Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Graffiti in Hosiery Lane

from w
Yesterday I walked through Hosiery Lane (once this area was the hub of the tailoring trade in Melbourne) to look at the walls of graffiti. An amazing place. It was totally empty of people at first until two school boys wandered through with their cameras. It is near Federation Square, between Swanston Street and Collins Street. This morning I added colour to the drawing I posted yesterday of the tiwi Aboriginal sculptures.

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Looking around Federation Square

from w
Today was a train trip up to Melbourne to meet Penny and look at art galleries in Federation Square. We looked at Aboriginal art, the Brown Collection, weird and wonderful sculpture and extraordinary clothes, then lunch in a gale at Southbank. Thank you Penny and John for the beaut time together.

The drawings above are of part of a sculpture and window view, and some of the Tiwi sculptures. I'll work on the drawings of the day and post some others later. I really liked the Clothes for Modern Lovers by Katie Pye whose designs can be seen on her website.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Through a glass darkly

from w
Not very successful at drawing today - I sat at a cafe table overlooking the Little Malop Street Mall and a side street. Drew with pencils and a biro first. Later as I watcheda the TV news, I added colour. Later again, I made pictures that only exist on file, manipulated using Photo edit. To use this original drawing I probably need to add people to provide a story. Young people often meet in the Mall, sit on the pavement and at night it is not always a safe place.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

goodbye church, goodbye manse

from w
Isa lei, another one bites the dust. This lovely old timber home with five bedrooms and very pretty leadlight, built a hundred years ago, is the St Andrews manse. What are they thinking? It's for auction next Saturday and they expect $700,000 because it's 5 minutes walk frm the centre of Geelong and a good location for a doctor's practice, not far from two hospitals. Okay, times are changing but...

Peceli and I have spent many hours visiting the neighbouring minister there - who for many years was part of the East Geelong Uniting Church parish team. Our manse was a block away. Every week we used to visit Alex and Bernice Hodgson for a cuppa and chat, and more recently I joined a Marcus Borg book study group there with another minister. Alas, now St Andrew's does not have a minister, but an interim lay pastor with his own house, but eventually they will need another manse - though not for $770,000!

I went to the inspection half-hour today and drew two of the leadlight windows as several families wandered through the house - potential buyers. The price is not in my league but the property guy didn't mind me standing in the hallway sketching with watercolour pencils!

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trees standing tall

from w
I must do some more sketches this weekend, perhaps of the men at work in our street holding up Stop signs. Meanwhile here are two pictures - not happy with the use of a blue feltpen for the pine trees on the hill, and my usual twisted eucalyptus tree, this time in the suburb of Herne Hill. I must not rush like a bull at a gate when I draw. I grab any coloured pen instead of stopping, looking, thinking what is appropriate!


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A busy day in Geelong

from w
Yesterday was chockablock with things to do in order to get Peceli on that Air Pacific plane in time to go to Fiji. Check in time about 9 p.m. at Tullamarine airport.

Firstly in the morning we had to check email, read the Fiji news about the nurses strike, shop for coffee, Milo, chocolate for Peceli to pack, take 'March of the Penguins' DVD back, shift four mattresses back to the Donation in Kind depot - borrowed to help a family with a bereavement and visitors, then two hours sorting books for a container, buy 'All Those Bright Crosses' by Ross Farrell (partly set in Fiji), visit two op-shops to top up our cases of clothes to give away, my writing group for two hours in a distant suburb of Geelong,(Peceli had banking to do and mowing the lawn etc. so I caught a bus), check the mail - a one day turnaround to receive a book from Lonely Planet - Fijian Phrasebook, buy little fishes and cook for dinner, drink kava for five people for an hour, give a $500 cheque to treasurer of our Fiji group (a govt grant), repay a friend who'd bought Peceli's air ticket on the internet, find another case for three more bags of clothes brought at 7 p.m.,(now there were three suitcases and two small bags!) drive to the airport,check in worried about the weight of the luggage, coffee, and say goodbye. Oilei! Arrive back in Geelong before midnight, then start reading 'All Those Bright Crosses'.

There was one unexpected Good Samaritan incident though. As I was walking from a bus-stop to my writing friend's house, I heard a weak 'Help me! coming from a garden. An elderly woman had fallen face down on a cement verandah. She could not get up and had been there some time. Should I lift her up or get an ambulance? She was middle size, not too heavy, but what if I did damage? I'm not a nurse. She said she hadn't broken any bones. I rolled her onto her side, then helped her to sit, get her bearings and shuffle to put her feet down two steps. The door was locked so I found the keys on the ground and I said I would ring a relative. I'm okay she said, just stand me up. It was an effort but I got her up and she held onto me and a pole. We got inside and I moved a chair for her near the phone. Her daughter did not answer. So what do I do next? She said there was no-one else to call. She would wait there and ring again. I left then, took her name, and promised to check two hours later. Well, I glanced into her yard later and there was a car in the drive, so her daughter had turned up. What a strange experience but I was thankful that I had been walking past. She might have stayed on the cement all day! In Geelong and other Australian cities and town, many elderly people live alone and this can happen easily. Okay, that's my good for the day. Pat on the back!

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Monday, July 23, 2007

A birthday on the 21st

from Peceli,
Last Saturday night, Wendy and a friend, Carol,and I went to Smorgies Restaurant for my birthday. It's a popular family restaurant at the end of Cunningham Pier in Geelong, very noisy but with lots of varieties of food. Eat as much as you like. After that we came home to drink kava.

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Should a church be recycled as an office?

from w
The old St Giles Presbyterian Church was sold a few decades ago when the church members joined the Uniting Church. It's bluestone, solid, and was recycled as a restaurant (I think) then as a nightclub (which I wasn't happy about at all and the owner eventually lost his license because there was a lot of trouble) and now it's been painted white inside and divided into spaces for three offices. No 3 at 74 Gheringhap Street Geelong is on sale for $850,000!

Should a building dedicated as a church be recycled into offices, a night-club, a house? Maybe, maybe not. I don't think it would ever happen in a place like Fiji!

The Shenton church, formerly Methodist, also became redundant a few years ago and it was sold to become the Performing Arts Centre for the Geelong High School. Well, we lived next door for nine years and I was happy about that as the school had been using the old halls etc. for many many years. Our old manse even went to the High School - the five bedrooms converted into music studios. Way to go!

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Orchid buds now opened

from w
Maybe it was the overheating in the lounge room but it only took three days for the buds of the orchid to open out. I used pencils for the new sketch.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Bye bye American Pie as Ford guts Geelong's plant

from w
Yesterday was a sad day for Geelong with the announcement by Ford. The Geelong Advertiser today as well as many Australian papers ran the lead story of the Ford factory in Geelong being closed down in three years. Australia is losing so much of its secondary industry. This is a bad day for Geelong as the knock-on effect will mean about 3000 jobs will go. Already 15,000 workers from Geelong commute to Melbourne each day for work as our city runs out of work options.

Bye, bye American pie: Ford sacks 600 workers
Jeff Whalley

Long-time Ford employee Susie Baykiz was among the hundreds of employees coming to grips with yesterday's announcement. FORD is gutting the city's iconic engine plant and sacking 600 workers.

Confirming the worst-held fears of many automotive workers, the announcement brought heartbreak and anxiety to those affected.

In Geelong for the announcement, Ford Australia president Tom Gorman said the shutdown was an essential part of making sure the company survived as car buyers turned away from fuel-hungry vehicles.``This is not an issue where one would say it is a failure of government policy. This is us responding to changes in the market place to secure the future of Ford in Australia,'' he said.

Mr Gorman yesterday said that the company would abandon the I6 engines made in Geelong in 2010 to be replaced with cheaper US V6 imports.

He said the new engines would be compatible with diesel fuel and would be used on the traditional Aussie-made Falcon, Falcon ute and Territory models.

``This is a difficult decision, on a very difficult day in the history of Ford,'' Mr Gorman said.

But walking out of the gates of Ford yesterday, worker Shaun Patching only expressed exasperation.``I'm pretty down, actually. I'm like all the other guys. I've got a wife and kids and a mortgage . . . they have left the whole of Geelong high and dry. This is going to have flow-on effects that are devastating to these people,'' Mr Patching said.

Political and city leaders scrambled to make comment and draw positives to a shell-shocked Geelong community.Australian Manufacturing and Workers' Union federal secretary Ian Jones pulled no punches, equating its impact on Geelong to the Pyramid collapse in early 1990s.

``My understanding is that some 10,000 jobs within the region are dependent upon automotive manufacturing, with $250 million of salaries paid as a consequence,'' Mr Jones said.

Geelong Mayor Bruce Harwood said he was seeking urgent meetings with Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane and State Treasurer John Brumby.``I will be seeking appropriate state and federal government assistance that is going to meet the needs of our workforce in the future,'' he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Macfarlane and Victorian Premier Steve Bracks announced a $24 million Geelong Investment and Innovation Fund to offer grants for projects which would create new jobs and investment in the region.``I'm confident (Ford's Geelong workers) will have new jobs through this,'' he told the Geelong Advertiser.

The Labor member for Corio Gavan O'Connor said he was also scheduling an urgent meeting with the Industry Minister. ``Ford and Australian governments have a moral responsibility to this Geelong workforce which has already made significant contribution to Ford Australia's past profitability,'' Mr O'Connor said.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

While I was sleeping, the orchids awaken

from w
Our garden has been grossly neglected, both during the drought and the full-on rains, even the dozen orchid plants in pots. So I was surprised this morning to see two orchid spikes fully loaded with blooms. Growing not far from the back door. I was blind apparently and could not see them! I brought the pot inside and tried to draw some of them with watercolour pencils. Not easy.


What do you put in a Go-Bag?

from w
In Sydney the residents are receiving pamphlets from the Sydney City Council advising them to BE PREPARED by selecting important items to put into a GO BAG! Just in case of an earthquake, a tsunami, a terrorist attack!!! Be prepared, be scared. The construction of fear is happening even in our laid back Oz society. Is it one back-pack per family, or one for each person?

I wonder what they want people to put into their backpacks. It surely ain't the same for an eighty-year-old and a young mum. Essential pills?

I have thought about a situation where there could be an urgency to leave house but haven't actually packed anything. (We live near an animal health laboratory where they do very strange tests.) The Sydney Council experts reckon toilet paper and sunscreen would be essential. Huh? It's snowing today in them there hills today. I think a little radio and batteries would come first, pens and sketchbook, spare spectacles. Basic first-aid. ID information perhaps. A small book of photos. One spare lot of clothes. Bottle of water. Chewing gum rather than a toothbrush. Cherry Ripe. Bank card? Soon we would have a whole case full of 'essentials'.

One time when there were bushfires near Sydney I saw a photo of people getting into a boat loaded with furniture including upright lamps.

What about street people - like the Choir of Hard Knocks kind of people? What do they pack? Check out the list provided on the Sydney council website about the go-bag. They also suggest you put your pet moggie in a pillow case. I'd like to see that!

What would you pack in a GO BAG?

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Fiddling with Queenscliff pics

from w
Okay, some of you don't like the fiddling with pics but well, it's my thing! Seeing what comes up as negative, as line, as stamp, etc.


Monday, July 09, 2007

More pics from Queenscliff

from w
More pics from yesterday's day out at Queenscliff.
Boats are very hard to draw as I don't know the details of what's what. Anyway here are a couple of pics from Queenscliff - I did one with a purple felt-pen so it's a bit clunky, and the other with a biro, and added colour etc. when I got home. I'm not good with fiddling with boxes of colours when it's cold and windy.

Skinny old ti-trees are easier. I did a very quick pencil sketch of trees while Peceli bought petrol - at a high price - Point Lonsdale doesn't have much competition apparently.

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Boats at Queenscliff

from w
Today was a bit sunny so Peceli and I drove down to Queenscliff to wander around looking at the scallop boats and to get some fresh sea breeze. There weren't many people about even though it was school holidays but we were delighted to meet a couple from Ballarat - an Australian girl and her husband from Fiji. Bula vinaka!

On the road back we stopped to look at a strange bright yellow tree without leaves and it looked like it was on fire.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Steeple Church in Geelong

from Wendy
Steeple Church

In today's Advertiser there is a story about an old Presbyterian Church called the Steeple Church which was built 150 years ago. It's the same one that I did a small painting off and posted on this blog a few weeks ago.
PS There's something strange about blogging today. I can't fill in the title of each posting!


Go the Cats

from Peceli
Geelong Football team is at the top of the ladder at present. The blue and white colours are always visible around Geelong - on scarves, flags, paper streamers out of cars. Aussie Rules is very popular here. Actually I barrack for St Kilda.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

acrosss the dinner table

from w
Last night Peceli and I went to the Rotary change-over night - new president installed, people thanked, and a nice dinner of sweet potato soup, steak, chocolate something with raspberries. I had a long conversation with a woman who I thought was reserved but she told me a great story of her experiences when living in Lakes Entrance. Anyway I found a couple of minutes to sketch in pencil before my companions at the table noticed.


Sunday, July 01, 2007

A lion and a pair of boots

from w
After the Fijian church service at Altona Meadows we went to a house in the Werribee area for lunch and as usual I did some drawing and colouring with a young girl, Elizabeth there. She had a new pair of boots so I asked if I could draw them and I placed them next to a toy lion. Hmmm. A nice story there. She coloured a book of fairies as I drew the empty boots.

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