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Have you ever wondered what stories lie under the surface of Fed Square? Who the people are that you walk past and what’s going on in their lives? Well, we’ve got a fun new segment for you: Fed Folk. Each week, we’ll catch up with a person who works, walks or plays here at Fed Square. It could be a journalist from SBS or a curator from the Koori Heritage Trust or someone who eats their lunch here every day – it could be you! So, watch out for us in the Square, as we’ll be on the lookout!
And if you’ve got a story to tell, tag us on Instagram with #FedFolk and we may be in touch!
Meet Ellora, the fount of all Fed Square knowledge
Ellora Keeley, Fed Square event operations supervisor, Fed Square, September, 2021.
When you have a heritage-listed public square that’s not a square, that’s built over a train line, covered in undulating cobblestones and hosts thousands of events a year (in normal times), you want to have an events operations person that knows their stuff, right? Well, that’s Ellora. With an in-built mental data map of the whole site and the keys to the place, Ellora is one of a team of event operations staff that make things happen at Fed Square. We talked to her this week about what her job is like, what she’s been doing in lockdown – and about making friends with a duck at Sky Castle last year.
Hey Ellora, tell us a bit about yourself and your job at Fed Square.
Though the title has changed over the years, I am an event operations supervisor, which is quite difficult to define. Basically, I ensure the safe installation and operation of events that take place at Fed Square from bump in to bump out, and I have been floating around now for about four years.
What does a typical day look like in your job?
All people in events will say that there is no such thing as a typical day and with current restrictions my days now are vastly different to what they used to be. However, if I turn back the clock to the start of 2020, my typical day consisted of about four coffees, 25,000 steps, jumping on the forklift, setting up event infrastructure, liaising with event clients, cleaners, security, completing risk assessments, and enjoying all the amazing events that take place at Fed Square.
What would most people not know about what you do in your job.
I guess an interesting fact would be that I have memorised different aspects of Fed Square – such as all the locations that have access to power and the types of outlets that are in them, or the different weight loading areas and how to calculate the weight loading of a vehicle on the spot.
Having this information at the top of my head makes solving problems easier and minimises delay. For example: if a coffee cart needs to be in a certain location for an event, and I was briefed that the cart requires a 15-amp port, but they arrive onsite with a different machine due to a fault and this one has a 20-amp plug – I would know that a 20-amp power outlet is available seven meters away and have a 20-amp extension lead available onsite, so the site map won’t need to change. That’s probably not interesting to most people, but I love knowing where all the solutions to potential problems are before they occur and having extensive knowledge of our site helps.
Do you have any interesting or unusual stories that you can share with us, about what has happened in your job?
During last year’s Sky Castle event one night, I was standing by to deflate it at 11pm, when I noticed a duck walking around the activation. Now it was a lovely warm night so there were still a tonne of people around, so I was amazed at how close this duck was waddling around people. I think at some point it noticed me watching it and came over to where I was sitting. Now I cannot express how chill this duck was – it let me touch and eventually it just settled between my feet and just fell asleep. Unfortunately, I did need to move (a crime, I know), but while I was packing down Sky Castle it just followed me and the security staff around. Eventually it just flew away – but that was definitely the cutest moment I’ve ever had at Fed Square.
Ellora’s duck friend, at Sky Castle, 2021. Image: provided.
Any favourite memories of working at Fed Square you can share?
My favourite memory would have to be NYE 2019-20, we had a DJ playing all the hits from the decade. They started playing Fix you by Cold play and the entire crowd started pulled out their phone lights and started singing along and it was so beautiful. Then beat dropped and my brain immediately tried to calculate the KPA rating of 10,000 people all jumping up and down at once.
What’s your favourite place in the Square?
The top of Transport’s roof – not the bar, the actual rooftop. It has THE best 360 degree view of the city and the greatest view of the Main Square.
Top recommendations for eats/drinks at Fed Square?
Cannot go wrong with coffee from Time out café! Best onsite in my opinion. Food from atiyah as well is absolutely amazing and well-priced.
How has being in lockdown affected your job and what you do?
Extremely! I am an event supervisor … with no events to supervise. However, it has been nice to be able to catch up on all the “housework”, so to speak. That has included assessing all our event infrastructure, reorganising storerooms for better efficiency and upgrading procedures regarding bump in/ out of events to make the process easier for our clients.
What do you do to unwind? Any tips for things to watch/read/listen to, to get through lockdown?
I am a relatively boring person, to the point where I’ve watched the same movie three times in a row on the same night just because I was convinced everything else on Netflix was boring (the movie was titled Everest and it has an amazing soundtrack). But I’ve recently got into a podcast called “Distractable” which is just three guys telling life stories or discussing some strange topic in a comedic manner. That has kept me extremely distracted from being in lockdown, which has been nice.
What are you looking forward to when we get back (out of lockdown)?
Being able to go to the store and purchase socks when I get holes in mine; I have very specific sock needs and I can’t tell online if socks have padding or not.
Ever wonder why Fed Square always looks so fresh? Well, that’s thanks to Suranjan and the team of Fed Square cleaners that work hard to keep everything looking ship shape, clean and even more importantly since Covid-times – safe and sanitised. We caught up with Suranjan this week to find out more about his job, playing guitar to get by in lockdown – and what he’s looking forward to when we’re all back at the Square.
If you’ve ever met Sarah, you won’t forget her. She’s a dynamic creative that works like a hurricane: zooming around with ideas, picking up inspiration, churning it up and creating the amazing programming that you see at each year at Fed Square. Anything cool you’ve experienced at Fed Square: that’s because of Sarah. Anything you didn’t like? You can blame Sarah. Lol. Well, as she says herself, it can be a challenge working to satisfy everyone, but if anyone is up to the challenge: it’s her.
We caught up with her to find out what life being Sarah is like and how Covid-19 has thrown a few spanners in the works over the last 18 months.
Image: Sarah Raftis (left, in mask, at Sky Castle in 2020 at Fed Square) does not like having her picture taken, so this is what she sent us. We think it’s because she likes to maintain a secret identity, like Batman.
We would like to introduce you one of our dearest treasures, Owen Crawford: the head of Fed Square’s on-site security team. He’s the guy that keeps you all safe when you’re in the Square, and right now, as an essential worker, he’s making sure Fed Square is safe and secure for when we return. We caught up with him this week to talk to the man behind the control room.
Meet Pierra Van Sparkes, Pibbulman Noongar person, new assistant curator at Koorie Heritage Trust, talented artist and all-around superstar. As one of our newest Fed Folk, we caught up with Pierra to find out about their job, what’s happening at KHT, their art and how she’s been managing trying to keep the balance right while working from home.
Joost Bakker is the creator of Future Food System: a zero-waste, self-sustaining, closed-loop house that produces all the energy and nutrients it uses. Situated at Fed Square’s River Terrace and occupied by award-winning chefs Jo Barrett and Matt Stone, the house has functioned as a living eco-experiment, gaining worldwide public interest and media attention, including from The New York Times, BBC and CNN.
We caught up with Joost to talk about why he thinks the project has been such a smash-hit success, what he’s looking forward to, now that Future Food System is staying on at Fed Square until 2022 – and solving the world’s problems one veggie patch at a time.
We recently caught up with Sophie, a curator at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, to talk about her job, art, how she manages working from home and what it’s like working here at Fed Square. Oh, and about a very unusual dinner party starring one of Australia’s most famous paintings!
Did you know there is a real human behind the huge Fed Square Big Screen? Well, that’s Ben. He’s the guy that programs what you see on all the various screens around the Square. Interesting job, right? Well, we recently caught up with Ben (our very own Wizard of Fed!) for a quick chat about his job, and his top lockdown tips.
On Monday 17 May, Australian Citizenship ceremonies recommenced after nearly a year’s hiatus due to COVID restrictions. We caught up with Anand and Anila, who both became citizens that day…