Another year, another smiling child

Back for its 23rd year, Operation Art brings 796 artworks from 910 students across 254 NSW schools to Sydney Olympic Park.

We have invited guest blogger, Lisa van den Dolder who is the Project Officer for Operation Art, to provide a special insiders view on the amazing program that continues to bring smiles to sick children’s faces year after year:

“Each year, students throughout the state use their passion for arts to transform the lives of sick children in hospital. With very few guidelines and limitless possibilities, students from Kindergarten to Year 10 are able to express themselves through colours, lines and shapes with the sole purpose to motivate and sooth patients in hospital.


One of the many artworks on display this year. Image: Department of Education

From the moment you walk into the exhibition, Newington Armory Gallery positively radiates from the walls; the emotion packed paintings fill every corner and tell their own story. This is just the beginning for over 700 children who have spent hours perfecting their works of art, as for many, these artworks will make their way to various hospitals across NSW and give sick children an extra boost of brightness and positivity to fight their illnesses.

The teachers of these students believe this gives them the opportunity to “foster their learning of giving to others who are less fortunate than they are” and it is “creating art for a purpose”.

For the students, it is “seeing other people’s artworks helping the community” that resonates with them most.

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One of the many artworks on display this year. Image: Department of Education

Operation Art, an initiative of The Children’s Hospital at Westmead in association with the New South Wales Department of Education and in collaboration with Sydney Olympic Park Authority, involves school students from Kindergarten to Year 10 in all NSW schools creating artworks for children in hospital. Operation Art is made possible by the generous support of ANSTO and will be open daily from 9 September to 29 October, 10am to 4pm, at Newington Amory Gallery in Sydney Olympic Park.”

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#S(TEAM)-ING Home in National Science Week

This National Science Week with support from Inspiring Australia and the kinetic energy of Fizzics EducationSydney Olympic Park is putting the Team into S.T.E.A.M and bringing Greater Western Sydney (which includes our special piece ‘GPOP‘) right into the heart of the Sydney Science Festival.

Why here? Sydney Olympic Park is a place built, managed and being further developed through STEAM principles and innovative practice, with a focus on sustainability and liveability. The growing working population of the Park evidences a wide range of STEAM careers amongst employers such as Sydney Sports Incubator, Samsung, Thales NRMA, Western Sydney University and NSW Institute of Sport. The Sydney Olympic Park Authority itself has a diverse staff working in a range of STEAM specialisations: From ensuring water quality in the Aquatic Centre to advancing water recycling technologies around the site…..from lighting the public domain to environmental conservation, economic modelling, landscape architecture and town planning….from arts and cultural education program delivery to major event management.

So the scene is set for something special – a new National Science Week event in the geographic heart of Sydney that taps into the lingering achievement-atmosphere of the ‘best games ever’ and the forward thinking of the Master Plan 2030. Enter The Innovation Games – a free family fun day full of hands-on science, sport and technology action. On Sunday, 20th August, the town centre of Sydney Olympic Park will be an interactive expo of live shows, daring demos, crazy creatures and the latest gadgets….

The Drone Zone with One Giant Leap is set to take off, driving some much needed public awareness around safe drone use to make it fun for everyone. Professional pilots will be flying demos throughout the day and CASA will be on hand to answer questions and provide advice.

An engaging line-up of stage presentations will cover everything from mozzies with Dr Cameron Webb to zombies with Kelly Simpson to Dr Karl’sfamous theories on belly button fluff! Fizzics will be making a few bangs with their big science shows and we are also screening some of the best of the Scinema 2017.

Through the Yulang on the way over to ANZ Stadium will be a range of cutting edge interactive displays from SamsungSydney Sports IncubatorNRMAAustralian MuseumUTS Graduate School of Health, UNSW and Young Scientists of AustraliaAutonomous ShuttleChildren’s Discovery MuseumEcohortBeardsOn for Conservation, Australian Herpetological SocietyRoyal Botanic Gardens Seed BankCleanawayRocknCrystalsOhmboy and Sydney Olympic Park Authority’s Ecology and Heritage teams.

Sports fans, Sunday brunchers, Park residents and die hard geeks can all stride down to Cathy Freeman Park to exercise both the body and mind. The NRL – a fantastic supporter of this inaugural event – is inviting people to kick the physics out of a footy and compare sprint speeds with a radar gun (so bring a friend for some healthy competition!). ACPE will also be there with some engaging sports and movement education. Test your accuracy at spear and boomerang throwing with the #Murama Indigenous Youth or sit in the weaving circle for a yarn about culture.

A unique feature linking all opportunities for learning and fun at the event will be our Augmented Reality Treasure Hunt, a location-based gamification of place in the style of Pokémon Go. In this case the discoverable avatars asking curly questions and setting all sorts of onsite challenges will be none other than our friendly NRL home team the Bulldogs. Around the event people will be racing for answers, posing for tricky selfies, nutting questions and collecting as many ‘Quantum tokens’ as they can store in their inventory. There are some awesome Golden Ticket prizes to be won including Grand Final tickets and a stay at the Novotel. Plus, hundreds of people are going to swipe themselves free coffees, posters and copies of Adam Spencer’s new book Time Machine. Download the free app Metaverse – Go Explore to play on the day and as our mate @Mrsalakas founder of #aussieEd says: Bring your phone fully charged!

So its an experiment of sorts….but one with all the right ingredients for success, not the least of which are the passionate people and thought-leading agencies who are collaborating to put this together. Special shout-outs to Jackie Randles of Inspiring Australia, Ben Newsome and Holly Kershaw from Fizzics Education and Vanessa Barrett of RBGS who together have more connections than the mob (can I say that?) and enough ideas to sink a think tank.

Join us Sunday 20th August at Sydney Olympic Park 11:00am to 3:30pm for The Innovation Games and connect with us through #innovationgames @olympicpark_syd  #natsciwk  #ssf17

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A city-shaping project with huge community benefits

Recently, our friends from Sydney Metro dropped by to talk to the Park community about the Sydney Metro West project.  This is an important city-shaping transport project that will have a huge benefit for Sydney Olympic Park, so we thought we should share the information boards that were on display during the drop in sessions.

metro west

Boards for Sydney West

The Metro team want to hear from communities, industry and business groups about this important project:

  1. Complete the online survey
  2. Visit the Sydney Metro website for more information


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Eagle update

We have an end to our story and unfortunately an end to another eagle.

Ellen, the vet taking care of the young female eagle at the Animal Referral Hospital, conducted an autopsy to determine the cause of death. This is yet to be determined as further testing and analysis is currently underway.

Samples were taken to test for Beak and Feather disease, Persistent Organic Pesticides, as well as her general condition, to determine if there were any other viruses or other conditions present. Feathers were taken for the Feather Map project and for feather transplants, also known as imping.

She was not one of our resident birds, but an intruder, possibly looking for her own territory and a mate. It appears that our resident birds are healthy and uninjured.

So while her death is sad, we look to the silver lining that has allowed us to learn more and contribute to other research. She was a beautiful bird!

intruder eagle.JPG

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Sad news from our nest

We have some unfortunate news to share as our eaglet has died overnight. The most likely cause of this is exposure, as the night was so cold and the chick was not brooded by either parent.

Yesterday, the parents were very unsettled on the nest and after an early feeding of the chick, left it unattended most of the day.

Early in the evening a third eagle appeared near the nest, which resulted in a fight with talons thrusting and loud calling. Both eagles fell to the ground, apparently injured.


A small team of volunteers entered the forest in the dark, after approval, to investigate. Two adult eagles were on the ground, and after a careful capture, one of the injured eagles was taken to the nearby Animal Referral Hospital where it was given antibiotics and is being kept in care until further examination. The second eagle was left alone, as it was roosting in a tree.

This morning, two eagles were heard calling and were observed mating above the nest. Neither made any attempt to attend to the chick or the unhatched egg – which is now no doubt unviable. One of the eagles has been identified as our current male and the other is possibly the female. Mating and calling are signs of bonding and re-establishing territory. We have not yet confirmed the identity of this second bird or the one in care.

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When more is known, approval will be obtained to possibly band the bird at the Animal Referral Hospital and a decision will be made about a location for release once the eagle has been identified.

It appears another eagle moved into the territory of our pair and the intruder was attacked by the parents, defending their territory and nest.

Nature in the raw can be cruel.

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The Eaglet has landed!

After 39 days and 19 hours of eager waiting and watching, our first egg for the year has finally hatched.


With both parents taking responsibility to care for their young, the roles are split between the two. The male eagle brings most of the food and, although both parents take turns to incubate the egg, the female takes on the full responsibility of incubating at night.

Eaglet 2

With the second egg still yet to hatch, we are watching EagleCAM intently to see when eaglet two will appear.

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Mining Pyrite’s haunting video

Our Armory Gallery is used to present a huge variety of unique artworks, from ArtExpress and Operation Art showing amazing creations of our next generation of artists to the impressive design pieces that are exhibited as part of Designing your Future annual event.

We have always found it a challenge to showcase the true spirit of the variety of art exhibitions, however we are pretty happy with this haunting new video that sums up our latest gig Mining Pyrite, a FREE exhibition at Newington Armory Gallery every weekend until Sunday 20 August 2017…

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