So here I am again writing the story of another road trip. This one the trip Melbourne to Sydney return, to see the opening of the Melbourne Ideal Org., tonight.
Today started at 5 a.m. with last preparation and catching a bus to Aosh Anzo, the meet-up point. Since we’re due to return Sunday around dinner time, this time I made the thinking-forward step of bringing my gaming gear with me.
While waiting for the car to arrive, I spotted Geoff MacClement, and we chatted for a few minutes. He told me a little of what he’s been doing recently, and I was telling him some of the recent jobs I’ve been doing as a roady; Muse, Linkin Park, and Big Day Out Tuesday and Thursday; and the odd small job on Wednesday (Australia Day), after which I went to Aosh to relax a little over a drink, and I’d hoped to find Geoff to talk to again. He commented that I was wearing my LivingInfo Systems cap and Hauraki t-shirt, and he liked that.
Wayne Byrne is driving, behind me is Phil, and we’re on the way to pick up a lady at Dundas base. I’m still debating whether to have a coffee or not, and try to sleep some. Somehow I can’t see the sleeping happening, so I’ll vote for the coffee option as soon as possible.
Now we’re at Dundas Base, picking up the lady, Pat, a staff member from Pretoria in South Africa, here doing her Class XI Internship.
Now we’re on the motorway and listening to some Fleetwood Mac. I’m answering girlfriend emails and handling my phone notes. That may not sound very exciting, but it’s good for me, as I’m completing cycles of action.
Half-way through and the countryside is very flat and very dry. The plants are mostly brown, not green, even the trees. The grass is like tussock, with a few patches of green grass or more likely brush. It gives a feel much Africa. The land is very flat, and I can see hills on my right (northish), and even further off to my left, low mountains. This is my first expedition this deep into Australian countryside, and it’s even more dry and wild that the countryside between Sydney and Canberra.
Well not very exciting here really. Lots of grey road, lots of brown grass, a little green bush, shrub or tree. The occasional service centre. We’re listening to Ron Hubbard’s “State of Mind.”
We arrived into the outskirts of Melbourne around 4 p.m., and after some tiki-touring around, made it to the motel where we changed into good clothes, then arrived to the org. about 5 p.m. That was nine hours on the road, and 12 hours since waking.
It’s a large building, my guess is something over 1000m2. The outside is nice if not spectacular, however the inside definitely is, as I have detailed below. We were ushered into the car park which filled with maybe 2000 people, and with the building surrounding us. I recognised literally hundreds of faces. I talked to the dozens of folks I know or have known, however some of them I took some time to remember the names of. Significant names are Oliver Shead and family, Stuart Holbrook, Lara Meany, Rachael Jacomb (from Folo, when she was Rachael Litson), Boyd Morati, G. and T. N., Juliette Parker, Juliette Ryland, (twin), Greg Peart, Mark Ellis, Dana Lee, Carol McMahan, Lika Kikuchi, Jason and Linda Zani.
The event started at sun-down, 18:30, signified by the Chairman of the Board joining the crowd and sitting down the front, out of sight to me. The festivities proper started with an aboriginal blessing and song with a small choir, quickly followed by a performance by Kate Ceberano. Melbourne Executive Director Cheryl Wickens was master of ceremonies and opened the section of the various speakers. There were four local speakers, including the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, and aboriginal leader Uncle Bob. Then of course the Chairman of the Board. Whom I can’t find a superlative for, and whom I’ve wanted to see live for years. He has presence. He commanded the space. He has projection; even without the public address system, he could have easily made his communication reach the whole crowd, all the way to the back. He touched on the history of the building, of scientology in Melbourne and Australia, and pointed out that what the new building is about is not what has been built, but what will be built.
Cheryl then asked the previous speakers to return to the stage, Chairman of the Board passed on the rope to the speakers, gave a short count, and they all pulled the rope to officially open the building. Cheryl then repeated the same in words, welcoming everyone in, so people did just that and started to make their way in. Most went to the front door, however many went for the closest door they could find, around the car park.
The furniture, fixtures and fittings are what make the place. And of course the people make the organisation. Each and all of the spaces are very well decorated, with cream walls and main feature and high-light colour of a browny copper colour. Just past Reception, the main Public Division space is very spacious, and leads to the public displays area and a café on the right, and a courtyard with another café on the left. Past the internal café is the chapel, large enough to fit probably 400 people easily, and featuring a computer controlled audio-visual sound system, and ten surrounding and two in-fill Meyer speakers. Each of the delivery spaces are large and comfortable. The tr’s spaces include padding on the walls. Auditing rooms number twenty seven. Layouts are good and logical such as reception leading to the Public Division; and off to the left, to Registry then Treasury, then the Technical Division delivery spaces, and Qualifications next to that. The only thing that I’d change would be that the spaces are labelled on their doors, so that when the door is open, I couldn’t see what it was easily. The labels should have been on the walls beside the doors.
One of the significant points of all of the spaces, large, small and the working spaces, is that they all very comfortable to be in. The furniture and fittings are all very tasteful and have an aesthetic element. This is a major point of what makes an ideal organisation; as Ron wrote in his directive, “The Ideal Organisation,” “Public judge us by our mest.” And now with lots of staff, new public and scientologists alike can be handled well and serviced well.
We left around 22:00 to find some dinner, and made it to an Italian restaurant around 22:30. Wayne and Pat shared a pizza and I had ravioli bolognaise with a tiny glass of very nice port. Then back to the motel and crash.
Sunday morning my alarm woke us at 8:00. We went back to the organisation for around 15 minutes for Pat to see the Qualifications division. I got a coffee and talked to Stuart Holbrook for a bit, and had a look at the chapel.
We hit the road probably a bit after 9:00, with a short stop for breakfast.
For part of the trip we travelled with a very new and very nice red Audi S5. Now we’re back to lots of long straight grey roads, lots of brown foliage and some conversation, including lots of texts to girlfriend and back.
We listened to “Hymn of Asia,” and are now listening to “State of Mind” again. A few times I’ve tried playing some music, the “Tron” sound-track, but I keep getting over-ridden.
We stopped in Goulburn for ice-cream and coffee. Wayne had a lime thick-shake, Pat a choc-berry Sunday, Phil a tea, and I had a Roman coffee (with Galliano), and a scoop of ice-cream. I asked for chocolate, but received strawberry gelato. I haven’t had anything like it ages so I scoffed it, and enjoyed it. The coffee was quite something; it had a good kick to it!
That will do, since the most interesting thing that happened after that was getting out of the small box that we were in for probably ten hours!