‘Hokusai Morning’ – Maslin Beach, South Australia.
With Alfian Sa-at’s and Marcia Vanderstraaten’s HOTEL (2015) about to open here in Adelaide as part of the Oz-Asia Festival I thought it opportune to write something about Alfian Sa’at, one of Singapore’s best modern playwrights. Most people in Australia may not be aware of Alfian Sa’at and his work. This is an attempt to slightly address that. He is an exceptional playwright, poet, and from my all to brief dealings with him, a really great guy as well. I first became aware of Alfian Sa’at’s work whilst I was living in Singapore. During that time I was fortunate enough to see a number of his plays being performed by Singapore’s terrific Wild Rice theatre company, led by another exceptional person, Ivan Heng, the Artistic Director and co-founder of Wild Rice. The productions I saw included Dreamplay (2000), which is Part One of Alfian Sa’at’s beautiful Asian Boys Trilogy (2000-07), Cooling Off Day (2011), Cook a Pot of Curry (2013), and my personal favourite, the intriguing The Optic Trilogy (2001). All these are terrific plays and make an excellent introduction to the world of Alfian Sa’at.
Alfian Sa’at was born in Singapore in 1977 and attended Raffles Junior College where his passion for theatre was first revealed. His tremendous creative spirit led to the publication of his first collection of poetry One Fierce Hour in 1998. This was a instant success with The Malaysian New Strait Times praising and calling him a ‘prankish provocateur’ and ‘libertarian hipster’. What followed was a steady outflow of excellent work – a collection of short stories called Corridor (1999), many of which have been adapted for television, and his second collection of poetry A History of Amnesia (2001). All these are available and are excellent reads; personal favourite being Corridor.
It was partly due to this work, and subsequent others, that Alfian Sa’at earned the moniker of being Singapore’s enfant terrible. He is a ‘provocateur’. This rebellious stance is also evident in his many plays, which are often acute observations of contemporary life in Singapore, combined with a deep knowledge and appreciation of Singapore’s history, as well as World Theatre in general, and a delicious and mischievous wit.
The Asian Boys Trilogy is something that could be seen during Sydney’s annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and/or Adelaide’s Feast Festival. This is a terrific ‘gay’ play that is not only enlightening about ‘gay’ life in South-East Asia, past and present, but is also very entertaining. I have only seen Part One – Dreamplay, which is theatrically influenced by Strindberg’s Dreamplay, and was directed by Ivan Heng and featured the wonderful Singapore actor and dear friend Galeb Goh, amongst other excellent Singapore actors.
One sequence in Alfian Sa’at’s Dreamplay that I found particularly fascinating and gripping involved a relationship between a young Chinese-Singaporean and a Japanese officer during the horrendous Japanese occupation of Singapore during WW2. To be frank, Australians know virtually nothing about this tragic chapter of Singapore’s history, and yet we are intrinsically involved, not just because of the horrors of Changi Prison, but much much more, which time and space does not allow me to enter into here.
Cooling Off Day (2011) was actually the first Alfian Sa’at play I saw. It is a series of monologues based around the then recent Singapore General Election. I didn’t know much about the politics of Singapore so this was a terrific introduction. Whilst some of it went way over my head and was very local specific, nonetheless, it was extremely entertaining and enlightening. I loved the structure of the piece, a snap-shot of Singapore at a particular and politically important moment in time, the different voices and perspectives, a cross section of Singaporean characters and society, and the vital and engaging performances by the respective actors. It was also through this play and production that I became aware of the delights of Singlish.
Singlish is the English based patois or slang that is spoken in Singapore. When I was there Singlish was often denigrated as not being ‘proper English’ by those in the so-called social and academic elite, who can be ruthlessly and dully conservative. I loved it! When queried I would be mischievously provocative with these borish snobs, stating that I thought Shakespeare would have loved it too. Shakespeare was a words-smith and you only have to be familiar with his plays, as well as his contemporaries, to see how much he incorporated colloquial English (and others) slang into his works.
I tried many times to speak Singlish, much to the amusement of my Singapore friends. I even had a couple of Singlish dictionaries, and would fervently implore my Singapore students and friends to speak Singlish as I just loved hearing it. Unfortunately, I never got the hang of it – lah. Friends would just giggle at my attempts, my problem centring on differences in stress. Australians follow our English-speaking heritage with an iambic word/vowel stress (Dee-DUM), weak-strong; Singaporeans follow their English-speaking heritage with a trochaic word/vowel stress (DUM-Dee), strong-weak. I couldn’t break my Australian cultural habit. Instead of saying the common ‘CAN lah’, I would say ‘Can LAH’, which generally produced shrieks of laughter. Nonetheless, I was acutely aware that whenever Singlish was spoken in the theatre, as in Alfian’s plays, it was like an electric current suddenly shot through the audience, making them excited and animated – it was fantastic! This was most apparent in Alfian Sa’at’s delightful domestic comedy Cook a Pot of Curry – I didn’t understand half of it, but it didn’t matter, I just enjoyed the vitality of the show, and the joy of the Singapore audience as it would roar with laughter at recognition of themselves and their unique colloquial language. I am sure Hotel will have some Singlish in it – can’t wait to hear it again.
As previously mentioned, my favourite amongst Alfian’s plays is The Optic Trilogy. This is a two-hander between an unnamed man and woman in three separate scenes. I remember this Wild Rice production clearly, which featured dear friend and colleague the wonderful Brendon Fernandez, and how from the very first scene set in a hotel room I was absolutely transfixed – by the drama, the complexity, the language, and the brilliant performances. This is a play about deceit, full of poetic metaphors, and is often very funny. It has been performed in a number of other countries, but not, as yet, in Australia. This is the play that I would love to do in Australia. I can only encourage you to get hold of it, as it is published, and read it. But please – let me do it! Haha!.
Hopefully this brief little introduction to some of the works of Alfian Sa’at will encourage you to find out more about this terrific Singapore playwright and poet. It is well worth the effort. Also – if you haven’t as yet booked your tickets for Hotel here in Adelaide then please do so immediately – now! From all reports it is simply marvelous – both parts. I know that if you do you will not be disappointed and discover the joy of Alfian Sa’at, as well as Wild Rice.
Cry God for Harry! is a 3.5hrs condensed version of Shakespeare’s Richard II, Henry IV Pt. 1 & 2, and Henry V. To reference Philostrate in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at 3.5hrs Cry God for Harry! is ‘too long’. Reading through the program notes I well understand, appreciate and respect the creators of this work, Adelaide’s Independent Theatre Company, and their desire to condense what is essentially Shakespeare’s first tetralogy of ‘History’ plays – but it is too much for one play. The intention of the creators of this work was to focus on the respective influences that shaped the god-like warrior-king Henry V, particularly the two so-called ‘father-figures’ of Henry IV and Falstaff. This is admirable in itself but rather than clarifying their intentions the length of the work made the event laborious. Furthermore, the inclusion of certain scenes, while delightful in themselves, had little to no impact on the making of Henry V, exemplified by the scenes involving Falstaff and Justice Swallow, as well as those involving Falstaff and Pistol, which were not unfortunately very well done, despite the wonderful performance of David Roach as Falstaff. Subsequently, you start to question the intention and who are the creators of this work actually doing this play for?
One answer to this is actually one reason why I wanted to see this production in the first place. Adelaide’s Independent Theatre Company has produced some excellent work, notably last year’s Terence Rattigan’s Ross. They have a loyal following of people who are for the most part, judging by the audiences I have experienced, made up of ‘seniors’. This is well and good, and atypical of many audiences throughout Australia, including the South Australian Theatre Company. This is not to state that younger people are not also members of the audience but the majority are definitely in the middle-age to senior age bracket. I am not alone in often lamenting the fact that too often the so-called ‘mirror up to nature’ that is presented by many companies is focused on the young, and that ‘senior’ citizens, including ‘senior’ actors, are simply lacking in visibility. This is somewhat a paradox, with paying punters being mostly middle-age-to-seniors watching young people’s drama and not their own. Of course there are the exceptions, but for the most part this is the case. There are reasons for this; the current drive for everything to be ‘innovative’ forces respective creators and companies to focus on the young, primarily to capture new paying audiences. So it is with some relief that companies such as the Independent Theatre Company caters for those in an older age range. This was one reason why I went, plus it was a chance to see some of Shakespeare. I don’t need to see another play about disempowered youth – the RSC’s Matilda being a brilliant and notable exception – I’d rather pay to support our young people in more optimistic enterprises than the never changing ‘theatre of despair’.
Henry IV holds a particular place in the history of Australian theatre as it was the first of Shakespeare’s plays to be staged in the fledgeling colony in 1798. Following contemporary practice of the time this production, being a condensed version of the two plays, would have focused on the character of Falstaff. David Malouf in his Boyer Lecture A Spirit of Play asserted that Falstaff of all of Shakespeare’s characters epitomised the best and worst of the so-called ‘Australian’ character. Harold Bloom stated in his book on Shakespeare, and in other works, that Falstaff, as well as Rosalind in As You Like It, was Shakespeare’s greatest creation. That Falstaff was immensely popular with contemporary Elizabethan audiences is evident in that he appears in three of Shakespeare’s plays, Henry IV Pt 1 and Pt 2, and The Merry Wives of Windsor, and his death is poignantly described by Mistress Quickly in Henry V. The only other Shakespeare characters that surpass him are his companions Bardolph, Nym, Pistol and Mistress Quickly who appear in all four of the plays just mentioned, as well as Queen Margaret of Anjou who appears in Henry IV Pt. 1, 2, and 3, and Richard III. It is, however, Falstaff, as Harold Bloom and David Malouf (and others) state, that has a particular potency, a charismatic life force that is spirited and all too human and humane, and a theatrical history that stretches over centuries and beyond the plays by Shakespeare.
The creators of Cry God for Harry! acknowledge the charismatic appeal and power of Falstaff by referencing in the production’s program notes the many ‘great’ actors who have played Falstaff, particularly in the 20th Century; this includes Orson Welles, Ralph Richardson and Anthony Quayle. Cry God for Harry! was blessed by having such a terrific Falstaff with David Roach. Every time Mr Roach was on-stage the production was truly engaging.
However, as the production’s title suggests, the main focus for this production was Prince Hal, later Henry V. What were the forces and influences that made this majestic and victorious warrior-king? The answers include, for this production, the two father figures, Henry IV and Falstaff, as well as the ghost of the usurped Richard II, a subject of guilt and shame for the usurper Henry IV and his son Henry V. The question in regard to the influences on the making of Henry V is fine and valid, but I challenge the further contention that Henry V’s final condemnation and banishment of Falstaff is a tragedy for both of them. Making Prince Hal and then Henry V a kind of victim to the ghosts of the past may have some point in regard to Henry’s plea on the night before the Battle of Agincourt but it is not a primary concern, more a minor point of panic than something that troubles and overwhelms either the young prince or king. Furthermore, the cutting of Prince Hal’s soliloquy ‘I know you all’ in regards to Falstaff and his Boer’s Head companions when he reveals his Machiavellian side was a curious and rather annoying manipulation of the actual text and character. Also, by the time we eventually got to the play of Henry V, the cutting of Henry’s ruthlessness in dealing with his attempted assassins reduces the power and complexity of the character, but frankly by the time we got to the play of Henry V and Falstaff was gone I simply didn’t care and was praying for the show to end. In fact, I will admit that I did leave before the production actually finished, mainly because I needed to catch public transport so that I would be home before midnight.
The truth is that the creators attempted too much, manipulated the respective plays to make Henry more sympathetic, but ultimately failed because they could not suppress the irrepressible life force of Falstaff. Shakespeare knew this himself by not having Falstaff appear in Henry V. Once Falstaff is banished at the end of Henry IV Pt 2 then this production should have stopped – but it didn’t. It was as if the creators were overwhelmed themselves by the charismatic power of Falstaff and Prince Hal-King Henry and while endeavouring to balance them went for excess rather than anything judicious. Something went very wrong here, and it may have been due to the overwhelming ‘feel sorry for me’ attitude and interpretation of the respective characters. Falstaff, however, hardly ever indulges in such sentimental bleating, and thankfully David Roach resisted any such behaviour even with Falstaff’s plea to Prince Hal in the scene in the Boer’s Head to banish anyone ‘but not Falstaff’.
In the hands of more professional actors this may have all worked, but unfortunately the technical skills and talents of most of the actors on stage were simply not up to the mark for such a long evening. I join the long list of critics, and other ‘judicious’ audiences members who have seen numerous theatre works, that lament the paucity of vocal skill, depth and range from most contemporary actors. Ian McKellen’s strongly worded demand ‘Make me listen to you’ when playing Shakespeare does not mean over earnestness, extreme sincerity and shouting. Even worse, as was apparent here, that despite a fair degree of textual clarity, the consistent ‘singing’ of the lines betrayed and revealed the unskilled and untrained, and is always always a sign of faked emotions and superficial and artificial depth, illustrative and demonstrative acting. Hideous. This is in addition to the appalling amount of shouting and forced guttral sounds as if the actors are ripping out their vocal chords in order to sound like they are being sincere etc. It isn’t – it’s just bad acting. This is further complemented by excessive gesturing, hands and arms, usually palms up in some form of supplicationary excessive sincerity, and little else. Add heads thrusting forward, locked knees and facial grimacing so that all characters start looking like they all belong to a group of dipping ducks.
I can forgive the often bizarre costuming as the production is influenced by Michael Bogdanov’s English Stage Company’s production of Shakespeare’s Wars of the Roses plays, but even then there was strict compliance with issues of the given circumstances of weather. In this production characters appeared in heavy winter cloaks along side characters in light summer gear. A creative choice by necessity perhaps – I hope – but it looked bizarre and certainly only added to my growing confusion and exhaustion with what exactly was going on. Mistress Quickly in a stylish cocktail outfit, juxtaposed with Doll Tearsheet’s sluttish and slovenly appearance exemplifies the strange choices in regard character and the respective given circumstances of the play(s). The set design, however, was very effective; except – whilst the high throne dominating the stage looked impressive it also meant that some of the most important speeches were delivered up-stage with the respective actors having their backs to the audience and – well – basically shouting. This was the case with Hotspur’s ‘My liege I did deny no prisoners’ speech, as well Henry IV’s castigation of Prince Hal after Hal had taken the crown thinking his father had died. What happens when people shout at you? You basically stop listening. So rather than making me listen to them and to Shakespeare’s words I closed down due to the overwhelming barrage of shouted generalised outpouring of emotional states.
One of the most interesting aspect of recent productions of the Henry IV plays is the re-evaluation and re-invention of the character of Henry IV. Jeremy Iron’s Henry IV in the relatively recent The Hollow Crown TV-miniseries of Shakespeare’s plays was truly magnificent. Nick Buckland’s Henry IV in Cry God for Harry had a similar stoic dignity and depth and was, like David Roach’s Falstaff, a highlight of the production. Subsequently, in retrospect, the aim of the creators in focusing the attention on the two father-figure influences on Prince Hal were very successful. I just wish they had left it there and not gone on to deal with Henry V, or Richard II.
For the realization of Richard II the less said the better; except to say that Richard II is NOT Edward II!! Turning Richard II into an effete homosexual (who essentially ‘sang’ his lines) was NOT what Shakespeare wrote – at all. It is not even true to the historical Richard II. Why did the creators of Cry God for Harry do this? No idea really – but it is another example of a type of insidious anti-gay attitude and execution and repulsive antiquated assumption. If a man is effeminate in any way then of course he must be ‘gay’.
Alfred Hitchcock once said that the measure of a successful show was if it was worth the price of admission, the price of the pre-show meal, and the cost of the baby-sitter. Cynical but true, especially considering the costs involved in attending Cry God for Harry at the Space Theatre in the Dunstan Playhouse at the Adelaide Festival Centre. This was a relatively expensive night out and whilst I will continue to support the Independent Theatre (and others), and be a paying punter, nonetheless, I do expect a higher standard. m I wrong to demand this? I don’t think so. I am one of those whom Hamlet references in his ‘advice to the players’, being amongst the ‘judicious’ who ‘grieve’ at those that ‘strutted and bellowed’, and as Macbeth comments are ‘full of sound and fury, signifying nothing’. At the very least could the good people at Independent Theatre arrange for some solid Acting and Voice classes for their very committed and dedicated actors – they deserve it.
ADELAIDE STREET ART 2016
PLAY GROUND – Hindmarsh Square
Last Sunday I re-visited Carrick Hill, a stately mansion home at the foot of the Adelaide Hills. As my companions and I walked towards the house down the long driveway the opening sentence of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca (1938) sprang to my mind – ‘Last night I dreamt I went to Mandeley again‘. This wonderful evocation, summoning up memory, seemed very apt for a couple of reasons. When I mentioned it, my sister said that my mother had also spoken this line when she and my sister visited Carrick Hill a couple of years before my mother died. She loved du Maurier’s Rebecca; as I did (and do) Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 film, with the South Australian born actress, Dame Judith Anderson (1887-19) giving a definitive, brilliant memorable performance as Mandeley‘s creepy house-keeper Mrs Danvers.
Another reason why the opening line from Rebecca seemed appropriate is in regard to what a place might represent – a place associated with memories and beauty; and as such, in my imagination, Carrick Hill is another Mandeley – a very special place.
Visiting Carrick Hill is like stepping back in time to another world, one full of great wealth, patronage of art, affluence and influence. The entire property is approximately 40 hectares and contains and old mansion-house modeled on 16th Century English Tudor country mansions houses, as well as a truly magnificent garden that surrounds the house, with views over Adelaide. It is one of the few estates of its kind in Australia that remains virtually unchanged from when it was first created in 1939, the same time that saw the publication and subsequent film of Rebecca.
The following is a short photo-record of this visit last Sunday, particularly to the main house and garden. It tries to convey the unique and magical charm of Carrick Hill which is primarily a reflection of it’s original owners.
Carrick Hill was the home of Sir Edward ‘Bill’ Hayward (1903-83) and his wife Lady Ursula Hayward (1907-1970). The land was a wedding gift from the brides family, the Barr-Smith’s – one of the ‘old money’ families of Adelaide. Bill and Ursula Hayward married in 1935, and then embarked on their honeymoon to England. It was during this honeymoon that they started collecting numerous works of art and furnishings that became part of Carrick Hill. This includes a large 16th Century central staircase that they bought from the sale of the old Tudor mansion, Beaudesert House, the ancestral home of the aristocratic Paget family, the Marquesses of Anglesey.
I couldn’t help but smile imagining these two newlyweds driving through the English countryside, buying things that took their fancy. Flashing on images of London and England in the mid-1930s, with young adults that Evelyn Waugh labelled the ‘bright young things’ – all very Noel Coward, Cole Porter and all that (British) jazz; plus, the world of P.G. Wodehouse, Christopher Isherwood, the Mitford’s – and a hell of a lot of others; exciting world in exciting times, and everything ‘frightfully gay’, when ‘gay’ meant happy and not its current usage.
From all accounts it would seem that the Haywood’s had no fixed agenda in regard to what they bought. They simply bought what they found appealing. Subsequently, as will be revealed there is a particular mixing of the ‘old’ and the ‘modern’ that at first seems rather eccentric, however, on closer examination there a ‘method in the madness’, one that places certain humanist traditions and beliefs as paramount.
Carrick House was built between 1937-1939. During this time Ursula Haywood took personal control over establishing the garden. The Haywards, however, did not have much time to settle in to their new home as war broke out in 1939. Bill Hayward signed up, and did active service. It was during the war years that Bill Hayward noticed how popular the relatively new drink of Coca-Cola was with the US troops. After WW2 Bill Hayward secured the franchise contract to sell Coca-Cola to Australians – the first to do so.
The Hayward’s were great art collectors and one of the great pleasures in visiting Carrick Hill is the display of the collection, or part of it, throughout the house, as well as in the garden. The Hayward’s must have had a good eye, or simply knew what they liked aesthetically, as well as a good agent, because the collection contains numerous works by 20th Century English and Australian ‘moderns’, such as Arthur Streeton, Russell Drysdale, Jacob Epstein, Augustus John, and Stanley Spencer. The Haywards knew a number of the artists personally and considered them friends. This included Nora Heysen (1911-2003), daughter of Hans Heysen whose own life story is amazing. There is a lovely ‘still life’ of flowers by Nora Heysen in the upstairs sitting room.
Also upstairs is the ‘gallery’, part of the old house that has been converted for use of special art exhibitions that are generally connected to the house. When we visited there was a exhibition on in the upstairs gallery that contained a number of wonderful pieces, including a beautiful small Renoir, which was once own by the Haywards and is now owned by the Art Gallery of South Australia. Technically, the AGSA owns all of Carrick Hill. The Haywards’ never had any children; Lady Ursula died in 1970 and when Sir Bill Hayward died in 1983 he bequeathed Carrick Hill to the state of South Australia. On the 9th March, 1986, Queen Elizabeth II visited Carrick House and officially opened it to the public; 2016 marks the 30th Anniversary of Carrick House. In August 2016 Carrick Hill will present a retrospective of the works of English artist, Stanley Spencer (1891-1959); this is rather exciting and something I am very much looking forward to seeing. Not that surprising either, considering that the Hayward’s had one of the largest private collections of Stanley Spencer’s work; and artist they patronized and knew as a friend from the beginning of his career.
Driving through the front gate of Carrick Hill the first things one notices are signs warning about snakes in the grounds sharing the habitat. We decided pretty quickly not to get out of the car at this stage. The road meandered through the very Australian bush finally arriving at the relatively large carpark within viewing distance of the main house. From the carpark there is a short concrete pathway down to the main large driveway that leads to the house.
Walking down the driveway one passes through sections of the garden, which includes as well as the massive trees, open lawns and flowerbeds (roses) to the left, leading to the view of Adelaide, and to the right a number of specialist gardens, including a Japanese Garden, with pond, small waterfall, canal and a number of Japanese plants and flowers and a truly beautiful willow tree.
THE ENTRANCE HALL – The Entrance Hall is more like an old ante-chamber, a small square room with dark timber panelling and a high ceiling. There are a number of art works in this room, the first one encounters is a large bust of George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) by Jacob Epstein (1880-1959). There are also a couple of small paintings, ‘still-life’s’ of flowers, and then a sizable beautiful landscape of Venice by Arthur Streeton (1867-1943), which is all light, white, blue, yellow, unlike a lot of Streeton’s more familiar works that are much darker in tone and colour and atmosphere.
Whilst there are many outstanding works of art in the entire collection, not least being a ‘Fan’ painted by Paul Gauguin, it is portraiture that is the dominate genre. This evident in the numerous busts of famous contemporaries of the Haywood’s, some of whom were personal friends. This includes Jacob Epstein, the ‘father of modern sculpture’. As with Stanley Spencer, the Hayward’s were a great admirer of Jacob Epstein and the house contains numerous work by this great 20th century artist. One of my favourite works by Epstein, and is perhaps his best known is Oscar Wilde‘s grave and memorial in Paris.
I was intrigued as to why Epstein’s Shaw and Streeton’s painting were the first major works one encountered in Carrick Hill. Had they always been there? I asked the lady from whom one bought the entrance tickets to the house. As far as she knew, most of the artworks were in their original places, although she did not know exactly if this was also the case for the bust of Shaw. She did say, however, that some works do get moved around from time to time, but somehow they always seem to return to their original position. I thank her, but internally I wasn’t totally convinced – so the answer as to whether or not the displayed works are in their original position when Carrick Hill was the Hayward’s home is unknown. Nonetheless, thinking about Shaw and what he may have represented to the Hayward’s played in my mind as I went through the rest of the house. Furthermore, the juxtaposition of the ‘old’ as exemplified by the Streeton, and the ‘modern’, exemplified by Epstein’s Shaw, in a way set the tone and theme for what was to follow. The remarkable things is that they seem in perfect harmony with one another. Why? Why put these pieces together? Is it just random or is there something else at work?
The answer certainly lies with the personal tastes of the Hayward’s, but this also requires closer examination.They had strong ‘old world’ connection to the ‘mother country’ Great Britain, and at the same time were deeply attracted to the work of the ‘moderns’; and not just any ‘modern’ artist but a very particular English eye that specialized in portraits, busts, and still-life’s. I do not know enough about them as yet, but based on this experience of Carrick Hill and how certain works are deliberately placed within the house made me contemplate certain possibilities – beginning with George Bernard Shaw.
In the theatre Shaw stands, seemingly like a colossus, between the ‘old’ 19th Century world, and the ‘modern’ first part of the 20th Century. You just have to read or see Shaw’s Man and Superman (1902), Major Barbara (1905), Heartbreak House (1917/1920). and St. Joan (1923) to find how remarkably prophetic and accurate Shaw was in dealing with social and political conundrums that are still very much a part of today’s world. Whilst there have recently been professional productions of a couple of his plays, including Arms and the Man (1895), I am not, however, certain if Shaw still holds much place or influence in contemporary Australia. From my experience of teaching young Australians, most have never heard of him, nor I may add the film of My Fair Lady (1964), based on Shaw’s Pygmalion (1912).
As may be gathered, I am a huge fan of George Bernard Shaw. Other plays by Shaw in his considerable canon of work that I particularly like include, Mrs Warren’s Profession (1893), Candida (1894), You Never Can Tell (1895), Caesar and Cleopatra (1898), Misalliance (1909), Androcles and the Lion (1912), Great Catherine (1913), O’Flaherty C.C. (1917), and The Apple Cart (1928). Each of these plays pose respective challenging complex questions in regard to power, gender, and sex, that remain relatively universal.
Shaw’s humour is not the belly-laugh of slap=stick comedy, but rather the wry smile of satire; plus he is a great romantic.
As the above excessive amount of quotes from Shaw exemplify, as well as the universal popularity of his plays, his influence on the thinking of the early 20th century generations was considerable. The Hayward’s may well have been influenced by Shaw. Is there and element of Heartbreak House in Carrick Hill; or is it like Howard’s End (1910) by E. M. Forster, another special place which at the end of Forster’s novel is very like Carrick Hill, maintaining its special otherworldly quality as the city silhouette steadily surrounds it.
I decided to keep Shaw in mind as I went through the house, to see if there was any complementary consistency with the chosen art works and Shaw’s view on life. For example, Shaw was a senior member of the Fabian Society in the first decade of the 20th Century.
The Fabian Society was established in 1894-95 and was intended to promote the ideas and philosophy of Socialism through non violent means. Whilst Shaw was often in a combative position within and without the Fabian Society, nonetheless, he remained a Fabian for his entire life. The Fabian’s emphasis on non-violence in time drew them into conflict with regimental British imperialism and rabid nationalism – ‘old’ verses ‘modern’ thinking.
Were the Hayward’s Fabians? I don’t know – but the works of art they personally selected complement certain Fabian beliefs. This is particularly noticeable in that there are no works that are violent – no bleeding saints or blood drenched massacres, no depictions of torture, horrors, and other nightmares. There is nothing deadly, no death-images, no cruxicfictions, battles, dead animals, etc. This is similar to the Frick Museum in New York that also doesn’t have any violent paintings in its collection. The Hayward’s selected works that were either portraits or sculptures of famous people, some of whom they knew; which suggests a strong ‘humanist’ position, that combined with the non-violence offers a place that is a peaceful celebration of the best of mankind. This is a highly romantic interpretation of Carrick Hill, nonetheless, it is an apt one as peace, harmony, elegance and sophistication reign supreme in what is essentially a family home rather than a rich person’s show pen.
THE MAIN HALL – CENTRAL ROOM
From the Entrance Hall one moves to the left and enters the Main Hall. This is the central room of the house – and it is truly spectacular. The main reason for this is the 16th Century staircase that dominates the room, and leads to the upper level of the house. In keeping with the original concept of such staircases in the Elizabethan world of ‘mansion houses’ there is a wonderful use of sunlight through the large windows, particularly those on the first landing going up the central staircase that looks out over the garden at the back of the house. As with other rooms there is a mixture of the ‘old’ and the ‘modern’. The ‘old’ is exemplified by the magnificent Tudor staircase, as well as the windows that also came from Beaudesert House in England. Against this, but not in opposition, are the ‘modern’ art works by artists such as Epstein as well as Augustus John. On either side of the staircase there a sculptures by Epstein. This is the first room that begins the collection’s paintings by British artist Stanley Spencer, the Hayward’s at one time having one of the largest privately owned collections of Spencer’s unique work and very English style and artistry. Spencer’s paintings in many ways stand as representative of Carrick Hill, in content, tone, and colour.
THE SITTING ROOM & THE LIBRARY
From the Main Hall one can access other rooms in the house – beginning with the Sitting Room and Library in the left wing of the house. Both room a different in tone and feel, primarily due to the furnishings, textiles, and light.
The Sitting Room, to the left, is more formal as well as darker than the Library. It is a very curious room in many ways, with a terrific mixture of ‘modern’ works in what is essentially a very old room; dominated to a certain extent by a grand piano set agains the large windows, and an enormous fireplace, above which sits the Gauguin ‘Fan’. In the left hand corner near the fireplace is a cupboard that was designed specifically to hold old phonograph records.
The Sitting Room the room feels rather spacious, compared to the Library which is cosily cluttered with books and armchairs and basking in beautiful sunlight. In the Library there is also a hidden bar behind one of the bookcases. Great use of space in this relatively small space, and very stylish – G & T’s anyone?
THE DINING ROOM
Walking back across the Main Hall, through a door on the left side of the room, one enters the Dining Room.
This is a beautiful room, dark oak paneling, a magnificent table, chairs and settings, a large fireplace, carefully chosen works of art, and all light by sunlight from the Tudor windows that also came from Beaudesert House. Above the fireplace is a Russell Drysdale, which is slightly at odds with the other art work, and yet, and yet….?
There is a darkness, a formality, and a relatively sombre atmosphere in this room – suggesting that fine dining in this house was a serious affair. This is somewhat supported by the presence of a couple of semi-religious works, which are unusual as the collection has no overt religious art.
To me and my fervent imagination, this is the darkest room in the house. Despite is elegance there does seem to be a battle going on in here. Look at little closer at the detail and content. There is hint of violence in this room that you don’t find in the others. This partly exemplified by the wooden lion statues that sit one a sideboard at one end of the room. If the Haywards were Fabians then it is highly likely they were also vegetarians. Is there a subliminal message here; I don’t know; but there is an uncomfortable unresolved tension in the room.
THE KITCHEN & UPSTAIRS PANTRY
Moving through the Dining Room one comes to the relatively modern 1930s Kitchen. This is connected to an upstairs Pantry. There are a number of interesting features about the two rooms, primarily because they are very much ‘modern’ kitchens. Both rooms also feature examples of some of the fine china tea and dinner service that is also part of the Carrick Hill collection.
MAIN HALL – UPPER GALLERY, THE ‘MASTER’ BEDROOM & ENSUITE BATHROOM & DRESSING ROOM
From the Kitchen one moves back to the Main Hall and climb the central staircase to the upper gallery and then to the Master Bedroom.
THE MASTER BEDROOM
This is a very elegant room, yet also a delightful mixture of the old and the ‘modern’. The room is dominated by a large old four-poster bed, which has sitting on top a breakfast-in-bed- service. There are some large screens with stunning patterns (tapestries, I think), and the whole room is full of light. Along one side, however, there is this rather large white ‘modern’ set of cupboards, which I assume once housed Lady Ursula’s wardrobe. As piece by itself it is very smart and impressive. Set in this room, however, I wasn’t convinced and kind of just blocked it – haha!
On top of the chest at the foot of the impressive four-poster bed were two Bible Boxes, one from the early 17th Century, and the other ‘modern’. The juxtaposition between the two complementing the rest of the house. The 17th Century Bible Box was of particular interest to me in that it was built for and would have housed a copy of the King James Bible, the first official English Bible published 1612-13. Along with Shakespeare, the King James Bible is one of the pillars of the English language.
There are also a number of art works in this room, small works that have a distinctive bawdiness – very appropriate to a bedroom.
To the right of the bed there is a beautiful large ensuite bathroom – pretty in pink. It contrasts with the bedroom in being very 1930s ‘modern’.
Moving through the Bathroom, which occupies a corner of the upper level of the house, one enters what was once a Dressing Room. It is a small room, and if the bedroom is ‘feminine’ then this small dressing room is quite ‘masculine’ in its feel. Again – a bit of a surprise considering that most dressing rooms in such mansion homes are distinctly feminine.
THE MAIN HALL – UPPER GALLERY
From the Master Bedroom one moves back into the Main Hall walking along the Upper Gallery, which has number of modern works, including a sculpture by Jacob Epstein of Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965), a self-portrait of the painter, Augustus John (1878-1961) and another portrait of Bill Hayward.
SITTING ROOM – UPPER GALLERY
In the left corner on the upper level there is a tiny ‘Sitting Room’. Inside this room are a number of treasures that in many ways encapsulate Carrick Hill. There are two works by Stanley Spencer, Jacob Epstein’s Albert Einstein, and a ‘Still Life’ of flowers by Nora Heysen. There is also a beautiful panel of flowers that is placed in front of the fireplace. It encapsulates Carrick Hill and the Hayward’s aesthetic in the muted order of Spencer, the humanitarianism of Einstein, and the beauty of nature, the solace and reward of gardening as in Nora Heysen’s painting.
THE EXHIBITION ROOMS
The rooms next to this small sitting room have been converted to a small gallery, which holds special exhibitions. The subject of these exhibitions are very often linked to aspect of Carrick Hill. The current exhibition involved the ‘Mancini Pearls‘, a pair of drop earrings that have been owned by a number of extraordinary women, including Queen Mary I, Queen Elizabeth I, and Queen Henrietta-Maria, wife of King Charles I, and in the 20th Century, Dame Elizabeth Taylor.
In the same exhibition room that is focused on the ‘Mancini Pearls’ there was also a small painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) that was once owned by the Hayward’s.
In the second exhibition room there were works and other objects that were primarily concerned with Bill Hayward. This included the official royal charter for his knighthood in 1961, as well as a ‘modern’ water colour of the John Martin building in Adelaide, the home of the family business.
It also included the controversial painting by Sir William Dobell ( 1899-197) of the Australian artist Joshua Smith (1905-1995).
This painting won the Archibald Prize in 1943 but was subject to a number of court cases at the time, being considered a caricature and not an actual portrait. If my memory serves me correctly, either the Hayward’s or the SA Art Gallery were the owners of this painting. Whilst popular at the time it has not been seen for a while, due to it being severely damaged. The presence of this painting brings in a darkness to place, the painting being like a ghostly spectre of the real Joshua Smith who hated the portrait, it being more famous than his own work. He said of it, that it was a ‘curse, a phantom that haunts me. It has torn at me every day of my life. I’ve tried to bury it inside me in the hope it would die, but it never does’.
THE CORRIDORS – MAIN HALL
The corridor next to the exhibition room runs the full length of this side of the house. It also contains numerous paintings and drawings. Walking back into the Main Hall and down the staircase is also full of more ‘modern’ art works, that are distinctive due to the number of floral ‘still-life’ paintings.
As previously stated, Ursula Hayward was the person who was primarily responsible for establishing the garden that surrounds the house. There are a number of different sections, beginning with the short walk from the carpark to the house. The main garden area, however, lies in the front of the house overlooking Adelaide.This too has numerous sections to it and is a sheer delight to walk through. The front area has both formal and informal gardens. The informal gardens often contain ‘modern’ statues that stand in contrast, and yet in harmony, with their respective environment. The house is truly wonderful, but the garden area, for me anyway, it what makes Carrick Hill a truly magical and special place. The mood changes as per the gardens manner and style and content.
Through a gate in a wall you come to the top area in front of the house, with open lawns tumbling down to the formal gardens in front, and the informal garden to the left.
A perfect place to stage an Open-Air Shakespeare.
The two sides to the formal garden are separated by a enclosed vine pathway; like a tunnel that leads to the lower part of the formal garden.
Moving further down and through an opening in the large hedge reveals another wonderful vista of tree lined avenues and the city of Adelaide.
Coming back through this opening – to explore more of the formal garden.
Then moving to the right across the open lawn in front of the house.
The progressing up along side more hedges with informal gardens, and pond in front and formal gardens behind that lead back up to the driveway and entrance to the house.
This marks the end of this journey to Carrick Hill. This journey began with George Bernard Shaw and it seems fitting to end with him, or at least a statement that in way encapsulates the Hayward’s and their unique offering to the Australian public, a glimpse into the beauty of their souls, and as such a source of solace and inspiration.
OLD TIMES by Harold Pinter was first produced in 1971 and went on to be performed around the world. Since the beginning of the 21st Century it has been consistently revived, the play’s dark and mysterious content and subject matter seemingly striking a resonate chord with the modern zeitgeist.
The play has been interpreted in many ways. Pinter never really offered any concrete explanation; he once told Anthony Hopkins who when he was playing the character of Deeley asked Pinter to explain the ending, ‘I don’t know. Just do it’.
It is the open ambiguity of this play that fascinates me. I am mid-way into rehearsals and just letting it unfold as I work with the actors. I have some idea where I am going with it,of course, but I know that it is a journey – and where I am now may not be where I finish. That is part of what makes this play so marvelous. I want people to talk about it afterwards and discuss their own interpretation, rather than me and the actors signposting it, and simply leaving the theatre immediately forgetting the piece as if it was some sort of fast-food rubbish, and ‘where shall we go for drink?’
Currently, I see the play as a kind of power-struggle in regards to memory. Who controls memory? We will all have different perspectives and interpretations about the same experienced event. How many times has that happened to you? That you get surprised by what another person remembers about a mutually shared experience.
Pinter wrote, ‘The past is what you remember, imagine your remember, convince yourself you remember, or pretend to remember’. This is explored in OLD TIMES.
He also wrote, ‘A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false’.
I am reminded of other ‘memory’ plays that seem to connect with OLD TIMES; such as Sartre’s IN CAMERA, and Tennessee Williams’ THE GLASS MENAGERIE. THE GLASS MENAGERIE opens with the character Tom stating, ‘The play is memory. Being a memory play, it is dimly lighted, it is sentimental, it is not realistic. In memory everything seem to happen to music’. This is true for OLD TIMES, with the importance of music from the 1930s playing a significant part; however, it s not ‘dimly lighted’ but rather glaringly bright as if one is in kind of surgical waiting room. In regard to it being ‘realistic’ or not, Pinter wrote about his work, ‘What goes on in my plays is realistic, but what I’m doing is not realism’. Delightfully ambiguous.
This production is the launch of a new professional company in Adelaide. It is only a short season, playing 6-9 APRIL in the SPACE THEATRE at the ADELAIDE FESTIVAL CENTRE. I would like to thank the FESTIVAL CENTRE, CARLA ZAMPATTI, as well as the STAR THEATRE Adelaide, for their generous and kind support. Like the play itself, my business partner and myself are taking a leap into the unknown. Our intentions are good, we are doing this for the art and for Adelaide actors – hopefully you will come along and support us – BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW!!!
Adelaide, ADELAIDE FESTIVAL CENTRE, ADELAIDE SPORTS OVAL, Australia, BOER WAR, CANOVA, CHARLES KINGSFORD SMITH, GALLIPOLI, HERCULES, PUBLIC ART, RIVER TORRENS, SIMPSON AND HIS DONKEY, South Australia, STATUES, VENUS, WAR MEMORIALS, WWI
PUBLIC ART: The Three Oldest Statues in Adelaide
After spending a large amount of this morning in a dentist’s chair, and feeling a bit numb in the mouth, I walked back to the Adelaide CBD from North Adelaide via the Torrens River. Once again – a fabulous discovery of just how exquisitely beautiful Adelaide is. showing off this lovely sunny February day, and reminding me of certain English, American and European towns that have a river running through it. It also gave me chance to further my file re public art. As mentioned in a previous blog – PUBLIC ART: SINGAPORE – my definition of ‘Public Art’ is basically anything that is in and for the public eye, which can include statues, graffiti, sketches, advertising, memorials, etc. Here are some photos I took on this walk.
I had no clear itinerary worked out, just ‘went with the flow’ as to where I meandered. I walked past the ADELAIDE OVAL, which is a large stylish modern building – with a number of statues of classical heroic athletes, such as Hercules, as well as modern Australian ones.
THE STATUE OF HERCULES, also known as The Farnese ‘Hercules’, sits in Pennington Gardens in front of the Adelaide Oval. It was the second public statue to be erected in Adelaide; given to the City of Adelaide in 1893 by William Austin Horn (1841-1922). W. A. Horn was a prominent South Australian businessman and politician, of whom it was once said that he was ‘one of the most generous public men‘ in South Australia.
Whilst it is a copy of an original, dating from 1892, nonetheless, it is rather unique, presenting a rather reflective and melancholic older-Hercules.
I should add that in 1892 William Austin Horn in had already donated what was Adelaide’s first piece of public art; a classical statue, a beautiful copy of Canova‘s VENUS. This statue was rather controversial at the time. The controversy was possibly inflamed as well as ignored by the fact that one of old Adelaide’s most popular ‘Gentlemen Club’ of the 1890s was directly across the road from the statue which lay on North Terrace in the CBD. Members of the club could go onto the balcony, enjoying their evening brandy or port and cigars, whilst list-fully gazing at this beautiful Canova ‘Venus’. The statue, as well as the building that hosted this club are still there on North Terrace – long may they be so!
The other statues that I noted as I wandered through Pennington Park was a rather impressive one of Sir Donald Bradman (1908-2001), and somewhat perversely one of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith (1897-1935). What ‘Smithy’ has to do with sport and the Adelaide Sports Oval I’m not quite sure? Nonetheless, as it may be that younger (and older) Australians have no idea who Kingsford-Smith is (or rather, was), nor of his heroic importance to Australian and World-History, better that he is there smack-bang right at the entrance.
On the other side of the main road there are a number of gardens and war memorials. I didn’t go to all of them, but the ones I did were excellent and somewhat surprising. I’m starting to appreciate the unique quirkiness that one finds in Adelaide, as often as not expressed in it variable range of ‘public art’, which can sometimes be placed in somewhat ironic modern day position. For example, this beautiful stone cross that is right next to speed sign; I call the pix ‘Stone Crucifix in a 50km/hr zone’ (haha).
Attracted by one that had a plethora of petunias, I discovered a statue dedicated to WWI Australian Gallipoli hero John Simpson (1892-1915), of ‘Simpson and his Donkey‘ fame.
Just a little further on was another war memorial shrine, in a classical pagoda with a very unusual life-size statue on the steps.
From here I just walked straight down to the banks of the River Torrens – the vista speaks for itself – marvellous!
I walked towards the city along the bank footpath and under the bridge…..
….continuing my fascination with ‘pathways’, what they look like, and where they lead. The path under the bridge was no exception; plus I discovered a piece of ‘public art’ that I’m pretty sure most people passing through this ‘pathway’ would never really notice – a series of large blue tiles with black drawings and silhouettes.
Emerging from this tunnel, you get a fantastic view of the city of Adelaide, the River Torrens and the Festival Centre.
I then went up and crossed the bridge that becomes King William Street, one of the main roads that travels through the CBD. There are parks and gardens on both sides of the road, but the biggest is the open park in front of the Festival Centre, looking directly across the Torrens to the Sports Centre.
I continued walking up King William Street until it meets North Terrace. Just next to the Festival Centre, on the other side from the park and the river, there are a number of examples of ‘public art’, modern and those from a more distant time.
Was particularly taken with this one; playing with the reflections….
And this lovely drawing near the entrance to the Festival Centre Car Park….
Finally, at the corner of King William Street and North Terrace there is rather impressive War Memorial statue, of a soldier and his horse in action. What is wonderfully intriguing about this terrific bronze statue is that it is dedicated to those South Australians who served in the Boer War in South Africa (1899-1902); the same war that saw the court martial and execution of Lieutenant Harry ‘Breaker’ Morant (1864-1902). Morant’s name is not on any of bronze inscription panels that are places around the statue’s pedestal, which list the names of those who fought in the Boer War. However, the name of his comrade, Lieutenant Peter Handcock (1868-1902), who was also courtmartialed and executed at the same time as ‘Breaker’ Morant, was added in 1964 after a family and public campaign to do so.
The statue was designed and created by Adrian Jones (1885-1938); another of this English sculptor’s work, his ‘public art’, is the The Peace Quadriga that sits atop of Wellington Arch in London. After a vigorous competition involving public opinion, The pedestal was made by local firm Garlick, Sibley and Wooldridge, the granite coming from nearby Murray Bridge. The statue was offical unveiled at a big civic function by Sir George Le Hunte (1852-1925), Governor of South Australia from 1903-1909. The date, 6 June 1904, was chosen carefully, coinciding with the birthday of the then Prince of Wales, later King George V (1865-1936).
From the time of it’s unveiling up to present day, this memorial statue, placed right in front of Government House, has been central to any Australian war meorial function, including ANZAC Day. The statue has been known by a number of names. Initially it was the National War Memorial, a position it held until 1931. Today it is called The South African War Memorial and/or The Boer War Memorial.
What is simply wonderful – well I find wonderful in my own romantic way – is that The South African War Memorial, as well as the Canova ‘Venus’, and the Fernese ‘Hercules’, have all witnessed and played a part in the history and evolution of Adelaide. For many Adelaidians over the centuries these statues would have been, as they are now, part of the background for contemporary life and lives. They may not have been directly and regularly noted and commented upon, but was something buried in the conscious and sub-conscious, particularly in regard to memory and place. A common reference point for a number of people from Adelaide, the surrounding region and South Australia. A Collective Memory – what we see now other also saw in the past. Something to treasure!
Adelaide, Adelaide Hills, Carrick Hill, Dan Koh, East Gate Lodge, Hahndorf, Hans Heysen, Mitcham, Mitcham Bridge, Mitcham Park, Old Bellair Road, South Australia, The Cedars, Tony Knight, Torrens Park, Windy Point
DAY 8: LAST DAY – HAHNDORF & MUGGS HILL
Today was Dan’s last day in Adelaide, being due to fly out later this evening. I had intended to take him to Carrick Hill, a wonderful old mansion that was nearby, with a spectacular garden, and also housed one of the largest private collections of the work by British painter Stanley Spencer. We got there but only to discover that it was closed. This was to be the first disappointment of the day. We then drove up Old Bellair Road to the lookout Windy Point, overlooking Adelaide.
I should have brought Dan here first as it has such great all encompassing view of Adelaide and its surrounding area, notably Glenelg that we had visited only a few days before; something for me to remember next time when I have guest to stay – go to Windy Point first.
From Windy Point we drove further into the Adelaide Hills towards the town of Hahndorf. The main reason why I wanted to take Dan to Hahndorf was to go to the home and studio of Hans Heysen, called ‘The Cedars’, which lay just outside Hahndorf. Hans Heysen (1877-1968) is one of my favourite Australian landscape artists, and ‘The Cedars’ is a truly wonderful place. However, when we got there we discovered that like Carrick Hill it too was closed for the day. 2nd Disappointment.
By this time Dan had announced, ‘I am hungry’; so we drove to Hahndorf for something to eat, and ideally something very German.
Hahndorf is Australia’s oldest German settlement, being established by essentially Prussian Lutherans in 1839-39. Originally involved in agricultural production, it is now a major tourist attraction, mainly because it has retained its unique German flavour with many original buildings still standing and in excellent condition. During WWI the town was briefly re-named Ambleside, and many of its German inhabitants, including Hans Heysen were interred and/or help under house arrest, simply because they were of German descent. The town reverted back to Hahndorf in 1935.
Hahndorf was quite busy when we arrived. We found a park off the main street and then wandered up to find a restaurant. We did – and ate. Dan had – guess what? Fish and chips (again), but with some more vegetables. I had a larger German sausage with vegetables – delicious.
After lunch we meandered up and down the main street of Hahndorf, admiring the buildings and occasionally venturing into one of the many shops along the way.
We came across the Hahndorf Art Gallery, which is housed in an old building that once was an educational academy. We went in – of course. To say that it was quite eclectic would be an understatement in that not only did contain a museum, but also two very sizable galleries that were exhibiting new works by local artists, plus (of course) a very large shops that was full of delightful but very expensive things for tourists.
The Heritage Museum & Art Gallery – Hahndorf
Ground Floor Gallery
Beyond the Gift Shop on the ground floor lay the first gallery. It contained an exhibition by a solo local artist – and it was all about insects. This strangely enough was to become a bit of a motif throughout the gallery; little wonder that I then started to think of Starship Troopers (haha).
2nd Ground Floor Gallery – The Museum
The 2nd Ground Floor Gallery was the Museum, and contained a lovely tribute to Hans Heysen, as well as having some of his original sketches and water-colours. In another adjacent room it housed what could be called historic artefacts from a by-gone era, or just simply tatty old junk – some of the pieces were great whilst others???
The Upstairs Gallery was reached by climbing what was a rather steep staircase located in the gift shop. The exhibition that was being held in this gallery was called The Artist’s Voice, and was an eclectic mixture of modern work by local artists, some good and some not so good.
Dan was rather overwhelmed and had to leave the building and recover outside until I joined him.We then continued along the main street – more lovely old buildings, and more shops – and a Lutheran Park.
We decided that we had had enough of Hahndorf and so drove back to Muggs Hill Road, via Crafters, Aldgate and Sterling. Dan’s final hours in Australia would be spent at my wonderful old 1862 sandstone cottage, East Gate Lodge on Muggs Hill Road. For those of you who have followed this journey. ‘Dan Does Adelaide’, as well as my settling in Adelaide, here are some more pics of my beautiful garden, the cottage, and the surrounding historic area of Mitcham.
Home & Garden
Muggs Hill Road / Evans Road
And so – one chapter comes to and end – and another begins – ‘To New Life’.