Tag Archives

A demagogue creeps out from under his rock

Sydneysider - A Personal Journey A couple of days ago a friend forwarded to me for comment a long poisonous diatribe against Halal food labelling that is doing the rounds on Facebook. Here's a sample: “Toasted cheese with a dollop of Vegemite was my favourite late night snack, but I leave off the Vegemite now […]

When wildlife rescue came of age

In 1986, shortly after I became chief guide at the Australian Museum, I was asked to meet with a couple of young women who were trying to set up a wildlife rescue charity, to be known as the Wildlife Information and Rescue Service. The new organisation was intended to solve a problem that had been […]

Sydney’s environment: the wins have been tactical, but the losses strategic

Sometimes I take an hour or two and travel back in time to the Sydney I was born into in 1948. It's a fascinating trip, and, at least until the bean-counters and fun police have their way, it's all free on the NSW Government's wonderful SIX Maps website. SIX Maps is like a slow and […]

Of Stakhanovite cows and great nation-building projects

If you were a kid in Sydney in the the early 1950s – as I was – there were two worthy educational outings you could have avoided only by premature death – the Rotolactor and the Warragamba Dam construction site. The Rotolactor, which started rotating in 1952, was the ultimate in modern milking machinery. It […]

Charles Laseron: a renaissance man sadly out of season

Museums and antique shops have always fascinated me. Natural history has always fascinated me. These interests were fostered by my parents who were keen museum-goers, and, in the 1950s and early 60s, I was often taken to the Australian Museum (where I would later, briefly, be the chief guide) and the Museum of Applied Arts […]

They walked into the smoke and I never saw them again

Sydneysider - A Personal Journey By Gavin Gatenby Sometime in 1992, when I was an Interpretive Officer with the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, I got it into my head that our region should buy one of the new mobile phones. I was at the time understudying a colleague, legendary radio and TV naturalist […]

The last days of Rowe Street

Sydneysider: A personal journey Sometime in 1971, when I'd just graduated from Fine Arts at Sydney University, I started making silver jewellery and selling it on consignment at a trendy boutique jeweller in Rowe Street. Rowe Street was really just a lane, running between Pitt and Castlereagh streets, parallel to Martin Place. The shop was […]

Forgo the glory, declare the thing open, slip away

They opened the Dulwich Hill light rail extension at 7.15 am last Thursday. It was a sort of thief-in-the-night opening but set in the cold wet light of a sullen morning. I’m the co-convener of EcoTransit Sydney, and the project has occupied a big part of my life since May 2008, when we launched the […]

Anti-art for the birds and bats

Sydneysider: A personal journey One of my favourite pastimes is building up Sydney's housing stock. Not for people but for wildlife. You'll often hear ecologists talk about the importance of “old growth” forest. What this means is that there are lots of big, very old, and very damaged trees with a hollow trunk and plenty […]

I first got aloft on a wire and a prayer

Sydneysider: A personal journey The first time I ever took to the air was in a sailplane. It was sometime between 1956 and 1958 when I was seven or eight. The flight was over Camden Aerodrome and it lasted a whole thrilling 10 minutes. My father was an early member of the Southern Cross Gliding […]