ODD JOB CENTRE
listed in Sydney phone book
CAFE TV gigs start to come
Some unofficial gigs for our Cafe TV project - based on digital video camera shoots of community festival etc in Sydney - are coming. One is at a charity cafe. Already a reedited short version of out Alternative Arts Festival "Poetry Picnic" event of last year was shown on the big TV screen - with some actual applause! These screenings are now regular. Contact us for details.
GRANT APPLICATION DOUBLE REJECTION
The parent body of the OJC, the Unemployed Peoples Embassy, applied for a $5000 grant from South Sydney Council and $1000 from Leichhardt Council. It received neither The Embassy has already received a second grant of $250 for its four year old Alternative Arts Festival from Leichhardt Council. The grant for the OJC wss specifically to rent premises from which to operate this Embassy project. This would have been the fourth site for the OJC - the last two being located in King St Newtown, on the borderline of South Sydney Council and Marrickville Council. Ironically it was Marrickville Council that gave the Embassy its only ever grant for the OJC ie $500.
The OJC has received backing from local independent MP, Clover Moore, for its application for funding from South Sydney Council. Clover was supportive also of the original OJC started in 1978 at what became the Unemployed Peoples Embassy at 41 Phillip St Sydney. For more details see HISTORY section at the end of this webpage as well as on some other of our webpages listed on the front index of this website. Of course we would like at least matching funding from the NSW Government - so we don't have to spend our own meagre incomes on setting up a new OJC office or space with electricity, phone and other equipment. It would have been a struggle just to find any kind of publicly accessible premises for just $100 a week.
South Sydney Council itself operates a mysterious "supported accommodation"
scheme, which we managed to apply through several years ago - but which now
appears to have no application procedure anymore. We could get no
application form from Council last year. The NSW Government is running an even more
mysterious "community" project in Redfern/Waterloo area - which
aims to counter the high amount of drug and street crime in the area. South
Sydney Council is nominated at the lead agency for the project - which
had yet to even set up its own website at the last public meeting we had a
representative at a month or so ago. Obviously the OJC is an ideal type of
project the Carr Govt should be backing with a little of the $7 million
says it is prepared to spend in the area.
The OJC has a record of finding casual - paid and unpaid - work for the unemployed and disabled , as well as running various team type community projects. Various media projects, such as Timestream magazine, connected with our Poetry Picnic (now part of our Alternative Arts Festival) have been facilitated by us having an OJC premises at the time. Our first WITAR (Workshop In Theatre Actor Resources) production in 1995 - for the Bondi Pavilion Theatre's first Short Theatre Festival was cast, blocked and rehearsed at our shopfront OJC in King St, Newtown South. We have also applied to South Sydney Council for funding for WITAR - which has had two more original short theatre productions in our Alternative Arts Festival. WITAR, if funded, would be able to contribute towards the operating costs of the OJC, since it would be based there.
A couple of our Embassy management committee members have already done acting courses and acted in productions - so a funded WITAR will be able to run practical acting workshops in the South Sydney area - out of the OJC. This will facilitate public productions of new short theatre from scripts we will help to develop. Video productions have already been made from WITAR produced short plays. We now have access to digital video cameras - and some hopefully some digital editing equipment before long. Perhaps we will be able to upload excerpts from these productions on this website before long. A little assistance from Governments would be helpful though.
PURPOSE : self help group projects
This is not the first project the Embassy developed - but the one that really launched the Embassy publicly. The initial purpose was to collectively find and do paid casual work. With a free weekly ad in the main Sydney paper - we usually got 10 (mostly) casual jobs phoned in early in the week.
With no current public premises (due to increasingly expensive Sydney real estate prices and no Government funding) we are not only using this site to campaign for such premises - but also arrange meeting for people wishing to do what we feel are worthwhile mainly unpaid casual community jobs - and arrange group training for them. This however is only for members, as our role has always been to provide employers with people we have found to be honest, reliable and community minded. We are not providing some sort of alternative cafe type job board or local paper type classifieds.
ACTIVE PROJECT : Cafe Music Jam -
Basic poster follows, contact Odd Job Centre for further details about how to help run (number in Sydney Phone Book).
People are needed to help organise and publicise this regular event. The project has already run weekly and monthly at an inner city venue which has cheap coffee and cake nights (because the Cafe is part of its homeless charity activities).
The Project aims to encourage people to learn or relearn instruments so that they can participate in the jam (ie two or more people playing songs together or just singing along). We haven't given the name and address of the venue here because we couldn''t get agreement with them about how this project was run there. However the publicity poster shown below, is ready to be circulated (at the appropriate time with the address of a suitable venue).
An actual musical group is expected to be developed out of these jams and more players are sought so other more "dedicated" performances can take place. The OJC is interested in developing more of such groups - as it has in the past, and develop means - (with the help of members) to find them gigs. More information on the CONCEPT and ancilliary PROJECTS at end of this webpage. Publicity POSTER follows:
B Y O
J A M
BRING ALONG INSTRUMENTS
New Songs Welcome
Details : OJC 0418289469
BYO JAM MUSIC - Concept
The above "Bring Your Own" JAM poster - with guitar symbol tries to covey the user friendly nature of the Project. It is a two stage process - starting with (stage one) finding a community friendly public space - such as a cafe of pub (say with an underused "beer garden") where our members can work on their old/new songs. For people who live in single flats - or in unsympathetic share or family accommodation - this is quite a resource ie a living room type space.
Such "practice" sessions may also be possible at home also - which is where (stage two) comes in. This is where we present rehearsed (own) original songs at the venue - plus the odd popular favourite (that we actually like too) at the venue. This means two or more members who can play at least simply melodies - can collaborate in the presentations of a few songs. Other people may be able to join in on the singing and basic percussion. We have that is is very well received by other people in the venue who want to just listen and/or get involved.
We have even made a basic recording of our live efforts - which leads to some related projects.
BYO JAM PROJECTS
VIDEO PROMO: This is initially about producing a short digital video about how the JAM operates in some simulated or actual venue. This will involve some of our members playing some bits of their original songs in the relaxed type of atmosphere owe are aiming for. We may even include some brief "interviews" in the fly on the wall manner. This may help use to approach a new possible venue for the BYO JAM program.
CD BURNING; Naturally we want to try and preserve some of our original song performances on CD - but we will need some way to first do the initiate recording takes - then actually burn them on a CD. More on this later
PROPOSALS : more voluntary/paid projects
Commmunity Web Page building - for unfunded community
organisations - including ours.
Digital Video production . Digital
video camera and editing of
long established community art event (indoors and outdoors), namely the Embassy's Alternative Arts Festival. Workshops starting
by late July 2002 . No previous experience necessary - just interest.
Organic Gardening - vege production
project - Council site soon?
Previous established site on Council land to be reinspected soon. Participants wel-
come. A video of Organic Veg techniques is being planned as part of our campaign to get full access to Council etc land for this project.
MORE TO COME ........
Send SAE with stamp for Embassy membership application form - see HOW TO JOIN link on Home Page for more details. Enclose your letter about your interests and contact details
HISTORY : started operating in 1978
The idea started from trying to get a Cleaning Co-op going in 1972 and after renting the basement of 41 Phillip St Sydney from 1975 as a base (called Timestream Media Centre, for various projects) some other site was sought for an Odd Job Co-op in 1976. We tried the Burwood Information Centre and Balmain-Rozelle Community Youth Support Scheme - both which refused to let us use their premises, despite support shown from people who attended the meetings we called.
It was only when the Head Tenant of 41 Phillip St deceased, that the emptying of the row of historic NSW government owned Phillip St terraces (for a secret Sydney City Council plan to demolish them for a road widening) caused the other tenant in the building to move out, so we gained control over the rest of the building that otherwise remain vacant. Then we set up the Odd Job Co-op in the attic while we cleaned up the other three storeys of the building above the basement (which become a full time residence for the Embassy founder - since he had been paying the rent there since 1975. The Odd Job Centre moved to the ground floor of what became the Unemployed Peoples Embassy (registered as a non profit organisation in 1981).
The NSW Govt then allowed illegal "squatters" to break into the other vacated terraces and start to damage them with fires etc. Those people kept breaking into the upper storey of our building and our front windows were continually smashed and the front vandalised with paint smeared on it over and over. The NSW Govt never tried to stop them wrecking their own terraces we had already campaigned to have classified by the National Estate and listed on the Register of the National Estate.
Also the Govt didn't offer us alternative premises to run our projects with the deputy Premier Jack Ferguson (Minister for Public Works) saying in 1979 we could "have" the building. Finally the Govt tried to serve a "notice to quit" in 1982 when it wanted the terraces as part of a deal f or the State Superanuation Board and Hong Kong Bank to redevelop the 1788 Govt House site, next door to the terraces, into the sort of grossly overdeveloped high rise that has now been built behind that site. Our petition had prompted the Minister for Environment , Paul Landa, to save the terraces from demolition. In other words, it was not much thanks to the NSW Govt that we were able to set up and operate our Odd Job Centre and other projects.
It was only during the Supreme Court case (that we took to an Appeal) brought
against us by the "Minister administering the Heritage Act" that the
Govt offered us, through a community legal service solicitor, a vague promise of
alternative premises for the Unemployed Peoples Embassy - that contained the Odd
Job Centre. The newspapers
reported that the signing of the lease of the 1788 Govt House site for 99 years to allow the highrise on it was held up due to legal problems. Naturally the papers didn't correctly report the actual court case we were in to stop the lease by the Govt going ahead. it is fair to say that the Nsw Labor Govt has blackbanned the Embassy getting funding for its projects since. During the fight in court, the Bulletin magazine offered to do an article about the Embassy. We would have probably had a choice of Bob Carr or Tony Abbott as the journalist writing the story.
To this day. Australian governments don't support self help projects set up and run by the jobless. Instead they compel us to go to degrading projects run by religious and local Council organisations. This allows us no self determination or initiative. It is interesting that ABCTV falsely gave the "squatters" credit for saving the terraces - and have steadfastly ignored our organisation. On the other hand we appeared on channel 7 and channel 9 several times. We have a copy of our appearance on Channel 9's "Job Show" in 1980 , which we include in our Towards the Odd Job Centre video - referred to below.
We set up another Odd Job Centre in an upstairs office in the shopping strip
of mid Newtown in 1987 which moved further down King St to near St Peters
Station in its own terrace building until 1998 - when that rent was also put up
beyond our means. We have since applied to South Sydney Council for new premises
under its subsidised premises scheme - with the backing of local State MP Clover
# # #
See more about the history of the Embassy at the Mission Statement page on the Home Page. A new video production using archival footage about the origins of the Odd Job Centre and the Embassy has been produced and is detailed in the Research Library site that is linked from the Home Page.