Dam wall

There is something fascinating about dams. I love how they are landscaped with camellias and jacarandas, now gnarly with age, and the vista of water that looks like a lake but isn’t really a lake. I get a little mixed up with the dams around Sydney: I can’t ever quite remember which one has the curved wall, which one has the art deco detailing, which one has the picnic area with the view. But I do know that this notice is on the Avon Dam wall, and that I was rather pleased to see that someone had amended the sign.

Scribbly tin


Eucalyptus haemastoma—the scribbly gum—is one of my favourite eucalypts because of the beautiful scribbly tracks in the bark made by the larvae of the scribbly gum moth. The side of this re-purposed shipping container conjures up the idea of a kind of urban scribbly gum—scribbly tin—with its small-scale scratches and markings.



I wonder if this is some reference to the TMNT characters, or scrawled by some modern jazz and Jamaican ska aficionado. Either way, the perpetrator has made an impressive mark on this scarred rendered rock face. I came across it at the site of a local art prize. The prize was one of considerable repute, but this scratched graffiti—most definitely not part of the exhibition, although it could have been—was just about the thing I liked best.

Civil defense


I know. Most visitors to Hawaii would take photographs of coconut trees and beaches, but I find the beauty of tropical scenery difficult to capture. I was not on the lookout for typography and graffiti but seem to have arrived home with quite a bit of it. This civil defense warning device box caught my attention because its defacement struck me as so polite: none of the important information was obscured, and each of the stickers has allowed the others some breathing room. I also thought the typography of the red CD in the yellow triangle and blue circle was quite a clever piece of design.

Bill Posters


I know it’s old, but I still allow myself to wonder what poor old Bill Posters did to deserve prosecution. Not only that, but to have notification of his fate emblazoned over walls, telegraph poles and hoardings! As a kid, I really did want to know who this mystery Bill Posters was—and my mother, with her unalloyed delight in wordplay, did nothing to dissuade me of my misconception. Years later, the caution is still being publicised, and although I now know what it means, it’s still good to see that Bill Posters will be vindicated.



Catherine Hill Bay is a coastal village south of Newcastle, on the southern peninsula that forms the opening to Lake Macquarie, and is significant for the coal and rutile mining that was carried out in the area. The large jetty, used to ship the coal, is now abandoned and closed—very seriously closed judging by the amount of barbed wire and corrugated iron used to deter trespassers. It hasn’t stopped the graffiti however, which is a dramatic sight.



A scrawl on the dirty brick fence of a ratty block of flats on the edge of Newtown: there is nothing aloha about this bit of graffiti. And yet, and yet … It brought a ray of light into my day, enough for me to stop and, ahem, smell the hibiscus and take out my camera. The very word summons up imagery of clean turquoise waters, swaying palm trees and mai tais in tiki tumblers; a carefree life in the warm tropical sun. So perhaps it is a well-placed aloha after all.

Cool combo


It’s the weekend, time to relax a little after a busy week. Put my feet up, have a glass of something, maybe even catch some live music. There’s a jazz lounge near me where the seating comprises plush old sofas and comfy low armchairs in an almost haphazard arrangement. It’s perfect for kicking back and enjoying the show, and I can picture this cool combo there, although they do seem quite at home on this brick wall. I like how the wall is painted black, evoking that low-light nightclub ambience, despite the harsh afternoon sunlight.

Meter Man


I moved to the big city to go to art school, and I made a lifelong friend. We bonded over beer at the local pub and an effort to make our dull drawing class more interesting by wrapping objects and models in great swathes of black plastic. Recently she told me about her idea to collect graffiti characters and turn them into an animated story. She leads a busy life and I don’t know if the idea will be realised, but it’s her birthday today, so I thought she might like this character to get her started.



Despite the size of the writing on the brick wall it’s not immediately obvious from the main road because the Officeworks awning is in the way. I was taking a detour through the grounds of Sydney Uni and, as often happens when you go an alternative route, you see the same old things with a different perspective and new aspects of an otherwise familiar environment are revealed. I don’t know what the graffiti is about but I like the juxtaposition of the two sets of bold type on two equally strong backgrounds.