Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Restoration Australia - quick review Episode 1 Keith Hall

Saw the show, liked some bits and not others. Overly and artificially dramatic, but that seems to be the way of these shows, and unfortunately the host does not have the intelligent philosophical outlook of Kevin McLeod. A couple of things grated though. The  depiction of advisors as some sort of bogey women, doesn't gel when the site is not on the Heritage Overlay or any other heritage list, and the fearful $50,000 bond and time limits would seem red herrings since such they are regularly placed on building projects to protect the council and ratepayers from shonky practice. I would be confident that the council would be sympathetic to extending both as needed, even with only minimal progress shown. 

While the before and after transitions were interesting, the camera work doesn't have the sophistication of Grand Designs, and really fails to capture the architectural spaces and qualities of the building effectively. The narration and analysis was also unsophisticated, lacking explanation of technical issues. The dramatic music and repetitive narrative distracts from the real qualities clay, the builder has for his project. His pragmatic response to the dormer windows chapter shows how the show's timbre could have been more comfortably directed away from the 'reality TV' fake drama.

 Timing of the visits could have been better. We get a sense of how slow the stonework is to begin with, then suddenly the walls are done, the floors and cleanings are in and the roof timbers are up. I felt like we missed all the exiting parts of the build and were just left with the crooked barge-board event.

Some of the historical background may have been confused. William and John Morrison selected several blocks in the 1880s and 1900s, William Morrison was also a soldier – a Sergeant in 1915 and Lieutenant in 1918  and submitted evidence to the Soldier Settlement Commission – see the Argus 10/8/1925, (or is this William the son?) Brother John also served, while the family retained the farm into the late 1920s at least. How soldier settlement brought the abandonment of the farm is not clear. The Eldorado attractions website calls the place Kelvin Hall.

Even though there were no heritage controls and the appearance of Deb Kemp may have been for effect (someone can put me right here) there were some real heritage issues. Is the surrounding decking appropriate? Does the big shed overwhelm the house? Was the big tree dead and did it have to go? Was there an underfloor archaeological deposit being dug out, and is that where Morrison's chisel came from?

But good on Clay and Narelle for recovering a building that would otherwise have slowly disappeared.

And it won its timeslot and beat the Spelling Bee in the ratings

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