Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton burned down ...

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Gary Harding
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Re: Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton burned down ...

Post by Gary Harding » Sun Jun 21, 2015 9:15 am

Yes that is a great concept Maureen! Using the trappings of the modern age not only to reminisce but to show that bush poetry, especially Paterson and Lawson, is very much alive both in writing today and our skilled and entertaining modern bush performers. High-impact presentation.. big screen even.

As an example.. here is a link to an eBay item

1911.. Lawson rarity... lovely red limp ooze leather cover. 9cm x 6.5cm booklet. It is not poetry.. but it is still Lawson and he would have seen this book publication. "Mateship"

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/141637976676 ... EBIDX%3AIT

Put that under a spot in a case and someone artistically inclined could make it look like a million dollars.. put a few imitation gold nuggets around it,some coins from that time perhaps.... and it would look breathtaking... for what??

..a mere $95. (and that is expensive by online standards). Australian history and heritage. Very scarce.

Why is it not sold?? because the other 3 watchers are all miserable coots like me and want it for nothing too!!!

..ah what the heck.. I will buy that one too... just in case they ever do have such an exhibition at Winton.

I guess that is why I complain. I get angry when I see $80,000 poetry awards for crude rubbish, $40,000 "poetry" grants for what? stupid politicians sanctimoniously cuddling bush poetry books. Disgraceful and shameful. The whole rotten stinking lot of it. Phoney. And corrupt certainly morally, the other type I cannot be sure but I suspect it.
.. anyway... I know it is a dreadful tragedy at Winton.. shocking... but here is at least a contribution to fixing things... through an idea...

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Gary Harding
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Re: Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton burned down ...

Post by Gary Harding » Mon Aug 22, 2016 8:19 pm

UPDATE :

As far I can gather from various websites (and so the accuracy I cannot verify )...

1. Some 90% of collected items were either damaged or destroyed.

2. Apparently the insurance cover was about $12m and the cost of this new building design is estimated at about $20m. The Queensland State Government has chipped in over $1m. I suppose that $12m was for the Building only.

3. The task of designing a new Centre was given to Cox Rayner Architects and a design has emerged of which an artist's impression can be seen on the website. http://www.matildacentre.com.au/
The building is shown with fifty people milling around at the front. The last update on this public information site was 4th April, 2016.

4. What can be salvaged is being worked on by a crew of enthusiasts and professional restorers.

5. The fire started with an electrical fault in the ceiling somewhere. So no... not suspicious.

6. The Council aims to have the Centre rebuilt in 2017.

I have tried to get a look at the Concept other than just an artist's impression of the front.

The present Winton Shire Council Website says that :
"The concept designs will be on display in the Winton Shire Hall from 10.30am Monday 23rd to 4pm Friday 27th November 2015 (yes 2015!) and there is a Suggestion Box there."

I can find no other reference online to the availability of any more detailed drawings at all. It may be there somewhere perhaps, but I could find nothing.

The online tourist brochure on the Winton Shire Council's website still gives the Waltzing Matilda Centre a wonderful write-up. So if someone had no knowledge of the fire and decided to pack up the caravan and go to Winton hoping to see the Waltzing Matilda Centre as advertised, well they might just be disappointed. Ah well...

http://www.experiencewinton.com.au/docu ... Winton2014 page 6

I cannot find any reporting as to how the centre is being re-stocked, which in my view is what it is mainly about. The displays.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-13/w ... ts/7323288

From the above article which has a sub-Heading :
"More than Banjo Patterson's (sic) Poem in a Cabinet"

The architect is quoted as saying :
"How we transmit that story I think will be very interesting, and it could be done in a much more dynamic way than, 'Here's Banjo Patterson's poem', and you see it in a cabinet.

Well I disagree.

Valuable material is presented in a glass cabinet to protect it from people touching it because it is real, valuable and important historically. Respected... and dutifully guarded from people, fire and theft. Presented that way in the right feature-lighting it can be made to look like a million dollars... and justifies an entry fee. People go there to connect with Paterson. Waltzing Matilda. It is not all about a costly Architectural exercise.

If it is called a Waltzing Matilda Centre then why not make it about that ... Paterson himself.

Paterson's much loved and brilliant poetry... and if there is insufficient material to fill the space, then why not extend it to an associated section about Australia's unique Bush Poetry and Paterson's poetry friends such as Lawson, Dennis and Jim Grahame. A celebration of Australia's Traditional Poetry. The Man From Snowy River.

It is a wonderful opportunity for Australia's Bush Poetry ! Bush Poetry. I just hope it materialises that way.

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Glenny Palmer
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Re: Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton burned down ...

Post by Glenny Palmer » Fri Aug 26, 2016 12:56 am

That's bonza info Gary. Thanks for posting.....but OH OH! did they REALLY use two 'T"s in his name......again!!!? scratch scratch....hives. :evil:
The purpose of my life is to serve as a warning to others.

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Gary Harding
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Re: Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton burned down ...

Post by Gary Harding » Fri Aug 26, 2016 7:44 am

Yep Glenny, they sure did.... ! :) :) and yes I know this is a pet hate of yours!! haha

.. just for fun check out these two absolute gems :

https://www.dropbox.com/s/692vuzu6sbv5m ... 1.jpg?dl=0

Banjo Patterson Selected Works.

(They probably hope that nobody takes off the dustjacket!)

https://www.dropbox.com/s/q3kxk63pe2asp ... 2.jpg?dl=0

... dustjacket rear of Will Lawson's "Bush Verses" 1943

Also when people took the odd shot at Bush Poetry in the recent Senate Arts Submissions they invariably used "Patterson" which was absolutely hilarious too! ooops, and I thought my spelling was bad.

Enjoy!

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Glenny Palmer
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Re: Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton burned down ...

Post by Glenny Palmer » Fri Aug 26, 2016 11:42 am

OH Gary!! I'll be a walking calamine mummy after seeing THAT!!!??? ...UNBELIEVABLE!!..... :evil: :cry:
The purpose of my life is to serve as a warning to others.

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Re: Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton burned down ...

Post by Gary Harding » Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:24 am

It would be good to find out what is happening about the rebuild but there is nothing at all on-line. The website tells you absolutely nothing.

If the insurance money is $12m then why would you get an architect to design you something that costs at least $20m?? :) :) I find that to be a very big concern.

All the public information I can get is about the original fire, and the grand proposed building. A Houston Space Museum style building (in Winton?). Visions of grand opening ceremonies perhaps and overly optimistic completion dates. Ah...

Not a word about re-stocking....

OK. Criticism is not that constructive so... Here is how I would do it. :)

Firstly find out how many visitors per day the old Centre had. Add 20%, and that determines what you build for. Get an idea of what people would like and expect to see. A bit of market research.

1. Design a practical building that is in keeping with Winton (pop 1600).. that oozes outback and old fashioned charm, not modernity.. and is not incongruous. It should blend with Winton.. and the current design does not IMO. It should be user friendly... not a monument to architectural free-thinking. It may sacrifice some appearance for being fireproof, theft proof (secure), vermin proof and user-friendly. Plus being inexpensive to run and maintain.

2. Develop a sensible project budget. Rather than spend all money on the building, take some and allow for outright purchase of materials and then the ratepayers own them, not borrow them. The items are taken on to the Council's asset register on behalf of ratepayers.

3. Lower the sights, and sensibly budget for a construction costing say $8m BUT one that can be done in stages. A modest stage one at $4m allows you to be up and running rapidly with whatever stock you have, while the additions/expansion can be completed progressively. In thirty years, let some future council do an upgrade to the front and make it grandios. For now, just get on with the business of being back in business. That at least gets the tourist thing going again for the locals, helping to put money back into the local economy. Otherwise I feel it could be years before anything happens if plans are too grand.

4. Make the area especially friendly towards tourists. Silly as it seems, that may mean prioritising good amenities such as toilets, comfort seating and good fresh drinking water on tap .. plus airconditioning. Yep, free coffee. Not having your hand in the visitors' pocket for everything. Easy access and short distances to walk. Good parking. Temperature and humidity control 24/7. Vegetation.

5. Decide what you want to display. This should accord with what visitors expect to see when the name Waltzing Matilda Centre is traded on. For example they are not there to have local art pushed at them, for sale. Especially if they have to pay an entry fee to see it.

I would display :

1. Everything relating to Paterson. If there is a nexus, then display the item but emphasise the connection to Paterson. I see there is a very comprehensive family tree of Banjo Paterson on-line in the ancestry field. Having just recently bought a book signed by Paterson and owned by his first cousin I had reason to visit it and it is fascinating. Why not print it out for tourists and display it prominently. His first cousin Nathaniel was a fascinating guy.

2. Bush Poetry.. especially featuring old classic material. Books. Old classic poets and there are a great selection. Yes a small section for promotion of the Bronze Swagman celebration. Lighting plays a very important part in both featuring and conserving much display material. Specialist stuff, not flouros from Bunnings.

3. Photography. Classic photography (historical) is rapidly gaining interest and value so any genuine old photographs relating to Paterson, or parts of Sydney where he worked.. is all displayable. Winton too.

4. A small shop area for tourist info and selling material such as the great books and booklets produced by ABPA members. What a wonderful display and outlet for publishing ABPA members, including their CD's. Plus Bronze Swagman books.

5. Banjo Paterson medallions, T-shirts, poetry books.. yes even if they are made or printed in China. It is all promotion. "I Waltzed Matilda in Winton" t-shirts etc.

6. Art. Outback art. This is a very tricky one. The Centre or at least the fee-charged section is not an art gallery for promoting local art. However to walk in to the foyer and have as part of the modest decoration some Council-owned work by Pro Hart (considered the father of the outback painting movement), Jack Absalom or some other very "famous name artist" would be nice. I have come across very old Australian art going for remarkably low prices recently. It is worth considering. It sort of lifts things and in a way is a compliment to the visitor. Insure them well though.

7. There are other things no doubt.. old bush artifacts. Militaria perhaps... medals. Letters of the period. Talk to the Banjo Paterson museum in Yeoval, smile sweetly and see what deals can be struck.

8. Having made appropriate provision for safe storage I would launch a public appeal for display material.
On the other hand, one could obtain "promises to loan or sell" items from donors and then only take possession when the (modest) Stage One is complete.

MY very main concern is that Traditional Poetry.. Paterson, Lawson and their contemporaries ...are prominently featured and not ignored or sidelined.

A.B. Paterson.. Waltzing Matilda.. Winton... it is ALL and I mean ALL about Australian ballad poetry. If there is a shortage of physical display material, then there is certainly an acre of wonderful and beautiful old bush poetry material. I know a lot about it having collected it for decades.

I hope that it is how it develops, but to be honest I can see nothing that gives me confidence that that is the way it is going.

I guess everyone has their own view on the direction the rebuild should take. This is just mine, and I claim it as nothing more than that.. no better or worse than other opinions.
Having moved on past the emotional stuff and yes it is agreed it is a sad and tragic loss, the tough part .. the recovery.. has to be addressed.

Personally though I have seen nothing on-line to give me any confidence about the project.
Even the Winton Shire Website.. quote...

"We will keep you updated on the progress of the rebuild as events unfold"... says Cr Butch Lenton, MAYOR, WINTON SHIRE COUNCIL. In the meantime (the website says) if you want to send your cheque etc.... Well I am still waiting for an update as promised, and equally they will be waiting a long time for any cheque from me, I can guarantee that.

"There will be a formal launch of the Waltzing Matilda Recovery Fund in the near future..." ... yeah , right.. the near future.

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Re: Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton burned down ...

Post by Gary Harding » Fri Nov 25, 2016 10:32 am

Good News.
Press Release dated Oct 5th indicates that there has been an allocation of $8m by the LNP Federal Government towards the reconstruction of the Waltzing Matilda Centre.
This I presume is on top of the insurance payment.

I hope the Clancy-style "vision splendid" for the new centre features a major section dealing with Paterson and Australian Bush Poetry. Waltzing Matilda after all was firstly a poem set to music. Paterson and Waltzing Matilda are all about bush poetry.

A relative of mine has an absolutely jaw-dropping niche collection of Australiana including staggering original A.B. Paterson stuff and there was a thought about it being "donated" somewhere... such things would no doubt find a good home in the WMC.

So I know the direction that I would like at least part of the display to go, but as C J Dennis said in Jim Of The Hills...
"Likin' isn't gettin' in the bush," says Daddy Pike.

The possibilities are exciting... there is a lot of money in the pot so I can only hope for the sake of the many future generations of Australians it is spent Wisely and Effectively.

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