Sally Miller

“I’m opening my new art studio in our old Shearing Shed, for the first time, for the Surf Coast Arts Trail, so we have been very busy getting it up to scratch. Our property is quite well known in the district as one of the original farms in Winchelsea, and I plan to host workshops and art groups from this space in future.” Local artist Sally Miller talks lovingly about her new gallery and workshop space. “It’s been used as a storage space for years and I’m very excited about its new identity.”

“Our property is the old Quambatook Shearing Shed at 135 Winchelsea Deans March Rd. The Surf Coast Arts Trail, is next weekend, 6th and 7th August from 10-4pm. Wear your gumboots or sensible walking shoes as a number of studios are in rural locations.

“We are hoping for good numbers for the 10th Surf Coast Arts Trail this year, after two years of cancellations. A number of new studios have been included in the trail. We have a strong arts group in my area, Winchelsea, called ‘River Lee’ and a few of these artists are showing their works in the arts trail too. Find out more and download the map here https://surfcoastartstrail.com.au/

Continue reading “Sally Miller”

Paper Women.

“Paper Women takes women’s stories/experiences of abuse and uses them to create an artwork.  Women can either write their story or indicate the types of abuse they have suffered through a checkbox survey.  Their stories and experiences are then printed into the artwork – one paper woman per response, forming part of a chain of women,” explains Portarlington artist Amanda Firenze.  

“So far 54 responses have been received.  The artwork has been exhibited at the Geelong Library and the Vines Road Community Centre.  It is currently on display at the Rosewall Community Centre. Check out my website to see where it is going next. The paper women are also displayed online, with permission.  All printed stories are anonymous to protect women’s identities and can also be submitted anonymously. My website and information on where you can submit is listed below.  

Continue reading “Paper Women.”

Dr Barbara Baird

“I do not understand the human race, has so little love for creatures with a different face. Treating animals like people is no madness or disgrace.” Dr Dolittle. When you first meet Dr Barbara Baird you are reminded of this quote from Dr Dolittle. Barbara is a lively, intelligent woman with a myriad of talents and interests, not least of all ‘her’ native Australian animals, which she regards as family.

After working one-hundred-hour weeks, as a specialist anaesthetist, Barbara gifted herself early retirement in 1983. ‘Retirement’ obviously has a different definition in Barbara’s language. It appears synonymous with a change of direction rather than actually slowing down. One would suspect that she still commits to one-hundred-hour weeks with her involvement in ABC Friends Victoria, Australian Conservation Foundation, rescuing and nursing back to health injured Australian fauna and restoring, since 1983 a 64.75 hectares property, which had been completely decimated by cattle and soil erosion.

When Barbara happened across the deserted property, with a forlorn “For Sale” sign hanging haphazardly from a rusted gate, she fell in love and relished the challenge it presented. Living with no electricity for many years, Barbara has only in the past few years installed solar panels and remains off grid. The land responded to Barbara’s love and innovative ideas. Now nurtured back to full health it is a safe haven and habitat to a dynamic ecosystem. Holding court is an ancient Eucalyptus tree that Barbara fondly named her Thinking Tree. In 1983 the tree was one of the few signs of hope on the abandoned property. Over the years Barbara has sat in its bough, sharing every emotion and dream with this steadfast tree friend.

Continue reading “Dr Barbara Baird”

Miranda Luby

“When I was 14, my family moved overseas. I vividly remember a friend turning to me and saying, ‘You can be anyone you want now. You can totally reinvent yourself’. I think that’s so relatable, this dream of starting over. Of being someone brand new and better, like some kind of magic trick. It’s something so many of us try to do every New Year’s or even every Monday! A few years ago, I realised it would make a great opening for a novel.”

We interviewed award-winning writer @Miranda Luby Writer about writing and publishing her debut young adult novel, Sadie Starr’s Guide to Starting Over, out on August 2nd.

“After starting out at the @Geelong Advertiser and @GT Magazine, I’ve been a freelance journalist and copywriter for most of my career. I’ve written for publications like BBC Travel, National Geographic, and the New York Post.”

Miranda Luby

“My whole life I’d dreamed of writing a novel, but my perfectionism and fear of failure always got in the way. I’d write pages of notes, maybe even a few chapters, but give up when I was worried it wasn’t good enough. Finally, I decided to lean into those fears and write them into the novel in the hope that it might help someone else struggling with the same things.”

“I entered the novel in the Text Prizeand a few months later I received a call from @Text Publishing saying they wanted to publish it. It was an absolute dream come true and I have no doubt that it happened because I decided to write from the heart, which is the best advice I can give any aspiring writer.”

Sadie Starr’s Guide to Starting Over is about a 16-year-old girl whose family moves interstate when she’s in year 11 and she uses it as a chance to reinvent herself. But when things get very complicated with a girl gang at her new school, she realises she can’t really leave her past self behind. The book is about all the ways black-and-white thinking can be harmful to us both personally and in our society: disordered eating, perfectionism, social media activism, cancel culture. I hope it helps people, especially teens, see the world and others with a little more nuance.”

“And a bonus for locals: there’s a scene set on the Surf Coast! Can you guess which lookout it is?”

Miranda will be signing personalised copies of her book at @Torquay Books on Saturday, August 6th from 11am – 1pm.

Find out more about Sadie Starr’s Guide to Starting Over here: www.textpublishing.com.au/books/sadie-starr-s-guide-to-starting-over

Miranda’s book is available for preorder now from your local bookshop.

Prashanth Ramesh 

Hello good people of Geelong,

My name is Prashanth Ramesh (@biriyaniprabhu) from India. I’m a graduate of Deakin University with a master’s degree in Electrical and Renewable Energy Engineering. 

I came to Australia in November 2019, with no expectations to be a part of this beautiful community. The welcoming culture and diversified society here made me feel more comfortable and allowed me to be myself most of the time. The people, the weather, the culture and the food have made me feel at home, and today, Geelong is my home away from home.

My passion led me to make some amazing connections on the Instagram platform which I will cherish for a long time. Out of all the foods I have had and loved, Biriyani is something which is an emotion to me and hence the love of Biriyani made me name my page “Biriyani Prabhu” which means “Lord/ King of Biriyani”. 

I have continued my exploration here in Australia by visiting some eateries that stand out and have their uniqueness of their own, having said that, I’m still yet to visit places and know more and taste more. 

My basic rule in blogging would be that “Content is the King”. If the content is good, the audience will automatically like/follow, rather than focussing on the quantity, focusing on quality is what I keep in my mind and suggest to bloggers and friends even in their lives. 

There are so many things that I learned and adapted in my life from my blogging, every day is a learning opportunity, and every day is a day to make different from yesterday and plan for a better tomorrow.

Covideo Twenty21.

Covideo Twenty21 Geelong Short Film Festival takes a look back at the pandemic of these past two years. It will be on at the Dome Geelong with a night filled with entertainment, guest speakers, and prizes.  Don’t miss out!

Bookings at https://www.trybooking.com/BXORG

Saturday 2 July 2022 7:00 PM – 9:30 PM

The Dome Geelong Regional Library
51 Little Malop St , Geelong Vic 3220

For more information visit covideo21.com.au

or https://www.facebook.com/Covideo21FilmFest

Sandra Brogden.

 One powerful image of equity is that ‘everyone has a place at the table and a voice at the table’. This is Sandra Brogden’s hope for Australia and a catalyst for her curious reflection, rightfully questioning why there isn’t a bigger representation of Aboriginal people across all areas of society? 

Sandra is warm, wise and articulate. She laughs easily. Her stories are engaging, reflecting a rich tapestry of life experiences and ancestry. 

Minang Noongar people of South West of Western Australia and Karajarri and Bardi people of the Kimberley are Sandra’s proud lineage. 

Russell Brogden was traveling around Australia, when he arrived in Albany and met Sandra. They married and welcomed their twins Jack and Chloe, who are now twenty-two years of age. Geelong has been their home for many years. Sandra’s wish for her own children is that they will grow to be the best of themselves and always be kind…no doubt reflective of her own modus operandi. 

 Sandra’s Mum was a nurse. Her Dad, although having left school in Year Seven, embraced the importance of lifelong learning for their seven children. He ended up as a Health Worker after managing an expansive Aboriginal Corporation in the South West of Western Australia 

Family and education were two of many important values imparted to Sandra by her parents. She credits them with giving her a strong sense of identity and tangible connection with culture and community. Working hard and completing school, Sandra went on to become a teacher. The longer her involvement in education the more impassioned she became about improving educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. She has witnessed what a catalyst education can be for real social change. 

Sandra’s professional life has been rich and varied, too comprehensive to completely notate. Her current position is a Consultant to Indigenous Education, across the four campuses of Geelong Grammar and many other voluntary and professional roles, related to education and culture. 

During her rich and diverse career Sandra also returned to Perth, working as an Educational Team Leader for ten years. After this tenure she relocated to Broome to connect with that space, spend precious time with her grandparents and work throughout the Kimberley’s supporting schools in the capacity of Educational Consultancy. 

Sandra, Russell and their adult children are always assured of a loving welcome when they return to family in WA. Holding a kaleidoscope of experiences and memories, Sandra’s love of family, culture and stories pertaining to these, are at times poignant, funny and always transformative. 

One such small anecdote is of Sandra’s ‘Aunties’ sitting in Church, wanting to bring Sandra ‘up to speed’ on local news. They ‘point’ with their lips when wanting to identify someone involved in their story. A smile plays on one’s own lips, as you visualise this group of beautiful elders, imagining that they are being so discrete as they all purse their lips in the same direction. They may unwittingly have been catalysts for the ‘prop and pout’ social media generation. 

A reflective human, Sandra ponders the philosophical questions, “What I do? Who I am? How I do it?”, to remain focused and effective. 

The answers to these self-reflective questions are patently clear to anyone who knows her. Sandra has a very strong work ethic, a great sense of humour and a wonderful balance of intellect and common sense. She is grounded yet visionary; determined to continue to address intergenerational 

trauma through education and connection, across our vast, ancient land and within the Djilang, Geelong community. 

There is still so much work to be done. Sandra is a realist and recognises the challenges within education, a microcosm of our broader societal issues, that still need to be comprehensively addressed. However, in and through this, her work and her gentle positivity personify the Aboriginal saying, “Keep your eyes on the sun and you will not see the shadows”. 

Sovereignty has never been ceded. It always was and always will be Aboriginal land. Sandra continues to be a wise and passionate advocate and architect for 

– changing the ‘look and feel’ of schools for Aboriginal students. 

-working with teachers to include Aboriginal perspectives in the curriculum 

-working with school leadership on how to more authentically embrace real inclusivity. 

As Sandra explains “If schools are changing their practise for Aboriginal students, it is changing the practice for all students and everyone benefits.” 

Sandra Brogden’s local voluntary work and professional career are the embodiment of the Aboriginal Proverb, 

“Traveller, there are no paths. Paths are made by walking.” 

Geelong is more than fortunate that Sandra, Russell and their family created a path that led them to ‘walk’ into our lives all those years ago. Our Educational institutions, our students and our community have benefited exponentially from the numerous paths Sandra has forged since arriving in Djilang, the original name of Geelong. 

 Sandra Brogden’s Story written by Jacinta Foster-Raimondo 

Baby Guerrilla.

“My mission is to liberate art from just the gallery, or the picture frame, and make it accessible to everyone. I love the idea of setting art free, setting our souls free, to dream and imagine, and go floating across a wall.

“I seek to create worlds, meaning out of mayhem, and dreams from despair.

“After graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts, I was all set for life as a painter.  Street Art began as a hobby on the side that seemed to take on a life of its own then grew and grew.  Now I see the two mediums as complimentary.  The possibilities for my drawings are infinite.

“I see drawing on walls as a beautiful challenge… the challenge of space and constraints.  Defying gravity, dancing with gravity.  The love affair continues…

“Last year I moved from Sunshine to Geelong and am enjoying the Surfcoast. I create large Street Art, often of people flying or falling.”

Insta: @babyguerrilla http://babyguerrilla.com/ Facebook: @babyguerilla

Zero Plastics Australia.

“In our first year of operation we rescued just over 800kgs, or over a quarter of a million single-use plastic lids from going to landfill, waterways or worse, our oceans.”

Adam (Adz) and Ashlee (Ash) Slater co-founded and run, along with “best mate of 20 years” Zac Johns, Zero Plastics Australia; “a small family-owned business turning single-use waste into new unique and practical products”.

It was their eye-catching stall at the Geelong Circular Living Show that first grabbed my attention. Boxes, earrings, USB’s, key-rings, clipboards, pens, combs (the list goes on), seemingly forged in an explosion of colour!  After a friendly chat, I was not only inspired by learning how they make each design, but also by the story that brought about their Ballarat-based business. Adz recounts the journey:

Continue reading “Zero Plastics Australia.”

Jem Fuller.

The Winding Journey that Led Me to Where I’m Supposed to Be.

In the earlier chapters of my adult life, I identified as a vehemently anti-establishment, bohemian, radical, get-me-out-of-the-rat-race individual. Many years spent adventuring in the back waters of foreign lands, disappearing into the fabrics of eastern cultures, and connecting with ‘strange’ people from vastly different places, gave me perspectives no university degree ever could.

To fund these extended vagabond years, I found myself working a vast array of jobs; from fire-dancer to tattooist, motorcycle courier to kindergarten teacher, labourer to volunteer, healer to actor, singer/songwriter and too many more ventures to mention here.

In my early thirties, as a married man and new father, I realised it was time to ‘grow up’ and get a ‘real job’. Not knowing what else to do with no qualifications, I started my career as a travel consultant in a multi-national travel company. I did well enough to climb the ranks and end up in a senior leadership position with a lot of staff, plenty of zeros after the revenue numbers in the spreadsheets, the accompanying pressure to relentlessly drive net profit growth and way too many hours in a suit and tie. I was pretending to be happy.

When my father and brother both died (2009, 2010) we moved to the Great Ocean Road to be closer to family and raise our children.

Continue reading “Jem Fuller.”