'at home' Modern Australian Design exhibition launched Thursday evening 10 November by National Trust at Old Government House (Parramatta) to a large audience of young designers, heritage and tourism officials and media.  


The juxtaposition of contemporary Australian design and colonial (late Georgian) furniture and design is unpredictable, delightful and thought provoking simultaneously.  To a neophyte, our personal tastes flexed their muscles and we will highlight here some of our favourite pieces. However, a second tour through in daylight hours we think will open our eyes to other possibilities and more surprises.


From Regional Manager (National Trust of Australia), Roxanne Fea, ‘Some of the objects in AT HOME relate directly to the colonial collection in their design, use and materials. Some are ambiguous – that at first glance might fit neatly into the permanent collections but on closer inspection are modern in form or technique . . . others can only be products of the machine and digital ages and that directly contract with the aesthetic history of the interior.’


AT HOME continues through 22 January 2017, (10am – 4pm daily) consequently a tour through the lovely Old Government House during your holidays would be a way to get away from all the hustle and bustle. Lachlan’s, conveniently on the grounds is open for morning and afternoon tea or a lovely white-linen lunch under the long-vine verandah.




Now to our favourite works:



At the entrance – OGH front door – ‘Amour Screen’ to our eye is sculpture – yes, it is a decorative divider in stainless steel but we would love to see it in an outdoor setting. Designers Janos Korban and Stefanie Flaubert explore repetition and rhythm (patterns and geometry) in this large piece.


On the first level in a small room at the top of the staircase, fabrics and wall papers are stunning. Hanging from above eye-level, the movement of long swaths of fabric is at once warm and alternately cool – depending upon the pattern and weave.


Perhaps due to its size and display location, Marc Newson’s Cone Chair (1986) is the knockout piece of the exhibition. Enclosed in glass, constructed of aluminum and steel, covered in pale silk damask, the chair seems something from another world – a parallel universe. We would love to hear from you with your favourite selections. Art, design and music are so personal -- we don't own the corner on taste or interest!


Next week however, we will return for a second viewing to find other choices. Stay tuned.






  U.S.A.  East Coast


From the editor, (on the North Carolina coast of the U.S.A) a little background before our story begins:

Newport News, Virginia (USA) is suburbia, big time. However, in the early 1900s, dignified two storey weatherboard cottages lined the banks of the riverfront. These were big homes owned by senior managers employed by the nearby shipbuilding facility. Neighbourhoods for the workers – welders, carpenters, iron workers – spread around this major East Coast shipyard. The little town grew immensely during the years of World War II. But wars end and governments find new enemies in a ‘space war’. 


In nearby Hampton– an historic village dating back to 1607, NASA Langley Research Centre today employs some 18,000 people. Engineers and astronauts are paid well; want good schools for their kids and big churches for their religions. Affluent neighbourhoods rise out of farmlands and heavily treed acreage. Bordered by the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, the Hampton Roads area grows into massive suburb – homes, universities, hospitals, mega churches, strip malls, and a thriving new Newport News  upmarket shopping and dining district.


On a heavily trafficked street amidst the Newport News nondescript sprawl sits an orthopeadic clinic where injured joints – hips, knees, shoulders, ankles – achingly find their way here – Hampton Orthopaedic and Sports Clinic.   Now, to ‘the surgeon who loves people’.


On a warm summer evening in early September, I attended a most unusual affair – an ‘open house’ thrown by surgeon Dr. Anthony Carter in the dramatic Newport News (Virginia) Maritime Museum.  Some 500 of us (patients) showed up for the event – a dinner party and a celebration of the unusual surgical work of he does. http://www.hrosm.com/dr-anthony-carter-reaches-mile-stone/


Contrary to proper doctor-patient etiquette at social events, the good surgeon wanted to engage with people about their medical progress.  My opening gambit:‘I flew in from Sydney for your party’ seemed an appropriate way to approach him. However, a touch of innocence and wide-eyed disbelief rose to the surgeon’s eyes.  (I was one among the hundreds of patient surgeries he performs annually and recognition of me was certainly unlikely).


Heat rushed to my face. I had trampled over the social taboo of monopolizing a surgeon with tales of my recuperation. 'I came for my annual checkup after knee surgery September 2015 and your party was the same day'. (I had not flown in from another continent for a social event.) After a minute of painful small talk, I backed away, melting into the crowd now gathering.


An open bar and fantastic riffs by a local guitarist soon mellowed the huge crowd. We, each patient wore a name-tag with a brief explanation of ‘our surgeries’: jiffy hip or hips if you had had a double. Jiffy knee: full or partial, if you were in that surgical category. Gradually, over a glass of wine or an ice-cold beer, patients of every skin colour mingled, peering at the name-tag stuck to your chest. At large tables and over dinner, folks began to share their medical stories and speak of their appreciation to Dr. Carter. Name tags and surgery identifiers were a great ice-breaker for such a large crowd.


Patients gathered around Dr. Carter.  With a beer in hand, dressed in jeans and runners, his face lit up as each patient approached him.  ‘Selfies’ with the good doctor were the order of the night along with generous helpings of pulled pork (barbeque – southern style) and chocolate brownies!

   Anthony Carter, Surgeon


Mid-way through the evening, Dr. Carter, with microphone in hand, welcomed the crowd – he seems to be a shy man but the love he feels for his surgical work – giving people back their mobility – shone through.  And the appreciation and love patients felt for this man were obvious.  Admid applause, laughter and cheers -- patients were happy to be here.


So why do I feel this byte of observation is worthy of a full blog? In a big country and a southern state embroilled and riled up with a maniacal Trump, where open carry laws (guns) are more important than Sandy Hook children’s lives and where people of colour must rush to the streets in Charlotte North Carolina to proclaim what should be obvious and of concern to all of us  – Black Lives Do Matter. . .


We need a sweet story for a change


From the Outer Banks of North Carolina, see you in a few weeks back in beautiful Oz...