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Melbourne to Lose Art Deco Architecture

One of Melbourne’s best known piece of art deco architecure, Lonsdale House, has been condemned to destruction after Victoria’s Planning Minister Justin Madden recently approved the development of Myers new Emporium in its place

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Sean Fishwick, creator of activist website savelonsdalehouse.com, is critical of the approval process that has green lighted the new Myer Emporium that will take the place of Lonsdale House.

His disappointment relates to the lack of public consultation. “There was never any consultation with the public only rumours that Lonsdale House was going to be demolished. The problem is the (Melbourne) City Council don’t need to inform the public of an the ongoing process, and with the a development of this size the government can override any objections.”

The development plans are also a little disappointing in his eyes “While a render is just a render, the number of conceptual changes and downgrades has produced a watered down proposal from the original plans.”

The re-development will serve two purposes. As part of Myer Melbourne’s re-development, Lonsdale House will be transformed into “The Emprorium”, a glass clad building that will complement the design of the buildings that are currently in development.

Another reason behind the destruction of Lonsdale House is to widen Caledonian Lane, to allow delivery easier access for delivery trucks.

Lonsdale House, located at 269-273 Lonsdale St, is one of a diminishing number of art deco style buildings in Melbourne, and is highly regard for its stylised design.

Originally two warehouses, Lonsdale House was designed by IG Anderson at the height of the Art Deco movement during the 1920’s.

Art Deco became a popular art movement following the great depression and was seen as a sign an optimistic outlook on the future after yeas of bleakness.

Melbourne’s Laneways are seen as one of its most redeeming features, and this development leaves Melbourne with one less that laneway for this culture to flourish.

Lonsdale House has always had a strong link with the Myer store, it was built by Myer between 1934 and 1936 after it’s expansion to Lonsdale Street.

Lonsdale House subsequently housed the advertising department of Myers for many years.

The national trust state that the re-development of Lonsdale House will erase not only a characteristic building that ‘is an integral part of the heritage streetscape of Lonsdale Street’, but also one of the ‘now characteristic laneways of Melbourne, and specifically the St Jerome’s bar, home of the laneway festival.’

It adds that the new shopping centre being built by Myer will not allow for the fringe cultural activities that have become a common occurrence in Melbourne’s iconic laneways.

The re-development continues a trend in Melbourne of building ‘generic boxes’ in place of heritage buildings that add to the cultural diversity of Melbourne.

With the impending loss of Lonsdale House, Melbourne risks losing it’s reputation as a centrepiece of art deco architecture with only a handful of buildings left, Mitchell House and Yule house remain as the best examples.

Melbourne Model Threatens Arts Culture

Australia’s only multi-disciplinary practical arts school, The Victorian College of Arts (VCA), is in danger of dissolution with the implementation of a new Melbourne University curriculum.

A VCA student protest march during August

A VCA student protest march during August

The Melbourne Model will limit practical training, introducing a broad undergraduate degree with postgrad specialisation.

Following the VCA’s merger with Melbourne University’s faculty of music in 2007, staffing cuts, in combination with the re-allocation of resources of specialty schools, have threatened the very integrity and structure of the college.

Former VCA Council president Ian McRae, said the merger had occurred because the Howard government refused to provide necessary funding to maintain the essential practical teaching model VCA is renowned for.

”As a consequence of that, you see NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Art) is funded $33,000 a student by the Federal Government,” he said.

”The Victorian College of the Arts, through Melbourne University, is funded $9000, so there’s a funding inequity.”

Federal Arts Minister Peter Garrett corrected the record, stating funding was conditional to VCA broadening the skills and repertoires of students, and working closer with the Melbourne University.

Mr Garrett said the question how states drive their curriculum is a matter for their own jurisdiction and the commonwealth can have an opinion on this.

“The commonwealth, the university and Victorian government are still working through these issues,” he said.

“Even though we do fund some training institutions, the VCA is funded through Julia Gillard’s education portfolio.”

Ms Gillard has not ruled out the possibility of increased funding for the VCA, in a press conference earlier this month expressing her concern.

“The VCA is an important institution, we are prepared to work collaboratively with the State Government, with the college itself with the University of Melbourne on it’s future.”

This is an issue that has attracted the support of a number of high profile names from the arts community with Geoffrey Rush and Julia Zemiro turning out at organised protests during August.

11 former Victorian Arts Ministers from both sides of politics, including Race Mathews, Jeff Kennett and Mary Delahunty, have also formed a coalition arguing against the proposed merger and plan to meet with Melbourne University Vice-Chancellor Glyn Davis.

Ex-Minister Mathews said the group had felt a “dawning realisation of the imminent loss of a major arts resource.”

VCA Lecturer Ros Walker had expressed her delight over the coalition support.

“It felt like the calvary had arrived, as arts ministers they know exactly the value of the VCA to the economy and the Victorian arts industry.”

As part of the new “economic response program” many VCA staff have lost their jobs already and the faculty has been targeted for further redundancies.

It is anticipated a further 220 full-time teaching and administration staff will be let go over the coming months.

A spokeswoman for Dean of VCAM (VCA) Sharman Pretty said Melbourne University is committed to consulting with stakeholders as part of a review of the VCA’s curriculum and funding arrangements.

CCTV Curbs Violence Alone

Rye Police Station

Melbourne’s most recent fight against crime has inner city residents under constant surveillance.

Following the recent surge in violent crime surrounding the CBD, Melbourne City Council will increase the number of CCTV security cameras operating within the CBD amidst reports of diminishing police patrols on city streets.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle has said that the cameras are a vital aspect in efforts made by the council to try and curb city crime.

In an article written by Peter Gregory (theage.com.au) on August 19, 2009, Doyle issued a statement asserting that while the cameras cannot physically stop drug affected or alcohol impaired persons from doing the wrong thing, surveillance footage “makes for very good evidence.”

Neighbouring council district, the City of Glen Eira remains the sixth largest municipality out of seventy-nine regions Victoria wide. Boasting 130,00 residents, Mayor Helen Whiteside of the Glen Eira City Council considers this area to be a safe district, with “drug and alcohol related violence a very rare occurrence”.

As the thirteenth Mayor of Glen Eira, Ms. Whiteside has a strong working relationship with Constable Margaret Louis of the Caulfield Police Station, to make a “conceited effort in having a visible authority presence in the City of Glen Eira”.
Ms. Whiteside believes the evident safety within Glen Eira is due to the visibility of police on the streets. “Police in uniform are respected and people are immediately aware of their presence”.

The issue of implementing CCTV cameras outside of the CBD is a matter of which Ms. Whiteside has no concern for. She believes that fixed cameras within the CBD do not have the same effect as the police do, and has said that it’s something she “feels very strongly about”.

The Mayor has spoken out, saying fixed cameras do not make a difference to people, and are just “revenue raising”. She believes there should be more visible police presence in the city – police in “marked cars, in an effort to show they are really serious about safety and crime”.

In 2005, Ms. Whiteside’s son was a victim of a violent CBD bashing. Described as a “sensible young man”, he left the city nightclub to withdraw money from an automatic teller, when struck on the side of the head with a metal bar. The unknown offender left his victim in the gutter, surrounded by a pool of blood.
Ms. Whiteside’s son later underwent eye surgery for a detached retina.

Violent incidents like these, however, are not just limited to the inner city nightlife.

Mornington Peninsula residents are often subjected to witness drug and alcohol related aggression. Located about 95 kilometres south of Melbourne, the town of Rye has previously been the subject of grave concern for Victoria Police.

News Years Eve celebrations have been previously gotten out of control, with crowds rioting and attacking police officers with bottles and chairs.
These violent assaults have raised questions about the personal safety of police members and what other alternatives there are in maintaining the safety of Port Phillip residents.

Constable M. Schultz of the Sorrento Police Station has said that violent behaviour, whether fuelled by alcohol or not, is “unacceptable and will not be tolerated” within the Mornington Peninsula.

“The growing number of young teenagers excessively drinking and not being in control of their actions is shameful and a huge concern” Constable Schultz said.

The vast and often isolated areas of the Port Phillip region remain underpopulated for CCTV surveillance cameras to function with any remote success.
The main issues surrounding the Peninsula are the extreme drinking sessions taking place in people’s homes, public beaches and parks.

Constable Schultz remains sceptical on following the City Council’s surveillance camera approach.
“You can’t put security cameras in private homes and every stretch of beach. It’s just not practical”, he said.

54 CCTV cameras have now been put into operation around in known trouble spots around Melbourne’s CBD.

Street Violence in Melbourne

Ryan Leigh Johns has received a eight month jail sentence after kicking a innocent bystander several times at Casey’s nightclub earlier this year. It is a similar case to when Johns was imprisoned in 2003 after killing Aaron Linskens with a fatal roundhouse kick to the head.


-Map of Casey’s nightclub in Hawthorn, Melbourne. 

In 2002 at the Village Green Hotel in Mulgrave Aaron Linskens was also an innocent bystander watching a fight take place in the car park. It was here that Johns unprovoked delivered one roundhouse kick to Linskens head that would be the cause of his death.


-Map of The Village Green Hotel in Mulgrave, Melbourne. 

At the time of Linskens death, Johns was on a twelve-month good behaviour bond for kicking a man in the head. Johns’ prior convictions were in July 2001 for kicking a man in the head, and in October 2001 he broke a man’s nose.

This year Johns was sentenced to twelve months for his attack on Andrew Colback at Casey’s nightclub. Johns pleaded guilty early, to intentionally causing injury and harassing a witness so the court offered him just eight months in jail. For Linskens’ death, Johns was charged with reckless murder. On the fourth day the prosecution accepted a guilty plea to the lesser charge of manslaughter. Johns received a six-year jail sentence with a minimum of three and half years. Johns served the minimum three and a half years.

VIDEO: Brutal club assault
-CCTV footage of John’s attacking Andrew Colback at Casey’s nightclub. 

Recently street violence in Melbourne has become a growing concern. Sentencing scandals like these have left many wanting more to be done. Luke Egginton, who has worked in the security industry and is now in his final stages of joining the Victoria Police Force said “there is no doubt that the violence in Melbourne’s streets has increased”. Eggintons’ views on whether penalties for street violence in Melbourne are strong enough to prevent people committing such acts said he believes harsher penalties are needed for individuals who cause violent acts as the current repercussions for such are not a sufficient deterrent.

Noel McNamara is the president of the Crime Victim Support Association. The CVSA looks after victims of violent crime anywhere in the state of Victoria. When asked if he thinks there has been surge in street violence in Melbourne McNamara said “we have a great problem with violence in our streets at the moment.” McNamara said he certainly believes not enough is being done by the government, police and emergency services to combat Melbourne’s street violence.

When asked about the Ryan Johns case and whether he thinks penalties for such crimes are severe enough to deter likely offenders, McNamara said ‘no, not really”. McNamara also said he thought it was wrong for the prosecution to accept the plea bargain of a lesser charge of manslaughter for Aaron Linskens murder and said he does not believe in the use of plea bargaining at all.

On possible solutions, Luke Eggington said “harsher penalties must be applied and enforced to not only bring those responsible to justice but also provide a strong influential deterrent for others”. Noel McNamara said “to get tougher because this softly softly approach clearly doesn’t work”.


-Full video interview with Noel McNamara, President of the Crime Victims Support Association.

Melbourne To Lose Piece Of Architectural Culture

Lonsdale House was completed in 1935. The facade, designed by IG Anderson, was built to combine two warehouses. It is an example of the Art Deco style that was popular in the interwar period, and which is now prized by architecture enthusiasts.

The Art Deco and Modernism Society Australia has stated that Lonsdale House is a “ wonderfully iconic and elegant building.” It is feared that if the redevelopment goes ahead then Melbourne will risk losing some of it’s reputation as a great heritage city.

The building will be demolished to make way for new section of Myer, that will be called “The Emporium”.

While Lonsdale House has enjoyed some protection form the Melbourne City Council in the past, they have not lodged any protest to the current plans – the Victorian Planning Minister personally approved the plans.

The story will feature an embedded video that features an interview with Sean Fishlock, an individual who has led the protests against the demolishing of Lonsdale House. Shots of Lonsdale House as well as other examples for art deco and futurist architecture in Melbourne will also be included. Sean has agreed to a an interview for this story.

I am also aiming to conduct another interview that will provide a pro-development perspective that will help balance the story, either from the Victorian Government, Melbourne City Council or the property developer Colonial Global Asset Management, but have yet to hear back from any of the sources.

The story will also feature other elements to make the most of the medium. A Google map will be embedded for curious readers to see exactly where the building is situated in Melbourne. Also links to flickr galleries featuring Lonsdale House will also be provided.

Melbourne Model threatens Arts Culture

The University of Melbourne is in the process of dissolving The Victorian College of Arts (V.C.A.). Established in 1972, V.C.A. has grown a reputation as Australia’s only multi-disciplinary practical arts school, providing students a specialised, practical education in a wide range of the arts including dance, drama, film and television, music and music theatre, production and puppetry, and the visual arts.

In 2003, under the Higher Education Support Act implemented during the year, the Federal Government’s reform included the introduction of a new model of consistent funding for academic clusters. V.C.A. as a specialized college, did not qualify due to its relatively small intake and soon aligned itself with the larger University of Melbourne for financial stability.

The University of Melbourne has now set out in its 2012 Business Plan to dissolve the V.C.A. specialty schools, threatening the very integrity and structure of the college.

This is a current issue of key proximity to the Melbourne youth culture, that has generated a great deal of protest and growing support behind V.C.A. The cause has also received ongoing media coverage, of particular interest being the two following news print sources:

26/08/09 The Age, Cover – “Arts move draws howl of protest

22/08/09 The Age, Page 5- “Students grin and bare it in protest

I am looking to approach staff and students directly to gather research and develop information surrounding staffing cuts, in combination with the re-allocation of resources, and the effect this has had on the quality of education at the V.C.A. I have already confirmed face-to-face interviews with Film and Television student Mingmei Lei, and V.C.A. Dean, Sharman Pretty.

As this story will be ongoing, our blog will be the perfect medium of publication so the article may be updated as news breaks. I will need to maintain balance in my article and will look to give voice to both the students and staff of the V.C.A and The University of Melbourne, to ensue readers receive a comprehensive summary of the issue.

I will finish the article with a forecast of the effects the dissolution of V.C.A. may have on Melbourne’s reputation as a destination for education in the arts. I will also include an interactive discussion board with key questions to coincide with the report to generate reader participation.

News Report Proposal

For the hard news article featured on our MCultureVulture blog, I plan to focus on the safety and security of Melbourne’s city streets. One of the main campaigns Lord Mayor Robert Doyle has focused on this year is the increase of security cameras within the CBD. This comes after many reports of the diminishing police patrols on the streets. The police media however, have denied this, and said that, “police patrols in the CBD have increased in recent years.”
I want to investigate the response to the security cameras and whether or not Melbourne citizens have the same sense of security as they do with seeing police out on the streets and interacting with the public.
As this is a hard news story, I plan to interview a direct source, Glen Eira city council Mayor, representative, Cr. Helen Whiteside, on whether the City of Glen Eira should follow the implementation of the ‘safe city cameras program’, and whether or not she believes it will assist in preventing street violence. My key questions will focus around the analysis of street violence around the inner city suburbs, as well as the amount of visible police presence in the area.
My second source will be Constable M. Shultz from the Sorrento police station. The Mornington Peninsula region has faced a growing number of violent attacks on local citizens, which goes hand in hand with growing crime and aggression within the CBD. Well out of the city, I plan to question Constable Shultz on the police presence of Port Phillip and whether or not security cameras should be implemented just as the CBD have done.
After reading the critiques of my original proposal, I think interaction with the public would add depth to my story, so I aim to include an opinion poll in my article as well.

News Report Proposal

The news report I intent to research and develop is about the growing epidemic of violence in Melbournes’ nightlife. The story will look at whether laws governing violence, and penalties for violence are strong enough to prevent violence occurring. The news value of the story is that it is a current (timely) issue. Recently there has been a huge surge of violent acts in nightclubs and pubs in Melbourne. It also has proximity, as our blog is about Melbourne and this is a serious issue for Melbourne. 

Documentary sources: 
http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,26016694-661,00.html
This is an article about Ryan Johns who kicked a victim several times in the head on a dancefloor earlier this year. This is not Johns first attack. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter and has served 3.5 years in jail after a fatal attack on Aaron Linskens in 2002. This article also has CCTV vision of Johns attack earlier this year. The blog may hyperlink to it. 

http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,26019203-2862,00.html
An article where Dianne Linskens, mother of Aaron Linskens, speaks out about how she cannot believe he has attacked again. 

http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/10/28/1067233171700.html 
An article about the court case of Ryan Johns facing charges for the death of Aaron Linskens. 

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/vic/VSC/2003/415.html
This is the court summary of where Ryan Johns pleaded guilty to manslaughter of Aaron Linskens.


Interviews:
Noel McNamara: Noel is the head of the Crime Victims Support Association.  
Elly Ferguson: Elly works at Daiseys nightclub in Ringwood East. 
Luke Eggington: Luke worked as a security guard for various events and clubs. Now pursuing a career as a policeman.