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A Short History of the AIPR Trust Fund-Education

When the Australian Institute of Parks and Recreation (predecessor to Parks and Leisure Australia) established a Trust Fund – Education on 8 February 1974, it had no particular project in mind, but a general desire that the Institute should make a long-term investment in the future of the parks and recreation professions.

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Review Status:

History of parks and recreation in Australia

This narrative has been lightly edited from a draft written in 1994 by the late Frank Keenan, a co-Founder of the AIPR Trust Fund-Education. It has aged well.

Introduction

Initial development of the parks and gardens of Australia and the recreation movement was dominated by two major influences. Firstly the British heritage of the original settlers led to the desire that the new colonies would contain those elements of their home country which they most cherished. Prominent among these was their gardens, both private and public, which were the result of the interest in horticulture at all levels of government and the society generally. Thus Australia inherited the skills of the excellently-trained horticultural artisans and garden planners in the same manner as the other British colonies in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. So the traditional English landscape including its associated plant species became an integral part of the towns and cities. The environment of the urban areas of Australia has been widely characterised by the contrast between the surrounding countryside and the parks, gardens and street trees of the towns and cities.

Secondly has been the development of recreation. Unlike horticulture, in which the government and community bodies set aside land for public parks and gardens, assisted in the development of these areas and helped finance the procurement of plants, the recreation groups were established by voluntary workers from within the community. In the early years the government assistance was limited to actions ensuring the survival of the colony. Then followed the development of the essential services for community life. Consequently, people themselves using the pioneering spirit common to the early settlers established their own leisure activities, using land, water and any other resources that were available.

 

Evolution of horticultural styles

With few exceptions the native flora is evergreen with a high percentage of eucalyptus and offering a landscape completely different from that introduced by the British colonists. The first towns of Sydney and Hobart were developed as penal settlements and since their administrators came from military and seafaring backgrounds, they had little knowledge of conservation and horticulture and it was not until the arrival of the first settlers that there was any substantial movement in establishing parks and gardens. Thus as the early surveyors developed the town plans, areas were set aside for public open space and the new settlers began building their new environment using the ingredients dear to their heart. Thus, today in our earliest-developed localities, the prevailing trees are deciduous types which, with the aid of irrigation and the absence of natural predators, have flourished. However by the beginning of the second half of the 20th century many changes to this pattern had evolved. Australians have now begun to understand and treasure their indigenous plants resulting in firstly, conservation measures being taken to ensure the protection of native flora and secondly, the use of these native plants as part of their horticultural planning in new developments. This philosophy is now being put into practice by the introduction of tertiary education in such fields as town planning and landscape architecture, together with Australia-wide training in associated crafts such as apprenticeship schemes.

 

Recreation

The development of people’s leisure time activities in the early years was entirely dependent on their own motivation. Those open spaces being provided by government were preserved for environmental and aesthetic purposes with recreation limited to such things as walking, socialising over refreshments in the tea house and listening to the local brass band. All forms of sporting activity were forbidden in such places. Thus as the colonists formed their sporting groups and similar leisure-time community organisations, they either used private land and buildings or lobbied the government, including local authorities, for permission to reserve Crown land for community purposes. It was not until the early twentieth century that financial assistance began to be made available to assist in the development of playing fields and associated buildings. Because these recreation grounds were developed by sporting administrators with little knowledge of landscape design, and without finance to seek outside assistance, these sporting areas contributed little to the community environment. It is only from about the late 1960s that planning controls have been exercised and sports fields have become elements of town plans, complete with landscaping standards and maintenance programs.

The work of organising these sporting groups was performed by members of the public in their own time and at their own expense. This pattern of volunteer organisation in all forms of sport involving every age group has now developed with possibly the leading example of volunteer community action in the western world. As the facilities became more sophisticated and sporting bodies more competitive, the spirit of the original pioneers became the driving force that propelled Australia into world prominence in sporting spheres. Again this movement has been greatly assisted by the accepted practice by which leading sportsmen and women, after standing down from active participation, returned to their clubs as coaches and administrators, thus providing a role model for the younger generation to follow and to ensure that national standards were maintained.

In those cultural fields associated with community leisure, the pattern of volunteers ‘participation was similar to those of sporting activities. However the heritage of the early British settlers ensured that their traditions were followed: a new land with more affluent residents becoming financial patrons of the arts. With this background, successful organisations were established in both the performing and the graphic arts. However as in other western societies, higher taxation on private families saw bodies struggling to exist and in 1968, the federal government established the Australian Council for the Arts. This meant that for the first time in the country, government accepted the responsibility of organising and heavily subsidising the arts movement. These actions also ensured that the artists themselves were given every opportunity of earning a reasonable salary including their employment as teachers and coaches.

 

Parks management

In the latter part of the twentieth century, the management of parks and recreation systems has undergone considerable changes. Traditionally the administration of urban public open spaces has been vested in local government. The greater proportion of this land is publicly owned, classified as Crown land with the ultimate control of its use resting with the appropriate state government minister. The local council is commonly nominated as the trustee to manage the land; however in specific cases independent trusts who bypass the council but are still responsible to the minister have been established.

Until recently councils were comparatively small structures with the Town Clerk or the Chief Executive Officer being the General Manager and the City Engineer being responsible for the outdoor activities. This work covered the parks, gardens and open spaces and to assist him the council employed a superintendent of parks and gardens, who performed the role of the city gardener under the British concept of that period. It was only in the state capital cities that the parks departments were operated as autonomous bodies with the chief officer answerable to the council.

Today [~1994] these routines are in the process of change. In several states, including those of the eastern seaboard in which the greater proportion of the population resides, local government is being reorganised. The smaller councils in New South Wales have been amalgamated into much larger bodies and in Victoria a similar exercise is taking place. These moves will have obvious effects on parks and gardens management and staffing arrangements.

Two other changes in the higher echelon of council employment are also having an influence in this field. Firstly is the emergence of the town planner as a major force in the development of new areas and reconstruction of the older cities. This person is now taking over the planning of the open spaces and employing landscape architects, formerly working with the parks and gardens sections. Likewise has been the emergence of the municipal recreation officer. This particular move has seen a change in the city gardener philosophy with a parks and gardens responsibility being limited to maintenance. Today the Australian tradition of reliance of volunteers in organising its leisure activities is now being boosted by the employment of professionally trained staff.

Another change affecting local government is the move to privatise the staff in the construction and maintenance of parks and gardens. Currently [1994] council officers are undergoing educational training to ensure that new policy can be effectively implemented.

Other forms of open space used for specific purposes including zoological gardens, foreshores and cemeteries are not usually operated by councils. As these community facilities were developed in the pioneering days when local government was in its infancy, state governments accepted the responsibility and commonly established independent trusts consisting of leading members of the community, together with those having the necessary professional and technical skills. Such bodies were directly responsible to the minister and many are still in existence today.

There is also a limited number of privately-owned parks, notably golf courses, racing tracks and sports stadiums, usually managed by private recreation clubs. In the main, these bodies have purchased their own land, although in a number of instances Crown land has been made available under controlled conditions.

Finally, in the latter part of the twentieth century, there has been a marked increase in tourist resorts ranging from those centred around the sea and sunshine, to specific theme parks and those built around recreation features with the emphasis on golf courses, many of which are of international championship standard. There is little doubt that these type of recreation facilities will increase as the tourist industry in Australia increases in order to meet the demands of the nearby Asian countries, Japan in particular.

 

Role of the Royal Australian Institute of Parks and Recreation (now Parks and Leisure Australia)

The original moves to co-ordinate the horticultural industry in Australia date from the early days of colonisation. It was then that the first horticultural societies were formed, but it was not until 1926 that the managers of public open spaces met to establish their own group. This new body originally named the Victorian Tree Planters Association, was to set up in that State, its foundation members being a mix of politicians, nurseryman and curators of parks, gardens and street plantations. The Association became the Victorian Institute of Parks Administration in 1955. In 1962 it expanded nationally as the Australian Institute of Park Administration, and in 1965, it was reconstituted to become the Australian Institute of Parks and Recreation. In 1977 it was granted the royal charter to become the Royal Australian Institute of Parks and Recreation (RAIPR).

During the latter part of the nineteenth century the planning concept of the ‘garden city’ was introduced to Australia after successful ventures in the United Kingdom. A suburb of Melbourne developed according to garden city principles between 1926 and 1948 still carries that name. Town planners adapted to this movement by specifying the quarter-acre allotment for each individual home and the average Australian used most of this land to develop the house garden. Thus the urban areas of residential use virtually became one large garden in which houses were erected, and the effect has been very satisfactory, particularly amongst the more prosperous and house-proud residents. Thus it was not surprising that in 1975 the State Government promoted Victoria as the Garden State and appointed a Garden State Committee as an advisory body to ensure the development of this character. The most tangible evidence of this action was the words on all motor vehicles registration plates, Victoria Garden State.

In all of these initiatives the Institute has been involved. In its early years, it led by example in organising tree planting schemes bordering major highways, and arboreta in which to conduct tree trials. Further, its annual conferences have had a major influence in the interaction between politicians and park managers.

The Institute was the first group in the nation to recognise the public recreation movement, in 1965, at least six years before all levels of government introduced ministries and departments of recreation and leisure activities. It modified its constitution and changed its name. As such it ensured compatibility between the old and its new disciples operating in the same field, and was well equipped to be represented in those advisory bodies established by both the federal Government and the state authorities.

 

Review Status: Pending

Glen Rock Master Plan

When staff of the Land Planning Branch of the Department of Lands, managers of the Regional Open Space System from its commencement in 1994, recommended that the Glen Rock property in the Gatton hinterland be purchased for public purposes, the intended purpose was as a demonstration cattle property. Given its proximity to the metropolis, the range of vegetation types from Creek Flats to mountaintops and the sensitivity of the land to soil erosion, it was considered that it would make an excellent facility to showcase landcare principles and practice. This was consistent with development as a regional park. Continue Reading

Review Status: Pending

Karawatha Forest Discovery Centre: Wilderness pedagogy

Karawatha means the ‘place of pine trees’ in Yugambeh, the local Aboriginal language. This precious area traverses Brisbane City Council and Logan City Council, eighteen kilometres south of the Brisbane city centre. This is an important National Estate area: historically for Indigenous peoples; ecologically for endemic and IUCN red-listed species; technically for early settlers with mining and water storage; socially for family recreation and tourist sightseeing; environmentally as a nature refuge with diverse ecosystems and also as a wetlands habitat for Brisbane ‘living lungs’ carbon sequestration; and economically as a community investment for future generations to learn about wilderness.

Karawatha was an integral part of the Flinders-Greenbank-Karawatha (FGK) green belt for South-east Queensland stretching from historic Redlands through Brisbane, Logan, Beaudesert and Ipswich municipalities to Flinders Peak. Over thirty years, the community was instrumental in the donation, bequest and buy-back of 1000 hectares of land from diverse stakeholders in order to keep the Karawatha Forest corridor intact. High-value biologically-diverse habitats include many of those twenty-five identified ecosystems registered for South-east Queensland (NRM, 2006). The wetlands of the Logan Shire contrast sharply against the dry landscapes and rocky pinnacle overlooking five surrounding townships. For an intricate map, click here (soon – not yet active).

This narrative focuses on the evolution, design, development and management of the Discovery Centre, respecting original Council by-laws, but subsequently evolving into much more: a purpose-built facility for community and environmental education focused on the interaction of children with the natural realm. This was a major step forward for innovative experiential learning. The Karawatha Forest Protection Society was pivotal to the process.

 

Understanding community attitudes

The multicultural population in the local towns shared their perspective of the Australian bush as a ‘dangerous place’ with spiders in every tree, snakes everywhere, ‘drop bears’, nasty amoeba in every waterhole, biting insects, sunburn leading to skin cancer and predatory raptors swooping their children from the sky. Several members of the Karawatha Forest Protection Society (KFPS) conducted multicultural sessions for appreciation of the bush, firstly in local libraries and then in the forest itself. On KFPS community picnic days, wildlife rangers and television personalities allowed fearful families to understand more, as children embraced lizards and felt furry animals, while parents and grandparents were petrified. In some cases, those Asian families had lived generations in concrete jungles with no exposure to the natural benefits of wilderness. To see attitudes change from fear to a healthy appreciation was significant and reassuring. This strongly influenced the principles for designing the ‘Eco-centre’ project.

The KFPS surveyed 107 users of the forest at the Acacia Road entrance, the local school principal and the church elders who were riparian land owners. Responses were collated on a matrix of desirable design features by staged development timeframes of two years, five years, ten years, 30 years and 100 years. The intent was a design for sustainable public place-making.

The design brief

Every fortnight for many months, representatives met with KFPS and Council departments to refine desirable outcomes, operating expectations, environmental impacts, community involvement and funding. The staff became enthusiastic project leaders. The design brief was for future generations:

  • interacting with the natural systems within the forest;
  • conquering ‘nature deficit disorder’;
  • demonstrating nature play and exercise programs for all ages and abilities;
  • understanding ancient Indigenous stewardship and spirituality of the place;
  • incorporating scientific studies with new technology for day and night eco-auditing for many international stakeholders interested in rare and endemic species;
  • providing dedicated space for onsite education and training and community meetings;
  • undertaking cultural awareness sessions with some historical recognition;
  • incorporating low-environmental-impact free facilities (drinking water, toilets, buildings, family picnic areas, playgrounds, educational walks, GPS-assisted wayfinding with language translations, signage, and broader community spaces);
  • integrating with the natural environment with minimal disruptive footprint; and
  • facilitating safe use of the forest (minimising night crimes and unauthorised fires, mitigating fire risk to new townhouse development adjacent to the school and managing traffic safely).

7-senses approach to play

This also capitalised on the project where attention-deficit children would undertake a supervised six-week-programme with nature immersion (Tooth & Renshaw, 2017), which continuously resulted high success rates for permanent improvement in children’s behaviour. This further exemplified the values of the Last Child in the Woods (Louv, 2005) with the movement to address nature-deficit-disorder emerging from people having no connection to natural landscapes, as globally urbanisation affected half the world’s population. Teachers, PhD students, Queensland Environmental Educators’ school champions, outdoor education practitioners and parents were keen to see the latest thinking put into practice.

The ‘Nature Play’ playgrounds were not a favourite for public risk assessors at the time. However there were global innovations with successful case studies to support inclusion. Furthermore, providing for physically and intellectually impaired children, and for the ageing and disabled people generally, became a priority. This emerged as Queensland Parliament signed the United Nations Declaration for Rights of the Disabled Persons applying to all designs for public spaces. This resulted in achievement of the 7-senses approach to play (Volbert). Senses include sight, smell, touch, sound, taste and two extra for children on the autism spectrum – vestibular (for gravity, balance and movement) and proprioception (for deep-sense coordination and muscle interaction). So, the plan embraced indoor and outdoor learning techniques.

The outcome

The Discovery Centre (aka Eco-centre) comprises a low-maintenance building planned for a century asset-life, designed to integrate into the forest and community space in the recreational parklands. The building itself houses drink fountains, an artist-in-resident space, training room with community meeting space, sanitation, maintenance shed, ranger’s office with tourism reception area and most importantly the multi-purpose space for community engagement and interactive learning for school children.

Upon entry, many languages welcome the visitor and then hologram frogs on waterlilies with babbling water bring the space to life. A video scans the space. The interactive parts deserve further explanation.

By air: A drone acts as a wedge-tail eagle complete with wing flapping and windy sound effects as we lie on a padded bench to assume the role of the raptor surveying all that lies below on the 1000 hectares, across the Compton Road overpass (designed to prevent animal deaths on the busy freight road), the glider ladders straddling the transport canyon, the hidden underpass where reptiles slither in the drain while amphibians hop and clamber across ledge ‘furniture’, the reservoir, the waterhole, the quarry scars, the rocky lookout, the buzzing wetland swamps with diverse foliage and birdlife, the old cemetery and surrounding townships. But most striking is the raw bush, sometimes dry, rocky and harsh, sometimes wet and abundant.

By day and night: For a day in the life of the forest, a room with padded seats quickly introduces us to the local species with the sounds, sights and movements complete with cicada heralding the heat before a lightning storm and peaceful dawning glory. The fast-motion immersion makes senses react.

By curiosity: Small boxes beckon children to feel things inside to identify as they learn in this safe environment. Play School-style windows and panels open to the stories of native bees, furry animals, pine cones and fires, flowers and 25 types of frogs.

By play: a seated school and play area is available for parents and teachers, where walls are lined with maps and illustrations and museum style cabinets house live animals for children to find and touch. This is a supervised zone.

For adults there are many more things to see and do in Karawatha (peripatetic andragogy) but this story is limited to designing for children’s nature-based education. Outdoor programs are covered comprehensively elsewhere on the Karawatha website.

 

Logos of Karawatha Forest Protection Society

 

Vincent Watego, graphic artist, nature-lover and photographer, created this painting of the Green-thighed Frog, Litoria brevipalmata.

IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) red listed species.

Marilyn Murphy’s line-drawing was the winning entry in an art competition held in ~1990. KFPS have proudly used this logo since incorporation.  The logo depicts the gumnuts & leaves of Eucalyptus planchoniana, a.k.a. Planchon’s Stringybark, Needlebark Stringybark or Bastard Tallowwood: Koala feed trees for food and perhaps shelter (sleep trees).

 

This story honours the three women – Bernice Volz, Trish McHugh, and Polly Cutcliffe – who cared enough to establish the Karawatha Forest Protection Society, 31 years ago, to include stewardship of Karawatha Forest, Illaweena Wetlands and the Kuraby Nature Refuge and bushlands (Roberts, 2021).

 

References

Brisbane City Council. Karawatha Forest Discovery Centre. Video https://youtu.be/FG207_pP2QA

Louv, R. 2005. The Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. Algonquin Books.

Maynard, S., James, D. & Davidson, A. 2010. ‘The Development of an Ecosystem Services Framework for South East Queensland‘. Environmental Management 45, 881-895.

NRM. 2006. Natural Resource Management of South East Queensland – Mapping Ecosystems Services.

Roberts, Beryl. 2021. Unpublished works on the History of Karawatha,

Tooth, R. & Renshaw, P. 2017. ‘Pedagogy as advocacy in and for place’. Chapter 10 in Diverse Pedagogies of Place. Routledge.

Volbert, T. The 7 Senses Foundation and colleagues.

Review Status: Pending

Vale John Wood, 1945-2021

John Wood, Life Member of both Parks & Leisure Australia (PLA) and Outdoors Queensland; PLA Fellow; recipient of the PLA Frank Stewart Award (2012) and the Queensland Outdoor Recreation Award for Outstanding Achievement (2003); and retired Owner & Director of John Wood Consultancy Services, passed away in September 2021.

John was a generous, humble, and unassuming gentleman and a legend of the recreation, open space planning and natural area management fraternity in Australia from the mid-1970s. John’s national and international achievements across a wide range of disciplines speak for themselves. Few people can boast both the academic and hands-on project experience that John demonstrated with equal merit over his distinguished career. While he successfully advised government agencies on an array of projects, his passion was outdoor recreation where his expertise has been sought in tourism planning, national park planning, open space planning, master planning, trails, and natural resource planning. John’s specialist expertise has been acknowledged by several major local government agencies who have engaged him as an expert witness in complex cases involving open space and recreation matters.

John was born in Laidley, Queensland and grew-up in the Brisbane suburb of Camp Hill, exploring the then-wilderness of what is known today as Seven Hills Bushland Reserve and Whites Hill Reserve. While devoted to his family, John also selflessly volunteered his time as an advocate on many government, professional, academic and community bodies; and to present or facilitate at conferences where he has shared his knowledge and expertise. He devoted a lifetime of commitment to promoting and supporting the leisure industry and in the various professional roles he has held throughout his career, has served as a mentor for many. John Wood was a role model of professionalism and credibility in the leisure industry and a greatly respected consultant; his trademark was personified in his qualities of integrity, honesty, and humility. In John’s own words “Be positive, dream big, give it your all, learn from your mistakes.”

John was closely involved with the development of the Parks and Recreation Collection from its genesis. As convener of the Research group of PLA, he welcomed the advent of the Collection as a repository for the large volume of scholarly knowledge materials that he had accumulated over the years, notably the Research Connections series of annotated bibliographies. Also, as a long-standing senior member of PLA, he was integral to the steps taken to ensure that PaRC would meet the needs of PLA for archiving its own documentary knowledge. By celebrating John’s life here, the site is serving one of its purposes of keeping alive the knowledge and insights of the ‘greats’ of the profession.

 

John’s passing is a great loss to the parks and leisure sector and he will be deeply missed.

This account of John and his work is adapted from a newsletter of Parks and Leisure Australia.

Review Status: Pending

Hiawatha: A message from 1939 to today

Modern day arts in the community are regarded as “bringing people together, fostering a sense of community, supporting mental well-being by building confidence and self-esteem, and inspiring us to get moving” (ref. i).

In 1939, similar recognition of the social benefits from attending live theatre performance may have influenced the decision for Melbourne City Council to proceed with presenting the spectacular musical pageant Hiawatha at the Royal Exhibition Building. This decision was controversial, as the show opened when Australia was just one month into the outbreak of World War Two (ref. ii).

Based on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, Hiawatha comprised three cantatas composed by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. English audiences were already familiar with the lavish pageant presented between 1924 and 1939 at London’s Royal Albert Hall, adapted, dramatised and produced by Thomas C. Fairbairn (ref. iii). Now the musical pageant was arriving in Melbourne, produced and directed by Fairbairn who installed a stage in the Exhibition Building measuring one hundred and fifty by forty-five feet (ref. iv).

Extracted from Iroquois folklore, Longfellow’s poem tells of the deeds of legendary Native American hero Hiawatha, a Mohawk Indian chief (or described by some sources as leader of the Onondaga tribe) born circa 1525 (ref. v). Hiawatha is attributed with having united five tribes to form the Iroquois Confederacy.

This was a challenging dilemma for the pageant organisers. Not realising a war would be commencing later in the year, plans had been underway for months to organise this event scheduled for October, 1939 to coincide with the annual Spring Racing Carnival. A cast of almost one thousand professional and amateur performers had enthusiastically rehearsed for several months. These included seven hundred singers aged between sixteen and sixty-four from various local choral societies, eighty dancers and a seventy-five piece, full symphony orchestra led by Edouard Lambert under the musical direction of Bernard Heinze (ref. vi).

But from another perspective, following the September announcement of outbreak of war, young men and women were selflessly enlisting in the forces to serve their country, and memories of the horrors of World War One lingered as the nation prepared to endure another period of uncertainty and conflict.  The organisers would know, however, that live entertainment during World War One had lifted the spirits of troops and communities. The season of Hiawatha with its pageantry, music and drama, opened on 21 October at the Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne, and closed on 4 November. Horace Stevens as Hiawatha led the cast of this grand-scale spectacular sponsored by the Melbourne City Council and presented in aid of the Australian Red Cross and related funds.

Patrons in the 3500-strong audience on opening night included the Governor, Sir Winston Dugan, Lady Dugan and other leading Victorian citizens (ref. vii). The well-attended season included thirteen evening and two matinee performances, and seven thousand school children were invited to see two dress rehearsals .

The Argus newspaper favourably reviewed the thirteen-night production, and described the show as “an event which musical Melbourne will long remember.” (ref. viii). The review notes that “the great audience of three thousand went home thoroughly satisfied and happy that, though the war had caused the cancellation of most of the events of the Melbourne spring carnival, Hiawatha had survived.”

 

Contemporary message

This positive, uplifting benefit of attending live theatre performance during a war remains as relevant today as in past centuries. Since 2020, Australia has engaged in global war with an invisible enemy, the Covid-19 virus and its variants.

As modern-day live theatre gradually regenerates after long closures from the pandemic, the strong demand for tickets suggests people once again need to raise spirits by enjoying fun, escapism and the magic of theatre. The theatre community is hopeful that sufficient government arts funding will ensure that all theatre companies can quickly rebuild to again provide communities with the significant social and cultural benefits from live theatre performance.

 


Sections of this story have been extracted from the book In the Name of Theatre: The History, Culture and Voices of Amateur Theatre in Victoria, and The Show Went On a story published in Theatre Heritage Australia’s online magazine On Stage, both written by Dr Cheryl Threadgold.

References

[i] Vic Health 2014. Innovative Challenge: Arts – ‘Time to get Victorians Moving using Technology and the Arts’, Media Release 12 November, 2014. <https://www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/media-and-resources/media-releases/time-to-get-victorians-moving-using-technology-and-the-arts>.

[ii]  Kenneth R. Hendy 21 Oct. 1939. ‘Hiawatha Comes to Melbourne’, The Argus, Weekend Magazine, p. 2. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/11248349

[iii] Jack Cowdrey 2012. ‘June Story of the Month: The Royal Choral Society and the Royal Albert Hall. https://www.royalalberthall.com/about-the-hall/news/2012/june/june-story-of-the-month-the-royal-choral-society-and-the-royal-albert-hall

[iv] Mimi Colligan 1996. ‘From Hallelujah to Hiawatha’. In Victorian Icon: the Royal Exhibition Building Melbourne by David Dunstan with contributions by Mimi Colligan [and fourteen others],The Exhibition Trustees in association with Australian Scholarly Publishing, Kew, Victoria, p. 345.

[v] HistoryNet. ‘Hiawatha’, https://www.historynet.com/hiawatha

[vi] Hendy 1939. Ibid.

[vii] Colligan 1996. Ibid.

[viii] The Argus 23 October 1939. ‘Pageantry of Hiawatha’, The Argus, p. 2, https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/11265689.

IMAGE: Hiawatha Cast, Melbourne, 1939. Royal Exhibition Building. Melbourne City Council (Organiser of event). Royal Exhibition Building Collection. HT 35085. Museums Victoria Collections.

Review Status: Pending

Theatrecraft in Victoria

Theatre and Melbourne

As Melbourne continued to develop following the gold rush years in the 1850s, theatre burst into life in the city and has continued to flourish, making Melbourne and regional Victorian cities the most active in Australia. As a result, we have an abundance of architecturally well-designed theatres across the state, providing space for the entrepreneurial spirit which prevails here.

Community theatre

Similarly, a passion for performance community theatre continues, with the spread of companies to outer suburbs and country areas. The consequent involvement of these communities is reflected in the major events staged throughout the year in addition to ongoing programs. Ostensibly a leisure time pursuit, but one that a large population takes seriously, devoting endless time and energy to it, in the pursuit of high standards.

The Victorian Drama League

Established in 1952 to support the community theatre world, The Victorian Drama League (VDL) has members comprising theatre companies, play reading groups, schools, one-act play festivals as well as individual members. While the major proportion of its members are from Victoria it has a growing membership in all states and territories. Access to an extensive library of plays, reference books and tapes is one of many services it provides to its members. The VDL publishes online https://vdl.org.au , featuring reviews of members’ productions, as well as news and notices of interest to the community theatre world.

Standards

Bruce Cochrane, VDL President 2015 to present writes:

“In the forty plus years I have been involved in community theatre, I have observed the constant pursuit of excellence, which is celebrated in our annual Awards Event. In the future, I see more well trained and enthusiastic people of all ages stepping up to be a part of the wonderful family of community theatre”.

Further reading

Dr Cheryl Threadgold’s In the Name of Theatre: The History, Culture and Voices of Amateur Theatre in Victoria of 2020 first outlines the history of amateur theatre in Victoria, from the 18th century in New South Wales to the modern day. In Part 2 the culture and voices of amateur theatre are shared in individual stories from 129 musical and non-musical amateur theatre companies currently operating in urban and regional Victoria.

Known past amateur theatre companies in Victoria are listed to pay tribute to their existence, and some research data collated from interviews with representatives from 70 theatre companies, giving insight into the transformative benefits of amateur theatre, and perceived strengths, threats and weaknesses of companies.

ISBN 978-0-646-81339-4. Available from the book’s website.

 

Review Status: Pending

Mt Neurum – Mt Archer, SEQ

Mt Neurum

After the launch of the Regional Open Space System (ROSS) in South East Queensland in mid-1994, the ROSS office based in the Department of Lands had some $4 million per annum (budgeted for five years) to spend on land purchase. A private allotment covering much of Mount Neurum, a prominent outcrop at the end of the D’Aguilar Range overlooking Woodford, came on the market. Staff assessed it as being of high value for regional open space, because of its prominence in the landscape and because a subdivision design for some 20 allotments high on the rise, each necessitating a long steep driveway, was in existence.

The property was purchased by the State and eventually Caboolture Shire Council took management.

Mt Archer

A privately-owned, dog-friendly recreation park was established on private freehold land near to Mt Neurum, abutting Neurum Creek. More details on this innovative facility to come.

Review Status: Pending

Support the PaRC project

 

The PaRC narratives and document repository have been established using philanthropic funds. For administrative reasons tax deductibility for the AIPR Trust Fund – Education expired in 2000. The Fund’s bank account can still receive donations (BSB 064-448, Account 10327037) which will be warmly welcomed, but donors will not be able to claim a tax deduction. However, Charles Sturt University has a fund that enjoys tax deductibility.

While the basic architecture of the library has been completed, there is a large potential for enlarging the collections using sponsored funds. For example, a sponsor may choose to pay for the cost of digitising historical documents in their sphere of interest that have fallen out of public view.  Local governments may support establishment of a page for their parks and recreation activities. The professional papers of eminent park personnel of mature age or who have passed away can be digitised using funds from their families.

Any sponsor or philanthropist who would like to contribute to this inspiring project is invited to make contact via secretary@parcaustralia.com.au.

Review Status: