by Karen Hayward
There have been some fairly significant milestones celebrated by the ACS in the past few years including our 50th anniversary celebrations in Sydney back in 2008. One was definitely reached on the 3rd of March with the opening of the ACS Headquarters on Level 2, 26 Ridge Street, North Sydney.
I have been privy to the enormous amount of work involved in bringing the ACS HQ to fruition, witnessing our Federal President, Ron Johanson ACS work tirelessly and our Queensland President , Tim McGahan ACS sitting on the HQ sub committee in making this dream very much a reality, And so it was with great pleasure that I received an invitation to the grand opening and quickly decided that this was a night I didn't want to miss.
Now, the ACS is a Society for Cinematographers, not interior designers and I must admit that I didn't quite know what to expect in terms of the refurbishments that I knew had been taking place. I may have had 'high rise DOP's man cave with beer fridge' pictured in my head…. Think about it…
However, stepping out of the lift at Level 2 and walking into the John Leake OAM ACS - ACS HQ was one of the most pleasant surprises I've had in quite a while. (I know, I must get out more - but it's true!)
What a fantastic space… and it looked great filled up with so many ACS stalwarts, sponsors and friends of the Society. I was very proud at that moment to call myself an ACS member. It was wonderful to see our very own John Stokes ACS and Simon Christidis ACS amongst those in the room. The team that created this elegant oasis lead by Project Manager, David Lewis ACS aka Spider, Designer, Dee Molineaux and Tony Moss and ably assisted by David Burr ACS, Ted Rayment ACS, Ron Windon ACS, Lester Bishop and David Wakeley ACS & Marianne Wakeley must all be congratulated on an outstanding job.
Walking through the various areas and rooms - the fabulous digital display of the ACS Hall of Fame - hours of fun to be had there checking out all the goss on the impressive roster board, wandering through the Bruce Hillyard room, seeing the swish AC Magazine office, combing through the Robert Feeney ACS Archives - it all just works!!
And again, many of our National Sponsors have been integral in assisting the ACS in fitting out the HQ in the style that was envisioned.
There were some very heartfelt and moving speeches and I don't think I was the only one who had a tear in my eye as Marion Leake, Nita Gardiner, Mary Wood & Norma Feeney, the four delightful widow's of these inspiring men did the honours and officially unveiled the John Leake OAM ACS plaque. I felt honoured to be in the room and part of this historic night. It felt like the Australian Cinematographers Society has taken a very big leap into the future - nothing like having a place to call your own!
I know that for many Queensland members, the opportunities to utilise the HQ will be few but I would encourage you to arrange to drop in if you are in Sydney - I believe that the aim is to have someone from the NSW branch there most of the time and if you are planning on a visit - just give them a call so they can get the welcome mat out. (btw - there is a beer fridge, and it's pretty well stocked!!!)