Central Australia Visit

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn January 2014, Ping (hereafter known as “Daisy Bates”, the Australian adventurer/explorer) and I visited Central Australia on one of those 3-day camping trips. Day one: Uluru. Day two: the Olgas. Day three: Kings Canyon. Very good. Very interesting. Can now cross that one off my list. Glad I did it when I did though, because it was a lot more strenuous than I thought it would be. Twisting my knee didn’t help.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACamels don’t floss. An ornery camel and a thorny devil.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADaisy Bates (wearing hat, headscarf and fly-net) at Uluru.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUluru taken with my new Olympus point-and-shoot camera. It was almost nighttime when I took this photo, which is why the rock looks purple.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAustralian pop culture #1: Australian Aboriginal rock paintings at Uluru.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAustralian pop culture #2: Miniature golf course near Uluru.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Olgas. The day we were there, it was raining (note the waterfall).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADaisy Bates at Kings Canyon.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADaisy Bates at Stanley Chasm.

DaisyBates1921The “real” Daisy Bates.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFlying doctor John Flynn’s grave. Judging by his headstone, the guy had balls.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlbert Namatjira memorial on the way to Hermannsburg. Australia treated him badly. Too late to make amends now unfortunately.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHermannsburg Church. Dignified.

Posted in Travel

SUNDAY AGE article by John Elder

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Derham talking to Radio New Zealand’s Jim Mora about Hopalong Cassidy’s Australian tour in 1954.

Posted in The everyday and the surreal

China 2013

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Oriental Pearl Tower, Shanghai, and some Chinese movie star.

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Shanghai Grand Theatre designed by Jean-Marie Charpentier.

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Ningpo Museum designed by Wang Shu.

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Hangzhou Grand Theatre designed by Carlos Ott.

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International Convention Centre, Hangzhou, designed by Xia Bangjie.

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Brick mountain sculpture, Hangzhou.

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Dragon boat, West Lake, Hangzhou.

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A hardware shop in Jinxi.

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The Grand Canal, Jinxi.

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Fishing with cormorants in Jinxi.

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Curing pork in Hongcun.

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Traditional brickwork, Hongcun.

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Xuzhou Concert Hall designed by the Architectural Design & Research Institute of Tsinghua University.

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Wuxi Grand Theatre designed by PES-Architects.

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Suzhou Museum designed by I.M. Pei.

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Instructions on how to find your room at the hotel we stayed at in Suzhou.

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Suzhou Grand Theatre designed by Paul Andreu.

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Tianjin Grand Theatre designed by gmp Architeckten.

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The Porcelain China House, Tianjin.

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The abandoned “Disneyland” at Nan Kou.

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Beijing Shijingshan Amusement Park.

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CCTV Building designed by Rem Koolhaas.

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The National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing, designed by Paul Andreu.

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Beijing National Stadium designed by Herzog & de Meuron.

Posted in Architecture (excluding A.W. Purnell)

ipad Sketches

Architect

The Architect

Unknown

The Detective

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The Rugby Player

Cowboy

The Cowboy

Unknown

The Mouseketeer

Urban Planner

The Urban Planner

Art Critic

The Art Critic

Pirate

The Pirate

Iranian

The Iranian

Stowaway

The Stowaway

Posted in Sketches

From West to East Across America: In Quest of William Boyd/Hopalong Cassidy

Los Angeles, California

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The star of William Boyd/Hopalong Cassidy on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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The grave of Topper, Hoppy’s beautiful white horse, in the Los Angeles Pet Cemetery.

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The grave of Andy Clyde, Hoppy’s loveable sidekick, California Carlson, at Forest Lawn Cemetery.

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The Colburn School designed by architects Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates (opposite the Walt Disney Concert Hall designed by architect Frank Gehry; makes a nice contrast).

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The Getty Museum designed by architect Richard Meier.

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The Marriott Hotel near Los Angeles airport — who designed this building? It looks quite John Portman-ish to me, but I don’t think he designed it.

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The quirky Museum of Jurassic Technology at Culver City — a modern-day cabinet of curiosities. David Wilson is a genius.

Laramie, Wyoming

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The Gothic, mountain-like, American Heritage Center designed by architect Antoine Predock.

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Playing cowboy with Hoppy’s pearl-handle six-shooters at the American Heritage Center.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

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The McNamara Alumni Center, University of Minnesota — a giant carbuncle on a big brown box — designed by architect Antoine Predock.

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The Regis Art Center, University of Minnesota, designed by local architects MSR — a very impressive example of corbelling.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Weisman Museum of Art, University of Minnesota, designed by architect Frank Gehry. (Did he forget that it snows in Minneapolis when he designed that canopy?)

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The surprising rear of the Weisman Art Center — not just a brick box.

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Stripped noticeboard, University of Minnesota — accidental collage.

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Newspaper cartoon showing the actor William Gillette in the play, Sherlock Holmes, from Gillette’s own scrapbook, which is part of the Sherlock Holmes collection at the University of Minnesota.

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The Guthrie Theater designed by architect Jean Nouvel. It’s all about the views.

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The fabulous Metrodome Transit Station designed by local artist (and old buddy) Andrew Leicester.

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Andrew’s cute French bulldog, Buster.

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The quirky gas station in Cloquet, Minnesota, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

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Driving down to Stockholm, Wisconsin, to sample pie with buddy Craig Hinrichs.

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Delicious cherry and berry pie from the Stockholm Pie Company.

Columbus, Ohio

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The Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University, designed by architect Peter Eisenman.

Michael Neilson/The Daily Jeffersonian/www.buyjeffphotos.com

With Laura Bates, Hoppy’s number one fan, at the Hopalong Cassidy Museum, Cambridge, Ohio. It was a cold day!

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Hopalong Cassidy mural (detail), Cambridge, Ohio, painted by local artist Sue Dodd.

Washington D.C.

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The Summerhouse (a.k.a. the Grotto) designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.

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Bricks from the brick collection at the National Building Museum.

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National Gallery of Art designed by architect I.M. Pei. Impressive spaces, but a “user-unfriendly” building.

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An escalator in the Washington D.C. Metro — like a scene from 1984.

Rochester, New York

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The First Unitarian Church of Rochester designed by architect Louis Kahn. I think these Unitarians may be onto something!

 

Posted in Architecture (excluding A.W. Purnell), Travel

Another nice day at Linton

Our little mud hut, which we’ve owned since 2007.

Purple wildflowers.

My trusty 1987 Subaru “Brumby,” the second one I’ve driven.

Barbequed sausages for dinner.

The bush next to our mud hut

Posted in Linton

Derham’s Run for Moreland Council

The final election results for the three councillors from the City of Moreland’s South Ward are:

FORSTER, Martin 1512 9.83%
RATNAM, Samantha 3579 23.27%
HOPPER, Meghan 2580 16.78%
FARRELLY, Liam Shaun 985 6.41%
GROVES, Derham 1314 8.54%
CARMODY, Michael 1315 8.55%
GRAEFE, Narelle 261 1.70%
TAPINOS, Lambros 3832 24.92%

While I didn’t win the election, I was pretty happy with the result. 1300-odd votes in only a 2-month campaign from a zero base and no political party brand or backing was very respectable in my view.

When you come to think about it, there is the equivalent of a small country town out there supporting me. Now all I have to do is find out which country town! (A colleague of mine suggested that it might be Mirboo North, population 1300!)

My wife Ping did a fantastic job of campaigning on my behalf and I saw her in a new light after 34 years of marriage, which is truly something.

Despite having to endure some dirty tricks by one odd ball in particular, running for Moreland Council was a worthwhile experience. Indeed, I’d like to write a George Plimton-style journal article from the point of view of a truly independent candidate (which is a badge of honour in my opinion), albeit an unsuccessful truly independent candidate.

I say “truly independent” because the Labor Party disingenuously refused to endorse its candidates, which then enabled them to claim to be “independent,” something that wasn’t really true — a clear case of having your cake and eating it too.

Sincere thanks to those Moreland residents and ratepayers who voted for me. Your votes profoundly influenced the outcome of the election. Let me explain.

The preference voting system basically works like this: the candidate with the lowest number of votes is “eliminated” and his/her votes are then distributed to the candidate he/she has nominated second on his/her how to vote card. Then this process is repeated again and again until, in the case of the South Ward, three candidates have gained the required number of votes to be elected.

It was always extremely likely that Labor’s Lambros Tapinos and the Greens’ Samantha Ratnam would be elected, which is exactly what happened. However, the third spot on council was up for grabs. I was eliminated from the contest following the Greens’ candidates Narelle Graefe and Liam Farrelly. Where my 1300 votes went ultimately determined who would be the South Ward’s third councillor.

I first proposed swapping preferences with independent Martin Forster. An obvious strategy for the two genuine independents in the race; a real “no brainer.” But he declined and put me number eight. Wrong decision Martin. If you had accepted my offer you would have been the third councillor from the South Ward.

It is a pity that at least one independent candidate was not elected in the South Ward. Now you know why this did not happen. Unfortunately there is no accounting for people who foolishly won’t listen.

I next proposed putting Labor’s Michael Carmody number two in return for putting me number four. (Labor Party rules meant that number four was the best I could get from any of the three Labor candidates running.) He also refused and put me number eight as well. Bad decision Michael. (In fact, one of your closest Labor colleagues described it as “very stupid.”) If you had accepted my offer you would have been the third councillor from the South Ward.

Finally, I proposed putting Labor’s Meghan Hopper number two in return for putting me number four. She accepted my offer and became the third councillor from the South Ward. Congratulations Meghan! Good decision. Something for both Martin and Michael to think about over the next four years until the 2016 council elections.

My thanks to Francesco Timpano and Charles Car, my two independent “running mates” in the North East and North West wards respectively; and many thanks to everyone who helped me hand out how to vote cards on election day, I really appreciated it.

Following are some of the things that I’ll be donating to the Political Ephemera Collection at the State Library of Victoria:

Listen to Derham speaking to Glen Ridge on mymp.

WARNING. We are now known and formally registered as “The Moreland Ratepayers Action Group.” Sadly, our former name, “The Moreland Residents and Ratepayers Action Group,” has been “stolen” by a candidate for the North East Ward (and perhaps others) who is now sending out bizarre and mischievous emails under that banner. We have nothing whatsoever to do with these grubby emails.

Welcome to local government politics in Moreland! Surely, obviously, it is time for a change!

Posted in Anecdotes, The everyday and the surreal | 1 Comment

Derham Groves discusses the Manning Clarke House designed by Robin Boyd


Produced by Bearcage Productions, 2012.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Launderettes in Melbourne

Last year (2011) the students who did my Popular Architecture and Design course at the University of Melbourne examined kebab shops in Melbourne. This year they looked at another similarly “invisible” and seemingly banal building type — launderettes (the English term) or Laundromats (the American term) in Melbourne.

Kebab shops and launderettes represent “third places” (in contrast to first and second places — home and work respectively) as described by the American urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg in his book The Great Good Place. He argues that, despite being taken for granted, they are central to urban vitality.

Working in pairs, the architecture students were asked to document a launderette in Melbourne, which included the following basic information:

• The name and address of the launderette.

 • A plan of the launderette, including fittings and furniture.

 • A photograph of the front of the launderette during the day.

 • A photograph of the front of the launderette at night.

 • A photograph of the launderette showing it in relation to the other shops in the street.

 • Photographs of the sides of the launderette (if they were accessible).

 • Photographs of the interior of the launderette.

 • Photographs of any advertising, signs, etc.

 • A brief description of the launderette.

 • Comments by the owner/manager and any customers.

Launderettes in Melbourne: An Architectural Survey contains the above information exactly as the students gave it to me — errors and all. To a large extent, the value of this work is being able to compare 37 different launderettes in Melbourne at a glance and seeing their similarities and differences.

Hopefully Launderettes In Melbourne, along with Kebab Shops in Melbourne before it, will encourage a greater appreciation and understanding of these “third places” locally.

Posted in Architecture (excluding A.W. Purnell), The everyday and the surreal | 1 Comment

Mail Art Project

This envelope is being mailed from one student to another in my Popular Architecture and Design class. Each person has to add something to the envelope before sending it onto the next. Following is a photographic record of the “layers” that it has acquired to date.

Posted in The everyday and the surreal | 1 Comment