Sanctuary

The 19th December 2019 proved to be one of Wollondilly Shire’s most dramatic days, in a bush fire season that had already had its fair share of drama.

It was a hot day, 42 degrees; an angry red sun hovered above, shrouded by billowing smoke. The towns of Buxton, Balmoral, Bargo and Tahmoor had received catastrophic fire warnings. They were at the epicentre of the Green Wattle Creek Fire, one of the day’s deadliest.
Road closures were in place, and people were warned to avoid using roads in and around Picton.

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Ode to Oodi

 

Oodi Helsinki City Library is an unequivocal civic triumph, a temple to democracy when democracy itself is threatened.

Since it opened in December 2018, Oodi has welcomed over three million people. The 10,000 square metre building was a birthday present to the city to acknowledge 100 years of liberation from colonial rule, first Swedish, then Russian.
How apposite that Oodi looks out over a large civic square to Parliament House, an architectural relic from another era. This is the real ‘people’s palace’. This is where civic experimentation is taking place on an epic scale.
I spent five days at Oodi in September 2019.

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Jane Siberry’s ‘Songwriters in the Round’

Siberry Salon in Sydney 2019.

People who inhabit the spaces between categories, who seek a form of creative expression beyond formulas, people who choose the road less travelled, invariably exhibit sisu.

People like Jane Siberry.

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Canada’s Peter MacLeod challenges libraries to be audacious at Radical Libraries 2018.

Radical inclusion

What’s the most radical form of civic inclusion we have NOT yet seen? Whatever it is, it will include public libraries.READ MORE

Thomas Piketty, at the Paris School of Economics.

Thomas and The Pikettes

Dear Professor Piketty,

It’s probably hyperbole to say that you have changed my life. Better to say – enriched, expanded, deepened and consolidated.READ MORE

NEXT Library 2017

Of course, you can take the escalator from the car park up and into the cavernous ground floor of Dokk1. But, at least once, it is worth taking the stairs. Although vertiginous and narrow, the stairs afford sweeping views of Aarhus Harbour and the City’s ongoing reclamation of its waterfront. The crab-like ascension also gives you time to pause and reflect on the scale, commanding position, and ambition that frame this extraordinary public library and citizen centre. A bit like the external garden-facing stairs nestled into the Sydney Opera House, designed by that other Great Dane Jørn Utzon, climbing the stairs of Dokk1 feels like entering a temple. And it is a kind of temple; a 21st century temple to civic experimentation.

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Beauty and Brains

Bold and ambitious, the Geelong Library and Heritage Centre’s imposing geodesic domed structure, with its parkland-facing wall of glass, projects boldly outwards into Geelong’s cultural precinct like a giant cerebral cortex. It’s no wonder that Mayor Darryn Lyons quipped, when it opened in November 2015, that it was Geelong’s ‘Big Brain’. READ MORE

Melbourne's Old Court at time of Steer vs Fitches

Do YOU Trove?

On Saturday 8 August 1857, an 18-year-old woman, recently emigrated from England, won a court battle in Melbourne’s Old Court. The plaintiff’s name was Emma Steer, READ MORE