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Living Heritage - A Group Exhibition Opening

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by Gary Brown (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer and photographer from Sydney who has now had five books published on fishing. I also write for the NSW Fishing Monthly, Visit the Shire, Fisho App & Tackle Tactics. I also like to travel and experience new things to do.
Event: -
Living Heritage - Support the Cabin communities in the RNP.
Living Heritage - Support the Cabin Communities in the RNP.

Over the past few years there has been a lot written and discussed about the Royal National Park (RNP) coastal "Cabin Communities" at Burning Palms, South Era and Little Garie. The cabin community of Little Garie, Era and Burning Palms are of State heritage significance as the largest and most intact groups of vernacular coastal weekender cabins remaining in NSW.

There are a number of cabins at Little Garie (20 cabins), South Era (95 cabins) and Burning Palms (28 cabins) and are now very rare in the State.

These cabins provide evidence of the development of simple weekender accommodation around Sydney from the 1920s and 1930s, starting with tent accommodation that developed into huts and cabins. They also reflect the embracing of Sydney's bush hinterland in the early part of the twentieth century and the reciprocal role the bush had in the development of recreation and conservation philosophy in NSW. They represent a type of simple weekend escape from Sydney now rare because of changing recreation lifestyles, conservation requirements and development pressure.
Photo courtesy of the RNP Coastal Cabins Protection League.

For more information on the RNP Coastal Cabins Protection League click here.

The cabin communities are part of an important landscape demonstrating key phases in the history of Royal National Park including Aboriginal occupation, pastoralism, agriculture and recreation uses. The latter began in the 1920s, continued during the Depression period and intensified during and immediately after the Second World War, reflecting important social and workplace reforms in NSW at that time that provided more leisure time.

The historical associations of the coastal cabin communities encompass both the Sydney and Illawarra regions, with some of these associations extending back to the 1920s. The cabins themselves are significant for their continuity of use and associations, most of them for over sixty years.

Historical associations are found with the northern Illawarra mining community of Helensburgh in particular, and this association is reflected most strongly in the Burgh Hill area of Era.

There are strong historical associations between the Surf Life Saving clubs formed in each cabin area, with other clubs in the Sydney metropolitan area and with other emergency rescue services. The cabin communities are significant for their long historic associations with important designers, artists, musicians, writers and poets over time including Gordon Andrews, Max Dupain, Hal Missingham, David Moore and more recently Chris O'Doherty aka Reg Mombasa (Local Significance).


The Living Heritage is an exhibition of works responding to the cabin communities and surrounding landscape of the Royal National Park in the Sutherland Shire. The cabins at Burning Palms, South Era and Little Garie are a rare example of 'depression-architecture,' and the community's struggle to prevent the demolition of these historically unique structures is an important one.

Over the 11 days of the exhibition there will be approximately 40 pieces of art works ranging from paintings, drawings, photography and mixed media on display at the exhibition and all of these pieces can be purchased. They will range in price from $200 to $2,000.

The artists who have their pieces on display in the exhibition come from all walks of life.

They are as follows:

Lucy O'Doherty: Completed a bachelor of Fine Arts in 2011 at National Art School in Sydney, Australia. Her pastel drawings of imagined interiors present a romantic and sometimes surprising vision of the household while nobody's at home. Her nostalgic images of vintage furniture elegantly combine domestic tranquillity with a surreal sense of mystery.
Lucy O'Doherty, Daniel Kyle & Annalisa Ferraris. Photo courtesy of walcha news online.

Daniel Kyle: is a painter with Defiance Gallery who emphasises colour, shape and movement, playing with elements of the space, cropping and moving objects such as trees and rocks and manipulating the foreground and background in an attempt to achieve the perfect balance between tension and slack within a resolved composition.

Annalisa Ferraris: Graduated with a BFA Honours from the National Art School in 2011. Ferraris' paintings translate her love of the land in an ephemeral nature, as they sensitively capture light and movement. Ferraris works both in the studio and en plan air to depict the ever-evolving nature of the land.

Eva Troyeur-Gibson: (b. 1991) is a BFA(hons) graduate of the National Art School, Darlinghurst and current co-director of Mils Gallery, Surry Hills. She has exhibited her work in two solo shows and multiple group exhibitions, working primarily within the fields of drawing and painting.

Shannon Johnson: Has always been interested in drawing and painting as well as music and dance. However when he discovered that he had a crippling stage fright as a teenager, Shannon realised painting and drawing was better for him, as it was a more private process. Shannon likes artists like Duchamp, Warhol, Basquiat, Rauscheburg, Twombly who through their ability to capture and create an image, is so powerful, that the art moves you. Like that feeling you get when you hear a favourite song. Art is the best thing humans have to offer. Capturing and creating something with your hands, moving colours around to construct and communicate ideas that affect other people. That is why he got into art.

Chris O'Doherty: Preferably known by the pseudonym Reg Mombassa, is a New Zealand born artist and musician. Resident in Australia, he is known there for both for his artworks and his musical exploits, as a founding member of the band Mental As Anything and member of Dog Trumpet (alongside his brother Peter O'Doherty). Worldwide, he is perhaps better known for his irreverent designs for surfwear company Mambo Graphics many of which were later adapted for use in a segment of the Sydney 2000 Olympics closing ceremony.
Reg Mombassa. Photo courtesy of Chris O'Doherty.

Charmaine Pike: is represented by Defiance Gallery, Sydney. She has had group and solo shows in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra. She lives and works in Kurrajong Heights.

Gillian Rhys: Is now 100% self employed and loving it! Teaching self directed art classes both one on one and groups, exhibiting art works and selling my range of greeting cards. Beach combing / cleaning, land-care and other pursuits continue to keep me healthy and motivated.
The escarpment from the rock platform by Gillian Rhys. Photo courtesy of Gillian Rhys.

Sam Stephenson: is a self-taught photographer, first developing an appreciation for i image making as a teenager working in his neighbour's dark room. Sam's body of work is an exploration of 'sub-culture', the psychology and surrealism of being there. Sam focuses on the rise and fall within the everyday and his candid approach imbues moments of love, isolation, destruction and faith.


Not only can you go and see this great art exhibition at the Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre, there is so much more that the gallery has to offer. You can take up an art class or join in on one of their education programs. Maybe you would like to join their film club or hire a studio or meeting room. They even have their own cafe.
Why don't you have a coffee and cake from their cafe, while relaxing in the gardens.

Art just pops up everywhere at the Hazelhurst Gallery.

For more information click here.


By Public Transport: From central station you will need to get onto the South coast Illawarra Line to Sutherland. The board the Cronulla line and get off at Gymea. It is then about a 10 minute walk from the station.

By Car: The gallery is about a 45 minute drive up from Wollongong. You can either drive up the Mount Ousley Road or Bulli Pass and onto the F1. You will pass through Heathcote, Engadine; pass the Royal National Park and Sutherland. The bypass will take you passed the Dolphin Wall. Once you reach President Avenue you will need to turn right and follow this road to the lights at Gymea. Then turn left into the main street and walk past the station and then turn left and follow this road down to the entrance of the Hazelhurst Gallery.

By Bus: Hazelhurst is on the Region 10 & 11 bus network with a bus stop outside the gallery on the Kingsway. Visitors can get the 967 bus from Como West, Oyster Bay, or Jannali. The 968 from Bonnet Bay, Kareela or Jannali. The 962 from Sutherland, Menai or Padstow.


The Hazelhurst car park, accessed from the Kingsway, contains three disabled parking spaces. All areas within the Hazelhurst building are wheelchair accessible. Wheelchair accessible bathrooms are located at the eastern end of the Regional Gallery Foyer and the southern end of the Community Gallery. Both of these bathrooms contain fold-down baby change tables. One wheelchair is available for use by the general public - please phone administration on 85365700 to confirm availability. All galleries, studios, the Hazelhurst Theater and bathrooms are marked with visual and braille signage.

Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre at Gymea.

Living Heritage runs from Saturday the 21st of March to Tuesday the 31st of March at the Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre's Community Gallery. The exhibition is free of charge and will be open daily from 10am to 5pm.

After you have viewed and possibly brought a piece, you can wander around the gardens or have a bite to eat at the Gallery Cafe. On Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays there is a free guided tour of the Hazlehurst Gallery from 12 noon.
Walk through the gardens while you are there.

There are plenty of places to sit while admiring the surrounding gardens.

On Saturday the 21st of March, between 2pm to 4pm there will be an offical opening of the exhibition and you more than welcome to come and join the artists and view the art work while enjoying some drinks and snacks. You never know something from one of these talented artists may catch your eye and you will want to buy it and hang it somewhere in your house.
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Why? An event not to be missed.
When: Saturday the 21st of March to Tuesday the 31st of March.
Phone: Lucy O'Doherty. Email
Where: Gymea
Cost: Free
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