Tuesday, October 30, 2012

a laneway off Malop Street

from w
I sketched an untidy laneway off Malop Street in Geelong, just to fill in a few minutes one day, and then made a second sketch at home by adding cats and using block colours.  Observing the ordinary things we see in the streets makes us slow down, instead of rushing to the shops to buy, buy, buy. It's good to take a sketchbook and some colour wherever we go.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A bridge and two views of Geelong

Some sketches here - Barwon bridge and views over Geelong from upper Highton area.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Violinist at the Bush Inn

There'll always be music.

 And kava drinkers...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Royal Children's Hospital

from w
Yesterday we were up at the new multi-million dollar Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne for nearly four hours visiting our grandson who had knee surgery on Friday and he is recovering well. It's a place of technology as well as beauty as the design is made to keep the place as cheerful and positive as possible. The atrium has sculptures, mobiles, games on a screen, an aquarium and very good cafes. All that is different from the sick kids of course but with cheerful paintings and signage, the architects and designers have done their best.

Neat flower pots

from w
A friend in Altona Meadows has neat flowers in pots so I took some photos. We were visiting Va and Joe after going briefly to Altona Meadows church - after spending all the morning up at the Royal Children's Hospital where our grandson Jordan was recovering from knee surgery. I'll post about the hospital later on as it's a brilliant design, I think the best looking hospital in the southern hemisphere, and especially designed to lift up the spirits of sick children.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Our Geelong man in New York

from w
Against the odds, Australia has joined the elite deckchairs of the United Natons Security Council, and our man in Geelong, Richard Marles - Foreign Affairs helper, has been part of it.  He was interviewed on ABC radio this morning and did sound cheery. He represents part of our Geelong region in the Parliament and had the Pacific Desk but it seems now he's broadened out a bit.

But of course what does the Security Council actually do?  A policeman of the fractious nations of the world, but without a huge baton?  Anyway, for the time being some of our politicians are happy.

The story below is mainly about Carr though and it beats the story of Julia once again losing a shoe and falling down, this time in India. When will she ever learn to wear flat shoes

from the news media this morning:
Australia wins seat on UN Security Council
·         By Paul Toohey, US Correspondent
·         News Limited Network
·         October 18, 201211:14PM

AUSTRALIA has scored a surprising and emphatic win in its bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council, coming well ahead of its opponents Luxembourg and Finland with 140 of a possible 193 votes.
"Let me just say to you, it is always good to see Australia win," said Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, stepping out of the UN’s Great Hall in New York shortly after the vote.
"This was a big, juicy, decisive win. And it’s very, very sweet."
The vote means Australia will serve for two years as one of 10 non - permanent of the Security Council, joining the five permanent member nations in influencing crucial decisions about military interventions across the world.
For historical reasons, Australia was grouped in the Western Europe & Others category, and was pitted against Luxembourg and Finland in a secret ballot for two seats of the five available seats.
Insiders had expected Finland, which began its campaign for a seat in 2001, would win easily, especially as Australia only joined the bid in 2008, when Kevin Rudd was still prime minister.
After five years and $25 million, Foreign Minister Bob Carr went into the Great Hall just before 10am (1am AEDT) saying he was "nervous" about Australia’s chances.
Just after midday (3am AEDT), the vote came in.

The announcement that Australia had come in first must have shocked Finland, whose leaders had seemed certain they would get one of the two seats.
Instead, Luxembourg got 128 votes and Finland 108. The two nations then went to a runoff vote, Luxembourg winning with 131 votes to Finland’s 60.
Other countries which won seats on the day were Rwanda, Argentina and South Korea.
Mr Carr said Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s work at the UN this year had been influential, and he also acknowledged Mr Rudd for initiating the bid in 2008.
"I want to note the vindication of Kevin Rudd to enter this ballot at this time," Mr Carr said. "It was much criticised but his judgment has been vindicated."
Mr Carr said he would not engage in any "shallow mischief making" as to whether Mr Rudd would seek to claim it as a personal victory.
Australia had downplayed its chances of winning a seat, with those close to the lobbying saying they expected they would go to run-off battle with Luxembourg after Finland won easily.
But Australia’s Ambassador to the UN, Gary Quinlan, said at a press conference after the vote that the 140 countries that had voted for Australia had all given, and kept their word, in the secret ballot.
"People voted the way they told us they would vote," said Mr Quinlan.
Parliamentary secretary Richard Marles, also in New York, said the key to Australia winning the seat were the Pacific nations, Africa and the Caribbean nations, who had all pledged their support for Australia.
Mr Marles promised that Australia would also represent them at the Security Council.
Australia now joins the 10 non-permanent countries that will vote along with the five permanent UNSC members, China, France, UK, Russia and the US.
The permanent members retain the power of veto, meaning that one of them can stand in the way of taking military action or imposing heavy sanctions if they so decide.
Mr Quinlan said the job of the Security Council was much wider than the veto power that tended to dominate news. He said the UN currently had 130,000 troops across the ground and 15 peacekeeping missions.
He said Australia would begin observing meetings and then take its seat on January 1. He expected there would be 1500 informal and formal meetings over the coming two years.
The last Australian Ambassador to the UN, Richard Woolcott, who served on the UNSC from 1985 to 1986, said non-permanent members could have real influence on world affairs, and said three such nations were key to ending the Iran-Iraq conflict during his tenure.
Australia has served on the UN Security Council of four previous occasions.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A boat in Geelong

from w
The Doulos was anchored next to the wharf in Geelong.  Members of the crew were volunteers, mainly youth. Perhaps Youth with a Mission. The boat traipsed up and down the coasts of Australia and elsewhere. The youth led in concerts and programs wherever they went. There was  great program in Geelong at the time in the youth activity area of Eastern Beach.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Killing me softly

from w
There's a big problem in the Otways as the koalas in one area are killing the trees and now the animals themselves may be starving and dying. Solutions put forward are to remove them to a new location, or to cull them. Culling means killing of course. We are sentimental about these creatures, they seem fluffy and cuddly, but of course the aren't that cute, but we still don't want to see a cull.
From the Geelong Advertiser:
THE overpopulation of koalas in Cape Otway has prompted fears that they will either have to "move on or starve to death".
Deakin University wildlife and conservation biologist Dr Desley Whisson said there would be an "imminent" crash in the area's koala population, which has risen to several thousand after 80 were relocated from French Island in 1980.
"Some will be so weak that they can't climb. They're stuck until a dog gets them or something," Dr Whisson said.
But Parks Victoria and the Department of Sustainability and Environment moved to allay those concerns yesterday in a statement, saying "koalas are thought to be at low risk of starvation" in Cape Otway.
Local businessman Frank Fotinas, who took the Geelong Advertiser on a tour of Cape Otway this week, said locals were concerned about malnutrition and thought culling could be a solution.

Your Say

"Ecosystems are rarely simple and this situation is no different - the dynamics of koala habitat decline are extremely complex. The Conservation Ecology Centre at Cape Otway is researching the issue and carrying out on ground actions to restore the habitat. For more information see http://www.conservationecologycentre.org/2012/10/the-future-of-koalas-at-cape-otway/ Lizzie Corke, CEO Conservation Ecology Centre"
Lizzie Corke
But culling is strictly prohibited under a federal koala strategy.
Mr Fotinas, who has run the Bimbi Park camping site for seven years, said the koalas are "eating the manna gum trees to death".
He said dozens of the native trees were dead, unable to cope with the rapidly expanding koala population.
Mr Fotinas said the koalas seemed to be getting "much skinnier" as their primary food source was reduced, and that his attempts to raise the issue with authorities had "gone in the 'too hard' basket".
Other locals also told the Geelong Advertiser they had seen koalas suffering from malnutrition, but Parks Victoria and the DSE said "koalas in poor condition have not been observed".
Dr Whisson said there were 17 koalas a hectare in Cape Otway, up from 10 a hectare when she started her research in 2008.
"This is the highest figure I've ever seen, and probably one of the highest on record," said Dr Whisson.
Parks Victoria and the DSE said the koalas were at "low risk of starvation" because of the large numbers of blue gum trees also available for food.
Dr Whisson said the koalas could eat blue gum leaves but that they preferred manna gum leaves and "may not think about moving until it's too late".
"They can eat manna gum for longer without getting sick ... because they have low levels of the toxins that are meant to stop animals from eating them," she said. "Blue gums are much harder to climb ... and their leaves have higher levels of those toxins."
Parks Victoria and the DSE said information was being gathered to assess the problem and this would "inform future actions if required". They said management options, including relocation and contraception to reduce breeding, "present problems that need to be assessed".
Dr Whisson agreed, and said "sterilising or translocating just won't work" because of the size of the population.
Mr Fotinas and other locals said culling should be considered.
"Those in the city wouldn't vote for it - they say the koalas are too cute and cuddly," Mr Fotinas said.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Family gathered for a funeral today

from w
Today at Bacchus Marsh relatives from three generations gathered to pay tribute to the long life - of 99 years - of our Auntie Mary.  Peceli and I had been visiting her in recent weeks and realized it was her time to go.  The first photo is of Mary Collins and the second is of the six siblings - Pat, Mary, Lin, George, Jean, Ivy. Mary was the last of her generation, a lovely woman.

Today we were able to meet up with so many family members for the ceremony and afternoon tea. Here are a few photos, especially for the Collins and Lay families.

Remembering Aunt Mary

If we tell the life story of a woman who lived to be over ninety nine years, there is much to tell. However my memories of Mary Collins, who we called Auntie Mary, are made up of fragments of her life, her coming and going into our lives. She was essentially a kind woman, generous and loyal with family members, but private in some ways and I regret now that I never even asked – what are your favourite songs, music, books.
Anyway here are some of those fragments of memory. She was born on 14th June 1913 the daughter of James Charles Collins and May Morris McDonnell. The Collins family lived at Gowanford near Ultima on a wheat farm, Mary was a sister to Ivy Morris, Mima Martha, Linda Georgina, Amy Frances, George Lawrence and Jean.  The family background was of the Collins family and Macdonnell family who came out from Britain and the Collins story was written up in a book by Iris Hocking in 1973, ‘From Cotswold to Castlemaine’.

My earliest memory is of Mary selling women’s clothing at a Swan Hill store owned by Mr Williams a very old man, and the money flying up on a wire in a little box.  Mary got a job there after going to Swan Hill High School.  Mary was extremely pretty but perhaps shy and was noticed by the young men but she remained single.

My parents told us that Mary came to the rescue of family in the early days such as when one sister, Mima died in Donald, Mary helped with the boys, and then another time George and Linda needed a break and drove to South Australia and Mary looked after the Lay children.

Moving to Melbourne to a downstairs flat on the corner of Wattletree Road Malvern Mary lived with two sisters and friends. The names Leila and Toby come to mind and Mary was close to her cousin Mabel during those years. Mary worked in Melbourne, at one time with the post office and then the tax office.

As her sisters and brothers married, Mary was often the beautiful bridesmaid.  As families grew Auntie Mary was often part of holidays beside the sea, or going up to Swan Hill where Linda and Ivy had settled.  Jean was in Hobart with her husband George and their daughter Linden, and Amy, by then called Pat, had married Fred Luckman and settled in Glen Iris.

Eventually as Jim and May Collins, living in Swan Hill, became frail and elderly, Mary moved up to Swan Hill to the Campbell Street home to help care for them, and then lived alone there, working at Clarke’s Gift shop in Swan Hill where she was the book-keeper.

From there Mary moved to Bacchus Marsh to be closer to her sisters, Jean and Pat, at Mt Eliza on the outskirts of Melbourne, and particularly to be near to her brother George, Joyce, a warm easy-going couple and the two boys, Gary and Lindsay.  Mary made a good life there joining groups such as CWA and Probus and going on occasional trips. 

Mary had a great knowledge of family history and over the years collected many papers and photographs of the Collins family which she has passed on to John and myself. Living such a long life meant that her siblings and their partners all passed away and she became the last of her generation, but still kept a neat household and maintaining a lovely garden, her passion for beauty.  She was able to live in her  unit until recent months until bout the time of her 99th birthday her health failed and there was a need for hospitalisation and eventually a few weeks in the Providence Nursing Home.

We sincerely thank Lindsay and Marilyn Collins who patiently cared for Auntie Mary’s needs over recent years.

We are grateful for knowing Mary Collins as a beloved part of our extended Collins family.  She has been generous towards family members, thoughtful about our welfare. Her intelligence was always there right up to the last days and my last conversation with her, two weeks prior to her passing, was memorable, for fifteen minutes she was animated and talking easily with me.

Thank you for a long and kindly life, Auntie Mary.

October 2012.
Some things we only learn at this kind of occasion as different members of the family tell stories. One thing was that on her 14th birthday, Mary came home and her mother said, ‘Tomorrow no school for you, you have to go and look for a job.’  Now how devastating that must have been for a bright young girl going to high school.  Choices we make, choices made for us, have significance don’t they, and alter the course of one’s life. So sad at times.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Starry starry night

from w
I'm currently reading Alain de Botton's The Art of Travel - a kind of memoir made up of meditations about home and away. It made me think of myself at 23 planning to go to Paris to paint....but I never got there...ever. Starry starry night - it was the attraction of art then such as Van Goph, and Chartres Cathedral and Taize.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Ducks in back yards

from w
What a pleasure to read a good news story in the Geelong Advertiser instead of the horror stories that fill our newspapers or media. Ducks in backyards.

Sounds quackers, but it fits the bill

WELCOME GUESTS: Baby ducklings have found a new home in the backyard of an Autumn St home in Belmont. Photos: GLENN FERGUSON
WHEN Belmont's Ben Alexander woke to the scratching of little feet at the quack of dawn yesterday, he was gobsmacked by what he found.
Mr Alexander said a mother duck and her nine ducklings had made their home in his backyard after an unusual entrance into the world.
"Dad had said earlier in the week that he'd seen a duck flying in and out of the big palm tree in the backyard. They must have made a nest," he said.
"When I woke up, I heard rattling on the roof and walked outside to see the mother duck and her ducklings drop on to the roof, slide into the gutter then jump off on to a hay bale, before making it to the ground - all nine of them.
"You had to see it to believe it."
Mr Alexander said the family would keep their newfound members safe until they were ready to leave.
"We've made a little pond for them to swim in, so I think they'll stay for a while," he said.
Jirrahlinga Koala and Wildlife Sanctuary owner Tehree Gordon said the sanctuary had had 30-40 calls 30 40 people in the past six weeks from people who'd discovered ducks in their backyards.
"People should leave them alone as they'll disappear in a couple of days' time. If you try to catch them, the mum will take off," she said.
"They nest where they know they're safe."
Anyone with concerns or questions can contact Jirrahlinga on 5254 2484.