Tag Archives: Redfern

Special art work at South Sydney UC

Over the Easter season South Sydney Uniting Church is hosting two major works and a number of smaller studies from the Stations of the Cross series by artist Miriam Cabello.

Award-winning artist Miriam Cabello is developing her greatly anticipated The Passion: Stations of the Cross. The launch in July 08 was Stage I of a three year project that shall eventually consist of fourteen large scale oil paintings.

The work explores social, racial, historical and political issues while drawing parallels to Christ’s last days on earth. Using the contemporary metaphor of a black boxer, Cabello is raising timely questions about race and ethnicity and encouraging thought about marginalized groups in today’s society.

Miriam Cabello was an award winner at the Florence Biennale of Contemporary Art and studied the works of the Old Masters in Italy and Spain as well as the Abstract Expressionalists in New York. The fruits of that experience are evident in the compelling, robust figures and splatters that inhabit the Stations series.

The second Station in the series, ‘The Betrayal’, has already been exhibited as a finalist at the 2007 Blake Prize for Religious Art, chosen from over 600 entries and then short listed to tour Australia throughout 2008.

Distinguished curator and author Rosemary Crumlin (OAM) stated; "The planned series is quite controversial… she has used the boxer and boxing as allegory and symbol. Her treatment is intelligent, thoughtful and confronting."…

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The Betrayal



April South Sydney Herald in colour

Nothing by me in this one, but it is a good issue and more than merely parochial. Here’s your copy. Later on I’ll be hand delivering “real” ones in this bit of Surry Hills.

April SSH

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Posted by on April 8, 2009 in Australia, Australia and Australian, local, South Sydney Uniting Church, Surry Hills


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Sunday Floating Life photo 9

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In Redfern: 15 March

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Posted by on March 15, 2009 in photography, Sunday photo



March 09 South Sydney Herald out…

As you may see.

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That’s my pic and story on the left (page 3) and the top left on the front page may also be familiar. :)

Can’t link to the paper’s site at the moment. I think it may be being redesigned.


The SSH website is available again. It wasn’t being redesigned as yet. There is a lot more in it than my small article, and while it mainly deals with local matters, you will also find something new on Zimbabwe — and more.

Here is a copy for you in PDF format: March 09 South Sydney Herald.


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St Mary’s South Brisbane

Many of us are watching developments with interest. This “rogue” Catholic Church has been using WordPress to get its message out: St Mary’s Community South Brisbane and St Mary’s Discussion Forum*. See also (Brisbane Archbishop) Bathersby ousts Kennedy at St Mary’s.

I had been thinking of posting on this, but would rather leave it to a progressive Catholic. Michael Bayly in St Paul Minnesota is an Australian expat whose blog The Wild Reed is on my blog roll, thanks to a tip from Renegade Eye some time back. Michael has just posted on the issue: Mustard Plants in the Hierarchy’s Garden.

…But wait! The center may be in a state of stasis and decay, but at the periphery of our living tradition we can observe sprouting and flourishing like mustard seeds, pesky* yet invigorating ways of being Catholic that are truer to the life and message of Jesus, and thus the true mission of the Church. Two recent examples are St. Mary’s in South Brisbane, Australia, and the Spirit of St. Stephen’s Catholic Community in Minneapolis, USA. (The latter is my spiritual home.)…

See also a project Michael is involved with, The Progressive Catholic Voice.

Here in Surry Hills and Redfern one immediately thinks of Redfern’s Kennedy, the late Father Ted Kennedy. There the forces for “the centre” have apparently triumphed, but again the blogosphere, among other things, keeps the dream alive. See The Church Mouse.

The Church Mouse maintains an eclectic public record of the history and curious goings on in the parish of St Vincent’s Redfern, an inner city suburb of Sydney, Australia.

This is the third major revision of the website. All of the old website content – with the exception of the Church Mouse Journal – can now be found here, and that material is being moved over as time permits. New articles are published here…

A recent post included this letter:

RWTIt also links to replies.

Update 28 February

* Note these sites are being replaced by St Mary’s Catholic Community South Brisbane, a new site. The old sites carry this message: “All material from this site will be moved to the new site and this address will cease to operate from March 31 2009. You are encouraged to join the newsletter subscription list on the new site to receive our regular bulletins.”



Church of the holy bicycles…

Bicycles: one of three things Alison Clark notes about South Sydney Uniting Church in the latest print edition of Insights. The other two were: interesting assortment of pets (animals welcome) and “interesting assortment of people – diverse and colourful.”

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In the online edition, the Moderator, who visited last year, noted:

So where have I experienced these shoots of hope in our church?

These are some:

  • South Sydney Congregation is certainly an example of a congregation responding to the call to be inclusive — small but growing with a strong sense of community and connection to the community around — authentic and vibrant.
  • Peteli stepping out in faith, growing a congregation with strong Tongan foundations but doing something new in the Australian context.
  • Auburn Uniting Church through adversity (the burning down of their hall at time of the Cronulla riots) strengthening multicultural and interfaith relationships in a hugely diverse community….

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Floating Life Sunday photo 5

Cheating slightly, as this one also appears on Ninglun on Journalspace, which I thus encourage you to visit.

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East Redfern

Thanks to Sirdan for pointing out I had accidentally flipped this!

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Posted by on February 8, 2009 in local, photography, Sunday photo



Lots to think about – international, national, local

Back in July 2008 in Reset – Dialogues on Civilizations | Essays: Benjamin Barber I presented the then latest from the author of the excellent and prescient Jihad vs McWorld. Now the Arts & Letters Daily has pointed to Barber in the US progressive magazine Nation: A Revolution in Spirit.

As America, recession mired, enters the hope-inspired age of Barack Obama, a silent but fateful struggle for the soul of capitalism is being waged. Can the market system finally be made to serve us? Or will we continue to serve it? George W. Bush argued that the crisis is "not a failure of the free-market system, and the answer is not to try to reinvent that system." But while it is going too far to declare that capitalism is dead, George Soros is right when he says that "there is something fundamentally wrong" with the market theory that stands behind the global economy, a "defect" that is "inherent in the system."

The issue is not the death of capitalism but what kind of capitalism–standing in which relationship to culture, to democracy and to life? President Obama’s Rubinite economic team seems designed to reassure rather than innovate, its members set to fix what they broke. But even if they succeed, will they do more than merely restore capitalism to the status quo ante, resurrecting all the defects that led to the current debacle?

Being economists, even the progressive critics missing from the Obama economic team continue to think inside the economic box. Yes, bankers and politicians agree that there must be more regulatory oversight, a greater government equity stake in bailouts and some considerable warming of the frozen credit pump. A very large stimulus package with a welcome focus on the environment, alternative energy, infrastructure and job creation is in the offing–a good thing indeed.

But it is hard to discern any movement toward a wholesale rethinking of the dominant role of the market in our society. No one is questioning the impulse to rehabilitate the consumer market as the driver of American commerce. Or to keep commerce as the foundation of American public and private life, even at the cost of rendering other cherished American values–like pluralism, the life of the spirit and the pursuit of (nonmaterial) happiness–subordinate to it….

Then here in Oz The Monthly hits the newsagents today with Kevin Rudd’s The Global Financial Crisis.

From time to time in human history there occur events of a truly seismic significance, events that mark a turning point between one epoch and the next, when one orthodoxy is overthrown and another takes its place. The significance of these events is rarely apparent as they unfold: it becomes clear only in retrospect, when observed from the commanding heights of history. By such time it is often too late to act to shape the course of such events and their effects on the day-to-day working lives of men and women and the families they support.

There is a sense that we are now living through just such a time: barely a decade into the new millennium, barely 20 years since the end of the Cold War and barely 30 years since the triumph of neo-liberalism – that particular brand of free-market fundamentalism, extreme capitalism and excessive greed which became the economic orthodoxy of our time.

The agent for this change is what we now call the global financial crisis. In the space of just 18 months, this crisis has become one of the greatest assaults on global economic stability to have occurred in three-quarters of a century. As others have written, it "reflects the greatest regulatory failure in modern history". It is not simply a crisis facing the world’s largest private financial institutions – systemically serious as that is in its own right. It is more than a crisis in credit markets, debt markets, derivatives markets, property markets and equity markets – notwithstanding the importance of each of these.

This is a crisis spreading across a broad front: it is a financial crisis which has become a general economic crisis; which is becoming an employment crisis; and which has in many countries produced a social crisis and in turn a political crisis. Indeed, accounts are already beginning to emerge of the long-term geo-political implications of the implosion on Wall Street – its impact on the future strategic leverage of the West in general and the United States in particular.

The global financial crisis has demonstrated already that it is no respecter of persons, nor of particular industries, nor of national boundaries. It is a crisis which is simultaneously individual, national and global. It is a crisis of both the developed and the developing world. It is a crisis which is at once institutional, intellectual and ideological. It has called into question the prevailing neo-liberal economic orthodoxy of the past 30 years – the orthodoxy that has underpinned the national and global regulatory frameworks that have so spectacularly failed to prevent the economic mayhem which has now been visited upon us…

Some of the critique offered (predictably) by Gerard Henderson is worth noting, despite the predictability.

The essential problem with Rudd’s essay is that it is ahistorical. The fact is that what he terms neo-liberalism has not prevailed in Britain, the US or Australia. Moreover, if it did, then the likes of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown in Britain, Bill Clinton in the US, and Bob Hawke and Paul Keating in Australia did nothing to turn it back. The conservatives in these three nations did not substantially cut regulation or taxation or spending (along with the welfare state that it underpins). Indeed, in Australia, it was Hawke and Keating who started the economic reform process in the early 1980s. Rudd mentions this briefly in his essay but does not seem to appreciate that this reality undermines his thesis….

Whether the thesis is undermined by the somewhat partisan history given by Rudd is itself open to question. He may have sought to minimise the bipartisan nature of the problem, but that does not mean the problem is not pretty much as diagnosed. Paul Keating skated around the issue of bipartisan blame on Lateline last night, though I have to say I do like (in contrast to so much we hear) Keating’s folksy idiom. Keating rightly cautions against seeing the USA as the fixer in this mess. And there doesn’t seem to be much joy in substituting one partisan reading of history for another, which is perhaps all Henderson has done.

Kind of related: I commend Ross Gittins this morning:

… It’s important to understand Mr Rudd is not talking about a $115 billion decline in budget revenues from where they are now, but rather that they will grow by $115 billion less than formerly expected.

The $115 billion is spread over the next four years – that is, it averages less than $30 billion a year – which means it hasn’t happened yet and is just an estimate of what may happen.

The actual figure could be more or less than $115 billion – Treasury’s record on accurately predicting budget figures isn’t too flash – and we have known about $40 billion of it since November.

Given all that, Mr Rudd could be accused of making it sound both bigger and scarier that it is. If so, he’s adding to the gloom and doom.

Why on earth would he do that? Because he’s anxious to ensure the blame for the slide from budget surplus to deficit goes to the global financial crisis, not to him and his Government.

Who’d be silly enough to blame Labor for a budget deficit at a time like this? The Opposition…

And very local: the February South Sydney Herald is out today: ssh_feb09.

And it’s a big, 20-page issue, with stories on climate justice, tax justice, public housing and the dangers of tasers.

There’s much more — there’s the ABC childcare debacle, Yabun 2009, a feature on reskilling older workers, a feature on Tanya Plibersek MP, and reviews of The Wrestler starring Mickey Rourke, The Lieutenant by Kate Grenville, and the new record by Howling Bells. Soul-folk singer, Itu, talks about recent inspirations, and you’ll also find details about St Jerome’s Laneway Festival on February 8 and Family Day at the Block on February 21.

I’ve been commissioned to cover Mardi Gras Fair Day on 15 February – I and the Casio, that is. Should be fun.


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South Sydney Christmas

Just a minute of music from the beginning of this morning’s service at South Sydney Uniting Church. You probably know the tune…



Camden on the Gold Coast?

I promoted Muslim Schooling on Gold Coast by Postkiwi Duncan Macleod on Neil’s Shared Items yesterday, but it is worth a post here too.

The Gold Coast where I live has hit the news headlines this last week as a group of Christians petitioned, and protested against the establishment of a Muslim school in Carrara. Australian International Islamic College, based in Durack, Brisbane, is proposing to build the Gold Coast’s first Muslim school right next door to the Dream Centre, a large AOG church.

Tony Doherty, a minister with the Dream Centre, is coordinating the Concerned Carrara Residents Group, mobilizing the local residents against the proposed school. The group’s expressed concerns are about the increase in traffic, reduced security, the disturbance of the peace (look how upset the group is and the school hasn’t started yet), a lack of community cohesion relating to the long standing churches and social clubs in the area, a concern that a separated Muslim community would take over the area, and the loss in property values.

It’s obvious that this protest is based on a concern about the school being Islamic. There’s a major school just down the road run by an interdenominational group of Christians that would have ten times the amount of traffic.

One of the comments from the Church is that it doesn’t make sense to have a Muslim community next to a Christian community. Where else would you place them if you wanted them to live harmoniously within the wider community?…

My emphasis. It all has a familiar ring, hasn’t it? Duncan, a Uniting Church minister, continues:

I think it’s time to affirm what being Australian means. We live in a secular society, in which people of all walks of life can have access to education and employment, no matter what their creed. That includes access to State schools, as well as the right to provide faith-based education that fits with the State’s syllabus…

Let’s keep our eyes on this one.

Speaking of Uniting Church, it is hardly a secret that The South Sydney Herald is a community project of South Sydney Uniting Church. I was interested to note, when I attended the end-of-year party, that those involved testify to its inclusiveness, however, ranging from Andrew (editor and minister) through a group including older leftie/anarchist activists, young bright journalism types, including one Liberal Party member, artists, atheists, gay lesbian and transgender, and just lately as a guest contributor Brendan Nelson! The Paper, as those involved call it, has developed quite a lot this year and really is appreciated in the local area – that is Newton, Redfern, Chippendale, Rosebery, Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Kings Cross. They have broken some important stories during the year and been quite a little ginger group all round. They also do much to give voice to local performers and artists, the local Indigenous community, and quite a few others.


While not directly related to the subject of Duncan’s post, OPINION: Second Column in Crescent Times … by eminently sane Australian Muslim lawyer Irfan Yusuf is a good companion piece.

So here’s my solution to prejudice – prove the agents of prejudice wrong. Yes, Muslims have a soft spot for the Palestinians (as indeed do many Jews, especially in Israel). But that doesn’t mean we should assume all Jews have an anti-Muslim agenda. We should leave this kind of simplistic logic to simpletons who attend Republican Party rallies or who seek to take over the NSW Liberals.

That means we should build networks with like-minded people. And under no circumstances should we tolerate any group in society to be marginalised.


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South Sydney Herald: end of year celebration at Abduls

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Even a small paper involves a lot of people. Right: Andrew Collis proposes a toast.

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Posted by on December 6, 2008 in Australia, events, South Sydney Uniting Church, Surry Hills


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Local papers

The December issue of The South Sydney Herald is now out, and I did score one photo! :) Your copy here! (PDF)

Read all about: heritage issues re the privatisation of Australian Technology Park; Kevin Rudd’s opening of a new Vinnies facility in Woolloomooloo; Notre Dame Uni’s expansion plans; various issues re housing in NSW; the Council’s new health inspection fees and banning of bill posters; Adam Hill’s latest exhibition; South Sydney Youth Services’ Mad Pride talent quest at the Factory in Enmore … + Curious Works; Christmas Kids’ Club; the Wackness, Quantum of Solace, Australia; Musicophilia; the Pig Iron People, Gay Conversion School Drop Out. Brendan Nelson writes a guest editorial on the Exodus Tutorial Centre in Redfern; Anna Christie discusses potty training in light of environmental responsibility. There’s a wonderful photograph of two young footballers after the 1976 ‘N Grade" Grand Final at Redfern Oval — Souths Leagues Club is keen to learn "where are they now?"

I also note this, which may interest some of you:

* SURVIVAL DAY ON THE HARBOUR: The SSH invites you to join us aboard the Deerubbun for a unique Australia/Survival Day experience on January 26. Support the good work of the Tribal Warrior Assoc. Inc. Meet at Sydney Fish Markets at 4.30pm for cruise 5-9pm. Cost: $70/$60 Concession (includes BBQ and soft drinks). Booking: Contact Trevor Davies before Jan 15 to reserve a place on the boat (trevrssh[AT]

dec03 007Another local paper Sydney Central Courier (more in the Real Estate genre) leads its latest edition* with one of those stomach-turners guaranteed simultaneously to disgust but also to make (most) readers feel good about themselves. * At the moment the online version is a week behind.

It is part of the Murdoch group nowadays, but originally was a spin-off from the Hannan Group’s Courier series, headquartered in the eastern suburbs.

Much is made of the fact that the apparently abandoned house in Elizabeth Street is owned by someone who went back to China a year ago and hasn’t been heard of since.

I just hope he didn’t go visiting in Sichuan Province at the wrong time!

Who knows what has actually happened! Nonetheless, I thought the Sydney Central people were invoking an age-old prejudice or two in the way they presented the issue. Why emphasise his Chinese nationality?

There is of course no doubt the house is a mess, and it’s a shame, since it would be worth $500,000 at least, let alone that it is apparently a heritage property.

The thrust of the article is that taxpayers should resent having to meet the clean-up costs. Well, maybe; but too often “taxpayers should resent…” is cover for what can only be described as self-centred or self-serving attitudes.

What do you think?

The story disgusted me, as you can see, but only partly along the lines intended.

Thought I’d look for myself this morning…

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The general neighbourhood above; the offending house below.

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Posted by on December 3, 2008 in Australia, Australia and Australian, local, South Sydney Uniting Church, Surry Hills


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Community Service at South Sydney

It was a bit cold and damp for it, but quite a few turned up, and those Tongans sure can sing! There was even a cake.

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And did I mention Tongans?

Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on November 23, 2008 in Australia, Christianity, events, multicultural Australia, personal, South Sydney Uniting Church



Shameless plug time

No, not for Baz Luhrmann’s Australia*, but for something even more parochial…


That’s next Sunday 23 November here:

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"Celebrating Community" service, lunch (vegetarian options) and live music event this Sunday — service at 10am and/or  lunch from 11.45am. 56a Raglan Street, Waterloo.

* “No fewer than 15 babies were born to cast and crew, one being Kidman’s daughter, during the course of the very long filming.” IMDB.

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Posted by on November 19, 2008 in Australia, Christianity, faith, interfaith, local, South Sydney Uniting Church, Surry Hills




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