Clean Up Australia, March 7.

It’s Clean Up Australia Day! You can find your local site at I’ll be over at the Wandana Heights Oval at Tim Hill Reserve running a site from 9.30-10.30. We ran our local school Clean Up at Highton Primary on Tuesday and hundreds of kids enthusiastically helped out. One boy told me he wants to be a Marine Biologist and he knows that cleaning up rubbish helps it from getting washed in to our water systems then out to sea where it could harm marine animals.

If an area is clean, people are less likely to drop papers in the first place. So, no matter where you are on this beautiful Autumn day, you could simply pick up a few papers to make a difference.

Cute photo borrowed from The Awesome Foundation.

Hands Off Spring Creek.

“This is a critical time in what has been a long campaign, but we’re so close to ending this disastrous proposal once and for all.” Torquay local, Damien Cole, is the National Campaign Director for Surfrider Foundation Australia, and is also on the board of the Greater Torquay Alliance, who are currently working hard to save the Spring Creek Valley in Torquay from urban development. 

Last time we heard from Damien and Surfrider Foundation they were busy with the ‘Fight for the Bight’ campaign. Without a moment of rest, they are calling on more support for this issue, which is a little closer to home.

You may have seen the ‘Hands Off Spring Creek’ signs around the area, maybe you wrote one of the 3,161 submissions, (94% of which were in favour of no urban development in the Spring Creek Valley), or perhaps this is the first you’ve heard about it. Whatever the case, the campaign is still in full swing.

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Michael Lawrence

“In Finland, every school is a good school.”

I’m speaking with Geelong Author Michael Lawrence between the sounds of pop music and helicopters flying over Waterfront bay. Michael is an avid music fan, having taught for 30 years in English and music across a wide variety of schools and year levels. His first book, Showtime, documents Cold Chisel’s performances and reformation in 1998. At the time, there were no books on the band and Michael decided he would fix this oversight. Luckily the book was perfectly timed as the band was planning a comeback and Michael was able to network with DJ Billy Pinnel and worked with the band to have up-close access to their journey.

 “If you want to do something about it, then write something,” Michael says.

This brings us to the topic of his latest book ‘Testing 3,2,1: What Australian Education Can Learn From Finland’. In Australia, 30-50% of teachers leave the profession within the first five years after graduating. Meanwhile, 90% of Finnish teachers remain in the profession for their entire career. Hoping to find the secret to Finnish success, Michael accepted an invite into their schools to bring their knowledge back to Australia. After arriving the Finnish teachers asked questions about standardised testing and ranking students Michael didn’t have answers for, prompting him to look at our education system and find the answer.

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Sons of Sun.

There’s an uplifting 1950s rock and roll play coming to town.  ‘Sons of Sun – Elvis, Jerry Lee, Johnny and Me’ is playing at The Globe Theatre in Winchelsea on Saturday March 6th. We hear more from the writer and producer of this Sydney based show, Kieran Carroll.

“The charismatic Matthew Charleston (pictured here) plays the character of Sam Phillips, the founder of Sun Records and the first man to record Elvis, Jerry Lee, Johnny Cash and many others.

“In the mid 1950’s, Sam Phillips’ discovery of Elvis and the subsequent invention of rock and roll made Sun Records the most famous record label in the world. The Australian play, ‘Sons of Sun – Elvis, Jerry-Lee, Johnny and Me’ tracks that journey and the glory of the music created at the Sun studio.

“The show features a three-piece live band fronted by John Kennedy, performing thirty-five songs from Elvis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and many more.

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Pako Festa 2021

Pako Festa has been reimagined for 2021, and Diversitat have ensured that there’s plenty on to keep you busy this weekend and beyond!  Jump onto their website to see the festival guide, as you will need to book ahead for this COVIDSafe event. 

Pako Festa 2021 spreads across 13 different locations, each offering cultural entertainment and dining.

For Art lovers, Pako Festa have you covered. Follow the ‘Elements of Culture Arts Trail’ featured in shop windows along Pakington St (between Gordan Ave and Church St) showcasing artwork from both professional and emerging local artists until March 27th.  

And don’t miss the Night Projections! Featuring over 30 diverse communities, Night Projections offer an audio-visual alternative to the usual Pako parade, and will be running nightly from 8:30pm-11:30pm on the Geelong West Town Hall until March 13th.

Further information can be found at:

Photo: Matt Houston

History Alive! Geelong’s Unique Cemetery Tours.

A walk through a cemetery can elicit many ideas about ghosts or morbidity, but as the title of this tour suggests, here you actually meet the residents who tell you their stories at their grave sites. They are played by actors of course- some of Geelong’s most experienced. As the walk progresses around the cemetery, guided by one of the residents themselves, tour participants are presented with a human portrayal of that person’s life; bringing a voice to names many of us hear or see every day, but know little about.

It all began in 2015 when Geelong Cemeteries Trust’s deputy CEO Frank De Groot contacted local theatrical entrepreneur Colin Mockett, with the core of this idea. Together they researched and put together a line-up of real people for the first tour in 2016.That has grown to now become five tours over three local cemeteries, occurring every weekend in March 2021. And every revived ‘character’ still adheres to the original concept that they must have ‘a strong storyline and a recognisable connection with Geelong today.’ That, along with ‘an element of surprise and a backstory that resonates with the 21st Century tourist’.

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Acclaimed for his major transformations of abandoned spaces worldwide, RONE returns to his hometown of Geelong with his first survey exhibition and a unique and immersive experience set to inspire audiences. His exhibition opens 27 February 2021 at the Geelong Gallery.

‘My show is an ode to abandoned spaces and a reminder to value the original treasure they once were. Influenced by the architecture of the building and the toll of time, the central installation preserves an imagined moment of the space adorned at its finest and left to slowly deteriorate. Featuring a push and pull between light and dark, viewers may be compelled to either end of the experience but are united in the same recognition of overall decay. The damage has been done and my installation invokes a longing for what is lost and cannot ever return.’

Over the last two decades, RONE has built an exceptional reputation for large-scale wall paintings and entrancing installations that explore concepts of beauty and decay. Geelong Gallery’s presentation will include the first comprehensive solo survey of the artist’s career from early stencil works and street art, to photographs that document his transformation of abandoned spaces (one of which will be brought to life in a 3D recreation, commissioned for this exhibition).

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Fresh Creative Entertainment, Chantelle & Benji.

Imagine girls in spectacular, sequined outfits on roller skates. Imagine small, curious circus acts. Imagine scintillatingly dressed characters on stilts. You name it, Fresh Creative Entertainment are your bet. It was fun catching up with directors, Chantelle Fava and Benji Leeks.

Chantelle tells us, “it was 11 years ago that I started the business and Benji joined us about 8 years ago.”

Chantelle started her career in Musical Theatre being flown to Europe to perform in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s record breaking musical, Starlight Express. This is where she found her love for roller skating! Chantelle worked throughout Europe dancing on many live TV shows and touring with shows such as Saturday Night Fever, to name just one.

“Once back in Australia I enjoyed working as Captain Starlight at the Royal Children’s Hospital. Benji started his career in America touring with a circus. In Geelong he works as a massage therapist at The In8Life. 

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Rocky and Whiskas.

“The words Gay or Homosexual are not uncommon in the world today. In fact, they are quite acceptable. Now, prepare yourself for what is fact in the rooster world and the entertainment for me is something magical.” Elaine Janes has a Valentine Tale for us.

“Rocky, my silkie rooster, almost three years old, is a rock-solid male. He has always been a real loner and is a magnificent looking creature. His shiny long hair covers many shades of golden brown to blonde. He never gets in a tizz and always sleeps alone in a big dog kennel, putting himself to bed between 5 and 6pm every night.

“Now his life has changed dramatically. Love at first sight happened the afternoon of arriving home with Whiskas, a rescue rooster who needed a home. He was tucked under my arm, and had no idea how his life would become enriched and mushy.

“Whiskas, a mixture breed has a velvety coat of rainbow colours highlighted with a white feathered moustache. He looks gung-ho, he also has an unusual walk. His feet cross each other almost like a ballet dancer. One could say he often walks on demi-point.

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Floating gas terminal proposed for Corio Bay.

Would you like something like this to be a blot on the landscape of our beautiful bay? “Are you aware that VIVA Energy are planning to build a floating gas terminal for Corio Bay, near the current VIVA oil refinery to enable the import of LNG (methane, a fossil fuel) to Victoria? Do you want to see more sustainable energy solutions for Geelong and Victoria?” Geelong Sustainability tell us more.

“If the project is granted environmental approvals, large gas tanker vessels will be sailing past Portarlington, Clifton Springs and other bay beach areas and docking within view of Eastern Beach.  

“To accommodate these ships, the Bay will require some dredging, a pier and a 900m floating storage regasification vessel is proposed for construction. 

“There is likely to be significant impacts upon the local environment (including the nearby Ramsar Wetlands at Limeburner’s Lagoon), as well as impact upon our community’s recreation and amenity, greenhouse gas emissions, climate, business and energy futures.

“Geelong Sustainability is hosting a Community Information forum on Wed Feb 24 (6.15 for 6.30pm start, Covid restrictions allowing) at Geelong West Town Hall to inform the community about this project.  

Continue reading “Floating gas terminal proposed for Corio Bay.”