Posts Tagged ‘Western Australia’

Bye Bye Perth Entertainment Centre

August 22, 2011
The proscenium arch of the Perth Entertainment Centre exposed during its demolition

Demolition of the Perth Entertainment Centre

There seems to be a lot of demolition going on in Perth at the moment, and a lot of my childhood seems to be going with it. The Francis Street Museum building is going, the big shed on North Quay in Fremantle (we did a primary school visit to that one!)  But the demolition that evokes the most nostalgia is that of the Perth Entertainment Centre.

When it opened in 1974 it was the biggest  proscenium arch theater in the world, with a seating capacity of 8003.  It was also bright orange (good 1970s style).  An aside: who remembers the bright blue (Perth, now cream coloured Rydges Hotel) and bright red (Sydney) Flotta Lauro buildings of the same era?

It was a great building for spectacles, not so great for anything more intimate, even in its theatre configuration (where they closed off the upper tiers of seating).  That said, I’ve got lots of happy memories of many many shows there, starting with very first show, Disney on Parade, and ending with Phantom of the Opera in 1998 (four years before the Centre was mothballed in 2002).

What did I see there?  These are what I remember (with the help of a look through my programme collection), and yes, given the venue my list is skewed to big spectacles, most of them presented by impressario Michael Edgley.

  • Disney on Parade (1974/5, I think I remember some Disney on Ice as well but don’t have a programme to confirm the dates)
  • London Festival Ballet with Rudolf Nureyev (1975 and 1977)
  • The Mikado (1977, with June Bronhill, more on that later)
  • Siberian Cossaks (1976)
  • The Great Moscow Circus on Ice (1978)
  • Evita (1980, matinee, front row seats, confronting and fabulous)
  • 1980 or 1981 chaperoned a friend’s daughter to The Police, hated how loud it was (I’ve always been funny that way)
  • David Bowie,  Serious Moonlight (1983, nearly missed it as I was out sailboard racing and had to be brought in late by the rescue boat)
  • International Ice Spectacular with Torville and Dean (1984?)
  • Richard Harris in Camelot (1984)
  • Torville and Dean the World Tour (1986)
  • Rocky Horror Show (1988, with a VERY young Russell Crowe playing Eddie/Dr Scott “1988 looks to be a productive year for Russell” says the programme!)
  • The Great Moscow Circus (early 90’s, don’t have a programme but I remember going!)
  • Phantom of the Opera (1998)
  • Numerous church and school things…
The most memorable concert for me was The Mikado in 1977.  Just as the second act opened lumps of metal and scaffolding poles rained down upon the stage, knocking out one of the chorus.  The production was stopped, I’m not sure but I think the classic call: “Is there a Doctor in the house?” was made, and it was announced that the show would be postponed while they made the stage safe (we later heard that the frame of a projection screen up above the stage had disintegrated).  June Bronhill came out in front of the curtain, still dressed and made up as Yum Yum, and sang to us during the delay (for 20 minutes or half an hour, I don’t remember exactly how long, it was a considerable length of time).  She would say “this is a little art song by so and so”, lean over the pit and ask the orchestra to “give me an A” (or whatever note was appropriate) and sing.  Then, when everything was made safe, she went back into character and performed the second act of Mikado.  A real trouper, we were all her slaves for life!

If you want to see some pictures of the Entertainment Centre over the years, there are some treats in the State Library of WA’s pictorial collection!  I have more demolition pictures in this set on flickr.  If you want to read some other Perthites waxing nostalgic over the Ent Cent, have a look at this blog entry and comments from The worst of Perth.

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Battening down the hatches!

June 27, 2011

I’ve got a very busy week coming up so my final few blogjune posts may be a little sketchy!
If I go off air altogether it may be because we’ve got a very nasty weather event heading our way:

“IDW28001
Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology
Western Australia

TOP PRIORITY FOR IMMEDIATE BROADCAST
SEVERE WEATHER WARNING
for Damaging Winds with Locally Destructive Gusts, Abnormally High Tides and
Flash Flooding.
For people in parts of WA southwest of a line from Jurien Bay to Albany,
including Jurien Bay, Perth, Mandurah, Bunbury, Busselton, Margaret River,
Bridgetown and Albany.
Issued at 4:40 pm on Monday 27 June 2011

WEATHER SITUATION

Winds are expected to become strong and squally in coastal parts from early
Tuesday morning as a cold front approaches. DAMAGING WINDS to 100 kilometres per
hour could result in DAMAGE TO HOMES AND PROPERTY.

HIGHER THAN NORMAL TIDES may cause FLOODING OF LOW-LYING COASTAL AREAS between
Jurien Bay and Cape Leeuwin, particularly in Geographe Bay. DANGEROUS SURF
CONDITIONS may cause beach erosion.

During Tuesday morning the passage of the cold front could result in DANGEROUS
GUSTS in excess of 125 kilometres per hour that could cause SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE
OR DESTRUCTION TO HOMES AND PROPERTY IN LOCALISED AREAS. Thunderstorms and heavy
rain may cause FLASH FLOODING.

The worst weather is expected near the Southwest Capes from 2am, extending to
Bunbury by 6am and to Perth mid to late morning. The strongest winds are likely
to be experienced in coastal suburbs and towns. Conditions will ease during the
afternoon as the front moves further to the east and weakens.

This type of weather event occurs about 3 or 4 times a year.

WHAT TO DO
For personal safety FESA State Emergency Service [SES] advises you to:

Trim branches around your home to prevent them falling on your roof or car
Clear gutters and downpipes so they don’t over flow after heavy rain
Store or weigh down loose objects around your home or work like outdoor
furniture that could be picked up and thrown by strong winds, causing damage or
injury
Prepare an emergency kit with a battery operated radio, torch, spare batteries
and first aid kit.
Organise an emergency plan, including a relocation plan for your family and pets
in case your home becomes flooded.

For SES assistance call 132 500. For more safety tips visit http://www.fesa.wa.gov.au

The next warning will be issued by 8:00 pm Monday

This warning is also available through TV and Radio broadcasts; the Bureau’s
website at http://www.bom.gov.au or call 1300 659 213.”

So I’ll be pulling the plug on the PC and modem and making sure that the iPhone is charged up so I can follow the action on The WA Weather Group forum – or follow them on Twitter @TheWAWG.

Here’s last Friday’s front (45mm in my gauge) for comparison!

20110627-060115.jpg

Seeing justice done – 150 years of the Supreme Court of Western Australia

June 19, 2011

About a week ago my brother-in-law spotted a little notice in the local paper advertising the Supreme Court of Western Australia’s open day.  So today the whole family packed into one car and headed up to Perth to take a look round.

The open day was to mark 150 years of the Supreme Court in WA and was surprisingly popular!  Our first stop, the Old Court House (1837), now the Old Court House Museum was packed with visitors.  We shuffled through with the throng.  The building had been used for many purposes over the years, a school, a concert venue, a public meeting venue as well as a court (it was used as the Arbitration court as late as 1963).   The architect was Henry W. Reveley, a civil engineer who was one of the earliest architects in the colony.  I was amused to see that in the days when the building shared the functions of school and court:

When the court was in session the pupils, under the stern gaze of their teacher,  retired to the gallery where they followed the proceedings in absolute silence.

The old court house 1837 : a brief history / Neville Green

Bishop Dom Salvado of New Norcia held the most memorable  [ibid] concert in the building, having walked 100km from that monastic town  to give a piano recital to raise funds for the Benedictine Mission.

Supreme Court of Western AustraliaWe moved into the main court building (designed by  John Grainger, who I was surprised to learn was the father of Percy Grainger).  There were many visitors and many court staff acting as guides.  We followed the arrows and went into Court 3 where we were disconcerted to find that one of the guides was Supreme Court Judge Justice Ralph Simmonds, who gave an informative and amusing talk about the operation of the court!  The court was packed, and he did note that it was unusual to have five defendants at one time, especially with children amongst them – a family had sat in the dock to listen to the talk! The number of judges has increased over the 150 years from 1 to 22, however if they had kept pace with population growth there would now be 150! [The Supreme Court of Western Australia 1861 -2011 : administering justice for the community for 150 years / The Honourable Wayne Martin, Chief Justice of Western Australia, p31].  We were also referred to May it please your honour / Geoffrey Bolton  if we wished to know more (and as a good librarian I noted it all down!).

I made a short detour to see the Law Library, in a wing added in 1987 and usually only open to eligible users,  before rejoining my family on the tour.  The old library in the old building had been converted into Judges’ rooms and a conference room.  A bank of what appeard to be cupboards in one room evidently conceal a wardrobe, kitchenette and bathroom – however we were informed that they did let the Judge go home at night! In the conference room we were facinated by a display telling of trial of Audrey Jacob for the shooting of Cyril Gidley at a ball in the neighbouring Government House Ballroom in 1925.  Audrey was acquitted, which seemed odd given the evidence presented, but then I remembered the hangman’s noose we’d seen in the Law Museum and thought perhaps the jury had not wished to see an obviously disturbed, and beautiful young woman hang…

In Court 1 we heard the end of a talk by Justice McKechnie, ABC TV’s documentary On trial had been filmed in that court, the programme goes to air next Thursday.  We were impressed that such senior members of the profession had welcomed the public into their workplace, emphasizing that the courts are our courts, and encouraging us to come and watch a trial.

We left that court down the steep stairs leading directly from the dock to the concrete, steel and security glass of the holding cells (renovated following a breakout in 2004) eventually exiting through the sally-port (what a lovely medieval name for the prisoners entrance!)

If you want to know more this edition of The law report is a good place to start!

We went on for a quick look at Government House ballroom (scene of the tragedy mentioned above but also of more happy memories) and two of the reception rooms in Government House, more rooms are usually opened but today only the Executive Council Room and the dining room, as they are preparing for the new Governor and have a rather important visitor coming later in the year

Catching up on local culture

June 9, 2011

A surprising number of films have been made in WA, and I’m rather ashamed to say I’ve seen very few of them. Some I’ve only seen a few scenes from, whilst channel surfing on late night TV.
Now I’m getting the chance to catch up, with the State Library of WA’s contribution to the City of Perth’s Winter Arts Festival:WA films @ the State Library

It starts tonight with Nickel Queen

and continues with the windsurfing film Windrider (nostalgia! I used to windsurf in the 80s), Under the lighthouse dancing and concludes with Lucky Miles

Lots to look forwards to!

20110609-092824.jpg
Me (in pink), windsurfing in the 80s!

Say Yes Australia! – a World Environment Day photo essay

June 6, 2011
Say Yes to Climate Action!

Say Yes to Climate Action!

Yesterday I joined about 3000 others at the Say Yes Australia rally in the Perth Cultural Center.   We were expressing our committment to government action on climate change.  Here’s the story of the rally in pictures:

Get Up!

Get Up! heading to "Say Yes Australia"

Crowd at the station

Crowd at the station - many heading to the rally!

Rally Crowd (and others) Perth station

Growing crowd as we walk through the station

Flyers for all!

Flyers for all!

A big crowd turned out

A big crowd turned out

Crowd in the James St Mall

...spilling into the James St mall

Crowd in the garden

... and filling all vantage points

Press coverage

Press coverage


And stirring speeches!

Banners large and small, organisational and individual:

Clean up Australia

Clean up Australia

Socialist alliance banner

Socialist Alliance

Our climate our vote

Our climate our vote

Great big new chance in futures

Great big new chance in futures

Price on pollution

Price on pollution

No CO2 tax will cost the earth

No CO2 tax will cost the earth

Business as usual

Business as usual

Yes!

Yes!

Urban Wilderness – a World Environment Day photo essay

June 5, 2011

Today is World Environment Day and to celebrate I’m posting photos I’ve taken within the Perth (Western Australia) metropolitan area that show our beautiful urban wildernesses and wildlife.

Canning River Reflections

Canning River Reflections

Swan River Brown Jellyfish - phyllorhiza punctata

Swan River Brown Jellyfish - phyllorhiza punctata

Blackwall Reach

Blackwall Reach

Salter Point Lagoon

Salter Point Lagoon

Eroded tree roots

Eroded tree roots

Henderson Cliffs

Henderson Cliffs

Bridled Tern

Bridled Tern

Manning Park

Manning Park

Pigface

Pigface

Pelican at Woodman Point

Pelican at Woodman Point

Australia Day on Penguin Island

Australia Day on Penguin Island

The fence of lost things : random acts of kindness at South Beach

January 11, 2011

Thankyou to all the people who hung lost property on the fence of lost things – I found my missing kayaking glove two or three days after I lost it in the ocean!

Random acts of kindness - the fence of lost things

Random acts of kindness - the fence of lost things

iPhone in the library – How to use your iPhone as a library card and barcode scanner

December 3, 2010

I’m a librarian in my day job, and I love my iPhone so recently I’ve been exploring ways I can use it to search library catalogues and in bookshops by scanning the ISBN barcodes you find on the back of  books and even by scanning the library barcodes that libraries stick into their stock.  On the way I’ve also found that you can generate the barcodes from your membership and loyalty cards so they display on and can be read from the screen of  your phone.  Not all of this works perfectly yet, but there’s enough working  successfully to make it worth a go…  so if you’re in the profession, be ready for customers waving the phone at you rather than their library card!

pic2shop icon

pic2shop

I first found out about using the iPhone as a barcode reader a few months ago (I think it was on a local librarians’  email list).

pic2shop search result

pic2shop search result

It suggested using a free app called pic2shop.  Like most of the barcode scanning apps it’s primarily a shopping tool enabling consumers to compare prices by scanning barcodes on goods (and a common complaint is that currently the Australian coverage is poor). However if you scan a book’s ISBN  it does include a “see local libraries” option:

As long as you’ve set your country preference, it will pull up records from WorldCat .Click on the library name and it will take you to the library catalogue.

pic2shop local libraries

pic2shop local libraries

I’m amused to see as I scrolled down that the next batch of libraries are in South Australia, followed by Victoria – it’s a generous definition of local!:

RedLaser

RedLaser

A similar app that also connects to WorldCat is RedLaser, you can read about using RedLaser to link to WorldCat on the WorldCat site.  At the time of writing RedLaser has become a free app.  RedLaser also enables you to create custom barcode reading apps – more on that later…

zbar icon

zbar

My favourite barcode reader so far (and I’ve not done a mass of reasearch) is ZBarit’s free and easily customizable, even by amateur geeks like me! I found out about ZBar by Googling for information on using iPhones as barcode scanners in libraries.  The best information was in a great post in Aaron Tay’s blog Musings about librarianship – How to check your library catalogue by using your IPhone as a free barcode scanner – ZBar & RedLaser.    His instructions for setting up ZBar are really clear so I won’t repeat them here!  I played around with customizing it search the State Library of WA’s catalogue using ISBNs.  Quite easy to set up using Aaron’s instructions but I did have some troubles as some of the information required to display the results correctly (for the technically minded it’s the scoping data ) was in the suffix of the search URL.

If you do an ISBN search in the SLWA catalogue the resulting URL is:

http://henrietta.liswa.wa.gov.au/search/i?SEARCH=9780349117737&sortdropdown=-&searchscope=2

Setting up Dymocks search in ZBar

Dymocks on ZBar

To set up a ZBar search string you need to drop everything after the first =, but in that particular catalogue you also need the searchscope data for the result to display correctly.  I’m no expert in the inner workings of catalogue softwear, however I realised I needed to be able to specify the scope data earlier in the search string.  I fiddled around in the Innovative Users Group listserv (where the catalogue system geeks come out to play) and found an alternative that seems to work:

http://henrietta.liswa.wa.gov.au/search~S2/i?SEARCH=

(select ISBN-13 as the barcode type)

i.e. the ~S2 has the same function as searchscope=2.  It works, but I’m prepared to be corrected by the experts if there’s a reason you shouldn’t do this!

You can easily set up other customised ISBN searches as well, I’ve done the same for my LibraryThing account and for Dymocks:

ZBar SLWA barcode

ZBar SLWA barcode

Of course ISBNs are not the only barcodes used in libraries, individual items of stock have barcode stickers that enable library staff to quickly stockcheck, and loan individual copies of items in their collections.  With a bit of inside knowledge I was able to use this string to set up a ZBar search that scans the State Library’s item barcodes and brings up the catalogue record:

http://henrietta.liswa.wa.gov.au/search~S2/b?SEARCH=

(select Code39 as the  barcode type)

The only downside is that I can’t get the camera in the app to lock on to  the very long Code 39 barcodes used by the library – it may be better if you’ve got an iPhone 4!  There is a slightly cumbersome workaround – go into camera, take a picture of the barcode (use landscape mode and tap to focus, zoom may also help).  Then open the ZBar app and instead of using the camera icon in the centre of the bottom taskbar, use the picture icon (mountains in a frame) on the right hand side – you can then select the picture of the barcode and proceed as normal.  I’m going to contact the app developers about this as it seems to me to be the way the app uses the camera that is the problem.

RedLaser Custom Apps

RedLaser Custom Apps

You can use the same search strings when setting up custom apps to search for ISBNs at libraries and bookshops using RedLaser (only for the ISBNs, RedLaser won’t read Code 39).   Note that if you are using a later operating system for your iPhone you’ll need to use the send icon in the middle of the toolbar to save the app, rather than the suggested +.  At time of posting RedLaser has a glitch where you get a blank screen after scanning.  You’ll need to use the send icon and select “Open with Safari” to see the result (this has been reported by others to RedLaser so should be fixed in a future update).

CardStar logo

CardStar

Now, from identifying media to identifying clients – as mentioned before I’ve had a play with CardStar – again this hasn’t been developed as a library app but it does enable you to create a virtual library card on your iPhone.  At the time of writing the option to scan the card in is freezing the app [it’s fixed! 21 Dec 2010], so it’s “type in the numbers and try different symbologies until the image on the screen matches your card” time!  I’ve generated a whole bunch of virtual cards, which I won’t show here (nice though it would be) as I’d like to keep my identity private!  I have tried scanning a CardStar generated library card with two different barcode readers – an old one read it perfectly, the newer more powerful scanner wouldn’t read it at all, so this isn’t yet a complete solution – however it does point to future trends that the profession need to keep an eye on!

Last of all here are a couple of youtube videos from WorldCat User in the USA on using pic2shop and RedLaser to search WorldCat:

and

Hulbert Street Fiesta 2010 – the greenest street in Fremantle?

September 19, 2010

I think I’m pretty green, my friends think I’m pretty green, I:

Solar panels on my roof

Solar panels on my roof

  • Have a moderately passive solar house
  • Have solar panels on the roof  (and am in credit with the power company) and a solar desk light
  • When I have to buy new appliances I try to get more energy efficient ones
  • Turn off standby power at the wall and use timers and motion sensors on lights
  • Have a rain water tank for drinking and the vegies and manually reuse some grey water
  • Don’t possess a clothes dryer or airconditioning
  • Grow some of my own fruit and vegies (with varing success)
  • Have a worm farm and compost bin for food scraps
  • Catch the train to work and cycle or walk for short trips
  • Clean with microfibre and bicarb and vineagar
  • Buy much of my clothing from op-shops – and work on my reduce, reuse, recycling…
Hulbert Street Sustainbility Fiesta 2010 poster

Hulbert Street Sustainbility Fiesta 2010

…but I don’t have anything on the people of Hulbert St South Fremantle – today I went down and wandered through the third annual Hulbert Street Sustainability Fiesta.   Hulbert Street is a cul-de-sac for cars but you can enter at the top end by foot or bicycle and all the green goodness starts right there at The Painted Fish (sustainable accommodation in a seaside garden).   Tim and Shani started the popular eco accommodation in 2006 and their passion for sustainablity has flowed down through the street.  Each year green living and community spirit is celebrated by closing off the street, erecting booths and opening their homes and gardens to the rest of the world.  This was my first visit to the fiesta. (I’ve seen inside The Painted Fish before when visiting friends who were staying there and I often cycle down Hulbert St.)  So here are a few random observations from a first time Fiesta goer…

  • Entry by gold coin donation, please recycle the flyer, wrist stamp (suspect water based ink as it ran and I had to be careful not to transfer it to my white T-shirt!)
  • Music from a bee costumed bloke who incorporated whoever was passing into his song, and further down the street a buskers patch for community groups and locals
  • Vege growing – the Hulbert St mob grow vegies anywhere – in their own yards and guerilla gardens on the street.  Lots of stalls selling raised garden beds plus equipment and seedlings
  • Sustainable transport – cycles, electric bikes and modified cycles for sale in the stalls; billy carts, bicycles, scooters and the Freo motorised bathtub brigade (now solar powered) on the street
  • Sustainable power – Solar Shop had a booth, many houses had solar power and there were a few exercise bike set up to generate power with kids trying out how hard they had to pedal to power a small TV (and other appliances)
  • Food – home made, gluten free, fresh, raw – it was all there!  Thanks to the gluten-free lady for the free sample ginger and macadamia Wallaby bar, yum!
  • Lots of the houses were open – demo’s of sustainable living and artists studios but we were on our bikes and short of time so we didn’t visit.
  • Pre-loved everything – many books and clothes (I didn’t look closely as I was on the bike and hadn’t brought much money
  • Guerilla knitting at the Duoro Road exit!

There was much more to see – next year I’ll go on foot and take a bit more time – it’s definitely worth a visit!

Hulbert Street Sustainability Fiesta 2010 - a flickr set

Hulbert Street Sustainability Fiesta 2010 - a flickr set


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