Sunday, October 30, 2005

Garrison Church: sketch by Peter Neilson

The Garrison Church: sketch by Peter Neilson on the 150th anniversary of the eight hour day in Sydney

see also

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Mona Brand: Playwright turns 90

She may not be a household name here, but Brand is a significant figure in Australian arts history, a pioneer of theatre who was unafraid to lace her stories with radical ideas.

Brand turns 90 today and to celebrate, NIDA and Newtown's New Theatre are hosting a birthday celebration tomorrow night, where her colleagues and friends will offer tributes, and excerpts of her work will be performed.

"I must admit that I do most of my thinking sitting down and either knitting or darning socks. Although darning socks has gone out of style, hasn't it?"

She never set out to change people's minds, but doesn't hide her pride at the thought that she may have done so anyway.

"I think I was just dealing with people and their situations and their problems. I was reading one of my plays for the first time the other day, all about the situation in Malaya," she says, pulling out a copy of her 1950 play Strangers in the Land. It follows a young white woman who travels to British-controlled Malaya and is shocked by her host family's treatment of the locals.

"I haven't heard about Malaya in recent times but I do know they don't have British there any more, owning everything. So when I read it again, I thought, well, I'm glad I did that."

But her main objective, says Brand, was to entertain. "I didn't want to push ideas down people's throats but of course I suppose it worked that way. But the most pleasant feeling was to be sitting in the audience hearing laughter from time to time," she says.

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see also Happy Birthday Mona Brand!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Monday, October 10, 2005

Katoomba: Seville oranges

We discovered Seville oranges at the green grocers last week (they only appear for about one month each year) so we just had to buy some. Seville oranges means marmalade and 2 Kg makes 11 jars

... one jar down ... tastes good! Our recipe was from the 1940s but very similar to this one from The Independent

Friday, October 07, 2005

Katoomba: cherry blossom time

.... past the school

.... down the lane

.... and this is Sydney but still spring!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Sydney: traces of past union activity

The Rocks area was earmarked for "development" (bulldozing) back in the 1970s. The members of the NSW Builders Labourers Federation placed a Green Ban on the area which is why it's so refreshing to walk through today!

Up the road close to Observatory Hill is the Garrison Church, much used for weddings. 150 years ago the stonemasons working on the church downed tools and won an eight hour day, eight hours for work, eight hours for rest, and eight hours for themselves.

No plaque commemorates this historic event, however the fact that this weekend is a long weekend (Labour Day ... formerly Eight Hour Day) is a fitting tribute.