The rise of the vanities

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The rise of the vanities
Brittney Kleyn and Amanda Lyras

           he recession has affected how people        is not a crime. Botox and other such procedures       By wearing makeup and nail polish, these
           spend their money in a lot of ways, but     can have harmful negative effects on women         young girls are essentially turning themselves
           one of the stranger statistics to come to   especially on their self confidence,” she says.    into ‘mini adults’. Child development experts
           light is that Botox is booming among            The increasing focus on appearances among      say that young girls are now entering their
working women looking to get ahead.                    women also has a much more sinister effect: it     ‘tween’ years (between being a child and a
   Workplace women are seeking cosmetic                is trickling down to young girls. These days,      teenager) at the tender age of six, five years
enhancement to give them the edge in the               there is no longer shock value when a 12-year-     earlier than previously.
workplace because they believe that their              old rocks up to primary school with a face full       The message seems to be: don’t be fooled by
appearance could strongly influence the hiring         of make up. In fact, makeover parties are now      what your mother told you – in this day and age,
and firing policy of an organisation.                  all the rage.                                      outward appearances matter.
   Women who have recently been made                       Melbourne-based Glamour Girls Makeup              But while women seeking cosmetic
redundant are also flocking to surgeries because       Parties, which targets the four-to-10 age group,   enhancement can make their own informed
they think an improvement in their looks could         offers two-hour makeover parties for girls         choices, young girls need to know that at their
given them a great advantage when being                applying eyeshadow, blush and lip gloss.           age, it should be what’s on the inside that counts.
interviewed by a potential employer.
   The trend, which has been confirmed by the
American Society of Plastic Surgeons in the US,
shows that vanity is back, giving women a sense
that success is only a needle prick away.
   In the US, popping out of the office on a
lunchbreak for a quick hit of Botox, a procedure
that once took hours and perhaps days to recover
from, is becoming increasingly common.
   This is echoed in UK, with a recent article in
the Times Online showing that British women
are counting on Botox, and not makeup, during
the recession. And this idea of a quick trip to the
clinic is now crossing the Pacific.                    Brittney Kleyn and Amanda Lyras
   Dr Steven Liew, from the Shape Clinic in
Sydney, says: “We are finding women coming
in for a quick treatment in their lunch breaks
or even after work. It’s non-invasive which
means women can quickly get back to their
   Dr Liew says it is unclear whether the trend
will continue to boom in Australia but he says
the convenience of the treatment and its results
are so far being hailed by Sydney’s working
   And it’s not just working women looking
to get ahead – other women who have a full-
time job of a less competitive description are
stepping out for the treatment.
   Annie Little is a full-time mum and while the
stress of the workplace doesn’t get her down,
she says that being a full-time mum takes its toll
on her skin.
   “I can pop the kids into childcare at the
beautician for half an hour and get that perk.
Then, I can get on with my day.”
   Ms Little adds while it doesn’t give long-
                                                                                                                                                                Image: Zabrina Wong

term results, the treatment is affordable enough
for her and gives her added self-confidence.
   However Sydney psychologist Gemma
Cribb believes that this is where the problem
lies. “Women need to learn that aging gracefully

46   Precinct

                                                                                                                                                              Image: Nikpon Tran
The upside to feeling down
Sophie Tarr

            incent Van Gogh, Virginia Woolf,        we may not like, but can be good for us – pain,      Sadness: Why Feeling Sad is No Reason Not to
            Hunter S. Thompson: some of the         danger, anxiety and disgust all serve adaptive       Be Happy, spends her days teaching workshops
            greatest artistic minds have belonged   functions that prepare us better to cope with        on how best to experience sadness and to harness
            to some fairly miserable people. And    environmental challenges,” he says. “We now          its power for good. She says she wrote the book
now, a growing body of research suggests it’s       find that mild sadness functions in a similar way,   to show that sadness can offer an important
not just tortured geniuses who may benefit from     automatically triggering more careful thinking       catalyst for personal development.
a bout of sadness. Sadness may improve our          and greater attention to the world around us.”           “For lots of us we learn through pleasure
memories, accuracy and – yes – some say it can      The findings echo those of many of Professor.        and joy as well but we also learn tremendously
even make us happier.                               Forgas’ previous studies, in which it emerged        through the difficult experiences that we have,”
   Researchers from the UNSW School of              that dysphoria – or negative mood – may make         she says. “I think that if we can learn to value
Psychology have found that a gloomy mood            us less gullible, and better at decision-making.     those times of sadness ... in ways that help us
may positively influence people’s ability to           Professor Forgas says that, just as reactions     to move through them fluidly, and to gather the
accurately recall details. Their study, published   like disgust may have developed as a survival        lessons and the gifts of those times then that’s a
recently in the Journal of Experimental             mechanism, sadness may have stayed with              tremendous happiness skill.”
Psychology, measured the effect of mood on the      us over the centuries because it is favoured             She says one of the reasons sadness gets
memories of customers in a Sydney suburban          by evolution. The Neanderthal who didn’t             such a bad rap is that the word is often used
newsagency. On wintry days, the researchers         mind being betrayed by a fellow caveman, for         interchangeably with mental health terms
arranged for sad music to be played in the store    example, might have been more likely to end          like depression. Although Karen Masman
and on fine days customers heard happy music.       up being let down again than one who felt sad        acknowledges that depression is a problem faced
The customers were then approached to test          at the betrayal and took steps to avoid feeling      by many, she says it is important to distinguish
how many of the objects they could remember         that way again. These sad-sack ancestors might       between what she calls ‘appropriate sadness’ on
seeing. The group found that customers who          then have had a better chance of staying alive       the one hand and depressive illness on the other.
came in on rainy, cloudy days could list three      to pass on their gloomy disposition to future            True sadness, she says, is just an emotion
times as many objects as those who came in on       generations.                                         – and one that is not necessarily incompatible
sunny days – and what’s more, their memories           Embracing feelings of sadness is now              with happiness. “Happiness is not about the
were more accurate.                                 even seen by some to be therapeutic. Sadness         absence of sadness. Happiness and sadness are
   Professor Joseph Forgas, who led the study,      workshops have sprung up to help people get in       not polar opposites,” she says.
says it could be evidence of an upside to feeling   touch with their sad side.                               If you think you may suffer from depression,
down. “There are many aversive experience that         Karen Masman, author of The Uses of               help is available at

                                                                                                                                          Precinct      47

 All in a knit
 Siobhan Moylan

 The old Rex Hotel where Frank Sinatra once
 performed to thousands of Sydneysiders
 serves a different purpose today. Now, it’s
 the Rex Centre in Kings Cross, where every
 Monday a group of ladies gather together to
 knit at 10am sharp.
    But it’s not social knitting – to call it that
 would be an insult to these hard-working

                                                                                                                                                                                Image courtesy of the City of Sydney council
 women who defy those who refer to it as a
 social activity.
    “We’re not the type that sit around
 knitting in God’s waiting room,” says
 Anne Farrago, as she pulls a chair up to
 join the other ten dedicated women. “This
 is knitting for a cause”.
    And the cause couldn’t be greater.
 These women are part of Wrap with Love,
 an organization that aims to provide wraps,
 or blankets, to those around the world who
 suffer from extreme cold. Started in 1992           Usde it or lose it: The seniors ‘ creative writing class in Alexandria put their minds to good use every week.
 by Sydney woman Sonia Gidley-King, the
 idea spread and now there are numerous
 splinter groups across NSW.
    Annette Bennett is the fearless leader
 of this particular group. Like the other
                                                     The write way to learn
 knitters, she wants to make a difference,
 but looking at the statistics, it seems like
 her mission’s already been accomplished.            Alicia Nally

 The wraps make their way to nearly 40
 countries each year. From Vanuatu to Peru                      he bright, beaming eyes of Wilga                             “A healthy body and a healthy mind are to
 to the Swat Valley in Pakistan, the knitted                    Leone shine out from underneath a                         do with a good attitude and a healthy diet and
 wraps hug anyone in need of warmth.                            swathe of grey hair as she mingles                        exercise.
 Just recently a number of wraps were                           with guests, clearly revelling in the at-                    “Exercising       your      brain,   particular-
 delivered to Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital           mosphere of the book launch today.                                   ly in ways that take you outside of nor-
 in Ethiopia.                                            The book in question, Off Your Rocker, was                       mal habits, could help to keep the brain
    But while most of the blankets are sent          written by the members of a seniors’ creative                        healthy,” Ms Davidson says.
 overseas, local needs are also high on the          writing class in Alexandria, of which Ms Leone                          Verity Laughton, a playwright, author and
 agenda. As the women talk about places              is a part. The class meets every Wednesday and                       current instructor of the Alexandria writing
 like Mongolia, Tanzania and the Congo               is made up of men and women, mainly in their                         class, believes this is true. She says the class
 where the blankets end up, they smile when          70s and 80s, who have joined this class to make                      is helping protect participants from mental de-
 recalling a more local story. Recently, they        friends, explore their creative sides and perhaps                    cline, an issue that faces most people in the later
 took a wrap down to the Big Issue vendor            work their brains.                                                   stages of life.
 who normally sits outside of Woolworths                 A 2007 research paper by Alzheimer’s Aus-                           “Writing can improve one’s mental skills.
 on Macleay Street in Potts Point. “He               tralia on dementia prevention suggests that cog-                        “I do think the classes have helped the mem-
 was cold, he really needed it, we wrapped           nitively stimulating activities such as reading,                     bers’ mental fitness. It shows in little ways -
 it around him and it really was just like           doing crosswords and writing can be linked with                      more openness to new challenges in some, more
 wrapping him with love,” they say.                  a 46 per cent decrease in the risk of developing                     self-confidence in others,” Ms Laughton says.
    These women who’ve become friends                dementia, and last month, US researchers found                          Indeed, Ms Leone is in her eighties,
 are by no means a closed group. Towards             that undertaking such intellectual exercises can                     but this doesn’t seem to stop her from flit-
 the end of the session, a lady walks in and         build up ‘cognitive reserves’ even inlater life,                     ting around with the mental and physical
 introduces herself: “I know I’m late but            assisting in the slowing of memory loss.                               dexterity of someone decades younger. It’s
 I’m here to knit. I’m Lyn.” The women                   Marion Davidson, a mental health worker,                         clear that both Ms Leone and other members
 forage around for a spare set of needles,           has seen her parents suffer from forms of mental                     of the Alexandria seniors’ creative writing class
 and as Annette welcomes her into the                deterioration that ultimately ended their lives.                     have developed skills and friendships that are
 group and offers her tea, it seems like             Her father in particular, succumbed to dementia                      enabling them to live long, engaging and pro-
 anyone who comes in contact with the                towards the end of his life despite rising to great                  ductive lives. There is no doubt that this, at
 group is also wrapped with love.                    heights in the business world and being an avid                      least, is a group of senior citizens who will most
                                                     reader and a lay preacher.                                           definitely not ‘go gentle into that good night’.

48   Precinct
Dotcom doctors a danger
Brendan Wong

           he endless volume of information
           available on the Internet combined
           with the fact that people are
           increasingly time-poor means that
the Internet is now a first port of call for those
suffering health-related problems.
    While a trip to the doctor can often be difficult
to schedule, an explanation of symptoms and
possible diagnoses are only a click away for
those with an Internet connection.
    The practice of actively researching health
problems online, aptly titled ‘cyberchondria’,
has become widespread in recent times.
    Last year, a survey of more than 700
Australians found that four out of five people
use the Internet to look for health information.
    But Dr Jared Dart, of iHealth Solutions
Consultancy, warns that consulting ‘dotcom
doctors’ for medical information and self-
diagnosing is dangerous when undertaken
by people who are not qualified medical
    “You can’t be objective and there can be
a tendency to over or understate symptoms,
sometimes leading to a dysfunctional obses-
sion with health issuesidentified by searching
the Internet.”
    According to Dr Ronald McCoy, of the Royal
Australian College of General Practitioners,
the problem with the Internet is distinguishing
whether sites are reliable or not.
    “There are a lot of websites that you can’t
trust when it comes to your health and if you
can’t trust them then you’re putting your health
at risk through misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis
and getting wrong medicines,” he says.
    A 2007 survey of GPs published in the
Australian Doctor Magazine found that up
to 40 per cent spent at least one day per week
                                                                                                                                                                              Maggie Smith
reassuring patients who had misdiagnosed
themselves or others through the Internet.
    Dr Gillian Deakin, author of Things Your GP
Would Tell You If Only There Was Time, says 10
minutes out of a 15-minute consultation was             Self-diagnosing health issues on the Internet can lead to anxiety.
often spent explaining to patients why their
diagnosis was wrong.                                    gone a bit green. I thought it was pretty gross.”                    and to be supported by health educators.”
    “I see a lot more higher levels of anxiety as       Emily typed it in online and a website she found                        Both Dr Deakin and Dr McCoy say they
a result of the Internet,” she says. “I also see a      told her that she might have to amputate her toe.                    encourage people to print out any information
large amount of distress in people because they         “I started crying and my Dad took me to the                          they find on the Internet and to take it to
are sure their symptoms match an alarming               doctor. It ended up being fine.”                                     their doctors.
diagnosis.”                                                Dr Dart says most people wanted to receive                           For safe and accurate sources of health
    Emily Hely, 21, once used the Internet on           online health information.                                           information, they recommend www.healthinsite.
a regular basis to self-diagnose herself but               “Guiding people to safe, verifiable sources              and
admitted that this often made her more worried          of health information is the greatest challenge                         “They’re very good, they’re very reputable
about her health.                                       as most people still use a search engine,”                           and the point about them is that they can give
    “About a year or two ago, I used to work at         he says. “We need a mechanism for                                    you independent health information without
swimming pools and part of my toe nail had              patients to access this health information                           flogging products,” Dr Deakin says.

                                                                                                                                                           Precinct     49

Brendan Wong

          ocial networking websites have soared
          in popularity over the past few years.
          It is almost an impossibility to find
          someone without a Facebook, Myspace
or Twitter account.
    Most people use these sites to connect with
real-life friends, but for those who suffer from
social anxiety, this online technology is their only
hope of forging friendships with other people.
The online world allows them to be a more fun

                                                                                                                                                                Nikpon Tran
and outgoing version of themselves.
    However, psychologists warn of the
harmful repercussions: a sufferer can become
too dependent on their online friends and

                                                       Social anxiety
devastation can result when a virtual friendship
fails to translate offline.
    Dr Yega Muthu, a lecturer at the University
of Technology in Sydney, says sufferers use

                                                       in cyberland
social networking sites because they have
become loners and are intimidated by face to
face interaction.
    “Twitter or Facebook allows you to avoid
personal contact. You have the confidence to do
whatever you like on the Internet because the             But according to Dr Auerbach, there are               “If all of a sudden, the person withdraws
other person cannot see you,” he says.                 dangers associated with having this sense of          from you and you don’t have that social contact
    According to Dr Muthu, the internet is a           connection without the physical dimension.            with them anymore you come back to being a
haven for those who suffer from social anxiety.           “It can get people entrenched or cocooned          loner,” he said. “It’s a physiological effect.”
    “They want to be accepted in a social way,         into a life or a world in which they are not really      Dr Muthu says that the social withdrawal can
By going on the web, they can achieve that.”           feeling motivated to confront their difficulty,”      lead to depression, drug and alcohol abuse and
    Dan Auerbach, Director and Consultant              he says.                                              suicide.
of Associated Counsellors and Psychologists               While establishing online connections with              Social media expert Dr Jason Wilson, of
Sydney, says that people suffering from any            others may boost confidence, Dr Auerbach              the University of Wollongong, says however
social or anxiety disorder usually develop             warns that problems can arise if a relationship       that the effects of social networking ultimately
avoidance behaviours, which can disappear              does not progress from online to offline.             depend on the individual.
when they go online.                                      “The sorts of skills, the sorts of brain              “In an increasingly mobile world, being able
    “One thing that social media may do is to          development and interactional development that        to keep in touch with your family and friends is
allow people to live a virtual life in which           we’d like to see in people with social difficulty     probably something that maybe makes people
they can have quite a lot of interaction and           may be hindered if they are purely living in the      feel more secure.
even have feelings of being interacted with,           online space,” he says.                                  “It just depends on how individuals actually
but aren’t confronted by the physical presence            Excessive dependence on online friends can         employ the technology, what they do with it and
of a person,” he says.                                 herald devastation, according to Dr Muthu.            what kinds of boundaries they set,” he says

     Habitual hoarders are addicted to
     Carrie Fellner

     The house in the inner city has received 14          “You see homes where the clutter is                lack of understanding about how hoarding can be
     visits from council workers in the last 17        completely overwhelming. Rooms that                   best treated, according to Dr Morgan.
     years.                                            can’t be entered, because they’re piled high              “What people often do is come in and try to
        However, the problem does not involve          with newspapers, clothes, books, objects…             forcibly clean it up which causes a lot of pain
     unruly teenagers, building approvals or           everything imaginable.”                               and psychological trauma to the person living in
     environmental skirmishes.                            Unlike the notorious inner city case, most         the house.
        The problem is the house belongs to a          hoarding incidents tend to slip under the radar.         Jessica Grisham, senior lecturer from the
     compulsive hoarder.                               But Dr Morgan suggests the problem may be             school of psychology at the University of New
        Dr Christopher Morgan, of the University       more prevalent than the general public realises.      South Wales, describes two main psychological
     of Melbourne, has completed a PHD thesis             “It’s been a largely under diagnosed and           motivations behind hoarding.
     on the topic of compulsive hoarding.              unrecognised condition. There have been                  “The first one is instrumental saving: the
        He can easily identify the homes of            estimates...In Australia we’re not sure but it’s      person thinks ‘I might need this one day’. Maybe
     people who are ‘addicted’ to accumulating         certainly over 100,000-200,000,” he says.             they’ll collect all the rolls of toilet paper they
     possessions.                                         Along with this lack of research is a general      ever find – thinking maybe one day their son

50     Precinct
Examining science of love
Eden Baker

            sk a Doctor to define love, and the       while The Explorers want the stimulation of a
            expectation might be a garble of          large city.
            scientific terms.                             Certain combinations are far more common,
               But President of the Australian        but Dr Fisher says they can all work, “…as long
Psychological Society Dr Bob Montgomery               as the partners continue to respect each other.”
says it simply: “Love means something different           An integral part of attraction is sexuality,
to everybody.”                                        and not only feeling comfortable with one’s
   It is said that love increases the levels of       partner but also with oneself. According to Dr
certain chemicals in the brain like Dopamine          Montgomery, sexual intimacy does not always
and Adrenalin.                                        come naturally to couples. He says that although
   But Dr Montgomery dismisses this as                this can cause problems, it does not mean they
“pseudo-scientific gobbledygook”, the kind of         are not in love.
fodder reserved for “women’s magazines or                 Dr Fisher says that sex drive evolved in
misleading advertisements.”                           humans primarily to motivate individuals to find
   He says love can be divided into two               a suitable partner for reproduction. A healthy,
separate types: passionate and compassionate.         loving relationship between parents generally
The former is generally in the first stages of a      provides a good developmental environment for
relationship and lasts somewhere between six          children.
and 18 months. It involves intense psychological          Do humans then love out of need or want?
feelings and strong sexual desire. The latter         According to Dr Montgomery, it’s both.
involves friendly affection and a deeper                   “Humans love because they can... it is good

                                                                                                                                                                   Maggie Smith
attachment, tolerance of the other person’s           for them.”
shortcomings and a more meaningful sexuality.             For all the stress caused by those “he loves
According to Dr Montgomery, this can last             me, he loves me not” qualms, the benefits of love
forever, as long as it is nurtured.                   still far outweigh any cons. Recent Australian
   However, who we fall for still remains a           Beaureau of Statistics data show that those in      are more likely to catch a cold or the flu.
mystery.                                              intimate relationships live longer than those          Studies have given some life to the old adage
   According to Dr Helen Fisher, researcher at        who are not. Love can be one of the strongest       that it’s possible to die from a broken heart. A
Rutgers University and prolific author, people        drives on Earth, and according to Dr Fisher, it     recent study conducted at Sydney’s Royal North
are drawn to those from similar backgrounds,          seems to be more powerful than hunger.              Shore Hospital found that people mourning the
with the same level of intelligence and                   Losing a loved one or ending a relationship     death of a loved one had higher blood pressure,
good looks. While many meet these same                have negative health implications. Timing,          increased heart rates and changes to their
requirements, romantic bonds are few.                 busy schedules and financial woes put pressure      immune system, all of which can cause heart
   This can be explained if the population is         on relationships. The misery caused by such         attacks.
broken down into four personality types: The          problems can lead to physical health problems.         While there may be some risk in jumping on
Builder, The Explorer, The Negotiator and The             A 2004 study by the Medical Research            the bandwagon of love, in the end, the old adage
Director. The Builders, for example, live in the      Council in Glasgow found that those going           rings true: It is still better to have loved and lost,
suburbs and want grass and neighborhoods,             through a rough patch in a relationship             than to have never loved at all.

accumalating possessions
might want to use it in art project.”                 Catholic Health Care received Government            to clean up they can assist with the clean up
    “The other one is emotional attachment. In        funding for a pilot project focused on the          – they can pay for that to happen,” she says.
this case, they collect it …because it’s inherently   problem.                                               Ms McDermott says the project has met a
valuable to them. For example, they may collect          According to Ms Dermott, the aim of the          great need in the community.
all the clothing from a loved one who has passed      Domestic Squalor Project run by Catholic               “The project has been going for a year
away.”                                                Health Care, is to provide sustainable solutions    now and they’ve received heaps of referrals -
    Shannon McDermott, of the Social Policy           to people who live in squalor.                      I think over about 220 referrals in the last
Research Centre in Sydney, believes there is             “So that means that in some cases it’s not       year. So it’s been immensely popular and it
increasing recognition in Sydney of people            appropriate just to waltz in and, you know, clean   seems like it’s filled this amazing gap in the
living in squalor and hoarding.                       up someone’s house.                                 service system. No one really wanted to deal
    “In 2005 there was a bunch of community              “They work with the person to figure out         with it before,” she said.
organisations that got together to develop some       if they have any underlying issues, such as            In November Catholic Health Care
guidelines around dealing with situations of          dementia or mental illness that need to be          will host the inaugural National Squalor
squalor in the community.” Just last year, the        treated. And then in cases where it’s appropriate   Conference in Sydney.

                                                                                                                                             Precinct        51
 Heritage & Conservation

Hidden heritage revealed
Michael Foley

          he Walsh Bay Heritage Walk is                  The heritage walk is a self-guided tour with          The bay hides many little-known secrets
          full of surprises. Beautiful vistas         a map and directions available from the Walsh         and stories. In the mid-20th century, it housed
          unfold across the water and along           Bay Precinct website. Information points dotted       a world-class cargo loading facility. The high
          the headlands, from under the Sydney        among the wharves and old stores provide              ground ringing the bay allowed direct access to
Harbour Bridge down to the Opera House.               insight into the region’s rich industrial heritage.   the top level of the wharves, which were fitted
Around every corner is another historical gem            The walk is a government initiative that           with state-of-the-art hydraulic cargo handling
to discover, another surprising story to hear.        began in 2005 after the old wharves were              systems. The remaining wharves are now the
   Walsh Bay lies on the northern tip of the          gutted and converted to commercial and                last of their kind in the world.
craggy peninsula next to Circular Quay,               residential space, while still retaining their           Just before Hickson Road turns south from
down the road from The Rocks and at the               outer heritage appearance. Today, many office,        Millers Point to Cockle Bay is Towns Place.
base of Millers Point. Despite the prime position,    apartment and shop windows contain early              The public square was also known as the ‘bull
the walk is a hidden attraction, but offers an        colonial artefacts and information points.            ring’, where labourers gathered early in the
interesting way to pass an hour or two in the heart      The walk takes in a 1.6-kilometre loop             morning to vie for paid work that day.
of Sydney’s heritage.                                 from Hickson Road, round the infamous                    Work was scarce during the Great Depression,
   It was almost 100 years ago that the               ‘Hungry Mile’ (where dockside workers                 when only the strongest men, known as the
public was locked out of Walsh Bay due to             would desperately seek work during the                ‘bulls’, were selected for back-breaking 24-
bubonic plague, and 10 years since it was             Great Depression), along the lengths of the           hour shifts, carrying enormous loads of up to
completely re-vamped to become Sydney’s               old turpentine timber wharves, and back up            80 kilograms at a time, lugging lung-destroying
biggest cultural, residential and retail precinct     along the clifftop path, skirting the escarpment      coal or even asbestos.
with a unique blend of contemporary and               overlooking the bay, with the stunning harbour           A preserved convict cottage from the
turn-of-the-century architecture.                     views spilling out below.                             1830s provides some insight into Sydney’s

52   Precinct

on walk
settler heritage, while the site where Sydney’s
first plague victim lived stands as a token of
the city’s darker memories.
    Walsh Bay was once known only as
Millers Point, but was officially renamed in
1919 after HD Walsh, the Harbour Trust’s
chief architect. By 1921 the wharves had
been constructed, serviced by an access road
for haulage that connected the bay to the
commercial hub of Darling Harbour.
    The monumental Hickson Road, wide as
a freeway, was sunk deep into the sandstone
escarpment. Sheer cliffs were gouged out of
rocky outcrops, vaulted by arching overpass
bridges that connected to the second-
story loading docks of the finger wharves.
    The scenery is what attracts tourists
to Walsh Bay, but it is the rich and engaging
history discovered that makes the visit a special
must-see stop, shedding light on Sydney’s rarely
seen industrial heritage.                           Old factories have been converted to office space, apartments and shopping stores along the Walsh Bay shoreline.

                                                                                                                                                                              Clive Collins

                                                                                                                                                              Precinct   53
  Heritage & Conservation

Rejuvenation, reflection and

                                                                                                                                                                              Eimear Elkington
Glebe Point Road’s colourful terraces and eclectic shopfronts are iconic aspects of the suburb.

Charles Harrison

         ormer Prime Minister Gough Whitlam                             Governor Arthur Phillip first established             During the early 20th century, and especially
         said “few places in Australia are                          Glebe as part of an early land grant in 1789 to        during the Great Depression, Glebe’s streetscape
         richer in history than the inner-city                      support a church minister and a schoolmaster           deteriorated and the suburb became shabby and
         suburb of Glebe.” Whitlam spoke                            in the new settlement of Sydney. By 1856,              overcrowded. Despite this decline, the area
of the uniqueness of Glebe and the tangible                         financial difficulty forced the church to              retained a close and distinctive community.
and intangible characteristics that make it the                     sell some of its land. This led to the establishment   The 1960s saw a renewed interest in the
historically invigorating suburb it is today.                       of commercial venues alongside residential             neighbourhood and wider recognition of its
   The Glebe, as it is formally known, has                          dwellings for blue-collar workers.                     historic urban character and natural beauty.
undergone a profound transformation from a                              Max Solling, a local Sydney historian,                There was little or no involvement by old
quiet church-owned peninsula to a culturally                        points out that Glebe “…has a well-defined             Glebe residents in this urban recognition
diverse contemporary neighbourhood. The                             mosaic of the middle-classes living on the             and community renewal. Many viewed
celebrations surrounding Glebe’s 150th                              elevated Glebe Point, and the working classes          the Paddington-type gentrification of their
birthday have put focus on its distinctive                          settled on the lowlands near Grace Brothers in         suburb with deep suspicion, bordering
village character, heritage streetscapes and                        the Glebe estate…what’s unique is that it’s            on hostility. Ben Kline, club manager of PCYC
strong sense of community.                                          still a stratified society.”                           Glebe, says “Some residents would have been

54    Precinct
     revelry as Glebe turns 150


          Bright terraces are prized residential dwellings.                           Victorian terraces run the length of Glebe Point Road.


          Badde Manors is a popular cafe on Glebe Point Road.                          The 18th century St John’s Bishopthorpe designed by colonial architect Edmund Blacket

          highly concerned about the effects of this renewal       Many of the houses that were an important                of these buildings. The process has enabled
          and how little say they had.”                         part of ‘The Glebe’ were demolished. This                   the history of Glebe to survive.
             And yet the renewal created the mixture            destruction led to the formation of The Glebe                   Today, nestled between Parramatta Road and
          of grand Victorian homes, Federation houses           Society in 1969, which sought (and still seeks)             Blackwattle Bay, Glebe offers a diverse mix of
          and modest workers’ cottages that is perhaps          to restore and retain what is left of the suburb’s          bohemian relaxation and inner-city bustle. The
          contemporary Glebe’s most striking feature.           historical past.                                            suburb is popular with university students, as
          The range of architectural styles encompass              Robert Darroch of the Glebe Society,                     well as upwardly mobile professionals because
          mid- to late-19th century development with            says, “What we in The Glebe Society                         it blends a leafy suburban homeliness with the
          some examples of early 20th century Federation        were doing was restoring Glebe to what                      convenience of urban living. Close proximity
          styles. The Glebe streetscape includes Regency        it was before its decline in the first-half of              to The University of Sydney and University
          mansions, suburban villas, large and small            the last century… one of Sydney’s better                    of Technology, Sydney ensures Glebe will
          terraces and small workers’ cottages. Ornate          suburbs, full of rare and marvellous buildings.”            continue to have a vibrant streetscape of cafes
          late 19th century commercial buildings and            The inimitable character of Glebe has been                  and boutiques and house an eclectic mix of
          Federation period warehouses also show the            retained largely through the restoration,                   office workers, bankers, Beatniks, Hippies,
          architectural richness of the suburb.                 rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of many                   writers, musicians and artists.

                                                                                                                                                                    Precinct   55
                    Heritage & Conservation

                   The stories behind street
Agilene De Villa

                   A few of Sydney’s most iconic streets – Elizabeth Street, George Street and King Street – each have a fascinating story behind their name.

                   Katie Moine

                                   e walk along them daily and                       Professor Howell says a common method was                             Whichever way you see it, many of Sydney’s
                                   rely on them for direction                        to use the name of key industries in the area. For                 streets have a history. But it doesn’t stop there.
                                   and rendezvous points, yet we                     example, Lime Street in Darling Harbour was                        Suffixes are not chosen at random either but
                                   rarely give their origins a second                named after an occupation. “Loading limes in                       indicate their function as a roadway. ‘Street’
                   thought. What exactly is the untold story                         the docks employed many in the area,” he says.                     is used for a roadway integrated into an area,
                   behind a Sydney street name?                                         Similarly, Goodlet Street was taken from the                    whereas a ‘road’ is interpreted as one which
                      Trevor Howell, Professor of Heritage and                       Goodlet and Smiths brickworks, and Albion                          leads somewhere. Professor Howell says, the
                   Conservation at The University of Sydney, says,                   Street after Albion Brewery, both in Surry Hills.                  roadway we currently know as City Road in
                   “There wasn’t much structure in Sydney’s roads                       The suburb of Chippendale is riddled with                       Newtown, “was previously known as Newtown
                   upon colonisation in 1788.” There was little                      streets named after flora – Wattle, Myrtle and                     Road when it was considered to be the road
                   organisation of roadways and Sydney became                        Rose – a nod to Shepherd’s Darling Nursery,                        to Newtown.” But once the City of Sydney
                   a haphazard collection of roads, streets and                      a successful commercial nursery founded in                         expanded, Newtown Road was no longer the
                   alleys. People relied on landmarks and asking                     the area by Thomas Shepherd in the 1830s. So                       sole connection between Newtown and the city,
                   for directions to determine their whereabouts.                    Shepherd Street was rightly dedicated to him                       so it was given a more fitting name.
                      Order was only imposed upon Sydney’s                           and Vine Street to his unsuccessful attempt at                        Similarly, the roadway now referred to
                   streets in 1810 with the arrival of Governor                      growing grapes in the area.                                        as Broadway has had many name changes
                   Lachlan Macquarie. He was a man with a                               But not all streets were named with such little                 to reflect its changing function. Originally
                   passion for urban planning who pushed for                         imagination. Others streets, such as Paradise                      known as Parramatta Road, it was modified
                   “posts and fingerboards with the names of the                     Row, which existed in the 1840s to 50s, have an                    to Parramatta Street when housing was built
                   streets painted on them to be erected”.                           ironic humour. Shirley Fitzgerald, former City                     in the area as it was no longer considered to
                      The years went on and urban development                        of Sydney historian, writes in Sydney’s Streets:                   be the road to Parramatta. It was later
                   continued in order to simplify the maze. Streets                  A Guide to Sydney’s Street Names, Paradise Row                     changed to George Street West in an effort
                   were widened, realigned, established and                          was far from the peaceful happy environment                        to incorporate it into the city. Finally, once
                   destroyed, and their names were modified.                         suggested by the name. Instead, it housed many                     the street was widened in the 1930s, it took
                      Naming streets was a simple process.                           of Sydney’s poorest and sickliest inhabitants.                     on the name Broadway. Although it is believed

                   56   Precinct
by many to be in reference to New York City’s
                                                            The wheels are in motion
                                                           on Bourke Street Cycleway
Broadway, it was actually literally named after
the broadening of the road itself.                     Edwina Carr

    By 1842 the City of Sydney Council
took over the responsibility of street naming                    he construction of the Bourke Street                     Mr Cooper says the whole project will be a
but still took public opinion into account.                      Cycleway by the City of Sydney                        waste of taxpayers’ money and is particularly
Dr Fitzgerald tells of a Mrs E. Shorter,                         Council has gone ahead despite                        concerned about the loss of car parks resulting
petitioning the Council, in 1875, for the lane                   concerns from local residents and                     from the new cycleway. “This loss is completely
behind her house to be given a name “unless            community groups. Loss of parking spaces, a                     unnecessary. Most of the homes in this
it is too insignificant to notice”. Dr Fitzgerald      contentious two-way separated cycleway, and the                 neighbourhood were built in the late 1800s and
says, “Her humility was rewarded, and the              removal of trees are causing residents unease.                  few have off-street parking. Like it or not, some
lane was named Shorter Lane.”                              Brian Noad, spokesperson for the Nichols                    residents do need and choose to have a car.”
    That is not to say Sydney is without its streets   Street Community Group, says the Surry Hills                       Josh MacKenzie, Senior Media Officer for
of historical significance. There are numerous         community is worried about the dangerous                        the City of Sydney Council, says that Sydney
roadways named after more prominent figures            design of the cycleway. “The width of the                       needs to start taking serious steps to become
and events throughout Sydney’s history.                cycleway is very narrow and we’re seeing this                   an environmentally friendly city. “Once
For example, Albert Street was renamed                 on King Street now – there’s not only the risk of               the cycleway is in place, there will be less
Alfred Street after an assassination attempt           cyclists colliding with cars, they’re also at risk              congestion because people will be using it – our
on Prince Alfred in 1968.                              of colliding with one another.”                                 research shows that people will ride if we create
    Politics has also had an influence on the              Mr Noad says that the 42 intersections on                   safe cycleways. We have to look at smarter ways
naming and renaming of streets. World War I            Bourke Street will be a hazard for cyclists and                 of getting around the city.”
saw many streets with German names replaced            drivers alike and sections of the cycleway will                    Construction began on June 12 this year and
with names that boosted national morale and            cause people who are parking to alight directly                 the Council expects completion by 2010. The
patriotism. Lisa Murray, a historian for the City      onto the cycleway. “There’s a narrow concrete                   cycleway will cover 4.3 kilometres and runs
of Sydney, says that Schmiel Street in Waterloo        median strip between parking spots and the                      from Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomooloo to
was named after an early developer in the area,        cycleway in some areas and so car doors will                    Elizabeth Street, Zetland.
James Schmiel. This was renamed Lenton                 open onto the cycleway – mums who are trying                       The cycleway is part of the Council’s
Parade once German names became taboo.                 to get their shopping and children out of their                 Cycle Strategy and Action Plan: 2007-2017,
    The few streets throughout Sydney that are         cars will be dodging cyclists.”                                 which was implemented in April 2007. The
named after women were in dedication to “the               Chris Cooper, an experienced city                           plan aims to increase cycling in the city and
wives”, Professor Howell says. One of Sydney’s         cyclist, says that he will not use the cycleway                 promote it as an environmentally friendly
most popular streets, Elizabeth Street (formerly       once it is complete and he does not think                       and safe transport option. Sydneysiders have no
known as Mulgrave Street) was named in                 others will either. “Serious cyclists will realise              choice now but to wait and see if these plans
honour of Governor Macquarie’s second wife,            it is unsafe and will rejoin the traffic lane.”                 deliver. Only time will tell.
Elizabeth Henrietta Campbell.
    Dr Murray says people often named streets
to get on the right side of their superiors. “It
was a form of flattery and acknowledgement,
often to recognise a contribution to political
life.” With only a few women in positions
of authority, they were not featured in Sydney’s
plethora of street names.
    Finally, Sydney’s most popular street, George
Street has an interesting story of its own. It
was originally called High Street, due to the
English custom of naming a town’s main
shopping street by that name. But it was
changed to George Street by Governor
Macquarie in 1810, after King George III. He
entrusted a monarchist feel to Sydney’s central
streets, giving them names of the current
monarch, King George III and the ducal titles
of the king’s sons York, Cumberland, Sussex,
Clarence, Cambridge and Kent.
                                                                                                                                                                           Lindsay Bridge

    There’s more to Sydney than just its beautiful
architecture, breath-taking landscapes and urban
culture. The next time you wander the streets,
look up at the street signs and ask yourself,
‘what’s the story behind the name?’                    Constuction is underway for the Sydney Cycleway along Bourke Street.

                                                                                                                                                       Precinct     57
                   Urban Affairs

                 Drawing the night away:
                                                                                                                                           Tristan Foster

                                                                                                                                                     hey look like a group of friends
                                                                                                                                                     gathered after work for dinner and a
                                                                                                                                                     drink at an inner Sydney restaurant
                                                                                                                                                     – that is, until the sketch pads and
                                                                                                                                           pencils come out.
                                                                                                                                              Drawing in the City at Night is a course
                                                                                                                                           created and run by Enrique Del Val and Aaron
                                                                                                                                           Matheson. The point of the class is to turn
                                                                                                                                           everyday people into artists by looking at the
                                                                                                                                           city in a new way. Students come from work
                                                                                                                                           or home to a cafe or bar located somewhere on
                                                                                                                                           the outskirts of the CBD to learn how to see
                                                                                                                                           – and draw – Sydney from a new perspective.
                                                                                                                                              Before the drawing begins, the students
                                                                                                                                           are reminded to let themselves go. “It is about
                                                                                                                                           being honest to what you see,” Enrique Del
                                                                                                                                           Val says.
                                                                                                                                              Students make room for their sketch pads on
                                                                                                                                           the table among plates and glasses, dropping
                                                                                                                                           pencil shavings on saucers. Instructions are
                                                                                                                                           given and the table goes silent. It is in this
                                                                                                                                           silence that the class really comes alive.
                                                                                                                                              The first half of the class is dedicated
Tristan Foster

                                                                                                                                           to drawing exercises. Students draw while
                                                                                                                                           Matheson and Del Val watch on and offer
                 Jamal, Enrique Del Val & Aaron Matheson - doing the drawing exercises                                                        “The exercises are designed to be free

                                                                                            Municipal complaints
                                                                                            Emily Ackew

                                                                                                       etting your council to act is now   problems more efficiently.
                                                                                                       quick and easy with Council            Waverley Council was the first to step on
                                                                                                       Gripe: a website that facilitates   board with the scheme. Mayor Sally Betts
                                                                                                       discussion between residents and    is quoted on the site as saying: “Waverley
                                                                                            councillors.                                   Council is proud of being an open and
                                                                                               Council Gripe, created by university        transparent council and welcomes feed-back
                                                                                            student Chris Hamlin, is aimed at combating    on all its services.” Now 13 other councils
                                                                                            the difficulties in communication between      have requested to participate in the site.
                                                                                            residents and their Council. Mr Hamlin says       Chris Hamlin highlights Waverley,
                                                                                            his idea was sparked by family and friends     Woollahra, Randwick and City of Sydney
                                                                                            who always had issues with the council.        Councils as those that have responded
                                                                                               Chris Hamlin wanted an outlet for           and implemented changes as a result of
                                                                                            residents and councils to solve problems       complaints posted on Council Gripe.
                                                                                            through discussion.                               One Randwick resident posted a gripe
                                                                                               Council Gripe allows people to “publicly    on May 7th about a broken street sign,
                                                                              Emily Ackew

                                                                                            submit a complaint to council, where others    Councillor Kiel Smith replied on the day:
                                                                                            can comment and lend support,” he says.        “Thank you for taking the time to post on
                                                                                               Making councils aware of problems in        this forum and make council aware of the
                 The Council Grip website                                                   suburbs can persuade them to act and fix       damage to the Greville Street sign. I will

                 58    Precinct

new perspectives on city
from expectation,” Enrique Del Val says in a              “The classes aren’t studio based,” he                        wants to pick up where she left off.
thick Spanish accent. “Whatever happens is            says. “So you’re out of a safe environment.                         “The way they teach is about letting go of the
welcomed.”                                            It’s mysterious.”                                                adult way of trying to know what you’re going
   “It’s about exploring the range of ‘you’,”             Students find a spot on the street with a view               to do before you do it,” Felicity says. “I like
Aaron Matheson adds.                                  they’re happy with and set their sketch pad up                   being led along.”
   The group is almost silent as they draw.           on their thighs, employing what they’ve learned                     One of the most striking things about the
It is clear from their expressions that they          in the exercises to draw what they see.                          class is how much gets done in the short time
could be anywhere. Drinks are left untouched,             One of the students, Jamal, hadn’t drawn                     students are outside.
surroundings are forgotten. The atmosphere is         since high school and joined the class to                           “It’s the intensity of capturing,” Aaron
almost meditative – not even the squeal of the        recapture that spirit.                                           Matheson says.
coffee machine can disturb them.                          “I don’t have a background in drawing,” he                      This intensity has led to the Drawing in the
   “Drawing can be lonely,” says Aaron                says. “I enjoyed it at school and thought this                   City at Night exhibition. Located at Gallery
Matheson, a softly spoken Englishman who              could be fun. I want to improve my skills and                    Red in Glebe, the gallery’s walls are lined with
is obsessed with drawing. “But like this, it          unlock creativity. I want to find a style.”                      drawings of the city all done during class time
becomes a way of communication below the                  Felicity is formally trained as an architect.                by Drawing in the City at Night alumni – former
level of words.”                                      Like Jamal, she drew creatively as a child and                   students, now artists.
   John, a former draftsman, joined the class
to escape the demands of his professional
drawing training. He was surprised by the
range of drawing styles. “The styles range
from far left field to finely detailed,” he says.
“Everybody is different.”
   In the second half of the class, students are
released to, well, draw in the city at night. It is
here, Aaron Matheson believes, that students
are challenged. If a participant has a comfort
zone, the city forces them out of it.

go online
speak with council staff today to request
that this sign be replaced/repaired as soon as
possible.” The following day, the sign was
fixed, a speedy and efficient response which
showcased the success of Council Gripe.
    Any complaint which is submitted on
the website will receives a status. Firstly
is ‘Gripe’ which becomes ‘Council Has
Replied’, and finally ’Fixed’ or ‘Not Fixed’
depending upon the council’s response. This
allows residents to follow the progress of a
particular gripe.
    Chris Hamlin hopes to see the site fulfills
its potential as a facilitator of communication
and allows councillors to efficiently
implement changes in our communities.
                                                                                                                                                                           Tristan Foster

“I intend the site to become an important
customer feedback tool and not simply a
name and shame site.”                                 Nicki Braithwaite and Aaron Matheson are drawing the city night from a fresh angle

                                                                                                                                                       Precinct      59
 Urban Affairs

Ambos facing violence on job

Ambos attending a scene

                                                                                                                                                                   Mr Walker
Ambulance officers attending an emergency in the city

Lucie Robson

           he union representing ambulance              we’re vigilant about,” Alexander says. The               “It is probably going to be the worst drug that
           officers wants the government to             damage isn’t always physical. “We certainly          this country has ever seen,” says Paul Alexander,
           consider extending the penalties             cop a lot of verbal abuse on a regular basis.”       who describes the devastation caused by ice to
           for attacking policemen to apply                 It’s not at every emergency, but it’s enough     be worlds apart from that of heroin. “Chalk and
ambulance officers too. Figures ambulance               to be a fear in the back of the mind. The tension    cheese,” he says.
officers to be increasingly at risk on the streets.     of an emergency can be volatile, and people              “The people who use it have no idea what the
   Ambulance paramedic Paul Alexander has               can act in out-of-character due of fear, anxiety,    drug’s been cut with,” he says. “They become
had a used syringe full of fluid squirted into his      frustration and a sense of powerlessness.            psychotic, dangerous, irrational, violent.”
eye. He also describes an incident in which two         Alcohol and substance abuse can affect the               “I have had someone [on ice] throw me
of his colleagues were assaulted on the same            situation as well. The question now being            across a room.” Alexander says that it took eight
job. “One of them literally had a huge chunk            asked is whether the drug ice is repsonsible for     people to restrain this one violent user.
bitten out of his arm.”                                 the increase.                                            At this stage, nobody has adequate knowledge
   It is confronting to learn that amidst the               The entry onto the scene of this high-purity     or training to deal with ice addicts. “We’re using
stretchers, syringes, masks and panic that              form of methamphetamine can be seen to have          the police and extra staff,” says intensive care
accompany emergencies, the people sent                  left a trail of destruction. In 2006 the NSW State   paramedic Adam Butt. “We only have a limited
out to rescue and heal are becoming victims             government commissioned a report examining           range of medications that we can give.”
themselves. Figures released last month by the          the possible links between ice and violent               Bob Morgan, industrial officer for the Health
clinical risk department of the NSW Ambulance           behaviour, and its effects on crime. Those           Services Union, agrees. “Anecdotal information
service claim that assaults on paramedics have          among the ambos have actually seen the after         is that ice has increased violent incidents, and
increased by 60% since last year. Over 120              effects of ice at first hand.                        that the nature of the violent behaviour of ice-
paramedics were assaulted in NSW in the last                 The whispers that the drug ice has a lot        affected persons is more extreme. However,
12 months.                                              to do with the situations they are handling          excessive alcohol is still reportedly the greatest
   “It’s a real concern, and it’s something that        are growing                                          trigger for violent events.”

60    Precinct
Rosebery residents oppose depot
Philip Wen

Outraged Rosebery residents are escalating their    properties will comply with relevant health and
fight against council plans to locate a garbage     environmental standards. “Every effort has been
truck “mega-depot” next to their homes.             made to reduce the impacts of the proposed
   Rosebery residents say the depot will result     depot on the small number of households
in unacceptable noise and air pollution, and will   adjacent to the industrial area.”
adversely affect property values in the area.          The council bought the Dunning Avenue site
Local businesses are also concerned council         in 2007 for $34 million. The building’s existing
workers will occupy all on-street parking,          4.8m walls will accommodate garbage trucks
leaving no space for their customers and            and will also help block out noise.
employees.                                             A spokesperson said: “[The site] is zoned
   Spokesperson for the Rosebery Residents          industrial and is a large parcel of land with
Action Group, Graeme Grace, said: “We only          existing buildings which can be efficiently
need one truck in the middle of the night to        adapted to our needs limiting environmental
drive on the wrong street, and our amenity is       impact and costs.
destroyed.”                                            Mr Grace believes the council considered
   City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore           the cost efficiency of the site but neglected its
has received over 100 submitted objections          proximity to local residents.
and a petition of over 1100 signatures against         “The council got two or three valuations
the proposal, earmarked for Dunning Avenue,         to make sure they weren’t spending too much
Rosebery.                                           money on the site, [yet] they got no evaluation
   The proposed 24-hour-a-day facility will         of the site use and its effect on residents,” he
be used to clean, maintain and garage garbage       said.
trucks and street sweepers. The facility will          “They are more worried about money than
accommodate around 150 council workers.             they are about the residents.”
   The depot is part of the council’s wider            The City of Sydney announced in a residents
strategy to rationalise its depots. The City of     community forum on 30 September that it had
Sydney plans to relocate its existing depots in     amended it’s development application for the
                                                                                                        Philip Wen

Redfern, Alexandria and Zetland to the new          Rosebery Depot. The City of Sydney indicated
depot in Rosebery.                                  that it would persist with the proposal, but
   The City of Sydney said that independent         had no official comment as to when a revised
testing has found that noise levels at nearby       development application will be exhibited.                       The site of the proposed Rosebery depot

   Statistics from 2004 claim that 3.2% of          “It is acknowledged that it is an offence to                     Industrial action from the paramedic union
Australians were ice users, so its use is still     assault or interfere in a police officer carrying                there brought about the change. Similar calls
minor compared to excessive alcohol use all         out their duty to uphold the law, and maintain                   have been made in Queensland after numerous
over Australia.                                     peace and good order. Ambulance officers (and                    assaults on paramedics in Cairns.
   The NSW Government launched a campaign           other emergency workers) are also required to                        Ambulance officers welcome the change.
supporting the work of paramedics last year         respond to emergencies and to provide, in the                    “We should have a right to carry out our duties
with the first annual ‘Thank A Paramedic            case of ambulance officers, lifesaving clinical                  without being harmed,” says Butt.
Day’. The campaign aims to increase respect         interventions in an emergency and uncontrolled                       “We quite often share the same dangers [as
for paramedics within the community. Former         environment,” says Morgan.                                       police],” says Alexander.
Health Minister John Della Bosca announced              “It is only logical that the same protection                     Morgan says one of the things can be done to
last month he hadn’t ruled out a policy to          should be afforded to a paramedic providing                      enhance the job safety is that the public needs
protect paramedics with stab-proof vests.           lifesaving clinical assistance to the public. Not                to be “properly educated that interfering with
Alexander says says that whilst this would          to provide such protection not only imperils the                 paramedics in the course of their duties is not
prevent more victims, it does not tackle the root   ambo, but also the patient!”                                     only socially unacceptable, but that there is
of the problem.                                         Morgan says that while the HSU hasn’t been                   a significant penalty involved for any and all
   One suggestion to curb the violence has          running a specific media campaign on the issue,                  infractions.”
been to increase penalties for offenders. The       they have been negotiating at a political level.                     A change in the law may be slow to take into
maximum penalty for assault on a police officer     It may well be raised at the National Council of                 effect. Until then, paramedics are on the road,
in NSW is five years in prison, as compared to      Ambulance Unions when they meet in the near                      on the scene. “I think that ambos have a really
two years for assault on a civilian. The Health     future.                                                          good built-in radar system,” says Alexander. “It
Services Union (HSU) is calling for people who          This amendment in legislation has already                    is something that you acquire on the road.”
assault ambulance officers to be punished in the    been enacted in Victoria, where assaulting a
same way as those who assault police officers.      paramedic became a specific offence in 2004.

                                                                                                                                                               Precinct   61
 Urban Affairs

Aiming high for the homeless
Philip Wen

                ost experts agree that while the
                causes of homelessness can be
                wide-ranging and complex, more
                often than not factors such as
mental illness, substance abuse and domestic
violence play a major role.
   However, emerging data suggests there may
be a new demographic of homeless people as a
result of the global financial crisis.
   The City of Sydney’s Homeless Person’s
Information Centre (HPIC) announced in
August that it received a record 66,610 calls in
the last year, representing a 24 per cent increase
in calls from the previous year, and the highest
number received in its 25 years of operation.
   For the first time ever, the most frequent
reason of calls related to housing stress
where disproportionately high percentages of
household income are spent on rent or mortgage
repayments. More calls were received from
householders unable to pay their rent or
mortgage than calls relating to substance abuse,
mental illness or domestic violence.
   Sue Cripps, CEO of Homelessness NSW,
Sue Cripps, says people who would never
have previously envisaged themselves as being
homeless, were now among those struggling to
find a roof over their heads.
   “The anecdotes we are getting from
homelessness services are that they are seeing
more people turning up – and they are new
people,” she says
   “These are people who perhaps would have

                                                                                                                                                                          Philip Wen
never been homeless before, and are people
who were renting on low income, but working
– probably on casual shifts at supermarkets and      City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore says city lacks affordable housing. Picture showing high-rise in Refern
stuff like that – and they have found themselves
in situations where they have either lost the
house that they are renting, because the owner       per cent of all City of Sydney housing is social                  August this year, a holistic preventative
has gone pear-shaped, or they just have a cash-      housing, and another 7.5 per cent is affordable                   approach that goes beyond the provision of
flow issue and suddenly find that they can’t         private rental housing.                                           crisis accommodation. The project is based on
afford it.”                                             While the strategy will provide a further                      a proven model that has worked well in cities
   Housing NSW data shows that 76 per                8,000 private affordable rental housing units,                    such as New York and Melbourne, and is part of
cent of low-income households in the City of         the Council stressed in its research report that                  the broader NSW Homelessness Action Plan, A
Sydney (earning less than 80 per cent of median      the ability to, and responsibility of, tackling                   Way Home.
household income) are under housing stress.          homelessness and housing affordability                               Reverend Graham Long, Pastor of The
   City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore            ultimately rested with the Federal and State                      Wayside Chapel, expressed his delight at the
says the trend was exacerbated by a chronic lack     Governments, given their control of economic,                     apparent level of identification and commitment
of affordable housing.                               health and social policies.                                       from federal, state and local governments, but
   “The trend is consistent with the current            In December 2008, the Rudd Government                          emphasised there is a long way to go before
global economic crisis and shows that now,           unveiled its national policy document on                          words are put into action.
more than ever, Sydney needs more affordable         homelessness. The Homelessness White                                 “I think we can all give three cheers for the
housing,” she says.                                  Paper: The Road Home was widely lauded as                         kinds of discussions that are taking place,”
   The City of Sydney recently exhibited its         the comprehensive and progressive approach                        Reverend Long says.
Draft Affordable Rental Housing Strategy,            Australia desperately needed to tackle                               “We’re all jumping for joy at that, but it
outlining plans to create more affordable            homelessness from the bottom up.                                  remains to be seen what the delivery is going
housing in inner-city Sydney, with the ultimate         The NSW Government subsequently                                to be.”
aim of achieving, by 2030, a scenario where 7.5      announced its Common Ground project in

62   Precinct
                                                                                                                                                                        Crispy 789
A view of the Barangaroo development site from the harbour

Sustainability of redevelopment questioned
Bonnie Rando Leys

          he redevelopment of Sydney’s western               tourists disembarking to make their way              business as usual patterns continue, the number
          foreshore could hinder Council’s long-             into the city. A lasting arrangement for an          of deaths caused by air pollution could rise to
          term plans to meet Sustainable Sydney              international passenger terminal will be made        approximately 2,380 a year.”
          2030 emissions reduction target.                   after government consultation with the Balmain           The original plans for Barangaroo did include
    In a move by the NSW State Government                    community.                                           port facilities that would have kept transport
and City of Sydney Council, the 22-hectare                      Earlier this year, Chief Executive of Carnival    mileage to a minimum; however these have now
Darling Harbour area, Barangaroo, will undergo               Australia, Ann Sherry said “anyone who travels       been discarded.
extensive redevelopment from a working port                  down Victoria Road in Sydney knows that it’s a           Chief Executive of the Green Building
and entertainment district into a new precinct.              car park in the morning already, and this will be    Council of Australia, Romilly Madew points
    In a statement made two years ago, Lord                  adding 600 to 1,000 bus and passenger vehicles,      out residential and commercial buildings are
Mayor Clover Moore said: “We know now... that                plus 30 trucks, at peak hour at the beginning and    responsible for 23 per cent of Australia’s total
Sydney’s environmental footprint is equivalent               the end of each day.”                                greenhouse gas emissions.
to 49 per cent of NSW. If we continue as we are,                Cargo ships servicing the city have been              “Buildings also offer the single largest source
and do nothing, by 2031, it will have reached 95             pushed to ports in Botany Bay and Port               of greenhouse gas abatement, outstripping
per cent of NSW – unsustainable for Sydney, for              Kembla. Sydney Branch Secretary of the MUA,          the energy, transport and industry sectors
NSW and for the nation.”                                     Warren Smith has said these ports are far from       combined.”
    The Barangaroo redevelopment is a                        the primary market in the CBD, and would                 The Sustainable Sydney 2030 plan offers a
key feature in City of Sydney’s plan to cut                  be forced to rely on inadequate rail transport       solid start in climate change mitigation.
greenhouse gas emissions by 70 per cent and                  linkages to reach the city. He says shippers don’t       Dr Rafael Pizarro, lecturer in sustainable
create a “green, global and connected city” by               want to extend their routes, but rather discharge    urban planning at Sydney University, and
the year 2030. But the land is also the focus of             cargo directly at the market, “anything else is      creator of the innovative White Bay Eco-City
industrial debate.                                           inefficient and inflationary”.                       prototype, says “The plan is generally sound, as
    The State Government’s recent closure                       When asked about the move of cruise and           it covers the main aspects of building sustainable
of the wharf and cruise ship terminal on the                 cargo ships from the Barangaroo wharves,             cities”.
Barangaroo foreshore has attracted criticism                 Council spokesman, Josh Mackenzie said the               However it falls short in one aspect that
from cruise company Carnival Australia and                   issue was not particularly connected to the          will prove critical if we want to arrest global
the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) as their               Sustainable Sydney 2030 plan.                        warming and stop our dependency on oil:
businesses will be redirected outside the city                  In a statement issued by City of Sydney in        how to produce food on a scale larger than the
centre.                                                      June 2007, Council reported that the impact          individual household or building within the
    Cruise ships have been redirected to White               of air pollution in the Sydney basin caused          urban core of Sydney.
Bay in Balmain for a minimum of five years.                  between 600-1400 deaths each year.                       “Sydney is one of those places in the planet
If the location is made permanent, White Bay                    The Council statement concluding: “With a         where food has to be hauled from thousands of
would recieve around 75 cruise liners a year,                50 per cent increase in car travel and a doubling    kilometres (mostly from overseas) representing
with hundreds of thousands of international                  of container traffic predicted by 2030 if            a major item in the carbon budget in Australia”.

                                                                                                                                                    Precinct      63

                                                                                                                                                                             Prue Corlette
Inner Sydney residents create garden beds to plant fruits, vegetables and herbs in Alexandria Park Community Garden.

Bloom time for community gardens
Prue Corlette

      t is just past ten o’clock on a Saturday                      “One snow pea and some lettuce, was the            concentrates on regenerating sites with a focus
      morning and already the caravan of                         reward for the first harvest,” says Redfern           on hardy local plant species.
      tour buses filled with bargain-hunting                     resident Maria, who with her partner Andrew,             “Anything we can get our hands on that is
      daytrippers has slowed to a crawl                          comes every second Saturday to the garden             vacant and derelict, is a potential site,” says the
outside the retail outlets on McEvoy Street in                   group. Growing up on a farm outside Munich            group co-ordinator, Elizabeth Elenius.
Alexandria. Around the corner in Danks Street,                   in Germany, having the space to grow food                She points out a space not far from
the inner east’s favourite gourmet strip is filled               is important to Maria, so after moving into a         the Channel Ten building, behind Saunders
with breakfasting families and foodies doing                     property with neither yard nor balcony, she           Street in Pyrmont, that she says was a
their grocery shopping.                                          began to investigate community gardens.               mess before the regeneration.
   But for a group of local residents, Saturday                     The couple are typical of the growing                 “What we are trying to do is return the
mornings are reserved for slightly more                          number of inner city dwellers living without          areas, as much as we can, to what their original
energetic and ecologically-minded pursuits,                      balconies or backyards who are looking beyond         habitat would have been.”
where al fresco means getting down and dirty                     the boundaries of their own properties to get            It appears there are some initial signs of
in the strawberry patch, rather than taking                      involved with community gardening.                    success, with reports of sightings of the timid
one’s latte on the terrace. For the volunteer                       Driven by a trend of placing importance on         Blue Wren in the regenerated areas.
gardeners at the Alexandria Park Community                       the seasonality of fresh fruit and vegetables,           Gardening has proven to be a big hit with
Garden, it is time to dig. Three new                             there are currently 13 community gardens              some of the local businesses where team building
garden beds are ready to be filled with soil,                    within the City of Sydney Council that not only       days have seen staff from corporate offices such
compost and mulch, and a heady brew                              grow herbs, fruit and vegetables, but also act as     as Google and American Express, donning the
of worm juice is waiting to season the mix.                      conservators of rare plants and seeds.                gloves and pulling weeds alongside the retirees
In the shade, punnets of rocket, passionfruit                       Creating and maintaining a community               who make up the bulk of the gardening group.
and other unidentified cuttings sit waiting                      garden requires long-term preparation and                “They come to us,” says Elizabeth, “and we
patiently to be assigned a home.                                 commitment from community members. To start           try to accommodate them as much as we can.”
   Today the gardeners are working on the new                    a community garden, residents are encouraged             But the benefits go beyond merely
plots on the side of the oval at Alexandria Park                 to form a garden group and work with a range          beautifying the area.
Community School. The original garden over                       of different landowners to find a suitable site.         “In Pyrmont, we have all come from
at the community centre next to the school is                       But it is not only about growing edible            somewhere else,” she says, “and so it’s up to us
up and running – the strawberry patch is a riot                  plants, as the Pyrmont Ultimo Landcare group          to generate a community. It’s been terrific and
of succulent fruit, the beans are almost ready                   has shown. In the laneways, rail corridors and        we have made such good friends.”
for picking and the late-winter rocket crop has                  dusty corners, a quiet revolution has started            The City of Sydney Council is currently
already gone to seed – so the gardeners have                     – one that has seen previously barren and             supporting new community garden groups
moved on to the newest space with thoughts of                    unkempt scraps of land transformed into a             to establish and find suitable sites in Ultimo,
a bumper harvest clearly in mind.                                verdant and fertile wonderland. This group            Glebe, Surry Hills and East Sydney.

64    Precinct

Large footprint found in city
Peta Doherty

           ypical inner Sydney residents may          lot more and the impacts of that are a lot more.”     impact of what they do,” she says. “Everything
           live in small houses but a space the           Other products and services account for 27        they do has an impact on the planet . . . now they
           size of 12 rugby league fields is what’s   per cent of Sydney’s eco-footprint.                   have the awareness to make a choice,” she says.
           required to support their lifestyles.          “It’s typically the small things we don’t think       A sustainable eco-footprint, according to the
   The Australian Conservation Foundation             of – like going to the hairdressers, or making a      ACF study, is 1.8 hectares, or 2.3 football fields.
(ACF) Consumption Atlas is an online tool             banking transaction,” he says.                        The problem is getting people to change.
created with the University of Sydney’s Centre            It is not what you earn but how you spend.            “Some people get really disheartened and say,
for Integrated Sustainability Analysis, and it has    Services have a lower per dollar environmental        ‘That’s not possible’. Others see the magnitude
found that the wealthiest suburbs are doing the       impact. So getting a massage or going to the          of the difference and see that something
most environmental damage.                            movies will have less effect than buying a new        significant has to be done,” says Professor Dey.
   Professor Christopher Dey, of the University       pair of jeans or mobile phone.                            Sarhn McArthur is one inner Sydney resident
of Sydney, says an eco-footprint is the amount            The ACF runs the GreenHome workshop               passionate about reducing her footprint.
of land required to produce the food, fibres,         series to educate communities and individuals             From using green bags, to changing her
resources, materials and services that each of us     on the simple lifestyle changes they can make to      choice of products and starting an environmental
use to sustain ourselves.                             reduce their ecological footprints.                   resource blog, Sarhn gradually changed her
   That is an average of 8.58 hectares for inner          “We remind people that they have a lot            lifestyle. She recycles most household organic
Sydney dwellers, who along with residents of          of purchase power . . . people are quite often        waste with a worm farm she received as part
North Sydney, Mosman and Woollahra, have              astonished to realise the environmental               of a free workshop run by the City of Sydney
the biggest eco-footprints in Australia. The          impact of their spending,” says program               Council. When combined with the Bokashi
Australian average is 6.4 hectares, already the       co-ordinator Alex Graham.                             Bucket, a kitchen composter that breaks down
fourth largest footprint in the world.                    Bridget Kennedy attended the program in           organic waste, the worms only have to be fed
   “It’s directly correlated with income,” says       Lane Cove and was so surprised by the impact          once in three weeks and produce a fertiliser that
Professor Dey. “The more we earn the more we          of food production (43 per cent of the eco-           Sarhn says has made her plants go wild.
spend. The more we spend the more resources           footprint) that she stopped buying red meat.              “I love the fact that someone will say
we require to support our lifestyles.”                    She also introduced a ‘Carbon Credit Game’,       something to me and I’ll research it and think,
   It is the pollution and the land and water used    where family members gain credits for saving          ‘I can use that’, because I was someone who
to create consumable products and services that       energy and debits for things such as leaving          really didn’t know a lot before. I just didn’t
make the inner city suburbs’ footprints so large.     their mobile phone chargers on. At the end of         want to be average. I wanted to really tread
   “If you take an average household income of        the week the winner gets to choose the week’s         as lightly as possible,” she says.
$60,000 in the southwest compared to an inner         TV and the loser has to clean the bathroom.               The GreenHome workshop is set to run in
city couple each on $100,000 – they will spend a          “The kids have really got to understand the       inner Sydney in November.

 Poster pillars help spread the word
 S Y Lee

 The amount of illegal bill posting has reduced          Mr MacKenzie says that because posters
 dramatically since new restrictions were put in      usually advertise a number or address, locating
 place last year by the City of Sydney Council.       the culprits is relatively straightforward.
    “The city’s bill poster campaign has                 The new poster pillars have been integral
 been a phenomenal success. We have seen a            to cleaning up the city. However, despite
 dramatic reduction in commercial bill posters,       the successfulness of the program, the
 which used to clutter major roads across the         Council sees no need to add to the number
 City of Sydney,” says Josh MacKenzie, a              of poster pillars. The city currently has
 City of Sydney spokesperson.                         nine poster pillar sites.
    Garry Harding, the director of City                  “In October 2008, city contractors removed
                                                                                                                                                                      S Y Lee

 Services, says that even though illegal              16,023 commercial bill posters compared with
 bill posting seems harmless, it can have             May 2009 when they removed only 134 across
                                                                                                            Poster pillars in Sydney have helped clean up the city.
 serious consequences.                                the same area,” Mr MacKenzie says.
    “It deteriorates quickly, and has the                Local store owner Bill Hennings used to                “A lot of people gather around the pillars
 potential to wash into the storm water               advertise by pasting posters wherever he could,       and take their time looking for a good deal,”
 system polluting the harbour.”                       but is supportive of the poster pillar program.       he says. “In many big cities around the world
    Over the past five years, more than $6               Mr Hennings now says that he does not have         they have poster pillars and if Sydney is to
 million dollars have been spent on removing          to worry about doing something illegal in an          live up to being a global location, it can’t be
 and disposing of illegal posters.                    effort to promote his business.                       littered with posters.”

                                                                                                                                                       Precinct       65

How to have a whale of
Rita Mu

            ine o’clock!”                                         Australia to give birth and mate, and between          two in 2001. However, the growing number
               The commentator yells through                      late August and December, the whales                   of vessels in the Sydney region has caused
            his microphone and passengers                         migrate south, returning with their mates and          concerns about the impact on whales and the
            stampede across to the left side of                   newborns to the Antarctic.                             long-term sustainability of this industry.
the boat to get a better view.                                       According to the International Fund for                 “It’s a huge industry. More and more
   A fountain of water appears in the distance,                   Animal Welfare (IFAW), the number of whales            people every year want to go out and see the
and a dark grey hump surfaces for a few                           migrating along Australian coastlines has              whales, but if the industry’s not sustainable
moments. There are gasps of applause as                           slowly grown in the past 25 years. This has led        and the whales are responding negatively to
cameras flash. It does not take long for a giant                  to whale-watching becoming an increasingly             it, then it’s not going to be a viable industry,”
grey outline in the water to appear next to us.                   popular activity in Australia.                         says researcher Maryrose Gulesserian, of
   A Humpback whale emerges, his great                               According to a report released by IFAW              Macquarie University.
knobby head appearing from the water. He is                       in July this year, the average growth rate of              Ms Gulesserian recently completed a
just as curious as we are. He takes a quick peek                  whale-watchers in New South Wales has                  research project on the potential impacts of
at us before diving back under.                                   increased 14.7 per cent in the past decade;            vessels on Humpback whales in the Sydney
   Every year, between May and December,                          with just over 800,000 whale watchers in 2008          region. Using specific tracking software, she
thousands of Humpback and Southern Right                          compared to only 200,000 in 1998.                      analysed and compared the behaviours of
whales migrate to Antarctica along the                               Along with more whale watchers, there has           the whales before, during and after different
coast off Sydney.                                                 also been a significant growth in the whale-           types of vessel approach.
   From mid-May to early August the whales                        watching industry, particularly in the Sydney              Her research is currently a part of a bigger
leave the colder waters of the Antarctic                          region. There are currently eight official whale-      project being conducted by the Marine Mammal
and head up north to the warmer waters of                         watching vessels in Sydney, compared to only           Research Group (MMRG) at Macquarie

                                                                                                                                                                             Clive Collins

As the whales migrate to warmer waters, whale-watchers are able to see these majestic animals as they surface for air.

66    Precinct
a time
University and the Sydney whale-watching
business, Bass and Flinders Cruises. The
project, aimed to ensure the sustainability
of the whale-watching industry, will be
the first to provide a scientific basis to the
Australian National Guidelines for Whale
and Dolphin Watching.
   Current guidelines in Australia for whale-
watching strongly focus on the approach
distances of a vessel – no vessel can be closer
than one metre to a whale, and no more than
three vessels at a time are allowed within 100 to
300 metres of a whale.
   Ms Gulesserian believes that whilst current
guidelines are needed, it is important to consider
                                                     Whale-watching tours take visitors within close reach of the migrating whales.
the effect on whales of the types of approach,
including the vessel’s speed and steering.
   Approach distances as close as 20 and 30
metres were tested by MMRG and Bass and
Flinders Cruises. According to Richard Ford,
co-owner of Bass and Flinders Cruises, the
number of vessels surrounding a whale has a
greater impact than a vessel’s approach distance.
   “The impact is negligible, in fact, the whales
aren’t worried at all about boats approaching
closer than the regulatory requirement,” he says.
   “However, once the traffic gets very high,
there is an impact, and so there is a requirement
of certain number of boats around each whale
pod. It’s not a distressed impact; it’s just a
reduction in activity . . . they’re just more
cautious with more boats around.”
   “The whales are fully aware where we
are at all times and they’re very much aware
we’re not a predator.”
   With almost 16 years of experience in the
Industry, Bass and Flinders Cruises is determined
to ensure the whale-watching industry is
                                                     Curious calves are known to swim out to the tour boats and operators need to be mindful of maintaining an appropriate distance.
sustainable in the long-term. A thriving business,
with terminals in Darling Harbour and Circular
Quay, it offers two whale-watching cruises           that are now available, nothing beats being on                   will only keep increasing, which is why it is
every day of the week.                               the water and seeing the animals in the flesh.”                  important to not only regulate activities such as
   As Mr Ford says, “People of all nationalities        Ms Eyre has studied the songs and                             whale-watching, but also to oversee it to ensure
enjoy seeing the whales.”                            communication between Humpback whales                            that people are doing the right thing.
   The cruises attract people of all ages, and       since 1985. She says, “All along the coast of                       “As it is now, there is no enforcement
although the majority are international tourists,    Australia these animals are hearing shipping                     and so there are some questionable
there is also a lot of local interest.               noise. If boats get too close, the whales have to                behaviours by operators.”
   Of the research project with MMRG, Mr Ford        keep changing direction and with an increasing                      The adoption of strategies to keep whales
says, “Our approach is through education and         Humpback and human population the risk of                        out of harm’s way is the only way for the
the experiences we’re giving people. Through         collisions is very real.”                                        whale-watching industry to be sustainable in
this they can better understand why the whales          She believes there needs to be more than                      the long-term. For whale-watchers, it would
are such an important mammal and the impacts         just guidelines in place to ensure a sustainable                 be a shame to lose an opportunity to see the
man is having worldwide.”                            whale-watching industry.                                         giant creatures in their natural habitat.
   Libby Eyre, an aquarist at the Sydney                “Marine life as a whole all over the world                       Ms Gulessarian believes that with consistent
Aquarium, says, “Whilst you can learn a lot          has had to get used to increased vessel traffic                  management and monitoring, the whale-
about whales from the amazing documentaries          and all that goes with it. This is something that                watching industry can be sustainable.

                                                                                                                                                               Precinct         67

New life for recycled goods
Monika Tobing

           aper, books and CDs are just a few of the
           things that have been given a new lease
           of life by artists at Eveleigh Artisans’
           Arts and Craft Market. The markets are
redefining the notion of recycling by turning

                                                                                                                       Courtesy of Eveleigh Artisans’ Market

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Courtesy of Eveleigh Artisans’ Market
used papers and broken book covers, previously
deemed useless, into arty configurations that
also have an environmental message.
    When you step into the market, which opens
every first Sunday of the month, you will find
a shopping frenzy. Many recycled products are
nicely presented at the open-air market. Men and
women, old and young, even children are found
walking around the market trying and enjoying
the creative products. Many stallholders have
their art ready and displayed, from books,
decorations, clothing and much more.
    Sophie Verrecchial, an Italian-born mosaic
artist, has a stall in the middle of the market.
Sophie proudly presents her art created from
materials mostly found in rubbish tips, Salvation
Army stores and recycling centres.
    “I use lots of material. I use glass, of course. I
use ceramics. But I also use a lot of objects that
I found in the street.”
    It is like magic seeing all the used materials
that can be transformed into new products.
“All used materials are very cheap and they
look very ugly sometimes, but when you break
them into little bits, and you reorganise them
with other objects, they can take a new life,”
Sophie says.
    If you have old books or papers that you
think you will not be using anymore, do not just
throw them away. The Artisans’ Market has a
number of artists who will happily reproduce

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Monika Tobing
paper-based materials in a new form.
    “Basically, I’m really motivated by having
things recycled and sustainable products. So
I use recycled paper and I recycle old books,”
says Holly Walker, another stallholder at the            Clockwise from left: A knitted tea cosy; sample of a mosaic artwork; and a stall’s display of photo albums and journals made from
market who loves retro looking arts. Holly               broken book covers and used papers.
and her boyfriend work together replacing old                Besides those selling recycled products, the                                                      making something I’m not happy. So I have to
storybook covers with new notebook covers. “I            market also has stallholders who like to invite                                                       be making something,” she says.
want to make these sad little old books useful           people to express their creativity. Miriam Ross                                                          One of her philosophies is to create a very
again,” she says.                                        is a mosaic and craft artist and teacher who uses                                                     arty community where you feel happy to
    The Artisans’ Market is located opposite             the market to promote private lessons at her                                                          create and share. That is why she really loves
the CarriageWorks in Darlington, Sydney. Its             studio in Rosebery. She invites customers to                                                          teaching adults and children and has worked in
existence benefits artists wanting to promote            explore their creativity with mosaics, handmade                                                       many community colleges, community centres,
environmentally friendly products.                       tiles, sculptures using inexpensive materials and                                                     vacation care centres, after school centres and
    Direct interaction between customers and             simple armatures, basic knitting, dimensional                                                         schools, on a paid and voluntary basis.
artists often provides inspiration that can even         and free-form crochet.                                                                                   The purpose of the Eveleigh Artisans’
boost artists’ creativity. “I once experienced a             She has been selected as the project artist for                                                   Market is to provide artists with a good
moment where a customer came and grabbed a               the Coogee Cares Centre Mosaic Mural grant                                                            way to start using recycled products that are
photo album. She said that it’d look good in a           project, and she really enjoys her time working                                                       environmentally friendly.
notebook. So I thought it’s really good to adapt         with materials such as fabric and yarn, cement,                                                          “What I’m trying to tell people is I
and make things new from people suggestions              ceramics, recycled materials, paper, metal and                                                        want them to know that it brings smile.
that you can’t get from online,” says Jenny.             glass, to name a few. “I just know that if I’m not                                                    Happiness,” Sophie Verrecchial says.

68   Precinct
                                                             Courtesty of IFAW

                                                                                                                                                                                                       Courtesty of IFAW
                                                                                                                                       Toby Burrows
The Tails for Whales photo campaign has attracted immense support from both celebrities and the public.

A tail of a whale wins accolades
Alex Vanny

                any of us have signed a petition                                     Tails for Whales started as an initiative                        campaign has accumulated 869 ‘tails’ from the
                or two in our lifetimes – saving                                 known as Project 551 in the form of an email                         USA, 506 from the United Kingdom, 1211 from
                the whales, freeing the bears,                                   petition, like any created by animal welfare                         Australia and many more from other countries.
                stopping global warming.                                         groups, until the Republic of Everyone thought                          “As people join the Tails for Whales family
    It usually involves adding your name to an                                   it could help expand it. The petition was created                    they can continue to be activists for whale
email and sending it off, never to be seen again.                                in response to the slaughter of 551 whales by a                      protection around the world, from ending
    The Green Globe Awards are the leading                                       Japanese whaling fleet in 2007 and 2008.                             whaling to increasing protection against
environment awards in New South Wales                                                The project followed a creative process,                         ocean noise and reducing ship strikes and
and are initiated by the state’s Department of                                   incorporating Youtube and Facebook to promote                        entanglements,” says Erica Martin, IFAW
Environment, Climate Change and Water.                                           the campaign in association with the IFAW.                           Director for the Asia Pacific Region.
    The awards are presented to individuals and                                      It released posters, blog updates and pictures.                     “Only when enough people stand up for
organisations who show outstanding dedication                                    A television broadcast was also launched in                          whale protection will governments around the
towards tackling climate change.                                                 association with National Geographic Channel.                        world invest time and action into reducing the
    This year, the Republic of Everyone, an                                          The goal of the initiative was to collect                        threats to these magnificent animals.”
advertising agency for environment and                                           photos of everyday Australians and some well-                           The photographs were presented to the
humanitarian organisations, was awarded a                                        known faces making a whale tail gesture with                         Environment Minister Peter Garrett on 6 June,
Green Globe Award for its work in creating a                                     their hands.                                                         which has been named National Whale Day.
social media campaign.                                                               The organisation continues to utilise a variety                     A book has also been created featuring the
    The campaign was aimed at promoting                                          of interactive media including its website to                        photographs and will be available for purchase
the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s                                      promote Australia’s dedication to stop whale                         by supporters.
(IFAW) dedication to saving whales by creating                                   slaughtering.                                                           Meanwhile, the Tail for Whales campaign
a unique type of petition.                                                           In Australia, the campaign has received the                      was in the spotlight at New York Fashion Week
    IFAW organises many petitions as it dedicates                                support of celebrities including Silverchair                         when it hosted parties and attracted support
itself to creating awareness for the protection of                               frontman Daniel Johns, singer Christine Anu,                         from fashionistas and celebrities alike.
species all over the world.                                                      broadcaster Derryn Hinch, and Underbelly actor
    “When we sign petitions, we have no idea                                     Gyton Grantley.
where our signatures go,” says Ben Peacock,                                          On the international front, the campaign
Creative Director for the Republic of Everyone.                                  has attracted international personalities such                        The public can continue to submit their
    “We wonder did we really change the world                                    as British model Twiggy, the cast of the movie                        photos and see a collection of the photos by
by signing that? We wanted to see if we could                                    Fame, actor Goran Visnjic from the television                         visiting the Tails for Whales website at
do something positive, if we could build a better                                series ER, and members of British Parliament.               
petition – a physical petition.”                                                     According to the project’s website, the

                                                                                                                                                                                     Precinct     69

 Love counts says professor of passion
Caroline Ball

            r Clio Cresswell shines like a beacon    St Tropez high school, Dr Cresswell went on to
            in a sea of motley maths-lovers.         pursue studies in mathematics in Sydney. She
                At the City of Sydney’s Science      later won the university medal at the University
            Festival, grey-haired academics and      of New South Wales and completed a PhD.
gangly teenagers jostle shoulders for the chance         With the publication of her book
to learn about arguably one of the juiciest          Mathematics and Sex in 2003, Dr Cresswell
maths mysteries of our time: sex. And who            was plunged into the media spotlight. Tackling
better to learn it from than the foxiest academic    issues like the decreasing frequency of sex
in the city?                                         throughout marriage, aka ‘the marriage
    “By studying patterns of behaviour and           problem’, Dr Cresswell soon became the
combining self-awareness with mathematics,           world’s first maths celebrity.
I can show people that maths not only                    Although her book has been criticised for
helps in engineering but even goes as far as         being all froth and no formula, Dr Cresswell

                                                                                                                                                                          Nick Cubbin
relationships,” Dr Cresswell says.                   is adamant her theories hold water. However,
    Dr Cresswell, a mathematics professor at the     she is not living proof of their validity. Such is
University of Sydney, insists that she is not a      the case with her controversial ‘12 bonk rule’,
“hormonally crazy mathematician”. Rather, her        which attempts to show that the likelihood of         Naughty numbers: Can 1+1= love? Dr Cresswell says yes.
world-famous research is a means of getting          finding one’s best match increases to above
the world to engage with her passion for maths.      75 per cent if 12 partners are tested first.          Dr Cresswell’s formulas, she is the first to
    Yet Dr Cresswell was no whiz kid. “I                 “My problem is that I’d already had more          admit that maths isn’t the only answer.
was not a child prodigy by any stretch of the        than 12 lovers. It’s not that the maths is wrong,        “You can believe astrology if you want,
imagination,” she says.                              it’s just that I have problems committing.”           and I read my star signs from time to time, but
    After flunking maths abysmally at her                While there is a certain comfort in               maths is a bit more predictive.”

One minister’s fight for human rights
Alex Taylor

          he Reverend Dorothy McRae-                     In the 1960s, Rev McRae-McMahon                   of ordaining gay and lesbian ministers.
          McMahon’s passion and fight for            travelled to the new republic of Cyprus. At the          Of it all, Rev McRae-McMahon says, “I have
          social justice began early in life and     War Museum in Nicosia, she was disillusioned          been honoured to live in a period of history
          has been honed by half a century of        by the proof of torture and brutality under the       where these things were happening.”
encountering refugees, poverty and racism.           recent British occupation.
   In her twenties, the former Pitt Street Uniting       “I thought I was a pacifist at that time. Now I
Church minister lived “right at the edge of a        believe in non-violence but I don’t pretend I’m
mass public housing estate where I had a lot to      a pacifist.”
do with the struggling people.                           In the 1970s, Rev McRae-McMahon stayed
   “I worked with those people, lived amongst        first with Israelis and then visited Palestinians
them, represented them. That politicised me.”        in refugee camps in Israel and Lebanon. She
   Rev McRae-McMahon was involved in the             visited squats in Bangalore’s rubbish tips and
early anti-nuclear, women’s rights and anti-         helped to micro-finance loans for development
Vietnam War movements.                               and independence of poor communities.
   She and her then-husband were the first in            Rev McRae-McMahon championed social
Australia to organise a group to protest against     justice in her 1980s role at the Pitt Street
the White Australia Policy.                          Uniting Church, clashing with a dangerous
   Additionally, Rev McRae-McMahon cared             neo-Nazi group and battling her own ego as she
for four children, including her severely            was awarded numerous humanitarian prizes.
disabled son Christopher full-time for                   Stalking and attacks from the fascists
16 years.                                            alongside the struggle with her pride taught
   “I worked late into the night to keep             her “how to be vulnerable” and enabled close
myself alive, wrote endless letters to editors to    relationships with her parishioners.
participate in society,” she says.                       She raised the debate about sexuality and
   When Christopher went into care, she              religion with her brave, strategic coming-
                                                                                                                                                                          Ali Blogg

threw herself fully into work at the National        out as a lesbian at the National Assembly of
Council of Churches, where she became                the Uniting Church, adding weight to calls
heavily involved in international aid work.          for the church to make a decision in favour           “I have had an incredible life,” says Dorothy McRae-McMahon.

70   Precinct

Making the director’s cut
Lauren Said-Moorhouse

                arc Furmie looks like any other
                regular, good-looking young guy.
                Dressed in dark jeans, a faded
                t-shirt and aviator sunglasses,
you’d never peg him for an award-winning
director. Yet that is exactly what he is.
    At only 28 he is an up-and-coming force
in the Australian film industry. He has met
and worked with some of the top names in
the business including George Lucas, Jane
Campion, Graeme Burfoot and David Denneen.
    “Nothing is unachievable. You have to be

                                                                                                                                                                                    Lauren Said-Moorhouse
diligent and network as much as possible. Just
get out there,” he says.
    Originally from South Africa, Marc Furmie
spent his childhood living with his grandparents
in Sydney’s western suburbs. His passion for
storytelling was nurtured from a young age by
his grandfather who would get him out of school         Filming on Dixon street in Chinatown, Marc Furmie checks a shot on the final day of shooting short film Dark Horse.
to go to all-day sessions at the local cinemas.
    “I remember when I was around 5, my                     Recently, he has been filming a new short                     became a much bigger project. We ended up
grandpa would turn up at school, say something          movie, Dark Horse which delves into an                            with an 11-day shoot. We were really able to
to the teacher, and the next thing I knew she           unlikely relationship between a taxi driver and a                 do what we wanted with it so all these creative
would come over and whisper to me that it was           girl in trouble. For this project, he and his team                juices started flowing and so far I’m so proud of
time for me to go to the dentist or something,”         won funding from Screen NSW.                                      how it has come out.
he says.                                                    Explaining why Dark Horse received the                            “The film industry can be very insular and
    “At school, I was always thinking about             grant, Valerie Allerton, co-ordinator of Screen                   cliché. It’s about being in the right circles and
stories and basically, visualising concepts. But        NSW’s Emerging Filmmakers Fund says, “It                          meeting the right people. Australia is a great
it wasn’t until I realised that there were people       received funding due to a combination of the                      place to not get caught up in the system.
behind the movies that it became real for               quality and creativity of the script, balance of                      “So when we were making Dark Horse and
me,” he says. “When I realised that, it wasn’t          experience. The story was well-written with a                     we were able to have such creative control in its
abstract anymore.”                                      strong vision, believable characters, and a clear                 production, it was a breath of fresh air,” he says.
    Furmie’s love for film continued to grow            journey and resolution for the protagonist.                           “I do strongly believe in reaching people. It’s
and he enrolled in Fine Arts at the University              “This project and team ticked all of                          the reason Spielberg is as powerful as he is. I
of New South Wales. When he wasn’t studying             the boxes.”                                                       believe that I have important stories to tell, as
film, it wasn’t far from his thoughts.                      Dark Horse has been a labour of love for                      do a lot of people. For me, directing a story, it
    “COFA [College of Fine Arts] was nurturing          Marc Furmie the team. One such person is                          has to be realistic and true to life. Never tell a
and obviously drew on my artistic tendencies but        long time collaborative partner and producer                      superficial story,” he adds.
I would also go to seminars and courses. There          Simon Ritch.                                                          It’s clear to see that Furmie is on the road to
was also this cinestore that a few of us used to hang       Having worked with Furmie for over three                      success. While he has achieved a lot in a short
out at. It was about getting ourselves out there        years, he says, “Marc and I work really well                      space of time, he is also quick to put his recent
so that we could meet the right people and make         together because of our similar personalities,                    achievements into context.
the connections.”                                       work ethic. We strive for the same goals and                          “I never decided to be perfect at what I do,
    From then, Furmie has directed several              trust each other’s abilities to achieve them. On                  and I’m not. It’s not about perfection,” he says.
television commercials for Volvo, RSPCA                 top of all that we’re actually really good mates                      “I communicate a lot with my actors and get
and Amnesty International as well as music              which helps when things get stressful as we can                   great feedback from them on what they believe
video work with the Rogue Traders, Seany B,             talk openly with each other and have a beer and                   their character is going through. A big part of
The Follow and most recently, Birdie Blackman.          a laugh afterwards.                                               getting it right is in the rehearsal process with
    In 2006, he received a grant from the                   “Marc and I created Dark Horse from the                       the actors because they are your lifeblood.”
Australian Film Commission to direct his                ground up and saw it through to completion so                         His years of experience have taught him to
first short film, Death’s Requiem, which he             knowing all that went into it, it makes me very                   be afraid of neither mistakes nor the familiar.
also co-wrote.                                          proud to see it on the screen. Having complete                        “I’ve learnt by doing. Make mistakes because
    Screened at over 20 international film              creative control was nice as well, as it shows                    that is how you learn. Write what you know. Not
festivals, the film scooped up awards at St Kilda       anyone interested in our work what we really                      literally but the closer it is to you, the more it
Film Festival, Method Fest and two horror               like doing and are capable of.”                                   will resonate with your audience.”
festivals; the Eerie Horror Film Festival and               Furmie adds, “Dark Horse was supposed to                          Dark Horse is currently in post-production
Shriekfest.                                             be a short four-day shoot that all of a sudden                    and will be premièring in Sydney later this year.

                                                                                                                                                                    Precinct   71

                                                                                                                                                                                                 Seung Rok Baek
Model Rebecca Mills poses in Alana Clifton-Cunningham’s distinctively different designs.

(Scar)ves: textile art explores self-mutilation
Alice Birrell

            istortion, manipulation and body                      the average home-made scarf or beanie. The                                with my work. It can always lead you to
            scarification. Hardly words one                       patterns of pieces like her leg-wrap mimic body                           interesting places.”
            associates with the soft, snug appeal                 scarification patterns that mark important events                             At a time when people are looking to reduce
            of knitted wool. Yet this is exactly                  in a person’s life.                                                       waste, Clifton-Cunningham’s unique design
the description that Sydney-based textile                            Working with such a versatile medium                                   philosophy fittingly resonates through her focus
designer, Alana Clifton-Cunningham, conjures                      allows Clifton-Cunningham to push the                                     on one-off pieces.
up with her unique knits in the exhibition,                       boundaries of her craft. Her shoulder-wrap, for                               “While the mass market fashion industry has
(Re) Skin: Contemporary Knitting.                                 example, demonstrates a craftsman’s handle                                its place, it would be nice to see the cycle of
    Her work, exhibited at UTS in September,                      on the materials used, which are not limited                              fashion slow down, and to see people purchasing
moves distinctly beyond the childhood realm                       to wool. Leather, laser-cut wood veneer and                               items that have a longer shelf life.”
of blankets and jumpers and into a world of                       gemstones are also worked in, contrasting with                                When the trend is towards value for
experimentation that is a challenge to knitting’s                 the sculptural lines of the stitching.                                    wear       purchases,     Clifton-Cunningham’s
usual associations of the cozy and the comfy.                        Constantly developing and experimenting                                message is one that increasingly resonates
    “I am interested in identity. Knitting conveys                with techniques often means mistakes can                                  with consumers: “I would like to see a return
so many messages through the stitch patterning                    be miracles. “I embrace accidental outcomes                               to the exclusive.”
and structure, very similar to body scarification,
so I liked the idea of combining the two to
create a new language,” she says.
    Clifton-Cunningham has come a long way
from the 16-year-old who picked up a pair of                                                                                                Alex Taylor

knitting needles for the first time. Back then, it
was not love at first stitch.                                                                                                                            dam Hill rides a wave of satire,
    “My mum did teach me initially, but I                                                                                                                propelled by an ocean of ironies. For
think I gave up quickly. I really didn’t enjoy                                                                                                           over 10 years, the indigenous artist
it at first but felt that it was something I                                                                                                             has sung, sculpted and painted his
needed to conquer.”                                                                                                                         political, artistic and professional activism.
    Clifton-Cunningham attributes her ability to                                                                                               His people are originally from Bellingen,
create such beautifully unsettling shapes to the                                                                                            northern New South Wales, and he detests being
materials she works with.                                                                                                                   denied free access to his ancestors’ land.
    “I am drawn to the unique characteristics                                                                                                  Hill’s grandmother was a Stolen Child, one
of wool, and what you can do with                                                                                                           of the many Indigenous children who were
it while knitting.                                                                                                                          removed from their families. She was later
                                                                                                                           Vanessa Watson

    “If you were to produce the same piece, one                                                                                             employed by the Aboriginal Protection Board.
in wool and, say, one in cotton, you would have                                                                                                For the last three years, Hill has been a local
a really different outcome,” she says.                                                                                                      of the inner-Sydney’s Redfern and has engaged
    Her latest exhibition uses knitting to                                                                                                  with local politics in his art.
explore concepts distantly removed from                           Artist Adam Hill takes time out at his Redfern studio.                       The Chief of Police commissioned a

72    Precinct
The art in making mistakes
Lin Ma

      f you saw the Mori Gallery from the            to keep those sorts of principles that came up
      outside, with its grimy brick walls and        in the 1960s: humanitarian themes, freedom of
      graffitied garage shutters, you may not        expression, and intellectual practices,” he says.
      give it a second glance But while it may           Those principles have led him to believe that
seem like a forgotten warehouse this Sydney          art is inherently linked with humanitarian and
gallery has been in existence for more than          environmental issues.
30 years.                                                “A lot of the art world tries to separate and
    Stepping into the cave-like building,            justify that it doesn’t have to involve itself in
it feels more like an artist’s garage studio         those sorts of arguments, but I’m one who
than a renowned Sydney art gallery. With             chooses to.
its rusting metal door, strewn canvases and              “I don’t think you can have an art world and
paint fumes, the Mori Gallery is chaotic,            have those intellectual pursuits if you don’t have
raw, and disarming. Much like its owner,             trees or subjects as it were. I don’t think you
Stephen Mori.                                        can have form if you don’t have subject. It’s like
    “I went to art school, rebelled at art school,   painting a landscape but all the trees are gone.”
and then got expelled at art school. So I’ve             Mori is currently setting up Susan Norrie’s
always had a problem with institutions, but I’ve     forthcoming exhibition, an Australian artist
sort of become one myself, which is pretty bad.”     whose work and philosophy he greatly admires.
    Wearing a black singlet and shorts, the          The same can’t be said for many emerging
soft-spoken Mori looks, and is even built, like      artists he has encountered.
a truck driver.                                          In fact, Mori is wary of where art, in general,
    At 58, the bespectacled New Zealand native       is heading. From art schools to galleries, he

                                                                                                                                                                     Lin Ma
embodies the gentle, free-spirited 1960s:            believes art has transformed into a vacuous and
from his passion for the environment; love of        sterile lifestyle trend.                                Stephen Mori has always gone against the grain.
live music and touring (which resulted in one             “I don’t like most galleries in Sydney. I don’t
of his two sons); to his long, free-flowing,         like most galleries in the world because to me,            This is where art and therapy converge; a
pepper-coloured beard.                               they’re lifestyle and they’re art for art’s sake.       concept that is of great interest to Mori as he
    “I set up the gallery as an alternate style      They believe in their own bullshit.                     personally deals with an eating disorder and
of education when I was at art school. It was            “They’re just real wanky,” he says.                 addiction.
at the time when everybody was questioning               Anorexia, mental health, disability and the            “We stigmatise mental health, we hide it.
education and wanting alternates to education,       Northern Territory Intervention are just some           People get embarrassed when they find anything
like free schools.                                   of the issues being explored at the Mori Gallery        wrong with themselves.
    “So I sort of look like a hippy. I’m not         over the coming months.                                    “I’m a real advocate of trying to stimulate
really a hippy, but I did get involved in the            Most artists on show are an extension of their      more interest in mental health in the community.
freedom movement in the intellectual sense.          artwork, since many are sufferers of diseases           I’m interested in art as a form of relief from
That movement was short-lived but I still try        like mental health or anorexia.                         what you are dealing with.”
                                                                                                                Mori is well aware that his strong convictions

the political artistic landscape                                                                             do not make him popular in the media circuit or
                                                                                                             the art world.
                                                                                                                His opinions can be controversial. From a
                                                                                                             total ban of nude drawings in his gallery, which
                                                                                                             he believes to be degrading and sexist, to heavy
painting from Hill to hang in the local police       an illustrious story, but I didn’t know why Kevin       criticisms for wealthy Australian artists who do
station. Though the commission was later             Gilbert was in gaol, for the macabre murder of          not financially support Aboriginal land rights,
withdrawn for financial reasons, Hill thought        his wife,” Hill says.                                   and high praise for China’s sophistication,
it fitting that his work was displayed at                He has resonance as a fair bloke in and             which he says is comparatively less racist than
Redfern police station.                              around the Block, collaborating with various            Australia’s treatment of Indigenous Australians.
   “Fair enough, given that 99% of the people        friends including buskers and the folks at                 “I can admit where I stuff up, and I know
processed there are indigenous,” he says.            Koori Radio.                                            what my problems are to an extent, but at least
   Though his art often deliberately engages             He gains genuine excitement from scouting           I can have a conversation with what’s going on.
politics, Hill was surprised by the controversy      community centres for new graffiti artists, and            “Art’s been corrupted by this pseudo-
surrounding his design for the façade of             prefers to support artist-run galleries. He is          intellegentsia. It’s just a small clique, and they
Redfern’s Black Theatre site. A tribute to           full of praise and enthusiasm for Sydney street         keep it in-house. It stays the same and it takes all
the Cherry Pickers by Aboriginal playwright          artists, activists and their grassroots initiatives.    the funding,” he says.
Kevin Gilbert, Hill’s design was inspired by the         Check      out     Hill’s    contribution      to      “Funding for art space should go to different
back-story to the play.                              Breathing Space at the Hawkesbury Regional              communities everywhere and to every group
   “Rumour says that it was written on toilet        Gallery until October 25. For more details visit        starting out. Art should be about making
paper in gaol and smuggled out, which I found                  mistakes, not about clean operations.”

                                                                                                                                                     Precinct   73

Injecting reality into drug
Vanessa Watson

            r Marianne Jauncey is a woman of                               injecting centres save lives and make contact                     at Gove District Hospital in Nhulunbuy.
            heart, and of hard evidence.                                   with an incredibly marginalised group of people.                     While in the Northern Territory, Dr Jauncey
               A public health physician,                                  I feel very privileged to have been offered the                   worked in the various wards of the hospital
            Dr Jauncey was appointed as                                    position. It’s a service that I believe in even                   and travelled on its single-engine Cessna
Medical Director of the Sydney Medically                                   more, if that’s possible, after a year.”                          airplanes to various outlying Indigenous
Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC) in August                                  Despite MSIC’s demonstrated success in                         communities including Yirrkala, Ramingining
2008. MSIC, Australia’s only drug injecting                                meeting its public health aims, confirmed in                      and Groote Eylandt.
centre, is a facility in which illicit drug users                          multiple independent evaluations, the facility                       The young doctor bore witness to the stark
can inject themselves in a safer, medically                                continues to operate merely as a trial project.                   divide in health that often exists between
supervised environment.                                                       The trial, like addiction itself, is chronic                   Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
    Before taking up her position at MSIC,                                 and relapsing. The passage of legislation is                      At that stage, Groote Eylandt had the highest
Dr Jauncey worked at the nearby Kirketon Road                              repeatedly required to keep the facility open as                  violent crime rate per head of the population in
Centre (KRC), a free health service for drug                               each trial period comes to a close. According                     the southern hemisphere.
users, sex workers, homeless people and youth                              to Dr Jauncey, this demoralises existing MSIC                        Dr Jauncey saw multiple cases of
at risk. She has also worked for NSW Health                                staff and presents difficulties when hiring new                   Sydenham’s chorea, a complication that can
and the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology                                employees, particularly nurses.                                   occur in patients with rheumatic fever.
and Clinical Research.                                                        “I think it’s entirely appropriate if there’s                     “When I got back to university, we had a
    “You do see some pretty sad things,” she                               not good evidence for any kind of medical or                      lecture and something came up about rheumatic
says of her decade spent in the drug and alcohol                           public health intervention that you do some                       fever and Sydenham’s chorea and the lecturer
field in Kings Cross, “But to shrink from the                              kind of evaluation,” Dr Jauncey says. “But if                     said, ‘you’ll never see that in Australia, it’s a
provision of safe and sanitary injecting premises                          you’ve gone to the trouble and effort of doing                    disease of third world nations’.
is short-sighted.”                                                         that research, then it’s beholden upon you to act                    “It just struck me. I thought, how much of
    When MSIC’s clients overdose, trained                                  upon the outcomes of that research.”                              Australia doesn’t know what happens in other
medical professionals are there within seconds                                Dr Jauncey’s interest in improving access                      places in Australia? We assume that everybody
to revive them, with oxygen tanks and Narcan,                              to health services for marginalised populations                   has access to the same health services and level
a heroin antidote, at hand. Since opening in                               reaches back to her days as a young medical                       of care that we do but it’s just not the case.”
2001, over 2,700 drug overdoses have occurred                              student at university.                                               When asked about her most memorable
on-site without a single fatality.                                            During her third year of studies in 1992,                      client, Dr Jauncey recalls a young woman she
    “There’s no question that supervised                                   Dr Jauncey travelled to Arnhem Land to assist                     met while working as a doctor at the KRC. The

                                                                                                                                                                                                 Vanessa Watson
                                                          Vanessa Watson

Dr Marianne Jauncey believes rehabilitation is a right.                    The Kings Cross injecting booths, known as Stage 2 of the Medically Supervised Injecting Centre.

74    Precinct
woman, referred to Dr Jauncey by a counsellor,
was in a state of distress and suffering from a
drug-induced psychosis.
    “She was looking pretty bedraggled, sitting
there eating these no-brand liquorice all-sorts.
She was using a lot of cocaine and was street
sex working, homeless, in her twenties, and
hadn’t slept for days. She’d pulled out bits of her
hair because of the cocaine use, had scratched
herself and was bleeding.”

                                                                                                                                                                        Philip Wen
    During her consultation, the woman
confronted Dr Jauncey with the desperate
details of her life and demanded to know why
                                                      A tenuous relationship with conformity has led Norrie May-Welby’s life down many unexpected paths.
anyone would bother to help her.

                                                      Shared stories of sexuality
    “She said, ‘my mum was a junkie whore
who died on the streets, and I’m a junkie whore
who’s going to die on the streets too, there’s no
point. I accept that, why don’t you?’
    “It was at that instant the enormity of this      Philip Wen

life struck me. She’d first started injecting – or
being injected – at the age of 11 and said that her             he life of Norrie May-Welby is an                       “I had reactive depression, or a mental
mum had done that. She didn’t know who her                      open book – she says so herself.                    breakdown, as they called it in those days.
father was, her mum had been a sex worker and                   On her MySpace page, Norrie has                     That’s when I started on hormones. That’s
had accidentally gotten pregnant and she was a                  posted an eight-minute video in                     when I realised that being androgynous
result of that.                                       which she muses on her sexuality, sex change                  wasn’t accepted, so I had to be one gender or
    “There’s a temptation, just for a fraction of     and experiences as a transgender woman.                       the other,” she says.
a second, where you just think, ‘Is she right?           “I like being honest with regard to sex and                    A founding member of Sex and Gender
Is the situation actually hopeless?’ Then you         gender and sexuality because it forms who we                  Education Australia (SAGE), a lobby
recover and you think well, no, of course it’s not    are. The way to face discrimination is just to                group for people of gender diversity,
hopeless. You just start one step at a time and       be honest.”                                                   Norrie has been a long-time campaigner for
at the moment she needs more than anything to            Discrimination has had a big impact on                     same-sex marriage.
sleep and get some food.”                             Norrie’s life. As a shy and sexually naïve                        She was a keynote speaker and performer
    When Dr Jauncey next saw the woman                adolescent boy, Norrie did not realise she was                at the National Day of Action rally for same-
she was waiting to see a counsellor at the            gay until her late teens and started wearing                  sex marriage on earlier this year.
KRC. Though only months had passed, she               flowers in her hair.                                              “It’s a matter of equality. I don’t actually
had begun to grow a full head of hair and was            A happy few years identifying as a young,                  know if marriage is a good idea or not,”
approaching a healthy weight. She sat, with her       androgynous gay male at university followed,                  Norrie says.
head down, buried in a copy of J. D. Salinger’s       but things began to unravel when he joined                        “Everyone should have the same
Catcher in the Rye.                                   the workforce.                                                aspirations available to them. Whether they
    Salinger’s novel, which features in high             “It was the 1980s when the public service                  choose to get married later on or not, they
school curricula across the English-speaking          said it was gay-friendly and had anti-                        should know their opportunities are equal.”
world, is a powerful image in the hands of            discrimination policies but was, in reality,                      Norrie, 48, has been male, then female.
a rehabilitating drug addict and one that has         old-fashioned.                                                Today, she is “40 per cent gay male, 60 per
remained with Dr Jauncey since. It serves as a           “I was allowed to be whoever I wanted                      cent female”.
reminder that people can, and do, rehabilitate,       to be at university. Then I joined the public                     She has been a cartoonist, a transgender
and that everybody deserves the opportunity to        service and suddenly I wasn’t acceptable.”                    activist, a campaigner for same-sex
stay alive long enough to try.                           The alleged harassment and bullying                        marriage, an advocate for sex workers and an
    “People have got this sense of, ‘but you have     were traumatic. Depressed and distraught,                     occasional sex worker herself for 20 years.
to get them off drugs right now’. Obviously           Norrie came to the conclusion that if it was                      “Life has taken me in very unexpected
that’s an ideal outcome, but any smoker will          unacceptable to be a dress-wearing gay male,                  directions,” she says.
tell you that it’s not always that easy and it        the only answer was to become a dress-                            “I’ve ended up with friends, most of whom
doesn’t happen the first or the second time even      wearing female.                                               are in the sex industry, who party a lot and
that you give up.                                        “It was social pressure definitely that led                are into political activism and do meaningful
    “Everybody deserves that chance. It might         to the sex change because I didn’t think of it                things with their lives.”
sound trite, but you can’t get someone who’s          until I had a nervous breakdown.
dead into rehab.”

                                                                                                                                                           Precinct    75

Derby girls roll their way

                                                                                                                                                                                 Lisa Tolcher
Drew Barrymore sets her sights on winning in the movie Whip It                 Above: all rivalry is forgotten in post-match celebrations; and the Sydney City Assassins after
                                                                               a recent bout.
Peta Doherty

            hirty women on roller skates, dressed in fishnets and short            Don’t be fooled by the sexy get-up; roller girls train hard. They spend
            shorts, drop simultaneously to the floor: bums up, feet up. This   seven hours a week on skates alone, with extra sessions for strength and
            is the Porn Star Fall.                                             endurance.
                The Porn Star Fall, The T-Stop and the Baseball Slide are          The appeal is partly in the theatrics of the sport. Skaters take on a
strategic plays in the latest sports craze to hit Sydney – roller derby.       persona and dress up to enhance their skating alter egos. Ms Nelson, or
    Sydney’s regional team, The Sydney City Assassins, just returned from      “Miss Biff,” describes her skating persona as “a cheerleader who wants
its first interstate bout in Adelaide where it lost 62:129 to the Adelaide     to fight everyone.
Phantoms.                                                                          “It’s about being able to be strong and sporty and sexy and a woman all
    “We got annihilated but it was an awesome day,” says Ms Nelson, Vice       at the same time,” she says.
President of the Sydney Roller Derby League. The Assassins will play               The Sydney league is now gearing up for its third introductory training
again soon against a team from Newcastle.                                      program, Fresh Meat, where a further 60 to 80 Sydney women will be
    “Their on-the-track strategy was amazing,” she says.“We learnt so          taught the basics of skating.
much and are looking forward to the bout against Newcastle in November.”           Karen Pieper, or Paige Turner, a project manager in corporate banking,
    The Sydney Roller Derby League is one of 20 all-girl, flat-track roller    joined Fresh Meat six months ago.
derby leagues in Australia, and 145 worldwide. Roller derby is a contact           “It’s like drama for people who can’t act,” says Miss Pieper. “You get
sport played by two teams of five on quad roller skates on an oval track.      to take on a persona, dress up and also get to hang out with really cool
    Points are scored when one player – the jammer – passes through            smart women.”
the opposing pack of players. The role of the other players – blockers             “During the week I have to be the project manager and wear the suit
and pivot blockers – is to prevent the opposition’s jammer from getting        and be serious. Here I get to dress up and be silly and let that fun part of
through.                                                                       my personality come out.”

76    Precinct

into the Sydney spotlight

                                                                                                                                                                                Lisa Tolcher

   The revival of this sporting spectacular, originally popularised
in 1930s Chicago, began five years ago with the Texas Rollergirls in
America. It quickly grew into a worldwide craze that’s seen independent
amateur leagues spring up in the UK, Germany, Finland, Switzerland,
Denmark, New Zealand and the United Emirates.
   Two teams from the Sydney league, The Screaming Assault Sirens
and The Sydney City CB Deviants, played their debut season this year
over 3 games, drawing crowds of up to 500.
    “We’ve all been really focused on creating it as a real do-it-yourself
grass roots sport. Two years ago we were just sitting around in a pub
with some really dodgy skates and bad protective gear going: ‘How
does it work?... What are the rules again?’” says Stacey Nelson.
   Liz Divine, or Divine Intervention, says refereeing is a good way for
guys to get involved or girls who are interested but nervous about the       Clockwise from top left: Ellen Page discovers her passion for roller derby as teenager Babe
contact aspect.“A big part of it is the community value. To meet so many     Ruthless in the movie Whip it; the Sydney City Assassins are deadly in action ; a friendly
different people is really wonderful.”                                       post-match congratulations; and a rough tumble, which is all part and parcel of the game.

                                                                                                                                                       Precinct            77

 The spirit behind the disc
 Whitney Edwards

 What would happen if you told your mates that you were representing
 Australia overseas in Ultimate Frisbee? A common reaction is to laugh
 at the thought of throwing a disc in a field as part of an international
 competition. But over the past decade, the unique game of Ultimate
 Frisbee has had burst in popularity, particularly among university students.
     The first competitive discs were thrown in American colleges in 1968.
 Today Ultimate Frisbee is a thriving game played in over 40 countries on
 beaches, backyards, schools and sporting fields.
     According to Glenn Hodges, coach of the Frisbee Club of UTS, the
 sport has become increasingly popular in Australia since he began playing
 in the 1990s, “There are now more players than ever at an elite level and
 who undertake tougher routines.”
     When training for this year’s University Games on the Gold Coast, the
 UTS team blended athletic practices with an occasional pub outing.
     The aim of the annual University Games is to bring usually distant
 teams together to enjoy the spirit of the Games and soak up the sun and
 surf. Most importantly it encourages the continuous growth and support
 of Australian student sporting communities.
     However, Evan Sieff, Vice-President of UTS Ultimate Frisbee,
 believes his club and many others are in need of sponsorship. “In order to
 be taken seriously, we need some serious support.”
     In the frisbee sub-culture, the sport is known simply as ‘Ultimate’
 which invites us into the social world behind the disc. “Once the game is
 over, we’re all mates. The frisbee community is very close. We all stick
 together,” says Evan.
     But friendships undoubtedly unravel when rivalries erupt at
 competitions. Despite UTS playing in Division One on the Gold Coast
 this year, the massive powerhouse that is Sydney University continues to
 be a threat.
     “Sydney have put everything into training for these University Games,”

                                                                                                                                                                  Ed Yourdon.
 says the Sydney Uni captain, Brett Latham.
     Ultimate Frisbee is non-discriminatory and allows players to be of any
 age, sex, size or speed. It is self-refereed which further adds to its appeal
 as a social sport.                                                              Flicks for kicks: Frisbee players in the heat of the moment.

Wheels in motion for a cycling city
Edwina Carr

Sydney City Council will spend $70 million in        cycling as an environmentally friendly and safe               Andrew Dodds, Vice President of Bike
the next four years to build an extensive cycle      alternative transport option.                              Sydney, says that the cycleways will give
network throughout the city.                            Josh MacKenzie, Senior Media Officer for                commuters and residents a convenient transport
   The infrastructure is part of the Council’s       Sydney City Council, says that the cycleways               option.
Cycle Strategy and Action Plan which began in        will allow hesitant cyclists to ride the busy                 “Sydney as a city becomes more attractive
April 2007.                                          streets of the city with confidence.                       if you can encourage not just residents but
   The proposed cycleway will be a 200                  “People have told us they want to ride but              commuters who’d otherwise be driving or
kilometre track which will include 55 kilometres     are hesitant to do so in Sydney next to fast               catching public transport to start cycling,” he
of separated cycleways.                              moving traffic,” Mr Mackenzie says.                        says.
   In February, Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of             The King Street cycleway opened in May this                “I’ll certainly be using the Missendon Road
Sydney, said that surveys of the City of Sydney      year and is the first of many to be completed.             cycleway.”
area indicated a 37 per cent increase in residents      Other cycleways due for construction will be               Mr Dodds says that although the cycleway
who cycle to work. The Council’s cycle strategy      located in College Street, Missenden Road and              infrastructure will encourage drivers to
intends to meet this rising demand.                  Union Street.                                              start cycling to work there is no one silver-
   The plan aims to increase cycling in the             Construction on the Bourke Street cycleway              bullet solution to improving Sydney’s
city by 500 per cent by 2017 and to promote          has begun and is due for completion by 2010.               current transport system.

78   Precinct
              Lunchtime of fitness                                                                                                          Students take
              Thanh Hieu Dinh
                                                                                                                                            on ping pong

                         ome on, guys. Pass me the ball,” a                           adding that many of his friends also play          Alex Jones
                         soccer player urges his team-mate.                        sport at noon at the Domain Park in Sydney
                             The closer they get to the goalpost,                  CBD.                                                  Crouching poodles and Atlantic salmon have
                         the more urgent the shout.                                   The Sports and Aquatic Centre is open to the       been spotted at Moore Theological College
                  Along with it is the incessant thud of sports                    general public as well as students.                   in Newton.
              shoes against the wooden floor and the whistle of                       Leonie Lum, Programs Manager, said the                But they’re not dogs or fish – they’re
              the referee, creating the hectic atmosphere of an                    activities were initiated more than five years        names used to describe the moves, mistakes
              indoor soccer game at the Sydney University’s                        ago as part of the University’s Lunchtime Social      and techniques of students who play in the
              Sports and Aquatic Centre during a Monday                            Sport program.                                        college’s table tennis competition.
              lunchtime.                                                              “The activities offer a good opportunity              Second-year student Steve Boxwell
                  Many students, whether they have just set                        to get outside to meet people and be active,”         and his friends came up with the names
              foot on campus or have been there for years,                         Ms Lum says.                                          while watching fellow students play in
              share a passion for sport.                                              And sport at lunchtime has become                  ‘pong’ showdowns.
                  However, for these students, lunchtime is not                    increasingly popular among office workers in             “We wait till something happens that’s
              just for eating. Instead, it is also the time to get                 Sydney as well.                                       funny or a bit unusual,” Mr Boxwell says.
              the legs going and the heart pumping.                                   Lunchtime Legends, a corporate sports                 “We’re trying to identify signature moves
                  Andrew Brown, a 20-year-old Malaysian                            competition in Sydney that has been running           people have, kind of like Street Fighter,”
              university student, is a newcomer to the Sports                      for more than 16 years, attracts a weekly             he says.
              and Aquatic Centre, but looks eager.                                 participation of more than 2,000 people.                 Students have embraced the competition
                  “I am playing futsal or indoor soccer simply                        Director Helmut Fleig said Lunchtime               which was set up to promote a sense of
              because I like it,” he says.                                         Legends       has     participating       companies   community and foster relationships among
                  “I have formed the team with my friends                          from financing, banking, insurance and                the students.
              from the Sydney International Village and we                         the legal sector.                                        “It makes things a little bit more
              usually come here between 1pm and 2pm every                              “It’s really an opportunity for them to get       light-hearted and more social and gets
              Monday to play the sport for two sets, each                          out of the office because people spend so             everyone out of the books and lets people
              lasting 15 minutes.”                                                 many hours sitting in the office, so it’s truly an    muck around,” says Mr Alby Lam, sports
                  Apart from futsal, students can opt to play                      opportunity for them to come and play,” he says.      committee member.
              netball and basketball.                                                 Mr Fleig says there are three principal               Table tennis originated in Victorian
                  Rowan Kunz, 22, who is now in his final year                     benefits: fitness, fun and stress relief.             England, where it was played between
              at the Sydney University’ s Faculty of Law, has                         “But the upshot of all those things is people      British Officers.
              been playing soccer during lunchtime for nearly                      are in a non-work environment with their                 A champagne cork was used as a ball,
              five years now.                                                      colleagues,” he says.                                 which was hit with cigarette boxes over a
                  “Well, I like soccer, and doing it during                           “It really does build better co-operation          ‘net’ of books.
              lunchtime gives me a good break since I can run                         among staff and better attachment within the          The game has been controlled by the
              around a bit and meet a lot of friends,” he says,                    organization,” Mr Fleig says.                         International Table Tennis Federation since
                                                                                                                                         1926. It became an Olympic sport in 1988.
                                                                                                                                            Sue Stevenson, High Performance and
                                                                                                                                         Coaching Coordinator of Table Tennis
                                                                                                                                         Australia, says it takes a lot of skill to
                                                                                                                                         compete professionally.
                                                                                                                                            “Internationally, the athletes train six
                                                                                                                                         hours a day, six days a week, 365 days a
                                                                                                                                         year,” Ms Stevenson says.
                                                                                                                                            “They rarely ever have time off. You have
                                                                                                                                         to be able to make decisions in fractions of
                                                                                                                                         seconds,” she says.
                                                                                                                                            Ms Stevenson believes Australia’s
                                                                                                                                         professional table tennis athletes are not
                                                                                                                                         exposed to the same level of international
                                                                                                                                         competition as the 20 million Chinese and
                                                                                                                                         Europeans competitors.
                                                                                                                                            With this said, it appears that most average

                                                                                                                                         players will have to be happy with the simple
                                                                                                                                         glory of winning a game of ping pong in a
                                                                                                                                         suburban garage – complete with ‘crouching
                                                                                                                                         poodles’ and ‘Atlantic salmon.’
              Training hard: joggers ditch their office clothes at lunch time for a session of exercise at The Domain in Sydney.

                                                                                                                                                                        Precinct      79

                                      Danger on the rocks                                            Alex Jones

                                                                                                                 eneath the thrill of rock fishing lies        Sydney has several rock fishing black spots,
                                                                                                                 danger and tragedy few people know        including north and south of Maroubra Bay and
                                                                                                                 about. The sport has claimed nine         Malabar Bay, and the bottom of St Michael’s
                                                                                                                 lives in NSW this year alone and at       Golf Course at La Perouse.
                                                                                                     least 50 lives over the last four years, according        The recently formed National Rock
                                                                                                     to the Government’s ‘Safe Waters’ website.            Fishing Safety Panel, established by
                                                                                                         These statistics may scare some, but for rock     Surf Life Saving Australia, aims to
                                                                                                     fisherman Vincent Hou, the risk and uncertainty       educate fishermen and reduce the number
                                      A fisherman barely escapes as waves sweep over the rocks.      adds to the sport’s appeal.                            of rock fishing accidents and fatalities.
                                                                                                         “Danger is part of the reason it is exciting,”        Its media campaign, to be released late this
                                                                                                     he says.                                              year, will target newspapers and radio. ‘Safe
                                                                                                         “Everything you do in the city is repetitive,     fishing’ workshops will be conducted along the
                                                                                                     but if you go out on the rocks and go fishing you     coast as well as in the western suburbs.
                                                                                                     don’t know what you’re going to catch. The best           Chris Parker, Senior Lifesaving Officer
                                                                                                     feeling is uncertainty.”                              with Surf Life Saving NSW, hopes the panel
                                                                                                         However, Mr Hou, who has been rock fishing        will succeed where previous independent ones
                                                                                                     since 2006, believes many rock fishermen              have failed.
                                                                                                     remain uneducated about the dangers involved.             “Rather than trying to do it alone, this is the
                                                                                                         “There are a lot of people who just don’t care.   first time a formal group has worked together to
                                      A trapped fisherman waits to be saved from the deadly waves.   They go without really caring about the weather.      achieve the same goal.”
                                                                                                     If they’re lucky they get away with it; if not they       As the warmer months approach, life saving
Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter

                                                                                                     get washed out into the water,” he says.              officers will be on their guard.
                                                                                                         Tony Wood, Crew Chief of Westpac Life                 “It’s the time when we see more people
                                                                                                     Saver Rescue, has rescued many such people            coming to the beach and taking more risks,” Mr
                                                                                                     from the sea.                                         Parker says.
                                                                                                         He says the key to making rock fishing safer          According to Mr Tony Wood, people
                                                                                                     lies in fishermen wearing the necessary safety        should ask themselves one question before
                                                                                                     equipment.                                            taking such risks: “You can go out and
                                                                                                         “Nine times out of 10 if the person doesn’t       drown, but what’s left behind? Just think of
                                                                                                     have a life jacket, the mission will end in a body     your family.”
                                                                                                     retrieval rather than a rescue,” he says.
                                      A Westpac helicopter scours the rocks for trapped fishermen.

                                      Women tackling AFL
                                      Maria Tsialis

                                      Every weekend 80,000 women and young girls                     Talent Manager of AFL, says young women
                                      around Australia put their bodies on the line to               fought for the right to play the game once they
                                      play AFL.                                                      had reached an age where they were excluded
                                         Boasting some of the largest growth of                      from the boys’ competition.
                                      female participants in any sport across the                       “It’s quite remarkable the growth in both
                                      country, AFL is reaping the benefits of women                  women and girls in women’s football. It was
                                      flocking to show off their athletic skills.                    evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Women
                                         “I think awareness has been a big thing,                    demanded the right to play a game that they
                                      especially in Sydney. We’ve had 10 years in                    were falling in love with,” says Mr Sheehan.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Rachel Paton.

                                      the competition now and now have a couple                         You have to look no further than the
                                      more teams that are spread across a wider                      SWAFL to uncover bravery, success
                                      demographic. So now that we’ve expanded                        and commitment to the game. The Newtown
                                      a little bit, we’ve got a higher presence in                   Breakaways, who walked away from the 2009
                                      AFL,”says Jemma Still, President of the Sydney                 season with their fifth premiership, show no          2009 Grand Final: Newtown Breakaways vs. Western Wolves.
                                      Women’s AFL (SWAFL).                                           sign of slowing down.                                 As a team on the field we have that ‘will to win’
                                         The push for better organised senior women’s                   “I believe that wearing the red and white          attitude and we never give up, even if we’re
                                      AFL was certainly noticed by the sport’s                       actually means something to the players who           down,” says, Rebecca Burridge, Newtown
                                      governing officials. Kevin Sheehan, National                   join each year as the club has a proud history.       Breakaways President and current player.

                                      80    Precinct
Get your kicks out of tricks

                                                                                                                                                                            Lawrence Wright.
Up in the air: Trickers take the floor to perform new and daring manoeuvres.

Lisa Dowdall

               hen it comes to pushing the                       2007. In January next year, gatherings                out of extreme martial arts. Athletes
               limits, some people like to jump                  will be held at gyms, parks and beaches around        upgraded       their     competitive      routines
               out of planes, run marathons                      Sydney, with trickers from across the nation            with flips from gymnastics as well as new
               or wrangle reptiles. But for                      and overseas anticipating an adrenaline-fuelled       variations of traditional kicks and twists.
practitioners of a sport called tricking, nothing                summer.                                                   Ernie Reyes Snr formed the world’s first
is more exhilarating than stringing together                         According to Scotty Skelton, a 21-year-           tricking group in America and shortly after, the
a unique sequence of flashy flips and kung fu                    old tricker from Brisbane, it is often the            sport went global.
kicks.                                                           amazing moves that first attract people to                Trickers     used      instant    messaging,
   Tricking is an aesthetic blend of aerial                      tricking, but it is the friendships formed            online forums and video-hosting sites
gymnastics skills and martial arts manoeuvres                    and life lessons learned that keep them coming        to share training videos and tips. Soon
with influence from other sports such as break                   back for more.                                        they began to organise seasonal and annual
dancing and snowboarding. It is performed                            “To say tricks have shaped who I am as            gatherings to train and learn.
in ‘combos’ with as much innovation and                          a person would be the understatement of the               Tricking is a sport mainly dominated by
individual style as possible.                                    century. Tricking has taught me more about            men. However, as it becomes more and more
   Twenty-three-year-old Morgan Flook has                        persistence, the importance of getting up after a     popular, girls are getting involved bringing a
been participarting in the sport for eight years                 fall – sometimes quite literally – and as cheesy      new dimension to the sport.
and says it has become a lifestyle for him.                      as it sounds, the power of friendship,” he says.          Twently-one-year-old Sarah Laidler was
   “The idea is to define yourself as a tricker,                     Recently Scotty Skelton was acknowledged          attracted to the sport when she saw people
show your dedication and express that in a way                   as the first tricker in the world to land a ‘triple   training at the gymnasium where she was a
that you can be proud of,” he says.                              cork’ – a slanted back somersault off one leg         recreational gymnast.
   “Tricking is such a young sport and the                       with three complete twists.                               “I think many girls are scared to try or give
direction and form its taking is very exciting,”                     “Four years and about four million crashes        up too easy. We generally don’t pick things up
he says                                                          later I finally got lucky enough to make people       as quickly as the guys and that can be quite
   Many young Australians have caught                            think otherwise. It’s a moment I will never           discouraging, especially when there are few
on to the new underground sport; the first                       forget,” he says.                                     girls to compare yourself to,” she says.
Australian Tricks Gathering was held in                              Tricking developed during the 1990’s

                                                                                                                                                        Precinct      81
Close encounters the new cool
Stephanie Kok

      t emerges from the depths of the crystal        mothers and calves have been seen regularly                        heritage, and cruises such as those run by
      clear ocean, beautiful and graceful, yet        in October, often very close to shore, with                        Tribal Warrior take people on a journey to learn
      frighteningly large, its dark body glistening   curious calves swimming towards tour boats.                        about the traditions of Aboriginal people. Rob
      with the salty water. The Humpback whale        These tours also research whether rules for                        Roberts, the Sales Manager at Tribal Warrior,
lunges into the air and comes crashing down           whale-watching are adequate, and to study                          says that the cruises connect Aboriginal and
again, a spectacular sight, and all within metres.    their migration path.                                              modern culture, taking participants ashore on
   According to Tourism NSW, “New                        Sydney has countless landmarks, many of                         a Sydney Harbour island to teach them about
South Wales has the advantage of offering             which are easily seen on foot. Adventurers can                     traditional Aboriginal dance and music.
a wide variety of nature experiences within           choose to travel by water, kayaking through                           “It includes informative commentary and
one state. And because we are seen as the             Sydney Harbour. Sydney Harbour Kayaks take                         the stories passed down from generation
international gateway to Australia, we                groups to familiar sites and other locations                       to generation on the Sydney Harbour clans
are able to capture a large portion of the            accessible only by water, and teach about their                    and their hunting and fishing techniques and
nature tourism market.”                               natural and social history.                                        the first contacts between the Aboriginal
   Ecotourism educates travellers by taking              Australia’s culture is rich with Aboriginal                     people and Europeans.”
them to unusual areas to witness flora, fauna
and cultural heritage in a pristine state while
creating minimal impact on the environment.
   The Bonza Bike Tours combine exercise
with Sydney’s scenic views while minimising
the impact of conventional tourism. Much like
walking tours, they steer away from polluting
forms of transport such as buses and cars.
   On the Sydney Classic Bonza Bike Tours,
guides take participants to Sydney’s iconic sites
and also lesser known places. Key sites include
the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour
Bridge, Royal Botanic Gardens, Hyde Park,
Chinatown, and some museums and galleries.

                                                                                                                                                                               Courtesty of Tribal Warriors
   Australia has some of the most unique flora
and fauna in the world but Sydneysiders rarely
get to see them up close, except in captivity.
For plant and animal lovers, there is Centennial
Park’s Centennial Parkland and Spotlight
Prowl and the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens’
free guided tours.
   Centennial Park rangers lead groups into the       Travellers can learn about Aboriginal song and dance during Tribal Warrior tours.
park at dusk on a guided walk, to put a spotlight
on creatures such as brush-tailed possums, Grey-
headed Flying foxes,corellas and microbats.
   Centennial Park ranger Rebecca Collett says,
“The primary focus of the Spotlight Prowl is to
join a ranger to look for animals in the park after
dark as well as to educate and inform members
of the public about plants and animals that are
found in an urban Sydney park.”
                                                                                                                                                                               Courtesty of Sydney Bonanza Bike Tours

   Meanwhile, volunteer guides take groups
on free tours through Sydney’s Royal Botanic
Gardens twice daily to explore the plants and
history of the gardens.
   On the water, whale-watching tours get up
close, especially during the Humpback whales’
annual migration to the south from the middle
of May until early December. They also teach
participants about marine ecology and other
creatures such as the Bottlenose and Common
dolphins, and on occasion, the Blue whale.
   The Whale Watching Sydney blog states that         The Sydney Bonza Bike Tours takes vistors past Sydney landmarks whilst minimising its impact on the local environment.

82   Precinct
                                                                                                                                                                              Gabriel Wickbold
Two men perform capoeira in a promotional photo shoot for Brazil’s Rock in Rio festival.

Brazil’s fight club takes off
David Fanner

              t a glance it might appear that                      of looking inwards to achieve fulfilment. This       not capoeira, it’s a physical movement.”
              capoeira, Brazil’s version of karate                 change in values has helped lift the profile of          As Capoeira Angola is born from empirical
              or kung fu, is simply another martial                capoeira in Australia.                               learning, you need to learn from a master who,
              art. But in reality it is much more                      “The people see capoeira on television, in       in turn, has learned from another master.”
than that.                                                         magazines, at school and university. YouTube             Of course, there is nothing wrong with taking
   Capoeira was born in the 16th century with                      and the internet have provided easy access,”         an interest in capoeira as a form of fitness. The
the African slave population in the sugar                          Meire-lou says.                                      acrobatic movements look impressive and those
plantations of Brazil. Music and dance-like                            While she is pleased with the growing            who practice it are trim and toned.
movements were fused with kicks and head-                          interest in capoeira, she worries that in reaching       Meire-lou Marchiori says: “Capoeira even
butts to produce a form of self-defence unlike                     the masses, its traditions and culture will          today empowers you. You feel very strong
anything else in the world.                                        become diluted.                                      about yourself and it changes how you present
   Over the years the practice of capoeira                             “That’s a big concern, the fear when people      yourself for the better.”
has evolved.                                                       learn capoeira through YouTube they’ll lose the          Mestre Roxinho has taken this message a
   Meire-lou Marchiori, a teacher at Grupo                         tradition of it, where it all comes from or how it   step further by running Project Bantu, a program
Capoeira Brasil, explains:                                         all started.                                         teaching Capoeira Angola’s skills and traditions
   “We don’t fight people, we play them. It’s                          “You have to relate to another person, it’s a    to underprivileged children and teenagers of
a game where we develop not just physically                        body language, a game, you have to develop a         Aboriginal and refugee background.
but emotionally and psychologically as well.                       body dialogue.”                                          “Capoeira Angola with all its tradition, ritual
It combines elements of acrobatics, dance,                             This is certainly a concern for Mestre           and culture can educate young people and help
gymnastics, fighting, music, but in the end it’s                   Roxinho, Edielson Miranda, whose school              them socialise, give them a space where there
a celebration.”                                                    practices the more traditional form of capoeira,     is respect.
   In these lean times, more and more people                       Capoeira Angola.                                         “Young people are the future for Capoeira
are spurning material possessions in favour                            “What they actually learn on YouTube is          Angola and the maintaining of its tradition.”

                                                                                                                                                         Precinct       83
84   Precinct

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