4CA - Queensland's Home for Fake News

4CA - Queensland's Home for Fake News
4CA - Queensland's Home for Fake News Led by John "Cueball" Mackenzie

18 April 2013


Insiders in State Government have confirmed today that the Newman government will provide NO money for replacement of the Cairns Port offices on Hartley Street, throwing Bob "Sleepy" Manning's Civic Theater replacement plans into chaos.

And these insiders went on to confirm that sale and privatisation of Ports North is in advanced stages of discussion in the Joh Bjelke Newman government!  The current Queensland delegation visiting China is said to be spruiking Ports North privately to investment fund managers in Beijing and Shanghai.

Council staff have been ordered to begin marketing The
Tanks as "The Region's Premier Performing Arts Facility", despite the fact that Council would not stump up any ratepayer money for air conditioning.  It's a profound embarrassment to the Cairns community that our "best" performing arts theater is a concrete oil tank, with shitty acoustics and poor amenities.  

And this rebranding of The Tanks comes on the heels of Manning getting his own report confirming that his "scaled back" Civic Theater replacement will still cost over $100 Million, with now NO state or federal government money on the table.  Council is sitting on this report, apparently thinking that they might wake up from this governmental nightmare.

Visitors to the Tanks and Collins Avenue Botanical Precinct would be shocked at the frightening condition of the area.  Frequent street crimes are reported in the Collins and Sheridan Street entrance to the precinct, and tourists remark the area looks more like inner-city Detroit than our "Premier Performing Arts Facility".



Tony Hillier said...

"It's a profound embarrassment to the Cairns community that our best performing arts theater is a concrete oil tank, with shitty acoustics and poor amenities."

I don't often disagree with HBW, but I take vehement issue with the above statement.

Far from being "a profound embarrassment", the Tanks Arts Centre is a world-class performance venue. The only "embarrassment" is that this visionless, supine Council has knocked back applications for funding to air-condition Tank 5 — the main performance venue — so that it can operate year-round, instead of nine months a year. The previous Council had the perspicacity to fund new sound and lighting systems a couple of years ago, which brought Tank 5 into line with the best capital city art centres. The Tanks has a unique ambience (and history), which distinguishes it from similar facilities around the country.

As someone who has enjoyed a close association with the Tanks, and Tank 5 in particular, since its inception, I can honestly say that the feedback I have received, especially in the past half-dozen years, has been unanimously favourable. As a regular (volunteer) MC there, I can tell you that every single act that I have introduced has waxed lyrical about the venue and its facilities. These include top-drawer Australian and international performers. Here is a sample of random quotes, from visiting atists:-

PAUL GRABOWSKY (legendary Australian jazz pianist, festival director and general mover & shaker): “The Tanks is one of my favourite venues outside of Melbourne.”

BOB BROZMAN (American stringed-instrument virtuoso): “I love the place. I love the atmosphere. It’s always a good sound and there’s great people working there.”

JEFF LANG (Australian slide maestro): “There's a great music audience in Cairns and it’s fantastic to have such a unique venue for them to be able to come and here people play. The Tanks has such a cool vibe.”

BRIAN DUBB (musician and manager of Nano Stern): “The Tanks is uniquely beautiful …. it’s the best indoor venue in Australia, without a doubt.”

VIKKI THORN (The Waifs), mid-set from the stage: “This is the first time we’ve played the Tanks, and it’s already one of my favourite Australian venues.”

BEN WINKELMAN (Australian jazz pianist): “I love the venue, it's very cool.”

JOONA TOIVANEN (Finnish jazz pianist): “It was very steamy, but we love the venue … It’s original and different.”

JULIAN WILSON (Australian saxophonist): “Everyone I know who has played the Tanks raves about the venue.”

I am also compelled to question the veracity of HBW's assertion of "frequent street crimes in Collins Avenue". I have resided within 300 metres of the Tanks Arts Centre for nigh on nine years, and during that time I have never witnessed so much as one altercation!

CBD Warrior said...

I think you've overreacted a mite, Tony.

I think the point HBW is making is that our very best theatre shouldn't be an empty oil tank. I've always thought the sound there is just OK, but in some places you can't understand a bloody word for the echoes. I've been told that round isn't a preferred shape for a theatre.

And I would never suggest to anyone they walk from the CBD to the Tanks. Just this week tow tourists got attacked on Sheridan street, and there are often "lurkers" in and around the railroad tracks..

And you raise another good point - if we're stuck with it as our "premiere" facility, why won't THIS council spend more money on needed A/C? Because arts are on the chopping block. To pay for another footy stadium.

Tony Hillier said...

CBD Warrior, the fact that Tank 5 was once an oil tank has nothing to do with its operating capacity and potential as a high-class music venue. The Royal Albert Hall, one of London's best-loved concert halls, is ellipse. Tank 5 (and the other tanks) actually hold considerable historical significance having housed oil that fuelled the Allied Forces in the Battle of the Coral Sea. The "gothic" ambience is an attraction in itself for many visitors.

It is true that there were some audio problems in its earlier days, but these have been eradicated to a large extent by a new sound system and other modifications undertake to improve the acoustics of the building. Musicians are notoriously fussy when it comes to sound — I know I'm one myself — and I haven't heard one moan or groan emanating from a performer's lips since I have been MC'ing there. The Australian newspaper's Music Editor made a point of commenting on the quality of sound in Tank 5 after attending a concert there last year.

Anonymous said...

The city has gone from having a money for a multimillion entertainment facility on the waterfront under the previous government and council to the tanks. That's a prime example of going back to the basics

D.J.HUNT said...

Actually CBD Warrior the council officer recommendation was to air con it but Unity voted against it. One might find that suspicious that this week there is a motion to replace the air con in the Martyn Street offices so wonder how Unity will vote on that

Dean said...

On the point of the performance theatre, it's been a debacle from day 1.

There are about 30-40% of Cairns residents who never go to theatre or have any intention of ever using either the Civic, Tanks, or anything newly built. They all voted Unity. Then there's 60-70% of residents who do want a replacement of the Civic Theatre. Probably 40% supported the proposal. The problem is that the other 20-30% were convinced that a cheaper one could be built, because as soon as you say any number over 100 million, people think it's too much. Those dimwits who wanted a new theatre but not the existing plan are the reason Cairns will remain the backwater it is.

Given the opportunities Cairns has passed up in the last 10-20 years, it deserves to remain a backwater.

The quality of elected officials in State, Federal and Local Government is appalling and unfortunately can only be seen to reflect the community at large. Sure there are some people with vision, but they'll always be outnumbered by the hillbillies.

Psych Tutor:Mentor said...

The Tanks, is an awesome venue. What's the expected average cost for air conditioning each quarter?

Anonymous said...

And I'm sure you remember, Tony (Barfly) Hillier, that it was a Kevin Byrne led initiative to save and to upgrade the tanks (OK the most decrepit one was demolished to allow for car parking), along with the whole green Collins Ave precinct.
All done by 2008.

KitchenSlut said...

The Tanks are a unique and fantastic venue which should be promoted but complimentary to other facilities.

If there is a facility I would get rid of if necessary to fund a new theatre it would be the CoCA Centre. This has never worked and was admitted as a failure by Qld Arts who pushed operation off to Council. Another Desley Boyle belly flop.

The Jelly Babies would look fabulous in a more prominent location!

KitchenSlut said...
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KitchenSlut said...
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Anonymous said...

Sorry 19:55 but the plan for the tanks to be opened up goes way back before Byrne was even on the scene.

Tony Hillier said...

The planning for the Tanks extends back to the late '80s/early '90s when the then Council "arts officer" Carrie Bies put forward a visionary proposition to convert the abandoned cylindrical repositories into an arts centre.

The Byrne council sanctioned an upgrade to expedite the sale of the Graft 'n' Arts building (now 'Canopy') in Grafton St. The idea was for Graft 'n' Arts to be based at the Tanks, but having a youth drop-in so far out of the CBD was ill-fated from its inception.

Dean, your analysis of the entertainment precinct debacle is spot on. Its loss will rankle for years to come ... as Cairns slowly slips into its former tropical backwater status or becomes a conduit for Chinese development.

Anonymous said...

I have always been a critic of the CEP but I think the Tanks is a fantastic venue and would rather see money spent on the tanks and grassroots arts.
Cairns should be trying to distinguish itself from other centres using it's natural features. Kuranda Ampitheatre is case in point. In the Middle of the rainforest. Great place to see live music. Artist love playing there. Check out the iconic Red Rocks Ampitheatre in Colorado and how many live recordings have been made there.

Anonymous said...

Listening to the dull, uninspiring Mayor stammer his way through another cosy Mckenzie chat session today confirms your concerns, Tony. Most of the time is taken up by regulars with the same old gripes, pushing their own barrows week after week.

This is in sharp contrast to the time when Val Schier was constantly confronted by the angry hillbillies that Mckenzie used to line up. No hard questions for Bob though. Like the few councillors that have made an appearance he deflects most questions, trivialises people's concerns and basically giggles his way through.

I agree with your view on the Tanks, Tony. It is a terrific venue with great acts. Not only that it is one of the few places that actually has a bar in it. It is almost like a large version of the -still sadly missed- old Johno's Blues Bar.

I have no problem with the time that Cairns actually was a tropical backwater, as it was a very friendly place with good, although limited, nightlife and lots of charming old buildings.

But many of the buildings have gone, the roads are full of aggro stressheads,we have soulless breeding grounds for juvenile crime stretching for miles along the highways and the place is rapidly turning into a tropical slum. It reminds me a bit of Guam , once you get away from the tourist strip...

Dean said...

It's fine if you want to remain a backwater small town, but don't expect first world standards like Tier 1 hospitals, good schools, good shows and competent administrators.

Grassroots art is fine (particularly in Cairns), but Cairns misses out on so much due to its own short-sighted approach.

I'm a professional in town and most of the people I socialise with are professionals. None of us see our future in Cairns. Some want to raise children here, but with the cost of University and limited opportunities here, they'd all rather move somewhere with more things to do and more opportunities.

A decent theatre with bigger acts would be great.

We all love the Tanks, no question, but it can't attract big shows.

This generation of scientists, doctors, teachers, nurses and engineers will spend a couple of years here and move on. And the knowledge bank will continually dwindle. For me, Cairns is the easiest place to attract people to because of the natural beauty, and the hardest place to get people to stay because of the limitiations of a small town.

ruby said...

The Tanks might be perfect for all of your needs, and that's that, you people posting above, however it isn't perfect for the sort of entertainment, I and others like me, want. I can't see "Mary Poppins" the stage show being performed at The Tanks, nor "Pippin" or "Billy Elliott" nor any performance by the Queensland Ballet Company.

Anonymous said...


Totally agreed. After more than 20 years here, I am now also considering a future elsewhere. Cairns is not only stagnating, it is going backwards in more ways than one..

I've just had it with this small town backward mentality. The place has completely lost its vitality and identity. The current crop of recycled second hand car salesmen and real estate sharks that run the council, coupled with the 2 inexperienced LNP puppets have completely blocked any progress.

Anonymous said...

Tend to agree with you Ruby as it is a known fat that many large scale performances have had to 'scale down' or avoid Cairns because the stage requirements are too small. The entertainment centre has advantages but also poses huge disadvantages for theatrical performances. Our only hope is that Townsville will eventually have a venue to provide for this, so we don't have to travel to Brisbane. The backward neanderthals that the local cairns community voted in to be our 'decision makers' will make sure it will never happen here.

Anonymous said...

" After more than 20 years here, I am now also considering a future elsewhere. The backward Neanderthals that the local cairns community voted in to be our 'decision makers' will make sure it will never happen here."

Yeah that's right.
80% to be correct.
So fuck off!!!

Anonymous said...

So old Manning bullshitted his way into Council promising the new performing arts theatre would be a "top priority" blah blah blah. I wonder what happened to the land which Mmanning claimed was "absolutely critical to future ports expansion"
that the Entertainment Precinct was originally to be built on? Funny how Manning never talks about it any more.

KitchenSlut said...

"For me, Cairns is the easiest place to attract people to because of the natural beauty, and the hardest place to get people to stay because of the limitiations of a small town." That's well said and an interesting perception from Dean.

For a perspective of the reasons cities succeed or fail I would suggest "Triumph of the City" by Ed Glaeser, an economist from Harvard with an expertise in urban economics.

That people want to live here if they can is easily our most significant comparative advantage!