Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A high rise building is not my comfort zone

from w


Sunday afternoon Peceli and I went up to Melbourne for a function at the Hilton South Wharf.  Now being country born and bred in Swan Hill - on a flat plain, not a hill, I find high-rise buildings quite daunting.  No grass, no trees, just wood and steel and glass and nineteen stories high, adjacent to that Conference Centre that I'd once visited for a World symposium on religions or some similar title.  Well, the foyer was very very dark so that people sitting in expensive but comfortable chairs were just shadows. The Aboriginal artwork - though small - adorned one wall, and one strange artwork was made of kitchen scourers.

 I decided I would walk up the stairs to our meeting room, but 'Oh no madam, your meeting is on the 16th floor. Take the lift.' Well, I absolutely freak out in lifts, but this time, just took one long deep breath and hung onto Peceli's arm. A gentleman in our group got the lift moving with an electronic key card and we went up, then down, then up again. Okay, I survived without a panic attack.  Then we were in a long corridor was a lovely symmetrical design and a red carpet.  From our meeting room the curtains were swished aside to reveal the view of Melbourne city towers and one little doll's house - the Mission to Seaman,  heritage - so it can't be altered, but redundant as the ships no longer tie up in this vicinity.  Once upon a time, my grandfather was mate on the Lock Torridon and perhaps came ashore here.The artwork at the Hilton occasionally makes reference to the shipping history - sort of - with rope artworks.

I missed the colour green, pot-plants, and human references.  The scale of that foyer and the whole building just wasn't my scene at all.  I still do not feel comfortable with high-rise nor lifts, so I"ll stick with my ground floor Californian Bungalow and wild garden even with the mud and rain.










Sunday, July 13, 2014

Game, set, match

from w
I was pleased to see an article about our Geelong East Uniting Tennis club relocating after the disaster early in the year by the Uniting Church selling off our tennis courts and clubroom.  The article in Crosslight is moderate as it should be as the head office has offered a nice cheque to help with relocating and we mustn't damage that eh! Our sons and grandsons continue to play with this club, at the new location and occasionally practice in the nearby park near the soccer ground.

Game, set, match

Geelong East Uniting Church Tennis club


When the Geelong East Uniting Church Tennis club (pictured) heard the news their beloved courts were to be sold as part of the Uniting our future process, Neil Lamond was at a loss about what to do next.
As the founder of the club, Mr Lamond has long been the backbone of the tightknit community and was determined to keep the club going.
“We’d been at the Denman Street property for 33 years,” Mr Lamond said.
“So it was a big shock – we didn’t really know what we were going to do.”
Identifying another, now disused, set of local tennis courts was the glimmer of hope the club needed.
Discussions and support from the Geelong City Council, along with a synod relocation grant, has facilitated the tennis club to move to a new location on Tanner Street in neighbouring Breakwater.
“It was a heck of a lot of hard work over a fair bit of time. But we’re here now and this is a good story of what’s happened in a divestment process that has succeeded,” Mr Lamond said.
Mr Lamond is quick to point out the efforts and support from the chairperson of the Presbytery of Port Phillip West, Rev Sani Vaeluaga, and many others in the church community who were key drivers in ensuring the future of the club.
For Mr Lamond and other members, the space is more than just a tennis club – it is an important missional link to the wider community.
“The church is changing; the church needs to get out in the world these days,” Mr Lamond said.
“We feel we have a Christian message – we’re not like most tennis clubs where winning is everything.
“We’ve got no star tennis players here but the fellowship is marvellous.
“Win or lose, our people are just happy to play.”
And go to http://listeningpost.victas.uca.org.au/geelong-east-uniting-church-tennis-club-moves
 which includes two videos.

Geelong East Uniting Church Tennis Club moves

For decades the Geelong East Uniting Church Tennis Club’s Denman Street property has provided a space for community-get-togethers, afternoon teas and of course tennis. Many in the club feel that as well as being a community tennis group, the club has long acted as a ‘church out in the world’ of significant missional value.
When the club heard the news that their courts were likely to be sold as part of the Uniting our future program, Neil Lamond was at a loss for what to do.
As the founder of the club, Mr Lamond had long been the backbone of the tightknit community. “We’d been at the Denman Street property for 33 years,” Mr Lamond said. “So it was a big shock – we didn’t really know what we were going to do.”
After the club was notified of the potential sale there were opportunities to present a case for the missional value of the club to both presbytery and the Uniting our future Project Control Group. However it was ultimately decided that the sale would go ahead.
Identifying another, disused, set of local tennis courts was the glimmer of hope the club needed. Discussions and support from the Geelong City Council, along with Uniting our future relocation funds, has since facilitated the club to move to a new location on Tanner Street in neighbouring Breakwater.
As with many church groups affected by property sales, this has been a difficult time. And despite a broad awareness of the church’s financial situation, the loss of property long associated with a sense of community is not an easy process.
“I realise the enormous debt incurred by the Uniting Church had to be paid for – we’ve done our bit towards that and I guess we’re proud of that,” Mr Lamond said. “It was just unfortunate that it had to be us.”
For Mr Lamond and other members, the club remains more than just a tennis club – it is an important missional link to the wider community.
“The church is changing; the church needs to get out in the world these days,” Mr Lamond said. “We feel we have a Christian message – we’re not like most tennis clubs where winning is everything.
“We’ve got no star tennis players here but the fellowship is marvellous.”
Mr Lamond is quick to point out the efforts and support from the chairperson of the Presbytery of Port Phillip West, Rev Sani Vaeluaga, and many others in the church community who were key drivers in ensuring the future of the club.
Mr Vaeluaga has noted that this difficult time has also presented many opportunities to partner with other community groups in a much more intentional way. As well as improving the new site, key areas of possible collaboration have been identified with neighbouring sports clubs and community groups.
“We’re looking at other way of connecting with the community and using this facility as a way of connecting and even proclaiming the Gospel. As it turns out every crisis is an opportunity to discover new things and new opportunities.”

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Hope for Osborne House

from w
There's been some concern that Osborne House might be sold to the highest bidder to be turned into a hotel or something commercial, but we are hoping that it wlll become a community arts centre.  Cheryl and others have worked hard in recent years to use the building for exhibitions and events related to art or Geelong's history. Let's hope there will be funding to make it into a viable wonderful arts centre. Already the stables of Osborne House are being used as a Maritime Museum, acknowledging the past history of association with  naval college.
Historic Osborne House could become city arts central
·         MANDY SQUIRES
·         GEELONG ADVERTISER
·         JULY 12, 2014 12:00AM


GEELONG’S historic Osborne House could be turned into a vibrant, community arts hub like Melbourne’s hugely successful Abbottsford Convent. With artists, musicians, cafes, wine bars, markets, workshops, special events and exhibitions, Abbottsford Convent attracts scores of local families and tourists both throughout the week and on weekends, all year-round.
Osborne Park Association president, Cheryl Scott, said a proposal was drafted in 2011 outlining the case for the council-owned Osborne House to be developed into an arts and social hub. Ms Scott said the Os Artz Proposal was modelled on Abbottsford Convent and the Gasworks Arts Park in South Melbourne, so named as it was originally a gas plant.
The Gasworks Arts Park, owned by the City of Port Phillip and set on eight acres, is now promoted as “a bohemian-meets-city-chic arts community”, with art studios, workshop spaces, galleries, theatres and a dog-friendly cafe.
Ms Scott said Osborne House had been mostly vacant for the past decade.
The Os Artz Proposal had “just sat on desks” of City of Greater Geelong officers, partly because of changes to the city’s mayor, then chief executive officer, she said. While small areas of the bluestone mansion were occupied by community groups, the many upstairs rooms were empty, Ms Scott said.
The council had indicated it did not want to sell the National Trust-listed Osborne House, which was the home of the Shire of Corio for 52 years before almagamation, she said.
Cowie ward councillor Eddie Kontelj had also been very supportive of the Osborne Park Association and Os Artz Proposal, 
Ms Scott said. “We would be expecting council support - absolutely - for our plan, because they are saying they are looking at an arts-led recovery for Geelong. We talked to the Mayor prior to his election and he said yes, he was in favour of the concept, and we have tried to have another meeting with him,” she said. Ms Scott said she was “surprised and disappointed” the proposal had not yet been taken up by the council.
Osborne House was almost exactly as the Shire of Corio had left it in 1993, and, besides a veranda which had been judged unsafe, the building was basically sound and serviceable, Ms Scott said.
“There is nothing the matter with it apart from it being old-fashioned. It will need some money spent on it but it doesn’t need to be in the millions of dollars,” she said. “We’re just looking at being able to house community groups on whatever basis. Artists-in-residence, artisans, we envisage there could be music and there’s already a kitchen, which needs renovating but would work for a cafe.There could be community gardens, exhibitions all the time and definitely more creative spaces for whoever wants and needs them. And we’re not just looking at Geelong, we’re looking at the whole Geelong region. Abbottsford Convent is really vibrant — we want to be like that.
“But what we’ve put in our proposal doesn’t need to be the be-all-and-end-all of it, it’s open to being developed,” Ms Scott said.
The rambling and formerly derelict Abbotsford Convent had been “saved from the clutches of developers” by a one-off $5 million grant from the former Bracks Labor Government and pledges from arts patrons including Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, she said.
It is now a major Melbourne tourist attraction and has won a swag of awards.
Osborne Park — which sits near the water’s edge in North Geelong and boasts spectacular, uninteruppted views across Corio Bay — was built in 1858 for Robert Muirhead by architects Webb and Taylor.
Cr Kontelj said the Osborne Park Association had been very patient in waiting for council to make a decision on the project. The City was keen to find an appropriate use for the property, which potentially mixed community usage and access with a commercial interest, that generated income, Cr Kontelj said. “It may well be something along the lines of the Oz Arts proposal but whether to the significance and extremes of an Abbottsford Convent, I can’t say,” Cr Kontelj said. “Certainly (council likes the idea of) having some of Osborne House accessible for community use but also having a usage there of a commercial nature - not necessarily for the sake of commercial return but more for the sake of allowing us to invest in, and maintain, the facility itself,” he said.
According to the Oz Artz Proposal, if the two story mansion was to be gradually restored and furnished to its original grandeur, it could also be opened to the public as a heritage tourist attraction.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Lions rugged up for winter

from w
Not in the Addie but in the ABC news.  Certainly our local mayor gets a lot of media coverage - with John Faines on ABC radio, on Q and R at the Gpac, and now something about the lions at the gate of his house in Drumcondra, Geelong!

Darryn Lyons' home yarn bombed: Geelong Mayor's lion statues decorated 'with love'

Updated 5 hours 17 minutes ago
Winters in Geelong can be rather cold, but the city's Mayor did not think the lions that guard his house needed rugging up.
Someone else thought otherwise.
This morning, Darryn Lyons discovered the two lion statues outside his house near Geelong's Western Beach had been "yarn bombed", complete with mayoral chains.
Yarn bombing involves stealthily covering public property - such as lamp posts, statues, trees and bike racks - with knitting.
Councillor Lyons said he did not know who was responsible for the knitted scarves, which match the mayor's pink mohawk, but he appreciated that someone had obviously put a lot of energy into it.
A note attached to one of the scarves did not give much away.
"Bombed with love - Midwinter Yarnbombers," it read.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Five versus five plus one

from w
There's plenty of hot air in the Geelong Council meeting this week when one item was voted five for, five against, then the mayor cast a vote.  It's all about that budget of $2 million for Christmas decorations - six months away from now, particularly that bling Christmas tree meant to float on the water and bring zillions of dollars to Geelong in tourism. I don't think so!  So far there's no data and as one councillor reckons, it's 'secret men's business'.

Geelong  councillors  split  on  ‘secret  men’s  business’

·         DAVID CAIRNS
·         GEELONG ADVERTISER
·         JUNE 24, 2014 11:21PM



Geelong mayor Darryn Lyons with bright pink dye in his hair and beard.
THE Geelong council is at war over the Mayor’s Christmas plan for Geelong and the need for transparency. Divisions surfaced at the council meeting last night, with accusations of secrecy, bullying, hijacking and “bonehead” strategies exchanged across the table.
At one point Cr Andy Russell quipped the budget had been put together on the back of a napkin.
Cr Michelle Heagney, who is responsible for the Central Geelong and planning portfolios, expressed frustration about an apparent lack of transparency in the council chamber, adding she found it “very concerning”.
The war erupted after Cr Jan Farrell sought to have a matter which had been placed in camera, moved into open council so it could be discussed in front of the gallery and media.
That item is understood to relate to the mayor’s vision for Christmas in Geelong, which includes expansive street lighting and an iconic, floating Christmas tree.
Cr Farrell moved that the item — listed at number 16 on the agenda — be discussed openly as no preferred supplier had been identified and the matter had been broadly discussed in public arenas previously. Cr Farrell did not reveal what the confidential item was but said she was concerned the scope of the project was being extended and that shouldn’t happen in secret.

She called the process “secret men’s business’’.  Etc etc.
---------------------
And the Age also ran the story today:

Geelong's $2m Christmas display 'wrong message' for axed workers

Date  June 25, 2014 - 2:20PM   Caroline Zielinski

 

Geelong council will spend $2 million on Christmas decorations and lighting after mayor Darryn Lyons overruled a vote for the funding details to be made public.
The decision to spend up to $500,000 on a Christmas tree and $1.5 million on a lighting display comes just weeks before hundreds of local Alcoa workers lose their jobs.
Alcoa's Geelong smelter will shut in August, with 500 jobs going. Alcoa’s rolling mills, which employ another 500, will also shut by the end of the year.
On Tuesday night councillors engaged in a fiery debate over the $2 million Christmas project for the coming festive season.
Cr Jan Farrell, who represents the Beangala Ward in Geelong, sought to defer the $2 million allocated to the Christmas tree and lighting until the project was investigated by an independent external auditor. Citing concerns - shared by five other councillors - over initial and recurring costs of the project, Cr Farrell said she disapproved of spending $2 million on Christmas decorations at a time when many Geelong families would be feeling the pinch. ‘‘I have talked to the good people of Bellarine, and they are not supportive of spending $2 million in the [Geelong] CBD on a tree and lights,’’ she said.
Cr Farrell said the initial proposal for the project stated that the tree would remain up all year and not just for the amended time of six weeks. It is understood that when Cr Farrell also moved a motion to publicly release a report regarding spending on the Christmas tree, mayor Lyons used his casting vote to keep the report confidential.
Another councillor, Andy Richards, who also voted to defer the $2 million, said it was wrong to spend $2 million on Christmas “when people are unemployed and other costs are increasing”. “It just sends all the wrong messages,” he said.  “That money could be better spent on employment invested through Enterprise Geelong, because what’s most important right now is that people have a job to put food on the table.”
Cr Richards said he had not supported the Christmas tree idea when it was first proposed to the chamber, because it was “too much money for too little result, has no business plan and no report to tell ratepayers what you get for the money”.
“The key issue in Geelong right now is jobs and employment,” he said.  
Fairfax Media tried to contact mayor Lyons several times on Wednesday, but he did not return the calls.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

How the other half live in Geelong

from w
We drive occasionally around the Bellarine Peninsular exploring roads we've never travelled before but we hadn't found this one. Campbell Point House as private property on Lake Connewarre isn't for the likes of us!  Once upon a time it was the place where Aboriginal tribes gathered.

Wow - how the other half can live - though now this fine 'French' chateau - is not a family home but a reception centre. Recently those cooks on TV used the location for a shoot. I noticed one sentence in the article.  "It's gated and very private'.  Hmmm.  Not that I'm jealous of such a house but it does seem excessive in this day and age.  Tell this to the renters in Corio and Whittington eh!


REVEALED: The luxury Leopold house that Masterchef was filmed in
·         MARGARET LINLEY  GEELONG ADVERTISER   JUNE 19, 2014 12:00AM

MASTERCHEF is a “well-oiled machine” according to Aaron Parkhill, who opened the doors of his multi-million dollar property in Leopold for Thursday’s episode of the program.
And as viewers of MasterChef will notice, Campbell Point House is no ordinary home.“You would be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful location anywhere in the world,” Mr Parkhill said.He estimates he has spent more than $10 million on Campbell Point House, a 150sqm French-styled chateau he designed himself and had built on 16 hectares “It’s at least that, but I really have no idea,” he said. “If I had more (money) I’d spend it.”Mr Parkhill is the nephew of Frank Lowy, of Westfield fame, a man who was last year nominated Australia’s second richest man (BRW Rich 200).He said he was happy to oblige when one of the MasterChef producers came asking for use of the property to film in March.

.“It was one of the most spectacular days here,’’ Mr Parkhill said.“They were here at 6am and set up the time lapse cameras. I can’t wait to see the show. It’s really going to highlight how beautiful this region is.”
Campbell Point House belies its youth; only six years old, it looks established and settled, as though it has been there on the edge of Lake Connewarre for much longer.
Mr Parkhill, his wife Meg Blackhall and three children were living in Sydney when he found the land on Lake Connewarre for his indulgence.“I knew I wanted to the children to go to school in Geelong and it was a big enough city,” he said. “This area here feels like a secret.”

Built as the family home, but of such grand proportions that the entire family felt itself drawn together living in the master suite, it took only three years before the family pulled the plug and left to live in a waterfront apartment in Geelong.“It didn’t work out with young children,” he said. “We needed somewhere we could all be on the same level. My wife thought it was a nightmare.”

The property has a host of features including a fully-self-contained pool house with a red cedar sauna, championship grass tennis court, private jetty, helipad.The house itself has five exceptionally large bedrooms, a huge cigar room, billiards room, enormous dining room, conservatory and a multitude of features not immediately apparent (the house crest etched into marble fireplaces, for instance)

.It’s gated and very private.

To see more of Campbell Point House, check out campbellpointhouse.com.au

It's a beautiful world

from w
National Geographic has always produced stunning photos and at present there's a competition out there for ordinary people to send in their photos I do like this one 'Here's to looking at you kid' or whatever you like to call it. And check out some of the other photos with the link below.  I read this in today's Geelong Advertiser but I do get updates from National Geographic as email.

Incredible photos from the National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest ESCAPE    JUNE 19, 2014 12:00AM

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What a fun thing to do on a train

from w
Saw this article in the midnight ABC news.  Sounds like a great idea.  Getting other people in on the drawing is excellent and must certainly be an ice-breaker.

VLine train art project Transit puts train passengers' creative talents on display

Updated 3 hours 51 minutes ago
An artist's regular train commutes in England and Victoria inspired a new exhibition set to roll into the Bendigo Station.
Transit, by Julie Andrews, is comprised of black-and-white sketches by passengers on V/Line trains.
"In England I did a lot of travel on trains, and I found there's a space with that that I find really useful for creativity," the Bendigo-based artist said.
"When I started studying in Melbourne I'd be taking the train and drawing, and people would be watching and we'd always end up having conversations - really meaningful conversations."
It's quite relaxing actually. It made the trip go quickly.
Sarah Archard, passenger
For the past two months, Mrs Andrews has been asking complete strangers to sketch for her.
People of all ages and abilities are encouraged to pick up a pen and clipboard and have a go.
Sarah Archard and her children took up the challenge and found it a great way to ride from Bendigo to Melbourne.
"It's quite relaxing actually. It made the trip go quickly," Ms Archard said.
"It's excellent. It's not something you'd normally do because spare time is lacking in everyone's lives at the moment."

Sketching connects train passengers, alone together

Commuter Marie Belfield said the sketches offered a deeply personal insight to the artist.
"It's like looking inside of people and seeing a different life," Ms Belfield told the ABC.
"You see a sort of secret life of people when you're looking at their drawings you get an insight into a person's secret life through their drawings.
"You can't really tell what people are like when you talk to them. You don't really know what's going on inside but the drawing will reveal another layer of them."
Mrs Andrews agrees.
"Someone said to me on a train: 'It's a funny space where we are alone together'."
Mrs Andrew has been running the program about two days a week on a variety of off-peak V/Line trains.
She said she can have up to 30 passengers drawing on any day.
Sketch contributors will be rewarded at the end of the exhibition by being able to keep a work of their choice.
"At the closing we look around and we choose a drawing that resonates with us as an anonymous gift from one traveller to another. It's a way of connecting," Mrs Andrews said.
Transit will open at Bendigo Station on Monday, following a recent exhibition of sketches in Melbourne.
The Transit project will continue until October.
First posted 3 hours 58 minutes ago