Home' The Great Southern Star : September 20th 2016 Contents “THE STAR” Tuesday, September 20, 2016 - PAGE 7
TWELVE talented dancers from Leon-
gatha Secondary College showcased
their skills in the Victorian State School
Spectacular in Melbourne recently.
They had rehearsed since the start of the year
and shared an incredible experience on stage.
“It was amazing when they walked into
Hisense Arena and saw the set up,” dance teacher
Linda Hamilton said.
“They thought the set up of Grease at school
was good. This was brilliant.”
Dancers ranged from students in years 8 to 12,
and rehearsed after school and at lunchtime, on
weekends in four regional rehearsals in Carrum
Around 80 schools were involved in the show
and the energy throughout the performance was
“The vibe and the atmosphere were incred-
ible. It was amazing to be on stage with so many
people,” dancer Nikki Stockdale said.
Year 9 coordinator Sheena Cumming and
maths teacher Bron Webster supported students
throughout the performance and helped create
“If you want to challenge yourself, it’s a great
idea to audition,” dancer Tilly Johnson said.
The Victorian State School Spectacular will be
televised on Channel 7 at 7pm on December 3.
Leongatha stars: back, from left, Isla Hick-
ey, Jordan McFarlane, Tristain Noble, Josh
Bracecamp and Evy Nye; middle from left,
Krystin Rintoule, Chelsea Deering, Tilly
Johnson; and front, from left, Lizzie Harms,
Grace Allen, Liz Dunn and Nikki Stockdale
represented Leongatha Secondary College
by dancing in the Victorian State School
Dancers just spectacular
by Tayla Kershaw
A ONCE in a lifetime
cultural offer will be pre-
sented to Bass Coast Shire
Council this Wednesday.
A stunning international
art collection – valued at over
$1 million – has been gifted to
Wonthaggi by Geelong artist
Robert Smith, comprising more
than 600 pieces.
It is one of the largest col-
lections of social realism artist
Noel Counihan works – second
only to the collection in the Aus-
tralian National Gallery in Can-
While the pieces are a gift,
council will still need to vote to
accept the collection and allo-
cate $38,321 to transport, set up
and storage costs.
Once council agrees to ac-
cept the collection, the artworks
will belong to the community
and cannot be sold.
Wonthaggi artist Wendy
Crellin said it would be money
well spent to have the pieces ex-
hibited in the town.
Ms Crellin befriended Robert
Scott in 2007 and bringing this
important collection to Wont-
haggi has been in the pipeline
for 10 years.
“Bob (Robert Smith) be-
lieved artworks should not be
owned by a sole person and
locked in a house. He gifted
this work to be shared. As the
years progressed, he decided he
wanted to gift the art to the com-
munity. He will be able to show
his collection, as he is thinking
about relocating here,” she said.
The Noel Counihan works
have great significance for Won-
thaggi, as Mr Counihan trav-
elled to Wonthaggi in the 1930s
between March and April. He
stayed for four weeks to high-
light the work in the mines,
drawing miners at work.
“No one ever drew the work-
ing class. They always drew
‘nice people’. Noel Counihan
went into the tunnels with his
sketchbook and created the Min-
ers Series,” Ms Crellin said.
Council has already pur-
chased six works from the Min-
ers Series, which are waiting to
Ms Crellin said she would
like the Miners Series launched
in March or April with members
of the Counihan family present.
However, the Robert Smith
collection does not yet have a
Ms Crellin said she was
amazed by the support she had
received to bring the artwork to
“Within 24 hours I had peo-
ple calling me to say they were
so excited for this collection.
It’s what we need to recreate the
town spirit,” she said.
“This is a unique opportunity
for this council to leave behind a
Town benefit: Wonthaggi’s
Wendy Crellin appealed to
Bass Coast Shire Council to
bring the Robert Smith social
realism collection – including
works by Noel Counihan –
by Tayla Kershaw
THE integrity of the decision to include
Wonthaggi ArtSpace Gallery in the al-
liance operating out of the Wonthaggi
Centennial Centre was called into ques-
tion last week.
While Bass Coast Shire Council and Wont-
haggi Rotary Club agreed having Artspace, the
Wonthaggi Business and Tourism Association
and the information centre volunteers working in
the facility would benefit the community, presi-
dent of the Bass Coast Ratepayers and Residents
Association Kevin Griffin claimed the process
Since the closure of the Centennial Centre
came about, Cr Neil Rankine has had a conflict
of interest that excluded him from voting in any
decisions relating to the centre.
At community question time last Wednesday,
Cr Rankine revealed he had been subsidising the
rent for ArtSpace to operate out of a prominent
building in McBride Avenue.
“If I had voted, it might have seemed like
I wanted to get rid of my tenants or hold them
there,” he said.
Mr Griffin felt a commercial property should
not be operating from the Centennial Centre.
“We’ve had a councillor charging a fraction of
the rent, and from what I can see it appears Wont-
haggi ArtSpace is like any other shop,” he said.
“We now have a situation where council have
secretly decided what should be done with the in-
formation centre and a commercial operation has
picked it up for peppercorn rent.
“Now it is in what has been described as a
showcase property. The community is question-
ing the ethics of council and it is fed up. It’s not a
good look for this council.”
Mayor Cr Jordan Crugnale reminded the gal-
lery ArtSpace is a not for profit organisation, and
an expression of interest process went out before
the decision was made.
“We had five proposals and we decided which
one was the most appropriate with the involve-
ment of Rotary,” she said.
With ArtSpace already receiving a reduced
rate at its current site in McBride Avenue, Mr
Griffin also questioned the alliance’s request to
receive $60,000 of funding per year.
Cr Crugnale said the funding would go to-
wards ensuring the building meets appropriate
standards, which is the responsibility of any land-
Council is currently in negotiations with the
alliance to finalise the memorandum of under-
standing, which will include options about how
to secure the alliance to the Centennial Centre on
a permanent basis.
Council accused of ‘secrecy’
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