Saturday, 19 August 2017

Family day at the Australian PlantBank

As part of National Science Week the Australian PlantBank at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan held the Plant Bank Party.

This family focused activity encouraged visitors to explore the mysteries of seeds, rainforests, rocks, reptiles, flowers, insects and botanical drawing.

The PlantBank Party was promoted as activities and games that would keep the kids interested and intrigued.


The Australian PlantBank entrance at the Australian Botanic Gardens at Mount Annan in 2017 (ABG)

On his visit to the PlantBank Party this blogger found a host of things to keep the visitor intrigued and interested. Professional staff were on hand to help the inquiring mind of grown-ups and little-grown-ups with answers to a host of questions.

The Australian PlantBank
The Royal Botanic Garden website states
The Australian PlantBank is a science and research facility of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust and is located at the Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan. It houses the Trust's seedbank and research laboratories that specialise in horticultural research and conservation of Australian native plant species, particularly those from New South Wales.
Some of the furry friends on display at the PlantBank Party for families at the Australian PlantBank at the Australian Botanic Gardens at Mount Annan (I Willis)

Back-of-lab tour

The grown ups and littlies had the opportunity to do a back-of-lab tour which entered areas off-limits to ordinary visitors. Our expert guide took the visitor through the seed preparation area and sorting areas.

Our guide explained the ins-and-outs of collecting seeds in the field. We all had a look through a microscope at some acacia seeds. They look different up close.

Different seeds have different protection and can be hard to germinate. Some are triggered by bushfires and the lab has to copy the conditions of a bushfire.

The mysteries of mechanical seed sorting were demonstrated and shown how much time and energy it saves. Manual sifting is no fun and very slow.

The visitors looked through the heavily insulated tripled glazed window, (and they are 4-hour rated fire proofing as well) into the area of the cool room (4 degrees) and cold room (-20 degrees). Here the seeds are kept for years, sometimes decades.

Some of the thoughts for visitors to consider at the Australian PlantBank ABG (I Willis)


The tour then looked into the x-ray seed facility and finally back along the corridor to the plant-tissue culture room for preservation of plants where seeds cannot be preserved, eg, rainforest seeds.

Occasionally the seeds in storage are brought and propagated in the nursery out-the-back of the laboratories.

The nursery area had a scrumptious sausage sizzle run by the Macarthur Centre for Sustainable Living for the hungry.

 Activities

There were lots of activities for kids and big-kids. Doing  a botanical drawing while looking at the original is harder than you might think.

Big-kids had the opportunity to ask tricky questions of the experts on hand - propagation, pollination, ecologist, germination, and lots of others.


Visitor promotion at the Australian PlantBank ABG 2017 (I Willis)


Why is the Australian PlanBank important?

The website states
The Australian PlantBank brings together, under one roof, seed and living plant collections that form a resource for identification, research and restoration of Australian plants. The main function of the Australian PlantBank, through its science activities, will be to document the biology of species through studies in the field, the laboratory and in cultivation. It will therefore enhance other conservation initiatives as it will provide a unique function as the repository of regenerative material and the associated knowledge.

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Friday, 18 August 2017

Preview of Alan Baker Art Collection

In July 2017 there was a preview of Alan Baker Art Collection at the Tegel Gallery at Cobbitty.

This is the invitation to the preview of the Alan Baker Collection at the Tegel Gallery, Cobbitty in July 2017. The painting used on the invitation is Alan Baker's Lady in Pink (Marjorie). Marjories was Alan's wife.
Work is coming along on the new Alan Baker Art Gallery that is going to be located in the iconic Italianate style Macaria in John Street Camden. The building is currently surrounded by scaffolding and a construction safety fence. The original chimney's are being replaced by the heritage construction company doing the restoration work. They are currently on view at the Camden Museum.




Roger Percy with latest promotional material for the Alan Baker Art Gallery at Macaria at the Tegel Gallery Cobbitty preview of the Alan Baker Collection in July 2017. Behind Roger is the Alan Baker's portrait of Majorie Alan's wife. (I Willis)

There will 77 works by Camden artist Alan Baker (1914-1987) on loan from Max Tegel and Garry Baker, Alan's son, dating from the 1930s to the 1980s.

The gallery will have themed rooms around commercial artist, still life, flowers, portraits and landscapes.

Macaria will also house the Camden Art Prize Collection for care, storage and management.

Roger Percy spoke at the Camden Historical Society on the plans for Macaria in April 2017. He outlined the progress of the project and the conceptual design of the interior and how the art works might be displayed around the walls.

It is anticipated that the gallery will open later in 2017.

The gallery will looking for a friends of the gallery and is looking for volunteers.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Out and about in Cootamundra

The HN blogger was out and about in Cootamundra recently in the New South Wales Riverina. The town has been immortalised in the song 'Cootamundra Wattle' by John Williamson where he sings about the flowers in July.

The Post Office on the corner of Cooper and Wallendoon Streets Cootamundra designed by the Colonial Architect James Barnet in 1880  (I Willis 2017)

The town was originally settled in the 1860s when gold was first discovered in the area.
The post office building shown here was designed by colonial architect James Barnet in 1880. The Australian Heritage Database describes it
The building reflects well the characteristics of Victorian Italianate architecture and its clocktower is a superb focal point in the town centre. The building is two storey and built of face brick with stucco dressings and stucco to the tower. Decoration includes stucco to window arches, and imposts and cornices; there is a dentil course to the eaves of the main roof and across the tower. A verandah has an iron roof and paired timber posts. The building's main roof is hipped and clad with corrugated iron. Of four storeys, the clocktower is the post office's major feature.
The town centre is an interesting place to wander around and the HN blogger discovered this Art Deco Style shopfront in Wallendoon Street near the Post Office in the Norfolk Building.

The Art Deco Style shopfront from the Interwar period is located in the Norfolk Building in Wallendoon Street near the Post Office. 2017 (I Willis)

The Norfolk Building that the shopfront is located in is dated 1889.


The Norfolk Building with Art Deco Style shopfront in Wallendoon Street near Post Office 2017 (I Willis)

The Norfolk Building is listed on the Cootamundra Heritage Inventory as a building of local significance under the 2013 Cootamundra Local Environment Plan Heritage Schedule. The heritage inventory lists over 140 buildings of interest in the town area.

The Cootamundra Herald (14 July 2014) reports:
Plans for the building were drawn up by his brother in law, architect TD Morrow.  Mr Burgess purchased the land on which the shops stand from the then Bank of Australasia (now Custom Accounting). The construction was completed in October of 1899, with locally-sourced labour carrying out the majority of the work. Falconer Bros made the bricks and they were laid by Ford Bros (although the contractors were named as Sorenson & Ramburg of Sydney). McBeath & Co supplied the timber. Plasterer was Mr Grinrod and T Fisher did the painting, while GH Bundock asphalted the front footpath.


Learn more about Cootamundra: 

Cootamundra Heritage Inventory 2013 LEP

Australian Heritage Database Cootamundra Post Office

Norfolk Building Cootamundra Herald 14 July 2014

Learn more about Cootamundra  at Australian Heritage

Out and about in Yass

The HN blogger was out and about recently and called into Yass, NSW.

Yass is about 280 south-west of Sydney on the route of the Old Hume Highway. The site for the town was gazette in 1837.[4] Yass was incorporated as a District Council in 1843, and boasted a population of 274 by 1848.


The former Australian Arms Inn Comur Street Yass built 1862 (I Willis 2017)

One of the buildings in Comur Street, the main street, is the Australian Arms Inn built in 1862 as an inn. 



Commemorative plaque on the former Australian Arms Inn in Comur Street Yass b.1862 (I Willis, 2017)

The building is listed on the Yass Valley 2013 Local Environment Plan Heritage Inventory. 

Learn more

Yass Valley 2013 LEP Heritage Inventory

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Thomas Walker Convalescent Hospital

Out at Concord located in Sydney's inner west is the magnificent of the school Rivendell, the former Thomas Walker Memorial Hospital for Convalescents. It was recently open for inspection by the City of Canada Bay Heritage Society.


Main building of the Thomas Walker Convalescent Hospital 2017 Open Day (I Willis)

The heritage society organise regular open days to continually raise public awareness of this heritage icon.

The Heritage Council of NSW states:
The Thomas Walker Convalescent Hospital is situated in the Municipality of Concord on the Parramatta River bounded by Brays Bay and Yaralla Bay. It is a large complex on a large park-like riverside estate, with extensive and prominent landscape plantings, making it a landmark along the river.

Opened in 1893 patients were taken from Circular Quay to the Watergate at the front of the complex on the Parramatta River. The landing stage was a pontoon that went up and down with the tide. A bridge connected the pontoon to the Watergate.

Watergate at the Thomas Walker Convalescent Hospital Concord 2017 Open Day (I Willis) 


The convalescent hospital was constructed from a bequest of 100,000 pounds from the will of businessman and politician Thomas Walker who died in 1886. Walker was a philanthropist, member of the legislative council and director of the Bank of New South Wales.

The executors of Walker's will announced a design competition in 1888 for a convalescent hospital. Architect John Kirkpatrick won the design competition although criticized for being overly expensive.

In 1889 architectural commission was given to Sydney architects Sulman and Power. The building cost 150,000 pounds with additional funds coming from other family members and supporters.

Between 1943 and 1946 the hospital was managed by the Red Cross with control then passing to Perpetual Trustees.

The hospital complex

The main hospital building is Queen Anne Federation style  with a four-storey clock tower at the centre. There is classical ornamentation. On either side of the main building are two wings containing cloisters.

The hospital complex is based on a pavilion basis, with each pavilion to retain its functional integrity with the central block for administration and service blocks either side. There are 8 buildings in the complex.

Impressive entry vestibule in the main building at the Thomas Walker Convalescent Hospital Concord 2017 Open Day (I Willis) 


The main building is two storey with a three storey tower over the main entrance, an impressive vestibule, and an entertainment hall for 300 people. There is sandstone detail throughout inside and out.

The Sulman buildings have elaborately shaped exposed rafter ends, Marseilles pattern terracotta roof tiles and crafted brickwork.

Covered walkway from main building at the Thomas Walker Convalescent Hospital Concord 2017 Open Day (I Willis)


The History of Sydney website states:
The building’s symmetrical design originally divided it into male and female sides. It includes two enclosed courtyards, a concert hall and a recreation hall which is supposed to be highly decorated. It is of the first known buildings to make use of “cavity walls” for insulation and protection against Sydney’s hot climate.

Complex roof line showing Marseilles pattern terracotta roof tiles of main building Thomas Walker Convalescent Hospital 2017 Open Day (I Willis)

Significance of hospital complex

The NSW heritage inventory states:
The hospital is important because it reflects Florence Nightingale's influence on 19th century convalescent hospital design principles and their adoption into Australian architecture.

The Estate is a rare surviving late 19th century major institution of a private architect's design in Australia and is John Sulman's finest work in this country.

The grounds of the hospital are of national heritage signficance as an intact example of Victorian/Edwardian institutional gardens which have maintained an institution throughout their whole existence.

Some of the crowd in the reception entertainment hall at Thomas Walker Convalescent Hospital Concord 2017 Open Day (I Willis)

Monday, 24 July 2017

Music at a Sydney House Concert Goes Hmmm....


Things That Make You Go Hmm...
a Sydney House Concert


The CHN blogger was out and about in Newtown recently and attended a house concert put on by the I Heart Songwriting Club.

Add caption


A group of musos performed in a lounge room tucked away in a corner with around 20 people ranging from children to oldies. Sitting on lounges, chairs and on the polished wooden floor with greenery displayed in the floor-to-ceiling windows behind them. 

What a knockout show in a small and intimate venue, as opposed to a noisy pub somewhere.
The music was delivered with soul and warmth.  It spoke to the heart on a Sunday afternoon in the intimate surroundings.

The intimate surroundings of the Newtown House Concert for the I Heart Songwriting Club in July 2017 with performer Mariamma, (Francesca de Valence)


The domestic space certainly beat  the hell out of the huge souless barns that pass as music venues in some places.  The interval was an opportunity to have nibbles, cheese and dip, meet the musos and make  new friends in a truly warm and welcoming environment.


House concerts are an emerging trend in music performance and hark back to the days of chamber music. A look back at how live acoustic music was performed in earlier times. When a grand house provided a library, a parlour, a ballroom for music in the raw uncut version. At a time when there was no amplification or recording. All music was live and of the moment.


Friends and fans of the I Heart Songwriting Club in lounge room of the host at the Newtown House Concert in July 2017. (Francesca de Valence)

Graham Strahle reviewed the house concert scene in Australia in 2016 for Music Australia and came to the conclusion that this performance space is growing in Australia. He maintains that this type of performance is flying under the radar and is growing popularity.

Strahle reports that some artists prefer house concerts over other types of venues with a range of organising abilities. Performers relish the networking possibilities. This is very community based and a new interpretation of an old idea.

Some who provide performance spaces in their homes have dedicated rooms while providing supper or even meals for patrons and fans. These type of performances seem quite informal and not on regular circuits.

House concerts have proved popular in North America and Europe. Fran Snyder, writes that house concerts in the US, bring performers closer to the fans and
sometimes they even help artists rediscover what they enjoy most about playing music – the intimate connection with an audience.
Snyder makes the point that it allows performances in
'markets where you don’t have a significant fanbase'. 

This mode of delivery is not for all and there are disadvantages. The performer is exposed and there is no hiding behind a loop-track or a huge drum kit. It may not be for the faint hearted.
ABC News reports that attendances are falling at regional music festivals and that this type of performance is replacing them. Allowing fans to cheaply access high quality live music.
House concerts, according to Megan King, in the northern rivers area of  NSW are held in old houses with metal house ceilings that provide an ideal acoustic venue.
The house concert is another form of the 'pop-up' economy - a part of the gig-economy.The advent of social media makes the job of creating a network of friends and fans reasonably easy. In the old days it was only word of mouth. Private email groups and the like provide the vehicle for cheap and easy promotion. 
WH Chong writes that house concerts are
intimate, convivial gatherings in a domestic space.
Wikipedia has an interesting history of house concerts maintaining that their origins are based around the performance of folk, blues and country music. Where live performances were traditionally informal and small affairs at low cost. There are even influences going back to the medieval period with small intimate performances of unamplified music. You could argue that live performance goes back to the ancients and were a form of house concert, especially those based around religious festivals and the like.

The performers from the I Heart Songwriting Club at the Newtown House Concert in July 2017 (Francesca de Valence) 

"Things That Make You Go Hmm"
The CHN blogger concurs with all the conclusions of other writers after experiencing this type of performance for the first time.
After a hugely successful Brisbane show, I Heart Songwriting Club is touring "Things That Make You Go Hmm" and held  house concert in Sydney. The theme of the Sydney house concert was:
These incredible women share stories and songs on:
The dangerous powers of seduction
The sudden absence of love
The elusive nature of time
and… of course, being a stalker …. “Things That Make You Go Hmm..."
All the artists that who performed for the Heart Songwriting Club were singer-songwriters who were storytellers in their own right and told a story through their music. The performers were:
Francesca de Valence,
Helen Perris,
Colleen O'Connell
Mariamma,
Issabird

House concerts are a form of performance that seems likely to a strong future if current trends are any guide.

Learn more

Graham Strahle, Under the radar: Australia’s house concert scene (Music Australia)

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 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. 

There 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 for 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 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 the Cumberland 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.