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Preview: Happy Antipodean

Happy Antipodean

A blog by Matthew da Silva since 2006

Updated: 2017-11-23T06:32:05.249+11:00


Homelessness "can happen to anyone"


This is the latest in a series of blogposts about homelessness. For this post, I spoke with Mekonen, who is the CEO of the Station, a drop-in centre at 82 Erskine Street, near Wynyard Station. I had found that people begging on the street in the city often go to the Station for a meal during the day, so I wanted to find out more about it. MdS: Ok, [the voice recorder is] recording. So, I was

Getting to be Virgin Australia's group chief advisor just “a whole string of accidents”


Peter Cai holds a senior position at one of Australia’s largest airlines and I was fortunate to be able to hear him talk about his career at the Urban Land Institute’s Young Leader’s Summit earlier this month. “I started off just like any other diligent, good-natured Asian kid: I did advanced maths, chemistry, physics at high school. My only act of rebellion was I did modern European history on

SMH Live: 2017 Year in Review


Lisa Davies, editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, led discussions in front of the large and demonstrative audience of subscribers – who are mainly older Sydneysiders – at a function centre on the roof of the Star Casino yesterday evening. I had bought a ticket and queued and happened to wander into the auditorium at just the right time. I was standing outside with hundreds of others on the roof

Brutalism eight: Sydney Masonic Centre


This is the eighth post in a series on brutalist architecture in Sydney. The interior shots of the Sydney Masonic Centre were taken during the Sydney Open viewing day that took place earlier this month. Other images were taken, as per usual, from records in the city archives. In a note from the city engineer to the town clerk dated 10 April 1972, it was noted that the grand secretary, United

Designing better workplaces


Last night’s talk was organised by the University of Technology, Sydney’s Information and Knowledge Group as part of the seminar series called Information Innovation @ UTS. The subject was activity-based working and the technologies transforming workplaces. There were three speakers. Angela Ferguson is an interior designer with 20 years’ experience who works at Futurespace. Stuart Munro is a

Who voted 'No'?


By comparing the same-sex marriage postal survey results with Commonwealth electoral districts and the results returned for them for the 2016 Census, we can get an idea of why a number of places - especially in western Sydney - voted 'No'. You can click on the table below to see an enlarged version. I've included all federal electorates that returned a 'No' vote of above 50 percent. We can see

Remembering the October Revolution


Tonight’s guest of the Search Foundation was Bea Campbell who talked about the importance of the 1917 October Revolution in today’s world. Other speakers were Melanie Fernandez, the deputy CEO of the NSW Council of Social Service, David McKnight, associate professor, Journalism and Media Research Centre, UNSW, Winton Higgins, who teaches at the University of Technology, Sydney, and Meredith

Callistemon, Cassiopeia, casuarina


This blogpost serves as a mnemonic - as way to remember - because I've had a specific memory lapse several times over the past couple of years. More than once I haven't been able to remember "casuarina" - the Australian native tree with needle-like leaves that you often find growing next to rivers. I remember reading about casuarinas in a book about Sydney by author Peter Carey: he was

The palace was an active player in Whitlam’s 1975 dismissal


Professor Jenny Hocking’s book is in its third edition but there are other documents that she wants to look at that are not open to view, and there is a pro bono Federal Court of Australia case being mounted by Tom Brennan and Corrs Chambers Westgarth in Sydney to test the Archives Act so that the so-called “palace letters” can be released. A Chuffed campaign has been launched to raise funds for

Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation dinner, Wayside Chapel, Potts Point


The dinner took place last night. As well as supporters for change from the broader community, there were a number of notables in the crowd, including Canadian Senator Larry Campbell, Adam Searle, the Leader of the Opposition in the NSW Legislative Council, Peter Baume who was a NSW Liberal senator, John Nicholson who used to be a judge and who now helps run Rainbow Lodge, a service for people

Launch of Housing Supply Association


The NSW planning and environment minister, Anthony Roberts, launched the Housing Supply Association on 26 July 2017 in Pyrmont. This is part of what he told the room. Note how he creates a matrix of narratives that interweaves the most pressing reality of housing - that it is prohibitively expensive for many people - with other issues, such as regulation and demographics. It's a bit of a dance:

Rowe Street, Sydney CBD


When I visited the Reserve Bank of Australia on Sunday as part of the Sydney Open event (the city opens up buildings to the public each year) the building's curator, John Murphy, mentioned Rowe Street where the MLC Centre is now located, which he said used to be a Bohemian centre for the metropolis. So I asked the city archives if they had any information on the street and they sent me a small

Views from the top of the AMP Building


Yesterday I wrote about the Reserve Bank of Australia building, which was completed in 1965 to house the new organisation. But I also visited the AMP Building at Circular Quay in the afternoon and went up to the observation deck at the top of the building. The 1962 building is on the state heritage list (it was Sydney's first skyscraper), and has to be conserved, but the even larger 1976

A tour of the Reserve Bank of Australia


“Planned for progress,” boasts the PR video made for the launch of the Reserve Bank of Australia building, at 65 Martin Place. The building was designed by the government architect through the NSW Department of Public Works. To develop their ideas for the building, the architects visited New York where they saw the Seagram Building, designed by Mies van der Rohe, and which incorporated ideas

A registered Republican who thinks trade unions are good


This talk by American investigative journalist David Cay Johnston was compered by Australian investigative journalist Michael West, who is an associate professor at the University of Sydney. The talk was part of the Sydney Ideas series. Before the talk started West introduced the Dark Money project that is being conducted by the Sydney Democracy Network, which is examining corporatocracy. West

Brutalism seven: St Andrew's House


This is the seventh in a series of blogposts about brutalist buildings in Sydney. In 1972, the Church of England’s Sydney Diocese asked architects Noel Bell Ridley Smith based in North Sydney to design a new school and office building on land behind St Andrew’s Cathedral in the heart of the city. Its Glebe Administration Board and structural engineers Miller, Milson and Ferris, consulting

Wentworth Park rough sleepers get housing


Earlier this month I reported that the rough sleepers in Wentworth Park, Ultimo, had been moved on from where they had their tents set up under the railway viaduct's arches. I contacted the City of Sydney Council and they said that the NSW Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) had conducted some outreach for the residents in the park. I contacted the department and they told me:

By tolerating homeleessness "we're shutting down our own humanity"


This is the latest in a series of blogposts about homelessness. This time, I spoke with Sam Tsemberis on the phone from New York, where he started a successful program in 1992 called 'Housing First'. He added to the interview with a few edits by email as well. MdS: So I’ve been writing about homelessness on my blog for a couple of months now and I came across the Housing First initiative which

Fixing homelessness: "Do it once and do it right"


As part of a series of blogposts on homelessness, I spoke with Digby Hughes of Homelessness NSW, the peak body for the sector in the state. This interview is the result of that conversation. MdS: So, [the voice recorder is] recording. So, I was looking into homelessness a little bit and I found the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) pages about homelessness. They go back to about 2001 …

Manufacturing the Future: Cultures of Production for the Anthropocene


The evening’s lecture was the 10th annual Ted Wheelwright Lecture and it was by Professor Katherine Gibson from Western Sydney University. Gibson is the first Australian to give the Wheelwright Lecture. Dr Elizabeth Hill, head of the Department of Political Economy at the University of Sydney, was compere for the evening, and Annamarie Jagose, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at

Is globalisation the opposite of nationalism?


The talk last night was part of the Sydney Ideas series, and was on the topic of globalisation. The compere for the evening was Professor Glenda Sluga from the Department of History at the University of Sydney. She is an international historian. First up with a bunch of slides – which form the bulk of this blogpost – was Professor John Romalis of the Department of Economics at the university. He

Brutalism six: 1 Oxford Street


This is the sixth in a series of blogposts about brutalist architecture in Sydney. A letter to the city building surveyor dated 8 December 1969 from architects Hanson, Todd & Partners of 225 Miller Street, North Sydney, accompanies a development application (DA) for an international hotel to be built at the corner of Oxford Street and Wentworth Avenue for client Hooker Projects Pty Ltd. There

The migrants who helped make Modernism in Sydney


Today’s talk was titled ‘Making Australian Modernism: Architecture’ and it tied in with an exhibition currently on at the Sydney Museum in Bridge Street. Glenn Harper was the compere for the afternoon, which started at 2pm and went through including a period of time for questions until around 4pm.  The speakers were Tone Wheeler, Peter Lonergan (both practicing architects) and Catherine Lassen,

The Hills Shire transitional housing plan to go ahead


About six weeks ago I wrote a blogpost about a new social housing project initiated by The Hills Shire Council. Under the plan, developers in the area would be allowed to increase the yield on their developments if they agreed to provide the council with apartments in them for a period of 10 years rent-free. The council would allow social housing providers to manage the apartments during that

Book review: October, China Mieville (2017)


This year - in fact this month - marks the centenary of the October Revolution. In Wikipedia: It followed and capitalized on the February Revolution of the same year, which overthrew the Tsarist autocracy and resulted in a provisional government after a transfer of power proclaimed by Grand Duke Michael, brother of Tsar Nicolas II, who declined to take power after the Tsar stepped down. The