Sunday, March 30, 2014

Church just ain't like it used to be

from w
Church was enjoyable this morning at Altona Meadows/Laverton. As soon as we arrived there was a congo line leaping and singing 'We are marching in the light of God' and it kept getting better from there. Some of my favourite contemporary songs were included. Bible reading - a play script. Five tables with activities on the theme 'Blind man' - light and darkness and touch - massaging hands, rewriting Psalm 23 and so on. Peceli sang a verse from a Fijian hymn. One table - writing prayers of the people. There was plenty of discussion and Rev Sue held the chaos in a kind of control. Afterwards we had a delicious morning tea with lemon tarts etc. and yarned with three or four people. This is a congregation mainly of young families and some grandparents, they are used to surprises at worship.
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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Good news for Geelong High School

from w
Peceli was driving near Geelong High this morning, pulled up at the lights and noticed some dignitories in suits having their photo taken outside the Performing Arts Centre (once called Shenton Church).  Apparently it's about a very welcome funding for the school that is getting dilapidated.  It's a special school for our family - we lived in the Shenton manse for nine years, (it's now the music department) our three boys went to the school, and now our two grandsons go there.

Story from Bay FM radio.
Geelong HighAfter ignoring the plight of the dilapidated Geelong High School the state government has finally announced money for an upgrade.
Premier Denis Napthine will be in Geelong today to announce $20 million for the run down school. But the government has been beaten to the punch by Labor, which announced funding for Geelong High School last week. The school was earmarked for a long-overdue upgrade before the 2010 election but the project was placed on the backburner by the incoming coalition government.
Labor has also promised $5 million for Portarlington Primary if it wins November's state election.

Coalition trumps Labor’s pledge to repair and update dilapidated Geelong High

Geelong High flooding
Geelong High Principal Glen Davis shows the damage caused by heavy rain to the dilapidated school’s library. PIC: Peter Ristevski. Source: News Corp Australia
GEELONG High School will receive a guaranteed upgrade to its dilapidated buildings, with the State Government set to announce $20 million in funding for infrastructure works today.
The pledge comes on the back of last week’s pre-election $12 million committment from the Opposition, and follows years of hard-fought campaigning for desperately needed refurbishments.
The Geelong Advertiser understands the Coalition will hand over $8.5 million in this year’s state budget for stage one of the project, which includes repairing leaky roofs, adding a storey to the Kroger building, improving sporting facilities, upgrades to arts and hospitality wings, other classrooms, offices and toilets.
The remaining $11.5 million is expected to be allocated in future budgets.
The century old school was in 2011 ranked the region’s most run-down and regularly floods, with sandbags sometimes used to prevent damage.
Asbestos, crumbling walls and ceilings, and compromised disability access are among other issues highlighted in the Geelong Advertiser since 2010.
A masterplan for a $20 million redevelopment was created in the same year, but repeated pleas to fund the project had until now fallen on deaf ears.
Geelong High principal Glenn Davey had last week urged the Government to match the Opposition’s pledge, saying the quest for financial aid had been “frustrating” and that staff and students deserved top-class facilities.
“We have fantastic, dedicated teachers and we’re seen as a desirable school, so you can imagine if we had the resources and facilities to match we would be really flourishing,” he said.
Education funding looms as a key election issue in Geelong, with Bellarine Labor MP Lisa Neville this week announcing a $5.5 million promise to rebuild the rundown but historic Portarlington Primary School if her party wins the November 29 poll.
A damning 2013 Auditor-Generals report pointed out government schools in the Barwon South West region required an average of $725,000 to bring buildings up to “operational” standard. The figure is more than double that required in an other region statewide.

Ti-trees at Point Lonsdale

from w
I took a photograph of trees near a children's park t Point Lonsdale - just above the sea, and then altered it to make new images using Picasa.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Bunyip Aristocracy

from w
Red on ABC early morning program reckons 'it's the regression we had to have' as he rabbited on about our current Prime Minister's obsession to take us back to the 'good old days'.  Now Tony wants Lords and Ladies to be part of our Oz culture.  Oh my Lord!  What happened to the concept of  republic. Come on Oz, grow up! Hard to believe in these modern times.  I read this in the Age on-line this morning.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced that up to four Australian knights or dames will be created each year, reintroducing an honours system that was abandoned in 1986. Governor-General designate Peter Cosgrove will be the first knight in the Order of Australia, and will be known as Sir Peter, and outgoing Governor-General Quentin Bryce will be the first dame. The special recognition, approved by the Queen on Mr Abbott's recommendation, would be for Australians ''of extraordinary and pre-eminent achievement'', and each successive governor-general would receive the title of knight or dame in the Order of Australia.

Illustration: Ron Tandberg.
Illustration: Ron Tandberg.
Clive Palmer and Gina Rinehart, you'd imagine, would be holding their breath for the announcement that His Grace Tony the Abbott, Duke of Australia, has quietly decided there should be a new title for Lord and Lady Wardens of the Iron and Coal Ports.

The new Bunyip Aristocracy - only four knights or dames a year - seems a trifle limited. Why, back in 1965 when Sir Robert Menzies, having already received the Order of the Thistle, donned the fabulous gold-embroidered costume and silk-lined cocked hat of Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, you could hardly move in the Melbourne Club or one of Abe Saffron's speakeasies in Sydney without bumping into a brace or two of knights, and there were dames a-plenty at the better garden parties of Toorak and Vaucluse.

Alas, there has been a lamentable lack of new Australian sirs and dames - let alone Orders of the Thistle - since Gough Whitlam introduced the Australian honours system in 1975, tossing knighthoods and the like aside. Malcolm Fraser bravely introduced knights and dames of the Order of Australia in 1976, but only
12 chaps and two dames got the metaphorical sword on the shoulder before the Hawke government gave the whole idea the shove 10 years later.

Since then, the blessed have had to be content with the chance at a mere medal and tiny lapel button declaring them an AC or AO or suchlike, with not a gorgeous robe nor a cocked hat in sight. Now even those high honours are to be devalued, though His Grace tried to reassure them that the new knighthoods and damehoods ''will not affect Companions, Officers or Members of the Orders of Australia''. Haw. Try selling that in the members lounge of the finer clubs! 

etc. etc. 

Read more:

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Point Lonsdale on a dull day

from w
We went for a drive down to Point Lonsdale this afternoon for some quiet time (there were nine sleeping at our house last night) and though it was cool I walked down to the beach - a bit of exercise - via the steps. Peceli and I had made little paintings there a few years back and I've posted two of them here, plus some photos.
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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Collage in a cafe in Myers Street

from w
We were drinking coffee at the cafe in the Myer Medical Clinic and I noticed an interesting collage at one end with the words 'Believe with all your heart'.  A nice idea and well-done. I guess it was part of the home decorations for sale.

Oh dear, the most neglected school in Geelong

from w
I read with dismay the description of dear old Geelong High School as 'the most neglected school in Geelong'. Okay, I know that when it rains, there's trouble in the library, etc. etc.  And we know the school well, after living in Shenton Manse for nine years and even our old house now belongs to the school. Our sons went to that school, our grandsons go there now.  Well, if Labour wins, they'll fix it up.  Well...if!

Labor promises $12m for run-down Geelong High School

Geelong High Principal Glen Davis inspects the damage caused by heavy rain at the school
Geelong High Principal Glen Davis inspects the damage caused by heavy rain at the school library. Source: News Corp Australia
GEELONG’S most run-down school is set for a major facelift if Labor wins this year’s state election.
Opposition leader Daniel Andrews will visit Geelong High School today to announce his party will fund the start of a long-awaited refurbishment.
The $12 million promise will provide new classrooms, offices and toilet blocks as well as arts and hospitality facilities in the aged Winstanley building while adding a new storey to the Kroger building and funding plans for further upgrades.
Riddled with asbestos and rotten, crumbling walls and ceilings, Geelong High regularly floods during heavy rain, with sandbags sometimes used to prevent damage. Disability access is also compromised.
The school will celebrate 100 years at its Eastern Park site next year, and Mr Andrews said the upgrades were long overdue.
“Kids in Geelong can’t get a first rate education in a second rate classroom,” he said yesterday.
“Labor has listened to parents, students and the Geelong Advertiser, and we agree Geelong High students deserve world-class facilities.
“Only Labor will rebuild and redevelop Geelong High School, to give our kids the best start.”
Geelong High School educates 950 students, with its population drawn from more than 40 different feeder schools throughout the city.
Despite a masterplan that detailed plans for a $20 million redevelopment, the works have not been funded, and in 2011 the school was ranked the Geelong region’s most neglected school.
Labor’s promise will fund stage one of the planned works, and looms as a key pledge in its fight to hold the pivotal marginal seats of Geelong and Bellarine in November’s election.
Christine Couzens, who will replace sitting MP Ian Trezise as Labor’s candidate in Geelong, said local builders and other companies would be given priority when the work at the school was tendered, while Belarine MP Lisa Neville welcomed the pending announcement.
Deputy Labor leader and Shadow Education Minister James Merlino will join Mr Andrews and the local MPs for today’s announcement.
Mr Andrews visited Geelong High last year, and was criticised at the time by Education Minister Martin Dixon for raising expectations at the school without committing funding.
The Government yesterday announced it would fund $23 million of improvements at schools in Bentleigh, Horsham and Timboon, saying the works were identified as part of its maintenance audit of the state’s schools.
“With a record $8.8 billion funding for schools in 2014 alone, I am proud to lead a government that is focused on building a better education system for all students and their families,” Premier Denis Napthine said.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

making images by overlapping

from w
From a drawing of carrots picked in our garden to an abstract kind of picture, I made a few images with a few clicks. It's a lazy way of designing and certainly costs less than canvases and paints!

Once was an orphanage in Melbourne

from w
Yesterday I took photos at 1 Kent Rd Surrey Hills, and remembered its history as an orphanage set up with the intention of rescuing children from poverty. However  some of the stories I read on the web about a boy living there tell of cruelty and harsh treatment of the children. The chapel where we had a program yesterday was once stately with a very high ceiling. The whole place - a rabbit warren - has places of beauty such as the many colourful leadlight windows. However, remembering the history I did sense a disquiet though.

1890 - St Joseph’s Home for Destitute Children 
The 1889 great depression brought increased poverty to Melbourne expanding the need for the St Vincent de Paul program. In 1890 a permanent property became available in Surrey Hills with Mary MacKillop accepting the responsibility to pay for the property, care for the children and build a permanent Children’s Home. By 1907 the Sisters had raised enough funds for the large building which still stands. 

1925 - St Joseph’s Home for Boys Surrey Hills
From 1925 St Joseph’s concentrated on care for young boys; those who had outgrown ‘toddler care’ but were considered not old enough for the all-male environment offered at that time by the Christian Brothers. Numbers of State Wards and privately placed children increased during the depression of the 1930s resulting in overcrowding which continued during World War II.

1967 - St Joseph’s Children’s Home 
In the late 1960s, in order to keep brothers and sisters together, St Joseph’s welcomed girls as well as boys. Dormitories were converted into units with smaller bedrooms and self-contained living and dining areas. Most children attended local primary and secondary schools although a school on site was retained for those with particular educational needs. 
- See more at:

1984. The property was sold the Youth with the Mission in 1984 and revamped as an inter-denominational  training institution for Christian young people.

YWAM in Melbourne

from w
Yesterday Peceli and I drove to Surrey Hills (Melb) a leafy surburb with fine houses to YWAM (Youth with a Mission) for a gathering of Lomaiviti Fijians. We arrived on time and waited and waited for the lot to turn up, so I explored the strange rabbit warren set of old buildings and took photos. It was lovely to meet some of the Fijian young men who are studying the Discipleship program and working with the excellent youth outreach in difficult places in Melbourne and beyond.  Some had come from Levuka. YWAM is a non-denominational training and outreach for Christian youth and is international. We'd met some of their young people before such as at the Geelong Waterfront. The buildings at 1 Kent Rd. there evoke a past history that is problematic though - it was a Catholic orphanage for many years with some sad stories, some on web sites. YWAM have been there for thirty years so it's redeemed somewhat. I'll post something abut that later. My photograph of the beautiful Lomaiviti girls didn't turn out which was bad luck as Labasa and Lomaiviti have a specially jolly relationship. Driving home to Geelong was a bit of a pain, with a very bright sun up in front.
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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Bendigo skyline

from w
I used to make pictures with oil pastels but was heavy-handed as you can see by this sketch of the skyline of Bendigo viewed through an upstairs window of a place I once lived in. Here are some variations but I can't change the heaviness of the treatment.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

About South Geelong Uniting Church

from w
I took some photographs this morning at South Geelong Uniting Church which is closing in three weeks. It's a pretty church and quite large, and the elderly congregation - who will come and join us at East Geelong - are very sad about it. The stone building is heritage but the new owners are car sellers so I don't know what they can do with it. The pews are bolted into the floor and all the wood is beautiful. I have asked if some of the furniture can be given to a Methodist Church in Fiji if it can be shipped over. We'll see. Their final service is at the end of March.

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Sunday, March 09, 2014

Mayor has stupid ideas at times

from w
What a waste of money it would be to spend $2 million dollars on tizzy decorations for Geelong at Christmas. I just wonder if our mayor 'gets' what Christmas is really about.  It's about simplicity, family, God and humanity. Spend money on people, neighbourhood street parties, programs that enrich our lives, not trivia and glitz. One idea though of lighting up buildings with colour is okay - aka Melbourne's 'white night'  from Geelong Adviertiser:
MAYOR Darryn Lyons is pushing ahead with a grand plan to spend $2 million on Geelong’s Christmas decorations this year despite promising a tight budget.The centrepiece of the mayor’s vision is an “iconic” tree — either located on a floating pontoon in Corio Bay or standing in the city centre — to rival festive landmarks in the world’s biggest cities.But some of the 12 councillors are said to be concerned about the cost; more than eight times what was spent last year.At tomorrow/Tuesday night’s meeting they will be asked to make $40,000 available to pay consultants to design, draw and detail the Christmas In Geelong plan.The report they vote on makes no mention of the $2 million figure, saying only that expenditure will be considered as part of this year’s budget. However, a number of sources have confirmed that is how much the mayor has already indicated he would need for his proposal.Despite more than doubling its spending on Christmas decorations last year — up from $53,000 in 2012-13 to almost $127,000 2013-14, with up to $100,000 spent each year on putting them up and taking them down — Cr Lyons, newly elected, was scathing of the city’s festive spirit last December.
 - Ideas:
Either a “glittering crystal Christmas tree suspended on a pontoon on Corio
Bay, reflecting the dazzling sunlight and sparkling waters or
A large scale land based Christmas tree installation that would capture and entertain
the community”.
Catenary — suspended lighting and decorations
“The catenary system can be suspended via wall-mounted brackets mounted on a
number of buildings fronting onto Geelong’s main streets”.
Central Geelong tree-lighting
“Lighting can provide a celebratory ambience to the City in the evenings. The lighting of
iconic trees around Geelong would present quite a spectacle during the Christmas
“Projections differ from standard lighting in that it can totally change the form of the
building using graphics and text.”

$2m on Christmas decor must be 'a joke'

Meals program coordinator Col Hastings does not approve of the mayor's $2 million Christm
Meals program coordinator Col Hastings does not approve of the mayor's $2 million Christmas cash splash. Source: News Limited
COL Hastings meets the front line in Geelong hunger and homelessness every day and can't believe his city council is considering spending $2 million on Christmas decorations.
The long-serving Christ Church meals program convener said he's no Scrooge and doesn't mind festive season decorations.
"But two million, it must be a joke," he said.
"In a time when more and more families are doing it tough. If money is so plentiful and available how about tossing some to those groups who work to assist the community and have to do their own fund raising."
Mr Hastings said he was amazed when he read of the plans being flagged by Mayor Darryn Lyons.
"And $40,000 for a consultant to tell them what to get ... they could probably give us $40,000 and I'll give them some advice," Mr Hastings said.
He stressed the thoughts were his own and not on behalf of the charity.
Program volunteers serve about 600 meals a week, after a 72 per cent increase in demand for evening meals during the past four years, and the program also offers an allied medical service.
"I have spent many years working on various community projects in Geelong and always thought our city leaders, even if they never show any interest, really deep down appreciate what we as volunteers do," Mr Hastings said.
"The Christ Church community meals program, a leader within its field within Australia, has never received a cent from the City of Geelong, which I do not understand as the people we look after through our meals program and medical centre are the council's citizens."