Letters to the editor August 25, 2018

Illuminated: Brian Suters of The Junction writes Margel Hinder, creator of the Civic Park fountain, once objected to green lights on the fountain.
Illuminated: Brian Suters of The Junction writes Margel Hinder, creator of the Civic Park fountain, once objected to green lights on the fountain.

NEWCASTLE City Council’s assault on the Civic precinct continues with the despoliation of Civic Park fountain. Council has installed coloured lighting, which the CEO believes improves the fountain (‘Clash over fountain lights’, Newcastle Herald, 20/8). This change is contrary to the expressed wishes of the sculptor Margel Hinder. In 1973, following the installation of external green lighting, Margel Hinder took legal action to have it removed. She was “appalled, distressed, disturbed and downhearted”.

In 1952, Margel Hinder ran third in a worldwide competition of 3500, including Barbara Hepworth (equal second), for the design of ‘The Unknown Political Prisoner’ monument.

In 1961, Hinder won the national competition for the Civic fountain from a field of 90. The design had her clear stamp, was site specific and, using her sculptural language, achieved the spirit of the fountain.

For the council to state that, were Margel still living, she may have a different opinion on the colour of the jet lights is spurious. As someone who worked closely with the Hinders on the fountain project. I can assure council that she would not have changed her mind. Within the context of the site and concept, the Hinders considered every detail to achieve a masterpiece, including the colour of the lights, and provided a maintenance manual to assure the integrity of the fountain was kept.

Newcastle is fortunate to have the Hinders’ masterwork – conferring the same status on Newcastle as the Opera House does on Sydney. If council continues to degrade the artistic integrity of the fountain, can we expect similar “upgrades” to other art treasures? Perhaps a moustache on Dobell’s  ‘Strapper’?

Brian Suters, The Junction


WE held out as long as we possibly could, but unfortunately the NBN arrived in our Charlestown area.

Connection was completed, we lost our wall phone home line and purchased two digital cordless phones for $120. After that it was all systems go. Our computer is no faster in speed, the cordless phones are ‘tinny’ in sound. We have a nice hole where our perfectly good landline sat in its heyday.

With despair, we went to the Charlestown Square Telstra Store to change our plan and request the reinstatement of our, previously perfectly working, home phone. For just $200 the young girl assured us, we would be contacted within five working days if we made an appointment for reconnection.

Always suspicion of anything whatsoever to do with Telstra, my wife called in today to see how the appointment was progressing. Guess what, the customer service person hadn't done anything about it. Never even submitted the request. The concierge then put my wife onto an Indian Telstra call centre. You know how that finishes. He then suggested we just get an electrician. So, potentially $340 dollars out of pocket, we have lost our home phone, got two new, ‘so-so’ phones and back to ‘minus square one’ re home phone re-instalment.

Richie Blanch, Charlestown

Send treated water west

Infrastructure in water management is the only solution to drought. It will create jobs during construction and beyond in maintenance. A good example is the Snowy Mountains scheme. 

Is it possible to pump sewer water and stormwater bound for the beach west of Sydney and Newcastle with solar/wind powered screw type pumps? Pipelines from Sydney could fit in the middle of the western highway to reduce disruption, holding basins at key stages to treat along the way and gravity will help once on the dividing range. 

Treated water would only used for irrigation to grow feedstock crops. Sounds bad to send sewerage west but we all know it’s mostly just water when we flush, shower and wash.

Brendan Mackay, Warners Bay

Chaos amid undermining

JENNIFER Westacott, of the Business Council of Australia, said of the changes to the National Energy Guarantee on Tuesday: "The proposals will discourage investment in urgently needed dispatchable power with serious consequences for prices and reliability down the track ... The cost of continued ad hoc intervention in the electricity market will ultimately be borne by Australian households, businesses and workers."

The changes were a result of our PM Turnbull's efforts to placate the conservative faction in the Lib Party. The Cons responded by increasing their agitation to undermine the PM resulting in Turnbull calling for a leadership spill. The consequent result showed that Turnbull's support was very thin.

Why have conservatives done so much damage to the Libs’ ability to govern? I suggest it’s more about personal ambition rather than stated issues over policy. You can't please everyone all the time... it’s best to work with real leadership and real policies in the national interest and let the Cons grumble.

Scott Bell-Ellercamp, Clarence Town

Reflection of society

THE turmoil that is occurring in Canberra is symptomatic of what is happening throughout society. 

It seems no matter what the result, if it is at odds with one who perceives that their view and only their view is correct, then ego steps in and both common decency and morality is thrown to the wolves. 

In the case of the dysfunctional Liberal Party I believe it began when Tony Abbott was forced to remove his one time supporter Bronwyn Bishop and his less than popular ‘captain’s call’ in relation to the award to Prince Philip. 

Had Abbott not taken it upon himself to make this absurd award coupled with the elevation of Bishop to the speaker's chair then he may have still been prime minister. It was obvious Bishop had a bruised ego and retaliation was never far from her thoughts.

Now, if one compares that with what is occurring in two rugby league teams at present, you can draw the same conclusion. 

The sacking of Penrith's coach on the whim of Gus Gould and the turmoil that surrounds Manly ties in what type of personality is at the forefront of all these issues. It seems that inflated egos and the desire to be in total control, no matter what the cost, is at the core of the above. How many clubs and organisations have fallen victim to those who feel they must have their way and set out to steamroll those who oppose their views and democratic values are shown the door? What is society breeding? A society where the umpires or majority decisions are ignored to placate one person's desire to be in control or seek revenge.

Alan Metcalf, Stockton


Email letters@theherald.com.au or send a text message to 0427 154 176 (include name and suburb). Letters should be fewer than 200 words. Short Takes should be fewer than 50 words. Correspondence may be edited and reproduced in any form.