All hell broke loose

“The revitalization was state government funded and auspiced by the Port Kembla Chamber of Commerce and it was my job to work with the retailers and come up with strategies to bring more people back into Port. At that point we still had 2 or 3 banks – Westpac, Commonwealth and the ANZ – but the vacancies had started and so we were looking at improving the streetscape. So I’m the person everyone hated because we introduced these funny little things called trees – not these trees, we had plane trees – and I remember all hell broke loose about putting trees on the street because it was a loss of parking. It was ad hoc and it was kind of totally flying under the radar but it was fun and I think it told us something about what we could do, if you have good stuff, people will come. The Star Café was packed every night because people wanted to be there because it was wild, it was a scene. 

“Then that funding ran out but we got this other funding to look at artists working with industry. So, we had a number of fabricators and artists working together to establish prototypes of steel-based furniture. They made a number of chairs and things and it was only 12 months funding and by the time we’d actually started to get somewhere, of course the funds ran out and so that was the end of that project and then the Western Sydney thing started up for me and I ended up working in Western Sydney for the next 4 years.”

– Ann Martin, 3 July 2017

Photo: Nina Kourea

Wollongong City Council landscape architect Jim Mitchell and Port Kembla Chamber of Commerce representative Ann Martin inspect progress on bollards at the intersection of Allan and Wentworth Sts, Port Kembla, 20 February 1992 – image from the collections of the Wollongong City Libraries and the Illawarra Historical Society