A new Pozible campaign has just been launched to meet Warringah Councils safety regulations and reopen the doors of Humph Hall.
Read below to discover the story of “Humph”, and learn how you can help revive such a wonderful vision, both in Waynes words and in mine, reflecting on my connection to the story.
The goal is just a fraction of what he has himself spent on attempting to meet with Warringah Councils unprecedented requirements to zone his own home as an “entertainment facility”, not to mention the sacrifices he has made to his original intentions.
The story of the project
Please help us get Humph Hall open to the public again by 19th July! We have been shut down since the beginning of March pending the installation of c$16,000 worth of new fire safety measures and need your help to get it open again. Formerly the Allambie Heights Uniting Church, Humph Hall is now part of our private home and is used for a variety of community activities including house concerts by Australian and international artists. See Background section below if you are not familiar with Humph Hall.
How the funds will be used
$1,601.60 – Treatment of our 91 ‘church chairs’ with flame retardant (c $17 per chair)
$6,864 – Installation of additional smoke alarms, emergency lighting etc.
$c6,000 – Installation of a fire exit door
c$1,000 – Certifier fees
If this project is successful it will cover around half of these costs.
A message from Michael Regan, Mayor of Warringah
“I am pleased that Wayne continues to work with Council to resolve the outstanding safety and compliance issues in relation to Humph Hall. I wish him well in his efforts to secure financial assistance from supporters of Humph Hall”.
In 2007 my wife & I bought the former Allambie Heights Uniting Church (on Sydney’s northern beaches) with the intention of creating a home for ourselves complete with a rehearsal/performance space. To that end we renamed the church Humph Hall (an affectionate reference to Winnie the Pooh) and equipped it with a stage, lighting, 90 extremely comfortable ‘church’ chairs and triple-glazed the windows to keep the traffic noise out and ensure that audiences & performers alike are able to enjoy the unplugged performances in almost perfect silence – Humph Hall never uses a PA system!
The main reason for the establishment of Humph Hall was for it to be used as a rehearsal and performance space for a community-based music ensemble that I coordinate called Loosely Woven.
Loosely Woven puts together 2 or 3 brand new shows each years and performs them at various venues in Sydney and regional New South Wales. The group also regularly performs in retirement villages & nursing homes.
Loosely Woven never accepts payments for their performances (not even for expenses) but is very happy for organisations like Amnesty International to use its concerts as fundraisers.
However, since opening in June 2009, many other community events have taken place in Humph Hall including community concerts, art exhibitions by local artists, music student showcases etc. and numerous professional Australian and international artists have been invited into our home to perform in what would have to be one of the best house concert venues in the world!
Visitors attending concerts enjoy a cup of tea and Gial’s famous fresh scones in our dining room during interval breaks.
We had originally believed that, as we were not in any way conducting these activities on a commercial basis, we could legally do all of this in our place of residence. However, apparently this is not so and in July 2011 we complied with Warringah Council’s request to submit a DA (Development Application) to have the use of our property officially changed to ‘entertainment facility’ and ‘residence’. This DA process cost us close on $20,000 but in May 2012 consent was granted and we began officially operating as an ‘entertainment facility’.
Unfortunately, Council is now requiring us to implement further fire safety measures which are going to cost around $16,000. Furthermore, we are not allowed to host any events open to the public until all of the work has been done.
This project is to ask people who have enjoyed coming to Humph Hall, either as audience or performer, and others who like what we are doing with our home, to help us implement these new fire safety measures and get Humph Hall open again in time for a long standing commitment to host a harp workshop and concert with US musicians Ann & Charlie Heymann on Saturday 19th July.
Providing all of the required works are completed to Council’s satisfaction we will be allowed to open to the public again. We are extremely confident that we will pass with flying colours an imposed noise trial period which means that the only other hurdle will be the funding of a disabled toilet (c$16,000-$18,000) for which we have been given some more time.
Many people from the Northern Beaches or the Australian folk music scene would’ve met Wayne Richmond.
A unique character to say the least, I first met Wayne in 2002 when I performed in a live concert series he ran on Northern Beaches radio.
I subsequently began performing with a community based ensemble he organised dubbed Loosely Woven (a whole other story!) where I not only enjoyed the spirit of acoustic ensemble performance, but learnt by trial to arrange and compose for other instruments, develop my own musical conscience, and even write and stage my own musical theatre pieces. Through Wayne I also became involved in the New Theatre, Heritage Ensemble and Dancers (with whom I played trombone on the back of a rusty truck through the streets of Beijing!)
A generous and cut to the heart of it man as you’ll ever meet, Wayne has opened such doors of opportunity to countless otherS with only the purest intention of wanting to see potential be realised.
It is in this spirit that Humph Hall was conceived long before I met Wayne, as place to perform, create, express, capture, gather, share, learn and explore.
There was never any perfect “Humph Hall” until the allambie church.
I saw blueprints drawn to add a level to his old Narrabeen Residence, saw him turn his head at many a kooky building up for sale right up and down the peninsular, and even heard his considerations of building a Yurt in the backyard!
When he and his partner Gial settled on the former Allambie Heights Uniting Church things took on a life of their own. Wayne sold his properties in Narrabeen, and spared no reasonable expense making his dream a reality, not only making it a home, but a fantastically equipped creative space.
Performances and rehearsals began as soon as people could fit in the hall, and it soon became one of the most unique house concert venues / community arts space / living rooms in Australia.
It has broken my heart to see the anguish Wayne has been put through since then in defending what has no precedent. The fact that he and Gial have opened their doors to so many for no measurable return.
It has never been a matter of noise, nor parking, nor unruly behaviour. It has very obviously never been a commercial endeavour (quite the opposite) and the greatest effort was always made to appease all who may ever have been affected. It is simply just unimaginable that someone do what Wayne and Gial have done (in a lounge room so large!) and no pre existing regulation is relevant.
So if you’ve ever been a part of “Humph”, seen Loosely Woven, met Wayne and Gial, or just hold true the value of community and arts, please consider contributing to the campaign to re-open the doors of Humph for good!
A ground level look at the heartbreak of the Syrian tragedy
Below is transcript from Getup.org.au
But this week the debate has fired up again. First Prime Minister Abbott went on the attack, blasting the ABC for taking “everyone’s side but our own”. Today the Government announced an “efficiency study” into the costs of the ABC and the SBS. This follows months of members of the Liberal Party and the IPA agitating for the Government to defund and commercialise Australia’s favourite public broadcaster.
We know what this is, they’ve pulled this move before. They’re seeing how much they can get away with and the answer is clear; GetUp members have rallied together time and time again to demonstrate we won’t allow defunding or the privatisation of our ABC. Let’s do it again.
Stand up for the ABC and the sign the petition.
Right-wing think tanks like the IPA, who have the ear of Tony Abbott, made it clear that the ABC is firmly in their line of fire. But we’d like to keep our ABC free of ads, free for everyone, free to remain fair and balanced.
Lock the Gate Alliance is a national coalition of community groups from across Australia who are uniting to protect our common heritage – our land, water and future – from reckless coal and gas expansions. In a David-and-Goliath struggler of farmers against mining giants, everyday citizens against global corporations, our communities are choosing grace under fire and displaying incredible courage, integrity and imagination. Join us to become part of this inspiring social movement.
A regular youtube event hosted by Josh Fergus and Fernando Aragones from their Manly Beach house.
Their goal is to share the talents of an array of local performers and artists, and with professional video and audio production, their output always makes for compelling viewing.
Recently a group from the States asked permission to use “In every other world” as the soundtrack to a short video highlighting the thoughtless and soul-less damage of Coal Seam Gas mining. . . I of course agreed heartily!
Some sweet fast picking in a great tune by Dave, filmed live at the Pine Street Sessions.
A beautiful tune by Sia Furler, and a sweet “signed” film clip.
A bitter sweet roll of footage, featuring many tunes from In Utero, rarely seen live.
I’m sure many clicked to this tune in the 90’s . . . replacing certain names and event with their own
Jeff Beck, with an all star group (Jason Rebello on keyboards, Vinnie Colaiuta on drums and Tal Wilkenfeld on Bass)
I must say that if you like this, buy the DVD, and crank it up through your fat home stereo . . . you do have one right?
Prince is Hilarious! Only he could pull this off . .
Originally a folk club in the 60’s, and later the 80’s, the Shack was revived again in 2006 by Trevor and Kathleen Swadling, Rhonda Mawyer and Paul Robertson to the great delight of Musicians and Lovers alike.
It started the trend which now continues to grow around the Northern Beaches of sydney and beyond, of creating a space where enjoyment of the music is paramount . . . where musicians of all descriptions are rewarded for their gifts . . . and where people can meet safe and warm, bring a bottle of wine, and be a part of performances intimate and true.
Held in the Tramshed community centre in Narrabeen on the first Saturday of every month. Doors open @ 7pm for a 7.30 start. tickets are sold at the door for $20/15.
Paul Robertson and the others are also the creators of the Northern Beaches Music Festival.
A favourite of most musicians I know who’ve played there, the Manly Fig continues to be a special event month after month. Steve and Robbie and the crew have created a really special space where the crowds are warm, the musicans are comfortable, and magic happens.
Bring a wine and nibbles, get there early for a good table and enjoy. Doors open at 7.30 for an 8pm start. Held in the Manly Village Church (across from the Police Station in Manly)
Continuing the fine tradition of The Shack and Manly Fig, the “wharf” is something else. Hidden away round the corner of the Central Coast, this is the perfect night out, and worth the drive if you’re from town.
As with the others, bring a wine or beer and nibbles, get a table, and enjoy!
Held @ Wagstaffe hall on the 2nd Friday of every month. Doors open at 7pm for a 7.30 start.
2 years old now, this festival will no doubt grow quickly to be a premiere event on the Sydney musical calender. Held on the beautiful Narrabeen lakes on the Northern Beaches, this festival showcases some treasured acts from all walks of life, and adds the quirky little personal touches often lacking in the Major Fesivals. Visit the website for more info.
Brother Luke (aka Rakuli) is a talented poet, songwriter, photographer and web developer.
Nothing I can say here will do it all justice, so check him out yourself.
Through the eye of a camera lens, this lady can make of art out of near any vision.
A remarkable and vibrant soul, Amy Jean has since the beginning captured an inspired collection of images spanning a wide range of photographic styles, from her early days in photo-journalism, to portraits, weddings, photo-stories and contemporary masterpieces.
It has been a true pleasure to know Amy Jean for some years now, and exciting to be working with her in the near future.
Wilco Live :- Impossible Germany. . . Even if it wasn’t a great song, kick ass solo, and one inspired performance, I’d have it up here just for the sheer quality of the recording. Put some headphones in and crank it up!
A beautiful piece of art. Sound’s a little distorted though.
The late Michael Hedges, filmed live as part of an “Artists Profile” series . . Man this guy’s got some spirit!
One of my favourite stories, Oh the places you’ll go, filmed throughout the Burning Man Festival. . .
A powerful episode of Four Corners outlining what seemed obvious . . . That Coal Seam Gas mining is one of the most immediate threats of our time on so many levels! You don’t have to be a hippie to fear this stupidity, and in fact, anyone that argues against this still must be a demon . . .