Laman St. Fig Trees

Winterheat in Civic Park

The third part of Winterheat 2012 was held in Civic Park tonight. What better opportunity to get some interesting shots?

The Cultural Centre-Captain Cook Fountain-City Hall axis works well at night, especially with the extra pyrotechnics. (and no Laman St. fig trees).


I tried for about an hour (without much luck) to get some decent candid people shots. It was pretty busy and hard to be inconspicuous, so most of my intended ‘candid’ shots failed, with the subject instead staring at me with a ‘why-is-he-pointing-that-camera-at-me’ face. I was going round in circles chasing shots, and eventually got fed up and instead stood in one spot and let the shots come to me.

An event like this is probably most fun for the kids.


It was cold for Newcastle, but warm enough for people to have fun with a snow machine.


As always, young kids make great subjects, especially with lighting such as this.

The Demise of the Laman Sreet Fig Trees: Part 4

Well, some 3 months after the chainsaws made their first appearance,  it seems the Lama Street fig trees are finally on their way down. At around 4 AM on the morning of January 31st 2012, the chainsaws re-appeared, along with some 60-odd police from the riot squad.

There was a bit of a squabble, with some of the barricading coming down, but the situation soon settled with the police forming a cordon and the protesters mostly maintaining a silent vigil.


It’s predicted that the whole operation is going to take a couple of weeks.


Already, the southern vista from Civic Park is starting to take a radically new form…

The Demise of the Laman Street Fig Trees: Part 4

Continuing on from here, here, and here….

On Monday 31st October an extraordinary Council meeting was scheduled to discuss the figs, but not enough Councillors turned up for a quorum!


This was taken on the steps of City Hall prior to the meeting.


By Wednesday there was a mini tent city in Civic park.


Word was the chainsaws were finally doing there work that day.


But the figs had a last-minute stay of execution. A supreme court injunction means that everything has been stopped. And we might finally get back access to our library and art gallery.

The Demise of the Laman Street Fig Trees: Part 3

Sunday 16th October…and the impasse is continuing. Since my last post on the fig trees, all that’s happened is that a bit more barricading has been erected, and Save Our Figs maintains its vigil.


I decided to document the signs and artworks that have been spontaneously appearing on the barricades. It’s rather like a community art gallery.


















The Demise of the Laman Street Fig Trees: Part 2

After all the action on Friday 7th October, the state of play was one fig tree with two limbs removed…….


In the meantime, the protesters have made more adornments for the barricades, and by Tuesday morning….


…an extra ring of fencing is partially erected, apparently to make it easier for workers to get in and out of Laman Street.




On Tuesday afternoon, Save Our Figs organised another rally, this time on the steps of City Hall.



There was a single counter-protester, wanting the figs to be chopped down.



More speeches made.






On Wednesday morning (12th October), the final gaps in the outer ring of fencing were being filled.


A few protesters delayed the process by sitting down on Gallery land so that they’d be inside the barrier. By this time TV and news reporters had arrived.



A bit of negotiation ensued, with the protesters being asked to move of Gallery land. At one point it was suggested a survey be made so they could know where they could move to.



A little bit later a CFMEU organiser arrived, gave a speech. Didn’t really have much to say about figs…



Cops had better things to do today.

I have a feeling there is going to be Part 3 to this saga.

The Demise of the Laman Street Fig Trees: Part 1

Any Novocastrian must surely know about the saga of the Laman Street Fig Trees. Today, that story reached it’s climax….


Before dawn, 6 protestors chained themselves to fig trees or lightposts in Laman St, ahead of the anticipated chainsaws….


Police were on the scene early.


By 8AM, the beginning of the protest was evident.


Photographs were being taken in both directions.


At around 9AM, Police Negotiators arrived to speak to the protestors.


Maintain the Rage!


Despite OHS requirements, the police at first had no safety gear – this issue was raised by the protestors….


The rescue squad arrived with hard hats!


No protest is quite complete without a guitarist singing protest songs.


Bananas were delivered for sustenance for the protestors.


The Rescue Squad commenced removal of the protestors…


The crowd was not impressed, and just started shouting louder.


A bit of a scuffle started, with the arrival of the chainsaws….

….more pics to come….