Category Archives: museums

NSWFB Fire Station/Kiama Community Arts Centre – Kiama, NSW

IMG_9180Known locally as ‘the old fire station’, Kiama’s community arts centre is home to Daisy, the Decorated Dairy Cow. Since 1991, Daisy’s coat of paint has changed whenever a new exhibition is on at the centre, with the current design (above) being particularly clever.

SMH, Oct 2 1899

SMH, Oct 2 1899

It’s a far cry from the Kiama of 1899, which was decimated by a great fire that destroyed 15 buildings due to lack of a fire brigade. Yep, that’ll do it. Let’s just hope no fires break out in Kiama now…it would be an udder tragedy (I’M SO SORRY).

Maritime Services Board/Museum of Contemporary Art – The Rocks, NSW

Since 1991, the Museum of Contemporary Art has enthralled, inspired and confused Sydneysiders and tourists of all kinds. Established through a bequeathment of money from Australian artist John Power (who died in 1943, making it one very long inheritance battle), the MCA has recently undergone a much publicised redevelopment during which ruins of a colonial dockyard were discovered underground. But contrary to what you might think, their art deco building wasn’t just an attempt by the MCA itself to be trendy – they weren’t in there first.

It’s funny that despite the expensive and lengthy redevelopment process, they missed this little clue. In fact it appears it was covered up by another sign for years and only recently disturbed. As you can see, it reveals that the MCA’s building was once the site of the MSB. This is apparently common knowledge, but what was the MSB?

It makes sense that the Maritime Services Board was established in and housed at the Rocks. 90 years of confusing yet important Sydney port control laws and services were consolidated into one administrative entity, the MSB, in 1936. In 1949 construction began on the building, which was completed in 1952, so even by art deco standards it was late to the party. The MSB itself relocated in 1989, leaving behind the building for the art world to work its magic on and in. It’s just that you missed this spot, guys. Then again, knowing the MCA, maybe it’s actually one of the exhibits and I just don’t get it.