Treasury Gardens and what should I find, not even remembering the encounter from the week before.


Another sodding lellyphunt. This one appears to have been touched by King Midas. Sprayed in gold, the irony of it being sat outside the treasury buildings was not lost.

Okay, this had to be investigated.

At once, I went from Pandora Behr, sometime blogger and writer of training courses to my new persona.

Pandora  - Elephant Hunter Extraordinaire (EHE).

A few minutes down the road I ran into this.

A multicoloured lellyphunt painted up like a city scape. Strange lellyphunt! Considering this one was sitting on the corner of two of the busiest streets in the city, it appeared to be rather apt that is was in such garb.

But I still didn't have answers. Why were these lellyphunts here? What were they doing? Why were they sitting in odd places around the city? What were they in aid of?


The following morning I walked into work again, this time taking a slightly different route.

You guessed it. On reaching the city, what should I trip over?

A smurf lellyphunt in a lotus t-shirt. Looks like it's spent a bit too much time in Phuket or on an ashram in India. Hmm. This was an overcast Wednesday morning in Winter. You'd think it would at least shove on a jumper.

I continued my walk to work. I get to the Town Hall - and what should I find?

A lellyphunt covered in animals. Like geez - the poor thing must be having a bit of an identity crisis. Can't it just be a lellyphunt and be done with it?

But not only did I find this one, but next to it, the jewel in the crown.

This one is a sneaky one with it's red toenails - obviously ready to go hide in strawberry patches, the cheeky bugger.

My tenacious hunting genes had been piqued. From this time I was ready to go and hunt out all of these lellyphunts - especially if they were going to be sneaky and try and hide - those red toenails were a dead give away.

See, I've always been a fan of elephants - or lellyphunts as I call them. When friends go overseas to exotic places like India and Asia, I ask them to bring me back an elephant. I have a small collection of them sitting behind me on the bookshelf. They have to have their trunks up - that's good luck - but I really love my lellyphunts. The more the better.

Regardless, I tried to forget these , I went for my lunchtime constitutional walk, a necessity for a stressful job, the normal walk up to the Bourke Street mall. Once again, it happened. There in the middle of the mall, what should I stumble across...

A pretty, decorative lellyphunt that reminded me of a tea tray my grandmother brought back from her travels in the early seventies.


These random beasties were getting the best of me. Why were they there? What were they doing doing on the streets of Melbourne and why were they all dressed funny?

Walking home that evening - more of the buggers.

A pink one with white hand prints. I asked myself would I find a white elephant with pink hand prints on it  around the corner.

But no, a few foot away there was another lellyphunt with a few issues. On one side it was showing its spots.
On the other side it was showing it's dark side. Obviously in need of either a good therapist or some decent anti-psychotic drugs.
. This was all getting a bit too much.

I made my way back down Collins Street, popping into the Spring Street food court to find some sushi for dinner. And what did I find - yep, another one...

 Parked outside the Sofitel, it's obvious that this lellyphunt has more money than taste. It looks like Andy Warhol has puked over it.

Escaping the garish creature, I headed back to the Treasury Gardens to the place that I first found these outlandish beasts.

Sure enough, the first lellyphunt was still standing in the middle of the gardens like it owned the place.

And a very misguided beast it was too. Dressed up like Tigger, it rested in the middle of the gardens, quiet happy in its garish suiting.

Ten lellyphunts in the city of Melbourne.

This was all too much.

Pandora Behr, Elephant Hunter Extraordinaire would have to be on her guard - for who knew what the following days would bring.

To be continued.....


The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

Not heard of a lellyphunt. I've heard of ephalumps though - and your photos look more like those...




Bron said...

God I miss Melb.

I've heard rumours there are 50 lellyphunts for you to discover.....

The Elephant's Child said...

How amazing. Thank you so much for showing us these magical Heffalumps. (So many mangled names for the beast.) While in India years ago I rode an elephant and travelled in a warm cloud of elephant fart - which didn't dent my affection for them at all.