Wednesday, 31 March 2010

The Press Gallery

Much as most of us are frustrated by the media from time to time, one of the hallmarks of a democracy is a free press. At Parliament House the Press Gallery is an integral part of the democratic process. This display of 'tools of the trade' and a broadcast studio form part of the exhibition in the Press Gallery quarters of Old Parliament House.

Then there are the pigeon holes where media releases were dropped. These still form an integral part of the modern press gallery! I've been 'backstage' through the gallery of the new Parliament House!

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

House of Representatives, Old Parliament House

The Old Parliament House building in Canberra now houses the Museum of Australian Democracy. It housed parliament as a 'temporary' building from 1927, when Canberra became Australia's capital, until 1988.

This was the chamber of the House of Repreentatives, modelled on the British Paliament at Westminster. I first visited here on a school excursion some time in the 1970s. Then you couldn't sit in the chamber; now you can wander around at will, or join a tour.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Parliament House, Canberra

If you visit Canberra you won't be able to miss Australia's Parliament House, built into a hillside on Capital Hill, with a huge flagpole atop. Fabulous building, wonderful to visit. I was at a conference there on the weekend.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Gladesville Hospital

Historic Gladesville hospital, an early Sydney "lunatic asylum" (1838), was a hospital for the mentally ill until 1997 when all services were transferred elsewhere.

In 1869, the Lunatic Asylum was renamed Gladesville Hospital for the Insane. By the mid-1960s, the institution was known simply as Gladesville Hospital.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Skittle Lane

Skittle Lane - where it looks like the cyclists have already been skittled!
The lane, between Kent and Clarence Streets was where wharfies and soldiers once enjoyed beer and skittles. The name was suggested by Sydney city historian, Shirley Fitzgerald.

It is now waiting for a make-over, with public art, cafes and small bars to be encouraged.

Pyrmont resident Glen Wall has pleaded with the council to restore the cobblestones in Skittle Lane and for contractors to sensitively maintain the lane’s heritage.

It was a place of boarding houses, pubs, and "nefarious activities", and by 1879, a skittle ground between two pubs, the Star of Peace and the White Hart.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Cafe at Ramsgate

I previously wrote about the fate of the Omeros family restaurant, the Paragon, at La Perouse, washed away in a storm in 1974.

The current generation of Omeros's run this place on the beach at ramsgate, further around Botany Bay. Here's the view from the water.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Lights, camera, action!

I came across this film set outside the Queen Victoria Building last Saturday. It looked like a Bollywood production. I am always surprised at the number of people required in film-making.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Saturday afternoon

Sitting outside in the warmth of an autumn afternoon. Playing around with the timer on my camera. And the stuff around me? Well, listening to ipod music on my iPhone; the blue pouch is where I store the earphones. I've just bought a new lamp, was reading the weekend papers, had a small coke and reaching for freshly brewed coffee!

Thursday, 18 March 2010


This beautiful sandstone building in Bligh St is home of the Lowy Institute for International Policy. It was originally the "New South Wales Club" - from 1886 to 1969 when it merged with the Australian Club, an exclusive "gentleman's only" club.

The Lowy Institute website says: "It is classified by the National Trust and listed for permanent conservation under the 1976 Heritage Act - one of the first buildings to be saved from demolition under the Act. It is the finest Italian Palazzo façade surviving from the Victorian period in Australia.This classic sandstone building built of Pyrmont brick joinery, slate roof and fine Victorian interiors was designed by William Wardell, one of the most distinguished architects of his time."

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Terraces, Darlinghurst

Architecture reminiscent of domestic Ottoman style in Istanbul and other places. South Dowling St, Darlinghurst.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Morning Tea

The friendly volunteers at St David's Church charity shop in Arncliffe enjoy a morning cup of tea.

Friday, 12 March 2010


It's not often you see seagulls actually floating around on water - more likely to be swooping down and snatching your potato chips.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Rainbow lorrikeets

These rainbow lorrikeets were busy sorting out a pecking order when I spotted them.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Redfern kama sutra - location

Yesterday's photos were a glimpse inside this tumble-down and gutted house in Short St, Redfern. It reminds me a lot of Pompei for some reason!

I took it looking through that window on the right side of the facade.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

The Redfern Bower

Artists Susan Milne and Greg Stonehouse. "This artwork transforms the mysterious courtship ritual of the bowerbird into a contemporary sculpture, using items from the Redfern community to reflect and celebrate the heritage of the area."

Wikipedia: "The most notable characteristic of bowerbirds is their extraordinarily complex courtship and mating behaviour, where males build a bower to attract mates. .. In and around the bower the male places a variety of brightly colored objects he has collected. These objects — usually different among each species — may include hundreds of shells, leaves, flowers, feathers, stones, berries, and even discarded plastic items, coins, nails, rifle shells, or pieces of glass. The males spend hours arranging this collection. Bowers within a species share a general form but do show significant variation, and the collection of objects reflects the biases of males of each species and its ability to procure items from the habitat, often stealing them from neighboring bowers. Several studies of different species have shown that colors of decorations males use on their bowers match the preferences of females."

More about bowerbirds - click here.
Opinions about this sculpture: click here.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Orange and Black, Redfern

This former pub, now closed and boarded up, in George St, Redfern still has its decorative art deco tiles. Can you see the spot from which I took the detail?

I hope urban remnants like these survive the relentless swing of wreckers' balls and development.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Mural, Reconciliation Park, Redfern

A frill-necked lizard is the feature of this detail from the mural. See also the past two entries for information about the park, the mural and the Public Art Squad which created it.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

More details from the mural in Reconciliation Park, Redfern, which I showed yesterday.

In the previous post there is a link to more information about the park, which also has an overview shot of the mural.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Mural, Reconciliation Park, Redfern

The suburb of Redfern has become synonymous with Aboriginal people because of the Aboriginal Housing Company area near Redfern Station and the Redfern Park speech in 1992 which redefined Australia’s attitudes to its indigenous people.

The mural on the side wall of 17 George Street was commissioned by Sydney City Council and painted by the Public Art Squad. Entitled ‘Think Globally Act Locally’, it won the Sir John Sulman art prize in 1985.

More information here.

And more mural detail tomorrow.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Harbour Bridge from Woolwich

There are lots of vantage points around Sydney from which to catch this iconic structure.