22 December 2007

24th Dec. 1897

Christmas reading from The Gosford Times, 24th. of December 1897

Gosford baths are still a thing of the future.

Gosford has again demonstrated its lack of energy and enterprise by failing to provide sports of any kind for the holidays. Yet business people wonder why Gosford is deserted on such occasions.

“It never rains but what it pours” is an old adage that has been amply verified by the copious rains of the past week. It is many years since such a wet period was experienced at this time of the year. Truly, the seasons are changing.

The local Swimming Club will hold a carnival in the creek at Narara this (Friday) afternoon. A good programme of events has been issued.

If you are sick and value your life insist on having Clements Tonic, and no substitute or you will be disappointed.

A large number of fishing parties, tourists &c. have visited Woy Woy during the past few weeks, and it is thought that the Christmas holidays will see many more people visiting this popular resort.

We are informed that a cancerous bullock is to be seen straying about not far from Wyong. The animal is said to be in such a frightful plight from the disease in one of its eyes as to be a positive menace to stock in the neighborhood. We rust the police will enquire into the matter.

A wholesome tonic such as Wolf’s Schnapps, to give necessary impetus to vital machinery and to render it healthfully active.


21 December 2007

Town for Sale

Says it all really.
Will they never learn?
Glad to see the photo includes two of Gosford's most aesthetically disastrous past planning developments, the Brian McGowan Bridge and the Blue Tongue Stadium.

05 November 2007

Here's looking at you.

Looking back
Mr Morris, of Ourimbah, sustained a rather heavy loss during the week by the death of his prize cow Lucky, which took first prize in the milking contest at the recent Gosford Show. Death, which occurred after a very short illness, is supposed to be due to the eating of quinces which were growing in the paddock.
Gosford Times: 4th. March, 1898.

Looking forward

This illustration by Grant E. Hamilton ran in the February 16, 1895 issue of Judge magazine and can be found in the book Out of Time by Norman Brosterman. It is a postcard image of what the future would be like in the year 2000

Looking sideways
‘Wombat’ for night.
A man, 63, of Dunedoo, who was visiting his daughter at East Gosford, spent the night in a wombat hole at Rumbalara reserve last week. Police say the man went outside for a cigarette about 9.10pm and wasn’t seen again. A search involving police dogs and Polair eventually found the man at 11am the next day.
Express Advocate: 31st October, 2007.

Lying in a wombat hole or Mr. Morris’ paddock, who is looking at the stars?
(insert image of Gosford in the year 2100)

01 October 2007


Speaking of old pollys at this time of elections, you might recall an earlier post about geriatric parrots at Eric Worrells earlier on the Gosford Times. We are not alone.

A work by Rachel Berwick is worth a visit – you can also hear the birds on her website which is the source of the following text.
In 1799, the German naturalist Alexander Von Humboldt, embarked on a journey through Venezuela to trace the _Orinoco River to its source. During his travels Von Humboldt was said to have acquired a parrot from a Carib Indian tribe which, some days before his arrival, had attacked and eliminated a neighboring tribe, the Maypure’. During the attack, the Carib tribe had taken parrots which the Maypure’ people had kept as pets. Von Humboldt noted that the parrots were speaking words, not in the language of the tribe he was visiting, but in the language of the recently destroyed Maypure’: thus the parrots were the only living ‘speakers’ of the Maypure’ language. They were, in fact the sole conduit through which an entire tribe’s existence could be traced. Von Humboldt phonetically recorded the bird’s vocabulary; these notes constitute the only trace of the lost tribe...
For this installation I trained two Amazon parrots to speak Maypure’. The parrots live within a sculptural aviary and are only seen in shadow through its translucent walls. The birds chatter at will, incorporating the language with a multitude of sounds generated by them and their environment.

There is a full account at Parrot Chronicles.

02 August 2007

Lets face it

The faces of Gosford.
How things change in two months.

From Bad To Worse
(Gosford City Sun, May 17, 2007)

Photo: Phillip Hearne
"Homelessness has escalated from bad to worse" Mr Maher (the Mayor) said.
"..the failure of governments to provide money for housing has led to the homelessness blowout...with low-income earners unable to afford housing locally, the effects on their livelihoods will be brutal.

Mayor: chamber worth every cent of $519,000
(Express Advocate 13 July, 2007)

Photo: Troy Snook
"When I look at it now, we can actually hold events such as the citizenship ceremony with some level of dignity and decorum. It is now much brighter and more befitting of a city the stature of Gosford"

[I am rather sorry I missed the earlier undignified ceremonies conducted without decorum]

09 July 2007

Who're you lookin' at!

Gosford - 8th July, 2007

The curtain opens on a new era for public space in Gosford.

As it is with most cases where CCTV has been installed in Australian cities, the driving force has been the Chamber of Commerce in a quest to revitalise the CBD and enhance retail life. It is also an attempt to counter the results of previous planning decisions which have drained life from the town centre by encouraging Mall development elsewhere. In this regard Gosford finds itself in a predicament similar to many cities around the world.

Like other cities Gosford seems to be trying to compete by becoming more like the shopping Malls (which are becoming more like small cities), albeit outdoor, but with the same range of customer services, franchises and entertainments presented in a neat, controlled, designed, brand-identity ambience. Malls are private space, but now our Councils want to make our public space in the image of the private Mall.

Clearly an occasion for joy and celebration (perhaps Mayor Laurie Maher and Council General Manager Peter Wilson are dreaming of their trip to Japan and Slovenia in August)

Projects of beautification and tidiness are being applied to street-scapes and people alike. Recently in Gosford (16th of June) it was very difficult to find the Book Fair because the Rangers had removed all the signs.

Every night and every day
The awfulisers work away
Awfulising public places,
Favourite things and little graces
Awfulising lovely treasures
Common joys and simple pleasures
Awfulising far and near
The parts of life we held so dear
Democratic, clean and lawful
Awful, awful, awful, awful.
(Michael Leunig. 1997)

I am reminded of a story which told how Roll Royce took an early version of the automatic gearbox developed by a US auto maker and improved it by re-engineering the rough edges to a smooth precise finish, only to find that it no longer worked. They discovered that apparent imperfection, a little abrasion, is necessary. Perhaps the same is true of urban life.

It is interesting to note that a recent court ruling in the US upheld the rights of a group being prosecuted for holding its political protest in a shopping mall, on the grounds that society has reached a point where the ‘private property’ space of a mall is understood as public.

Private security guard surveys the opening crowd.

Now our village greens, our traditionally known public spaces, are becoming privatised and the personally private nature of experience in public space is disappearing.

But do people care? Most people seem to be happy in the thought that CCTV surveillance makes the streets safer. There seems to be little hard evidence that this is the case, so perhaps it is merely the perception that counts. However if you are counting dollars ($320,000), it is reasonable to ask whether resources could not be better allocated to addressing the causes of crime and assisting both the community, and potential offenders, through community policing.

It was announced on Friday that Gosford street cleaners have been trained in "multi-tasking" and are part of the security team.

Research indicates that CCTV surveillance does not in itself reduce crime, but is likely to move it from the town centre to the suburbs, although it can be of use in investigating misdemeanors after the event, but psychopaths and chemically unstable individuals are not likely to be rationally considering apprehension before they act, and calculating criminals will have planned to avoid the cameras.

Who’re you lookin’ at!

All the worlds a stage, and you are “on”. So now is your chance to let the inner exhibitionist out. But consider your appearance and behaviour carefully – you are being scrutinised. Do you know how that funny habit you have, when you think you are alone, will be interpreted? And what do you know about the person who can zoom in on any part of your body without you knowing?
We live in a State of Emergency which, as we know, “justifies” any measures.

How to be not “seen”
Don’t be an attractive female.
Do not deviate from preconceived norms of Gosford appearance and behaviour. Do not wear a hoodie.
Do not be ‘ethnic’, coloured, or make extravagant bodily gestures and/or laugh too loudly.

But lets not be negative. This is your chance to star!

We thought it best to join in the applause.

04 July 2007

Urban Eyeball

The following contribution was received from Sophy Webb. Serendipitous, considering that Gosford's newly installed CCTV surveillance system will be officially launched this Friday afternoon in William Plaza.
The nature of public space in Gosford will have been fundamentally changed.
See you in the Plaza!

From Sophy:

Rain Causes Eyeball Delay

Rain has again delayed the planned installation of 54 Closed Circuit Television Cameras in the Gosford CBD.

The cameras were to be operational by 16 June but torrential rain and strong winds caused the installation to be postponed. After yet another delay, spokesperson for the agency charged with the development and installation of the CCT System, Eyeball on Gosford (EBOG), expressed considerable frustration stating that important information was being lost with each passing day.

When asked to explain the purpose of the EBOG system, the spokesperson animatedly described a system would track and report the habits of Gosford CBD pedestrians “much like the way in which Australian Shoppers’ habits are tracked by Fly Buys.”

He reported that the commissioning of the system was prompted by the report of unusual behaviour in February this year in the Gosford City CBD. Eyewitnesses reported, along with other strange occurrences, a western-style shootout and the disturbing gagging of a young woman in the main street.

He was not able to explain, however, the eventual usefulness of the data, appearing confused at the purpose of the question.

A Central Coast resident and Gosford CBD frequenter discounts the credibility of the system stating, “EBOG are providing paper-thin explanations for the purpose of this system. They have assured the public that these are not security cameras so this leads me to wonder what the use of these cameras are and what the data will be used for.”

EBOG spokesperson has ascertained that the placement of the cameras will not be in high pedestrian areas such as the Railway Station, Cafes, Shopping Complexes, Retail Outlets or Banks and Real Estates, but will be situated in far less populated locations such as Waterfall Arcade.

Burns Park, once a vibrant meeting place for travellers but now mostly deserted, will host three EBOG cameras

“What is the point of that?” asks a Gosford Worker. “If the aim is to monitor and track the habits of the Gosford Pedestrian Public, then the placement is all wrong. Burns Park and in particular the Rotary Fountain, designed and built by the Lewers Family as a Memorial to Peace, has long been ignored and neglected”.

One wonders if the purpose of the system is a futile one?

When pressed for details of the timeframe for the finalisation of the camera placement, the spokesperson replied, “The cameras will be installed in predetermined locations one sunny day soon…”.

20 June 2007

City Limits

If you go down to the woods today…..

Well actually if you go up, to Rumbalara Reserve, you will see that the recent wind almost gave Charles Sturt a big surprise. A large Eucalypt, under which the statue of Charles Sturt sits, crashed down narrowly missing him.

Why he was there in the first place is a bit of a mystery to me, having not noticed in history lessons a connection between the explorer and Gosford.

In fact he was commissioned by SaraLee Kitchens and the State Bicentennial Commission along with Charles Kingsford Smith, Edward Eyre and Matthew Flinders, and sculpted by Joan Relk and Carl Merten.

But he does look a bit lost sitting there with his bronze map and a view of the bushes across the track.
Gosford has not treated him well. Not only does he appear to have had his pocket picked, but his hands have been cut off as well.

Perhaps an overdetermined reading of this vandalism would interpret the practice of mapping and surveying an act of theft; a rendering of wilderness, the “other”, the unalienated world, to property and private ownership. Property is theft, as Marx said, and in some places the punishment for theft is to have the hands cut off.

Mapping and surveying were critical to the appropriation of the land in Australia and to controlling a rapidly expanding society. In 1826 Governor Hunter proclaimed the “limits of location”, the surveyed line defining an area comprising the 19 counties beyond which settlement was not permitted. One story has it that the line passed through the Black Stump Run at that time near Coolah, and hence we have the term “beyond the black stump”. Needless to say no one took much notice and they took to the bush.

The “limit of location” in Gosford is sharply defined where the town and Rumbalara meet. But now Charles Sturt has his own Black Stump to sit beside as he regards the property speculations below in the location of limits.

13 June 2007

What we need is

Last Monday it was so crowded at Erina Fair, and difficult to park, that I went to Gosford.
Parking was no problem, there was little going on at all in the shadows of Gosford Castle for the holiday weekend.

Gosford Castle, Gosford.

Has it always been thus?

“Gosford has again demonstrated its lack of energy and enterprise by failing to provide sports of any kind for the holidays. Yet business people wonder why Gosford is deserted on such occasions.”
(Gosford Times, 24th December, 1897)

Mann Street, Monday,11th June 2007.

Perhaps we should ask, if not sport, what can a town like Gosford offer that cannot be found at Shopping Malls? If we are to resuscitate the town it could be useful to look at what it is that successful cities have that gives them life and a distinct identity.

In every example I can think of it is cultural activities and educational institutions. I.e. reference libraries, museums, contemporary art, music and film centres; an enlivened public domain. Gosford has none of these.

At one time Gosford was at the cutting edge of technology – at least in terms of access to cinema, now there are no cinemas in the town. Movies were shown in Gosford in July 1897.

“On Monday evening last Captain Pierce and Harrison’s Company gave a variety performance in the local School of Arts to a fair audience. A first-class programme was gone through comprising magical and ventriloquial feats by Professors Harrison, Barker and Benson; also a series of living colored pictures reproduced by the wonderful invention styled the cinematographe. The company also performed at Ourimbah and Wyong to fair houses.”
(Gosford Times 7th July, 1897)

No bad considering that the cinematographe was patented by the Lumière brothers in 1895, although other moving picture devices were in existence earlier. In 1892 the young engineer Léon Bouly designed a successful 'Cinématographe'. In 1893 he was granted a patent on an improved version, the 'Cinématographe Bouly'. Bouly couldn't come up with the yearly patent fees, and Antoine Lumière, picked up the expired patent and obtained one on the Cinématographe Lumière in the name of his sons Auguste and Louis.
The first time that projected motion pictures were shown to a paying audience in Australia was on Saturday 22nd August 1896 at the Melbourne Opera House, where Carl Hertz demonstrated his amazing 'Cinematographe' machine (R.W. Paul's Theatrograph) In 1896-97 James MacMahon opened the Salon Cinématographe in Pitt Street, Sydney. A Cinématographe Lumière was used to film the Melbourne Cup in 1896.

Still from Lumière Bros. 1895 movie.

I do not know which films were shown in Gosford, as many had been made by that time, but we were there at the leading edge of art and technology 110 years ago. (Of course the telephone line from Sydney only arrived in Gosford the same year.)

I cannot see how Gosford can revive itself other than by investing in the means to nurture contemporary art, knowledge and technology. "Creative Industries" might be a "buzz word" concept, but it is one in tune with the post-industrial economy of high-speed communications that we inhabit.

03 June 2007

Switching on the light bulb.

When will the light bulb go on?

Gosford Council has been judged the nation’s poorest recycler of effluent. This follows 5 consecutive years of it being recognised as the worst council in NSW, as measured by public complaints.

While local papers are full of pictures of Councilors as champions of the people, and council spin about its achievements, it is assumed that, unlike the rest of nature, Central Coast residents do not need to fully recycle. Such hubris comes at a price.

We are exhorted to change our light bulbs while the World Bank spends millions promoting oil exploration and the carbon market is booming.

But perhaps an example from the past can show how to integrate energy savings while alleviating social need.

From the Gosford Times, 19th November, 1897.
“An experiment of providing boiling water heated by the ordinary street lamps is to be tried in London. A halfpenny dropped in the slot will secure a gallon. Side by side with the same will be placed automatic machines for the delivery of halfpenny and penny packets of tea, coffee, cocoa, sugar and meat extract, enabling people any hour of the night to obtain a stimulating beverage, a chained cup for the purpose being provided.”

Why this measure was not adopted in Gosford might be surmised by a piece in the Times three weeks later.

10th December, 1897.
“No cabs, no lights; what a funny little place Gosford is,” exclaimed a lady visitor who trudged through the mud and darkness from the railway station the other night. This is surely a significant reflection on the town lamp. Which alderman’s turn is it to find the oil?

21 May 2007


Speaking of balloons -

A deflating juxtaposition of images (adjoining pages) in the Gosford City SUN last week.

(Photo credits: Left, Phillip Hearne, Right, Benoit Doppagne)

18 May 2007

A year in the Clouds

The Backpage this week has a post using the balloon as a metaphor to talk about strategies with limited sustainability for boosting art development, and to discuss "drift" and "spectacle"

A more concrete balloon story, is from the Gosford Times, 20th August, 1897.

"A pigeon has been shot by the captain of a sealing vessel in the Arctic Ocean, bearing the message, signed by Herr Andree, the aeronaut, who recently started his balloon for the North Pole. Herr Andree’s message, the date of which was illegible, stated that he had passed 82 degrees north at a good speed, and was still going northward."


16 May 2007

Must be Something in the Water

The nexus between frogs and Coca Cola Amatil is not new, (check the Frog’s Head in in Diet Coke story) It highlights a fundamental conflict between the profit imperatives of a global corporation and local realities; social and ecological. This was most clearly seen in the well-publicised catastrophe in India.

For Gosford residents, the issue is given greater sharpness with the generous arrangements offered to Coca Cola Amatil to take water from the Mangrove Mountain aquifer at this time of water shortage and global warming.
With growing obesity, dental decay in children, etc., perhaps we need to take an inside look at the consequences of consuming beverages of this kind.
Today the Howard government refused the advice from health organizations to restrict TV junk food advertising screened in children’s viewing time. Why do they think these companies advertise if not to increase sales of junk food?
Of course at this time when water trading is being touted as a solution to government over-allocation of water licenses and over-consumption by Gosford and Wyong Councils, the fundamental question of how water became “privatised” is overlooked.

12 May 2007

Return of the Frogs

Sharyn Walker, no doubt inspired by her participation in …the Space Between…, and her voice-over work on the resulting DVD, has sent us the following:

Dear frogs of Gosford:
O no, no. I am not the frog
that goes kurakapony-koo
Nor the one that goes brip-pup,brib-pup,brip-bub.
And I am not the pesky night-time frog
Out side my bedroom window that declares:
drip, drip, drip,
drip, drip, drip,
drip, drip, drip,
drip, drip, drip,
drip, drip, drip...
and forces unwanted attention on the
bathroom faucet -
then stops.
Neither am I the one that makes myself
unavailable, by dangerously hopping
from tree into whiskered jaw
Nor the detestable alien-cousin, marching
Pacific-ly south, laughing
“It’s only my way, you know” and
“O bliss! O poop-poop! O my! O my!”
Never associated with the one who walks along
with Miss M.
O no! I am the wither-wasted frog, lying
on the Somer table, by the spring.
Sipping the last of my coke addiction before I

Image from the Common Well Archive - Gosford Times.

18 April 2007

Local icons.

Prompted by Sharyn’s piece on the Rotary Fountain in Burn’s Place, I did a quick survey of the postcard racks looking for other icons of cultural achievement and historical landmarks.
Alas – nothing!
Plenty of beaches and pelicans though.
I did stumble across (almost literally) the stone entrance to Grahame Park, ignominiously set in the fence at the back of “that” stadium. Perhaps, being at dog level, it celebrates a time when dogs (and people) freely could enjoy that part of the public foreshore, and also provide an amenity for them now.

Gosford Times has already featured Kendall’s Rock and the Reptile Park Dinosaur, and the Back Page this week has a nice image of the old Gosford School of Arts Building, but not much has survived “development”.

Do we have any grand civic structures, historical or aesthetic monuments, or do we need to acquire some. We have looked at William Pye’s Charybdis as an inspiration for a monument to common communal values (the Town Well), and one can’t avoid the example of Anthony Gormley’s Angel of the North in defining a location and region.

Material presence informs awareness. In the past the Cathedral focussed a city on issues beyond the mundane and commercial, and the in-progress Buddhist Great Stupa of Compassion will undoubtedly redefine Bendigo,

Perhaps we should look to examples from elsewhere.

“There is a new trend in monument buildings in the countries of former Yugoslavia. After the wars that aimed to eradicate the multi-cultural character of the former society, now the monuments are built in celebration of that very character to globally recognized imaginary heroes that fight for justice and protect the innocent: Bruce Lee in Mostar (Bosnia), Rocky Balboa in Zitiste (Serbia), Winettou in Plitvice (Croatia), Tarzan in Medja (Serbia) - birthplace
of Jonny Weismueller, and Samantha Fox (before breast-reduction) in Cacak, the capital of Serbian country music. Significantly, the only place where such a monument faces desecration and vandalism is Mostar in Bosnia, also the only place still with multi-ethnic population. Is it so that Balkanians can accept theoretical multi-culturalism only once they practically destroy traces of culture of "others" around them?”
Via Nettime.

A plan to have a monument to Sigmund Freud has been turned down by locals in Prague who want to have a statue of a goat instead.
The monument will be erected in the area of the city known as Goat Square where there have been no goats for hundreds of years. Freud was born in the Czech Republic but lost out to the goats after locals started a protest group called "The Friends of the Goat".
Spokesman Stanislav Penc said: "A Freud monument can be erected anywhere in the Czech Republic, a goat monument only on Goat Square."
Via Ananova, who also provided us with the update below:

“Plans for a statue of former page three girl Samantha Fox in Serbia have been scrapped.
The tribute was ditched after she snubbed fans and then failed to turn up for a ministerial dinner staged in her honour after a concert in Serbia.
The former pin-up said: "The crowd made rude comments about my breasts."
The British singer had stormed off after the gig in the central Serbian town of Cacak after the crowd started singing a chant about wanting to see her breasts.
Local media said the hall she had played in had been only half full and the audience had made it clear they were not there to hear her sing.
Fans had last month said they were planning the statue in Cacak because they thought she was an idol who deserved a proper monument to her talents.
Now the plans have reportedly been scrapped after the backers pulled out following the concert.”

Could this be our opportunity?

08 April 2007

Planning for Expansion

Suburbia Central – Planning for Expansion.

Will people look back on early 21st Century Gosford with bemused wonder at the shape of the inhabitant’s bodies, the way some people now regard the fashions of the 1970s, as something almost alien?

Is the suburban culture of the Central Coast responsible for the fatty somatic inflation? Some recent research finds a link between obesity and urban design. (Please note Gosford City Planners)

Does sprawl make us fat?
A recent Science News story is about the relationship between city design and health. New transdisciplinary research is exploring whether urban sprawl makes us soft, or people who don't like to exercise move to the suburbs, or, more likely, some combination of both. An important factor is a community's so-called network efficiency - its walkability. In an efficient network, such as a grid-like neighborhood, pedestrians can walk relatively directly between any two points. The maze of cul-de-sacs found in many new “developments” is an inefficient network."

From Science News:

(University of British Columbia urban planning professor Lawrence) Frank's team, like the other groups, found that areas with interspersed homes, shops, and offices had fewer obese residents than did homogeneous residential areas whose residents were of a similar age, income, and education. Furthermore, neighborhoods with greater residential density and street plans that facilitate walking from place to place showed below-average rates of obesity.

The magnitude of the effect wasn't trivial: A typical white male living in a compact, mixed-use community weighs about 4.5 kilograms (10 pounds) less than a similar man in a diffuse subdivision containing nothing but homes, Frank and his colleagues reported.

So far, the dozen strong studies that have probed the relationships among the urban environment, people's activity, and obesity have all agreed, says (Reid Ewing of the University of Maryland at College Park's National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education). "Sprawling places have heavier people," he says. "There is evidence of an association between the built environment and obesity."

Does this research shed some light on other aspects of culture? The Back Page comments on how it might be applicable to the state of “Art” locally.

01 April 2007

Burns Place Fountain Scoop

Scoop - From Sharyn Walker.

"I grew up in the Gosford Shire/City. My home, schooling and social life all revolved around Gosford – mainly the ‘Peninsula’ in my primary school-aged life. As an adult and since turning an age where reminiscence and memory rears, I am observing change to places where I spent many childhood hours.

My childhood home is now a car park to a nursing home. This change occurred about three or four years ago. That’s okay, maybe that is where I will spend my twilight years.

The buildings where I attended primary school, St. John the Baptist, Woy Woy, were abandoned and classes moved, in 1979, to more salubrious grounds. This too was okay, as I had also abandoned primary classes to attend high school. Subsequently, the buildings were utilised for community college classes.

About two years ago, I was anguished to observe the felling of two of the school ground’s favoured trees. And later the demolition of the whole school – those classic, old buildings.

Photo taken by “Spike”, editor of http://thisisntsydney.blogspot.com/ a very
interesting read.

As for “Gosford”, I have one Gosford, which exists in my 2007 reality, and another Gosford, which exists, in my nostalgic, indulgent memory.

Which brings me to the Rotary Fountain where the two Gosfords intersect.

Copyright Gosford & District in Pictures

From 1979 to 1982 the Rotary Fountain, Gosford, featured in my life, as a daily meeting place and hangout, just briefly, while awaiting the bus/train to take me to school or home. Teen-hood observation is not much externalised, and if anything, I thought the fountain to be mossy and ugly. It is only in recent years, maybe since the loss of fountain water, and maybe since the removal of the scoop, that I have come to appreciate the artistic value and history of the fountain.

In November, 2006, I asked Gosford Council’s Officer for Parks and Waterways what had become of what I have dubbed "the scoop". Bryce Cameron responded:

'At present Council is consulting with the sculptor & foundries to reproduce the scoop. Initially for approval to go ahead and also for prices. We will then have to apply for funds to undertake the works.'

This job has been delegated to Charlie Trivers, Collection and Exhibitions Officer, Gosford Regional Gallery.

A brief history: In the early 1960s Gosford Rotary commissioned the fountain as a memorial to all who had fought for peace. Sculptor Gerald Lewers was invited to create and install the fountain and his wife, painter Margo Lewers, was invited to design the pool and wall mosaic. Before work on the fountain commenced, Gerald died following a fall from his horse. Margo and their daughter, jeweller and silversmith, Darani, carried on the project to its completion.

When asked what inspired the unusual design Ms Darani Lewers states:

'Gerald made a series of public fountains in the 1950s. A feature of his work was an interest in using water to complete the fountains as sculpture in motion.

The mosaics are an extension of Margo Lewers's painting. Initially she created a series of wall and floor mosaics for the family home. They formed the basis for the commissioned work such as the Rotary Fountain.

Several of Gerald Lewers’s small fountains can be seen
at the Penrith Regional Gallery and Lewers Bequest,
originally the artists’ home, at Emu Plains.

Ms Lewers remembers well the Rotary Fountain and was keenly disappointed to hear of the recent vandalism. Charlie Trivers has contacted Ms Lewers to seek advice on the restoration of the 'scoop'.

She fears that much of society today does not sufficiently value public art and that we are losing our cultural past. 'This fountain is a part of our heritage and we need to draw on the collective memory while it still exists'.

It is promising that Council is taking the restoration of the fountain 'scoop' seriously and that work is under way to seek quotes from a “reputable conservator”. Charlie Trivers wrote in February 2007:

"We have received a quote from a reputable conservator for the fountains repair to the copperwork of the fountain. We also have to consider making the work more vandal proof without detracting from the integrity of the work."

Ms Darani Lewers hopes the work will be undertaken by the original craftpersons, the coppersmiths Wardrobe & Carroll of Alexandria, Sydney.

A more recent email from Mr Trivers states:

“Due to the recent water shortages the council has turned off all fountains in the Gosford area.
With appropriate water use being a huge issue at the moment the fountains priority is not as great as it has been.”

He does assure me, however, that his manager will allocate the funds in the next financial year for the restoration (2007/08).

Although the flow of water does complete the overall sculptural form of the fountain, should the absence of water lessen the priority of the restoration process?

While Gosford Vision 2025 Strategic Plan promotes the future enhancement of performative and visual art in the area, let’s hope that it is not at the expense of our historically important art icons."

Sharyn Walker.

10 February 2007

Frogs spotted.

Arun’s alumni observed in Kibble Park.

These photos sent to the Gosford Times, were taken recently in Kibble Park in the garden bed covering the old Town Wells.
Why the frogs seemed interested in the Coke bottle, and were apparently trying to move it, is unknown. Could there be a relationship to the reference to in-vitro (Coca Cola) reproductive technology or was it simply an example of waste water harvesting? The drying conditions must be placing great stress on the frog population to establish emergency supplies in the face of forecast climate changes.

“In some areas (Mangrove Mountain/Kulnura) the consequences are far from trivial – falling water tables, reduction of groundwater flow to sustain wetlands springs and rivers, irrevocably salinised or polluted groundwater and land subsidence,” (Tom Hatton, CSIRO as reported in Express Advocate 7/2/07)

A quick check in A Field Guide to Frogs, Martyn Robinson, found no Australian species with the colours or markings of the frogs in the photos. A possible explanation is that unnatural reproductive techniques produced mutations that resulted in “Coca Cola“ colouring. The juvenile frogs observed may simply have been regarding the bottle as one of their family, or a possible mate. [in this context see Cornelia Hesse-Honegger's work After Chernobyl re. environmental stress and mutation]