Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Dymock's building

Dymocks is one of the remaining bookshop chains. Its flagship Sydney store is located on the ground floor of this beautiful building.

Located on the ground floor of The Dymocks Building, the Dymocks Main George Street bookstore is Sydney's greatest, and quite probably the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. But there is so much more to The Dymocks Building than the book and stationery stores on the ground floor.

Our story begins in 1879 when William Dymock commenced business as a bookseller in a rented room in Market Street. As his business grew, he moved to larger and grander premises until, in the 1890's he could claim to have a million books in stock.

William Dymock died in his thirty-ninth year, unmarried and childless, and left the business to his sister Marjory, who was married to John Forsyth. From that time onwards, the Forsyth family has managed Dymocks.

1922 was a “landmark” year for Dymocks, when the family purchased the old Royal Hotel in George Street – and on that site was built the present Dymocks Building, completed in 1932.

The Dymocks Building (or “The Block”) as it was known, was conceived by architect F.H.B. Wilton in the “Interwar Commercial Palazzo Style”.

It was to house the “less elite” or “bazaar” style of retailing, with specialty businesses offering a wide range of more unusual goods and services. At street-level it was of course the home for the bookshop which has developed into the store you see today.

Throughout World War II and for many years after, the building provided office space for government departments, and it was not until the 1980’s that The Dymocks Building was restored, again to specialise in the unusual businesses for which it had been designed decades earlier.Today it is home to over 100 specialty stores and businesses specialising is bridal, jewellery, health and well being and business & personal services.

Commenting on the design, the magazine “Building” in 1929 stated, “…the facilities would appeal to those who object to the noise and bustle of the traffic in the crowded city streets”. This is still true today, more than 80 years later.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Taphophile Tragics

Poet's Corner, Westminster Abbey, London (taken a very long time ago).

This is an entry in Julie's Taphophile Tragics meme.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Monochrome Weekend

Last summer Sydney City Council set deck chairs in Town Hall Square. On the few days it didn't rain, they were popular.

For more monochrome madness, visit Dragonstar's Weekend in Black and White. 

Friday, 26 October 2012

Sky Watch Friday

Looking over Hyde Park and the War Memorial on a stormy day.

For more Sky Watch from around the world, drop in to the home of Sky Watch Friday.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

St Andrews

Sydney's Anglican cathedral, St Andrews, is a much friendlier place than its Catholic counterpart, St Mary's. Unlike St Mary's which strictly forbids photography, in St Andrews I had no problem at all. These were with the unobtrusive point and shoot but I could probably have used the SLR with no problem. While not as magnificent as St Mary's, the cathedral is far more welcoming and equally beautiful when you look closely.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Taphophile Tragics

I've pretty much run out of shots (and inspiration) so this week I'm cheating and bringing you something a colleague put me on to during the week. This is a reproduction of a blog post by Elizabeth Farrelly about the launch of an Aboriginal burial site at Woronora Cemetery in Sydney's Sutherland Shire. I though you might be interested in the concept and the beauty. I think it would be worth a trip down south to check it out - Julie?. The reported conversation says a lot about the "Shire".
This is an entry in Julie's Taphophile Tragics meme.

Posted on 

Morning tea in the Shire

Funny, I’d always suspected that sprawl and xenophobia went hand in hand, yet I was still surprised the other day to find them ganging up together against natural burial.
It was at the launch of an aboriginal burial site at the Woronora Cemetery in the Shire. It was the brainchild of a friend, an amazing polymath of a man and Dharawal elder, Les Bursill AO. The Woronora Cemetery, of which he is a Friend, makes a point of being multicultural – signposted multiculturalism; RC this way, Greek Orthodox that.
My ideal cemetery is the one in Highgate where Karl Marx is buried, all overgrown to buggery and  dripping romanticism. But Australia eschew romanticism, and most Aussie cemeteries, for reasons that escape me, are either superr-shiny and regimented:
Or a bit random like this:
But both ways. they’re shadeless and overbaked, with all the romance of a .back yard barbie.
So what a delight to find that the indigenous burial place was set in a stand of remaining bushland. What a relief, actually, after all that buffalo grass. We all got mud on our shoes and the Minister, Victor Domicello, seemed in danger, for a moment, of getting mud on his nice pink tie.
And the idea is as lovely as the setting; A little wetland, created in the bush by a stone serpent (aka retaining wall) and making an enchanted spot for the scattering of ashes that i believe is a custom particular to the Sydney basin.
The design is by engineer Ian Baker and the serpent is in the top left. Here’s it’s head, under the heels (sharpish) of a staffer:
Here’s its tail:
And here’s the Minister (left, pink tie) and my friend Les Bursill (right) with the plaque, which reads:
It’s lovely – by far the loveliest spot and sentiment in the place – and makes you want to be an honorary aboriginal.
Which is what made me ask after, over tea on the lawn, if just anyone could be buried there.
“Of course,” answered companion, who introduced himself as a Trustee of the place. “But why would you want to?”
“Because it’s beautiful.”
But it was the rest of the conversation that really blew me away.
“Have you seen our new mausoleum?” said he.
“Oh, no?” I’m interested. Thinking gloom and shadows, incense and flowers, mystery, depth, even.
“You should have a look. it’s for the Macedonians – they’re Orthodox you know. They’ve always buried their dead at Rookwood, but they like to visit the grave every day for a year, and they didn’t want to see all the Muslims at Rookwood…”
“Really?” I’m thinking, this is a bit weird. Do you say these things to strangers? “So you had to build them a place here?”
“That’s right.”
“But – what – there are no Muslim burials here?”
“Oh no. We cater to everyone.”
“But not muslims…Why not?” (Eating sandwiches).
“Well, they don’t use coffins – and we have a policy of coffins.”
“They don’t? What do they use?”
“Shrouds. They wrap their dead in shrouds.”
“A, like Jesus. So why couldn’t they do that here? Bury someone in a shroud? Seems pretty harmless?”
“We have a policy of using only coffins.”
“It’s just policy.” (Smile, eat cake, sip tea.) “Policy.”
Resolve. Bite hard on anzac biscuit. Not, repeat not, going to say anything about policy and train timetables.
“So you could be buried with a tree in your mouth, to grow into a seedling, but you couldn’t encourage that process with no coffin?”
“Well, really, we don’t have room for the trees here. You can see we’ve already got all plenty of trees. The natural burial thing is in England, where you have a tight town and outside that it farmland. You need farmland.”
“They have farmland that’s not lived-on because they have planning that’s not deal-doing.”
“Yes,” smile. “But we have a coffin policy.”
“Right, so no danger of having to see muslims – or hippies – here?”
End. Scuttle right back to the ‘Fern.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Town Hall sculpture

These two sculptures are housed inside Sydney Town Hall.

An Ear for Music: From a large piece of Carrara marble, sculptor Peter Schipperheyn created a tribute to Dame Joan Sutherland who first sang in Sydney Town Hall in a student performance of the "Christmas Oratorio" in 1946. She maintained that the opportunity to sing in Sydney's Town Hall represented a pinnacle in her career. The sculpture, which features a large ear, draws analogy to the idea of sound and music. Shipperheyn's design appealed to the committee appointed to commission the work because it did not attempt to create a portrait of Dame Joan, or her operatic characters. According to Edmund Capon, Director of the Art Gallery of NSW, the work of Peter Shipperheyn, a self-taught artist, expresses hope, sensitivity, classicism and contemporanity.

Remember Nellie Melba: Recessed into the southern wall of the Main Hall of Sydney Town Hall is a bas relief inscribed "Remembering Nellie Melba", by Arthur Murch. Murch was a former engineer who had changed careers and after studying painting and sculpture became an official war artist during World War II. The tribute was proposed by Lord Lurgan, who as a vocalist toured Australia for the Australian Broadcasting Commission in 1939. As a young singer, Lurgan had received encouragement from Melba, and his tribute was intended to record Melba's great contribution to music in a venue where she had performed so often. The tablet depicts a figure in song with instrumental and natural accompaniment. It was unveiled by Her Excellency Lady Gowrie during the interval of the first War Fund Patriotic Concert arranged by the ABC in the Town Hall on 19 May 1941 on the anniversary of Melba's birthday.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Couldn't think of a title for this post but these sculptures are near the Art Gallery Cafe.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Finding a niche

Not what you usually see in these niches at the entry to the Art Gallery.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Taphophile Tragics

Detail from the Adelaide War Memorial. The Spirit of Compassion, bearing aloft the body of a dead soldier, symbolizes and commemorates the sacrifice of those who gave their lives in the war and the loss experienced by those who loved them.

The Spirit of Duty appearing before the youth of South Australia, as represented by the girl, the student and the farmer.

Interior of the War Memorial.

This is an entry in Julie's Taphophile Tragics meme.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Speakers' Corner

I didn't realise that Speakers' Corner still existed in Sydney's Domain. It has moved from where I last saw it (under the trees near the road to the Art Gallery) to beside the main pathway across the Domain from the  Gallery to Sydney Hospital. The haze is from the lens fogging up due to me getting the camera wet earlier in the day.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Art and About (4)

Another rather odd installation, "friendly" traffic signs dotted around the city, although the one above doesn't seem too friendly.

This one is set up next to the talking dog at Town Hall. That's him on the fountain to the right.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Art and About (3)

This has to be the strangest of the Art and About installations. Inside a small house set up in Queens Square outside the Barracks Museum, the rain falls and everything slowly decays. Its got something to do with how saying the wrong thing can cause everything to change and a relationship to decay. This is how I got water in the camera. It wasn't just a little rain in there, it was torrential.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Art and About (2)

I hope you can see these. They were taken with the point and shoot cranked up as high as it could go so the quality is pretty poor. This is my favourite of the Art and About installations that I have managed to see this year. I hope you can make out the faces watching from the trees.