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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 17 January 2015
6 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 17 JANUARY 2015 NEWS Flinders Street Station derailed While the Victorian premier may ridicule the design competition aimed at transforming Melbourne’s iconic rail hub, thinking big - and outside the box - must be part of any government’s obligations MICHAEL SWEET Premier Daniel Andrews described his predecessor's plan for Flinders Street Station as a "colouring-in competition at taxpayers' expense", ruling out a multi-billion dollar plan - based on the winning selection of an international design competition - for the station's transformation. Mr Andrews' comments fol- low a demand from the Victorian Opposition that Labor should outline its plans - if not to re-imagine the station then to maintain it - with some irony, after it too backed quietly away from putting in place a mechanism to realise the design selected to redefine the city landmark. The Flinders Street Station design competition, conceived by former Coalition premier Ted Baillieu in 2010, offered $1 million for a plan to restore and reinvigorate the station. Three years later Mr Baillieu's successor Denis Napthine announced the winning architects - Hassell and Swiss-based Herzog & de Meuron, but no commitment was made to follow through to implement the architects' design for the station - at an estimated cost of around $2 billion. Shoring up Premier Andrews' remarks, State Treasurer Tim Pallas told the ABC that the competition was "nothing more than a drawing project". "Rather than spend billions of dollars on an edifice in the centre of the city, our view was that that money could be better spent delivering better public transport for Victorians," he said. "We don't see it as our priority and never did," he added. To get an architect's perspective on this state of affairs - and one whose awardwinning work offers radical alternatives for Melbourne's built-environment - I asked Billy Kavellaris, founder of bespoke Melbourne architectural practice KUD, for his reaction to the government's reverse-gear approach. Kavellaris says he isn't surprised. "Given that this was to be a government civic project - and one of the largest in Victoria's history - it was always going to be a difficult journey for the architectural community.” "As much as I would love to have seen the project go ahead, I can understand why the decision seems to have Flinders Street Station soon after construction was completed in 1910. PHOTO: AAP/COURTESY JENNY DAVIES) been made. "There were never any accurate feasibility studies - or costings done, and moreover there was nothing specified in the competition brief." Kavellaris believes the local and international success of Federation Square continues to be a model for such ambitious urban projects. "In a time when Melbourne has become a prominent Australian international city, it's critical that we as a culture invest, and philosophically shift our focus, towards a much more sophisticated transport ideology," says Kavellaris. "It's impossible to remove congestion from a city, but in the words of Rem Koolhaas, a city needs 'smooth congestion'. The Flinders Street Station project is one of the paths that Melbourne will need to take. I've no doubt that a project on this site will happen; when is another question." Major Projects Victoria has for more than a year been responsible for a 'preliminary business case' for the redevelopment and restoration of Flinders Street Station. What that will result in, given the state government's comments to date, is likely to mean few major alterations to the iconic station. The station's history is perhaps instructive here. The current much-loved building and platforms' conception was the result of a design competition held in 1899 which had 17 entries. The 500 pounds first prize went to local railway employees James Fawcett and HPC Ashworth. Their plan - extensively modified - was realised after much fraught argument and financial concerns 11 years later. DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Dimitris Basis Headliners announced for Melbourne and Sydney Greek festivals Organisers of two of the largest celebrations of Greek culture outside of Greece, the Lonsdale Street Festival and the Greek Festival of Sydney, have officially announced Dimitris Basis and Zoi Papadopoulou as the headliners for 2015. "I am excited to be travelling to Melbourne and Sydney to perform. To see such a large celebration of Greek culture so far away from Greece is a testament to the strength of the Greek community in sharing our culture with the rest of Australia," said Basis. With both festivals taking place over the same weekend, the duo will be taking to the stage with a sevenpiece band, first performing in Melbourne with a special Valentine's Day performance. Staged in the heart of the City of Melbourne's Greek precinct, the festival is expected to attract close to 10,000 people over the two days. Presented by Delphi Bank, for the first time Melbourne's festival will be hosted by the GOCMV's newly built Centre for Contemporary Greek Culture. "Melbourne and its people have shown great love of Greek culture and we are once again pleased to bring the best of Greece to the heart of the city for another year," Zoi Papadopoulou said director of The Greek Centre, Jorge Menidis. "A highlight among the range of activities across the two days will be the Saturday night performance by Dimitris Basis and Zoi Papadopoulou. The festival is honoured to host these two performers who will bring the street alive with a mix of popular and traditional Greek music that will appeal to people of all ages," he said. Aside from bringing two of Greece's biggest performers to Australian audiences, the festival will also feature a range of free entertainment, food stalls, children's activities and cooking demonstrations. The 2015 Lonsdale Street Festival and The 2015 Greek Festival of Sydney are both free events, with both festivals to be held on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 February. For more information visit www.antipodesfestival.com.au and www. greekfestivalofsydney.com.au Abused women and children on AHEPA’s agenda ANASTASIA TSIRTSAKIS Always in the spirit of giving, last month the AHEPA women's chapter Daughters of Penelope raised $4,500 for abused women and children across the state. The funds were raised through an afternoon tea organised by members of the group, where a cheque was made out to the Women's Trust of Victoria. With more than 140 women attending on the day, the event exceeded all expectations, according to AHEPA member and host Sofie Mercoulia. "We weren't expecting to raise $4,500. It was a great amount to raise in one afternoon," Ms Mercoulia told Neos Kosmos. Guests were treated to a high tea and a fashion parade for Australian label Anthea Crawford, modelled by members of Daughters of Penelope and members' daughters. Each person attending also had the pleasure of walking away with something to remember the day by, a gift bag filled with goodies by sponsor Aesop. "I just wanted to thank all the members and all the people that attended because everybody came and gave their money. It was so nice of them," she said. The Daughters of Penelope will be holding another fundraiser next month, with all proceeds being donated to the GOCMV's recently opened Greek Centre for Contemporary Cultural. The fundraising dinner dance will take place on Saturday 7 February at Merrimu Receptions in Murrumbeena. Cost of entry is $85.00 per person and includes pre-dinner drinks in the foyer and a three course meal with drinks. For further information and to enquire about tickets, contact Loren Evans on 0400142263 or (03) 98486435 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org The Daughters of Penelope along with all those who attended the afternoon tea, presenting a cheque for $4,500.
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