Macquarie Street revamp plan to unlock Sydney’s oldest public buildings

The proposal would see the court building behind the Mint demolished. Photo: Peter Rae The court building facing Hospital Road and the Domain is earmarked for demolition. Photo: Peter Rae
Nanjing Night Net

The Land and Property Information building could become a hotel under the plan. Photo: Peter Rae

The Hyde Park Barracks on Macquarie Street, with buildings to be demolished at rear. Photo: Peter Rae

Australia’s oldest public buildings will come under the spotlight in a multi-million dollar Baird government plan to transform Macquarie Street into a tourist-friendly cultural and heritage precinct, The Sun-Herald has learnt.

Despite boasting Governor Macquarie’s Rum Hospital, Australia’s first library and the UNESCO-listed convict site of Hyde Park Barracks, Macquarie Street is better known today for its doctors and politicians.

But a push by Sydney Living Museums (formerly the Historic Houses Trust) to boost the profile of the Museum of Sydney, and to better tell the story of colonial Sydney has prompted a rethink.

Public comment will be sought next month on a Macquarie Street precinct plan. It will canvas proposals to unlock access to the historic buildings and monuments stretching from the Mitchell Library to Queens Square, and encourage visitors to explore laneway links to the Domain.

Sydney Living Museums has submitted a business case to the government to move the Museum of Sydney to Macquarie Street, clearing space for a new cultural centre by demolishing two 1960s Supreme Court and State Records buildings behind the Mint and Hyde Park Barracks.

Two new buildings, connected by a glass structure and ground level cultural space, designed by architects FJMT, would replace them and house the new museum.

The project, called The Story of Sydney, would act as a pedestrian link between Macquarie Street and the Domain, and boost visitors to Hyde Park Barracks.

But Sydney Living Museums has also asked the government to sell the neighbouring sandstone Lands and Property Information building, potentially as a hotel, to fund the project.

According to consultants Corview, who developed the business case, “The project includes options which investigate a mixed-use precinct including cultural uses and commercial uses such as retail and food and beverage.”

Sydney Living Museums executive director Mark Goggin, the former marketing chief of the Powerhouse Museum, presented the plan to the NSW Heritage Council in May. Minutes of the meeting show the Heritage Council raised concerns about commercialisation and the “bulk and scale of new buildings”, but supported the activation of Hospital Road for pedestrians along the Domain.

The council agreed “the current MoS site is not working”.

The Minister for Finance, Services and Property, Dominic Perrottet, has provided two briefings on the government’s proposal for a cultural and heritage precinct to former prime minister Paul Keating, and sought his input.

Mr Keating in recent years has publicly condemned the commercialisation of the Domain, which he claimed resembled a “sad, deserted fairground”, and criticised a planned expansion of the Art Gallery of NSW as a “land grab”.

The public consultation will determine which parts of the museum’s proposal are accepted by the government, and which are amended to fit the new precinct plan.

Mr Perrottet is co-ordinating the Macquarie Street overhaul because of the large number of government buildings involved.

“Macquarie Street houses some of Sydney’s most important heritage and historical treasures, and I am always looking at ways to enhance that heritage and make precincts like this one more accessible for locals and tourists to enjoy,” he said.

A steering committee, involving all government agencies with heritage properties on Macquarie Street, and Sydney Living Museums, has met eight times since November.

It is understood the departments of health, heritage, justice and finance will need to agree to funding compromises that will see some agencies relinquish heritage buildings and trade-off maintenance costs with the potential for extra revenue.

The Macquarie Cultural and Heritage Precinct Plan is expected to be launched by the end of the year, with the redevelopment to be undertaken in stages.

The museum’s proposal to knock down two buildings will be seriously considered, sources said, but another option could be to leave the resulting site as open space. Closing Hospital Road to traffic is also likely to be canvassed.

With the Land and Property Information registry already earmarked for partial privatisation, the sale or redevelopment of the heritage building is likely – but it could potentially become an option for a museum.

Sydney Living Museums has told the Heritage Council the existing Museum of Sydney site, above the archaeological remains of Australia’s first Government House on Phillip Street, could become a national monument dedicated to First Contact and the nine Sydney governors who lived there.

Dr Caroline Butler-Bowdon, the museum’s acting executive director, said: “[It] is incredibly important in the history of Sydney and the early development of the colony, and we would like to focus much more attention on the exceptional cultural and heritage values it represents including for Aboriginal people and the first 60 years of the colony.”

She said the proposed Macquarie Street museum would “tell the expanded story of Sydney for tourists and Australians”.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Teen stabbed in brawl at Guildford unit block

A teenage boy was chased to a unit block in Sydney’s south west and stabbed in the stomach in the stairwell, police believe.
Nanjing Night Net

Inspector Dan Richardson said it was believed the 16-year-old was involved in a fight near Guildford train station on Saturday night.

The boy, who had been with a friend, was then chased to a nearby unit block on Guildford Road and stabbed, before his attackers fled the scene.

Emergency services were called to the unit block just before 7.50pm.

The teen was found with a stab wound to his stomach and a cut to his head.

Paramedics treated him at the scene before he was taken to Westmead Hospital, where he was due to have surgery, in a stable condition.

Inspector Richardson said officers had not yet spoken to the boy, as he was set to undergo further surgery in hospital on Sunday afternoon.

Police have been canvassing the scene, obtaining the security footage from nearby shops.

The incident comes two weeks after a mass stabbing during a vicious brawl at an 18th birthday party in Ryde saw Aidan Smith, 16, fatally wounded.

Six other young people were also injured during the brawl that erupted at the house on Victoria Road in the early hours of Sunday August 7.

Jacob Lusted, 20, has been charged with affray, although the charges may be upgraded.

He was remanded in custody and is next due to face court on August 24. \n”,colour:”purple”, title:””, maxWidth:200, open:0}] );}if (!window.googleMaps_Icons) window.googleMaps_Icons = {};window.googleMaps_Icons[“purple”] = {“marker”:{“image”:”http://maps.gstatic南京夜网/mapfiles/ms2/micons/purple-pushpin.png”},”shadow”:{“image”:”http://maps.gstatic南京夜网/mapfiles/ms2/micons/pushpin_shadow.png”}};if (!window.gmapsLoaders) window.gmapsLoaders = [];window.gmapsLoaders.push(CreateGMapgmap201672163310);window.gmapsAutoload=true;/*]]>*/]]>

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Pornographic website targeting schoolgirls exposes ‘terrifying’ fears facing girls online

Full names and faces of hundreds of teenagers appeared on the wanted lists for nude images, with directives to “Go get her boys!” Photo: Erin Jonasson”Any wins on her?” asks an anonymous user of the school porn website, while ogling the photo of the 15-year-old girl. She’s staring at the camera and smiling, little suspecting her picture will soon sit among thousands of explicit images of students being shared and swapped and rated and traded as flippantly as football cards.
Nanjing Night Net

Amanda* recalls the shock of seeing her face among so many underage girls – some of them from her school in northern NSW. “It was terrifying,” she says. “Just to know that someone is out there looking for naked photos of me and doesn’t care how I feel is very intimidating.”

More than 2000 photos of students from at least 70 Australian schools were reportedly uploaded on the online chat forum, which was taken down on Friday by police. Some of the images exposed young girls engaged in sexual acts. The majority were nude selfies taken in the privacy of their bathrooms or bedrooms and shared by former partners, without the girls’ consent.

Amanda’s photo in a low-cut red top and make-up was stolen from her Facebook page and posted on the online chat forum one Tuesday morning in June, by someone scouring social media for something more explicit of her. Finding and sharing such private images was dubbed a “win” by the site’s users, who offered “bounties” – promises to release caches of pornographic pictures – to encourage young hunters.

The full names and faces of hundreds of teenagers appeared on the wanted lists for nude images, with directives to “Go get her boys!”

Amanda, now 16, says there aren’t any explicit images of her to find – she doesn’t post them because of the risk they might be shared and harm her future career prospects. But most of the schoolgirls exposed on the “Aussie sluts” site were not so fortunate. “It would be absolutely gutting and a horrible feeling to know that these people have this of you and that it can be held against you for the rest of your life,” she says.

“I guess the scariest part of it is that I don’t know who put my photo up there – it was probably a guy who had access to my Facebook and has access to me in real life, someone who goes to my school, someone I trust. I am insanely creeped out by the idea that they would go that far to see me naked.”

She didn’t ask for her image to be removed for fear the virtual abuse might evolve into real-life stalking or harassment. A young woman who did complain about the use of her naked image on the site was told it was her fault for behaving like a “slut”. “When women are this loose with their sexuality and lifestyle choices, this is just the fallout,” one user claimed. ‘The worrying thing is that you can’t control it’

“Where’s the moral compass gone for those young people posting these pictures?” asks Katie Acheson, chief executive of Youth Action, the peak body for young people and youth services in NSW. “Why do they think it’s OK?”

Such questions might be broken into two, in turn: Why do young people share naked images of themselves? And why do some people exploit and abuse those images so keenly?

Some users of the school porn site bragged about showing photos sent to them personally. Others issued orders for images of girls from specific schools or suburbs. “Who has nudes of this bitch? I hear she throws it around!” was one comment. But the problem goes beyond a single online chat forum. Two senior students at Brighton Grammar, in Melbourne, were recently expelled for setting up an Instagram account to “slut shame” girls as young as 11, while a student at nearby St Michael’s Grammar School reportedly created a Dropbox folder for sharing explicit images of teens.

Acheson says uploading explicit selfies is an expression of healthy sexual development for many teenagers. It’s the modern equivalent of taking nude Polaroids or filming sex tapes for the VCR.

But there’s a disconnect between making such images and understanding the risks at play, she says. “The act of sharing is something young people have always done. It is an obvious continuation of the fact that young people are very much living in the virtual world as part of their everyday,” she says. “The worrying thing is that you can’t control it. The ramifications are much greater than writing someone’s name on the toilet door at your school. It’s around the entire world and that is much more scary.”

David Vaile, co-convenor of the Cyberspace Law and Policy Community at the University of NSW, says a culture of reckless sharing of information has been fostered by sites such as Facebook and online bulletin board 4Chan. “The idea is ‘Don’t think too much, don’t have any respect for your own information or security and don’t value anybody else’s’,” he says.

“Nobody wants to think twice and realise they may be hurting someone. You get this toxic environment of stalking and harassment, and people become desensitised to the reality of the person at the other end of the camera. There’s this competitive bragging and trading circle. The younger you are, the harder it is to join the dots and project the consequences.”

High school student Lily*, 17, from Lismore, in north-east NSW, says posting explicit photos or sex videos online is “pretty normal” behaviour among her peers. “I get asked for nudes all the time and give them out. It’s how people connect these days,” she says. “The girls take them to show to their boyfriends or to have some fun. Guys love to take pics of their dick.

“It’s how people show off what they’ve got to offer, like advertising. I know girls who will deliberately have sex in public places with boyfriends and then talk about it in the playground with their friends – no one talks about it as a bad thing.”

A two-year study of sexting among young people, published by the Australian Institute of Criminology last November, found 49 per cent of teenagers have sent a sexual picture or video of themselves to someone, while more than two-thirds have received such images. The teens surveyed gave several reasons for sending explicit images, including: to be “fun and flirty”, “as a sexy present”, to “feel sexy and confident” and “because I received one”.

Most sexting is done consensually and with only a few partners, the study found. But the researchers highlighted the gender double standards at play, with boys less likely to be shamed or humiliated by the circulation of such images.

Amanda says nude photos of girlfriends have been shared openly in her school playground – either as an act of revenge by ex-partners or to laugh about their “scores” with friends. “The girls get really harsh comments about their body and end up really scared about being intimate with people,” she says. “If someone is proud of their body and of a legal age to share it with a romantic partner, that’s fine. But when it goes to people who are not the target audience, then it becomes malicious and attacking.”

Some people she’s met on Facebook have pressured her to send nude selfies. She says such conversations usually start with a request to “send me something sexy” or “something with a little chest in it”, before demands for something more explicit. “It’s the same sort of pressure that makes girls start to dress in tighter clothing or to be more sexual,” she says.

“I think there’s a lot of violence in it, whether it’s intended as having power over women or whether it’s just a ‘bro’ mentality some guys have. It’s a culture where nudes are seen as something to be sold or traded. It’s just disgusting to think these people don’t see girls as anything more than what they show in their photos.”

Telling girls not to take such photos in the first place is blaming them for such behaviour, says Professor Catharine Lumby, a social media and gender expert at Macquarie University. “Young women should be free to explore their sexuality with consent, without being told they are bad people, let alone being publicly shamed for that,” she says.

“We need to put a lot more focus on the ethical responsibility of the young men doing it. A minority of young men have the attitude that any girl who shows her breasts or takes her kit off is up for it, not only to have her image shared but for misogynistic comments. The guys who do that are operating out of a combination of fear and desire – they desire attractive young women and at the same time they are terrified of them, and that makes them angry, and they show that by sharing these photos.”

Acheson says young people need to be taught how to share images safely online – like a contemporary form of sex education. “It comes back to teaching young men and women to value themselves and others. The first part is teaching them that if you are going to send a picture, you need to have a conversation about where it is going and who is allowed to share it,” she says.

“It’s about teaching young people how to keep themselves safe. Essentially, what we need is a condom for the iPhone.”

*Names have been changed

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Accused paedophile Peter Scully treating jail like a resort, says former attorney

Peter Gerard Scully. Peter Scully, who was arrested and jailed in the Philippines. Photo: Joey P. Nacalaban
Nanjing Night Net

The lawyer hired to defend Peter Scully, the Melbourne man Filipino authorities have accused of some of the worst child-sex crimes in memory, has quit in exasperation over the alleged paedophile’s incessant demands for special treatment in prison, Fairfax Media can exclusively reveal.

Alejandro Jose Pallugna said he bowed out after becoming “mightily sick” of the alleged child-porn kingpin’s demands for special food, a mobile phone and twice-weekly visits from his lawyer.

“I withdrew as his defence counsel last February as I can’t withstand his crazy and eccentric attitude and personality,” said Mr Pallugna, who is based in southern coastal Philippines city Cagayan de Oro.

Mr Pallugna said Mr Scully, who investigators have accused of running an online pay-per-view service showing the sexual torture of children, had acted like he was on holiday.

“He wants me to visit him at least twice a week,” Mr Pallugna said.

“He wants five kilos of fresh beef, pork, chicken, anything – like he lives in a resort.”

Mr Pallugna acknowledged it was unusual to withdraw from a case, but he described Mr Scully as a “crazy guy” and the most taxing client he had known.

“Demanding is an understatement,” he said.

Mr Scully is awaiting trial over the rape and trafficking of two teenage girls, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

The 53-year-old, who fled Melbourne in 2011 while under investigation for fraud, has also been accused of a raft of other shocking offences against minors, including the rape of an 18-month-old infant and the murder of a 12-year-old girl whose skeletal remains were found under a house he rented.

Mr Pallugna, who was hired by Mr Scully’s family according to local media, also revealed that the twice-bankrupt businessman was convinced he would walk free.

Such an outcome has been seriously discussed in Filipino media since it was revealed last September that most of the physical evidence against him, including a computer, video camera and memory card, had been destroyed in a fire earlier in the year.

“If the new lawyer knows how to take advantage of this fact, then Scully could go free or get convicted of a lesser offence,” Mr Pallugna said.

Mr Pallugna first appeared in court with Mr Scully at a pre-trial hearing in June last year, telling a judge that his client was a “passive participant” in the abuse and that he planned to testify for the state against his teenage romantic partner and co-accused, Ann Alvarez.

The formal start date of the trial is unclear, although Mr Pallugna said it could begin next month.

Efforts by Fairfax Media to reach Mr Scully’s new lawyer or the Regional Prosecution Office in Cagayan de Oro were unsuccessful.

The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking in Manila did not respond to inquires about the status of the case.

The activities of Australian child-sex offenders abroad were thrown into the spotlight last week, when Fairfax Media revealed that 2767 convicted paedophiles, including 753 Victorians, attempted or succeeded in travelling overseas in the past five years.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Champion distance jockey Bob Skelton dies, aged 81

Winning team: Bob Skelton and 1976 Melbourne Cup winner Van der Hum. Photo: Ray KennedyBob Skelton, known as one of Australasia’s most gifted distance riders and who endured deplorable conditions to win the 1976 Melbourne Cup on Van der Hum, has died at the age of 81.
Nanjing Night Net

Skelton came to Australia from New Zealand late in his career but was renowned for his superb balance and ability to ride stayers.

He was one of five brothers who were all jockeys in a famous NZ racing family.

That day in November 1976 is still believed to be have delivered the most atrocious conditions a Melbourne Cup has been run under.

Just hours before the race, Flemington was hit by a deluge of rain, making viewing nearly impossible.

But Skelton’s renowned ability on wet tracks helped Van der Hum plough through the mud to win Australia’s most important handicap.

Inducted into the NZ Sports Hall of Fame and NZ Racing Hall of Fame, Skelton was declared the most successful two-mile rider in the southern hemisphere. He won 2129 races during his decorated time in the saddle.

Skelton raced to prominence in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, winning nine jockeys premierships in NZ, five Wellington Cups, two Auckland Cups and three New Zealand Cups.

Skelton flew into Australia in 1976 to ride another grand stayer Sulieman in the Cup for trainer Bill Winder. However, after indifferent form in the early lead-up races that spring, the trainer advised Skelton to ride Van der Hum instead.

In 1963, Skelton had finished second in the Cup aboard Ilumquh and in 1986 he rode Rising Prince, who also finished second.

Skelton gave much back to the Australian racing industry.

Touring with the Melbourne Cup, he told the story across country of Australia’s finest horse race.

He believed that Great Sensation, a three-time Wellington Cup winner, was the finest horse he’d ridden.

He rode five winners in a day on more than two occasions in New Zealand.

Skelton is survived by his four children – Mark, Tracey, Craig and Jane.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.