Something is brewing at the Tent Embassy and it has to do with souvenirs.
On a recent visit I noticed that the area around the mosaic at the Tent Embassy is now decked out with tables selling all manner of Australiana souvenirs. There is new handmade signage directing people to the items on sale and that the proceeds go to the Tent Embassy, including for the purchase of firewood for the sacred fire. Several “donation” boxes are in place for people to pop their money into.
However, I have been informed, that the people behind the souvenirs – which include Aboriginal-themed paintings and other craft items – are not connected with the Tent Embassy in any way, and that they have only set up shop there in the last couple of weeks, and that although they have set up a caravan and tents at the Embassy, and are staying there, they do not have approval for this from either the Tent Embassy community or the NCA.
(The look – and the authenticity – of the place is not enhanced by the fact that the new signage for all the goods on sale is replete with spelling errors – with words such as “table”, “sacred” and “please” all misspelt – which must be confusing for overseas visitors! The suggestion was also made to me that the souvenirs are far from genuine – and had been purchased elsewhere at a much lower price.)
This is a very interesting development in the aftermath of the closure of the Old Parliament House shop at the start of July. Is this a case of someone cashing in on the lack of commercial facilities at Old Parliament House, especially the provision of souvenirs and other Australiana items to visitors from abroad and school students – who of course visit OPH in droves?
ED: While we’re on the subject of the Tent Embassy Hank had this to say:
I just came back from a meeting and noticed some of the occupants at the tent embassy at Old Parliament house had some pet dogs that were fighting one another. Although I have no problems with them I was curious to the rules on keeping pets there?