Storyfest 2018

There’s something for everyone at Storyfest – with over 180 sessions of workshops, free activities, performances, exhibitions and competitions on offer. Storyfest is Central Geelong Marketing’s 13 day multi-arts festival celebrating storytelling in all its forms. Storyfest offers traditional storytelling experiences (oral storytelling, books and music), and contemporary storytelling experiences (multi-media, visual arts and digital storytelling).

Storyfest Mural (002)

We also co-ordinate Storyfest’s sister program the Central Geelong Kids Fun Program, a program we’ve been running each school holidays for 14 years.

The inspiration for Storyfest comes from feedback from families who’ve participated in the Kids Fun Program. After each program we survey families and ask what kind of activities would they like to see in the future. Consistently the top three responses was, ‘More live entertainment, arts and crafts and storytelling’. So we created Storyfest for them and included all those elements and more.

Continue reading “Storyfest 2018”

Cultural Diversity Week 17-24 March, Anis

Cultural Diversity Week 2018 ‘Proud to belong’ 17-24 March. “My Dad has been my role model as he never gave up on his hard work, and he encouraged his children to get an education regardless of the harsh situation. My father passed away when I was young. I am thankful for my mother, who sacrificed her life and family to bring us to Australia. She gave me the opportunity to live in a peaceful country. Today, who I am is because of her.”


Today we have the pleasure of sharing the story of Anis Gul Mohammad Ali, an active, studious member of the Corio community of Geelong. “I was born in Afghanistan. When I was one year of age, my family fled to Pakistan where we became refugees. Pakistan and Afghanistan have been war torn countries since my birth so I never had an experience of what peace was. That was until I came to Australia. The life I now live is different in many aspects.”

Continue reading “Cultural Diversity Week 17-24 March, Anis”

Pumpkin Fair, Encompass, Jan

‘I wanted to be a hippie who spends all day writing and cuddling puppies,’ Jan Daniels, Pumpkin Fair Committee Chair for 3 years jokes when asked if working in a non-profit was what she had always wanted.  ‘I thought I’d just be running a little op shop called Readystart (Encompass Community Services’ pre-loved shop), maybe for a couple of years. Ten years later, I am still here and loving it!’

Encompas Jan

Jan was a solo parent of 3.  She had to learn how to be creative to ensure that there was enough for her family.  ‘I started volunteering when my youngest started school.  I have always enjoyed working in community roles.  I love to see what people can do with support and belief.  Everyone has a talent or skill; or idea.  They just need someone to nurture and support them. I think that’s one of the reasons I am still with Encompass after all these years.’

Continue reading “Pumpkin Fair, Encompass, Jan”

Advocate, Kirrily

‘I was born with Spina Bifida and in a wheelchair by age 9. My Mum was everything to me; my mother, best friend, an inspiration, a guiding light, my carer, someone to turn to in bad times. She was a courageous, compassionate, determined woman. So, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001 and died two years later, it was devastating. I was only 16.’ I had the pleasure of interviewing and welcoming Kirrily Hayward to the Humans in Geelong team.

Kirrily best

‘School was hard. I missed so much of it because of endless appointments and operations. Mum took me to all these and stayed after the ops. I suffered bullying and exclusion, kids can be cruel. I struggled with identifying with a disability. So, I was determined to join in. I was deemed ‘one who’d give stuff a go’ because I participated in so many different sporting events.

‘When cancer took Mum at the end of Year 10, the rest of my schooling was a write off. I do thank the many teachers that I am still dear friends with for helping me get through.

Continue reading “Advocate, Kirrily”

Hubcaps2CreativeHubs Documentary

Watch three beautifully filmed, fascinating short documentaries about Geelong for free. ‘Hubcaps to Creative Hubs’ is a series capturing the stories of Geelong’s industrial past and emerging #CleverCreative future. The films feature three local industrial sites that are being transformed into vibrant creative centres, the RS&S Wool Mill, Federal Woollen Mills and Fyansford Paper Mills. The films were funding by community grants and the people and businesses of Geelong. These documentaries are something we can be exceptionally proud of.

Fyansford Mills

The documentaries were filmed by leading television documentary producer Nick Searle, who many of you would remember from ‘The New Inventors’. The drone photography highlights our beautiful city.

You can read our interview with Dr Cristina Garduño Freeman published on November 26th 2016.

Story: Jacqui Bennett Photo: Fyansford Paper Mills Phil Hines Photography Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Parkinson’s Support, Harold

Parkinson’s Victoria has a Support Group in Geelong for anyone affected by Parkinson’s Disease.  The group exists for patients, their carers, and their families. It began in the early ‘80s and Harold Waldron has been the co-ordinator for 28 years.  Harold’s wife Margaret lived for well over 30 years after her diagnosis. A credit to the group is that often, partners continue to attend the meetings after the death of their loved one.  Some people attend for up to 20 years. It is non-profit, with its charter clearly stating that it is purely a self-help group.  Harold can be reached on 0417 549 437.

Parkinson's Support

The group assists newly-diagnosed patients, helping them to accept their diagnosis, and to be assured that Parkinson’s is non-life threatening.  While there no cure for Parkinson’s, there is plenty of support to provide assistance in understanding issues surrounding the disease.  The group is there to help life proceed as normally as possible.

Continue reading “Parkinson’s Support, Harold”


The homely, gorgeously lush Bond Street Kindergarten is decorated lovingly for Christmas as I lower myself into a chair that’s three sizes too small. A gaggle of toddlers are ushered into the room, giggling to themselves as they patiently wait for Ditto the lion cub to take them on his Keep Safe Adventure. Ditto is the mascot of Bravehearts, an education organisation dedicated to educating, empowering and protecting kids and community against child sexual assault. The three educators on the Bravehearts team are experienced primary school teachers, and it shows in their enthusiasm and gentleness when speaking with the kids.

“Am I in the wrong place?” asks Mandy Berry, “Because you’re sitting like school kids! Are you sure you aren’t school kids?” Positively chuffed at the praise, the kids are made to feel comfortable and welcome as Meryl Friend (dressed in the wonderfully elaborate Ditto the lion cub costume) takes them on Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure. Using songs, interactive discussions and a dash of humour, Ditto teaches the kids about personal safety, including “yes and no feelings”, which areas are private parts of their bodies, warning signs from their bodies, secrets are addressed and that they should report to an adult they trust if they ever feel unsafe or unsure about others. This community funded program is aimed to empower kids to speak up when they experience “no feelings”, and to identify the strategies they can use to protect themselves – such as the difference between long term and short term secrets. While the latter might be hiding the details of a surprise birthday party, the kids are encouraged to reveal any “secrets” someone has told them to keep if it makes them feel unsafe or unsure.

Ditto and Bravehearts Geelong Education Team (002)

Continue reading “Bravehearts”