Friday, November 30, 2007


Returning to music, Civic Park heard the beat of the drums, several months ago.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


St Dominic's Centre for Hearing Impaired Children is a far cry from the first institution pictured in yesterdays post. It offers an auditory-oral education through specialist teaching and promotes gradual integration into a regular school. Therapy is collaborative with professional staff. Does sign language have any role there?
The purpose-built school was designed to keep out noise and has excellent listening conditions and is advantageous for children who are using amplified residual hearing or cochlear implants to develop listening and spoken language. Intervention starts early from birth onwards. The fees, for one child are around a thousand dollars per year. (Information booklet)

The Cochlear or bionic ear is a highly innovative and excellent means of assisting the profoundly deaf from birth onwards. The device is surgically implanted.
The cochlear is successful all around the globe and the production company is doing very well and had its origins in Melbourne.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


This nursing home was originally a school for the deaf.
It began when a Dominican nun took up the challenge when a school for the hearing impaired opened at Star of The Sea on The Hill. In time a move was made to this new school established at Waratah in 1888 for children far and wide. I know a family who moved to Newcastle so their daughter could enrole. ( I read that thirty five young nuns volunteered to come here as teachers from Ireland knowing they would never return home ....'a foreign land neath an alien sky among an unknown people...' The first arrived in 1867 and recorded a fascinating and free spirited description of a horrendous journey of 81 days on the high seas in a sailing ship. A good read? (ref Dominican archives web site)

Another move. The 'quake in 1989 took its toll on the building and because of great changes in teaching methods and advances in technology this school closed in 1993 to relocate to Mayfield.

Sign languages grow and develope like any other language and have dialects.

The local Auslan sign language has been called a dialect of British Sign Language and is influenced by Irish SL (Auslan Org).
The Dominican schools could be said to have used the Irish based signs (one handed alphabet) and true to form, the rest used the British based two handed form which has become dominant.
Two major north and south sign language dialects mark a person's state of origin. Nowdays efforts are made to standardise usage, add new signs for new needs and there are those for and against borrowings from other sign languages such as, from American S L.
The posts earlier this week show the front door and the fence around this property.
School for the Deaf, Waratah, before
additions made around 1912.

Image from

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007


The Palais Royale dance hall, 'the Pallay'', is slipping away and is drawing out fading memories from the townsfolk about the hey days (or nights) of dancing.
As well as dancing, large swinging screenlike fans hung from the ceiling and were kept in motion to 'cool it' in punkah wallah style.
Palais Royale in Paris can be seen on GMG's Blogtrotter: Monday 19 November 2007.


Even the powerful eventually become memorabilia

Friday, November 23, 2007


Budawang Building, Canberra, ACT, for 'high' entertainment whether its Federal election night or the National Folk Festival.

Budawang is the National Tally room, (the name is in the second image), and in 24 hours time, it will be filled to overflowing with journalists, political figures and analysists when the election polls close. Who will win our cliff-hanger federal election?

During the National Folk Festival the hall is one of a round of entertainment venues, not only that, it is sponsored by a union! (CFMEU) The Union Concert is very popular. It is said the union is with the ethics that drive the folk tradition: sharing, a sense of community and social equality, honouring good traditions and mentoring and nurturing the younger generation. Sounds OK.

The election night tradition may soon give way to a virtual tally room and internet version according to the AEC.


After this, a construction site, nearby, will be shielded from instant immolation. Are his workmates on smoko - as it was called?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Just an old brick fence in Waratah but it is unique in this town. It surrounds an/a historical building which has lost some of its integrity over the years and has given up much of its garden to development and some features have been removed by the former occupants.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


As is the case in other countries we are not allowed to nurse a baby or a child in a car whilst on the road and all passengers, of all ages, must be restrained (by seat belts).
From cradle to grave there is road safety and there are fines. Some traffic offences attract demerit points as well as a fine and the licence is lost when the points reach a limit over a 3 year period, broadly speaking.

To use a mobile phone is illegal whilst it is hand held. Over time, will we all improve our capabilities so as to use a mobile at the same time as driving like some manage to do? Or will we all run out of fuel before then?

Monday, November 19, 2007


Dry composting waterless toilet in a large outdoor version. Others are for indoor use. Today is World Toilet Day and this link is to the organization which aims to raise issues concerning better, clean and hygenic facilities and the extension of sustainable sanitation to billions more people. Another blogger, Jakartass, raises issues such as this in his discussions and rants from Indonesia.
A National Public Toilet Map and a trip planner can be found at this government link.
Kenny is a funny portaloo movie. Warning: it may contain Australian 'humour'.
Disposable Nappies for Babies. Now, 90% of Australian parents are using 800 million disposables per year which end up as 145.000 cubic metres of landfill and we only have a small population. What happens elsewhere?
And consider vast numbers in other places who use next to no nappies at all.
Somehow, it is estimated, a disposable nappy, can take as long as 500 years to decompose in landfill, according to Renew Magazine and their web site is linked here.
A small trial group decided that cloth nappies are a viable and good option during the day and other discussion is in the Issue 101 of Renew Magazine.


Saturday, November 17, 2007


Potential shelters waiting for market day and bigger and better times.
City markets were planned but were unsuccessful. In the short term, the developers had no commonsense at all. Out of town consultants? No local knowledge? But the council was a player! Perhaps, it takes a large population and a critical mass to support some ventures.
We have seen this before in the city. Ideas are developed as a tax dodge or whatever - "we tried hard and failed" type of thing. Several restaurants are up to something as well.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


An early photo as crowds gathered in World Heritage Kakadu in remote northern Australia in a national and international campaign to stop the development of a giant uranium mine and to hear the local Mirarr people. It was a moving experience. The government was unmoved...
Peter Garrett was there. Now as an MP, he continues to be into environmental issues. He was the band Midnight Oil.
  • It is election time. We have compulsory voting for Citizens (and some British subjects) and the system of secret ballot or Australian Ballot was a first, when it was implemented here in 1856. Preferential voting is relatively exclusive to our system and there is no first-pass-the-post voting done. Proportional voting applies to the Senate.
  • Women were given the vote, as well as allowed to be candidates for parliament, in 1894, as a first, in the state of SA and it took twenty years to reach all the states. (New Zealand adopted voting rights for women in 1893)
  • In 1962 all Aboriginal people became entitled to vote.


Fibre-optic technology reaches some addresses and is expanding.

An election promise is for high speed broadband connectivity over the entire continent. That will sure take some doing but here's hoping!


Mast 2004 Artist Daniel Tobin. Regeneration.
......a response to change....The mast itself refers to the ships of the past eras while the branches and leaves are suggestive of growth and change...the water represents the constant in the ever changing city

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Teachers and art students. The romance of sketching? Newcastle High students in the main street at the daggy end of town.

Craft a sustainable future


The federal election is on the weekend after next, the 24th of November!
When some of us say next weekend we mean the weekend that is immediately coming up. I would think that's what Australians used to say and mean.

Others use
this weekend instead and all of us know that option as well. But some of us never refer to a distant time as next weekend or next Thursday etc. I will have to watch this.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Dora On safari. A village school away in Indonesia. See Dora video here!

The privatisation of our school education is going right ahead and the state schools often feel the consequences. Fashions in education change and all with the government's blessing.


House design. Yes, the suburb of Mayfield is at the cutting edge. Deconstruction is in.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Unity in Defiance.
The flag of the Eureka Stockade uprising of 1854. The legendry uprising played out on the goldfields in Victoria.
The flag is believed to be designed by a Canadian miner.
It is adopted by anti-authoritarian groups and others. Bikies have been known to use it.

We have never seen a political coup or revolution or civil war around here although the Whitlam government was dismissed on a November 11 and we almost have a 'dictatorship'.
The worst warfare occured/s against the Aborigines.

BMW, trying to look 'endro', beside the Wollombi Pub. Incidentally the pub was half under water in the June flood. Below: Yamaha and a Honda.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


A community happening. It is disappointing how one of the contenders in the coming election never fails to state that the economy is his priority.


This scene is new to me as a visitor to that area. This image is promoting multiculturalism.

Small children need some quiet time to discover the simpler side of life; to experience some of what patience asks of them.
Certain childhood pastimes, such as motorbike riding, equate with instant thrills and are something of an overkill, both literally and figuratively, and could even drown out that spirit of wonder that I've heard about.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007



Melbourne Cup Parties
, hats and fascinators, Cup sweeps and betting yesterday.
Many different circumstances in the past come to my mind in which the Cup was the focus. Imagine Aussie gatherings all round the world for the race and to touch home base again.
Amazingly, at Newcastle racecourse, camel races took the place of horse races due to equine influenza.
The sign, Coke Oven, above the poker machines is playing with the imagery of this post-industrial suburb.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Monday, November 05, 2007


Another bizarre yet interesting local. Kangaroo Paw, genus Anigozanthos in eleven species, occurs naturally only in Western Australia but is possibly grown far and wide.


Christmas lights are being installed on KMart in Waratah and, in the style of Australian Naive artists, is our national coat of arms. (link to art works in this curious naive style) A patriotic and bizarre combination of heraldry with 'roo, emu, white cockatoo and possibly a black cockatoo or brush turkey is displayed. The red flower is a Waratah, the floral emblem for this state and is set in a Christmas wreath.
In the official coat of arms the 'roo and emu are indigenous and there is a belief that neither animal can walk backwards and have come to represent progress. King Edward VII granted use of a coat of arms to the Commonwealth and King George V an updated version. (Even Heraldry in Britain dates back to the French Plantagenet Kings)