Friday, August 14, 2015

Sladen House Geelong

from w
Newtown - Chilwell end -

 has many old buildings, some termed as mansions and have a chequered history as a home, connections with a woollen mill next door, a reception centre, a historical walk site.  I did some sketces there a few years ago, and a couple of days ago revisited the place and took photos.  It's at the bottom of Pakington Street is Sladen House, above the Barwon River. It was built between 1849 and 1850 for the solicitor and later Victorian Premier Charles Sladen. Substantial renovations were undertaken in 1863. The style of the house is Victorian Italianate and like Barwon Bank it is built in basalt.  Sladen House was demolished in 1940 for its materials but then rebuilt according to its original detail at a later date.  Sladen House is opposite the old RSL Woollen Mill which now has varous clients including an art gallery - Boom Gallery - at the back.  In the 80s this place was leased by Deakin University for the art department where I enjoyed painting and drawing for several years. Nearby is a walking track that leads to the Barwon River.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Window reflections

from w
I'm interested in reflections in windows that break up shapes or twist and turn, especially from the windows of skyscrapers in the city. But here is a simple one - reflections of a church in a window of the Geelong State Offices.

What to do with that blessed Christmas tree?

GEELONG councillors will tonight decide the future of the city’s $1m floating Christmas tree.
A year ago, Geelong councillor Jan Farrell raised concerns about the lack of a business case for the tree, the tight time frames for the project and feared it financially could become a “bolting horse”.
Those concerns appear to have been valid with tree’s main contractor, Creative Production Services, wanting out of a five-year deal to install and maintain it.
The company has claimed the cost of building and installing the tree last year was more than the agreed $450,000 and that it will be unable to meet the ongoing costs of maintenance, installation and storage for the yearly budget of $135,000.
A report to council indicates that if CPS does not complete the services, it will cost ratepayers more for the ongoing installation, dismantling and storage costs..
The council was warned costs for the project, a pet project of Geelong mayor Darryn Lyons, had the potential to blowout.
A year ago Cr Farrell warned that the project had “no scope”, “no business plan” and feared it was a “bolting horse”.
To remind you of the heated discussion on this issue a year ago, check this Advertiser report on the June 24, 2014, council meeting.
Cr Jan Farrell
Cr Jan Farrell
Council erupts over call for independent audit over Darryn Lyon’s floating Christmas tree
THE Geelong council is at war over the mayor’s Christmas decoration and city lighting plan, with a call made at Tuesday night’s meeting for an independent probity audit.
Cr Jan Farrell called for the City of Greater Geelong’s $2 million budget allocation for an “iconic” Christmas tree, decorations and street lighting to be deferred, pending an audit by an external auditor. She had earlier moved an item be taken out of in camera and debated in the public council chamber in front of the gallery and media.
An impression of a floating Christmas tree on the Geelong waterfront.
The Geelong Advertiser understands the confidential item related to mayor Darryn Lyons’ Christmas in Geelong project.
Later in the meeting, Cr Michelle Heagney, who is responsible for the key portfolio of central Geelong, moved an urgent late matter to have an officer report prepared into the Christmas project.
When the motion was defeated by the mayor’s casting vote, Cr Heagney expressed frustration at a “very concerning” lack of transparency in council.
Cr Heagney said she sought the report because six councillors had expressed concern over the process.
Both Cr Farrell’s motions were also ultimately unsuccessful, with Cr Lyons using his casting vote to support a motion by Cr Stretch Kontelj to remove the probity audit motion from an overall motion to accept the council budget.
The budget was ultimately passed.
Arguing for a probity audit, Cr Farrell said the normal processes of council governance had been “waived away” with the Christmas project, but there should be complete accountability where the spending of
$2 million was involved.
Cr Farrell said she was concerned there was “no scope” and “no business plan” for the Christmas project, adding the current “she’ll be right on the day, mate” attitude didn’t sit well with her and a number of other councillors.
An audit was an attempt to put parameters around what appeared to be “a bolting horse” in the council chamber, she said.
Cr Stretch Kontelj dubbed Cr Farrell’s plan a “bonehead strategy” which would undermine the council’s negotiating ability by revealing its commercial hand.
“To hijack the vote is not proper,” Cr Kontelj said. He added that to suggest a probity audit was needed was “overstating the situation”.
Cr Farrell said the Christmas project needed to be transparent as it could continue to cost the Geelong community into the future for up to 10 years.
“This secret men’s business is entirely inappropriate,” she said.
Cr Farrell added she doubted there would be other council projects “where $2 million was thrown up without a business case”.
In a meeting which became very fiery, Cr Andy Richards suggested brothers Stretch and Eddy Kontelj had drafted the council budget on a napkin. When Cr Eddy Kontelj objected, Cr Richards quickly quipped. “Sorry, two napkins!’’
Lara’s Cr Tony Ansett said he was representing the people of his ward when he supported the budget Christmas tree and lighting allocation and was sick of “whingeing”.

- Mandy Squires

Friday, August 07, 2015

Redwoods in the Otways

from w
I would have loved to drive to the Otways today for my birthday but it's a bit dull and cool and we'll wait for another time. It would mean a drive of an hour and a half perhaps each way. However in today's Age newspaper there's an article about a part of the Otways that has a surprising grove of Californian Redwoods growing very large and tall.  Go to for the video and story.  Here are a couple of photos from the Age.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Newcomb Secondary to add tech. component

from w
Good news for the youth of our suburb that Newcomb Secondary School will have a P-Tech component.
In the Addie today:

AUSTRALIA’S first P-Tech school will be opened within Newcomb Secondary College, with the objective of getting more kids into careers in maths, science, technology and engineering.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott is in Geelong to make the announcement today along with a $14 million cash splash to open a new Industry Growth Centre in Advanced Manufacturing at Deakin University. Mr Abbott said the advanced manufacturing centre would help link local businesses with global companies and look at ways to give Australia a technological edge to make the sector more competitive. “The plan will identify jobs and skills needs, provide a pipeline of innovations ready to commercialise, and consider areas for reforming regulation, manufacturing transformation and growth,” he said. “It’s trying to ensure that Geelong goes from being a declining manufacturing centre to an advancing manufacturing centre.”

Corangamite MP Sarah Henderson said the centre would send a signal to Australia that Geelong was at the forefront of advanced manufacturing. “This is a very exciting initiative for jobs and advanced manufacturing,” she said.
“This is really going to ensure that we can say to the nation, not just our region, that we are a very important centre of advanced manufacturing and going from strength to strength.”

The PM’s visit also coincides with the announcement that Newcomb Secondary will be the home of Australia’s first P-Tech school. The model, which has been successful in the United States, will encourage businesses to take a more hands-on role in schools to mentor students and steer them towards careers in science, technology, engineering and maths. Mr Abbott said it was another step to “help galvanise the transition from old to new manufacturing”.
“We want youngsters to come out of school not only well versed in science, technology, engineering and maths but really excited about them,” he said. “No one should think that an apprenticeship for instance in electronics or an apprenticeship in mechanical engineering is second best, that can often be a first best option for people and that’s what I hope this school will help to do.”

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Boadicea Bronnie grounded