Is this architecture?

local bank makes a statement

Upper Heidelberg Road as it runs through Ivanhoe in Melbourne has many buildings of interest. The street has a general people friendly feel to it. In among them is this bank building. Isn’t it wonderful!!

Continue reading Is this architecture?

NGV Africa Photography

An exhibition within an exhibition

We were visiting the National Gallery of Victoria St Kilda Road when we split up with Gael heading for the paid exhibition of African fashion and I headed in the other direction to check on a couple of 17th century Dutch paintings. A few minutes later the phone tingled with a message that there was an exhibition of great photography within the fashion exhibition. Change of plan!

Continue reading NGV Africa Photography

MAph Built Photography

Museum of Australian Photography exhibition

An opinion piece about exhibitions, the visual arts, and things. 

Always up for a drive out to the Museum of Australian Photography at Wheelers Hill – in Melbourne, we drove out through the suburban streets (rather than the freeways) for the pleasure of taking in a range of suburbs on the way. The changes of architecture and the various old and new build environments make the journey worth-while.

Continue reading MAph Built Photography

National Gallery of Victoria 3rd Floor

Visiting 3rd Floor NGV Fed Square

An opinion Piece about exhibitions, the visual arts, and things. 

Our major public galleries now promote their special exhibition/ blockbusters to such an extent that people often overlook what else is on offer. Normally there are fantastic collection and other special exhibitions on offer.

Continue reading National Gallery of Victoria 3rd Floor

Crace Crowley and Ralph Balson

National Gallery of Victoria exhibition visit

On exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) till 22 Sept 2024 is a beautifully curated exhibition of two fantastic painters who were pivotal in the development of  Australian abstract art. This is a must see – even for those of us who are photographers.
My rating for this exhibition is   😎 😎 😎 😎 😎  (out of 5).

Continue reading Crace Crowley and Ralph Balson

Hair Pieces – Heidi May 2024

A visit to Heidi Museum of Modern Art

A visit to the galleries and gardens at the Heidi Museum of Modern Art remains a recommendation for anyone in Melbourne. The gallery is 30 minutes (more or less) from the CBD and is definitely worth the visit.

Continue reading Hair Pieces – Heidi May 2024

What NGA exhibits – or doesn’t

This piece was originally uploaded in May 2023

Back in 1982, when the construction of the National Gallery’s building was completed and had been handed over to become operational as a gallery, there was an open day for people to see what there was to see – that being lots of empty spaces.

Continue reading What NGA exhibits – or doesn’t

A wonderful art gallery with a not so great café

This piece was originally uploaded in June 2023.

Before you wonder what the image above is about – it is a digitally altered photograph of the National Gallery of Australia here in Canberra. I’ll explain later in this piece.

Continue reading A wonderful art gallery with a not so great café

National Gallery of Australia closed galleries

NGA visit with quite a few friends missing

This piece was originally uploaded in May 2023

To more or less quote an art school lecturer, it is great to live in Canberra and to visit the National Gallery to see old friends.

Continue reading National Gallery of Australia closed galleries

Nicki Savva and machinations that damage democracy

This piece was originally published in February 2023

It would a reasonable assumption that many readers of this column would have read about and possibly bought Nicki Savva’s book on the former prime minister, Bulldozed.

Continue reading Nicki Savva and machinations that damage democracy

Does Clive Hamilton value his own backyard?

This piece as originally published in 2022

Looking at the creative political sign in front of the Kingston Glass Workshop in October (now removed), the message was clear.

Continue reading Does Clive Hamilton value his own backyard?

Gardening and farming at the National Museum

This piece was originally published in September 2022

A visit to an exhibition at the National Museum of Australia provided the extra opportunity to have a look at the new garden at the entrance and to check out again the Garden of Australian Dreams.

Continue reading Gardening and farming at the National Museum

photography at the National Library of Australia

Viewfinder: Photography from the 1970s to Now

This piece was originally published in October 2022

The National Library is staging an exhibition of 125 documentary photographs, “Viewfinder: Photography from the 1970s to Now”. Continue reading photography at the National Library of Australia

Visiting ANU Drill Hall Gallery

This was published originally in August 2022

It was a recent photography exhibition by Catherine Rogers (closed 14th August) that brought home to me what a great space the ANU Drill Hall Gallery is.

Continue reading Visiting ANU Drill Hall Gallery

The mysterious case of the hastily removed Albert Hall trees

The ACT’s Greenslabor government is locked into practices of questionable governance and decision making and has lost the inability to engage honestly and effectively with resident groups.

Continue reading The mysterious case of the hastily removed Albert Hall trees

Not a lot of trust in the ACT government

ACT Labor Greens coalition government not trusted

Back in 2012 when the debate about the tram kicked off, there were several people who influenced thoughts on whether the city should have a tram. The first were Walter and Marion Griffin, the second was Katy Gallagher and the third was Zed Seselja.

Continue reading Not a lot of trust in the ACT government

Calling out the false narrative of Nimby callers

 

Developer lobbyists and their government friends do a great job of getting the media to promote a false narrative about the motivations of residents who care for their suburbs.

Continue reading Calling out the false narrative of Nimby callers

The ACT government losing its humanity

Media and opinion writers when criticising the government of the day, traditionally keep the focus on the politicians and not their bureaucrats. Then there was Robodebt.

Continue reading The ACT government losing its humanity

The politics of planning remains murky – at best

Planning was a hot topic for the 2016 ACT elections with some hoping that it could be the issue to push the Greenslabor cohort out of government.

Continue reading The politics of planning remains murky – at best

Understanding landscape should be the chief qualification

ACT Government needs a chief landscape specialist

Many decades ago when talking to a staff member of the National Capital Development Commission (NCDC) in their 220 Northbourne office about urban and social matters, I was distracted by the view south from the 9th floor office window.

Continue reading Understanding landscape should be the chief qualification

Canberra’s community groups need to stand proud

There’s a relatively new driveway off Angas Street Ainslie on the side of the Ainslie Football Club. It goes nowhere – it serves no known purpose.

Continue reading Canberra’s community groups need to stand proud

A Sense of Place denied by ACT Government

There is a common theme to the many well-crafted and informed submissions by residents trying desperately to influence the proposals to change the city’s planning.

Continue reading A Sense of Place denied by ACT Government

ACT Community Councils call out the Failure of planning

Combined Community Councils’ submission is a must read

There are many comments circulating about the 400 submissions received by the planning directorate on what the community thinks of the ACT Government’s attempt to reform planning.

Continue reading ACT Community Councils call out the Failure of planning

ACT politicians keep believing their own vacuous spin

Reading through submissions for one of the many inquiries conducted by this ACT government, there was one submitted by the Rebecca Vassarotti as Heritage Minister.

Continue reading ACT politicians keep believing their own vacuous spin

Making money from the the Causeway homes

ACT Government East Lake Place Plan is a farce

The ACT Greenslabor government has perfected its expertise to distract people from what they are really up to when they release one of their contentious planning documents.

Continue reading Making money from the the Causeway homes

ACT Assembly refuses to hear what residents are saying about planning

On Thursday 30th March Jo Clay MLA stood up in the assembly on behalf of the ACT Greens and moved a motion about the chief minister’s planning reforms.

Continue reading ACT Assembly refuses to hear what residents are saying about planning

Greenslabor hold the line on false narratives about planning

The Inner South Canberra Community Council (ISCCC) meeting on Tuesday 11th April was reported to have been a lively event with a couple of Greenslabor politicians providing their take on the ACT chief minister’s so-called planning reforms.

Continue reading Greenslabor hold the line on false narratives about planning

Braddon Bowls as a Barometer for Bad Behaviour

The Braddon Bowling Club story is one of many about how this government and its bureaucracy has corrupted its own governance – how they do stuff badly.

Continue reading Braddon Bowls as a Barometer for Bad Behaviour

Canberra Liberals need to try harder on planning

On the afternoon of Tuesday 28th March, Canberra Liberal Peter Cain rose to his feet in the legislative assembly to deliver a brief speech about an aspect of the chief minister’s planning reforms.

Continue reading Canberra Liberals need to try harder on planning

Downer to fall foul of Barronomics

Community groups who have studied the Greenslabor planning reform plans and strategies know that the chief minister’s deregulation reforms will devastate the suburban characteristics that attract people to this city.

Continue reading Downer to fall foul of Barronomics

Fact checking ACT Ministers’ press statements

 Gentleman’s patronising praise

The planning minister’s 22 March media release on the feedback received on the planning reforms was a real gem.

Continue reading Fact checking ACT Ministers’ press statements

The differences in values widens between the ACT government and residents

There is huge gap in values between those of the residents of this city and those of the ACT’s planning authority. Canberra’s community groups have been writing submissions about their aspirations and urban priorities for more than a decade.

Continue reading The differences in values widens between the ACT government and residents

ACT Minister takes the mick

Minister for Canberra Planning re-asserts his authority

The Minister for Canberra Planning has reassured residents that the minister has read the hundreds of submissions that hard working Canberra residents have submitted about the so-called planning reforms.

Continue reading ACT Minister takes the mick

Welfare organisations fall for the Greenslabor Mything Middle scam

In 2011 the Dickson Residents Group asked the then planning minister, Andrew Barr, to consider a comprehensive eight-point plan for this inner north precinct.

Continue reading Welfare organisations fall for the Greenslabor Mything Middle scam

Does the ACT Housing minister know how to read?

Recent opinion pieces highlighted the ACT government’s badly managed planning authority and how they continually ignore their own rules and then object when they are overruled by the appeals tribunal.

Continue reading Does the ACT Housing minister know how to read?

Chief Planner ignores biodiversity in his reforms

Unfortunately for the city’s future, the ACT Chief Planner is not known for taking biodiversity seriously. Others do, although their efforts may be a little too polite to make any impact on this Greenslabor government.

Continue reading Chief Planner ignores biodiversity in his reforms

No one takes responsibility for ACT Housing non-compliant approvals

Given the latest line-up of Housing ACT development applications for sites in Griffith that were thrown out by the appeals tribunal, the question is who has taken responsibility for these defective proposals for social housing.

Continue reading No one takes responsibility for ACT Housing non-compliant approvals

The ACT planning chief has failed the residents of Canberra

When the ACT chief planner was appointed in April 2017, he explained his theoretical approach to planning. In April 2019 I used those statements to set out ten performance indicators and then scored how he was doing.

Continue reading The ACT planning chief has failed the residents of Canberra

Challenging questionable development approvals

There has been a load of rubbish spread around about what happens when residents challenge decisions by the ACT Chief Planner.

Continue reading Challenging questionable development approvals

Who knew that denying shelter and social housing paid for the tram?

Given their historical policy positions, the ACT Greenslabor coalition government would have been expected to have had a high priority on social housing and homelessness programs. But then there was the tram.

Continue reading Who knew that denying shelter and social housing paid for the tram?

Greenslabor hopes that no-one noticed the deregulation of planning

With the formal consultations now closed on the ACT government’s planning reforms, many in Canberra’s community groups would be wondering about the motivations of the planning bureaucracy.

Continue reading Greenslabor hopes that no-one noticed the deregulation of planning

Governance reform required urgently for Canberra’s urban future

In the last twelve months, many in community councils have had to spend too much time reading through fairly dense planning reform documents.

Continue reading Governance reform required urgently for Canberra’s urban future

Time to rethink tower cramming

While the majority of people in this city indicate their preferences for stand-alone houses and possibly town houses, there are those who wish to retire into apartments and others who because of their economic circumstances have no option than to purchase (for now) whatever unit they can afford. Continue reading Time to rethink tower cramming

ACT Greenslabor have truth and transparency as options

Dealing with the complexities of Greenslabor planning reforms has been an unpleasant experience for those reading the badly written documents that were drip-fed to the public last year. There is nothing positive about what is being proposed. Continue reading ACT Greenslabor have truth and transparency as options

Absence of sensible planning threatens a street in Garran

It may be a little out of fashion with the ACT Greenslabor ministers, but residents like to be listened to about what happens to their home, their street and their neighbourhood.

Continue reading Absence of sensible planning threatens a street in Garran

Greenslabor’s continues being vexatious and frivolous with the truth

The signs are that for 2023 Greenslabor politicians and their hangers-on will continue to gaslight and dump on those who cherishes the city’s neighbourhoods. The new normal for Greenslabor is to be vexatious and frivolous with the truth.

Continue reading Greenslabor’s continues being vexatious and frivolous with the truth

A Greenslabor’s regulation discussion paper to fix everything

Under the Greenslabor regulatory systems for the last decade, residents have endured a laissez-faire approach to building compliance and regulation.

Continue reading A Greenslabor’s regulation discussion paper to fix everything

National Capital Authority loses the plot – again

NCA questionable contracts and the future of the National Library Lombardy Pines

The National Capital Authority (NCA) has important national functions to do with stuff about administration, the national plan, the government of the day and the care of national assets.

Continue reading National Capital Authority loses the plot – again

ACT Greenslabor keep Lake Tuggeranong green

A target to clean up Lake Tuggeranong

This being the latter part of summer, families and children should have had loads of fun at the lakeside facilities around Lake Tuggeranong.  Not so – the waters remain off limits due to nasty green blobs floating about and poisonous algae in the water.

Continue reading ACT Greenslabor keep Lake Tuggeranong green

Heritage and the ACT Minister

When in August last year the ACT Heritage Minister, Rebecca Vassarotti, stood aside the members of the ACT Heritage Council, the problems she outlined to justify her actions did not come as a surprise to those in the know about the recent history of this ministerially appointed body.

Continue reading Heritage and the ACT Minister

Barr & Ponton rubbish Jo Clay’s planning recommendations

Things are serious when the senior ACT Government planning bureaucrat uses interviews with selected local media to send a message to local politicians.

Continue reading Barr & Ponton rubbish Jo Clay’s planning recommendations

ACT Greenslabor policy frauds

In the weeks before Christmas, when people were trying to think positive about life, the universe and everything else, the ACT Government and developers rolled out multiple gifts of development applications and planning reform documents for people to read. These gifts were not fun stuff. Continue reading ACT Greenslabor policy frauds

Yet again we ponder a new future for Civic

City Renewal Authority bereft of ideas

Someone in the ACT planning Directorate thought it was a great idea to get their planning minister to launch yet another round of consultations on the future of Civic and the surrounding areas – on the 4th December last year.

Continue reading Yet again we ponder a new future for Civic

What commitments do ACT Federal politicians have to their electorates

When federal elections roll around, locals hear often from those who wish to be the elected federal members of the House of Representatives (3 from the ACT) and the Senate (2 senators).

Continue reading What commitments do ACT Federal politicians have to their electorates

Community resolutions for a sane 2023

Hopefully members of our community groups are not reading planning documents but instead are checking on the tomatoes, spending time with friends, or watching the magpies forage through the neighbourhood.

Continue reading Community resolutions for a sane 2023

Canberra – a city in need of a planning minister

How the bullies get away with stuff

It was shocking to see the style of the official criticisms of Ainslie residents who had objected to the redevelopment of the community site on the corner block next to Bill Pye Park in Ainslie.

Continue reading Canberra – a city in need of a planning minister

Canberra Liberals and ACT Racing

Liberals’ outrage about development options involving ACT Racing

There was almost instant outrage on 1st November when the ACT planning chief and his planning minister released documents on the next stages of the ACT Government’s proposed planning reforms.

Continue reading Canberra Liberals and ACT Racing

ACT govt planners proposes changes to suit ACT govt planners

Self serving ACT Government planners on a crusade

The ACT Government’s planning reform stuff has been rolling along for a couple of years Continue reading ACT govt planners proposes changes to suit ACT govt planners

Muddle-headed ACT Government stuffs up playground

Thursday, October 27 was the day that ACT Deputy Chief Minister Yvette Berry officially opened the grand, designed playground in Coombs. Continue reading Muddle-headed ACT Government stuffs up playground

ACT Government sidelines climate issues

someone else does climate in the ACT

The most obvious stuff up about the release of the November 1 media release on the Planning Reforms is that what is being proposed does not recognise that planning and development are the most basic keys that the ACT government should be using to deal with urban climate issues.

Continue reading ACT Government sidelines climate issues

ACT Government fail on homelessness

With the release of the October 31 “Investment Plan” by Homelessness Minister Rebecca Vassarotti, there was a glimmer of hope that after more than a decade of the Greenslabor government, that someone was serious about homelessness. Continue reading ACT Government fail on homelessness

ACT Greens and ACT Racing

Games and more games

Murky and tricky would be the polite words to describe what happened with the ACT Greens’ motion in the Legislative Assembly to phase out funding for the Canberra Racing Club – $41 million over five years. Continue reading ACT Greens and ACT Racing

Greenslabor de-green the bush capital

Visiting Cedric Bryant’s garden

Unsettling thoughts should not enter your head when you are admiring a beautiful garden. This happened recently.

Continue reading Greenslabor de-green the bush capital

Greenslabor deflect from mess of their own making

Greenslabor gaslight the community – again

I have written before that what ACT government politicians value is reflected in how they spend our money.

Continue reading Greenslabor deflect from mess of their own making

town cramming in the inner north

proposals to cram more into the suburbs

Inner north Canberra community members have been swamped with major development proposals that, according to the planning directorate, need to be commented on in a very short timeframe. The Bureau of Meteorology could not have forecast this inundation of paperwork.

Continue reading town cramming in the inner north

The disconnect between passionate Peter Dombrovskis and the ACT Greens

A Great photograph can bring about a myriad of memories as well as pose more mundane questions such as why political movements fail.

Continue reading The disconnect between passionate Peter Dombrovskis and the ACT Greens

Trust me, I am an ACT Greens

ACT Greens Jo Clay fronts up on planning

There’s an ACT government standing committee on planning, transport and city services, headed up by Greens MLA Jo Clay that has asked the community to make submissions on the current draft planning bill.

Continue reading Trust me, I am an ACT Greens

The National Library trees and sculpture festival

How the NCA keeps getting it wrong!

The National Library of Australia forecourt should be a well-designed open space welcoming people to a key national institution. It is, sort of – but not quite!

Continue reading The National Library trees and sculpture festival

Seven star rating not quite good enough

ACT Minister brags about not much

Rebecca Vassarotti, the ACT Sustainable Building and Construction Minister, announced in late August that state and territory ministers had agreed to a national mandatory seven-star rating for new residential buildings, starting next October.

Continue reading Seven star rating not quite good enough

Making better use of community spaces

Stop sports groups selling off community space

Resident’s groups have become reluctant to respond to ABC Canberra’s call for comment on the development decisions such as those for the Ainslie Group (Ainslie Football Club).

Continue reading Making better use of community spaces

Canberra greens spaces used a land banks

ACT Government and green spaces

When a politician says something such as: “Recreational areas in a suburb create a vital meeting point for the community”, then people should celebrate having such a person in government. Continue reading Canberra greens spaces used a land banks

photography at the National Library of Australia

documentary photography exhibition

Viewfinder: Photography from the 1970s to Now

National Library of Australia exhibition, Friday 16 September 2022 until Monday 13 March 2023    Entry is free, curated by Matthew Jones

a link to the NLA page on the exhibition – click here

a tour of the exhibition click here

What now for the Canberra Olympic Pool?

Greenslabor planning in Canberra is a mess

With the August 30 announcement by the chief minister that the building of a new sports stadium in Civic is not feasible, what followed was the media-generated screams about this backflip – let down – bad decision. Continue reading What now for the Canberra Olympic Pool?

Winning design lost to bigger development plan

The mess that is planning in Canberra

The decline of architectural design solutions and the loss of political will to deliver good urban design in Canberra was clearly illustrated through the presentation to the North Canberra Community Council committee.

Continue reading Winning design lost to bigger development plan

The Greenslabor planning minister really said that?

The mess that is planning in Canberra

Residents had good reasons to be puzzled by the 16th August decision by the ACT Greenslabor Planning Minister to use his precious ‘call-in’ powers to refuse a development at the McKellar shops. The reasons given caused readers to wonder – did he really say that?

Continue reading The Greenslabor planning minister really said that?

Bewildering world of development applications

the mess that is planning in Canberra

Residents shudder when they contemplate how much of their lives has had to be allocated to dealing with development applications that, according to the government’s own rules, should not have been approved.

Continue reading Bewildering world of development applications

Developers blame selfish residents

The lies told too often

Most mainstream media articles about developments in RZ1 residential zones regularly include developers or their loyal followers who will criticise Canberra’s elite NIMBYs. Continue reading Developers blame selfish residents

Housing ACT as the rogue developer

The ACT Greenslabor government regularly makes re-announcements about commitments to sometime soon provide homes that are sustainable. Continue reading Housing ACT as the rogue developer