Thursday, September 26, 2013

And the Ceres hall sold for a dollar?

from w

From the Advertiser about Ceres and the good folks there want to sell their hall for $1 to City Hall.
IN the late 1850s, the rural settlement of Ceres was awash with alcohol.
Locals had the choice of three boisterous inns, while a proliferation of vineyards would cement the area's reputation as the wine-producing capital of the colony.
But a small group of settlers were not impressed that the undulating hills above Geelong was gripped by a rollicking drinking culture.
Rejecting the lifestyle, the Barrabool Hills Total Abstinence Society built the Ceres Temperance Hall - a refuge from drunkenness where alcohol was not allowed through the doors.
Local stonemason Nicholas McCann, a foundation member of the society, donated the land and helped construct the substantial sandstone hall.
Completed in 1862, the building was acquired by the Barrabool Hills Blue Ribbon Society in 1883.


"Fabulous news. Well done to the Ceres residents. Denis and Elaine; have attended many of your theatrical endeavours and enjoyed them all. What a wonderful showing of community pride that you have shown in volunteering to co-manage the hall. "
Usually Positive.
The site has remained in its ownership for the past 130 years, retaining the temperance philosophy throughout a multitude of functions and events down the ages.
However, time has caught up with the remaining older members of the society, who have decided to sell the historic site to the City of Greater Geelong for just $1.
Keith Grigg, whose ancestors settled in Ceres in 1851, summed up the main reason for the handover: "We've run out of puff."
After two years of talks with City Hall about assuming ownership of the hall, the remaining society members had been disappointed that council officers recommended spurning the offer.
"We always thought when the time came, council would take it over," Lex Gugger told a council meeting this week.
"We are getting fewer in numbers and age has caught up with us."
While the sale price is token, $175,000 of work is needed to bring the 151-year-old building up to a required standard and $11,500 in ongoing annual costs awaits.
Pleased with the council's decision to take on the hall, the society would like to see the alcohol prohibition continue and the 151-year-old building not left to languish.
"We would certainly not like to see it end up as the Ritz in Bellerine St has," Mr Grigg said.
While there are 12 temperance halls listed in Victoria, just five of those still have alcohol bans.
A council report states the Ceres community would like to see the temperance practice retained.
Heritage Victoria is also in favour, saying it would serve as a "demonstration of a way of life in danger of being lost".
The Theatre of the Winged Unicorn, which puts on productions and cultural events from the hall, has offered to manage the facility on behalf of the council.
Elaine and Dennis Mitchell first organised a play at the hall in 1989, before creating the Theatre of the Winged Unicorn four years later.
"I would love to be able to form an independent board of management that looks for the welfare, continuation and nurturing of this special building that means so much to Ceres," Mrs Mitchell said.
Deputy Mayor Ron Nelson said the hall also hosted a broad range of community activities, and provided toilet facilities for the adjacent local church.
"It plays a significant part in maintaining the essential character of Ceres," he said.
"It is important that buildings to be preserved are judged on their merits, and the Ceres Hall qualifies as a building of considerable local significance."

Certainly not putting on the Ritz

from w
They put it on the market, then withdraw, so the poor old Ritz building, the awful eyesore -  amidst new neat developments not far from the Waterfront of Geelong - is still stuck.

From the Addie today:

New twist in Ritz saga as owner puts sale on hold

GEELONG'S worst eyesore, The Ritz, is no longer for sale.
The shock announcement that the historic property is no longer listed less than a month after being advertised is another demoralising blow for those who hoped the property would soon be redeveloped.
The Melbourne-based real estate firm which was handling the sale for eccentric owner Tim Truong confirmed yesterday the dilapidated Bellarine St property was no longer on the market.
"The sale has been put on hold by the owner," KBL Commercial Real Estate agent Patrick Mammone said.
However, Mr Mammone said he was unable to comment on why Mr Truong had made the decision.
Earlier this month Mr Truong listed the property for sale only months after he said he would be working with Pelligra Holdings to develop the Bellerine St site.

Related Coverage

Pelligra Group chairman Ross Pelligra was unavailable for comment.
Industry sources have said the price for the dilapidated property could easily be more than $2 million.
The City of Greater Geelong's Manager City Development, Joanne Van Slageren, said council would be happy to discuss potential development proposals for the Ritz Hotel with the current owners or any new owners of this important site.
She said the current owners of the Ritz still have a permit for a seven-storey development which has provision for accommodation and a ground floor cafe-restaurant.
She said the owners were free to begin construction on the development as soon as they liked.
Cr Michelle Heagney, whose ward includes the much-maligned building, said the Ritz no longer being for sale was a blow to the city.
"It's a very disappointing outcome," she said.
"This property deserves an owner who will revitalise and return it to its former glory."
Member for South Barwon Andrew Katos called for council to urge the planning minister to remove the heritage overlay.
"It's clear whatever heritage value was in this building is now non-existent," he said.
"The building has fallen into such a state of disrepair that its heritage value is now negligible.
"Without knowing the details of why this property is now not for sale, I believe the only way we can get a resolution is to have council apply to the planning minister to have the heritage overlay removed.
"Any potential developer will think there are too many strings attached.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Metallic fish in garden shop

from w
From a photo I took recently in the garden shop at the Wintergarden, McKillop Street, I made several images of the metallic fish using Gimp and Picasa to see what different textures, colours and shapes I could make. I've probably posted a couple before but here are a few variations.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Some recent drawings and pics from Tonga

from w
During our recent holiday I was able to make a few sketches of a beach, landscapes, trees, take photos and so on. Tongatapu is a beautiful island, with numerous small farms, many lovely houses, mansions and a palace, and decorations even on fences. Some of the drawings below are older pics of Pacific Islanders dancing. etc. and one is of Tongan girls a a funeral.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Michael says

from w
The Geelong Advertiser had an article yesterday about asylum seekers and Geelong. Michael is the boss of Diversitat (formerly Geelong Migrant Resource Centre) and Diversitat has been an advocate and enabler for migrants in recent years.  Of course there are diverse opinions about 'boat people' including a view that immigration is spending too much money on a minority of people seeking a new life in Australia and the queue for formally applying for PR etc. is very long also and these applicants should have priority.

New arrivals key to revival

MICHAEL MARTINEZ: JULIAN Burnside's call last week to have Tasmania become a designated state for asylum seekers seems to have been warmly regarded in that state.

I would argue there are similar opportunities for asylum seekers in Victoria, in centres like Geelong and our G21 region. We do have our challenges, particularly around job generation and pockets of disadvantage, but we also have a wonderful environment and support services that are very attractive to newcomers.

Of course there is racism in Geelong, as there is throughout Australia - and not always from the most expected sources. Locally at times I have heard older migrants from European countries expressing discriminatory views, saying that refugees today get it too easy.

However once you explain the situation and take away popular stereotypes, there is a better understanding of how grateful refugees are for the opportunities that our city and surrounds have to offer. There have also been a number of ugly incidents with some of our new community members, but these are isolated occurrences. Of greater concern is the structural racism that exists in our institutions at many levels.

A comprehensive study by Vic Health in recent years identified roughly 10 per cent of the population as very racist, around 30 per cent was intolerant but the majority was still very welcoming and accepting of our multiculturalism. The message from the Vic Health study was that communities and governments needed to be watchful and encourage pluralism and participation from all across our broad civic life.

In the last term of the previous federal government it established a dedicated Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Kate Lundy was excellent in the role. My hope is that the Abbott Government continues to advocate for a strong multicultural Australia and does not make the mistakes of the Howard government, which some would argue resulted in events like the Cronulla riots.

Geelong hosts the country's largest multicultural street festival in Pako Festa and our new communities learn and are supported by an extensive network of existing multicultural groups and the broader community. The Geelong Afghan community is already thinking of a mosque and in the tradition of our orthodox churches in the northern suburbs it will be an important institution for this community.

A visit to some of these churches - such as the Ukrainian Church with its magnificent icons painted painstakingly over 40 years - is an experience I would encourage people not to miss out on.

The cultural community halls, sporting clubs and facilities all form part of the rich tapestry of our Australian community.
In addition to events like Pako Festa, we could do with a ticketed world music festival in Geelong that could showcase our wonderful waterfront for something other than a sporting event. Our city is in need of a cultural event that would capture the interest of many, like the fantastic Lorne Sculpture Biennale.

Prominent Melbourne sculptor Dean Bowen is reportedly working on a three-metre bronze sculpture of a cat, which would be great to see on our foreshore.

Anyone who has visited Lorne or other such creative programs knows how amazing and delightful they can be.
Importantly cultural events like the Lorne Biennale attract international artists and global interest. Geelong is uniquely placed, with its north-facing bay and open spaces, to host more events that could generate jobs and support our tourism and hospitality sector. That those new cultural events and the redevelopment of GPAC should be a priority is a question worth considering.    

I was disappointed to see that the major events budget for the City of Greater Geelong has been capped. I would think it should be significantly increased as events generate economic growth and opportunities. 

British novelist Doris Lessing once said that "A simple grateful thought turned heavenwards is the most perfect prayer". When you work and spend time with refugees and asylum seekers you will see they are very grateful to be here.
It's something that I am happy to say many people in Geelong embrace and not just for our wonderful Geelong Football Club .

That said - go Cats! We certainly are very grateful to our beloved team.

Michael Martinez is CEO of Diversitat. Regular columnist Rachel Schutze returns in October.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Shopping in Tonga

from w

Shopping in Nukualofa.  when you need bread and milk for breakie, you just go along the road and soon you will find a small shop. These little Chinese shops - about four foot deep involve a lot of fun in communication. I wanted a bottle of lemonade so Andrew asked for 'lemonade'. She shook her head, didn't understand, so I said to ask for Fanta or Sprite. So he asked for Siperaiti and there was a big smile from the Chinese girl. She understood at last and I got my lemonade. These little shops are scattered about the suburbs of Nukualofa besides the main shopping area which includes a marvellous fruit and vegie market and craft market and even Morisi (Morris Hedstrom) etc. We found a lovely book shop, I think it's called the Friendly Tonga Bookshop, but the books on Tongan culture were way too expensive so I only bought a sketchbook and some good pens.  

The Tongans seem to use initiative and many have little op shops in front of their homes, selling vegetables or second hand clothes, or the sort of things relatives send to them in containers. The people wait patiently near their stalls and make money from people passing by.

I loved the craft market downtown as the items were so beautiful but I only bought some shell jewelry and a couple of fans. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Visiting the Leaf and Stone Garden shop

from w
In McKillop Street, Geelong there's the Wintergarden Cafe  (once upon a time a Congregational Church I heard)- where a few of us meet occasionally as a writing group. Behind the cafe is a delightful garden shop with a variety of sculptures, bird baths, plants. The website of the shop is This morning I took a few photos there to alter.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Flowers and trees of Fiji

from w
Instead of watching Geelong on TV play footie today in the first final, I decided to check out some of the photographs I took recently in Fiji, and then alter them to resemble art nouveau images by using Picasa and Gimp. It beats thinking about the election today!  I wish there was a political party that had Beauty, Art, Poetry, Nature - on the agenda.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Om and relaxation for teachers

From wGolly gosh, I never thought it would come to Hindu meditation for our secondary teachers in Australia. A local Geelong school is doing one hour a week to de-stress the teachers. 

 Just a fortnight ago we were talking with a relative who is teaching in a Hindu school in Nadi, Fiji and she seemed keen on the meditation experiences at her school, but Peceli reminded her that she is a Christian and that there is a rather significant difference. One is inward looking, the other outward looking to society and she could do no better but spend time thinking more of the Kingdom as serving the needs of people on the fringe as Jesus did.

Teachers relax with new curricul-om

GEELONG High School staff are turning to meditation to help unwind from their teaching duties.
The hour-long meditation sessions are designed to ease any stress experienced by staff and provide them with strategies to deal with their worries.
A total of 37 staff are involved in the six week meditation program conducted by an instructor from the Shiva Meditation Centre in Newtown.
Geelong High School Student wellbeing co-ordinator Kate Meadows has received overwhelmingly positive feedback.
"Staff are finding the sessions fantastic for themselves and are keen to pass on the lessons learned to students," Ms Meadows said.
The meditation sessions were funded by a grant from the WorkSafe Health Check initiative.
Geelong High School is hopeful similar initiatives will appear at other schools


Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Guinea pig talk

from Fuzzy, the guinea pig.
It's great to have Grandma back to look after us. Those grandkids well, they fed us okay but hey we did need an air freshioner spray occasionally! And to add insult to insult, George locked me up for a week, imprisoned me inside a dog fence so I couldn't tease Izzie. As if staring that old fat guinea pig in the eye until he backs off is a big deal. Grandma cleaned up our compound/verandah nicely and LET ME OUT and it was all sunshine and roses and squeaks and whistles with Izzie again. We are pals - MOST of the time - however, 'you in your small corner and I in mine' is a good motto.

In Fiji and Tonga

from w
It's been a while since a post because we've been away in Fiji for a week for a wedding, and then Tonga for a week with family.  Lots of highlights, and occasionally difficulties. I was able to take many photos and do some drawing too in between the various ceremonies connected with the Fijian wedding of our niece's daughter.