Monday, May 26, 2014

For World Environment Day

from w
Last Sunday at church the theme was Creation and we divided into groups to make a collage, write a song, talk about responsibility, etc. Our group were asked to write an Australian psalm and we used part of Psalm 104  adapted from ‘The Message’ as a starter. Peceli wrote the first four lines in a trial run when I was preparing for this.. (The picture is by a Queensland artist whose exhibition will open next Friday at the Boom Gallery, Chillwell in Geelong. She creates beautiful paintings/prints based on nature.)

You cover the You Yangs with rocks and trees
You start a spring in the Otways to bring water down the Barwon
The kangaroos and emus race across the green land
As galahs and cockatoos build their nests in the gum trees.
All the kangaroos and bilbies now drink their fill,
    wild brumbies quench their thirst.
Along the riverbanks the birds build nests,
    magpies make their voices heard.

Oh yes, God brings grain from the land,
    wine to make people happy,
Their faces glowing with health,
    a people well-fed and hearty.
God’s trees are well-watered—
    the eucalypts he planted.
Birds build their nests in those trees;
    look—the kookaburra at home in the treetop.
Lizards climb about the cliffs;
    wombats burrow among the rocks.
The moon keeps track of the seasons,
    the sun is in charge of each day.
When it’s dark and night takes over,
    all the owls and bats come out.
 What a wildly wonderful world, God!
    You made it all, with Wisdom at your side,
    made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.
Oh, look—the deep, wide sea,
    brimming with fish past counting,
    whales and sharks and dolphins.

Send out your Spirit and all creation springs to life—
    the whole countryside in bloom and blossom.

The glory of God—let it last forever!
    Let God enjoy his creation!



Tiel Seivl Keevers is a painter and illustrator from Brisbane. Her work evolves from her natural surroundings.  In this exhibition Tiel focuses on the changes that occur throughout the season of Winter, exploring ideas and imagery around the concepts of dormancy, death and new beginnings.
Exhibition Opening Friday May 30 / 5:30 – 8pm

Thursday, May 22, 2014

My Favourite Things (about Geelong)

from w
I wrote this for some writing competition for seniors.
My Favourite Things (with apologies to Julie Andrews)

Coffee and mudcake and freebies at Maccas,
Playgrounds at Rippleside for our little tackers,
Bundles of old books just tied up in string,
These are a few of my favourite things.
Movies and TV and libraries and classes,
Cafes and wine-bars and clinking of glasses,
Deakin and Gordon, Computers for Mugs -
I am now learning of viruses and bugs.
When the trucks roar,
When the sea smells,
When the city goes mad,
I simple remember my favourite things
And then I don't feel so sad.
Gardens and gingko and cool winding footpaths
Aromatherapy and also spa baths,
Swimming at Torquay but not now at Bells,
Driving the Commodore, no longer on Ls.
Going to Pako and eating souvlaki,
Marinaded chops are now cooked by an Iraqi,
A barbeque sizzle outside Laura's house,
A white statue in Malop Street quiet as a mouse.          
          When the rice burns,
When the milk turns,
When the eyes grow damp,
Then I remember we live in Geelong
and then I can sing this song!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Thank you Ross. At least there's one level-headed man in Geelong

from w
This nonsense from City Hall continues despite the fact that architects have said it just won't work at half a million dollars.  The biggest tree?  Who cares?  Let Geelong be known for its educational opportunities, sport, spectacular beauty in nearby forest and sea, and kindly people.  Not a silly fake tree.
from the Geelong Advertiser Opinion piece.

Less a floating Christmas tree, more a pie in the sky

·         ROSS MUELLER
·         MAY 21, 2014 2:21PM
HERE’S a joke you may discover in your Christmas bon bon: Geelong councillors approved $2 million of our money for Christmas decorations. This includes half a million real dollars for a floating Christmas tree.
This decision was approved with no accompanying business case and no costings. Only one councillor voted against the allocation; Cr Andy Richards the portfolio holder for the arts. Oh and that’s right. This is no joke. The floating tree is real.
When the draft Budget was approved, the Mayor went home and tweeted about war and fighting negative people, which is his right as there is no social media policy for councillors at City Hall. There was celebration from his deputy; Cr Bruce Harwood was in love with the idea: “This will undoubtedly get huge coverage around the world. The media are always looking around the world to see who has the biggest tree. We’re going to see this on the television, on YouTube; this will go global.”
On Tuesday, the Geelong Advertiser revealed that tendering architects Rara Architecture (from Melbourne), described the tender as “basically impossible”.
“The consultant fees alone for structural engineers and architects was $120,000 to $130,000, which was a significant chunk of the ($500,000) budget.”
Anthea Cannon reported that Rara estimates an 85m tree (to rival Rio de Janeiro) would cost $2 million. Rara suggested 35m might be possible for the budget Council had allocated.
A Christmas shrub is not going to go global. If you don’t believe me, go and Google “second largest floating Christmas tree on the planet”.
So what’s going on? How can so much money be spent on an idea so underdeveloped?
Apparently councillors were inspired by Rio, but if they did some fact checking, the Brazilian comparison is tenuous: 35m of baubles on Corio Bay is not going to compete with the giant 85m South American erection.
Let’s look a little closer.
Brazil’s largest insurance company pays for the tree. Not a council.There are about 100 million Catholics in Brazil who celebrate the birth of Christ. There is community traction for the Rio floating tree. Finally, the Brazilian tree is not based on drawing tourist dollars. It is a celebration of community and recognises their religious commitment.  

Our allocation seriously calls into question the fiscal wisdom of council. When it was first presented, Cr. Jan Farrell was quoted: “We’re throwing ... $500,000 up in the air. We have no costings.”
Even so, it progressed straight through to “Go” and collected half a million dollars.
Finance portfolio holder Cr Stretch Kontelj has spent a lot of characters on Twitter explaining why the Federal Budget is necessary and why we have to share the pain in order to fix the triple-A rated ALP mistakes. But in the same feed he is happy to approve $2 million (uncosted) on Christmas lights and baubles. Hard to see the logic.
I’m going out on a limb here, but I do not believe we need a floating tree for Christmas. I do not believe we should transplant Central Park and I honestly believe that a Chinatown grows; it does not get built like a Gold Coast theme park.
Spend this money on retraining, social services and youth support, because we are about to enter a Winter of Discontent.
If, during the last mayoral election, one of the candidates had guaranteed a $500,000 allocation for a floating Christmas tree, would that candidate have won the election?
This council bush is not going to “go global”.Frankly, the news of this sapling will be lucky to reach the northern suburbs — where this cash really should be splashed. 

Ross Mueller is a writer, director and Geelong Football Club member. Follow Ross on Twitter at @TheMuellerName

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Prime Minister No show in Geelong

from w
The PM is supposed to be in Geelong today at Deakin University, at Waurn Ponds shopping and at a lunch, but it's a NO SHOW.  Why?  Surely he's not a scaredy cat in Cat Town!  Do we have a protesting kind of community?  I don't think so. Even the universities these days are tame little kitties these days compared with the 70s when the Uni students were serious activists.  We do small protests mainly and occasionally a large one - I remember the time Pauline Hanson's mob wanted to convince us of her policies and we had a big protest at the Geelong West Town Hall.
From today's Geelong Advertiser.
PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has cancelled today’s visit to Geelong, citing security fears.
Unions, students, pensioners and other protestors were planning to voice their disgust at last week’s Federal Budget to the PM, who was scheduled to attend three events.
Those events included a private $500-per-head Liberal luncheon at The Lord Of The Isles Hotel, the public opening of the expanded Waurn Ponds shopping centre and the official invite-only opening of Deakin University’s Carbon Nexus research facility.
About 70 people were expected at the luncheon and up to 300 at the Deakin event.
But the PM’s office said security advisers were concerned by reports that thousands of activists were planning to show up, some coming by bus from Melbourne.
“Based in security advise, the Prime Minister unfortunately won’t be in attendance at Deakin University in Geelong tomorrow,” a spokesman for Mr Abbott said last night.
The spokesman told the Geelong Advertiser security advisers had been unable to guarantee Mr Abbott’s safety, and the PM did not want his presence to detract from an important day for Deakin. He promised mr Abbott would be back in Geelong soon.
Greens senator Richard Di Natale said the security fears were a furphy.
“He was a bully in opposition and now he has shown himself to be a coward in government,” he said last night.
“If you’re going to weild the axe so brutally you owe it to the people to front up and explain yourself. The least he can do is put up with a few noisy protestors.”
But Corangamite MP Sarah Henderson, who organised the the fundraiser luncheon Mr Abbott was to attend, blamed protestors. “At a time when there is so much focus on Geelong’s advanced manufacturing, it is disappointing that this event has been marred by protestors,” she said. “Carbon Nexus presents Geelong with so many wonderful opportunities. I am just so disappointed the actions of protestors have taken away from what should’ve been a fantastic day for Geelong.”
Geelong Trades Hall Council secretary Tim Gooden said a number of protestors were still planning to be at the shopping centre opening, where they would peacefully voice their disgust at last week’s Federal Budget. “I’m not surprised when he (Mr Abbott) found out we were going to be there that he bailed out,” Mr Gooden said. “He’s just kicked workers and poor people in the guts, so I think he’ll be doing whatever he can to avoid them in the next six months.We’ll still be there, though, to make our voices heard and have a bit of a chant.
“But let’s make no mistake, this was a political decision not to come, he would have been perfectly safe. He just didn’t want the bad publicity.
Labor MP for Corio Richard Marles said Mr Abbott should have come to Geelong. “Tony Abbott is finding it is a lot easier to break his promises and hit Geelong with a bag full of taxes from Canberra - cancelling his visit shows he doesn’t have the guts to explain why Geelong is going to have to pay for his broken promises,” he said.
Speaking before the visits were cancelled, Mr Di Natale said the Prime Minister’s should explain his budget cuts to those who would be most affected, including students, car industry workers and pensioners. “He has shredded the social safety net ... and to have the gall to host a fundraiser that is speculated to cost $500 a head just shows how out of touch he is. He should be explaining to people why he is making it harder for people to access Youth Support, why he is making it harder for people to see a GP or get the health care eye need, and, most importantly, why he isn’t sharing the pain with the big end of town.” Mr Di Natale said mining companies and banks were among those who had “got off Scott free” in the budget and should be contributing more to Government revenue.

Deakin University vice chancellor Jane den Hollander declined to comment on the matter last night.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Our Geelong Mayor

from w
@Geelong_Mayor ive been in war ! I have fought salvation ! Never have I seen war more in elected people who are the future of our city !sad

Every week it seems that our mayor of Geelong   lashes out at anyone who disagrees with him. He wants our city to be well-known in the world, and has provocative ideas on how to achieve this. Self-seeking,  self-promoting, he’s labeled by some. He never seems to consider what it is like to work in a team. 
If you want to promote Geelong, in my opinion, you don’t go about with slogans like ‘giddy-up’ or post a photo of your partner barely dressed in a newspaper, wear the mayoral robe while riding a horse.  

Geelong is a great place to live so we need to promote it for the things that are done well. Education – from kinders, primary, secondary, private schools, tertiary – having  Deakin University and other institutions like the Gordon.  Medical care – clinics and hospitals.  Parks and gardens and a fine Botanical Garden, a beautiful waterfront.  Sports -  the Stadium for professional footie, and the numerous venues for amateur sports. Natural beauty – the rivers, the beaches, the bush, Art galleries and libraries. Markets and special events. You Yangs, Bellarine Peninsular.  I don’t care too much for the shopping malls, mighty supermarkets as we have too many of them. And I don’t think a bling tree at Christmas time really represents the heart of Geelong, even though there are numerous churches.  Aboriginal  awareness, Narana,  Wautharong, with references at the opening of civic ceremonies.  Diversity and respect for migrants,  with Diversitat, Pako Festa, welcome to refugees. Need I go on about the good things about Geelong.

Of course there are the concerns about losing industrial greatness with the closing down of factories. 

Mr Mayor, please promote Geelong in a realistic way, as a people who live in a fine city which includes some excellent facilities, though there are problems with jobs.  The mayor needs to assist the COGG council to work as a team without flinging out obsessive words on twitter.  The Council’s task is to implement new ideas that are workable not make us cringe at the excess of behavior of the mayor..

Friday, May 09, 2014

Margaret tries to live on $2 a day for food

from w
Margaret Linley, a journalist at the Geelong Advertiser has a great task to do this week - to only have $14 for food for seven days.
·         adapted from  article by MARGARET LINLEY    GEELONG ADVERTISER      MAY 10, 2014 12:00  AM  Living on $2 a day.

 STRIPPING back to basics on $2 a day meant no coffee this week and no glass of wine with dinner. Obviously meat was out of the question. Ditto chocolate, sugar, spices, salt and fruit.. The reason for this meagre spend on food is I was joining 10,000 other Victorians in the fight against world poverty by getting involved in the Oaktree Foundation’s Live Below the Line campaign, this year for Timor Leste.
Another rule is people aren’t allowed to give you food. So no sympathy coffees or cake. And you’re not allowed to consume things that are already in your kitchen or vegie garden. But the challenge I loved. I made decent food that filled me up. Okay it was light on for flavour — soup made with water is not quite as scrummy as stock-flavoured soup, and curried lentils without curry and coconut milk is really just lentils — but it was nourishing and filling.
If you would like to throw some dollars at the campaign to support the educational opportunities in Timor Leste, please go to and search for Margaret Linley.
I BOUGHT lentils, rolled oats, eggs (cage, ouch that hurt), pearl barley, a kilo each of brown onions, carrots, peas (frozen) and a cauliflower.The best places to buy are Aldi and Wholefoods in Lt Ryrie St. Aldi because it’s super cheap and Wholefoods because you can choose the quantity you want, thus buying less of more things.
I thought carefully about what would fill me up (barley, the lentils, soup); what would provide a bit of sweetness (peas); what would provide a satisfying crunch (carrots); what would work well as a snack while I worked at my desk (carrot sticks); and what would provide flavour (onions).
I wanted my precious food items to be versatile. So that cauliflower was used in three different dishes. The florets went into the lentil dish and the barley and vegie soup and the hard stalky bits and the remaining florets went into soup. Same with the peas.
I had a big cookup so I was able to have a few courses at each meal; smaller quantities of a several dishes felt less boring, more satisfying. It also meant there was food there ready so I wasn’t cooking when I was hungry and tempted by the pantry.
Breakfasts were a Scotch cake; a pancake-y thing made with crushed rolled oats bound with egg. I’d have another for lunch along with a couple of little serves of other food.
One evening watching the telly, thinking a bit of chocolate might be nice, the pea soup came to the rescue. It gave me enough sweetness to keep me on the straight and narrow.
---------------------- That’s all about Margaret, now to talk about our family in Geelong.
Now, how to cook for seven people using $2 per person for breakie, $3 per person for lunch, $4 per person for the evening meal and add $4 a day for snacks.  That’s $13 per day per person,  $91 a day for seven of us.  So it’s  $91 x 7 for a week which is    $637 which does sound a lot.  We just couldn’t feed the family on $2 a day each. So here’s the breakdown:
Breakie – mainly a cereal and or toast and marmalade/peanut butter/an egg/tomato/cheese.
Snacks  (different for each person usually)– yoghurt, biscuit and cheese, grapes,  buns from the Chinese shop, mandarin, bread, chocolate biscuits, and drinks – coffee/tea/milo/cordial/fruit juice.
Midday (or after school for teenagers) tomato soup plus added vegetables and bread, pizza, egg and bacon, noodle based soup plus vegetables, pita bread and curry, French toast, fried chicken wings, chocolate, pancakes, Fijian topoi (dumplings).
Evening – ( a different person cooks each night) choose from - roti and curry (e.g. meat and eggplant)  rice and chow mein,  pasta and tomato/meat sauce and cheese,  taro and fish soup in coconut cream, cassava and mussels and mixed seafood,  roast chicken, potato, pumpkin, onion, and green vegetables,  chips and fishy bites from the shop plus corn,  potatoes and bone and vegetable soup, lasagna from NQR, sweet potato and fried spiced chicken breasts/wings, sausages and hot spicy baked beans.  Add green salads with some meals, other lightly cooked greens with some meals.
Not usually a pudding, sometimes icecream and fruit salad.
AND SOMETIMES THERE IS NINE OR MORE OF US AT WEEKENDS.  And it's great when the Mum comes home from Lorne for the weekend and makes a lovely pudding such as a coconut pie or cheesecake.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Gathering at East Geelong Uniting

from w
Today we had about eighty women and a few men at East Geelong Uniting Church for a gathering of people from the UCAF groups in our part of Victoria. Guest speakers were both animated and informative - Kris Zerbst President Victorian UCAF Council and in the afternoon Rhonda Douglas chaplain to Lara and Little River Primary schools who brought her marvellous puppets.  Kris is a down-to-earth person and told a story about a box of sandals given to an op shop with the price tag of about $450, then she took off her rather ordinary brown shoes and said they were $3 from the op shop. What kind of people are we?  Go with the flow of fashion, extravagance, or are we down-to-earth, practical and sensible.  (Counter-culture I would say as Christians ought to be.)I hope the latter. The women in the fellowship groups over a hundred or more years have been strong in the church - nowadays guys can join the groups too which is fine. Kris told us about the twenty or so organisations that are linked with the Fellowships. One service I did not know is that volunteers can meet a train e.g. at Southern Cross station, and accompany a person to a medical appointment in Melbourne and get them back to their stations afterwards. Free.  I played the music (as usual) trying to rock the piano a little. I was expecting to be sleepy after lunch but Rhonda told us about the life of a chaplain - certainly not to be confused with some of the rare occasions when religion in schools has gone awry such as at Torquay with a strange Bible which has information pieces that want women to go back to the 50s. Rhonda's puppets were gorgeous and I told her I want to be a friend to them if they are on facebook!  Altogether it has been a lovely day of meeting up with friends as well as new people.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Coffee at Barwon Edge

from w
There are plenty of Geelong cafes with good coffee but not many have the fine ambience of being in a spacious landscaped setting  of trees, ponds, and a nearby river. Barwon Edge.  It's located in the area in between Highton and Newtown with some nearby mansions and the ground where our boys play 'Touch'. Yesterday we went there for coffee and scones and I took some photos. A year or so ago I did some sketches there in the grounds but it's too cold these days to stand out in the open.

A pelican at Balliang

from w
'I'm the king of the castle' and what a poser. The pelican stood up, turned left, turned right, stretched his neck and posed for the camera. At Balliang Sanctuary in Geelong this afternoon. Or maybe 'she'? We went out for fresh air when the sun came out after 2 p.m. There were also seagulls, water birds and even crows there.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

One more step along the way for tennis club

from w
Today was the launch of the East Geelong Uniting Tennis Club relocation to the Geelong Council Breakwater site to share a clubroom with a cricket club and be able to use three blue courts. It has been a cloudy, sometime rainy day, but we managed to perform the launch speeches and a prayer by the club president Rev Sani before afternoon tea inside the clubroom, then some of the lads had a game or two as the sun came out.  It was an important occasion marking the end of the difficult and painful process of finding a new venue for the teams because the Denman Street site was sold beneath our feet to help recover money lost in a venture of the Uniting Church Synod in Melbourne.  We did protest strongly with attention to the fact that this

is a community service and missional, but to no avail.  Anyway, our players and especially Mr Neil Lamond moved on with the process of emptying the clubroom to relocate.  We hope in the future for another court to be built, and the clubroom extended to accommodate our tennis club for the summer season. Meanwhile cricketers are having a break so that's good.  Here are some photos from this afternoon.

Journey to Jillong exhibition

from w
This afternoon Peceli and I went to the launch of the 'Journey to Jillong' exhi
bition at Osborne House in North Geelong. Our family had a display about our journey to Geelong from Fiji, photos, text and a few items. About twelve stories were displayed with musical instruments, photos, and all sorts of memorabilia, some from Greece, Slovania, England and other places. I was interested to meet one elderly couple and took a photo of them in front of a photo taken in Paris in 1957 as they escaped persecution.  The exhibition will be on for two more weeks and is well worth a visit.
At 53 Swinburne Street North Geelong  Friday 2 May - Sunday 18 May  Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays
Adults $5.00 Concession $2.50   Families $10.00 National Trust Members $2.50 
A Osborne House is a lovely venue, first built in the 1850s and at one time Corio Council offices. At present there's a dispute in the Geelong Council as some want to sell it, but others realize it's a great community resource for exhibitions and cultural workshops.