Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Geelong Camera Club

from w
A friend was telling me that she is a member of the Geelong Camera Club - it's one group I'd like to join but haven't got around to it. Their website had a lot of great photos worth looking at.  The website is
Here's one of the pics - it looks like the Barrabool Hills just out of Geelong.

Should the old Geelong gaol be recycled?

from w
I really think that recycling old buildings in Geelong is a good idea, but the idea of the old Geelong gaol being made into housing,etc.  ought to be a definite NO.  The site  has too many bad vibes. You go there, see the cells, walk inside one and close the door and the atmosphere is terrible.  Surely you couldn't have accommodation for families in such a place no matter how much it is altered.   I took a writing group there one day to write poems and we were shocked. It's open to the public as a 'tourist'  or 'historical' place and my family were there recently and my grandson said, 'Grandma, you wouldn't like that place.' How true.

 I think it could be bulldozed to the ground and a Peace Park be built there - partly in memory of all those men and women who have suffered incarceration over the years.

 Okay, crimes need to be accounted for, but there surely are better ways to rehabilitate humans.  Of course the modern gaols could be seen as very comfortable such as Barwon Prison and another one out on the Bacchus Marsh Road past Lara.  More comfortable than some of the homes the men and women have come from.  So what is the answer?

From the Geelong Advertiser:

City wants to unlock old prison's potential

THE sale of the Old Geelong Gaol for potential housing or tourism ventures is being explored by the city council.
Talks about the future of the historic 19th-century building and Myers St property are ongoing in private council briefings, with the issue set to come to an open meeting in early March.

Early plans canvassed include a reception centre, residential development and space for offices and a gallery, with development estimates at more than $10 million.

The investigation comes after the heritage-listed Old Castlemaine Gaol was sold by Mount Alexander Shire late last year to developers for $550,000.

Cr Tony Ansett said Geelong's former maximum-security prison was under-used and a lot of it remained untouched, including substantial carpark space.

"The gaol is one of the most under-utilised sites in town that we've got," he told the Geelong Advertiser.

"I am keen to see it better utilised, but am also aware that it's getting some use in the community already.

"I would like to ensure they can still access the site."

Rotary operates the gaol and has restricted opening hours on weekends and some public holidays for tours of the facility.

Cr Ansett, the council's heritage spokesman, said any development would have to retain the site's heritage aspects, which are listed as having state significance.

While the council will seek public comment on possible future options for the prison, Cr Ansett floated the idea of converting the former cells into accommodation.

The four-storey gaol, which opened in 1864 and shut down in 1991, stands mostly unchanged from its time when it detained criminals in extreme conditions.

Men were hanged there for their crimes, including in 1863 police murderer James Murphy, who features in a current gallows exhibition.

The Pentonville-style facility has attracted the attention of paranormal researchers due to graphic accounts of bodies swinging from the hangman's noose and other so-called ghostly encounters.

The council assumed ownership of the site after it was decommissioned as a prison.

The Geelong Advertiser reported in 2007 that the council had identified the need for substantial investment to repair rotten timber and joinery in the gaol.

Old Geelong Gaol: 1853-1991
* Gaol for convicts and prisoners
* An Industrial school for girls
* Army detention barracks during World War II
* Hospital gaol
* Training prison

Friday, February 22, 2013

Two USA Presidents

from w

Two Presidents are on my mind this week. I am currently reading Obama's autobiography and he is a fine writer, attentive to the details of life he sees and experiences, and he certainly has had a variety of experiences - Hawaii, Indonesia, USA and Kenya. An excellent read. Then last night Peceli and I went to see the movie 'Lincoln' and for the first half hour I couldn't make head nor tail of who was who as I don't know American history or politics. Then the film moved up a notch and it got my attention. Good acting and story - only about the last five weeks of Lincoln's life, though they did play around a bit with facts I suspect. Very wordy and serious though. Highly recommended but not the best picture of the year.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Renewing Shenton as theatre

from w
Sometime about twenty years ago Shenton Church was sold to the Geelong High School to become a venue for their performing arts program but it was never revamped into a beautiful space, just kept the old pews, etc. (We used to live next door in the manse which also was sold to the school for music lessons - piano, guitar, etc.) Recently a grant of $300,000 enables a refurbishment of Shenton and the tiered seats look really good. To read the article, click on the picture.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Weekend in Rye

from w

Peceli and I went over to the Mornington Peninsular - via the Queenscliff to Sorrento Ferry, to stay the weekend to help with a Fijian/Australian wedding in the Rye back beach area. John and Rachel. There was little time for sketching, so I only did a few quick pictures - a couple are here - where we stayed at Dadirri. There was a delightful garden outside the flat and like all the neighbours and most of the land there between Rye and Rye Back Beach and St Andrews Beach, there were tea trees. A fire hazard, but some people like to live among nature or barely altered nature. When the boys put down a lovo (Fijian underground oven) which requires about one hour of huge flames, in Rachel's front yard amidst the tea trees, I was a bit concerned as the day was about 35 degrees, but they did get a permit from the Fire Department and the guys watched the early stage of the lovo carefully.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Father Dillon's views about the papal position

from w
A highly respected and much loved Geelong Catholic priest is Father Dillon who is often in the papers on social justice issues.  This time he was asked for his opinions on the recent resignation of the pope.  Here is the article in today's Geelong Advertiser.

Changing world requires fixed-term leader

POPE Benedict's shock resignation should usher in a new understanding of the role in the modern world, according to Geelong Catholic priest Fr Kevin Dillon.
The St Mary's parish priest said yesterday he hoped a cardinal with strong pastoral experience would become successor and that he believed the time might be right to consider limiting papal reigns to set periods.
"The capacity of us to communicate around the globe instantaneously is beyond what we even could have imagined, and with that the demands of the job both energy-wise and awareness-wise have taken a quantum leap," Fr Dillon said.
"I think Pope Benedict has recognised that in saying that no one of advanced age, even with an intellect as great as his, probably could be expected to manage that effectively.
"I'm hoping it may usher in a recognition that, due to the magnitude of the task and the leadership, no one can be expected to do it for an indefinite period.
"The next step might be, and it well might be up to the next pope to do this, to say we'll bring in a protocol whereby the task is there for six years or eight or 10.
"I think the actual resignation as such is a mammoth step and a very positive one indeed, recognising the reality of the world in which we live."
Pope Benedict, 85, stunned the world when became the first pope to resign in 600 years.
Fr Dillon said he had not studied potential successors but he held certain hopes.
"We need intellectual leadership and we need theological wisdom and we need biblical wisdom and so on but I think we're living in a world which is hurting on many levels and we're living in a church which is hurting on many levels," he said.
"Most of all we need someone who of himself truly understands the needs of ordinary people in today's world and that his ministry will really reflect that.
"I'd love to see someone there who really understood the passion of the human heart and the sort of burdens that people are carrying."

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Pat Semmler's artwork

from w
Today I visited the Deakin University Waterfront campus to find an exhibition of paintings and drawings by Pat Semmler. The invitation to the opening implied the theme was the ecology of the earth but most of her drawings are far from that topic, some bizarre and surreal though beautifully rendered in detailed pencil.  Two I did like though were on Aboriginal themes, and the one in the advertisement which is the title piece. The flash in two pics are caused by my camera. Patricia Semmler with Robert Drummond are art teachers at a Fine Art School beside the Barwon River in Chilwell.

Save The Little Blue Planet

A retrospective of paintings drawings assemblage installation by Patricia Semmler
February 4 to 27th.
Mon to Fri 10am
Exhibitions Gallery : Alfred Deakin Prime Ministerial Library ­ e Atrium , Sally Walker Building , Geelong Waterfront Campus, Deakin University (enter via Cunningham Street or Western Beach Road)

Friday, February 08, 2013

Fyansford Bridge

from w
This is rather a cold clinical drawing of the Fyansford Bridge. I should have broken the lines a bit and made it more sketchy. Anyway here are two pictures, one a collage of several variations of colours. Click on a pic to see enlarged.

A good use for facebook

from w
Some thing are okay and useful about facebook. There's a story in today's Addie about the pink car from East Geelong stolen on Tuesday night. The owner put her lament on facebook on Wednesday that her precious pink car was not insured. On Thursday the pink car turned up at their house, immaculately cleaned and detailed inside, the engine steam-cleaned, a dent taken out and fixed. But the $3000 of tools and camp equipment that were in the boot were missing. Anyway the thief did have some kind of a conscience after all. Good luck to you Misty and Lindsay on the recovery of Misty's car.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Tram conductor bollard in Geelong

from w
One of the wooden bollards by Jan Mitchell along the Geelong Waterfront is of a tram conductor of the 1940s. Some clues to her life reveal that she's a smoker, on her smoko time-out, and is knitting booties. Are they for her own child or for a grandchild I wonder. Despite the rather masculine costume she has little bird earings and lacy handkerchiefs in her pocket and a tie pin with a love-heart. Is her husband/boyfriend a soldier overseas I wonder. No ring on her finger.  I plan to write  a poem, monologue, or letter sometime to try and give this woman a voice.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Looking out to sea

from w
Have you read 'The French Lieutenant's Woman' or seen the movie. Intriguing, and probably based on a poem by Hardy.  When I took the photo of the empty seats at the Waterfront, somehow it reminded me of that story.

Thomas Hardy : The Riddle
Stretching eyes west
Over the sea,
Wind foul or fair,
Always stood she
Solely out there
Did her gaze rest,
Never elsewhere
Seemed charm to be.

Always eyes east
Ponders she now—
As in devotion—
Hills of blank brow
Where no waves plough.
Never the least
Room for emotion
Drawn from the ocean
Does she allow.
Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Peacock feathers

from w
This afternoon we were enjoying the hospitality of friends, Va and Jo, in Altona Meadows and I took some photos of her lovely peacock feather decorations and succulants. Here is a composite of some of the images I made.