Urban Islands: Trip to the Island

Yesterday the students, instructors and organisers of Urban Islands led off to Cockatoo Island, also generously offered for me to tag along.

On the ferry trip over, the instructors were huddled about the front part of the rivercat awaiting the very first glimpse of this island, some wondering if the remarks out of the night before on the island not present could have some truth to them. But as we came around a bend – there it was! Cameras came out and fingers pointed as we disembarked and drew closer.

For all those of you unfamiliar with Cockatoo Island, it is a island in Sydney Harbour which has been, at various points of it’s history, a fishing place for Aborigines, also a prison for convicts, reforming facilities for young boys and girls, in addition to a major ship-building facility.
The result has been a mishmash of structures and structures from various eras populating the Isle. You may find out more about the Isle here.

The very first stop was the Store Room of those aged facilities. The students had been giving a job to finish overnight – a version that showed different views of the identical object from different ends of the model (often between a transformation). It turned out that the measurements in the short was given to match and the students started putting their versions.

The students had to offer 30 presentations on their own models, and we worked our way. The caliber of the job was extraordinarily quite high. The concepts being introduced were exceptional, and the craftsmanship that went to the job (especially thinking about the time constraints) was really quite astonishing.

Following the presentations, the teams split off to their Studios to begin performing some initial work.

The groups gathered together again, and then we all were taken to get a tour of the Isle. Hour and half was sufficient to whet the appetite for what, and as it turned out the Island had to offer you. The variety of structures, level of maintenance and age was so wide it had been a nearly surreal experience. Prior to walking up 2 buildings to to a workshop for building ships, one minute you’ll be in stye convict cells. Some of those older buildings remained mostly untouched, although others had been reinforced and modified to suit their brand new and “enhanced” roles.

We had been treated to a mixture of interesting tales and facts by our guide as we all walked around the various locations. The pupils scribbling notes down of fascinating titbits, photographing everything and anything which could prove useful. The excursion over all too early, I had to leave – but the pupils remained for a continuing afternoon of inspiration and work.