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