Read 20C_News_Summer_2006 text version

Summer 2006 | Volume 4


ISSN 1440-639X


Happy New Year! The Management Committee had its first meeting of 2006 recently and already the year is destined to be a big one. This bumper summer holiday edition includes a special insert by Roy Lumby On Public Sculpture, a fascinating essay not to be missed by anyone interested in the developments of this art form during the twentieth century. Very importantly this edition details the nature and form of the proposed Working Groups as set out in the Management Committee proposal endorsed at our last AGM. Our president, Roy Lumby, is settling comfortably into the role and has much to tell of his activities over the past few months, the much anticipated articles on last years World Congress and "Downtown Delights" walk are there and much more besides! So, sit back in your favourite chair, take in the summer holiday spirit and enjoy the read! John Dymond

And what a party!! The Societys 10th Anniversary Christmas Party was again held at the historic Australian Heritage Hotel at the Rocks on Sunday December 18. Over 30 members braved a hot Sydney summer day to sample unique beers such as Burragorang Bock and the exotic pizza and salad menu, and of course, to solve the problems of the world. 2005 was a good Society year to celebrate, and the 2006 possibilities were a topic of conversation, including the Walks & Talks Events program thats already in train, commencing with the "Around Taylor Square" walk on Sunday January 29th. Another major topic of conversation was the fact that Melbourne has secured the World Congress of Art Deco Societies for 2007, so members were waxing lyrical on the possibilities for pre- or post-Congress events that we could host here in Sydney, as our Society is part of the International Coalition of Art Deco Societies (ICADS). Initial feasibility studies of ideas tabled are now already underway, at least those ideas that can still be remembered! Frank Vowles


Downtown Delights: Trevor Howells explains the significance of the Federation Free Classical Style


From the Editor. The Presidents Report. Art Deco Paintings: a favourite ­ Grace Cossington Smith. New York. A piece of cake. Downtown Delights with Trevor Howells. Society information. Cropper Parkhill Advertorial. Page 1 Page 3 Page 5 Page 6 Page 8 Page 11 Page 12



HERITAGE MATTERS One shouldnt get too optimistic about heritage matters. Just as the last edition of The News hit your letter boxes (or pc terminals), the Society received notice from Parramatta Council advising that an application had been lodged from the owner of Exeter Manor in Macquarie Street, Parramatta, seeking reconsideration of its previous decision rejecting demolition of the surviving facades. Once more, Council has refused to permit their destruction. However, it probably wont end here. The Sydney Bus and Truck Museum in Gannon Street, Tempe, is to remain in its present location. The Society has received correspondence from Transport Minister John Watkins, who has announced that the property on which it is situated is to be subdivided into three allotments. One will remain in the possession of the public and serve as the home of the Museum. The Museums occupancy will be secure under its present lease, which expires in June 2009 and provides for renewal for a further twenty years afterwards. This is a great resolve. The Society gave its support to a request for assistance from the Walter Burley Griffin Society concerning the proposed heritage listing by Willoughby City Council of four houses designed by architect Eric Nicholls in Castlecrag and Middle Cove. Nicholls architectural career took off after he was engaged by Walter Burley Griffin in his newly opened Melbourne office. When the Griffins moved to Sydney in 1924, Nicholls was given control of the Melbourne office, then moved to Sydney in 1930 and took over that office after Griffin died in 1937. He went on to manage a very successful practice and accept the position of Honorary Town Planner for Willoughby Council ­ his work has a pervasive presence in the City and makes a major contribution to its visual character. The four houses were recommended for listing in a study undertaken by Clive Lucas Stapleton & Partners for the Council. A majority of Councillors voted against listing and a rescission motion put forward the following week to enable reconsideration was also rejected.

THE RETURN OF TOM BASS The office building known as AGC House was one of the buildings demolished to make way for the major development at the corner of Hunter and Phillip Streets in Sydney. This 1963 building boasted a sculpture by the mainstay of post World War II corporate prestige, Tom Bass. It was proudly mounted at street level on the Phillip Street façade of AGC House for all to see and admire. The sculpture disappeared, of course, as the project proceeded but, as happened with Basss sculpture that was attached to the former ICI Building in Macquarie Street (lost to make way for the Circular Quay East development), it has reemerged - in a somewhat less appealing location. A narrow and rather gloomy open court extends across the southern end of the development and here the sculpture has been mounted, terminating the vista from Phillip Street. VISIT BY DR IAN DUNGAVELL Dr Ian Dungavell, Director of the Victorian Society, based in London, and Churchill Fellow of 2005, visited in November last. The Victorian Society is a national organization that campaigns to save Victorian and Edwardian era buildings from destruction. Dr Dungavell was awarded the fellowship, which allowed him to travel to several countries to undertake investigation into the ways that community and voluntary organizations (non-governmental and non-profit groups) with no power to prevent change other than by advocacy and education manage to achieve their preservation and conservation goals. He met with American groups in Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington DC before coming to Australia, where he met with representatives of groups in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney. Dr Dungavell discovered us on the internet via our website which he praised as particularly well presented and informative. During his discussions with myself and the Vice President, Dr. Dungavell was also shown publications which are provided to members. He was especially impressed with the booklets provided to attendees on our educational walking


Tours, and we provided a number of these for him to take back to the UK. EXHIBITIONS There are two (if not more) noteworthy exhibitions currently running in Sydney. 100 images selected by the highly respected photographer David Moore are on view at the State Library of NSW, while the Art Gallery of NSW is staging a major showing of the work of the influential artist Grace Cossington Smith. Both produced celebrated and iconic images that contributed to the way twentieth century Australia saw itself. EVERGLADES Seen in the latest Volunteer Vibes, the newsletter of the Everglades Gardens Volunteers:- The National Trust, which owns the property, has allocated $50,000 towards capital works on the property. This will allow important maintenance work and also repainting the inside and outside of the house. Respected paint conservator Julie Whitlam has undertaken investigation into the original paint schemes and has discovered a richness of colour and texture that has not been seen for many years. The intention is to try and recreate what was originally there. It is some time since the Society visited this marvelous part of the Blue Mountains ­ another trip will certainly be in order once the refurbishment of the house is complete. WELCOME TO NEW MEMBERS A warm welcome is extended to our latest new members, Pamela Taylor and Roslyn Burge. ROY LUMBY

Everglades, in the Blue Mountains



I I look across the room at it now and the colour of the red catches my eye. It is Grace Cossington Smiths "The Lacquer Room". It is one of the painters most famous pieces, oil on paperboard, painted in 1935 and 1936. It was acquired by the Art Gallery of NSW in 1967. Grace Cossington Smith was born in 1892 and died in 1984. She lived for 60 years in the family home in Turramurra, travelling twice, for two years to the UK & Europe, and to the UK & Italy. Grace became one of Australias most prolific modernist painters; she began exhibiting in 1928, and "painted what she saw" in different styles until she was 79. Portraits, trees, flowers, city streetscapes, the war effort, crowd gatherings, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, interiors, buildings and some religious pieces. With such a wonderful and varied array of artworks to be drawn to, what is it about The Lacquer Room? I like the strong colour of the chairs which overrides the rest at first, including the soft yellows and the greens. There are opposites at work here, the detail in the lights, the hats and furs, the tea ladies uniforms. Then there is the lack of precision in the dimension of the chairs, the hands, the faint faces; its all wrong and yet the overall result is so right. And there is this intriguing information on the work from the National Gallery of Australia ... * "Identifying the subject of The Lacquer Room, 1936, is problematic" (Such an unusual air about it: and the people who went. I was often there for a cup of tea or lunch). The artist claimed that this sketch for her painting was done in David Jones... I would have seen it before and gone back to draw it. Cossington Smith also spoke of the blond man at the centre - he had bright blue eyes - suddenly looking up and noticing that an artist was sketching him. The difficulty with the sketch and the painting is that the wall decor, the green tabletops and red lacquer chairs correspond not with the Lacquer Room, but with the decor of the Soda Fountain, which opened in November 1927 on

*source: Grace Cossington Smith : A Life, From Drawings in the Collection of the National Gallery of Australia, 1993

the lower ground floor of David Jones new store; when David Jones opened its Lacquer Room, a tea-room adjacent to the seventh floor restaurant, in March 1928, it had almond green chairs and dainty glass-topped tables. A few years later in Farmers store, another Lacquer Room opened and it apparently attracted more interesting customers than its counterpart at David Jones. Had the Soda Fountain at David Jones been renamed by 1936, when the painting of the subject was exhibited with the Contemporary Group at Farmers? Did the Farmers Lacquer Room closely imitate the style of David Jones Soda Fountain, or did the artist sketch the figures from life at Farmers and then copy the Soda Fountain setting from a photograph?" Two competitor retail giants naming their eating establishments the same as each other! Havent times changed...for me the painting now takes on an extra level of interest: thank you Grace. A collection of Grace Cossington Smiths works (including The Lacquer Room), with her sketch books from the National Gallery, was recently on show at the Art Gallery of NSW. The website is Jill Harrison



Our first impression of New York was the bitter cold and driving rain, after spending some days in sunny, hot California. The next was the demon driver who took us from JFK Airport to our temporary home at the Madison Towers Hotel. On the following evening, we were packed equally tightly After registration, the first formal event was in the rarely seen foyer of the 1930 Western Union Building in the TriBeCa district, where we gathered to hear the New York Mayors representative, and New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission Chairman, RobertTierney, declare the coming week to be officially "Art Deco Week". A delightful supper was provided, and the first cake of the week, decorated as a Western Union telegram, was cut ceremonially by the President of the Art Deco Society of New York. One of the highlights, on the following day, was a visit to Radio City Music Hall, which has recently been completely refurbished and looked just stunning. We even had a tour of the ladies and gents "bathrooms" on every floor which were originally decorated by well known artists and, with the amazing foyer, have now been returned to their original full glory. We had a major glitch at one stage when we came upon a bunch of gorgeous young things auditioning to join the Rockettes, and most of the men in the party got left behind ­ they were just too busy ogling and taking photographs. Eventually, we continued on to the penthouse apartment that had been occupied by a founding father, Samuel Lionel Rothapfel (nicknamed Roxy), after whom all of those Roxy cinemas throughout the world were named. This amazing piece of information has shouted us many rounds of drinks since our return! We enjoyed a great lunch at the outdoor Café St Barts on Park Avenue, where we formed friendships with some congress delegates, and then strolled through the accessible areas of the Rockefeller Center, noting the ornate sculpturing in and on many of the buildings. The evening was spent crammed into the 1939 jazz landmark Lennox Lounge in Harlem, which has been

Lyn, Craig, Jill and our new "bosom buddy" Gail

restored carefully by the owners, Alvin Reed Senior and Junior. We dined on soul food and listened to a great vintage jazz band. Its hard to imagine what the collective age of the musicians would have been.

into the Top of the Tower, at the Beekman Tower Hotel, where the second celebratory cake of the week was cut, on this occasion for the 25th Anniversary of the New York Art Deco Society. Once again, we were joined by our fellow ravers from the Society, Lyn and Peter Scaysbrook and from the best table in the house (it pays to be an early bird) we were able to enjoy spectacular views of the East river, Queens and Brooklyn areas. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings were taken up by a series of most interesting lectures in the auditorium of the City university of New York Graduate Center. Coffee and pastry breaks gave us the opportunity to compare notes with other delegates from around the world. These morning lectures were followed by organised walks around various parts of Manhattan, where our knowledgable guides gave us the good oil on those famous New York landmarks. Unfortunately many of the buildings throughout the city were covered with scaffolding, since city ordinances now require regular inspections and maintenance of building facades.


A bus tour of outstanding art deco features of the Bronx district was followed the next day by an excursion to the 1934 Mandel House in Bedford Hills, New York State. This coincided with the first sunny day of the week, and we were able to enjoy another stunning highlight, that gleaming white landmark of Modernism, both inside and out. The owners, Eric and Nanette Brill (and dog, Rusty) have spent a small fortune in restoring the house, where George Gershwin visited often, and the piano that he used there is still in its place. The views across the landscaped gardens from the dining room were quite sensational. In the afternoon we were taken to another amazing feature, the Rye Playland on Long Island Sound, where we enjoyed a barbecue lunch. It is the only Art Deco amusement park in America, having been opened in 1928, and still retaining many of its original facilities. The boating lake looked splendid in the bright sunlight and the recently restored carousel just took our collective breaths away.

Unfortunately time did not allow us to partake of any of the rides. The undoubted highlight of the week was the gala reception for the 75th Anniversary of the Chrysler Building in the recently restored foyer, on the anniversary of its formal opening. This gave us an opportunity to photograph this area without the worry of being harried by security personnel. Many of the guests dressed in period costumes, and provided a most colourful night. Yet another enormous anniversary cake was cut by the ADSNY President, Kathy Hausman. The formalities of the week concluded with the 8th Meeting of the International Coalition of Art Deco Societies in the Herbert Hoover Suite of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, reported in the previous magazine. Jill & Craig Pearce

Mandel House


The tour party takes in the monumental sandstone brickwork of the Central railway concourse


The Society was very privileged in July to have the services of Trevor Howells, senior lecturer in Architecture at the University of Sydney, as a Guest Tour Leader for our exploration of the southern precinct of Sydneys CBD. Trevors knowledge of and enthusiasm for his subject was immediately evident as he took us through Central Railway, discussing the history and the striking features of the construction. It was a beautiful Sydney day of the kind former Premier Bob Carr used to publicly commend to us, and we soon were striding the streets of lower Sydney, attempting to keep up with Trevors slow gallop, so keen was he to show us the fine buildings that grace this quarter and explain the detail behind what we were looking at. Rawson Place in particular inspired him and I must say I had not previously realised how intact the streetscape from George Street up to Central Station is. Moving north, we had to steady ourselves as we took in the sort of style that only Harry Seidler can render. Trevor took us down to the old Liverpool Street Law Courts and explained the markings on the wall outside, NOT a centenary celebration but a careful indication that part of the wall is new, not simply a repair of the old, a distinction that might otherwise be lost to the casual observer. He also explained why the building seems to be hiding; originally there was to be a grand vista whereby the court building would dominate the whole block, but alas, as often happens, money got in the way The formal part of the walk ended with our arrival outside the original Sydney Water Board building, with a thorough explanation of the meaning and history of the magnificent Art Deco entrance and façade. Basically an Ancient Greek poet was chosen to rally the troops and remind the workers of the importance of getting the clean water through... Following the walk, a good time was had by all feasting on yum cha in local Chinatown. All in all a wonderfully enjoyable and educational day. John Dymond


Society tour party views the Classical buildings of Rawson Place

The tour party outside the old Liverpool Street Law Courts.

The Great Southern Hotel in George Street

Harry Seidler in full flight

The striking Art Deco facade of the original Sydney Water Board building.



As mentioned in my Spring Edition editorial, last August at the AGM a special resolution to implement a new Management Committee (MC) structure was passed unanimously. An important aspect of this special resolution included the introduction of WGs. As stated in the background to the special resolution distributed to members:"...The resolution ..formalises the concept of working sub committees into recognised and separately convened Working Groups. ...." As such, the MC may form WGs as it deems appropriate from time to time. Each WG would choose its own Convenor and Secretary, hold its own meetings, liaise with any other WG as it sees fit and generally advance the purpose and role of that WG. Every WG would report and operate subject to the approval of the MC. The initial WGs provided for under the special resolution are:(a) Twentieth Century Heritage Conservation Action; (b) Twentieth Century Heritage Awareness Raising; 20C Heritage Awareness Raising Purpose: To raise the awareness of members and the broader community of heritage and the specific merits of items, sites and precincts with regard to heritage. Role: Recruit participants for the WG. Organise awareness raising events (usually walks, tours, talks). Approach potential speakers and walk/tour guides and continue liaison and support until event conducted. Assemble calendar of events a year in advance and ensure it is publicised by that WG. See to event budget, venue suitability and booking, information leaflet, speaker equipment, itineraries, catering, publicity etc. 20C Heritage Marketing, Profile Raising and New Member Recruitment Purpose: To raise the Society profile and expand the financial base and membership of the Society. Role: Recruit participants for the WG. Pursue fundraising goals set by MC. Run initiatives that may not be predominantly heritage awareness raising but that will strengthen the Society, e.g. theatre nights, cocktail parties, markets, stalls, displays etc. Approach MC-approved potential sponsors, partners and donors for financial assistance. Distribute leaflets widely as part of membership drive. Actively pursue media for coverage of Society and Society events. 20C Publications and Information Production Purpose: To produce quality written material representing the Society. Role: Recruit participants for the WG. Produce regular newsletter (from gathering articles through to distribution). Maintain useful web site. Produce walk leaflets from material provided by guide. Produce society and event publicity and advertising material. Produce membership leaflets and profile raising material, business cards etc. Produce occasional significant editions, e.g. compilation of self guided walks. Assemble and maintain library of graphics/images for future use. The MC is keen to establish and develop these WGs. Membership is now open and we look forward to discussing how you may participate. John Dymond

(c) Twentieth Century Heritage Marketing, Profile Raising and New Member Recruitment; and (d) Twentieth Century Heritage Publications and Information Production. Below I have listed the purpose and roles of these WGs as set out in the initial proposal submitted to the then Committee back in January 2005, which was subsequently endorsed unanimously by that Committee. 20C Heritage Conservation Action Purpose: To influence actual situations to protect worthwhile 20C heritage. Role: Recruit experts to serve WG. Scan for sites or items under threat. Research each subject for action. Write letters and make submissions to decision making bodies. Write submissions on planning changes and planning instrument changes. Run public & media campaigns to support quest for protection. Compile guidelines for others to follow to research and respond. Contribute to NSW database of significant heritage items. Keep archive of this WG activity.



The Twentieth Century Heritage Society of NSW, Inc.

P.O. Box Q1072, QVB Post Office, Sydney NSW 1230, Australia. Phone: + 61 2 9878 2511 Fax: + 61 2 9878 2521 Email: [email protected] Visit our website for the latest news.

Were currently working on a great program for 2006. Keep an eye on our website for updates. You can also download a printable flyer about each upcoming event to stick on your fridge.

President Vice-President

Roy Lumby David Rozenker-Apted

Management Committee:Chair Vice Chair Secretary Treasurer Publications John Dymond Frank Vowles Craig Pearce David Drage John Dymond Matthew Stone Julia Tomkinson Frank Vowles Jill Pearce Gail Conder Jill Harrison

Contributions to the website are welcome. So email us your words, or pictures of interesting or threatened buildings.


Download back issues of The News.

You can easily access selected back issues of The News on our website. They are .pdf files in full colour. Simply go to and visit the Activities page. Then, just hit print and Bobs your uncle.

Advertising in The News is welcome. Please contact the editor to discuss. Current advertising rates are:Quarter page - $ 50 Half page - $100 Full page - $250.

DO YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY? SOMETHING TO PROMOTE? Contributions to this newsletter are welcome, either in the form of an article or a letter to the editor. All submissions may be emailed to the Editor, John Dymond, at [email protected] Text should be in Word format and images preferably in high resolution .jpg format. All material for the Summer Edition should be received on or before 25 November.

Opinions expressed within this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher

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Advertorial feature: Community v. Membership accountability Organizations such as the 20th Century Heritage Society have a challenge to define their purpose and community accountability if they are to manage the balance between their accountability to their members and the public purpose they have in their operation. Pure member service organizations are focussed on meeting the defined needs of their membership. These needs may have charitable or non-charitable purposes. Indeed qualifying self help organizations are now recognized as charities. The Society has as its declared purpose on its website: Committed to protecting and promoting the architectural and design heritage of New South Wales Australia. The Federal Government explained the purpose of its recognition of community service organizations in its charity definition inquiry (see and http: // ) as follows: The intention of this amendment was to create a category of exemption for community bodies whose activities are not accepted as being charitable...but which, nevertheless, conduct activities of benefit to the community It is not defined in the legislation. It is clear, however, that a community service organisation (CSO) must be a non-profit society, association or club that is established for community service purposes. Community service purposes must be its main purposes. Any non-community service purpose of a CSO must be incidental, ancillary or secondary to its community service purposes. In the case of National Council of Women of Tasmania v FC of T as cited in the Charity Definition Inquiry report the following observations are made: The Council disseminated information on issues important to women and made submissions on policy matters being

considered by the Commonwealth and State Governments and at local government level. The association was held to be a CSO. The Administrative Appeals Tribunal noted: In our view it is very significant that...the then Treasurer explained the intended meaning of the words community service purposes by reference not only to the providing or carrying out of activities, facilities or projects for the benefit or welfare of the community, but also to the promoting of such activities, facilities or projects. The Council is very much a promoter of its constituent organisations activities, facilities or projects, more than it is a provider thereof. With few, if any, exceptions, the promoted activities, facilities or projects of the member organisations are very clearly for the benefit or welfare of the community. It is worthwhile considering the extent to which the poerations of the Society may fall within the definition of community service organizations and the extent to which this may lead to a revision of fund raising approaches for the Society that complement the recent operational restructure of the Society. Cropper Parkhill is a law firm focussed on supporting not only businesses within the for profit and not for profit sectors but also the needs of private clients and their associated family and community interests.

Estates and Business Lawyers T +61 2 9232 5000 F +61 2 9232 2467 Email [email protected] Address Level 20, 9 Castlereagh Street, Sydney Free Call Legal Helpline - 1800 803 334




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