Culture PTUA

I’m not really a philistine

Sigh. In retrospect I probably should have shut my big mouth rather than comment on the upgrade to Hamer Hall.

UNIONS and community groups have slammed a State Government plan to
spend $129 million on an Arts Centre facelift.

“Patrons of Hamer Hall are lucky they’re not seeing performances in the
same conditions that public transport users are experiencing on trains
and trams.

“At least when you go to Hamer Hall you know you’ll always get a seat.”

I’m not really a philistine; I’ve enjoyed quite a few concerts at the venue.

And in fact Rupert Hamer was one of the PTUA’s patrons. It’s the vast amounts of money going into roads that’s really misguided.

PS. 15/9/2008. On Sunday I finally managed to get the point out there that world-class arts facilities are good, but we need world-class transport facilities too.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

8 replies on “I’m not really a philistine”

Don’t worry, it had to be said.

You didn’t campaign for the closure of Hamer Hall. You merely hinted that a $129 million upgrade for a facility that already serves its purpose is maybe a bit over the top. And it is.

Your comment is below the police, but above the teachers and the nurses, who made similar, if slightly less witty comments. You did not stand out, and the article would have gone ahead regardless.

While I agree that more money needs to be spent on public transport but I fail to see the connection of it and the upgrade of Hamer Hall. And I’m no expert on concert halls so I can’t comment on how much should be spent.

However, I wonder why the Herald Sun journalist felt the need to interview police, nurse, teacher’s unions and the PTUA on this matter. Of course all the organisations will say they should get the money instead. He wanted quotes to write sensationalism article and he got them.

I’m afraid you were tricked, Daniel, to a certain degree. But we know what you mean and where you stand for so it’s all good! :)

What a huge WASTE OF MONEY on Hamer Hall, it does not even need refurbishment, Brumby’s labor will be the next state government to go in 2010 like Rudd will. No policy, all spin, keep blaming the past government, but still high in the polls. How can that happen? Those stupid people who voted him just don’t want to admit their mistake. In the Herald Sun yesterday it said on page 3 that the money being spent on hamer hall could have bought 8 new trains, a new hospital, 10 schools, and 645 police officers, all those services we are short of.

PlatiNumEuro: Yes, the Herald Sun article was what sparked this post. (See link).

I have no problem with having world-class facilities for the arts in Melbourne, and I’m not in a position to say Hamer Hall doesn’t need this investment. If the arts community is happy with it, then good for them.

But yes, other areas desperately need investment too. Arts patrons may enjoy the show, but when they leave and walk across the river to the station, they’ll find a half-hour wait for a crowded train. Our transport services are far from world-class.

Yeah, while I LOVE Hamer Hall… 129M is a biiiit much. All it really needs is new carpets, really. It still looks pretty good. It’s an iconic cookie tin.

“”At least when you go to Hamer Hall you know you’ll always get a seat.””

I LOVE that quote. Nicely said.

This is much more than an up grade to Hamer Hall. These guys at the Arts Centre have been waiting for funding for this project forever. It is really difficult to get infrastructure funding for the arts. it is about linking the Arts Centre with the new recital hall and the ACCA and the malthouse theatre. Is it elitist? I dont think sonot if you look at the programs the Arts Centre runs. Assets like these need to be developed and maintained. I’d rather sit on the floor of a train from Geelong to see a world class performance than have a seat on the train to see Rodney Rude and the Kyle Sandilands Show.

I agree that public transport definitely needs more funding, but I have to defend at least some of the money allocated to the refurbishment of Hamer Hall. Having performed and spent quite a bit of time backstage and underneath the stages, it’s pretty decrepit and does need some structural repairs on it; it *is* 27 years old, and I believe virtually nothing has been spent to maintain it since it was completed. The whole thing was built over a large flood section of the river, and I’ve heard there is a large body of water directly beneath it, which is causing problems – water seepage, I think.
Although, these are structural and maintenance issues, not the glam refurbishment of the facade that is also planned, which I guess is a good thing, but I can’t say it seems *entirely* necessary.

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