Friday, May 20, 2011

Round the New England blogging traps 23 - Gordon Smith's Armidale

Each time I do a New England blog round-up I try to do something new. This time I have selected one blog, Gordon Smith's lookANDsee, one place Armidale, the place I grew up in.

This education city, the capital in waiting of New England, is truly one of the most beautiful places in Australia. Let me share a little of its beauty with you through Gordon's photos.

The following shot looks north down Marsh Street. Our family home was in this street further up the hill to the south. The street didn't always have this many trees. In the 1950s, the local beautification committee under Alwyn Jones started a tree planting program whose benefits continue to this day.


This next photo shows Birida, built in 1907. It is on the first corner to the left down Marsh Street from the start of the previous photo. When I was a kid, this was part of the Presbyterian Ladies College. Aunt Kay taught here. When she was looking after us, brother David and I would line up at the back of this building with the boarders for a bread and jam afternoon tea. 20090515-11-26-25-around-armidale--streets-and-architecture

This shot shows Faulkner Street, the next street to Marsh Street on the west,  looking north towards the CBD. On the right is the spire of the Presbyterian Church. On the left is Central Park. This is Armidale church territory, with the main cathedrals and churches gathered together. Armidale became a formal city very early because it was the headquarters of two bishoprics.  

This photo shows one of the churches in the precinct, the Anglican Cathedral designed by architect John Horbury Hunt. While we normally went to the Methodist Church, I have many memories of this building. This includes a performance of T S Elliot's Murder in the Cathedral made memorable in part because of the setting.  St Peter's Gordon Smith

West Armidale was working class Armidale. This is the area towards the Armidale Railway Station where there were smaller working class cottages. The bigger houses were all on South and North Hill, especially South Hill, overlooking the city. The distinction is less clear cut today. This photo shows Brown Street on the western side. Gordon Smith, Brown Street, Armidale.

This next photo shows the Countrylink train heading south on a winter morning. When I was a young kid, this was still the Great Northern Railway. Apart from the day train, there were the Glen Innes and Brisbane Mails, as well as numerous goods trains. At the end of term, the school trains went north and south loaded with boarders returning home.

In the ineffable wisdom of the Sydney Government, the line north of Armidale was closed, rendering re-establishment very difficult. Queensland kept its side of the line open for tourist trains, now meeting a growing demand.       20100705-08-50-55-railway--countrylink

Armidale has a variety of building styles. This view from West Armidale up towards South Hill shows three styles.

The weatherboard house in front is, I think, Federation style. This is not an especially posh house, they were further east, but is pretty typical of the older style. Lurking in the trees on the mid right is JoeHannasburg, one of the first blocks of flats built in Armidale in the 1960s as the University began to expand rapidly. Then at the top of the picture the scene is dominated by the old Armidale Teachers' College.

Construction here began the late 1920s. This was the first ever major educational institution established outside an Australian capital city and was intended to form part of the infrastructure for a Northern or New England state. It is now part of the University of New England following a Federal Government enforced merger between UNE and the Armidale College of Advanced Education.

Armidale was considered to be too small to have two tertiary institutions, something that's actually a bit odd considering that neither drew the majority of students from Armidale and both served different markets.        20090515-11-08-00-around-armidale--streets-and-architecture

The main street of Armidale includes a number of grand buildings from past eras. This one was the Rural Bank building. By contrast, the new shopping centres are simply non descript modern. 20090515-11-50-40-around-armidale--streets-and-architecture

This last photo just shows another view of a different part of the city.20050409-013-lookingIntoTown 

I hope that you enjoyed the show.


Le Loup said...

Excellent images. With climate change making the North wetter, and the South dryer, I would think that more people may be moving to this area.

Greg said...

I doubt that "climate change" will drive Armidale's growth. It is a frigid place in winter.

Armidale definitely is charming. Having been there recently I am a fan.

Jim Belshaw said...

Gordon Smith is a wonderful photographer, LL.

Tsk, Tsk, Greg. Bracing!

Looking at the Armidale photos brought me back to an old theme, just how badly we sell ourselves. I know that I am biased, but as I worked through the photos - there were others but not Gordon's that I excluded since I was focusing on Gordon - I kept shaking myself.

It's not just Armidale of course.