A VISUAL LIFE | Creative Direction + Design

Tag: historic

STREETSCAPES // callan park

The changing of seasons from autumn into winter has made it perfect to go for walks on the weekend. Callan Park is a vast parkland covering 61 hectares across Rozelle, Lilyfield and down to Iron Cove. This gorgeous heritage-listed site has beautiful landscaped gardens you can wander through, complemented by city and harbour views.

Originally built in 1885 as Rozelle Psychiatric Hospital, it closed in 2008. There are countless historic sandstone buildings, some that are still being used but many of them are abandoned and derelict. It has faced demolition because of the decay, but locals and a volunteer group are fighting to protect it. There have been proposals to include more recreational facilities to add to the sporting grounds and picnic areas.

This idyllic spot is a great place to exercise, catch up with friends or take a guided tour. Events and exhibitions are frequently held to not only bring the community together but to also let the public enjoy this special place.

TYPE-RIGHTER // state library

Visiting the State Library of New South Wales is always an enjoyable experience and the Mitchell Vestibule quote engraved in the sandstone foyer is a perfect example of classic type that resonates. It hints at the treasures nestled inside the oldest library in Australia that was established in 1826. There is an extensive range of heritage-listed special collections and references, plus my love for reading makes the library a nostalgic haven. Beautiful vintage books are on display with stunning cover designs and elaborate illustrations, providing much inspiration for artists, designers and typographers.

There are multiple exhibitions at any given time on interesting subjects and they are open to the public for free. Sydney Elders by Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi artist Jonathan Jones, tells the stories of four Aboriginal elders (Uncle Chicka, Aunty Esme, Aunty Sandra, Uncle Dennis) with personal accounts of growing up in Sydney, their ancestors, as well as their contribution and legacy in our city. Another exhibit that was impressive and well curated was Dead Central. Taking you back to 19th century Sydney when there was a vast cemetery that opened in 1820, exactly where Central Station now stands. I never knew that a major burial ground with over 30,000 bodies was cleared in 1901 to make way for the station, and I don’t think many other Sydneysiders know this about the historic site. To begin with there is the clever use of type printed on black tape in two lines like a train track running along the hallway leading to the entrance. All the signage, backdrops, photography and displays are beautifully designed and complement the audio recordings and video reels perfectly.

INSTA-JAM // farewell 2019

           

Not only is it the end of 2019 but we are also closing off the decade and saying farewell to the 2010s. For many of us it has been a big year with changes, decisions and some turmoil. This uneasy environment has been playing out on the world stage, especially in politics and climate change issues. We still have to focus on the beauty of life and here are the monthly highlights from my Instagram that I hope will reflect some positive vibes. In Australia it’s very tough at the moment with the summer heatwave creating a bushfire crisis. Growing up beside a national park and experiencing this many times first hand, I know what a tough and stressful situation it is to live through. My thoughts go out to all the people affected and in particular the brave firefighters defending homes and protecting lives. I’m using my Christmas wishes for the fires to end soon, bring plenty of rain, safe holidays for everyone and a better start to 2020.

DEAR DIARY // christmas magic

It is less than a month until Christmas and this time of year can trigger panic and dread for many people. So much more gets crammed into our schedules with parties and catch-ups, let alone trying to buy gifts as well. It’s nice to step back and look through the eyes of a child and take in the wonder that we once had for the festive season. Walking through the crowds shopping in the Queen Victoria Building was a more enjoyable experience when I stopped to take in the QVB Swarovski Christmas tree.

Every year the Sydney icon is assembled by over 100 people to become the city’s tallest tree in the historic and beautifully grand shopping precinct. Standing under the stunning stained glass dome, it towers to the 3 floor span at a height of 24 metres. Topped with a gilded star and decorated with over 100,000 ornaments and 65,000 twinkling lights, it is a magical sight. Swarovski crystals adorn the tree and have been encased in a glass stand at the base with multiple curtains of beaded garland strands like icicles. Mirrored prisms above it reflect the light creating a mesmerising spectacle when you stand underneath. Maybe those mirrors were magic and have given me a fresh ‘crystal clear’ outlook?

HOUSE CALL // harry seidler, vaucluse waters

Soaring above the rugged coastline on the Diamond Bay cliff walk and balancing on the edge, is the 1960’s apartment block Vaucluse Waters. True to the modernist era, it is constructed predominantly of concrete and glass. It stands out in the area due to its vast height compared to the surrounding buildings as well as the prime position on the coast. Designed by renowned architect Harry Seidler, it is possibly one of his less famous projects in comparison to many other landmarks around Sydney.

In typical Seidler fashion, the style is very linear and angular with windows taking advantage of the vista. In old photos it seems there may have been balconies when it was first built, which have been closed in at some stage. The sweeping ocean views are breathtaking but have also subjected the apartments to the harsh weather elements. Unfortunately it is damaged and in need of major repairs, but hopefully the upgrades will be undertaken with respect to the original design. Many of these gems are constantly at risk, either lost completely in demolition or being redeveloped so much that the true architectural character disappears.

WEEKEND WRAP // watsons wonderland

The weather this winter has been so mild and idyllic, with plenty of sun and clear blue skies. I enjoyed a quintessential Sydney weekend visiting my local haunts in the east and exploring the outdoors.

Saturday started with friends popping over to my house and after hanging out for a while we were then off to Bondi for afternoon drinks at the pub followed by dinner nearby. Sunday was spent at Watsons Bay, walking around South Head taking in the sights of the harbour and city skyline. We ventured around the clifftops with stunning ocean views and saw the historic remnants of the Dunbar shipwreck from 1857. A lunch of fish and chips in the park was an obvious choice, after all we were in Australia’s oldest fishing village. The perfect end to the day was joining the coastal walk and going to Macquarie Lighthouse, which is Australia’s oldest lighthouse and is still operating today.

It’s so easy to take these locations for granted especially when they’re at your doorstep, so it’s nice to play tourist every now and then to rediscover our city. Watsons Bay is not only steeped in history but a natural wonderland by the sea.

%d bloggers like this: