Monday, March 16, 2009

The Slums of Glebe

I've been doing some digging in the photo vaults because a friend is retiring and I wanted to make up a record of images from his time at The House. In the process I have been uncovering a lot of interesting and sometimes poignant photos of long ago. I'm going to post some over a period of time just to get them out there in the ether. My ultimate ambition would be to have an official site for the social and working history of the Opera House that would add a human dimension to the iconic architectural and political story.

This clump of ramshackle huts is located on canal banks on the west side of Jubilee Park in Glebe. It is supposed to represent a slum in Djakarta and was built for Peter Weir's film "The Year of Living Dangerously" after they had to leave the Phillipines because of death threats. The final scenes were digitally altered to remove the viaduct and add a city skyline.

I lived in Northcote Rd on the opposite side of the park at the time and it was my first experience of a location shoot. Because of the last minute decision to relocate the shoot it all seemed to happen overnight. I came home from work late to find the walls of the street lined with political posters denouncing Sukarno and a lot of trucks with noisy generators parked everywhere. It was fascinating to watch a suburban Sydney park be transformed into an Asian slum with soldiers and street hawkers. I never saw Mel Gibson or Sigourney Weaver or the Oscar winning performance of Linda Hunt as the Cameraman Billy Kwan.

It was all over within a week but the sheds and the posters stayed around. The area has now been transformed into Bicentennial Park and the buildings, posters, walls and even the roads are long gone.


Lynne said...

That would have been incredibly interesting to see! Thanks for sharing.

Hels said...

I realise you wrote about Grace Cossington Smith ages and ages ago, but I was very interested in seeing images of old Sydney. Thus the link to Grace, and the link to my blog.

many thanks
Art and Architecture, mainly