Tuesday, November 3, 2009
As always, if you run a venue and want to be included, drop me a note. If you're got some time on your hands and are happy to help prepare a weekly guide, then I'd love to hear from you on my gmail address.
Funky Deli Cafe, 256King St Newtown
Live music 7 days
Madame Fling Flong
- Tuesday night movie $20 with drink/mezze. Bookings advised.
- Live music every night and Sunday afternoons
Town Hall Hotel
- Local DJs Friday nights 11pm - 4am
- YourSpace Wednesday nights
- Farmer's Market every Saturday 8:00 - 13:00
- Eveleigh Artisans Markets first Sunday of the month
Addison Rd Centre, 142 Addison Road Marrickville
- Marrickville Organic Markets every Sunday 8:30 - 15:00
First Saturday every month
Marlborough Hotel, Corner King St and Missenden Road, Newtown
Vanguard, 42 King St, Newtown
Factory Theatre, 105 Victoria Road, Marrickville
Sound Lounge at Seymour Centre, Corner City Rd and Cleveland St
Enmore Theatre, 119-132 Enmore Road, Newtown
Town Hall Hotel, next to the Station
Sandringham Hotel, 387 King St Newtown
Newtown Theatre, Corner King and Bray St, Newtown
New Theatre, 542 King St, Newtown
Seymour Centre, City Road, Newtown
Wilson Street Gallery, 30-34 Wilson St Newtown
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
As this is also the 50th post on Mayor of Newtown, I thought I'd indulge myself in some 'nostalgia' and review some of the most popular posts in the last 6 months. Like the Mayor himself, readers are very interested in urban development, with 4 of the 5 most visited posts relating to Newtown's physical environment. The most popular post of all was the discussion of the long-awaited plans to renovate Newtown Station (with more than 400 views). Development plans for the Hive and discussion of the long vacant Hub site also made the Top 5; as did one of the Mayor's own Top 5 series; Newtown's Top 5 Eyesores, a look at the not so great architectural treasures of Newtown.
The only post not related to urban development in the Top 5 relates to another interest of the Mayor's; the controversial ranking of Newtown's Top 5 Pubs. Top5 Cafe's and Cheap Eats are in the pipeline, so stay tuned and please drop any suggestions to the Mayor.
The Mystery Photo series has been popular in terms of visitors if not contributors - one problem being that the locations are identified too quickly by sharp eyed visitors. The most popular of all (and longest lasting) was Milestones - go and see if you can identify it if you haven't already.
On the negative side, Newtown What's On didn't really strike a chord and was abandoned after a couple of months. Maintaining it simply required too much effort and didn't get the number of hits (averaging 50-odd a week) to justify the time. That could change though, especially if there's a volunteer out there to help compile and promote the list (email the Mayor if you're interested).
Going forward, there's a backlog of reviews and Top 5s to complete; redevelopment plans to watch, new shops to visit (Magnation anyone ?) and things to write about I haven't even thought about yet.
So many thanks to all who've visited and contributed to Newstown over the last 6 months. Like all bloggers the Mayor loves visitors and loves getting comments even more - so even if it's your first visit here, please take the time to say hello, ask a question or request a feature.
I wish to advise you of a Pipe Organ recital to held at St Luke's Anglican Church, 11 Stanmore Rd, Enmore on Sunday 1 November, 2009 at 2.00 pm. It is the only Pipe Organ in Australia built by organ builders, Wordsworth and Maskell of Leeds, UK but erected in its current location by local organ builders, Layton Bros of Newtown. The organ is mechanical action and is in essentially original condition.
The organ will be dismantled for restoration beginning 2 November, 2009 and there will be a short organ recital and talk by the well known Sydney organist, Mr Peter Jewkes on Sunday 1 November at 2.00 pm at the church. Admission is $10 and $5 concession, with afternoon tea provided.
The organ will be open for viewing after the recital.
I would be pleased if you could distribute this email and the attached leaflet to your members to aid us in making local residents aware of this historic instrument.
The restoration is supported by the Heritage Council of NSW and the Organ Historical Trust of Australia.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Mystery Photo #6 alas last about as long as numbers 5 and 4. My readers do indeed know Newtown just too well. The Kinky sign above was indeed the remnants of the Kinkara Tea sign from the 'Kinkara Tea House' in Chelmsford Street.
I'm not sure the RA would have made it any harder to guess judging by the speed that Dark Star Deity tracked it down.
Here's the cottage in its full glory
There's an interesting guide to preserving Historic signs at the Heritage NSW Website here (pdf) which uses this sign as an example of a historically significant sign - check out the colouring of the sign in 1998 (p12) - it looks suspiciously like a touch up job.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
I'm having a bad run with the mystery photos, none of them are lasting 24 hours. A sign I guess that Newstown readers know their 'town !
Where in our god-fearing neighbourhood is this kinky building ?
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Back in May, I posted about the controversy surrounding the proposed redevelopment of the 'Hive' site (confusingly there's now a Hive Bar in Erskineville, but that's another story) as a supermarket. In a nutshell, the original proposal for a large supermarket was rejected for size reasons after a well-coordinated campaign from the Friends of Erskineville Village; only for the owner to come back with another proposal for a 'grocery store' (less than half the size) on the same site.
The Friends relaunched their campaign; but feelings didn't seem to be as strong this time round, and while no-one is pretending this is the best use of the site, there are plenty who feel that it's not the disaster the friends are claiming.
Now, the council Development Assessment Sub-Committee have prepared their report on the application which goes to Council next Monday. They have recommended approval of the application, subject to the following conditions:
• Restricting the maximum length of vehicles servicing the site to 8.8m;The full report can be found here (item 6) - I'll draw your attention to the justification (on page 51)
• Restricting hours of operation to: 7.00am to 10.00pm, Monday to Saturday and 8.00am to 10.00pm on Sunday
• Implementing traffic works and restrictions;
• Prohibiting the use of trolleys; and
• Compliance with the acoustic report.
(a) the development will introduce much needed competition, a wider range of goods and lower prices for customers;Point g), I imagine, will be particularly galling to FOE, but is consistent with what I have seen. Broadly, there were two main themes to the objections; the additional traffic that a supermarket on the site would generate, and the impact it would have on existing Village businesses.
(b) residents would like to be able to walk to a shop of this size on a daily basis, rather than drive to another suburb; and
(c) the development will attract employment for locals.
(d) The re-use of the building has environmental benefits and will conserve its current appearance. It is a significant improvement to the previously approved mixed-used development.
(e) Traffic is an acceptable part of living in the inner-city.
(f) The building is currently an eyesore and needs to be refurbished. Investment in this part of Erskineville will improve the amenity of the village.
(g) The majority of residents support the application and are not being heard due to the minority of vocal objectors.
There's no question that the traffic on that part of Erskineville road is shocking; and any development or use of the Hive would make it worse. The question the council has to wrestle with is the veracity of the claims in the impact statement that the majority of clientele would arrive on foot. Frankly you'd be mad to drive there (I'm not sure how many drive to Frankies on King Street or the Foodworks today) but I'm no traffic engineer. I used to commute via Erskineville Road until I discovered it was faster (not too mention better for you) to cycle during peak periods.
The second objection has drawn quite a response from readers of this blog and followers of the Mayor on Twitter - but not the one you might have expected. The feeling of the majority is that existing retail in the village takes its clientele for granted and could do with a bit of competition.
After keeping my opinion to myself in the first post; I finally added this today:
In my ideal world the Hive would be put to a more imaginative use than a grocery store / supermarket - but of course this is not an ideal world; and someone has bought the building expecting to make a commercial return on it.As always, interested in comments and feedback.
The current proposal is way better than the previous one in size and scope. My biggest objection to the current proposal is that the shop will be run by Woolworth's - presumably under their new Thomas Dux brand. As Kelly pointed out above, they don't have a great track record in the way they treat local businesses - it's a crying shame the new Hive owner couldn't find a local to open up a boutique grocers there instead.
Unfortunately Council can't reject the proposal on those grounds - we're really in the hands of the ACCC to protect us from the grocery duopoly - a job they are not doing very well at the moment IMO.
One positive is that finally the Hive will no longer be derelict; now to fix some of the other buildings on Erskineville Road.
Monday, September 14, 2009
There are some fantastic shots from inside the sheds on Newstown reader Ghee's flickr page; below I offer my more humble efforts - from the laneway:
and finally from the Thomas Street:
It seems like all our local transport modes are in various stages of revision at once. There's a new train timetable kicking into place next month; the State Transit Authority has just launched a consultation phase for new bus timetables for the South and West, and Sydney Council has just released its draft Pedestrian Cycling and Traffic Calming Plan (catchy name that one) for Darlinghurst, Camperdown, Erskineville and the bits of Newtown they control. Not to mention (which I won't this time, I promise) all the hullabaloo regarding light rail and metro in the wider Inner West.
Inner Westies have just a couple of weeks to get their act together if they want some say in all of this. It's too late for the trains, which after a false start a couple of years ago will start operating to the new timetable on October 11th. The relevant changes are summarised here - there doesn't seem to be much changing on the Inner West line at first glance.
State Transit have gone to quite an effort to consult their planned bus route and timetable changes; apart from this informative website, glossy brochures - complete with detailed maps - have been distributed to all households in the region. Changes to the busses in the area have been summarised in 8 categories:
- Sydney CBD focused bus services;
- Balmain, Birchgrove and Glebe bus services;
- The Metrobus network;
- Strathfield bus services;
- Homebush Bay bus services;
- Mortlake, Breakfast Point, Concord, Cabarita,Abbotsford and Chiswick bus services;
- Rockdale, Kogarah and Miranda bus services; and
- Cross Regional bus services;
There's also a new Metro Bus route (M30) that will take you directly from Enmore to Mosman and back should the need somehow strike you. Maybe there'll suddenly be a proliferation of pearls on King Street (or tatts on Military Road).
The report (click on the 4th link in the further information section) is the most interesting document. It's well worth reading - if you're impatient jump to the recommendations on page 8. It's accompanied by some detailed maps summarising proposed changes - you can also download high-resolution versions of the maps as well.
In summary, the draft plan includes:
- Pedestrian and cycling access improvements across the area, including intersections on Wilson Street and Abercrombie Street
- Working with the RTA to install new crossings missing at signalised intersections and a new crossing along Mallett Street
- Cycleway projects on Missenden Road, Wilson Street and Shepherd Street
- Kerb extensions and additional crossings along King Street, and potential new bike parking.
And from the photo above, it seems that the Federal government is still investigating sites a lot closer to home for Sydney's second airport ...
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Here's some plumbing detail, in case the greenery is overwhelming.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
I discovered it when I moved into Newtown early this century (doesn't that sound grand) but re-visiting it a couple of years ago it appeared to be abandoned, with the latest updates being a few years ago. In fact the mayor's portrait was even pilfered from there (it belongs to a real Mayor of Newtown, Alderman William Rigg); a fact that council archivist Mark Stevens pointed out to me when I wrote to him requesting permission to use some other council photos for the mystery photo series shortly after Newstown was launched !
Mark also informed me that the archive site was being updated - even better, the work has been done by a local Newtown firm, In My Room. So head on over there and check it out.
Credits, from their about page:
The Newtown project started in 2000 and is based on a concept by Graeme Nichols. Work on the site during 2000-2005 was undertaken by Graeme (who was the webmaster during this time) and other volunteers at the City of Sydney Archives. The site was redeveloped in 2009 by In My Room, a Newtown based web design firm.
We would particularly like to acknowledge the contributions of -
Mark Stevens Natasha Neal
- Graeme Nichols and Reg Johnson, for transcription of Sands Directory .
- Shirley Doolan, Jan Bowditch, Jenny Kropp and Lorraine Sketch, for transcription of the Minutes of Newtown Council.
- Mark Matheson, for biographical notes on Mayors and Aldermen, and historical notes on street names and other topics.
City Archivist Webmaster
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
In my last post I summarised what I could find regarding RailCorp's plans to upgrade Newtown Station. So what do I think about the planned upgrade ?
In some ways the plan was a surprise for me, I had been expecting the concourse to push out behind the existing station building; assuming that the insides would be fully gutted to provide a smooth access to the lifts and stairs. The actual plan is more ambitious and has the advantage of also cleaning up the mess that is the property between the station and the Townie.
Other positive aspects of the plan include the renovation of the Tramway Depot Office (above) - as well as the existing buildings that were always going to be repaired, and of course the fact that the station gets two new stairs (should reduce the crowding that occurs after every train in peak hour) as well as a lift to improve access for many people who today struggle with the stairs. I'm pretty sure a single lift will be sufficient so I'm not worried about that.
One commenter has observed that the modern "wave" look of the new retail and concourse is out of character for Newtown. It's hard to tell from the limited 'artist's impression', and I'm not a fan of faux heritage; but it is important that the new retail be sympathetic to the surrounds, without necessarily aping them. Hopefully we will be provided more detailed plans and get a chance to really see how they fit in with the surrounding buildings. From first glance the wave roof may well be too domineering for the area. I'm not sure about covering the whole area between King Street and the concourse either - it's important part of the walk way is covered so that it's possible to get to the platform dry, without a massive structure blocking out all sunlight.
My biggest worry though is the impact these plans might have on the tram sheds and remaining open space in front of them next to the station. In the Mayor's ideal world, this open space would become a public square, the Tram Sheds converted to low cost artist/designer residence with on site markets (as well as cafes etc). It would be a shame if this station upgrade blocked off access to the remainder of the open space in front of the sheds, or indeed took up too much of the space that could otherwise become part of a Newtown Town Square.
It's very hard to get accurate information on what the state of play is with the tram sheds - my recollection from the April meeting was that they had been sold to a developer a while ago, it had all gone pear-shaped and it was now in court. Fingers crossed that the situation can be saved.
Anyone got any more information on the tram sheds ? In a future post I will give more ideas on what I'd like to see happen there, but I'd love to get the full picture of the current situation.
And what do you think ? I'd love to see some comments.
Monday, September 7, 2009
A few months ago, your mayor attended the community information session on the oft-delayed Newtown Station upgrade, where deputy premier and local member Carmel Tebut, representing both herself and the absent RailCorp and RTA, announced that the initial proposed plans for a lift from the existing station building to the platform had been abandoned for technical reasons, and RailCorp had gone back to the drawing board, with more ambitious (and expensive plans) due for release in 3-6 months for public comment.
Credit where credit is due, last month RailCorp did indeed come out with some details on the planned upgrade and timing. While there is a glossy brochure (available at the station) describing the upgrade (from where the above image comes), details are hard to come by online. The NSW government planning site offers just an unhelpful map, and local media coverage was limited to one article in the local rags. Finally however I managed to find the Development Application on the Heritage Branch website; where it appears we have until September 16th to comment, provided we get to Parramatta for the paper copies before then ! It rather brings to mind the beginning of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
So what do we get ? The application states:
Proposal: Construction of easy access facilities including installation of one lift to the platform, new centrally located overhead concourse, two stairs to the platform, new elevated covered access walkway from street entry to the concourse, new public toilets and family accessible toilet, new platform canopies, relocation of station ticketing facilities to refurbished two storey Tramways Depot Office, new and upgraded retail premises.
The picture above may help (click on it for a larger version); the building behind the tree is the Tramways Depot Office, which is proposed to become the new booking office, and the walkway runs down past it before swooping over the platform to become the new concourse and access point.
The map below gives another viewpoint; from it, it appears a new station access will be created at Thomas Street, off Newman Street.
The existing station buildings will be refurbished; and the existing stairs will disappear. The area outside the current booking office becomes part of the concourse; and the wall between it and the new access is removed. The actual booking office becomes new retail; and the adjacent 'Thundabox' building is to be (finally) renovated. It seems though that the Mayor's suggestion of a direct slippery dip from Platform 8 at the Townie has unfortunately been ignored.
Below are a few more pictures to help understand the plans.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
As usual, first prize, and all runners up, win a lifetime's free subscription to Newstown.