Sunday, January 29, 2012

Darlinghurst Blog: Lost and Found: Two Gold Sovereigns

Genuine Reward. Two gold sovereigns given by a dying man to his wife. 
No questions asked.

This pink flier was taped to a number of telegraph poles on Liverpool Street yesterday and is so, so sad.
Apparently the woman who taped them up, parked her car outside the Sacred Heart Hospice on Darlinghurst Road on Friday night. 
She was inside visiting her dying husband. 
When she returned to her car, it had been broken into and the thieves had taken her handbag from the boot. 
Inside her handbag were the two gold sovereigns, which her husband had given her. 
I hope her luck takes a better turn soon.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Darlinghurst Blog: Art and Culture: Love Postcode 2010

This Sunday an exhibition of photographs captured by mobile phone cameras is opening in Darlinghurst. The pictures were entrants in last year's Oxford Arts Festival's Love Postcode 2010 competition, which invited people to submit photographs taken in the Darlinghurst and Surry Hills area - both share the 2010 postcode. 
It was only the second year for the Oxford Arts Festival, which was established to celebrate the Oxford Street area, which in City of Sydney "Villages" parlance is known as the "Cultural Quarter", given the artistic characters, creative businesses and galleries that line its streets.
The Love Postcode 2010 competition, which was held for the first time in 2011, attracted dozens of entries depicting the area's residents, landmarks, pets and streetscapes - all shot through the lenses of mobile phone cameras.
Some of the entries can be viewed at the Oxford Arts Festival's Facebook gallery here
Curator Polly Chin describes them as a "fascinating and intimate look into one of Sydney's oldest and most notorious precincts", and says they will be displayed with the stories behind the snappers, which adds another layer of interest.

I only embraced mobile phone photography about a week ago when I signed up to the Instagram application. The app allows you to snap photos, edit them slightly and caption them before posting them on to a site - which can only be used by mobile phones - where they can be viewed by other Instagram members.
It is strangely addictive. 
I took the photograph above at the Surry Street playground on Sunday. My Instagram photographs are also instantly fed to my Twitter site, so if you are interested in seeing them, please follow me via the link at the left of this blog page. My twitter username is @Violet_Tingle and my Instagram name is violettingle
Anyway, here are the first prize and second prize winners from the Love Postcode 2010 competition, which I may be inclined to enter this year:

First prize: Untitled, by Sheridan Mills.
Location: Stanley Street, East Sydney.

Second prize: Deranger, by Tom Christophersen.
Location: Sophia Street, Surry Hills.

The winners and a selection of entries will go on show this Sunday from 3-5pm at the Vientiane Restaurant and Gallery, on the corner of Oxford and South Dowling streets, which is across the road from the Beauchamp Hotel and right next door to that place that plucks designer eyebrows.
The exhibition will be on display throughout the month of February.
For more details visit the Tap Gallery website.
Vientiane Restaurant and Gallery
Shop 1a, 1-11 Oxford Street
Paddington NSW 2021
02 9380 7414
Wednesday to Friday: 12pm-3pm
Monday to Saturday: 6.30pm-9.30pm

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Darlinghurst Blog: Villas of Darlinghurst: Goderich Lodge

Goodrich (sic), The Residence of Captain Smith, artist unknown, 1875 (detail).
Goderich Lodge: allotment of over four-acres granted to Thomas Maquoid in 1831.

This Darlinghurst mansion-house, or villa, was designed by John Verge for the High Sheriff of NSW, Thomas Macquoid, and was situated near what is now the corner of Bayswater Road and Penny Lane. 
Born in Ireland, Macquoid came to Australia in 1829, following a period in Java, where he produced coffee crops for the East India Company, as well as a tenure as Sheriff of India.
The 1832 mansion house was named Goderich Lodge, after Lord Goderich (Frederick John Robinson), the then Secretary of State for the colonies, who was also the British Prime Minister for a brief period. 
Macquoid arrived in Australia full of optimism for his new role in a new colony, but very soon had slunk into depression.
His first major issue was with his new job, which he believed did not have the appropriate status for such an important position. His office was also understaffed and overwhelmed with work. Litigation and bankruptcy proceedings were rife and there were over 700 summonses to be served.
To worsen things, Macquoid was also suffering financially after investing in a large farming property in the Tuggeranong Valley, near Canberra, which he named Waniassa. The country had been hit by drought, while the colony was also in financial collapse. 
Unable to cope, Macquoid committed suicide in October, 1841, leaving his son Thomas Hyam to deal with his mounting debts.
(Incidentally, Thomas Hyam was one of 121 people who died aboard the wreck of the clipper, Dunbar, which crashed into rocks at South Head, at the base of suicide-spot, The Gap, in 1857; his body was never recovered. The Dunbar's anchor was retrieved and is mounted at The Gap as a memorial.)

Goderich Lodge was sold at auction two months after Macquoid's death and in the years that followed was rented by the First Bishop of Australia, Dr William Grant Broughton, whose wife died at the house in 1849. 
The next tenant was Surveyor General Samuel Augustus Perry, and then in the 1850s, Goderich Lodge was purchased by Frederick Tooth, of Tooth's Brewery fame, who later sold it to shipping merchant Captain Charles Smith (which was when the illustration at the top of this post was created).
Captain Smith died at Goderich from embolism in June 1897 and his wife Marjorie stayed on at the home until at least 1904 when her daughter, Marjorie, married.
By then, the original four-acre land grant had been subdivided and there were a number of properties on Macquoid's original estate. 

According to the book, Villas of Darlinghurst, Goderich Lodge, demolished in 1915, was located where the old Hampton Court Hotel sits today (above).
The name of the old British PM still remains however, in the laneway that runs along the back of the old Hampton Court Hotel, Goderich Lane.
The Hampton Court Hotel, which has been pretty much dormant since the late 1990s has finally been refurbished into apartments, know as The Hampton.
And before you start complaining that all the old hotels in the area are being converted into apartments, the hotel actually began life as a 100-flat, apartment block, Hampton Court, after 1915. It was converted into a hotel in the late 1930s, following the death of its owner, motoring industry pioneer Albert Gordon Hampton.

This City of Sydney Archives photograph (above) was taken in 1910 from Bayswater Road, looking down Penny Lane before Hampton Court was built.
The Victorian-era terrace house to the left would have been built up alongside Goderich Lodge as the land was subdivided. Shame there are no photographs of the lodge, which was obviously further back somewhere.

Just over 100 years later, there are no signs of the old Darlinghurst at this corner.

The only distinct trace, apart from the laneway, is the curve of the gutter.

From the rear, looking down Goderich Lane, the Hampton Court is massive. 

And I wonder if the trees at the right in this archive photograph are the ones that surrounded Goderich Lodge, which feature in the two illustrations. 


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Across The Border: Sydney Festival 2012: Mike Patton's Mondo Cane

There's nothing like a picnic to while away the summer days, and the Sydney-style version - at this time of year at least - involves crowds of thousands of people.

My dear friend Ruby Molteno and I packed a picnic on Saturday evening with the aim of nestling down on the grass for Summer Sounds in the Domain, part of the Sydney Festival 2012 program, which last week featured former Faith No More front-man Mike Patton, doing 1950s and 60s Italian pop songs under the moniker, Mondo Cane.
But rain had been threatening all day and when I at last made it down to Ruby's joint in the Darlinghurst Flatlands the clouds had broken and with the rain pattering on the pavements, we instead picnicked at her place before walking up to the Domain with just a bottle of wine and a picnic blanket to carry.

We arrived just after 7pm and managed to score ourselves a square of lawn fairly close to the stage. The rain had stopped by then, so we assumed this fairly valuable, grassy real estate had been abandoned not long before by a group who had no faith in the weather. 

But we are optimists, Ruby and I, and we were certain that a small patch of blue sky was going to spread and the rain clouds would disappear. So we sat through some inaudible speeches by a range of people, including Lord Mayor Clover Moore, and then at 8pm a band called Brous (pronounced Bruce), arrived on stage and played some worldy type of music, which only seemed to encourage the sky to darken.

By now there was a sense of anticipation building: would the rain clouds hold out, should I make a run for the bathroom now, when was Mike Patton going to appear?

And then he arrived on stage, decked out in a white flashy suit, accompanied by a 25-piece orchestra. It was hard to connect him to the same metal rocker of Mr Bungle and Faith No More fame, who could conjure the voice of death with a megaphone and mic, and whose Epic video clip in 1990 caused a stir with animal rights activists because of a goldfish flapping out of water. Big deal in those days.
But while crooning through the first two old-fashioned love songs, he did his characteristic bug-eyed look and there again was his inimitable voice and yes, this was Patton. 
During the second song the rain came down, the umbrellas went up and there was a mass exodus of people who had tired of the wet.
Ruby and I stayed put, until we realised we were sitting in a puddle of water and our clothes were soaked through, but then Patton kicked into gear with the third song and we leapt to out feet and started dancing in the rain. 
It was one of the best moments I have had all year. Admittedly, I have done very little in 2012, but you know what I mean. A moment I won't forget, especially because just as he was hitting his stride and his white suit was becoming transparent from the rain, the organisers decided to postpone the gig. 
There was $50 million worth of violins, Patton claimed, and if you had a violin you would understand.
Whatever. At least Patton could have stayed on stage and entertained us, but no, they all disappeared for about 15-20 minutes, while we stood in the rain, coming down from the high.

When they finally arrived back, it seemed like an age had passed and the mojo was gone. Patton didn't seem like he was in the mood anymore. We gave him three songs and then beat it - my wet dress was starting to become uncomfortable. 

We wandered through Hyde Park, which was glistening with rain and as we turned a corner through some bushes, we came upon a magical clearing and there amongst the trees, was a little wood cabin, like something out of Twin Peaks.

It was a complete Hunting Lodge, with rocking chairs on the veranda, while inside there was a roaring log fire, leather lounges arranged around low coffee tables and antlers mounted on the walls. We had to stop for a bevvy and dry off. Then Ruby noticed that Nick Zinner from United States band the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, was about to arrive for a free DJ set, so we hung about amongst the stuffed animals and chandeliers made from liquor bottles and made ourselves cosy on some woody stools and listened to music under the heaving sky.
It was after midnight now and no longer caring about our wet clothes and umbrellas, we slunk into the The Famous Spiegeltent (free after 11.30pm) where there was some kind of 50s-style beehived band of women singing the greatest songs for dancing. And so we dumped our rain-soaked handbags in a booth and shoo-bopped until the early hours.

Now, over the coming weeks, Ruby and I have a delicious schedule of Sydney Festival 2012 treats: PJ Harvey tomorrow, 41 Strings by Nick Zinner on Sunday and DJ Koze and Prins Thomas on the following Saturday. In the meantime we'll be claiming woody stools at the Hunting Lodge as often as possible. Are you doing anything for Sydney Fest this year?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Darlinghurst Blog: Street Art: Listen Up Records

Have you ever seen so many stickers in one place? There must be about five years worth of stickers on the door of Listen Up Records, creating a colourful mosaic of random words and pictures. My favourite sticker is the two cartoon men towards the top right of the door. 
Above the door, on the meter box, there's also a great sticker scene of two people running away from some monster-sized butterflies:

Love it. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Darlinghurst Blog: Detritus: Happy New Year

Okay, so it has taken me a while to wake up and pull my socks on in 2012, but Happy Bloody (Mary) New Year!
By 11am on January 1, I was sitting at a footpath table at the Darlo Bar knocking back bloody marys and resolving to do as little as possible for the remainder of the day.
Unfortunately that steely resolve of mine lasted almost two weeks, so that now it is already halfway through the first month of the year and I have done nothing much that would be of interest to anyone, least of all Ralf, the street cat (see below modelling his new bell-collar that lasted about two days).

It is now January 13 and I have at last made some new year's resolutions, which include:
  • to see more sunrises;
  • to write more; and
  • a whole bunch of other things that would sound wanky and predictable.
If I at least stick to the second resolution, there should be some fresh blog posts in coming days.
But you know how these things go. 

What are your resolutions for the new year? And have you managed to keep them?