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WHAT MATTERS TO YOU? “Whether it’s standing up for renters rights and making housing more affordable, improving public transport, taking action on climate change or something else – I’m keen to hear what matters to you” Help shape the way we work in and with our community by giving us your feedback www.jennyleong.org/what-matters Authorised by Jenny Leong MP, State Member for Newtown, using parliamentary entitlements, May 2018.
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Residents will not be overshadowed By John Moyle On an ordinary Thursday in April a group of disparate community organisations from across Sydney came together under the Tree of Knowledge in Sydney’s Domain to launch the Save Sydney Coalition. From the lower Blue Mountains, to Canterbury and out to the leafy suburbs in the north and northwest, they are uniting against what they say is the unprecedented scale of over development across the Great Sydney Basin and the lack of transparency of the Liberal National Government. “Save Sydney Coalition is a group of community based organisations and individuals throughout the Sydney metropolitan area that have formed as a result of over development across Sydney and we are requesting a seat at the table with the Government in regards to future development,” Barbara Coorey, co-convenor, save Sydney Coalition said. The group includes members from the Sydenham Bankstown Alliance, Save Marrickville, Canterbury Close Streets, Keep Our Area Suburban, Save Rose Bay, Rozelle Against WestConnex, Community Action for Windsor Bridge and the Residents Infrastructure and Planning Alliance, an alliance of 16 community groups in the north and north west of Sydney. “There is a groundswell of protest happening across Sydney against the tsunami of overdevelopment,” Mark Gould, videographer said. Actor and activist Michael Caton, best known for his roles as The Castle’s Darryl Kerrigan and in his long term efforts to save Bondi Pavilion does not have his view of the new group clouded by idealism. “At the first meeting I warned them that they are going to have to coalesce and put some of the things that they have worked for on the backburner and go for the big picture,” Michael Caton said. “It’s not going to be easy but I think it is worth the attempt.” In January 2018 the Australian Bureau of
A tsunami of over development. Photo: Alec Smart
Statistics published figures showing a 30.6 per cent rise in apartment approvals for November 2017, bringing a total of 21,055 new dwellings in total for that month. “We want development to be sustainable with infrastructure and the character of the area must be maintained and the Government is not ticking off any of those boxes at all,” Barbara Coorey said. Over development of apartments has already impacted in Green Square, an area taking in Waterloo, Zetland and parts of Alexandria and Rosebery that is set to Australia’s most densely populated part of Australia by 2030 when it will have 22,000 people per square kilometre.
The whole Green Square area is expected to have more than 61,000 within 12 years, but is already experiencing infrastructure problems with an overcrowded rail station, little in the way of public amenities, schools, medical centres and with the exception of the Zetland Hotel, no pubs. Lord Mayor Clover Moore said that residents were experiencing daily the “looming disaster” of the public transport system. With WestConnex’s true cost blowing out to around $45.3 billion from a projected $28.5 billion, the cost blowouts on the light rail and the debacle surrounding the rail system it is unlikely that any government will be able to find the
money to fast track any further infrastructure to the area. “In local government there is no register of lobbyists and now you are seeing such as level of development that you haven’t seen since the Second World War and residents have a right to know who is a lobbyist in their area,” Barbara Coorey said. For year many of these community groups have worked quietly in their local areas, often with remarkable results. Recent actions in the Windsor area have seen 6,000 objections against one proposal, 600 people turn up to object to stop 240 hectares of land being destroyed for housing and have maintained a five-year picket against the development of Thompson Square, a Guinness Book record. In Kings Cross 540 written objections and 12,350 change.org signatures halted a development and provides a strong base for future objections. But with a government that does not listen and is opaque in its behaviour, the mood across Sydney is changing from social media and petitions to the realisation that the community has to be seen to be heard. “I have never seen Sydneysiders so fed up and civil disobedience is the only recourse that we have left,” Peter Hehir, convenor, Rozelle Against WestConnex said. “We want to get People Power back onto the streets,” Barbara Coorey said Save Sydney Coalition intends to start uniting their members through meetings and disseminate the information through social media, with the hope that people will eventually overcome their apathy and comfort and make themselves visible. “The problem is that people are living in fear and that is palpable, but I have never seen Sydneysiders so fed up and civil disobedience is the only recourse we have left,” Peter Hehir said. It’s going to take a big effort to unite even some of the 150 groups in the Greater Sydney Basin, but if this can be achieved the outcomes can be enormous.
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BY LANIE TINDALE Two local companies who have had their land acquired by the State government are seeking legal advice following the recent historic Supreme Court victory by a Lilyfield based business. ASX-listed Property developer Desane’s recent win against the State in WestConnex acquisition case has raised questions about the rights of surrounding properties, owned by timber firm Swadlings Timber and crane hire company Gillespie Crane Services. Judge David Hammerschlag ruled the acquisition of Desane’s 5275m^2 land on Lilyfield Road in Rozelle as invalid because it was ‘given for an improper purpose’. The area was to be used for “open space and parkland” and not to be used as part of the Rozelle Interchange permanently. Only a ‘sliver’ of the land was to be used for a temporary truck corridor. Swadlings and Gillespie Crane Services, who both own adjoining sites to the Desane land, applied to have their land to rezoned from industrial to residential before the compulsory acquisition in 2016. All three companies had lodged applications to build apartments on these sites before the compulsory acquisition. They claim the rezoning process was delayed. The two companies have already had their land acquired, but are soliciting legal advice after the Desane win. The M4-M5 Link Environmental Impact Statement states that the Rozelle land is “required for a temporary construction and tunnelling site”. The compensation given to Swadlings and Gillespie is still being considered by the Office of the NSW General Valuer.
Swadlings timer yard could be forcibly taken. Photo: Lanie Tindale
John Gillespie has said that the original offer given to the company in exchange for the land, $13 million, is ‘ridiculously low’. Gillespie owns a 5000m^2 parcel on 84 Lilyfield Road, Rozelle. The site is located about 1 km away from Anzac Bridge, and 3 km from the CBD. Gillespie has asked for a 60 day extension on the June 30 moving deadline. Swadlings is still in negotiations with Roads and Maritimes Services regarding compensation for its land. The family business says it has spent $1 million on negotiations with the RMS. Swadlings said that a private developer offered them $24 million for the land, if it was rezoned from industrial to residential. In comparison, they claim that the State government offered only $3 million. “There was also a delay in the rezoning application process ahead of the compulsory acquisition of the property”. The Desane verdict was handed down by
the Supreme Court of NSW following an 18 month legal battle, and a nine-day trial. The judge agreed that the acquisition did not comply with the Just Terms Act, and was therefore invalid. The RMS and Desane went through a mediation process before Desane commenced legal proceedings. Desane claimed that it could make $100 million through by developing the site for dwellings. The chairperson of Desane is Professor John Sheehan, whose legal expertise is in “property, planning and law”. Prof. Sheehan has claimed that the State Government are “land banking” - acquiring land below market value - just so they can later resell the property to help fund the WestConnex. Desane, Swadlings and Gillespie are only one of 51 businesses who the State has compulsorily acquired land from to commence Stage 3 of the WestConnex. city hub 17 MAY 2018
Allianz Stadium’s top secret plans BY SOPHIE STOPMAN Community members are being kept in the dark about important issues associated with the $729 million Allianz Stadium redevelopment project. The Sydney Cricket Ground Trust (SGCT) privately owns the Allianz Stadium site, unlike stadiums at Olympic Park and Parramatta, which come under the NSW government. Saving Moore Park president, Michael Waterhouse, has expressed concerns that the SCGT’s private ownership of the land will allow them to bypass community consultation and environmental regulations. Under the SCGT’s own act of parliament they are the only body not required to complete an Environmental Impact Statement for proposals. The demolition of the stadium will mean that sporting facilities for SCGT members will no longer be accessible. “We have found out that that there are plans being made by the SCGT to build another building to replace member’s sporting facilities, but nobody has been told about this proposal.” “It’s wrong that the SCGT should be exempted from providing an Environmental Impact Statement.” Membership fees for stadium club facilities will still apply, according to the SCGT, despite currently having no concrete plan about interim facilities. A representative from the SCGT membership office has assured members that their fees will not be wasted. “The temporary reciprocal facilities are unknown as of yet, but we can promise that all the facilities currently provided to members will be made available at another site for the duration of the redevelopment.”
Allianz Stadium before it comes down. Photo: Sophie Stopman
Further concerns voiced by Mr Waterhouse include environmental pressures on Moore Park and the encroachment upon residential areas and public recreational space. “You can’t jack hammer down an entire stadium without having issues with noise and dust.” “But Infrastructure NSW know this is an issue and say it will be managed.” Infrastructure NSW has conducted multiple public information sessions recently in regards to the stadium redevelopment project. Mr Waterhouse is pleased with the level of consultation being conducted by Infrastructure NSW and is hoping that SCGT will follow suit. “We want this building proposal to be under the official protocol as stipulated by Infrastructure NSW, which includes an Environmental Impact
Statement.” On Tuesday evening, Alt Media was turned away upon trying to attend one of these information sessions conducted by Infrastructure NSW. Director of Corporate Communications, Kelly Goodwin, refused entry to one of our journalists, despite advertising that the information session was a public event. Goodwin responded to Alt Media defending her decision on the premise that she was acting in the best interest of the community by excluding journalists from the event. “The information sessions provide an opportunity for attendees to engage with members of the project team in a safe, confidential and calm environment.
This is so attendees can feel confident to speak freely when talking with the project team.” Member of the Legislative Council, The Hon. Lynda Jane Voltz, MLC, was disgusted by the fact that Infrastructure NSW denied a journalist entry to the information session. “Without journalists that aren’t running an agenda, there can be no public scrutiny” Ms Voltz has called for the documents regarding the stadium demolition to be reviewed under Standing Order 52. “The intention is to start demolition without any proper public scrutiny” “Tax payers money is funding the project, so why is it then that only certain people are allowed to access information when it’s a state significant project?” The Final Business Case by Infrastructure NSW summarised that the quantifiable economic benefits of a new stadium fall short of the economic costs. Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, has voiced her opposition to splurging taxpayers money on a project that won’t bring public benefit. In February she tweeted ‘The NSW Government think we’ve forgotten their plan to waste $2.5 billion on a stadium knockdown rebuild when communities across the state are crying out for local sports, health and education infrastructure.’ The average crowd size for Allianz Stadium in recent seasons has hit 40 per cent of the stadium’s capacity, sparking questions about whether rebuilding 40 000 – 45 000 seats is overzealous. In the meantime, taxpayer’s money will go towards helping cover disruption costs to the Roosters, Sydney FC, and the Waratahs over the four-year construction process, which leaves the teams without a home ground.
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Mac Attacks Martin Place BY MICK DALEY Sydney’s Macquarie Bank have drawn a storm of high-level protest against their planned $637 million developments in Martin Place - already at the Stage Three approval phase. Perhaps their escape from scrutiny by the banking Royal Commission has emboldened them to think they’re bulletproof. As the somewhat opaque ‘fifth pillar’ of Australia’s banking community they’re certainly well positioned in the upper echelons of business. Their proposal for two enormous towers in Martin Place comes with the full endorsement of the Government Architect and is integrated with the planning for the CBD’s new $2 billion light rail and $12.5 billion metro railway projects. NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts insists the plans are all above board, but then as a development-at-all-costs advocate he would. In the grand old tradition of politicians insisting that black is white, he’s claimed the proposed new towers, one of which will resemble a gigantic bluetooth speaker dock, are in the public interest, being consistent with the historic buildings that define the aesthetic of Martin Place. This seems fanciful, as they’re perhaps best represented by a heritage-listed Beaux-Arts revivalist-style building designed by Ross and Rowe, completed in 1928. The plan has already ignored adverse reports from the Independent Planning Commission and the Department of Planning and Environment and drawn the ire of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, who told the ABC she suspected planning
Artists impression of Macquarie Towers. Photo: Macquarie Group
rules had been bent to accommodate the wishes of the bank. Planning law dictates that any building over 55 metres in height should be more than 25 metres from Martin Place.
Planning Minister Roberts has pointed out that Moore’s objections are rather disingenuous, considering she backed a 33 storey redevelopment that has a minimum setback of 4.8m to Martin Place.
City of Sydney Labor Councillor Linda Scott is the latest in a long line of public figures to condemn the Macquarie Bank towers. She says they will significantly impact the heritage significance of Martin Place, views to the GPO clock tower, and reduce sunlight, daylight and wind protection to surrounding streets. “The decision of the NSW Government to overrule the City of Sydney and approve the Macquarie Group Towers in Martin Place is not in the public interest,” she told the City Hub. “I am seriously concerned by the willingness of the NSW Liberal State Government to circumvent existing planning agreements to approve these towers.” “Here we have a Liberal State Government acting to approve an unsolicited proposal against the advice of two independent reports, and the public are losing out as a result.” “Public open space is rare and valuable in our City. Public spaces, and pedestrian areas, need to be preserved, not threatened by poor planning decisions.” Considering it comes on the back on an unsolicited proposal just last year, this massive development, integrated with ongoing public works does seem a rather ad hoc arrangement. The Planning Minister’s abject willingness to accommodate it could perhaps be explained by Macquarie Group’s hefty financial muscle – they recently announced a net profit after
tax of $A2.557 billion for FY18 to 31 March. The Group’s own argument for the immediate approval of their plans was that it “could have negative implications for the commercial viability of the development”. Net result: a late proposal a few years into a historic public transport redevelopment is approved because a bank says that otherwise its profit margins will be affected. The amenity of Martin Place is not restricted to the commercial convenience of oligarchs; Sydney’s homeless have long had a presence there. Spokesman Lanz Priestly, the erstwhile Mayor of Tent City, says the plight of our city’s most vulnerable people has not been factored into this glittering development. “I looked over their plans and unsurprisingly there’s nothing to accommodate the homeless community, who have used that space since 1991,” he told the City Hub. “There’s still services up there but they’ve been told they’ll have to relocate and some have felt under pressure to move. Some aren’t moving but others are quite meek.” But while Macquarie Group insists its brand spanking monoliths will improve convenience for customers, as an investment bank its track record warrants a second look. And while the Planning Department’s claims of 10,000 jobs to be created, it seems that the interests of the top end of town will be best served by a compliant State authority in this instance.
PROPOSAL TO UPGRADE MOBILE PHONE BASE STATION AT KENSIGNTON UNSW PROPOSAL TO UPGRADE EXISTING MOBILE PHONE BASE STATION IN THE MASCOT AREA Optus plans to upgrade the existing telecommunications facility located at: Sydney Airport Centre, 15 Bourke Road MASCOT NSW 2020, Lot 2 on DP1196520 (Optus ID: S1747 Sydney Airport North). 1. The proposal at the location above involves external works such as the installation of new panel antennas and ancillary equipment associated with the operation and safety of the facility, including Remote Radio Units, cabling and new equipment mounts, along with internal works within the existing equipment shelter. The upgrade will provide 4G services and improve the site’s performance. 2. Optus regards the proposed works as a Low-Impact Facility under the Telecommunications (Low-impact Facilities) Determination 2018 (“The Determination”) based on the description above. 3. Further information can be obtained from Melanie McDowall at Catalyst ONE on email@example.com or by calling 02 9439 1999. Further information on the site can be obtained from www.rfnsa.com.au/2020017. 4. Written submissions should be sent to: Catalyst ONE, PO Box 1119, Crows Nest NSW 158 by Thursday 31 May 2018.
city hub 17 MAY 2018
Telstra plans to upgrade its existing telecommunications facility at: 330 ANZAC PDE, KENSINGTON, NSW 2033 NSW, 2033 (RFNSA No. 2033001) The proposed works consists of: • • •
Installation of seven (7) panel antennas (2.65m in length) Installation of six (6) Remote Radio Units Installation of three (3) Tower Mounted Amplifiers
Telstra regards the proposed installation as a Low-impact Facility under the Telecommunications (Low-impact Facilities) Determination 2018 based on the description above. Written submissions should be sent to: Jack Rixon by 31/05/2018 Further information can be obtained from: Jack Rixon, Aurecon Pty Ltd, PO Box 538 Neutral Bay NSW 2089 Phone: 02 9465 5257 Email: Telstra.Enquiries@aurecongroup.com or at www.rfnsa.com.au
A Call Out for the Retired, Superannuated and Graduate Students Writers needed on local issues across the City Hub’s five distribution regions. Must be able to write engaging and accurate copy and meet deadlines. Please contact City Hub with CV firstname.lastname@example.org
Relocating libraries and customer service in South Sydney
Getting there We recommend you use public transport or walk to the new centre. There is no onsite parking. • Train: The new centre is next to Green Square train station, which is on the T8 Airport and South train line. From Redfern station you will need to travel to Central station and change for Green Square trains. • Bus: Catch the 309 from Gibbons Street, Redfern, or the 343 from Elizabeth Street, Waterloo. Other bus services to Green Square include the 370, 310 and X93.
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Our services The new Green Square Library will provide access to an even bigger collection of books, CDs, DVDs, magazines and newspapers. Our Russian and Koori collections will move to the new library. The new library features a striking six-storey glass tower and will house community and reading rooms and a technology suite. A music room with a baby grand piano will be available for practice and rehearsals. You will be able ask our friendly staff at the new Green Square Customer Service Centre about rate payments, permits and notifications, Council papers and other City services.
Arrangements during the move Current Green Square services will close on Friday, 1 June 2018 and reopen in the new centre in August. Weekly rhymetime and storytime will continue to run in the Tote Building in Green Square until the new library opens. The meeting and function rooms in the Tote Building can continue to be booked. Waterloo Library and the Redfern Customer Service Centre will close just before the new centre opens. The City’s other library branches and online library services will be available while we relocate. For all library locations, visit cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/library or email email@example.com Town Hall Customer Service Centre (behind Sydney Town Hall) on Level 2, 456 Kent Street, is open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm. Many City services are also available at online.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au The Green Square Tote and Waterloo Library buildings will be made available for community use. We will consult the community on the future use of these buildings. Thank you for your patience while we move to the new location.
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Heritage Act 1977 Notice of intention to consider listing on the State Heritage Register The Heritage Council of NSW is considering whether to recommend the place below for listing on the State Heritage Register in acknowledgment of its heritage significance. Redfern Park and Oval, Redfern Written submissions on this listing are invited from any interested person by 10 July 2018. Enquiries to Natalie Blake on
(02) 9873 8576 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The new Green Square Library opens in August and will include the new Green Square Customer Service Centre. The current Green Square Library and Customer Service Centre, Waterloo Library and Redfern Customer Service Centre will move to the new location.
• Village to village service: This is a free bus service for City of Sydney residents who need help with transport. The orange shuttle stops at locations in Redfern, Waterloo and Green Square on Thursdays and Fridays. See villagetovillagesydney.wordpress.com or call 02 8241 8000 for details. • Walk: The new centre is a 10-minute walk from our current Green Square Library and Customer Service Centre and Waterloo Library and 25 minutes from Redfern Customer Service Centre.
The City of Sydney is relocating two of its libraries and customer service centres to a new centre in the Green Square Plaza at 355 Botany Road, Zetland.
For more information: Further details on the nominated place can be viewed at: www.environment.nsw.gov.au/heritageapp/ NominationsOfStateHeritageRegister.aspx Direct submissions to: Heritage Council of NSW Locked Bag 5020, Parramatta NSW 2124 email@example.com
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Sydney’s nightlife scene gets wake-up call BY JOHN MOYLE The City of Sydney has selected 15 night life experts for a new advisory panel to put some new energy back into Sydney’s morose nightlife. Panel members have been chosen from a range of sectors including the nightlife industry, not for profit groups, academic organisations, retailers and creative sectors. To qualify participants have to live, work or study in the City of Sydney’s Local Government Area. The appointments are for three years and members of the Sydney Nightlife Panel must attend at least three of the four meetings held each year. 126 applications were received. Of the 15 participants chosen, at least two positions were set aside for people under 30. Somewhat disappointingly, the City of Sydney rejected the application of former Sydney night club czar John Ibrahim, who has over 30 years of experience and a wealth of insider knowledge to impart. “This new advisory panel brings together passionate and experienced industry professionals to help us navigate the challenges and opportunities facing our night-time economy at this most critical time,” Clover Moore, Lord Mayor, City of Sydney said. From its ascendency in the 80s with live music, theatre and al night bars Sydney has slowly given its nightlife prominence away to Melbourne and cities such as Adelaide. The reasons for the slide in the inner city
Sydney nightlife pre-lockout laws. Photo: John Webber from his series “In the Hood”.
are multi-faceted and include the emergence of social media, gentrification, the Casino, rising rents and the movement of creative people outside of the areas included in the LGA. For Kings Cross, Darlinghurst and the City of Sydney, the belly blow was the lock-out laws.
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SYDNEY CANDLELIGHT MEMORIAL 8
city hub 17 MAY 2018
“Certainly in Potts Point and Darlinghurst areas the lock outs decimated the night life, but what we have to do now is think outside the box and find alternative solutions,” Kerri Glasscock, panel member and director of 505 and Festival Director Sydney Fringe said.
John Green, the director of policing with the Australian Hotels Association said: “Rather than the AHA having a voice (on the panel) it related to my skills over a particular period of time with my policing background and the representing hotels through a range of committees and being aware of the issues that they face.” Twenty Five year old Jacob Collier is one of the youngest members of the panel and brings it the experience he has gained from serving on the Glebe Chamber of Commerce and running his own start up events company. “In my demographic there is a mix of interest and a lot of misconception that dance clubs, raves and alcohol are the primary interest, but people my age are just looking for a greater variety of activity,” Jacob Collier said. Kerri Glasscock places a lot of the blame on social media for perpetrating the belief that Sydney nightlife is dead and has a positive message of her own when she said, ”The social campaigns around the City’s nightlife being dead have not helped in anyway, and hopefully a panel like this can address this.” The Lord Mayor makes it clear that Sydney’s nightlife crisis is real when she said “While we will continue to advocate to the NSW Government to relax lock-out laws, provide adequate late-night transport and explore licensing reform to allow well-managed venues to continue to trade, we are doing everything we can as a local government to revitalise Sydney’s night-time economy.”
We Want You!
The CiTy hub is looking for volunTeers To regularly ConTribuTe. These roles will involve professionally covering various topics in arts & entertainment. This role is a practical internship/contributors position and one in which a number of our current editors have undertaken.
This role is for you:
This role is noT for you:
4 If you relish the opportunity to work in a real news environment 4 If you are passionate about Sydney having an independent local voice 4 If you want on-the-job experience and training for your portfolio 4 If you are organised and can hit deadlines
6 If you don’t like conducting interviews 6 If you don’t like constructive feedback to improve your writing 6 If you only want to go to film premieres
▶ minimum commitment: one article a week (150-300 words) ▶ all work is from home, role does require some 10min, over-the-phone interviews. ▶ perks include: free tickets and material All applications must include a short cover letter detailing current or previous schooling/experience and two examples of short-form pieces. sent to: email@example.com
Sydney will mark International AIDS Candlelight Memorial on Sunday 20 May at Eternity Playhouse in Darlinghurst. Join us as we come together and reflect on all those who have passed away from AIDS. We will remember those we have lost with a reading of names and celebrate their lives with music and stories. Sunday 20 May 3:30pm Eternity Playhouse 39 Burton St, Darlinghurst
Lazarus rising once again BY PAUL PAECH Good Friday back in 2015. Waverley Council’s Mayor Sally Betts was being interviewed live by 2UE’s Stuart Bocking, and she was trying to justify writing a character reference for a local resident called Luke Lazarus. Lazarus had been found guilty of the vicious rape of an 18-year-old virgin in the laneway behind his father’s nightclub in Kings Cross and Mayor Betts was out there arguing that he shouldn’t go to jail. In the short interview (https://tinyurl.com/ yac58ubn), Betts had already paraded her close connections to the Lazarus family, about various “charities” that they’d supported over the years, and offered some chilling quaint ideas about how to prevent rape. Betts was desperately making excuses for Lazarus’ behaviour, describing the 21-year-old as a “kid … who had strayed a bit out of the mainstream”. Then, in the middle of that 13-minute interview it suddenly occurs to Betts (like BANG) that Luke Lazarus wasn’t the only person caught up in all of this, and - for just four seconds in a twelve minute interview - Betts considers the fate of the victim: “I don’t know how you make amends to the young woman.” A slight pause, but then she’s back on track, working as hard as she can to find excuses to get “this kid” off the hook. Even at the time, Betts’ interview was shocking for its callous disregard of “the young woman”, but it looks so much more shocking after last week’s Four Corners programme I Was That Girl where Lazarus’ victim Saxon Mullins bravely told of the enduring consequences for her of Lazarus few minutes’ selfish pleasure in Kings Cross. Four Corners gave an extraordinary insight
The Piccadilly hotel once co-owned by the Lazarus family. Photo: John Moyle
into how a wealthy Eastern Suburbs family used its wealth and power to protect its privileged son from the legal consequences of his actions in wantonly exploiting the vulnerable. And, as it turned out, Betts’ letter of defence (along with similar letters from an honorary secretary of the Honorary Consulate-General of Greece in Brisbane, and the Rabbitohs chairman Nick Pappas, a relative) played a role in establishing the “good character” of Lazarus, and thus the 2017 acquittal. With the Lazarus decision, the state government has rightly triggered an inquiry into NSW’s sexual assault laws, but public resentment may not be so
easily satisfied. Typically, widespread anger like this demands a symbolic sacrifice. With Saxon Mullins’ powerful story, the finger is turning to Lazarus’ most visible supporter, Councillor Sally Betts. And here there’s an important question: Why did Betts stick her neck out for the Lazarus family? What does the Lazarus connection do for Betts? A former Liberal Councillor has alleged that Betts held her own birthday party at the Lazarus/ Parras family owned Eastern Hotel, but that’s not a crime, unless she didn’t pay for it. There’s suspicion that they may be donors to local Liberal Party campaigns, though you
wouldn’t find out. Betts’ returns always shows nil income, and nil expenditures. Two years ago, ICAC’s Operation Spicer identified the Free Enterprise Foundation as the means by the Liberal Party had channelled donations to avoid legislation prohibiting contributions from property developers. Because of the huge illegal slush fund it operated for the 2011 state election campaign, the NSW Party lost $4.4m government campaign funding. Betts has already said she knew exactly what she was doing when she wrote the reference, and that she expected to “take a hit” for it, and that she has already taken a hit: her political career collapsed at last years’ council elections. People in that know say that there was something about Betts that voters (especially Liberal women) found “distasteful”: with a little prompting, voters pointed to the stench around Lazarus. With Four Corners’ examining this awful event and showing the shocking behaviour of his family (big fat party after acquittal), Betts’ loss of local political power may not be punishment enough. Betts’ cosy long-term tax-payer-funded sinecure in Malcolm Turnbull’s Wentworth electoral office should be under threat. Already in 2015, Turnbull sensing a moral as well as a legal issue, put Betts’ job on the line, promising that he would comment on the matter once the letter investigations were complete. The legal case is now concluded, and Turnbull can make his moral position clear. For just as long as he continues to employ Betts, he will be implicated in the nasty mechanisms of power which let Luke Lazarus off the hook, and turning his back on women. Betts was contacted by City Hub, but failed to respond.
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Tamarama Surf returfed BY JADE MORELLINI Tamarama Beach’s iconic clubhouse, Tamarama Surf Life Saving Club is getting a $4.56 million face lift after years of corrosion. Founded in 1906 after the closure of Wonderland Park, which was Sydney’s first coastal amusement park, it carries the history and culture of over a century. The Tamarama Surf Life Saving Club was a place for the community to enjoy, and a hub for the club’s surf lifesaving operations. Due to the constant patrolling of lifesavers, Tamarama Beach was awarded the reputation of “no lives lost”. However with the passing of the years it has degraded and is no longer fit for purpose. A development application which was put forward in 2014 has finally been approved despite receiving opposition from a number of local residents. Andrew Farley, spokesperson for Tamarama Surf Life Saving said, “The redevelopment will transform the iconic clubhouse into an education and training centre for surf lifesaving operations, beach safety, education programs and use by community groups.” The centre will contain a community hall, a conference room equipped with audio and visual facilities, a kitchen, gymnasium, change rooms and disabled access to allow easier use for a broader range of groups. A major part of their plan centres on providing more space to educate the publics’ knowledge on beach safety. “The new facility will underpin an expansion of the club’s existing Migrant Beach Safety Day program that will educate around 700 participants this year and increase to over 10,000 people per year from migrant, tourist and school groups,” Farley said. “The club will double available use by community groups, like Zumba, martial arts and gymnastics, to 2,000 hours per year and the club’s lifesavers will benefit from enhanced training
Migrant Beach Safety Day. Photo: Supplied
facilities that will better equip them to patrol one of the coast’s most challenging beaches.” In order to make this happen, they will need $4.56 million. “We have $3.3 million already committed, from members, the business community and all levels of government and we are currently planning a major fundraising event for the end of 2018 with further details to be released during the year,” Farley said.
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They estimate that the redevelopment of the surf club will take 12 to 14 months and they aim to begin construction “once the final portions of support being sourced are finalised.” With many locals opposing the renovations in fear of losing the heritage of the site, Farley promises that they will keep the history there. “Since it was founded in 1906, Tamarama
SLSC has been an innovator in the surf lifesaving movement,” Farley said. “A designated area will be incorporated within the new building for display of the club’s heritage items for members and the broader public to enjoy in order to balance the modernisation of the building and the preservation of its unique history.” Waverley Council were approached but they could not provide a comment.
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Holding A Candle To HIV The Sydney Candlelight Memorial will be held at the Eternity Playhouse in Darlinghurst once again to remember, honour and celebrate the lives of those who have passed from HIV or AIDs.
By Emily Shen Held on International Remembrance Day, the memorial has run for over 18 years as a joint production by ACON and Positive Life NSW to pay tribute as part of a global day of reflection. ACON is a New South Wales-based health organisation specialising in HIV prevention and support. Positive Life NSW is a non-profit, community-based organisation working to promote a positive image of people living with and affected by HIV, with the aim of reducing the stigma attached. This year’s candlelight memorial will feature a performance by the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir as well as a speech by Professor Anthony Kelleher, the Head of the Immunovirology and Pathogenesis Program at the Kirby Institute. The memorial will also include its moving tradition of having the names of those who have passed read out by members of the community. “It’s an incredibly powerful and affirming experience for a lot of people. Some have only been able to grieve privately and this is a way of being able to have the person they’re grieving recognised by others,” says Jane Costello, the President of Positive Life NSW. “It can also bring some closure for participants. It’s really about what makes us human – connecting with others around an event like this.” The memorial has been valued by the community as a spiritual method of both honouring and paying respect to the lives of those who have passed due to HIV-related illnesses but also to recognise the lives and experiences of people currently living with HIV.
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city hub 17 MAY 2018
Positive Life NSW President Jane Costello and ACON President Justin Koonin at the Sydney Candlelight Memorial at Darlinghurst Theatre Company’s Eternity Playhouse. Photo: Reg Domingo
“It’s a place where everyone can feel safe and welcome and supported regardless of background or origin,” says Peter Schlosser, a speaker for the Positive Speaker’s Bureau, who has lived with HIV since 1984. “It’s an understanding that we’re a diverse group of people just trying to make the most of life.” The memorial provides some comfort to those currently living with HIV in relation to breaking down the discrimination and prejudice that is often attached to living with the virus. “As HIV and AIDS have gone from being a death sentence to a chronic, manageable condition, there’s been some social acceptance but many people living with HIV continue to feel stigmatised and that needs to change,” says Justin Koonin, the President of ACON. “Social exclusion is one of the most painful aspects for someone living with HIV. There are support services available through ACON and Positive Life NSW, as well as other organisations but public acknowledgement at the memorial of what people have gone through and what people continue to go through provides validation.” In their fourth quarter report of 2017, the NSW Government reported that 11 percent fewer people had been reported as being newly diagnosed with HIV by the end of the year, compared to the previous six year average. However, despite the lowering rates of diagnosis, the community has voiced concern that a fear of testing or seeking treatment due to discrimination is still of significance for many people. “Self-stigmatisation is a large problem, particularly in culturally and linguistically diverse
communities where there is already disempowerment,” says Schlosser. “Individuals with an HIV diagnosis won’t seek help because it means disclosing and possibly exposing yourself to discrimination.” “In the 80s and 90s, stigma and discrimination were very overt but now, it’s more insidious. Someone on the outside of our community won’t notice that a nurse has put on three pairs of gloves when taking your blood but we do.” The memorial has provided an opportunity to raise awareness and provide education to all levels of society about living with HIV though. “It’s important that we use the memorial to commemorate people’s lives but also to mobilise and strengthen our response to HIV,” says Costello. “It’s about celebrating what we’ve achieved in our fight against the AIDS epidemic over the last 30 years but also educating the current generation of people who might not know about the history and how important that is.” For the community, the history of the memorial is intrinsically linked to a better future. “These days, by improving awareness and educating people, we help address stigma and discrimination,” says Schlosser. “The memorial is a commemoration and celebration but there’s always a powerful sense of grief and urgency. It’s a way of keeping up the momentum because we still have a way to go.” May 20. Eternity Playhouse, 39 Burton Street, Darlinghurst. Info: www.candlelight.org.au
WE THE ANIMALS
TUE 12 JUN 8:30PM DENDY OPERA QUAYS THU 14 JUN 6:00PM DENDY NEWTOWN
WED 13 JUN 6:30PM EVENT CINEMAS GEORGE ST SUN 17 JUN 6:00PM DENDY NEWTOWN
SAT 9 JUN 4:45PM EVENT CINEMAS GEORGE ST WED 13 JUN 6:00PM DENDY NEWTOWN
A fascinating exploration of contemporary China through the pre-wedding photography industry – a billion-dollar fantasy world.
Banned in its home country, the first Kenyan film selected for Cannes – a hip, romantic and daring lesbian love story.
HALF THE PICTURE
LEAVE NO TRACE
SUN 10 JUN 4:00PM STATE THEATRE TUE 12 JUN 6:00PM EVENT CINEMAS GEORGE ST
SUN 10 JUN 2:30PM EVENT CINEMAS GEORGE ST THU 14 JUN 6:15PM DENDY NEWTOWN
FRI 15 JUN 6:30PM STATE THEATRE SAT 16 JUN 11:05AM STATE THEATRE SUN 17 JUN 6:20PM HAYDEN ORPHEUM
Olivia Wilde stars as a domestic abuse survivor who helps victims to escape their abusers in Australian director Sarah Daggar - Nickson’s riveting debut feature.
Why are there so few female filmmakers? Prominent US women directors, from Ava DuVernay (Selma) to Penelope Spheeris (Wayne’s World), debate this urgent question.
Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone, SFF 2010) returns with a delicate drama about a father and daughter who are found by authorities after living off-grid in the wilderness for years.
Winner of the NEXT prize at Sundance, Jeremiah Zagar’s astonishing debut feature is a visually stunning coming of age tale with well earned comparisons to Moonlight.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT REVIEW: Jack Gow - A Quarter-Life Crisis In Twenty-Seven Parts
As part of the 14th annual Sydney Comedy Festival line-up performing at the Wild Oats Wine Bar, is award winning comedian Jack Gow, with
his solo show, A Quarter-Life Crisis In Twenty-Seven Parts. In 2015, Jack was indented in the Sydney comedy scene after being picked by Sydney
Comedy Festival for the Break Out Comedy Showcase of the best upand-coming comedians. Jack has been seen on ABC’s
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
The Checkout, has won The Moth StorySLAM twice and has had two sold-out seasons of his solo shows, Everybody’s Doing It! Dying That Is and Just a Small-Town Boy. At 27, Gow’s unique style is personal and narrative driven, deriving all his material from his real-life experiences and his thoughts surrounding them. Gow started off energetic and hilarious, telling the audience stories of his neighbours and work life leading up to his life crisis. As the show reared towards the end, a story of attempted suicide hit Jack in the feels, almost breaking him down. This seemed to cause the comedian to go on an emotional fuelled rant about housing affordability and starving children, while holding back tears. The audience fell silent and there was an awkwardness in the air. Jack recovered and ended the show. The vote is still out for whether this was a comedy show or an actual life-crises. (RH) Helena Demetrius
Stars Of The East, Dance For Cancer This has nothing to do with three wise men but it does involve goodwill, generosity and a lot of stamina. Stars Of The East, Dance For Cancer is a competition that pairs professional dancers with celebrities and local heroes in a public show of grace and flare - or at least an honest effort - all in the name of raising funds for NSW Cancer Council. The launch event in March, held at the picturesque waterfront location of Criniti’s at Woolloomooloo was where the celebrities were randomly matched with their dance instructors and then also randomly allotted a dance style. Among the brave contenders are Darren Mara (Reporter, Producer and Presenter, SBS World News), Cameron Pascoe (Actor, Writer and Bartender, TV’s First Dates), and Ryan Clark (Life Guard, Waverly Council and TV’s Bondi Rescue). After barely two months of training and lots of fundraising, the couples will meet for the Gala Night show down at East’s Leagues Club on May 19, and perform before a
cheering crowd of over 300 fans. The stakes are high with three awards - Judges’ Choice, People’s Choice and Highest Fundraiser as well as personal pride, on the line. The judging panel is comprised of one knowledgeable pro and
three sympathisers: Sally Betts (Councillor, Waverley Council), Anthony Minichiello (Easts Group, NRL Footballer), Scott Bennetts (CEO, Easts Group), Chris Bamford (Professional Dancer, Choreographer, Singer and Actor).
13 STAGE 14 Sounds 15 SCENE 15 SCREEN
It promises to be a very funny, very exciting evening, all for a worthwhile cause. (RB) May 19. Easts Leagues Club, 93-97 Spring St, Bondi Junction. $120 (inc BF, dinner + drinks package).Tickets & Info: www.123tix.com.au
Arts Editor: Jamie Apps For more A&E stories go to www.altmedia.net.au and don’t forget to join the conversation on Twitter at @CityHubSyd
The Guild Theatre, which was founded in 1952, is Sydney’s longest standing community theatre. Thanks to their longstanding pedigree the troupe of Elizabethan players is able to create an exuberant modern twist on Shakespeare’s most beloved romantic comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s almost 40 years since The Guild presented a full production of a Shakespeare play, and director Susan Stapleton knows it’s well overdue. Stapleton’s own dream of staging this magical Shakespearean classic goes back to her years of studying The Bard at University, including a course at Cambridge in England. “He [Shakespeare] can be very cheeky and bawdy yet, as a poet, frames his ideas in such beautiful imagery that you can’t help but see into the human soul. The fact that this insight is over 400 years old – yet both timeless and universal - makes it all the more intriguing. I’m so very excited and can’t wait to share it with our audiences.” A Midsummer Night’s Dream is outwardly about the events surrounding the marriage of Theseus, Duke of Athens to Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons. This is Shakespeare’s funniest and most accessible play and will delight both devotees of The Bard and audience members less familiar with his works. (JA) May 18-Jun 9. The Guild Theatre, Railway & Walz St Corner. $20-$25+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.guildtheatre.com.au or Ph: (02) 9521 6358
Contributors: Barbara Karpinski, Craig Coventry, Emily Shen, Irina Dunn, Jade Morellini, Joseph Rana, Leann Richards, Lisa Seltzer, Mark Morellini, Mel Somerville, Olga Azar, Rita Bratovich, Rocio Belinda Mendez, Sarah Pritchard, Shon Ho, Jade Morellini, Alex Eugene, Manuel Gonzalez, Tommy Boutros, Riley Hooper, Mohsen Dezaki, Daniel Jaramillo, Georgia Fullerton, Gary Nunn.
city hub 17 MAY 2017
Written in 1986 by English playwright Willy Russell, this monologue delivered by the 42-year-old Shirley Valentine is a cri de coeur from a woman who realises her life has been circumscribed by housework, an ungrateful and boorish husband and an unappreciative daughter. Her silent confessor, the wall of her kitchen, listens patiently as she explains how, on a recent occasion, when her husband didn’t see his usual Thursday mince on his plate the moment he walked in the door after work, he threw the replacement dish of eggs and chips across the table and onto her lap. Poor Shirley feels that her life is doomed to a continuing round of such events until her friend gives her a free ticket to travel to Greece with her, and her decision to go is the beginning of Shirley’s emotional renaissance. Sharon Millerchip is a fabulous Shirley, investing her character’s kitchen table
philosophy with great humour and Platonic wisdom. Shirley speaks to the wall, and later the stones in Greece, answering with laugh out loud humour her own profound questions about life, the chief one being, “Why is it there’s all this unused life?”, a question we might all ask ourselves. Millerchip is a truly engaging Shirley, who had the audience dancing on their toes and hooting with delight at the end of opening night. Go see this terrific production directed to perfect pitch by Mark Kilmurry. You will not be disappointed, I assure you! This is yet another gem from the Ensemble, 60 years young this year and going strong. (ID) Until Jun 9. Ensemble Theatre, 78 McDougall St, Kirribilli. $35-$73+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.ensemble.com.au
Live Music Guide LIVE WIRE Sydney
By Jamie Apps
Hayley Jensen: Australian Idol star turned The Voice star turned country star! You’ve seen her on Australian Idol and on The Voice and may have also caught her on the telly performing with fellow Idol, Casey Donovan. Now Hayley returns to her country roots with new album, Turning Up The Dial, which she is launching tonight. Thu, May 17, Leadbelly Confidence Man: A portable party that’s levelled dance floors and flattened festival crowds as it’s rolled out across the world, Confidence Man are a machine custom designed to make you dance and lose your cool. Check them out as they bring their debut album, Confident Music For Confident People, to Sydney tomorrow night. Fri, May 18, Metro Theatre Silverstein: Throughout the course of their 17-year career, from Ontario basement shows to touring the world and selling over a million records, Silverstein has always managed to be completely comfortable in their own skin while never being afraid to challenge themselves. Check them out as they team up with Comeback Kid for a double header of aggressive Canadian punk rock. Fri, May 18, Manning Bar Castlecomer: After electrifying the crowds at SXSW in Austin last year, the US industry was quick to pounce on Sydney five-piece Castlecomer; within weeks the boys had inked deals 14
city hub 17 MAY 2018
Sharon Millerchip. Photo: Anna Kucera
REVIEW: Shirley Valentine
with American label Concord Records, Paradigm Agency and Mushroom Music Publishing. They return home this weekend to celebrate their rapid growth with the fans that have been there from the beginning. Sat, May 19, Metro Lair David Helfgott: David Helfgott’s story is well known to a worldwide audience through the film Shine, in which his remarkable life was portrayed by Geoffrey Rush in his Oscar winning performance. These days David continues to captivate audiences with his exuberance and exceptional pianistic ability. Sat, May 19, City Recital Hall Marlon Williams: Make Way For Love is Williams’ follow up to his 2015 self-titled debut and has him exploring new musical terrain and revealing himself in an unprecedented way, in the wake of a fractured relationship. Sydneysiders can hear this new sound live this weekend. Sun, May 20, Oxford Art Factory The Kids: Sydney teenage punks, The Kids, have come crashing into 2018 like their lives depended on it. Last month the band released their first single, School, to the praise of Australia’s punk and hardcore media and scored a spin on Triple J’s Short Fast Loud! Check this band out now before they explode into the mainstream consciousness. Sun, May 20, Frankies Pizza P.P. Arnold: The Los Angeles teenager, who became London’s first lady of soul after hitting town in 1966 with Ike and Tina Turner and coming to the attention of Mick Jagger, is still going strong. For this week’s show Arnold is joined by a dream band as backup to her extraordinary vocals for what will undoubtable be be amongst the most talked about tours of the year. Wed, May 23, Factory Theatre
Alison Wonderland By Jamie Apps Alison Wonderland doesn’t even want to think about where she would be without music. Particularly after releasing her latest album, Awake, which was an incredibly emotional writing experience. “With Awake I genuinely feel like that album saved my life because I was coming to a lot of realisations about myself,” Wonderland explained. “I had hit rock bottom and through verbalising that through music I was able to make real life steps to change my life and get out of a pretty dark space.” Since Awake is such an open and honest record it obviously carried a lot of weight for Wonderland, which wasn’t released until it was finally unleashed into the wild. “I was sitting on all of this emotion and weight, so when I actually released this album it genuinely felt like I had released everything that I had written about as well which was a huge relief.” By investing so much emotion and personal experience into this record Wonderland says the production process was an incredibly “draining and scary” one. This record was so draining in fact that there were multiple times where she said she “wanted to quit because I was so dead from giving everything to it.”
One particular example stood out when Wonderland spoke about the gruelling process of producing electronic music,“When you’re producing you’re listening to every single sound within the music so I could be listening to one single snare for eight hours straight just to get it right… I can’t even look at people straight after sitting in a studio for that long.” That can create a weird dichotomy for Wonderland when she has to then transition from production mode into performance mode. “When I play a show not long after a studio session it can be really hard for me because it is a different side of my brain and it can take a few days to adjust.” Luckily Wonderland was able to take the time to adjust following the release of Awake in order to prepare for her recent headline performance at the world famous Coachella music festival. Just three years ago Wonderland was performing at Coachella as one of the opening acts so to rise so rapidly was “pretty insane.” Since this was her second time performing at the festival Wonderland knew how important this particular performance would be. “Coachella is such a landmark festival because it can define your next step so it was important for me to give everything to it.”
In order to achieve this goal Wonderland told City Hub that she invested her entire pay cheque from the festival back into the set design. Not only did Wonderland handcraft the visual aspect of her show but she also wanted to wow the audience with her performance by showing that she is more than just a DJ. “You can say it as much as you want to but unless I get up on stage and play the cello or sing live nobody is going to know, they have to see it to understand,” explained Wonderland. “That is something I realised after Coachella because I received all of these messages about how it blew people’s minds or that they had no idea I could do that.” Jun 16. Vivid Live: Curveball, Carriageworks, 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh. $82+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.carriageworks.com.au
Quiet Slang - Everything Matters But No One Is Listening
West Thebarton – Different Beings Being Different
Under the Quiet Slang moniker James Alex has created a sound which diverges drastically from his previous work with Beach Slang. The new record, Everything Matters But No One Is Listening, is a beautifully melodic, emotive and tender record. Throughout the record James delivers 10 minimalistic arrangements featuring cello, piano and James’ raw, emotive voice. By taking this approach the listeners is deeply absorbed in the stories and messages James is weaving together. This record is incredibly cohesive throughout, so much so that occasionally it can be tough to distinguish where one song ends and the next begins. Much of the focus of this record is on the lyrical and emotional weight conveyed throughout can make the record a tough listen in that regards, as you’re guaranteed to feel something. However musically this is an intensely impactful outing which we can only hope to hear more of. (JA) WWW1/2
The listener will know good old Aussie rock when they hear it. The most recent album from West Thebarton belongs to a long tradition of cheeky lyrics, high energy and a fire in the belly of every participant of the musical force. It’s in the listeners face and its intense, Different Beings Being Different is fresh yet familiar to fans of the genre. A casual tone sometimes belies the passion behind the music, injecting a relatable quality and a large dose of fun into its very heart.The result is the kind of raw enjoyment that creates a like feeling in its fans. This music is great to mosh to, bouncing around at random, each listener at once communing with the band and with every other listener.There is depth too, listen a few times to imbibe the energy and then take in the words. (SP) WWW
THE NAKED CITY
BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS With Coffin Ed In the early days of Australian television during the late 1950s, Sydney had Desmond Tester, the Cabbage Quiz and Captain Fortune – Melbourne had the Tarax Show with Happy Hammond, Princess Panda and Gerry Gee. Of all the various early children’s favourites only one would ever achieve national celebrity at the time - and that was the incredibly popular ventriloquist doll Gerry Gee. Whilst Melbourne was the centre of the phenomenon, Gerry Gee ‘Junior’ dolls were sold all over Australia and loved by both boys and girls, the latter especially catered for with the ‘Geraldine Gee’ doll.You could buy dolls in the colours of your favourite football team and when The Beatles toured Australia in 1964, a special mop top Gerry was released. Along with the purchase you received a certificate of membership for the ‘Gerry Gee Juniors’ which arranged bus trips and other get-togethers of sometimes hundreds of children and their pint sized versions of the real Gerry. These days these dolls are a highly sought after collector’s
item, but like many toys of the 50s and 60s, few have survived the ravages of time and youthful play sessions. If you do find a Gerry Gee doll chances are it’s missing an arm or a nose from its very vulnerable plaster of paris face. The original Gerry Gee dummy was imported from the US at a cost of two hundred pounds, a small fortune at the time and was sold at auction many years later for $17,000. The man behind the Gerry Gee craze was the much loved ventriloquist Ron Blaskett, who died in April of this year, aged 96 and at one stage was one of
Tully tells the story of a mother with two kids, giving birth to her third. Not dealing with the stress of a new born Marlo (Charlize Theron), takes up her wealthy brothers offer of paying for a night nanny. Hesitant at first, Marlo’s life soon becomes blissfully changed as her bond with night nanny Tully (Mackenzie Davis) blossoms. The American comedy drama is directed by Jason Reitman and written by Diablo Cody. Tully is the fourth collaboration between
the best known faces on Australian television, especially in his hometown of Melbourne. When children’s TV moved to a new level of sophistication in the late 60s and 70s, Ron continued as a ventriloquist performing right up until the age of 90 when he announced his official retirement. As the TV appearances dried up, he tried his hand at a more mature audience, playing clubs and pubs throughout Victoria, at one point noting that he and Gerry were obliged to “work blue” to bring in the dollars. Speak to anybody today, who
once was a Gerry Gee Junior, and you’ll discover a warm affection for a period in Australian culture when a certain innocence prevailed and children employed their imagination rather than computer games, iPads and other spoon fed electronica. Singer Jeff Duff is one who fondly remembers owning a Gerry Gee doll and appearing on the Tarax Show with a studio full of doll clutching Gerry Gee Juniors, during the late 1950s. He recalls this early experience, the first of many TV appearances during his enduring career, as a real inspiration and the spark that inspired him to become the entertainer he is today. Sadly little remains in the way of TV footage featuring Ron and Gerry from this period, although there are numerous archival photographs. Just where the original Gerry Gee dummy, sold at auction in 1998, is now located, I am not too sure. It certainly deserves to be on display in a museum, perhaps alongside the stuffed carcass of Phar Lap in the Melbourne Museum. Even better – astride the mighty Phar Lap, bringing together two of the great icons of Australiana in an exhibit that would delight the heart of any Gerry Gee Junior.
the pair with Juno, Jennifer’s Body and Young Adult under their belt. The film stars Charlize Theron, Mark Duplass, Mackenzie Davis and Ron Livingston. A raw honest look into the stress of parenthood, in which Theron performed marvellously. The film was full of blunt sarcastic humour with the comedic timing pulled off perfectly. A charming heartfelt film with great dialog. Not just a film for the mums, but an easy and entertaining watch for all. (RH) WWWW1/2
This French comedy was a hit when screened at the recent French Film Festival and should prove to be equally as successful in general release. Aurore is a 50-year-old divorcee and soon-to-be grandmother. She is the proud mother of two daughters, is finding it hard to hold a job and is also going through ‘the change of life’. Will she cope with menopause and the stresses of family dramas? More importantly, will romance flourish with her first love? Actress Agnes Jaoui is a joy to watch as the
thoroughly likeable Aurore, a woman who doesn’t seem to understand what ‘every woman’s nightmare’ is doing to her body. This is a pleasant film which handles aging, age discrimination, friendship, love and the tears of joy and sadness in family life with a touch of quirkiness. A female audience should be delighted by the many mother/ daughter moments and also find the constant references to hot flushes and mood swings relatable and laugh-outloud funny. (MMo) WWW1/2
Surry Hills Festival 2018
The Surry Hills Festival is once again set to return in September to help raise fund for the Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre. Whilst the event is still some ways out for attendees it’s now time to act for anybody hoping to participate in the event. Applications are now open for bands, musicians, DJs, video makers, artists and pop up performers and vendors. Selected artists and creatives will work with
Surry Hills Festival producers and community to overlay Devonshire Street and surrounds with a curated trail of vibrant and engaging projections, and pop up installations transforming the heart of Surry Hills into a network of inspiration and discovery for 10 days. Themed Spring into Surry Hills this year’s program is going to be bold, fun and gorgeous. To apply head over to, www.surryhillsfestival.org
American Essentials Film Festival 2018 The third American Essentials Film Festival arrives in Sydney and devoted film festival attendees should come along and experience the best which American independent cinema has to offer. The impressive program consists of 22 feature films of which five are retrospective titles. “American independent cinema has always been strong, always been vibrant, always taken a different approach and always had a great respect for the traditions of American cinema, as well as international cinema,” explained Festival Director Richard Sowada. Independent films are usually a labour of love produced on a shoe-string budget, but is the writing and quality of performances of a high level in these films? “Most definitely. Budget is not an important thing – concept and the delivery of the concept is important. That’s been a trap of the industry for so long,” continued Sowada. “People have this certain idea that low budget films are not quite of the standard, but when you’ve got $500 million spent on a feature film which is not necessarily of the standard then you have to ask the question - which is of the better value?” With a program consisting of such
high quality films which would be one of the highlights? “I would recommend Pet Names. I love it. It’s great. It’s so lean, with beautifully penned lines, so sharp and great chemistry between the performers,” enthused Sowada. “When I programmed this festival it wasn’t about age, but about state of mind. That’s not young or old…it’s energetic, that’s the word I would use. It’s for people looking for that energy in exciting cinema”. (MMo) Until May 20. Palace Central, 3/28 Broadway, Level 3 Central Park Mall, Chippendale. $18-$80+b.f.Tickets & Info: www.americanessentials.com.au city hub 17 MAY 2017
Sunday 20 May 2018
LET’S REMEMBER & REFLECT Sydney will mark International AIDS Candlelight Memorial on Sunday 20 May at Darlinghurst Theatre Company’s Eternity Playhouse in Darlinghurst. Join us as we come together and reflect on all those who have passed away from AIDS. We will remember those we have lost with a reading of names and celebrate their lives with music and stories. Guest speaker: Professor Anthony Kelleher Program Head Immunovirology and Pathogenesis Program, The Kirby Institute With a special performance by: Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir
DATE & TIME Sunday 20 May 2018 Doors open 3pm for 3.30pm start Followed by refreshments
VENUE Darlinghurst Theatre Company’s Eternity Playhouse, 39 Burton St, Darlinghurst
city hub 17 MAY 2018