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.


Saturday, 10 June 2017

Menangle (Camden Park) Gate Lodge


Menangle (Camden Park) Gate Lodge c2009 (MPHM)


Menangle Gate Lodge has historical significance as one of the pair of gate lodges built by the Macarthur Onslows for the Camden Park Estate.

Today (together with the lodge at the entrance near Camden) provides evidence of the former extent of the estate (one of the most significant colonial properties in Australia) as well as demonstrating the architectural embellishments thought appropriate to large estates in the late 19th century. 

The building also has aesthetic significance as an attractive and largely intact example of a "Arts and Crafts" style estate cottage in the region and also for its associations with the architectural firm of Sulman & Power, which designed many buildings on the estate and in the adjacent Menangle Village.

The cottage's aesthetic qualities are further enhanced by its attractive rural setting and siting adjacent to the remains of the original Estate gates and driveway.

The Gate Lodge is a single storey weatherboard cottage with a hipped and gabled tiled roof and brick chimneys, one of which has a decorative patterned brick base. 

The gables have timber battening and the north gable covers a small porch with timber lattice work and frieze, while the eastern gable projects on brackets. 

Beneath the east gable is a corbelled bay window with a small panel at the top. The doors have small pane transom lights. The three panel, half-glazed front door is off a small porch at the south east corner. 

On the gables are plaques bearing (different) coats of arms and the mottos "FESTINA LENTE" (to the east) and "FIDE ET OPERA" (to the north). 

One of these plaques was moved from the gate lodge at the other entry to Camden Park. The property still retains a large part of the original picket fence but this is being renewed.
There is a fibro extension to the rear (south west), the original verandah flooring was replaced (20 November 1990) and other maintenance items include: fibro replaced on northern lattice enclosed porch, roof re-tiled and fence renewed.


From 'The Menangle News' Volume 19, No 9, December 2009.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

NSW politicians terrified of heritage says National Trust heritage expert

'We are terrified of heritage or at least people in power', says Dr Clive Lucas president of the National Trust of Australia (NSW) last  Friday (28 April, 2017) on ABC Radio Mornings with Wendy Harmer.

Dr Lucas said that 'parklands, natural landscape, historic buildings' in the Sydney area were under threat.
St John's Church built in the 1840s and funded by the Macarthur family has recently been the subject of controversy around selling part of the curtilage  around the church (2016, I Willis)


The conversation discussed the view that Sydneysiders to not engage with an issue until it is going particularly around history and heritage. Wendy Harmer made the point that people in UK are keen supporters of historic buildings and the British National Trust.

Clive Lucas pointed out a number of current disputes around heritage St John's church at Camden, Thompson Square at Windsor and building a swimming pool in Parramatta Park.

One current controversy around heritage in NSW revolves around the Sirius Building in The Rocks in Sydney

Sirius Building in The Rocks in currently threat of demolition by the NSW State Government and is part of 1970s Sydney heritage (2016 Wikimedia)


What is it about heritage matters that frightens people in power?

What is the bogey man of heritage?

This blog attracts lots of views to posts about heritage matters from the Old Milk Depot to St John church in Camden. These heritage posts are usually about threats to heritage.

People sometime do not see heritage value in an historic item until there is a threat to its destruction, or a change in its status, or a change in its surroundings.

Often the fear of heritage matters on buildings is down to laziness of design. New developments in heritage precincts demand creative solutions that are too hard for some. There is a need for imagination and flair. Rather than development at least cost or a race to the bottom.

Vandalism by neglect is another issue in heritage areas. Some owners and developers of heritage properties hope that they will burn down or all down.

View of Argyle Street in the 1940s which remains largely unchanged in over 50 years and in now part of the Camden Town Centre Conservation Area (Camden Images)


Many older buildings have particular problems that new buildngs do not have. In the 1800s there was no running water, no sewerage to the house, no electricity, no internet, or no reticulated gas.

There can be issues using traditional trades that have largely been replaced by mass produced building materials, particularly in areas like plumbing, brickwork, plastering, carpentry, stone masonry, and others. It is easier to demolish a heritage building and start a new building from a clean slate. It can be difficult to retro fit modern services in old buildings, but with patience and persistence it can be done.

But heritage is more than old buildings.

Endangered Cumberland Plain Woodland  is part of the natural heritage of Western Sydney area (I Willis)


So what is heritage?

Historian Graeme Davison defines heritage in The Oxford Companion to Australian History as ‘inherited customs, beliefs and institutions held in common by a nation or community’ and more recently has expanded to include ‘natural and ‘built’ landscapes, buildings and environments’.

Heritage is made up of (1) natural heritage of environmental value like the Cumberland Plain Woodland and (2) cultural heritage which is man made or built heritage, like built up urban areas.

Heritage has a number of values depending on the type of heritage matter (1) intrinsic value (2) genetic diversity (3) historic value (4) uniqueness or rarity (5) utility value

Reasons for threat to heritage items (1) development (2) demolition or destruction (3) change of surroundings or setting (4) change its usage or status

Royal Hotel in Argyle Street Camden which was demolished in 1973 to make way for another a tavern on the site and is part of Camden's lost cultural heritage  (E Kernohan, 1970, Camden Images)


In New South Wales heritage is defined under the Heritage Act 1977 (NSW) and in the legislation is means

those places, buildings, works, relics, moveable objects, and precincts, of state or local heritage significance.

So what is significance?

In New South Wales for an item to be considered important and significant it must meet three of the following criteria for the Heritage Council and consideration for the State Heritage List :
 a) an item is important in the course, or pattern, of NSW’s cultural or natural history;
b) an item has strong or special association with the life or works of a person, or group of persons, of importance in NSW’s cultural or natural history;
c) an item is important in demonstrating aesthetic characteristics and/or a high degree of creative or technical achievement in NSW;
d) an item has strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group in NSW for social, cultural or spiritual reasons;
e) an item has potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of NSW’s cultural or natural history;
f) an item possesses uncommon, rare or endangered aspects of NSW’s cultural or natural history;
g) an item is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a class of NSW’s - cultural or natural places; or - cultural or natural environments.  
Outside of New South Wales heritage is a matter for concern. Andrew Wilson from Bradford University states:
Our present is intrinsically bound up with our past, our sense of identity shaped and moulded by the cultural legacies of our forebears. That’s why organisations such as UNESCO exist to protect the cultural heritage of the world for current and future
generations.

Cultural heritage plays a key part in the quality of our lives, building our sense of identity, proving a rallying point around which we build social cohesion and pride in a shared heritage.
Stonehenge England UNESCO World Heritage Site  (Wikimedia)


Stories from the UK might throw some light on why heritage protection can be poison for some cities and their politicians  Aylin Orbasli from Oxford Brookes University provides a note of caution around urban development process in World Heritage Listed Sites in Edinburgh. She states:

.
Edinburgh’s UNESCO World Heritage Site status has been the subject of several negative news stories lately. David Black in the Guardian called for the city to be stripped of its status for having a cavalier approach to development, while leading Edinburgh architect Lorn Macneal said that the status is an obstacle to allowing historic homes to evolve in the way that they have for hundreds of years.
The Scottish Government, like New South Wales, want to sell off historic buildings. David Black in the Guardian states that the World Heritage declaration for parts of Edinburgh has:
been an unmitigated disaster, and we’d have been better of without it.
Black maintains that heritage tourism is worth annually £1.6bn to the Scottish and city economy and yet he maintains that the city undervalues if historic heritage. He wants to know why the 'power that be' want to 'trash' that heritage.

Edinburgh Clockwise from top-left: View from Calton Hill, Old College, Old Town from Princes Street, Edinburgh Castle, Princes Street from Calton Hill UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Wikimedia)

More than this Scottish conservation architect Lorn MacNeal has stated that Edinburgh is blighted by heritage and its planning system. He went on that
any alterations proposed for historic homes are automatically blocked by city planners, leaving the properties “blighted” by their listed status and unable to be turned into “workable”, modern accommodation.
A 2012 Report on World Heritage Listing in Liverpool threatened to de-list the city, and was a wake up call to city politicians to re-consider their decision around some new city development proposals. These events have been put down to the view that: (1) there are few benefits from the WHS listing; (2) there is poor understanding of the sites WHS listed; (3) there is poor understanding of the value of the WHS listed sites. While these problems were acknowledged the report was considered an opportunity to re-assess the social and cultural aspects of a World Heritage Listing in totality for the city.

Heritage issues created controversy in Dresden Germany and were of seemingly little concern to the local population.

Liverpool Pier Head, with the Royal Liver Building, Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool Building UNESCO World Heritage Site (Wikimedia)


It seems really bizarre that the current batch of NSW political decision makers are considered to be terrified of heritage rules and regulations that they control. It is as if the politicians are frozen by inaction.

The supporters of  neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism amongst NSW politicians act as though they want to destroy the past, they act as if they are ashamed of what has happened before. Do neo-liberals want a clean slate with a new beginning and treat the past as if it never existed?

Hyde Park Barracks, Macquarie Street, Sydney, Australia. UNESCO World Heritage Site (Wikimedia)


Heritage is essential for place making, maintaining a sense of place, and strengthening community identity, and for a robust and sustainable community. The well-being and resilience of communities is determined by their place making process and their ability to retain their identity and sense of place. This needs decision makers who take account of heritage matters and cultural, social and environmental processes that contribute to the historic landscape and the general well-being of these societies.



Monday, 1 May 2017

Anarchism and libertarianism is alive and kicking in Newtown with lots of great posters

Anarchism and libertarism is alive and kicking  in Newtown  with lots of great posters in an around the King Street precinct.



This blogger spotted a host of anarchist posters at various locations in the King Street precinct of Newtown.



It is good to see that rebellion and revolution has not died out under the weight of neo-liberalism or neo-conservatism.



For the uninitiated anarchism is, according to Wikipedia,  a political philosophy that advocates self-governed societies based on voluntary institutions.



Anarchists believe that the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful. There are few capitalist entrepreneurs who would agree with this position.

Another term to describe an anarchist is libertarian, and there are some self-styled libertarians in Federal Parliament. 



The birth of anarchism appears around the French Revolution and the first 19th century philosopher to label themselves anarchist was Frenchman Pierre-Joseph Proudhon.

The Newtown anarchist want to smash capitalism and re-invent the world.



The birth of anarchism can be traced to the 6th century BC and the influence of Taoism. Modern anarchism emerges from the influence of the Enlightenment.

The want-a-be nationalists, neo-liberalism and neo-cons would have you believe that they rule the world.

It is refreshing to see that pluralism is alive and well in the Australian democracy. That the other side still get a go.



It is wonder the neo-cons haven't spat-their-collective-dummies and chucked a wabbly and declared war on Newtown.

Maybe all the Newtown anarchists are just blow-ins in sheep's clothing.

What-ever the situation Australia it is good to see that there still freeeeeee speeeeeech in this country.