Friday, May 31, 2013

A birthday party in Geelong

from w

A babasiga lad turns sixteen

Last night we had a party in Geelong for Jordan who was sixteen yesterday. We'd invited members of the Fiji Geelong Friendship Club to come to our home for kava, birthday cake and plenty of fine food. It was a lovely evening of friendship, Fijian music on the TV from a gizmo of some kind, and plenty of kava flowing. Thank you to Bale, my daughter-in-law, for most of the cooking and Andrew Snr made kokoda a dish made with coconut cream and raw fish.

Jordan had surgery a fortnight ago at the Royal Childrens Hospital in Melbourne with very modern technology, a magnetic nail  was inserted into his femur to correct a leg after an injury sustained three years ago in an accident in Fiji.  Doctors and nurses hovered around him at his appointment on Thursday because Jordan and another teenager, from Bendigo, were the first children to have this kind of technology in Australia. Every six hours a computerised magnet is used so we have to watch the clocks to switch on the magnet.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Trinity

from w
When I was sitting quietly with the pet rabbit and guinea pig in the enclosed verandah, I was trying to nut out the topic of the Trinity (re the Lectionery last Sunday) as I just can't understand it logically, so I just put my thoughts this way using visual imagery.


God the Father says: 

I set you on a life journey. I built the road but I did not give you a map. There are gently rising hills as well as rough difficult rocks that you cannot see beyond. There are crossroads, detours, roundabouts and at times you
may prefer to scuttle back to the safety of the predictable and known. You don?t see me but you do see my creation and through that, occasionally glimpse my order, beauty in a seashell, a song, or a storm, and of course your purpose and ultimate justice.

Jesus says:

I go beside you but do not always nudge you when there is a choice to make, a decision on the journey. I know the path. I have been a human sojourner, know about relationships, the easy and the difficult. I had had to make choices. Do not fear because I am beside you and understand your life, its joys and its pains.

The Spirit whispers:

You barely see me, perhaps a glimpse at sunrise or like a bird hovering high in an arc near the clouds. But I sweep across the sky and indicate the better or best path to follow, though the voices in your head are constantly bickering and confusing you. Watch out for dangerous paths. You will need to pause, slow down, patiently listen, then look upward to discern me. I will keep you safe to go ahead in your journey, to experience both challenges and abundance of life far beyond your imagining.


I am Father, Son Jesus, and Spirit. I am God, and in a relationship with you and humankind.

A strange tree is the selloum

from w
I did a few sketches one time of a strange tree at the Geelong Botanical Gardens. Then I searched google to find out what it was. It was the Philodendron selloum (Split Leaf Philodendron)
Family - Araceae
Genus - Philodendron
Species - selloum 
P. selloum is a climbing plant that has long aerial roots that grow from the stem. They have dark green leaves that are deeply lobed and finger-like and branch off in all directions from the stem. They can grow as large as three meters and their leaves can grow up to 2 feet long. Under good conditions their leaves bear little white flowers that resemble Calla Lilies. The split leaf philodendron is a tropical mesic plant that originated in South Brazil.  

But my favourite tree there is the ginkho and the little green leaves in this picture are from that tree.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Inevitable to close down Ford

from w
I don't think people are surprised about the decision to shut down Ford because it is just not economical to continue production at such losses.  People are buying cheaper products from overseas and that is the trend in so many ways in Australia.  Losing jobs in Geelong is a very uncomfortable truth of course because where are the men and women going to find replacement jobs?

Announced today:

From Geelong Advertiser
Ford to shut Geelong plant
  |  May 23rd, 2013

Struggling car-maker Ford is set to make an announcement about its plants this morning.
FORD will stop manufacturing in Geelong, and at its other Australia operations, by October 2016 with the loss of 1200 jobs.
The decision means 510 jobs will go at the Geelong engine plant.
However, the product engineering, research and development and the Lara testing ground will continue to operate, maintaining 470 jobs.
Ford Australia President and CEO Bob Graziano said the company made a loss of $141 million after tax in the last financial year, with a loss of $600 million over the last five years.

Your Say
"Sadly been on the cards for some time but now it's official I think everyone who has made the choice to buy an imported vehicle when a local produced one is available need to feel a tinge of guilt. If you cannot support your own country's producers this is the result. Why do the govt need to help the workers who lose their jobs to find new jobs - would it not be a moral obligation of Ford HQ to meet this, if only to partially repay the govt support they have received over the years. "

Mr Graziano said all entitlements would be protected for the  1200 employees whose jobs are affected, and the company will work through the next three years to provide support.
 Mr Graziano said the costs of manufacturing cars in Australia was uncompetitive.

``Manufacturing is not viable for Ford in the long term,'' he said in Broadmeadows.
Ford Australia employs more than 3,500 people at its manufacturing plants at Broadmeadows, in Melbourne's north, and Geelong.
In January last year, the Federal Government contributed $34 million to Ford's $103 million production upgrade, and the Victorian government an unspecified amount. 

At the time the company said the upgrade would mean the Territory and Falcon models would continue to be made in Victoria until 2016.

The reduced demand for large cars was a factor in the company's decision, Mr Graziano said.
``There's been a significant change in terms of the total number of vehicles sold in the large car segment,'' he said.
The company would still roll out the new models of the Falcon and Territory next year but production would cease in October 2016, Mr Graziano said.
Ford would maintain a presence in Australia beyond that date.
``Ford will remain a significant employer in Australia, with more than 1500 team members, as will our network of more than 200 dealers around the country,'' he said.
Mr Graziano said despite efforts to restructure the business, locally made products continued to be unprofitable while imported products were profitable.
``Our cost structure remained uncompetitive ... it is double that of Europe and four times that of Ford in Asia,'' he said.
Mr Graziano said the company had made aggressive assumptions about possible future government car industry support and lower labour costs, which he did not think would be acceptable by Australians and would not have made the business profitable.
``We did not leave any stone unturned but even with these assumptions the business case did not stack up,'' he said.
Mr Graziano said around 650 jobs would be lost in Broadmeadows, while 510 positions would go at Geelong.

Pentecost at Queenscliff

from w
Last night four of us from East Geelong drove down to Queenscliff Uniting Church for their Wednesday evening community dinner, and afterwards we enjoyed a delightful concert with a group of singers called 'About Harmony'. I took photos though about their Pentecost celebration last Sunday - so much red! Creative people down there for sure.

When cockle shells...

from w

There's one song in a hundred that is so moving it takes you to another place. Last night at a concert at Queenscliff Uniting Church a soloist sang 'Waly Waly' (not 'The water is wide' version) but 'when cockle shells turn...' I had never heard it before so I asked the choir conductor about it and he said that Eva Cassidy sings it, so I tracked it down on youtube. It is a marvellous song.  Apparently 'Waly' means 'woe is me' and the folk song may be from the 17th century - England or border of Scotland.

...See More

Monday, May 20, 2013

Angelsea Golf Course

from w
Who's gonna chase the ball today?
Nah! Too much like hard work.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

from the Leaf and Stone shop

from w
It's always a pleasure to walk about garden shops and nurseries, one being the Leaf and Stone behind the Wintergarden Cafe where I spent two hours with the Geelong Writers on Saturday morning.  Here are some pictures I made after taking photos there. And one photo is of a sculpture of a seedpod from a current exhibition Dimensions from the upstairs art gallery. One artist from this Bannockburn based group makes beautiful hand-made books with collages of seeds, leaves and natural objects. A couple of websites:   and

Friday, May 10, 2013

Don't knock Ken Done

from w

I’ve always liked some of  the paintings of Ken Done. Okay, some say they re a recipe and commercial, but they are joyful, exuberant, expressing Australia’s  love of sunshine and colour. He is spurned by the poncy elite art establishment but popular with ordinary people.  The paintings look naïve, but he has done his turn at art school and does know how to draw. He chooses to paint loosely, brightly, seemingly quickly. And he’s made money – no artist in a garret at all. Recently another of his exhibitions opened, this time with some darker paintings such as some about the Japanese submarines in Sydney Harbour, so Ken Done is onto a new kind of painting now.
From the Weekly Review – in our letter box this morning:
It’s a peculiar irony of Australia’s art scene that commercial success is so often inversely proportional to critical acclaim. Bryce Courtenay sold millions of books but was snubbed by the literary elite; Kylie Minogue was dismissed as a singing budgie despite her platinum record sales. And Ken Done, probably Australia’s best-known and biggest-selling living painter, has only now, at 72, begun to enjoy the recognition as a serious artist that has eluded him for most of his three-decade career.
In a sense it’s a third act of an artistic career that started with a bang in 1980, when the ad man-turned-painter burst onto the scene with a series of bright, bold and joyous canvases and some eye-catching promotional T-shirts. 
Soon, Done’s trademark brushstrokes were emblazoned on everything from pillowcases to placemats, and sold through 15 Ken Done shops around the world.  Etc. etc.
From Sydney Morning Herald about a recent exhibition by Ken Done.
In commissioning the series, Mosman Art Gallery director John Cheeseman realised he was dealing with an artist who can polarise a community. "There were two sides," he recalls. "'Wow, what a terrific project; he's so undervalued as an artist.' And others were quite dismissive: 'He's a commercial artist.' And the whole jealousy thing: 'He can't be a good artist because he's Ken Done.'" Cheeseman saw the exhibition as a chance for a much-maligned artist to be redeemed in the public eye: "I really do think it will bring Ken's work to a new light, in a way that people haven't experienced before."

Read more:

Yet many still can't forgive Done for delving into the commercial world of design, a no-go zone for serious artists. "It's a difficult thing," admits John McPhee. "He was one of those people who was a brilliant graphic designer and who crossed into painting and, I think, bears the cross of having been a graphic designer in terms of his acceptance by the fine-art community. You're not allowed to go from design to serious painting - it's a real prejudice, I think; nothing more than that. And it lives on." 

Done is still paying the price. Apart from a couple of paintings in the National Portrait Gallery, his works are missing from most of our major public collections. "I suppose the reason why is he's just not considered good enough," says McPhee. "His paintings are about charm - there's no doubt about that. They just don't go anywhere."

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Mother's Day song to William Tell Overture

from w
I came across this little video on facebook and thought it rather ridiculous and relevant as next Sunday is Mother's Day here in Australia.  Go to

Still a hoarder

from w
If you are a hoarder, how do you untangle your collection over the years of junk - drawings and poems? On my bucket list - to throw out at least half of the junk - take some to the tip, turn them into cardboard, or file away expecting the kids one day to decide? Here's a sample - a pencil drawing from the distant past - from an art class.

Once the Ritz

from w
Once upon a time, it really was the Ritz!

This two storey building is so totally trashed that calling it a heritage site is strange. For twenty years or more it has been neglected, destroyed by squatters and neglected by the owner who was told to renovate. It stands beneath brand new four or more storey flats as part of Geelong's urban renewal near the Waterfront. Here are photos by red bubble and others to show the disgraceful state of the building.

And an article in the Geelong Advertiser.

THE RITZ: Ex mayor slams owner's inaction

THE owner of the Ritz Flats ruin shouldn't be allowed to demolish the building, according to a former Geelong branch president of the National Trust.
Hayden Spurling, a City of Geelong mayor in the 1980s, said every effort should be made to retain what was left of the building.
"This is exactly what he (the owner) wants. He wants the building demolished," Mr Spurling said. "After 20 years, he has no intention of doing anything with it now. He must be held to account.
"He's thumbing his nose at the Geelong community."
Mr Spurling said Geelong had already lost too many historic buildings and spaces and needed to respect its history.
"We've lost Harding Park and that was a disgrace, let's not lose this for the sake of doing what needed to be done 20 years ago," he said.

Your SayMember for Geelong Ian Trezise said if there was a community safety issue with the building, the State Government should step in.

"The current owner has treated it with absolute disrespect and that makes me angry," he said.
"Community safety has to be number one and if the building has to go, it has to go, but this is a prime example of demolition by neglect and the inaction of the owner is a disgrace.
"My concern is this sends a strong message to other owners of historic and heritage buildings that if you continue to let your property go to rack and ruin, sooner or later you'll get permission to pull it down."

And also from the Geelong Advertiser

THE owners of the dilapidated Ritz building have until Friday morning to fence off the site following an emergency order by City of Greater Geelong.
Fencing has arrived on site today but is unlikely to be erected until the adjoining carpark is cleared later this evening.
“If the owner has complied with the emergency order by fencing off the site, then Council does not need to take any further action,”
Manager City Development Joanne Van Slageren said.“An engineer’s report would need to be provided demonstrating the safety of the building before any barricading could subsequently be removed.” 
SOUTH Barwon MP Andrew Katos has declared time's up for Geelong's Ritz Flats and wants the building torn down in the interests of public safety and pride. 
"It's just an eyesore and a monstrosity and a danger," Mr Katos said of the site yesterday. "This needs to come down. This has dragged on for 20 years and this has to come down. It's as simple as that."
He believes disrepair has voided the building's heritage value and wants any heritage features mirrored in a new building on the site.
Mr Katos spoke as heat intensified on the building's owner, Tim Truong, as the clock ticked on a 48-hour City of Greater Geelong emergency order to fence off land adjoining the building's cracked southern wall.
That order followed an ignored emergency order to provide expert analysis on the wall's structural integrity.
The Geelong Advertiser revealed the crack in the building and called for the site to be fenced off.
Mr Katos said Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy had asked to see the building during a visit to Geelong and had pledged to help council work around heritage overlays if it was to be demolished.
"The heritage has probably hamstrung council. I think if the heritage could have been resolved some time ago I think you would have seen movement on this building quite a while ago," Mr Katos said.
"The problem is that this building I don't think can be saved in its state. That's the issue now."
Geelong region National Trust conservation spokeswoman Jennifer Bantow yesterday lamented the state of play.
"It's a dreadful shame that it has reached this point. It was at one point able to be restored and it's another example of this term we all know as demolition by neglect," Mrs Bantow said.
"Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any way of compelling people to maintain heritage places unless someone is living in them and it is condemned or something."
Mr Katos pointed to elements of life in the Ritz's neighbourhood; new flats, parkland and loving restoration of The Lord Nelson hotel. "And all of a sudden we've got this," he said.
He urged Mr Truong to get on with whatever plans he had for the site.
"If you're not going to develop it, knock it down and sell it to someone who will," he said.
Mr Truong's lawyer, Bowman & Knox partner Ian Knox, declined to comment.
And the people say –

Harvey of Newtown Posted at 4:10pm Thursday
the owner wanted it pulled down and the council would not let him.It will cost $150,000 just tp prop up the outside walls just to save them during construction.Anyway he was offered more than $5,000,000 for the site and knocked it back. Who wants to pay more????
Lana C of Geelong Posted at 2:28pm Thursday
My mum's cousin owned the Ritz when she was a child and she recalls it being a special place, iconic in Geelong. It is clear the current owner is trying to outsmart the Council by doing nothing, and have them order the Ritz be demolished so that he doesn't have to work around preserving its historic facade. Get tough Council, force him to sell so that a new deserving owner can respect a piece of Geelong's history, address safety issues and take advantage of the property's great potential!
Lynn of Lara Posted at 1:08pm Thursday
If there was any chance of restoration it should have been done years ago. Now its just a rotted, ugly, eye saw. Too far gone to even consider restoration. The sooner its pulled down the better.
Meanwhile on the hillsides on the outskirts of Geelong, little boxes on the hillside seem to be rising - or not always little though.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Banksia seed pods

from w
It's 2 a.m. and I'm having a drink of milk coffee - a pattern of wakefulness lately gets me up, so I turn on the internet for twenty minutes. Here's a composite picture I made based on my drawings of banksia seedpods.