Save Fitzroy Gardens > Louis Nowra speech - Save Fitzroy Gardens rally, 6 November 2010

Louis Nowra speech at the Save Fitzroy Gardens rally
6 November 2010

Australian author, Louis Nowra, speaks against Sydney Council's plans to redevelop Fitzroy Gardens, Kings Cross


Good morning, Kings Cross.

I want talk about the Fitzroy Gardens as a narrative and I'm going to give you the vision that Clover Moore wants to press on us.

First of all, we have to imagine that in two years this will be rubble. It will be all bulldozed. In its place will be these things: first of all next to the police station will be pods. These are the pods that you see in Martin Place: commercial pods. There will be one on each particular side of the police station, imagine that, and you can imagine, that in a year's time when the park is re-established, there will be tacky gift shops...

And on each of two sides you will have seats. There will hardly be any trees: there will be seats.

Now this is a real master stroke of design. These seats will be based on Gaudi's seats in Barcelona. Gaudi was a great Barcelona architect. Now what you are going to have are these seats made of white ceramic tiles, over there, and they will resemble a tacky popup bar.

One of the things about this is that when you go to culturally appropriate something, you do it with imagination, not with blandness. And that's going to be the problem. I have been to Barcelona and I have seen Gaudi and Gaudi does his seats completely differently and in a completely different arrangement. This is the equivalent of the major town square of Barcelona having seats in the shapes of kangaroos and of the Harbour Bridge.

What you have to understand is what they want to do to this park. They don't want a park. The latest pamphlet that they put out tells a story with a picture of it.

Now what you have to also imagine is pathways everywhere. There are no pathways in this park. You enter at various levels and it is very organic.

They want pathways. The latest thing they sent... This is their vision. Don't read the website. It is illiterate. It is completely pretentious piffle. So you have to judge it on the illustrations. Their illustrations are of a young professional or young professionals... in sunglasses and talking on mobile phones so they don't have to talk to other people in the park, striding confidently down these footpaths.

So essentially what this park is going to be is footpaths, it is going to be a through way, you are not going to stop and concentrate on anything in this park. The whole idea is that you're a ten star professional on your way, cutting through this park, on your way to cut a deal and make more money.

They don't want you in this vision. They don't want Kings Cross people in this vision. They want young professionals who are just using this as a pathway. So in essence the whole idea of this being a social one, where we meet, the only place of greenery in Kings Cross, given the fact that 19,000 people live here, is just to give way to a pathway. (...)

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