Saturday, 24 June 2017

The turning point at an argyle affair provides a sense of place

A sunny brisk day attracted a crowd at a market day with a difference that was recently held at the historic backdrop of the Camden show hall and grounds.

Signage in Argyle Street outside the show pavilion encouraged patrons to leave a donation for the 2017 charity of choice for event organisers Brooke and Peta. The rustic notice fitted the atmospherics of the historic showground and hall which is the site of  Camden's famous annual rural festival, the Camden Show.. (1 Willis)
The scarves and beanies were out at the third year of the market day for The Argyle Affair which was held over a recent weekend. 

A great day for hipsters, grandparents, young families and friends at this great local event.

Live and local entertainment from young song writers and singers was provided in the marquee. The stage provided an opportunity for young and up-and-coming musos to do their stuff and show their wares to their adoring fans - even if they were rusted on family members.

Local up-and-coming artists and 'aspiring performers' always welcome the support and opportunity of a stage to hone their craft. You never know which one of these young hopefuls will be the next famous Australian artist on the international circuit in the entertainment industry. And you saw them here first. (I Willis)

There were ample pop-up food stalls that offered a range of hot delicacies from pulled beef to wholesome soup and others. Even the food stalls are sustainable these days with solar panels generating power-have panel will travel-anywhere.

The Argyle Affair was originally started in 2015  as the brainwave of local organisers Brooke and Peta who felt that local artisans needed a platform for their wares. Their website states:
The Argyle Affair was born from a shared passion to bring the community together to create a positive, creative event and supporting local charities. We felt that Camden needed a platform to showcase local & surrounds, makers, artists and performers. It was time that Camden had their time to SHINE!
There were around 25 stalls in the show hall and outside. By lunchtime there were lots of folk moving through the show pavilion.

Event organisers Brooke and Peta gave the historic 1890s AH&I Hall a lift with their artistic touch and appropriate greenery which took the edge off the rustic nature of the show pavilion. I wonder how many patrons really understood the importance of this room to the history of the town and it rural surrounds. (I Willis) 


The promoters state on the website that they were looking for edgy product and artisan crafts with a point of difference and a 'wow factor'.
We are looking for evidence of personal contribution in design, make or collaboration of the product. High quality products that display outstanding workmanship. We are on the hunt for unique products and services that push the design envelope.
Stallholders were certainly up to mark.

The artisan crafts and stalls were a great fit with the rural atmospherics provided by the historic show pavilion. The hall has held hundreds of community events just like The ArgyleAffair since its opening in the 1890s as a military drill hall for the Camden Rifles. The hall and these events are a central part of Camden's sense of place and identity.  (I Willis)
The Argyle Affair sponsor a local charity and this year it was 'Turning Point' who are a Camden based-comunity welfare centre in John Street. Turning Point state on their website:
We aim to provide a safe and confidential environment where we can offer assistance, providing welfare services such as emergency food relief, advocacy, document assistance, phone access, and computer availability with free Wi-Fi.
Market goers were asked for a gold coin admission or hand in an item of food that went to Turning Point.
Business with a heart in this display brightens up an otherwise drab and dark space and  usually unused part of the show hall pavilion. A great rustic and authentic touch that was framed by the show hall doors.  A simple statement of intent by event organisers about how they view The Argyle Affair. (I Willis)

Another great initiative by Camden locals who have combined business acumen with a heart.

For more information

Turning Point @ 80 John Street, Camden. 02 4655 1567
The Argyle Affair

Friday, 23 June 2017

Fresh young talent at Camden Shorts

In its third year Camden Youth Council's Camden Shorts music festival got another run recently.

Lots of fresh young talent all got a guernsey on stage at the Camden Civic Centre.

Promotional flyer for 2017 Camden Shorts 


The Camden Youth Council is an initiative of Camden Council that assists the council develop programs for young people between 15-25 years of age.

The youth council attempts to give young people of the Camden LGA a voice through projects and events.

One of these events is Camden Shorts.

On Saturday night there were a string of vocalists, supported by a dance trio and a theatresports trio of young fellows.

Each young hopeful had two performance pieces to nail for the assembled crowd.

You never know one of these young folk might get their start in the entertainment industry from this gig and then be the next superstar. And do not forget you saw them first at the CCC 2017 Camden Shorts.

List of young fresh artists at 2017 Camden Shorts performance


The artists enthusiasm was infectious as often the young are, and they received undivided adulation from adoring fans of mums and dads, aunts and uncles, nans and pops and fellow rusted on supporters.

The 2017 Camden Shorts artists had an adoring crowd of mums and dads and aunts and uncles who thought their every move and note was worth a rousing and rowdy round of applause with supporting hoots and whistle. (I Willis)

The younger the budding artists the greater the adulation.

A wayward note here and there mattered little in the great scheme of things.

Apparently it was reported that there were 200 bookings for this year's show, compared to the first year in the Ferguson Room with 90 parents and friends.

A trio of young chaps called Rising Arts Production-Room for Improvement who did  a theatresports spot to the raucous laughter of the assemble masses. They did not even get an opportunity to use the two chairs they brought on stage with them. (I Willis) 

Those who booked and did not show will be forever disappointed at not taking up their free tickets.

The evening ran on a tight schedule with a great support crew with sound and lighting although the kids could have done with a simple intro from an mc of some sort.

Hard working crew on the sound and light at the back of the Macarthur Room in the dark at the Civic Centre at the 2017 Camden Shorts (I Willis)

The food offering and bar service were up to Civic Centre standards, while prior warning for fans and patrons might have improved their sales a little on the night.

Patrons patiently waiting for their orders at the bar in the Macarthur Room at the Camden Civic Centre at the 2017 Camden Shorts music festival. (I Willis)

The enthusiastic crowd were well satisfied at the end of the night's entertainment by this band of young fresh performers.

Contact Camden Youth Council

For those who want to know more the Camden Youth Council has a Facebook page, a Twitter feed or just contact them by email.

You can also stay up to date with the Camden Youth Council by visiting the Facebook page, phone 4645 5021 or you can send an email for more information.

Attn: Community Project Officer (Youth Services)
Community Cultural Planning and Development
Camden Council
PO Box 183
CAMDEN
NSW 2570

Saturday, 17 June 2017

LIve and Local Music Festival in Camden town centre

Live and Local signage was placed around the town centre by promoters to tell locals about the gigs. Patrons moved between music stages assisted by a full and informative programme and facilitators who kept things moving.  This signage was on the front of the historic 1870s bank building on the corner of Argyle and John Streets in the middle of town. Helpful signage kept patrons and keen fans on the move around the town centre moving between the many venues. Thery were valuable in an area that is not used to being the stage for live music. The hope is that patrons will report this to organisers  so their might be a repeat(I Willis)

The Camden town centre was recently transformed into a gig-venue with a difference.

The town centre held the first live music festival of its type hosted by Camden Council.

Camden's main shopping precinct hosted a free music event in the form of the Live and Local Music Festival.

Upstairs@Freds hosted singer songwriter Helen Perris on piano. Her virtuoso performance was a delight in a delightful venue with great view of the town centre. Helen sang a range of  her own tunes that would not be out of place in a New York piano bar. Helen's poignant award wining songs tell of life's up-and downs.  (I Willis)
The entertainment ranged across 14 venues on a Saturday afternoon between 2.00 and 6.00 in the early evening.



Some of these were not your standard music venue.
Saxophone musician Will Habbal playing to passers-by and interested locals in the front of Camden retailer Shoe Talk. A music gig with a difference. Will was doing a great job on  a difficult stage competing with the traffic noise just a couple of metres away on Camden's main street.  (I Willis)


The more interesting music sites were a clothing boutique, a shoe store, an interior design store and shopping arcade.

Local boys from the band The Shang entertained the crowd at the Plough and Harrow Hotel with a mix of funk and rock. The pub was packed with an obviously strong local following for this band of young spunks.  The hot young local spunk who is the lead singer will have trouble keeping the groupies away. (I Willis)

There were also the more traditional music venues ranging from local hotels, restaurant and  local cafes.


There were a total 27 artists and musicians made up of solo acts, to quartets and bands.

Country artist Christie Lamb kept the crowd captivated at the Royal Hotel. Christie told tales of Nashville and her tours with big names artists between her own songs and covers. Our own Christie has performed at Tamworth Country Music Festival and toured and performed with the likes of Lee Kernoghan, Keith Urban, the Wolfe Bros and others. (I Willis)


Music genres covered a range of tastes and preferences including jazz, world music,  traditional, country, pop, to folk music.

A less traditional type of music heard in Camden in a less traditional music venue. The shopfront of Sarita's - A Collective Emporium was the stage for the traditional world music duo Vietbambooz. You have to travel a long way to see and listen to this type of traditional folk music. The music sort-of suited the venue with  classy gowns in the shop window providing an interesting backdrop for the crowd.  (I Willis) 

Artists ranged from the professional to up-and-coming music outfits.

The boys from classical music duo Antonio Aguilar being congratulated by a representative of the music organiser at the end of their music set. Traditional classical cellos played by some up-and-coming virtuosoes who might be famous one day on the international music circuit. You saw them first at Shoe Talk Camden. Some of their keenest fans were the Mums who carted their gear at the end of the set when they packed up. (I Willis)

Camden mayor Councillor Lara Symkowiak has said:
This unique festival will showcase the diverse musical performers of our area as well as the variety of venues and shops in the Camden town centre, This is an exciting opportunity to promote Camden as a cultural tourist destination for live music in the region. 
Cafe Michelles in Argyle Street was the stage for young country artists duo Theo and Bel who performed cover for the assembly. One keen fan was entranced by an Elvis cover song they performed and raved about it for days. Watch out for this up-and-coming duo in the future and you saw them here first. (I Willis)

A map showing the venues was located here, An event poster is located here,

The city-style coffee lounge and trendy bar Barenz was the stage for local country artist and songwriter Jemma Beech. Jemma regularly performs in the local area and started performing at 16 years of age. She recently toured with the country due the Sunny Cowgirls. Watch the gig guide for Barenz which is a regular performance space for local artists. (I Willis)


A full list of artists and venues is located here.

Upstairs@Freds is located in the old Whiteman's Building and was the stage for Peter McWhirter Band. Peter has been performing locally for many years and come along way. Upstairs@Freds was the brainchild of local identity Steve Wisbey and has taken up a space that faithfully restored by a former restaurant owner is a local music venue. (I Willis)

Live and Music facilitators were walking around all afternoon to make sure the venues worked well.



Facilitators interviewed some fans seeking feedback. One comment from one fan was that promoters need to advertise the event more widely.

Event organisers sponsors and road crew for Macarthur Events relax listening to Helen Perris at Upstairs@Freds. The guys looked after the sound and lighting at each stage venue in what looked like cramped and difficult circumstances. The road crew are always an essential element of any great music gig. (I Willis)

Talking around the area to those who attended the festival they were very impressed. I have heard comments like 'it is about time' and 'long overdue'. 'Great local talent'. 'The venues were great'. 'When is the next one'. Congratulations to the organisers and sponsors for a great all round effort.


Saturday, 10 June 2017

Menangle (Camden Park) Gate Lodge


Menangle (Camden Park) Gate Lodge c2009 (MPHM)


Menangle Gate Lodge has historical significance as one of the pair of gate lodges built by the Macarthur Onslows for the Camden Park Estate.

Today (together with the lodge at the entrance near Camden) provides evidence of the former extent of the estate (one of the most significant colonial properties in Australia) as well as demonstrating the architectural embellishments thought appropriate to large estates in the late 19th century. 

The building also has aesthetic significance as an attractive and largely intact example of a "Arts and Crafts" style estate cottage in the region and also for its associations with the architectural firm of Sulman & Power, which designed many buildings on the estate and in the adjacent Menangle Village.

The cottage's aesthetic qualities are further enhanced by its attractive rural setting and siting adjacent to the remains of the original Estate gates and driveway.

The Gate Lodge is a single storey weatherboard cottage with a hipped and gabled tiled roof and brick chimneys, one of which has a decorative patterned brick base. 

The gables have timber battening and the north gable covers a small porch with timber lattice work and frieze, while the eastern gable projects on brackets. 

Beneath the east gable is a corbelled bay window with a small panel at the top. The doors have small pane transom lights. The three panel, half-glazed front door is off a small porch at the south east corner. 

On the gables are plaques bearing (different) coats of arms and the mottos "FESTINA LENTE" (to the east) and "FIDE ET OPERA" (to the north). 

One of these plaques was moved from the gate lodge at the other entry to Camden Park. The property still retains a large part of the original picket fence but this is being renewed.
There is a fibro extension to the rear (south west), the original verandah flooring was replaced (20 November 1990) and other maintenance items include: fibro replaced on northern lattice enclosed porch, roof re-tiled and fence renewed.


From 'The Menangle News' Volume 19, No 9, December 2009.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

NSW politicians terrified of heritage says National Trust heritage expert

'We are terrified of heritage or at least people in power', says Dr Clive Lucas president of the National Trust of Australia (NSW) last  Friday (28 April, 2017) on ABC Radio Mornings with Wendy Harmer.

Dr Lucas said that 'parklands, natural landscape, historic buildings' in the Sydney area were under threat.
St John's Church built in the 1840s and funded by the Macarthur family has recently been the subject of controversy around selling part of the curtilage  around the church (2016, I Willis)


The conversation discussed the view that Sydneysiders to not engage with an issue until it is going particularly around history and heritage. Wendy Harmer made the point that people in UK are keen supporters of historic buildings and the British National Trust.

Clive Lucas pointed out a number of current disputes around heritage St John's church at Camden, Thompson Square at Windsor and building a swimming pool in Parramatta Park.

One current controversy around heritage in NSW revolves around the Sirius Building in The Rocks in Sydney

Sirius Building in The Rocks in currently threat of demolition by the NSW State Government and is part of 1970s Sydney heritage (2016 Wikimedia)


What is it about heritage matters that frightens people in power?

What is the bogey man of heritage?

This blog attracts lots of views to posts about heritage matters from the Old Milk Depot to St John church in Camden. These heritage posts are usually about threats to heritage.

People sometime do not see heritage value in an historic item until there is a threat to its destruction, or a change in its status, or a change in its surroundings.

Often the fear of heritage matters on buildings is down to laziness of design. New developments in heritage precincts demand creative solutions that are too hard for some. There is a need for imagination and flair. Rather than development at least cost or a race to the bottom.

Vandalism by neglect is another issue in heritage areas. Some owners and developers of heritage properties hope that they will burn down or all down.

View of Argyle Street in the 1940s which remains largely unchanged in over 50 years and in now part of the Camden Town Centre Conservation Area (Camden Images)


Many older buildings have particular problems that new buildngs do not have. In the 1800s there was no running water, no sewerage to the house, no electricity, no internet, or no reticulated gas.

There can be issues using traditional trades that have largely been replaced by mass produced building materials, particularly in areas like plumbing, brickwork, plastering, carpentry, stone masonry, and others. It is easier to demolish a heritage building and start a new building from a clean slate. It can be difficult to retro fit modern services in old buildings, but with patience and persistence it can be done.

But heritage is more than old buildings.

Endangered Cumberland Plain Woodland  is part of the natural heritage of Western Sydney area (I Willis)


So what is heritage?

Historian Graeme Davison defines heritage in The Oxford Companion to Australian History as ‘inherited customs, beliefs and institutions held in common by a nation or community’ and more recently has expanded to include ‘natural and ‘built’ landscapes, buildings and environments’.

Heritage is made up of (1) natural heritage of environmental value like the Cumberland Plain Woodland and (2) cultural heritage which is man made or built heritage, like built up urban areas.

Heritage has a number of values depending on the type of heritage matter (1) intrinsic value (2) genetic diversity (3) historic value (4) uniqueness or rarity (5) utility value

Reasons for threat to heritage items (1) development (2) demolition or destruction (3) change of surroundings or setting (4) change its usage or status

Royal Hotel in Argyle Street Camden which was demolished in 1973 to make way for another a tavern on the site and is part of Camden's lost cultural heritage  (E Kernohan, 1970, Camden Images)


In New South Wales heritage is defined under the Heritage Act 1977 (NSW) and in the legislation is means

those places, buildings, works, relics, moveable objects, and precincts, of state or local heritage significance.

So what is significance?

In New South Wales for an item to be considered important and significant it must meet three of the following criteria for the Heritage Council and consideration for the State Heritage List :
 a) an item is important in the course, or pattern, of NSW’s cultural or natural history;
b) an item has strong or special association with the life or works of a person, or group of persons, of importance in NSW’s cultural or natural history;
c) an item is important in demonstrating aesthetic characteristics and/or a high degree of creative or technical achievement in NSW;
d) an item has strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group in NSW for social, cultural or spiritual reasons;
e) an item has potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of NSW’s cultural or natural history;
f) an item possesses uncommon, rare or endangered aspects of NSW’s cultural or natural history;
g) an item is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a class of NSW’s - cultural or natural places; or - cultural or natural environments.  
Outside of New South Wales heritage is a matter for concern. Andrew Wilson from Bradford University states:
Our present is intrinsically bound up with our past, our sense of identity shaped and moulded by the cultural legacies of our forebears. That’s why organisations such as UNESCO exist to protect the cultural heritage of the world for current and future
generations.

Cultural heritage plays a key part in the quality of our lives, building our sense of identity, proving a rallying point around which we build social cohesion and pride in a shared heritage.
Stonehenge England UNESCO World Heritage Site  (Wikimedia)


Stories from the UK might throw some light on why heritage protection can be poison for some cities and their politicians  Aylin Orbasli from Oxford Brookes University provides a note of caution around urban development process in World Heritage Listed Sites in Edinburgh. She states:

.
Edinburgh’s UNESCO World Heritage Site status has been the subject of several negative news stories lately. David Black in the Guardian called for the city to be stripped of its status for having a cavalier approach to development, while leading Edinburgh architect Lorn Macneal said that the status is an obstacle to allowing historic homes to evolve in the way that they have for hundreds of years.
The Scottish Government, like New South Wales, want to sell off historic buildings. David Black in the Guardian states that the World Heritage declaration for parts of Edinburgh has:
been an unmitigated disaster, and we’d have been better of without it.
Black maintains that heritage tourism is worth annually £1.6bn to the Scottish and city economy and yet he maintains that the city undervalues if historic heritage. He wants to know why the 'power that be' want to 'trash' that heritage.

Edinburgh Clockwise from top-left: View from Calton Hill, Old College, Old Town from Princes Street, Edinburgh Castle, Princes Street from Calton Hill UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Wikimedia)

More than this Scottish conservation architect Lorn MacNeal has stated that Edinburgh is blighted by heritage and its planning system. He went on that
any alterations proposed for historic homes are automatically blocked by city planners, leaving the properties “blighted” by their listed status and unable to be turned into “workable”, modern accommodation.
A 2012 Report on World Heritage Listing in Liverpool threatened to de-list the city, and was a wake up call to city politicians to re-consider their decision around some new city development proposals. These events have been put down to the view that: (1) there are few benefits from the WHS listing; (2) there is poor understanding of the sites WHS listed; (3) there is poor understanding of the value of the WHS listed sites. While these problems were acknowledged the report was considered an opportunity to re-assess the social and cultural aspects of a World Heritage Listing in totality for the city.

Heritage issues created controversy in Dresden Germany and were of seemingly little concern to the local population.

Liverpool Pier Head, with the Royal Liver Building, Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool Building UNESCO World Heritage Site (Wikimedia)


It seems really bizarre that the current batch of NSW political decision makers are considered to be terrified of heritage rules and regulations that they control. It is as if the politicians are frozen by inaction.

The supporters of  neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism amongst NSW politicians act as though they want to destroy the past, they act as if they are ashamed of what has happened before. Do neo-liberals want a clean slate with a new beginning and treat the past as if it never existed?

Hyde Park Barracks, Macquarie Street, Sydney, Australia. UNESCO World Heritage Site (Wikimedia)


Heritage is essential for place making, maintaining a sense of place, and strengthening community identity, and for a robust and sustainable community. The well-being and resilience of communities is determined by their place making process and their ability to retain their identity and sense of place. This needs decision makers who take account of heritage matters and cultural, social and environmental processes that contribute to the historic landscape and the general well-being of these societies.



Monday, 1 May 2017

Anarchism and libertarianism is alive and kicking in Newtown with lots of great posters

Anarchism and libertarism is alive and kicking  in Newtown  with lots of great posters in an around the King Street precinct.



This blogger spotted a host of anarchist posters at various locations in the King Street precinct of Newtown.



It is good to see that rebellion and revolution has not died out under the weight of neo-liberalism or neo-conservatism.



For the uninitiated anarchism is, according to Wikipedia,  a political philosophy that advocates self-governed societies based on voluntary institutions.



Anarchists believe that the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful. There are few capitalist entrepreneurs who would agree with this position.

Another term to describe an anarchist is libertarian, and there are some self-styled libertarians in Federal Parliament. 



The birth of anarchism appears around the French Revolution and the first 19th century philosopher to label themselves anarchist was Frenchman Pierre-Joseph Proudhon.

The Newtown anarchist want to smash capitalism and re-invent the world.



The birth of anarchism can be traced to the 6th century BC and the influence of Taoism. Modern anarchism emerges from the influence of the Enlightenment.

The want-a-be nationalists, neo-liberalism and neo-cons would have you believe that they rule the world.

It is refreshing to see that pluralism is alive and well in the Australian democracy. That the other side still get a go.



It is wonder the neo-cons haven't spat-their-collective-dummies and chucked a wabbly and declared war on Newtown.

Maybe all the Newtown anarchists are just blow-ins in sheep's clothing.

What-ever the situation Australia it is good to see that there still freeeeeee speeeeeech in this country.


Saturday, 29 April 2017

AnnanRoma 2017 at the Botanic Gardens Mount Annan draws big crowds


AnnanRoma 2017 at the Botanic Gardens Mount Annan draws big crowds.




The annual food festival AnnanRoma 2017 in its 10th year draws big crowds. The experience again met the expectations of Macarthur foodies and provided an enjoyable day for all attending. Lots  were still arriving after lunchtime with a constant stream of cars.

The overcast morning cleared up with lots of sun to brighten the saddest souls, with only a few clouds rolling in around lunchtime.

The festival held at The Australian Botanic Gardens Mount Annan was attended by thousands of keen Macarthur foodies eager to try to the offering from stalls run by local food outlets.

The foods stalls  was  set out along the roadway adjacent to the cafe and shop precinct. There were 32 vendors and as well as children's experiences running from 10.00am to 4.00pm,



There was Eat Street with gourmet hamburgers, chicken, sushi, noodles and other tempting dishes to try with local wines and beers.

The sweet tooth was looked after on Sweet Street with ice cream, pastries, chocolate strawberries, macarons, and berries with local coffees and teas.

The long queues at some of the food stalls did not deter any folk, while exercise the patience of some.

Music was provided at Lakeside stage and in the Connections Garden with a host of local talent.



The kids were looked after with Nature Play, Bush Tucker, Eco Art and Whose Poo, where you could guess who goes in must come out. Which garden visitor does this poo belong to?

The success matched the experience in 2016 when some stalls sold out and over 11,000 people attended from all over the Sydney area from far away including Mosman, Manly, Hills District and the Northern Beaches.



The success of today's event was not dampened by the rain that caused the postponement from early April. Botanic Garden's experience manager Rebecca Anderson predicted correctly the large crowds would enjoy the culinary delights.

Ms Anderson said that the festival experience had a stunning reputation that ensured the huge crowds will return in future.



Huge crowds at Picton's 2017 illumin­ARTe festival


There were huge crowds at Picton's 2017 illumin­ARTe festival this evening Saturday 29 April.

The cold did not deter the crowds with temperatures low enough to demand a coat and scarf. There were hosts of food stalls doing a roaring trade and one of the local cafes ran of out of take-a-way coffee cups.

There was light projects on a number of buildings including the old post office, bank building, church and council chambers.

There was lots for the kids to do out the front of the bowling club.

The crowds were so big that you were slowed to a shuffle in the rows between the stalls, The local families and their kids were out in force enjoying a night out.

There was plenty of musical entertainment at the various stages and the night was topped out with fireworks.