To the National Gallery in Melbourne by train, and discovering Travellers Aid

5 September, 2019

Ballarat Regional Network members took the train to Melbourne in August, to learn about navigating the city with support from Travellers Aid.

Two members took up this opportunity. One was an experienced train rider, while the other was making the V/Line journey to Melbourne for the first time since his injury.

The novice traveller felt supported by his fellow group member, and by his carer and public transport staff. It was a great example of peer support and learning new community skills.

The duo met Spire staff Peter and Kelly at the Travellers Aid office at Flinders Street Station. Travellers Aid is a volunteer-based service that assists people to travel independently.

Travellers Aid opened in 1916, initially to support girls and women. It assisted migrants coming to Melbourne after World War 1, women taking their families to visit husbands mobilised during World War 2, migrants after the war, and young Asian students. In 1972 it extended its services to men, and in 1989 it opened its Disability Service.

The group also has sites at Southern Cross Station in Melbourne, and Seymour Railway Station in regional Victoria.

Check out their website here:

At the Flinders Street office, Karen, a long-term volunteer, gave us insight into Travellers Aid services. Among them:

  • Volunteer client support officers available to help with daily activities of living, for example if you have not travelled with a carer;
  • A free buggy service that can help you get around Southern Cross Station with your luggage, and from Richmond Station to the MCG for major events;
  • Mobility equipment hire;
  • Luggage storage;
  • Companions who can help you get to an appointment;
  • Station lounges with internet access, recharging facilities, hoist-equipped accessible bathrooms, and more.

From there we took a 10-minute stroll to the National Gallery of Victoria. After a lovely lunch together at the café there, the group went to view the famous Terracotta Warriors exhibition. They were led through the display of items, which was first discovered in 1974. There were intricate life size sculptures of warrior archers, soldiers and senior leaders, and detailed administrative officers’ equipment such a chariots, horses and buildings.

The group learned from the books on display that the Terracotta Warriors were created for the first emperor of China, on an unbelievable scale dating from 1000 BCE. The slaves who worked on the site were buried with the emperor to maintain security of the location.


There was also a spectacular section of a flock of starling birds, all individually made and floating across the room. The group agreed that the exhibition was certainly well worth the visit.

It was a beautiful sunny day in winter for a Melbourne day trip from Ballarat, and we look forward to doing it again in the near future.

Details of our next event

Thursday, 19 Sep 2019

11:30 AM

Back to Bacchus Restaurant

147 Main St, Bacchus Marsh VIC 3340

Available on surrounding streets and nearby carparks

Social lunch, Bacchus Marsh potential activities  

Spire Team 9489 0777 (toll free 1800 999 128),  [email protected]

Tags: Events, Ballarat