Saturday, 8 July 2017

A cold night out with the family at Menangle Park

A cold night at Menangle Park has not stopped families coming out in big numbers for the night markets for a great night of entertainment and tucker.

The retail section of the night markets at Menangle Park had a range of goods for patrons to purchase in the cold brisk evening. Everyone was rugged up  against the light breeze that sprang up. (I Willis)

There are a range of food stalls from BBQ, Asian, Middle Eastern, along with a selection of dessert stalls for the customers to choose from.

The market also had a small range of retail stalls and a slide for the children.

A DJ played music over the PA to keep the atmosphere moving along.

Patrons enjoy some great tucker at the night markets at Menangle Park to the rocking music from the DJ. There was a range of food stalls ranging across BBQ to Asian and Middle Eastern and others. Lucky ones grabbed a chair and table early and did not have to nurse their plate on the knees. (I Willis)

Spread around the grounds were chairs and tables which were quickly filled up ere spread around the ground with some heaters to keep the chill away for those lucky enough to sit beside one.


Friday, 7 July 2017

Newcastle modernism - Civic Railway Station

The now closed Civic Railway Station is just one example Newcastle modernism.

The now deserted ghostly platforms of Civic Railway Station on the Newcastle branch line built in 1937 to serve the thriving river port of Newcastle. Build in a Interwar functionalist style and station is largely intact and still retains much of its integrity from the 1930s. (I Willis)


Modernism is a form architecture which emerged in the first half of the 20th century and became dominant after World War II. It was based upon new technologies of construction, particularly the use of glass, steel and reinforced concrete; and upon a rejection of the traditional neoclassical architecture and Beaux-Arts styles that were popular in the 19th century. (Wikipedia)

According to the New South Wales Heritage Inventory Civic Railway Station is:

The station building is the first Interwar Functionalist railway building in NSW to employ domestic architectural features, demonstrating the NSW Railways experimentation with new styles during the Interwar period. The footbridge is unique as the only known example of this structure constructed on brickpiers. The signal box is unique as the smallest elevated box constructed on the NSW rail system.

The Civic Railway Station and surrounding buildings were built in 1935 in the Interwar Functionalist style using dichromatic and polychromatic brickwork as a simple decorative effect.

The new Civic Railway Station in 1935 built in Interwar Functionalist style. The new station was located on the site of  the previous Honeysuckle station which was built to access the river port of Newcastle and the growing agricultural centre of Maitland. (SARNSW)


The railway station is located between Wickham and Newcastle railway stations.
 
Originally the station was part of the railway line built between ‘East Maitland’  railway station and ‘Newcastle’. The line was originally built in 1857-1858 as a link between the government town of East Maitland and the river port at Newcastle.

The Newcastle station was re-named Honeysuckle and Honeysuckle Point near the river port and has a number of locations. The large goods yards east of ‘Newcastle’ railway station was constructed in 1858.

The site of Civic Railway Station is significant as it was the former 1857 site of the Newcastle (Honeysuckle) terminus of the Great Northern Railway Line.

The now deserted Civic Railway Station and footbridge. The retail concession has a lonely ghostly feeling in contrast to the dreams and hopes for the new railway station in 1935 . The only visitors now are those folk who walk across the platforms to access the Newcastle Museum precinct. (I Willis)


Electrification of the Gosford-Newcastle line occurred in 1984, after the Sydney-Gosford section in 1960.

Civic Railway Station was closed in 2014 by the Baird Liberal Government when the line between Hamilton and Newcastle was finally closed after much community dissent.

Significance

The Civic Railway Station site is historically significant as the location of the Newcastle terminus station on the Great Northern Railway line (1857), one of the first railway lines in Australia. The station building represents the first attempt to adapt domestic architectural styles for railway purposes. The station buildings and footbridge, are good examples of Inter-War Railway Domestic style in regional New South Wales.


The seating and signage at the now deserted platform of the closed Civic Railway Station on the Newcastle branch line. Originally the line was built in the 1850s to serve the thriving farming area of Maitland and the new river port of Newcastle. The station is still largely intact and retains much of its 1930s integrity. (I Willis)



Civic Railway Station is largely intact and retains much of its original integrity from 1935, along with the signal box, platform shelter, footbridge and forecourt. 

Train to nowhere – Newcastle’s ghost railway

Walking around an unused railway station in Newcastle is unreal experience.

Empty platforms. No passengers. No railway tracks. No passengers. Yet all the buildings and signage are intact.

The ghost platforms and rail right of way at Civic Railway Station on the Newcastle branch line which was closed by the Baird Liberal Government in 2014. (I Willis)


Just like the day the train stopped.

The ghosts of the railway past. A railway station with no trains. A railway station with no passengers.

So what gives?

The CHS blogger walked around Civic Railway Station in inner Newcastle this recently.

The situation seems beyond belief. 

Across the road the University of Newcastle is about to open a new faculty building yet the old rail link between the two university campuses is now defunct.

NeW Space is a $95 million landmark education precinct under development by the University of Newcastle in the heart of Newcastle's CBD. Lyons Architecture teamed with local firm, EJE Architecture, to create the iconic NeW Space. The building has been designed to maximise the commanding views to surrounding landmarks with views through to Stockton, across the harbour and up to The Hill. The building is just metres from the ghost railway station at Civic. (I Willis)


What is going on you might ask?

Well. The Newcastle branch line was closed in 2014 by the NSW Baird Liberal Government.
The line between Newcastle and Maitland was originally opened in 1857 with goods and passengers services. Steam haulage was removed in 1971 and the line electrified in 1984.

The first hint of the closure of the Newcastle branch line occurred in 1972 when the line was proposed to stop at Civic.  The rail line between Hamilton and Newcastle was closed in 2014. There was unsuccessful court action by the Save Our Rail group.

The track and associated overhead wiring and stanchions were removed in early 2016.

The ghost like Civic railway station on the former Newcastle branch line now deserted except for the pigeons. The nightime image provide an eerie reminder that there was significant community opposition to the closure of the branch line. The decision highlights a history of Sydney-based decisions that have been made against community wishers over the decades. (I Willis)

The Baird Government's decisions were strongly criticised by some community groups, the Labor opposition and the Greens, who say removing a direct rail link into the heart of Newcastle is a retrograde step.

Premier Mike Baird has confirmed that much of the land used for the current rail corridor would be open for development. (SMH, 15 October 2015)

The NSW  Berejiklian state government is constructing the Newcastle Light Rail to replace the former branch rail link. It is part of the Newcastle Revitalisation program. The 2.7 light rail track is running from Newcastle interchange at Wickham to Pacific Park near Newcastle Beach. The route will use about one kilometre of the old rail corridor and then run along Hunter and Scott Street. The former routes of Newcastle trams before they were removed in the 1960s.


There will be 5 stops on the new light rail line: Honeysuckle, Civic, Crown Street, Market Street and Pacific Park. The line is planned to be running in early 2019.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Colonial Art Exhibition at Campbelltown Arts Centre


A new exhibition of colonial artworks from the permanent collection of the Campbelltown Arts Centre and Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society was launched recently at the gallery.

Ruth Banfield guest curated the exhibition They Came By Boat at the Campbelltown Arts Centre. Ruth was one of the original members of the Friend of Campbelltown Arts Centre. She has also helped the Arts Centre bring together other exhibitions works.
The exhibition called They Came By Boat was guest curated by Ruth Banfield and runs from 30 June to 15 October 2017.

The highlighted colonial artists are:  Gracius Broinowski; Joseph Lycett; Arthur Willmore; Joseph Backler; Thomas Kirkby; John Scarr; and Samuel Bradshaw.

The enthusiastic audience at the recent launch of exhibition of colonial artworks They Came By Boat keenly listened to guest curator Ruth Banfield give an account of drawing the works together and her role in puting the exhibition together.

The art works highlight the Macarthur area, particularly the Cowpastures, in its role as both a government reserve and a regional identity.

The exhibition theme and promotional material states
During a period where art was a tool to both elevate status and possibly gain freedom for those punished under the Convict regime, They Came by Boat draws focus to early settler families who journeyed over oceans, arriving to Australia and eventually settling in what is now known as Macarthur; the houses they built and the landscape they inhabited.
Of particular interest are lithographs of wildlife by Polish artist Gracius Broinowski and who settled in the Wedderburn area in the late 1880s.

There are etchings by Joseph Lycett, a convict transported for forgery, completed in the 1820s including Raby, The Property of Alexander Riley, Esq, New South Wales (1825) and View Upon the Nepean River at the Cow Pastures, New South Wales (1824).

IMAGE: JOSEPH LYCETT, VIEW UPON THE NEPEAN RIVER AT THE COWPASTURES, NEW SOUTH WALES, 1824-1825
One of the engravings in the exhibition of colonial artworks The Came By Boat which gives on idealised interpretation of the Cowpastures landscape and the Nepean River. 

The are stunning colonial portraits of the Scarr and Edrop families by artist Joseph Backler who was transported to New South Wales convicted of forgery. There are the Reddalls, who were relations of the first paster of Campbelltown's St Peters Church of England, Thomas Reddall, by artist Thomas Kirkby.

Colonial artworks such as these  provide a valuable documentary role for historical research at a time when they were the only recorded images of a locality, particularly the Cowpastures, in a settler society. 

The landscape images of the Cowpastures provide one way of viewing the countryside managed by the Dharawal people for thousands of years. Usually there were two ways that the Cowpastures landscape was viewed by colonials: the countryside and its visible features and the aesthetic appeal of neat rows of paddocks and fences; the other by artists like Lycett as an idealised aesthetic pictorial representation. Grace Karskins has given an account of how the early colonists in New South Wales viewed the new colony in the her book The Colony.

The exhibition is complemented by an informative catalogue which gives historical extracts three of the engravings for the Cowpastures area. With ample illustrations the catalogue is  a valuable historical document in its own right.

While these colonial artworks were aimed at the metropolitan centre in England and provided an 'idealised view of Australia' they are valuable record of our region.

The cover of the catalogue of the exhibition of colonial artworks They Came By Boat at the Campbelltown Arts Centre.


These colonial artworks highlight the valuable historical role played by the Campbelltown Arts Centre in telling the story of the local area.

This exhibition is a must for anyone interested in the colonial history of Macarthur region, the Cowpastures or the wider Cumberland Plain.


See:
Campbelltown Arts Centre and the exhibition The Came By Boat.

Read more about the aesthetics of the Cowpastures landscape and representations of how it reflected an English landscape.

For another interpretation of the Cowpastures landscape see:
Ian Willis, On the edge, settler colonialism on theCumberland Plain 

Saturday, 24 June 2017

The turning point at an argyle affair provides a sense of place

A sunny brisk day attracted a crowd at a market day with a difference that was recently held at the historic backdrop of the Camden show hall and grounds.

Signage in Argyle Street outside the show pavilion encouraged patrons to leave a donation for the 2017 charity of choice for event organisers Brooke and Peta. The rustic notice fitted the atmospherics of the historic showground and hall which is the site of  Camden's famous annual rural festival, the Camden Show.. (1 Willis)
The scarves and beanies were out at the third year of the market day for The Argyle Affair which was held over a recent weekend. 

A great day for hipsters, grandparents, young families and friends at this great local event.

Live and local entertainment from young song writers and singers was provided in the marquee. The stage provided an opportunity for young and up-and-coming musos to do their stuff and show their wares to their adoring fans - even if they were rusted on family members.

Local up-and-coming artists and 'aspiring performers' always welcome the support and opportunity of a stage to hone their craft. You never know which one of these young hopefuls will be the next famous Australian artist on the international circuit in the entertainment industry. And you saw them here first. (I Willis)

There were ample pop-up food stalls that offered a range of hot delicacies from pulled beef to wholesome soup and others. Even the food stalls are sustainable these days with solar panels generating power-have panel will travel-anywhere.

The Argyle Affair was originally started in 2015  as the brainwave of local organisers Brooke and Peta who felt that local artisans needed a platform for their wares. Their website states:
The Argyle Affair was born from a shared passion to bring the community together to create a positive, creative event and supporting local charities. We felt that Camden needed a platform to showcase local & surrounds, makers, artists and performers. It was time that Camden had their time to SHINE!
There were around 25 stalls in the show hall and outside. By lunchtime there were lots of folk moving through the show pavilion.

Event organisers Brooke and Peta gave the historic 1890s AH&I Hall a lift with their artistic touch and appropriate greenery which took the edge off the rustic nature of the show pavilion. I wonder how many patrons really understood the importance of this room to the history of the town and it rural surrounds. (I Willis) 


The promoters state on the website that they were looking for edgy product and artisan crafts with a point of difference and a 'wow factor'.
We are looking for evidence of personal contribution in design, make or collaboration of the product. High quality products that display outstanding workmanship. We are on the hunt for unique products and services that push the design envelope.
Stallholders were certainly up to mark.

The artisan crafts and stalls were a great fit with the rural atmospherics provided by the historic show pavilion. The hall has held hundreds of community events just like The ArgyleAffair since its opening in the 1890s as a military drill hall for the Camden Rifles. The hall and these events are a central part of Camden's sense of place and identity.  (I Willis)
The Argyle Affair sponsor a local charity and this year it was 'Turning Point' who are a Camden based-comunity welfare centre in John Street. Turning Point state on their website:
We aim to provide a safe and confidential environment where we can offer assistance, providing welfare services such as emergency food relief, advocacy, document assistance, phone access, and computer availability with free Wi-Fi.
Market goers were asked for a gold coin admission or hand in an item of food that went to Turning Point.
Business with a heart in this display brightens up an otherwise drab and dark space and  usually unused part of the show hall pavilion. A great rustic and authentic touch that was framed by the show hall doors.  A simple statement of intent by event organisers about how they view The Argyle Affair. (I Willis)

Another great initiative by Camden locals who have combined business acumen with a heart.

For more information

Turning Point @ 80 John Street, Camden. 02 4655 1567
The Argyle Affair

Friday, 23 June 2017

Fresh young talent at Camden Shorts

In its third year Camden Youth Council's Camden Shorts music festival got another run recently.

Lots of fresh young talent all got a guernsey on stage at the Camden Civic Centre.

Promotional flyer for 2017 Camden Shorts 


The Camden Youth Council is an initiative of Camden Council that assists the council develop programs for young people between 15-25 years of age.

The youth council attempts to give young people of the Camden LGA a voice through projects and events.

One of these events is Camden Shorts.

On Saturday night there were a string of vocalists, supported by a dance trio and a theatresports trio of young fellows.

Each young hopeful had two performance pieces to nail for the assembled crowd.

You never know one of these young folk might get their start in the entertainment industry from this gig and then be the next superstar. And do not forget you saw them first at the CCC 2017 Camden Shorts.

List of young fresh artists at 2017 Camden Shorts performance


The artists enthusiasm was infectious as often the young are, and they received undivided adulation from adoring fans of mums and dads, aunts and uncles, nans and pops and fellow rusted on supporters.

The 2017 Camden Shorts artists had an adoring crowd of mums and dads and aunts and uncles who thought their every move and note was worth a rousing and rowdy round of applause with supporting hoots and whistle. (I Willis)

The younger the budding artists the greater the adulation.

A wayward note here and there mattered little in the great scheme of things.

Apparently it was reported that there were 200 bookings for this year's show, compared to the first year in the Ferguson Room with 90 parents and friends.

A trio of young chaps called Rising Arts Production-Room for Improvement who did  a theatresports spot to the raucous laughter of the assemble masses. They did not even get an opportunity to use the two chairs they brought on stage with them. (I Willis) 

Those who booked and did not show will be forever disappointed at not taking up their free tickets.

The evening ran on a tight schedule with a great support crew with sound and lighting although the kids could have done with a simple intro from an mc of some sort.

Hard working crew on the sound and light at the back of the Macarthur Room in the dark at the Civic Centre at the 2017 Camden Shorts (I Willis)

The food offering and bar service were up to Civic Centre standards, while prior warning for fans and patrons might have improved their sales a little on the night.

Patrons patiently waiting for their orders at the bar in the Macarthur Room at the Camden Civic Centre at the 2017 Camden Shorts music festival. (I Willis)

The enthusiastic crowd were well satisfied at the end of the night's entertainment by this band of young fresh performers.

Contact Camden Youth Council

For those who want to know more the Camden Youth Council has a Facebook page, a Twitter feed or just contact them by email.

You can also stay up to date with the Camden Youth Council by visiting the Facebook page, phone 4645 5021 or you can send an email for more information.

Attn: Community Project Officer (Youth Services)
Community Cultural Planning and Development
Camden Council
PO Box 183
CAMDEN
NSW 2570

Saturday, 17 June 2017

LIve and Local Music Festival in Camden town centre

Live and Local signage was placed around the town centre by promoters to tell locals about the gigs. Patrons moved between music stages assisted by a full and informative programme and facilitators who kept things moving.  This signage was on the front of the historic 1870s bank building on the corner of Argyle and John Streets in the middle of town. Helpful signage kept patrons and keen fans on the move around the town centre moving between the many venues. Thery were valuable in an area that is not used to being the stage for live music. The hope is that patrons will report this to organisers  so their might be a repeat(I Willis)

The Camden town centre was recently transformed into a gig-venue with a difference.

The town centre held the first live music festival of its type hosted by Camden Council.

Camden's main shopping precinct hosted a free music event in the form of the Live and Local Music Festival.

Upstairs@Freds hosted singer songwriter Helen Perris on piano. Her virtuoso performance was a delight in a delightful venue with great view of the town centre. Helen sang a range of  her own tunes that would not be out of place in a New York piano bar. Helen's poignant award wining songs tell of life's up-and downs.  (I Willis)
The entertainment ranged across 14 venues on a Saturday afternoon between 2.00 and 6.00 in the early evening.



Some of these were not your standard music venue.
Saxophone musician Will Habbal playing to passers-by and interested locals in the front of Camden retailer Shoe Talk. A music gig with a difference. Will was doing a great job on  a difficult stage competing with the traffic noise just a couple of metres away on Camden's main street.  (I Willis)


The more interesting music sites were a clothing boutique, a shoe store, an interior design store and shopping arcade.

Local boys from the band The Shang entertained the crowd at the Plough and Harrow Hotel with a mix of funk and rock. The pub was packed with an obviously strong local following for this band of young spunks.  The hot young local spunk who is the lead singer will have trouble keeping the groupies away. (I Willis)

There were also the more traditional music venues ranging from local hotels, restaurant and  local cafes.


There were a total 27 artists and musicians made up of solo acts, to quartets and bands.

Country artist Christie Lamb kept the crowd captivated at the Royal Hotel. Christie told tales of Nashville and her tours with big names artists between her own songs and covers. Our own Christie has performed at Tamworth Country Music Festival and toured and performed with the likes of Lee Kernoghan, Keith Urban, the Wolfe Bros and others. (I Willis)


Music genres covered a range of tastes and preferences including jazz, world music,  traditional, country, pop, to folk music.

A less traditional type of music heard in Camden in a less traditional music venue. The shopfront of Sarita's - A Collective Emporium was the stage for the traditional world music duo Vietbambooz. You have to travel a long way to see and listen to this type of traditional folk music. The music sort-of suited the venue with  classy gowns in the shop window providing an interesting backdrop for the crowd.  (I Willis) 

Artists ranged from the professional to up-and-coming music outfits.

The boys from classical music duo Antonio Aguilar being congratulated by a representative of the music organiser at the end of their music set. Traditional classical cellos played by some up-and-coming virtuosoes who might be famous one day on the international music circuit. You saw them first at Shoe Talk Camden. Some of their keenest fans were the Mums who carted their gear at the end of the set when they packed up. (I Willis)

Camden mayor Councillor Lara Symkowiak has said:
This unique festival will showcase the diverse musical performers of our area as well as the variety of venues and shops in the Camden town centre, This is an exciting opportunity to promote Camden as a cultural tourist destination for live music in the region. 
Cafe Michelles in Argyle Street was the stage for young country artists duo Theo and Bel who performed cover for the assembly. One keen fan was entranced by an Elvis cover song they performed and raved about it for days. Watch out for this up-and-coming duo in the future and you saw them here first. (I Willis)

A map showing the venues was located here, An event poster is located here,

The city-style coffee lounge and trendy bar Barenz was the stage for local country artist and songwriter Jemma Beech. Jemma regularly performs in the local area and started performing at 16 years of age. She recently toured with the country due the Sunny Cowgirls. Watch the gig guide for Barenz which is a regular performance space for local artists. (I Willis)


A full list of artists and venues is located here.

Upstairs@Freds is located in the old Whiteman's Building and was the stage for Peter McWhirter Band. Peter has been performing locally for many years and come along way. Upstairs@Freds was the brainchild of local identity Steve Wisbey and has taken up a space that faithfully restored by a former restaurant owner is a local music venue. (I Willis)

Live and Music facilitators were walking around all afternoon to make sure the venues worked well.



Facilitators interviewed some fans seeking feedback. One comment from one fan was that promoters need to advertise the event more widely.

Event organisers sponsors and road crew for Macarthur Events relax listening to Helen Perris at Upstairs@Freds. The guys looked after the sound and lighting at each stage venue in what looked like cramped and difficult circumstances. The road crew are always an essential element of any great music gig. (I Willis)

Talking around the area to those who attended the festival they were very impressed. I have heard comments like 'it is about time' and 'long overdue'. 'Great local talent'. 'The venues were great'. 'When is the next one'. Congratulations to the organisers and sponsors for a great all round effort.