New England, Australia

Monday, October 06, 2014

New England artist Anna Henderson wins the Norvill prize

On 24 September in Musings on a visit to Armidale – art and all that stuff. I featured in part Anna Henderson Drover's Ridge Novill 2014 Art prizethe art of Anna Henderson that was on display at the New England Regional Art Museum.  

You can understand then why I was pleased to learn that Anna had won the 2014 $15,000 Norvill Art Prize held in Murrurundi, in New England’s  Upper Hunter.This is a shot of her in front of her painting "Drover's Ridge".

I see that Murrundi now bills itself as the "artistic village". I don’t have a problem with that. It’s part of the process of change that has seen the rise of other centres such as Bellingen or Byron Bay. That said, I would like to see more differentiation, more focus on the differences between, New England centres.

I was excited to see Anna’s paintings in part because of their apparent locale. They form part of the evolving tapestry that marks the emergence of a differentiated art. Few if any artists would see themselves in that way, After all, the New England that I write about does not exist in any formal sense. But, standing back, I can see it.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Scotland and the fight for New England self-government

On Thursday 18 September, Scotland will vote on independence. This wikipedia article provides a good introduction. 1000px-Flag_of_Scotland.svg

I have mixed feelings on the vote. I am not sure that full independence is in Scotland’s best interests. However, two things are important from a New England self-government perspective.

The first is that Scotland has  already achieved the thing that we have been fighting for, self government within  Australia. They did so despite continued opposition from Westminster and the established elites.

The second is that the vote on independence is treated as the self-evident right of the Scots to make their own decisions.

We New Englanders are entitled to no less. If we take control, we will certainly make mistakes, but they will be our mistakes. We will have only ourselves to blame.

Surely it is not too much to ask to give us another vote? Are we to be treated as less than the Scots? After all, it is our right too.  

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Two Newcastle MPs go, is the Mayor next?

Andrew Cornwell

The ICAC (Independent Commission against Corruption) Inquiry has now claimed the resignations of two Liberal Party MPs, Charlestown MP Andrew Cornwell (photo right) and Newcastle MP Tim Owen.

I haven’t commented to this point, but its really quite amazing, Having broken back into the traditionally Labor dominated Newcastle and the Lower Hunter, the Liberal Party has effectively imploded on the techniques used to gain election.

This piece from the Newcastle Herald provides a reasonably good introduction to the issues. Its hard to see how Newcastle Lord Mayor Jeff McCloy can possibly survive all this given his role in the whole affair. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The final Newcastle wool sale

wool industry reps, final Newcastle sale

This photo shows wool industry representatives gathered for the final Newcastle wool sale in February 2013.

In my History Revisited column in the Armidale Express I looked at the history of wool sales in Newcastle. The posts are:

The sale marked the end of an era. Wool selling began at Newcastle because Northern growers demanded it and fought for it. It stopped in the end because the combination of technology with the decline of wool and wool growing made it unviable.

Still, sad,

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Visions of New England – Raleigh Rumblings

There are hundreds of small halls scattered across New England. They are neither pretty nor pretentious, but they form one core of local life.

Raleigh is a small settlement near Urunga, not far from Bellingen, in the Bellinger Valley. All sorts of functions are held there, including the Raleigh Rumblings. This is one clip. Comments follow the clip.

i have been in so many of those halls over the years. The acoustics are often dreadful. Sometimes they can be bloody cold, but they help bind the community together.

As I research more into the history of New England, I find that that’s one of the things that really counts.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Can we have a New England civil aviation development plan? Please?

The NSW Legislative Council’s State Development Committee is presently conducting an inquiry into Sunderland Flying Boats Clarence River regional aviation services in NSW. The Inquiry was established on 13 December 2013 following receipt of terms of reference from Andrew Stoner, Deputy Premier and National Party Leader.

Just for something different, the photo shows Sunderland flying boats on the Clarence River when they were conducting a service from Grafton to Sydney.

You will find the entry page for the Committee here including terms of reference, submissions and transcripts of evidence.

  It’s all remarkably difficult. As the economics of flying shifts, fewer and fewer New England towns have access to air travel. Those that do, have to pay high prices. It affects every aspect of daily life and severely disadvantages tourism.

While there is no easy solution, if we had our own Government then we might have a chance of preparing a development plan. We could think of Newcastle and Coffs as international ports. We could look at limited selective subsidisation of services such as Tamworth or Armidale to Brisbane just to build base traffic. We could use our tourism promotion to build our traffic rather than being simply submerged in NSW.

It is unrealistic to think that we can have the services we once had, but we could do better if we didn’t have to accommodate all those NSW interests.    

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Introducing my Visions of New England series

I make no apologies for being one eyed about the things that I care about. Sometimes there is a negative element in this, such as when I attack what I perceive to be the evils of modern management or the rise of what I see as harshness, censoriousness or blind cruelty in modern Australian life.

Sometimes I just want to tell a story, to share things that I care about.

I have had various goes at this. I start, stop, and then go on. I am human. I get distracted by the now. I find it difficult to maintain focus. I start projects and then stop. Despite the failures and inconsistencies, there is a coherence, a focus, in the things that I write about.

Accepting my failures and inconsistencies, I have decided to start a new series called Visions of New England to try to integrate some of my material. This first video clip is an example. It features my old home town and the immediate surrounding areas. Further comments follow the clip. 

Armidale is a very pretty place. It is also a lucky place because of past efforts that have created the many things that Armidale people take for granted today.

To integrate the series. Visions of New England is the top sort. Then I will drop down to local areas such as Visions of New England Armidale or Newcastle or subject areas such as wool.

New England has become much diminished. Just at present, I live in Sydney. The things and places that I love have declined in recognition and importance. It would be nice to think that I could restore them to some degree. I will need help. I want visual material in particular. So let’s see how we go.  

Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday, May 23, 2014

St John’s College Armidale & then Morpeth

Very few people know that St John’s Theological College in Armidale was, in fact, the first tertiary institution in the North. St John’s acted as a trigger for a post on my personal blog: Populating a landscape – writers and writing. This History Revisited post, History revisited – college a capital idea, tells a little of the early story.