Wednesday, March 31, 2010

More than kangaroos on Swan Island

from w
This is not an April Fool joke but these activists could have gotten into more trouble with their protest. Lots of us do not like the building up of arms, the use of arms to solve problems but these four were very game. These days, protesters are few and far between, not like the olden days! I read also that they do have some Baptist connections but they call themselves as affiliated with the principles of Bonhoeffer who was extremely brave during World War 2. The journalist called them the 'God Squad' but that is a different group. The reference to kangaroos in my title is of course about the hundreds of kangaroos on the golf course on Swan Island.
from Geelong Advertiser today:
God squad takes on special forces at Swan Island
Kerri-Ann Hobbs
April 1st, 2010
PROTESTERS put their babies on the road in front of a top-secret base at Queenscliff yesterday as four people were charged with trespassing at the Army facility. The four Christian protesters snuck on to the SAS training centre on Swan Island, while others drew chalk outlines around themselves and their infants on the tarmac outside the base. The group that infiltrated the island, the Bonhoeffer Peace Collective, claimed it disrupted the island's switchboard and turned off a communication satellite dish to protest against the war in Afghanistan.

Army bosses said the group reached just the outer perimeter of the defence establishment, but activist Jessica Morrison said they reached the centre of the SAS and spy training ground.

Police said the group paddled boards to the island from nearby Queenscliff early in the morning."Two of them unveiled a banner and the other two went further into Swan Island where they were confronted by security," Acting Sergeant Robbie Adams said.

Ms Morrison, a university lecturer in Melbourne, declared the stunt had achieved its goal of disrupting work at the military base. "We attempted to open the front door of the main base centre," she said. "This is supposed to be a top-secret base but we managed to get to the front door of the main base centre. I would say that security is not the answer and Australia needs to think about what sort of defence policy it wants."

Army public affairs officer Ben Wickham released a statement saying the small group of protesters had positioned themselves outside the defence perimeter on Swan Island. "Victoria Police attended the scene and arrested the protesters," the statement said. "There are no reports of injuries or property damage. Defence is working with Victoria Police to ensure that no further protesters are located on the island."

Police said there may be more charges pending. Three men and Ms Morrison are expected to front Geelong Magistrates' Court later.
from an Indi website about the Bonhoeffer Collective:
“In the week before the first Easter, Jesus blockaded the temple and turned the tables inside. Today we are imitating Jesus’ disruption”, the group said. “Sometimes you have to get in the way of injustice”.

“War can’t bring peace, it can only bring further terror, death and poverty,” the group said.

Rev. Simon Moyle (Baptist Minister), Jacob Bolton (Community Worker), Jessica Morrison (University Lecturer) and Simon Reeves (Social Worker) have called themselves the Bonhoeffer Peace Collective after Kevin Rudd’s favourite theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was also an antiwar activist.

“The followers of Christ have been called to peace. And they must not only have peace but also make it. His disciples keep the peace by choosing to endure suffering themselves rather than inflict it on others. In so doing they overcome evil with good, and establish the peace of God in the midst of a world of war and hate.”— Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A symmetrical garden - kind of

from w
While waiting for a visitor (who never came) so I had all afternoon to fiddle with cutting and pasting shapes to make a paper collage of a kind of symmetrical pattern, perhaps a garden. Then, as I waited, I messed about altering it.Eventually I rang my friend's number - 'Oh, I solved that computer print problem so I put a message on your phone!' 'Oh, I didn't know our phone received messages,'I said.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

The streets of Geelong

from w
On the way to our Monday book club discussion - this time on 'The Samurai's Garden' which my eight friends all loved enthusiastically, I took five photos in Little Malop Street in Geelong City shopping area, then I tweaked them a bit using Picasa and Photo-edit. A couple were made by overlapping two images using the Picasa Create collage. I haven't done much actual drawing lately at all, very busy with music, though I edited a manuscript last week for a friend and I was very rough with a pen so feel sorry now. Regret is something isn't it! Now I have a new book to read, 'The Boat' by Li Nam, and it's looking very good.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

A musician

from w
Peceli took a photo the other day of a musician so I made a few variations of it. The lad was from St Joseph's school and the boys had formed a band.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Smorgies and Skatepark

from w
From the photos I took on Saturday evening when we went down to the Geelong waterfront to see the presentation by Youth with a Mission which included some Fijian young people (see babasiga blog), I've experimented with the colours, composition by cropping, and altering. Maybe they are the kind of pics that suit newspaper or magazine stories, but not artwork. Anyway, gets me outa housework! I'm busy though at present editing a manuscript for a friend, sorting books at Donation in Kind and as usual eating with friends and strangers and we call this 'kana' ministry, 'kana' meaning 'food'. Just conversation one to one or in small groups. I really don't do well in large crowds especially trying to talk when it's noisy.

Click on any picture to see enlarged.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Welcome to International Students

from w
As part of Harmony Day, Geelong City Council/Diversitat/Geelong Interfaith Network put on a welcome ceremony and lunch for international students to the local university and TAFE colleges and also to welcome new skilled migrants. As part of the Interfaith Network and Diversitat Peceli and I were invited to join with a host of local people and international students at City Hall from 11.30 a.m. today. As we arrived boys from St Joseph's College band were playing. As usual in Geelong, the start of the formal program included an Aboriginal speaker and recognition that we are on Wathaurang land.

It was a lovely occasion with warm welcoming speeches, good food and the chance to greet and talk with many new students who have come from diverse cultural groups and countries - China, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, England, Uganda, Sudan, and even two girls from Mexico. I asked the Mexican girls why they came so far away from their homes, and the response was that the world expert in their topic of study is at Deakin in Geelong! One consistent response to my questions was about learning the English language as many of the new students either had English as their second language, or not even that, so had to learn 'academic' English to write their papers! Here are some of the photos Peceli and I took today.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Skippy the golf watching kangaroo

from w
Peceli plays golf at Barwon Valley, or anywhere nearby and even Queenscliff where there are about four hundred kangaroos watching. Now I do like to see kangaroos in the bush or at a wildlife sanctuary such as Serendip which I wrote about a couple of days ago, but on a golf course, well, there are enough hazards. The golfers who play at Queenscliff are getting a bit worried and want a cull. The golf course is on an island where SAS train so who are more dangerous, the kangaroos or the SAS guys? Anyway here's an article in today's Geelong Advertiser.
Skippy in sights in army golf war
Kerri-Ann Hobbs
March 20th, 2010
MARSUPIAL MAYHEM: A man takes a swing at the Queenscliff Golf Club on Swan Island, where golfers say kangaroos are a hazard and a pest.Photo: GLENN FERGUSON (though cropped a little by me). ARMY bosses are considering culling hundreds of kangaroos on Swan Island, according to golfers. Queenscliff Golf Club chiefs want the pests to be removed because members fear they will be attacked by aggressive kangaroos. And golfers say the animals are destroying the greens and threatening the endangered orange-bellied parrot.

Club vice-president Gary Price told the Geelong Advertiser the roos had been identified as a "pest" under the island's environmental-management plan and the group had asked owners the Defence Department to help save the course and other wildlife. "Our preference is that they weren't there at all and then we wouldn't have a problem," Mr Price said. "At the end of the day we are only tenants on defence land but we are the ones coping the backlash. The Defence Department has talked about having a cull and even birth control, but there hasn't been any action now for years."

Club greens chairman Kevin Cameron said latest counts showed more than 400 kangaroos called the island home. "Our man who works on the course seems to think that some of the dominant males maybe becoming aggressive," Mr Cameron said. "Nobody has been attacked but when he drives around they don't run off like they used to and some of the bigger ones are showing signs of becoming aggressive."

Drought had also drawn the animals to the course's lush greens and tees, providing them with juicy grass but causing serious damage each week. Mr Cameron said the huge numbers were also threatening the breeding grounds for thousands of birds, including the rare orange-bellied parrot, plovers, spoonbills and pelicans.

The 140ha island is connected to the mainland by a narrow bridge and causeway. It is also home to an SAS training centre.

Queenscliff Mayor Bob Merriman said he had been contacted by the club and asked to highlight the kangaroo problem to Defence Minister John Faulkner, a task he promised to perform. "It has gotten to the stage where the kangaroos have gotten used to being near people and a number of female members are horrified by the fact that kangaroos just don't move," Cr Merriman said. "Some female members are concerned they are going to get attacked."

The Defence Department would only say it was "serious" about managing the island's wildlife and the safety of golfers.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010


from w
After visiting Serendip Wildlife Sanctuary Peceli and I drove into the grounds of nearby Pirra as I wanted to take a couple of photos of the two storey brick mansion, built in an eclectic Victorian style of the 1880s. It has had other names, Serendip and Windimerer after the road where it is located at the back of Lara town about 20 k from our place in East Geelong.

The original owner was George Fairbairn and the Fairbairn family purchased it in 1863, they owned the property until 1907. The property was 1239 acres and was used as a sheep station. The main building has two storeys has twenty rooms and was built between 1880 - 1882. The house was designed by Alexander Davidson and company.

In 1907 the government took it over and Pirra became the Lara Inebriates Institution, which was closed down in 1930. During this time a building to the west of the single storey 1969 building was constructed in 1907. This building was the inebriates dormitory. Wow, what a story those walls could tell and what a sad situation.

The McDonald family purchased Pirra in 1938. The property was used to grow crop and farm sheep. Between 1946 - 1948 the states tobacco company leased the dormitory.
The Mendelsohn Family were at Pirra between 1948 - 1959. During this time Pirra was called Serendip, and it was proclaimed a sanctuary by the State Government. The Pelaco Factory leased the former dormitory building from 1948 to 1958.

In 1959 the Government bought Pirra and Department of Fisheries and Wildlife took control of the 622 acres which later became Serendip Sanctuary.

However in 1961 Pirra became the Pirra Girls Home until 1983, an Australian Government run Children's Home as an extension of Winlaten in Melbourne. The facility was run by the Family Welfare Division of the Social Welfare Department and accommodated female wards of the state aged from 10 - 14 years who had come under State wardship for being "in moral danger" or for "lapsing nor (being) likely to lapse into a life of vice and crime". What a sad place it must have been for the girls away from their homes, or was it?

Then another shift - and this time I knew at least two of the residents. It became an arts centre in 1983 and I was told it was given to the Geelong arts community, but others say not so. Geoff D’Ombrain lived there – a composer and retired lecturer of music, and each year an Australian poet, Keith Harrison, who lectured in the USA came to stay. We invited Keith several times to take poetry workshops with the Geelong Writers and I found him to be the best teacher of poetry that I have known. Occasionally poetry readings etc. were held at Pirra but it was absolutely under-used as a resource place for the arty kind of people of Geelong.

In 2006 it changed again and Geoff moved to somewhere near Ballarat and Keith I think to Canberra. At that time I was told it was a place for people with disabilities, such as head injuries. What a strange history the house has!

Today Pirra is apparently vacant. We yarned with two gardeners, I think they were. They said there’ll be a Food and Wine Festival on Sunday 28th March there, but the building is really owned by a Geelong businessman - or is it the State Government? Pirra is advertised on the internet as for lease for someone interested to maybe turn it into a restaurant or bed and breakfast, etc. I would love it to be available for church retreats, artist retreats, what with the wildlife sanctuary right next door and behind it – a wonderful place for rest and recreation. Okay, dream on. There'd a lot of money involved to take out the lease!

One of the gentlemen in the garden invited me to have a look inside the mansion but Peceli was going to play golf later, so that will have to wait for another time. I'd like to stay overnight there, on a dark and stormy night. Hmmm.

Through all the changing scenes of life....
- - if walls could speak.

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from w
This morning Peceli and I drove out to Serendip past Lara and beneath the Youyangs, a beautiful wildlife sanctuary where groups of school children were walking around inspecting the birdlife and animals. They belong to a nearby school which has a classroom on the property. How lucky they are. Our son is working there at present and has befriended a tawny frogmouth, brolgas and kangaroos. So he brought home a poster of a frogmouth which now is on the wall behind this computer. Staring yellow and black eyes watch my every move. It's not an owl, far lazier as it doesn't use its claws, just waits for food to come near by. A face that only a mother can love, perhaps! The name 'Serendip' is curious and I thought it related to the hippie years when the term 'serendipity' was thrown around a bit, but it is much older. The property was once named Serendip when it was an extensive farming property with a mansion on it, now called Pirra Homestead. The Meaning(s) of Serendip : "a former name for Sri Lanka + -ity. A word coined by Horace Walpole, who says (Let. to Mann, 28 Jan. 1754) that he had formed it upon the title of the fairy-tale `The Three Princes of Serendip', the heroes of which `were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of'." Today we use the word 'serendipity' to mean' he unexpected discovery of something wonderful' and it certainly fits a stroll around the great Australian environment with animals, birds and plants.

There's a website about Serendip Wildlife Sanctuary - which will have lots more information.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Eastern Park stones

from w
A few years ago a sculpture designer, Andrew Rogers, created a geoglyph between Eastern Park and the foreshore, using lines of white stones. Saturday afternoon Peceli and I needed some fresh air so drove down there (3 minutes away) to do some sketching and I took four photos. The stone structure is called 'Rhythm of life' and the artist has cosntructed a similar geoglyphs in other places. You can see the design if you are in a plane I suppose! We live in a lovely city, Geelong, and are privileged to have green spaces not far from our home - the Eastern Park, the Eastern Beach foreshore, a golf course and so on.

We are thinking today of our friends and relatives in Fiji who are experiencing a major hurricane, the biggest they say in 38 years. I've been on the phone though to family in Labasa - a mobile phone is still working though the electricity is off and there is a curfew - and they say the sugar crops are ruined, there will be massive flooding, and the danger is not over. The wind and rain goes on for about two days, not just an hour of cyclonic intensity. Cyclone Tomas is a Category Four and is effecting all of the Fiji Islands but particularly Vanua Levu and nearby islands so far.

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Making a Fijian lovo

from w
Making a lovo
Today we made a lovo (underground oven) in our back yard near the apricot tree. Peceli had to make a new pit because the place we used to use is too close to a fenceline where there are four new houses. The purpose of the lovo was to provide some of the food for a feast to follow a church service up at Altona Meadows/Laverton Uniting Church as four Fijian congregations were meeting together. A combined service is now held every three months and it is a lovely opportunity to catch up with friends from different corners of Melbourne. Last night – after 11 p.m. – Sai and his son-in-law came down to Geelong with a car loaded with bags of taro and pork so the wrapping up started at midnight, then we had to wait until this morning.

We informed our neighbours what we are doing so they won’t panic when they see some smoke rising, and Peceli obtained permission from the local fire brigade as he always does. Some of the Maoris in Geelong make a hungi which is the same as a lovo.The food went in about 11 a.m. and was taken out at 2.30 p.m. and looked beautifully cooked. The young men took it all up to Melbourne and I stayed home and had a restful afternoon, after 'borrowing' one cooked chicken.

So here are some notes for anyone who would like to make a lovo and don’t live in Fiji.

The pit
Collect all the gear you need such as stones, shovels, cartons, bags, leaves, firewood, aluminium foil. Then you need to dig a round or square hole in the ground away from buildings and plants about a metre by a metre. Light the fire to heat the stones.

The preparation of food
Prepare the food by wrapping whole taro in foil, pieces of pork or lamb or chicken in foil, perhaps marinade the meat first. Sometimes you can add a large fish, or palusami in foil packets which is dalo leaves in thick coconut cream with onions and tinned corned beef.

The cooking.
Take away the charcoal and burnt wood so you only have the hot stones. Heap the wrapped food on top of the stones. A metal crate may be useful for this and that’s what we use these days as it makes it easy to take out later. Cover with leaves – banana leaves if you have them but we use gum leaves. Cover with bags, and then heap dirt onto the top. It doesn’t look a very promising oven at this stage! Leave this for about three hours, depending on the size and also the heat of the stones. It’s a guessing game sometimes.

Removing the cooked food.
Use gloves if you have them as everything will be quite hot. Remove dirt, bags, and place cooked food into cartons. Unwrap just before the people are ready for the feast so that the food is still hot. Cut up as required and serve on very large dishes or place dalo on leaves on a set up table. Enjoy.

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