Santa Photos.

We are looking for a volunteer photographer. BCYF and Geelong Cats are partnering up to host an inclusive and accessible holiday event for children with disabilities and their families.

Specifically designed for children who may not be able to join in traditional Christmas events, due to disabilities or sensory sensitivities, families will be able to participate in our sessions as an accessible and inclusive alternative. Parents and children have been invited into the Sensory Zone at GMHBA stadium to have their photo taken with Santa in a sensory safe and accessible space. This event is sold out.

 We would love to partner with a local Photographer to be our volunteer photographer for the day. People with lived experience of disability are strongly encouraged to apply, as this event is fully accessible.

The whole event is volunteer run. Letters of recommendation can be provided at the completion of the event. BCYF and Kardinia Park will also be offering vouchers as a form of reimbursement.

Sessions are running 13th – 16th December at GMHBA stadium, 1-3pm & 4-7pm. You can volunteer for any sessions that suit.

 Please send expressions of interest to or contact 0421 230 823 for more information.

All volunteers are required to have a current Police Check and Working with Children check or be willing to apply prior to the event.

Shedding the Blues.

A chat over a coffee at a café in Queenscliff led to the establishment of an innovative community group aimed at connecting residents who had reached or were nearing retirement age and who share a love of music.

Research indicates that this demographic, now experiencing less structure in their lives and sometimes lacking that sense of being useful and purposeful beyond their immediate families, face the prospect of increasingly poor health outcomes and social isolation as they age.

Retired school principals, Des Gorman and Paul Jones met to discuss an idea based on the notion of a men’s shed, but using music as the connector rather than tools and machines. The word soon went out and a group of men across the whole of the Bellarine and East Geelong met at the Queenscliff Neighbourhood House to flesh out the concept.

A launch in early 2020 saw a packed hall at the Queenscliff RSL which has now become home to a solid group of men and women who meet regularly to play music together, teach each other musical skills and tricks, check on each other, share tips on maintaining mental and physical good health and prepare for public performances.


The name, Shedding the Blues, paints different images in describing the group’s aims and vision. The term “Shedding” has dual meanings in that one concept is that of a shed where people meet and share as well as the concept of removing, i.e. leaving negative thoughts behind. The notion of the “Blues” relates to how we are travelling in combination with the things we love about the healing force of music and the joy to be experienced when we share musical experiences.

Continue reading “Shedding the Blues.”

Luke Valdeter.

We hope that in sharing these stories, we can help to reduce the stigma and taboo surrounding death & dying, to assist our community in healing, and preparing for one of life’s inevitable challenges. ‘Humans of Kings Funerals’ is a short series opening the door to locals who work in funeral service, their purpose, and their lives within our shared community.

In this third episode we meet Luke Valdeter, Digital Media Producer at Kings Funerals. We explore some different ways that photos, video and livestreaming can enhance the funeral experience for bereaved families and learn about how Luke’s passion for funeral service started as a third-generation member of his own family’s funeral business.

“I enjoy helping people, I’ve always enjoyed doing that” Luke Valdeter – Bellarine local.

The Bench.

It was a cold and wet winter’s night as I left the hospital. It was close to 9:00pm. The person I was visiting had their own room and was very unwell, so I was able to extend normal visiting hours.

Tired and preoccupied, it was by sheer chance that I noticed the young man, lying on the bench outside the hospital. Beautiful eyes in a world worn face, the young man was only in his early twenties, a similar age to one of my own children. My heart ached.

After checking that it was not a physical medical crisis I asked,

“Mate, what can I do for you, what do you need?”

I assumed his response; given his rough sleeping status and dishevelled appearance. His actual response was far more powerful and poignant……… “I need a hug”, he replied.

With the able assistance of others, supporting me, he got the hug and some help.

Another human in Geelong desperate for authentic connection.

The ‘not for profit’ community group ‘Humans in Geelong’ aims to inspire, build connection and strengthen community. Our stories reflect ordinary humans in Geelong that are doing extraordinary things.

This young man, caught in the ‘isolation of survival’ was yet to find his ‘extraordinary’….but extraordinary he was. Personifying author Amanda Richardson’s quote, “In a world where many wear a mask, it is a privilege to see a soul”.

Continue reading “The Bench.”

Queenscliff Art Prize.

“My extended family have lived in Queenscliff since the 1850’s and as a child I spent all my holidays fishing with my grandfather who, like his father and grandfather, were professional fishermen. The Queenscliff Pier was a big fixture in my childhood and after a long career publishing glossy magazine with my brother Adam, the idea dawned upon me that the pier, once a very busy place when the paddle steamers and the passenger ferries were in service, would make an ideal art gallery, especially as the pier is so connected to the centre of the town.” We hear from art enthusiast Chris MacLeod.

“The Queenscliff Art Prize exhibition is a unique celebration of Australian art, where the works from artists from across Australia are exhibited outside on the historic Queenscliff Pier against the exciting back drop of Port Phillip Bay, in Victoria.

“As Adam and I had years of experience in the graphics industry we found it relatively easy to craft a design for the exhibition panels that ensured they truly looked like art, withstood the weather and had sufficient continuity to create an exhibition of works.

“It’s a great location being outdoors and covid safe. Queenscliff is a much-gentrified town and we both took great pride to create this unique celebration of Australian art in a town where we had both spent much of our youth.

“Over 100 original artworks will be photographed and these unique images will be transferred onto weatherproof aluminium panels, and these large format panels will be installed on the Queenscliff Pier. The forthcoming Queenscliff Art Prize exhibition will also feature 15 artworks from QArt Gallery, a studio that supports artists with an intellectual disability.”

The Queenscliff Art prize exhibition will run from the 1st of November till the end of April and this free covid safe attraction is arguably the biggest outdoor art exhibition in Australia. It is the latest addition to the Australian Art Trail and a must-see attraction for all.

Photos supplied.

Jam for Refugees.

“Jam for Refugees” in Geelong is a 10-hour concert, to benefit refugees in our area, this Saturday Oct 29th at St Paul’s in Latrobe Terrace from 11am-9pm. Entrance is by donation, and people are encouraged to “come when you can, leave when you must.” “Jam for Refugees” originated in Canberra where it ran for three successive years.

The “Jam” will consist of a series of 30-minute time slots featuring local musicians, groups, choirs and school groups. About every 2 hours there will be a short talk (5-10 minutes) by a prominent person, someone working with refugees, or a refugee. 

This year the Jam will be opened by well-known Geelong figure Keith Fagg and will be closed by Libby Coker. There’ll be a recorded message from distinguished author Hugh Mackay. Another speaker will be a refugee who will relate some of his experiences.

The aim is to raise both money and awareness to aid the plight of refugees, especially considering Australia’s record in the treatment of refugees, and the policies surrounding them. Recent events, especially Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have only added to the refugee problem and the enormous suffering being experienced by so many people.

As the number of refugees worldwide increases daily, it’s time to take action. All funds raised at the “Jam” will be donated to CRAG (Combined Refugee Action Group of Geelong) for their much-needed legal fund.  Neither “Jam for Refugees” nor CRAG has any overheads, so you can be assured that every cent donated will go directly to assist refugees.

Humans in Geelong care and take action.

26 Jan – Have your say.

“It’s time to recognise the deep trauma and move forward together,” Corrina Eccles Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation. The City of Greater Geelong is seeking feedback from the community about 26 January. They acknowledge that for many First Nations People it represents a day of mourning, sorrow and survival.

There is lots of interesting information on the City’s website. To have your say, there’s a survey you can fill in and a public forum at 5pm on Tuesday 25 October at Wurrki Nyal, 137-149 Mercer St, Geelong. You’ll need to book via the link on their website:

Be part of the conversation.

Artwork by Dr Jenny Murray-Jones, title: “Corio” 2019.

Geelong Cup 2022

The sun was shining and the sky was blue. The crowds were out, in family and corporate groups. Marquees and lawn areas filled with life after a two year hiatus. Food and fashion, frivolity and fun.

Nearly 11,000 racegoers doing their bit to reinvigorate Geelong. Fillies and favourites, furlongs and failure, it cannot be a fairytale for all, regardless of the hard work and preparation. Emissary won the main race, Andrea Moore won Fashions On The Field. 

However the overall winner was Geelong Racing Club and the flow on effect for everyone when an event is such a great success. Jacinta Foster-Raimondo

National Bird Week 2022.

Who loves birds? It’s National Bird Week, Oct 17 – 23rd and you can help celebrate. Sign up for the Aussie Bird Count 17-23 October. Australia’s biggest citizen science event. Taking part in the count is easy. It takes 2 mins to sign up, and 20 minutes to count.

To complete the Aussie Bird Count, spend 20 minutes standing or sitting in one spot and noting down the birds that you see.

You will need to count the number of each species you spot within the 20 minute period. For example, you might see 4 Australian Magpies, 2 Rainbow Lorikeets and a Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo. If you can identify birds by their calls, please include these in your count, but if you aren’t sure of a bird without seeing it, please exclude it rather than making a guess.

The Aussie Bird Count app has a handy field-guide to help you identify birds.

Once you have completed your count, you can submit it in two different ways:

You can submit your bird count through the online web form OR you can submit your count through the free Aussie Bird Count app. 

The celebration of National Bird Week has its origins back in the early 1900s. Have fun counting!

Photo: Blue Wren on the coastal path to Limeburners Point.

How to Thrive.

Local, Luke Anderson led a troubled childhood which resulted in time behind bars. Positive Psychology has helped him turn his life around. He features in the Mental Health Documentary ‘How to Thrive’ and it’s coming to Geelong.

‘How to Thrive’ follows the progress of seven people attending an extended positive psychology program to help them deal with significant mental health struggles throughout the pandemic. Positive psychotherapist Marie McLeod takes these people on a transformative journey to learn the secret formula to happiness.

Luke tells us “Working through the positive psychology program featured in the documentary gave me the tools to reframe things and to be more appreciative of what I’ve got. Really importantly, I learnt how to give and receive love and help.”

The film’s premise is; if we offer the science of happiness to people experiencing struggle; what difference would it make? Is happiness a learnable skill and can we teach people skills to live a happy, healthy and meaningful life? The result is an intimate, heartfelt and hopeful film that offers a rare glimpse into the lives of 7 people who make incredible transformation as a result of learning ‘How to Thrive’.


The link below has a list of screenings in Geelong including at Reading on this Sunday 16th and Village on 17th and 23rd. On Sunday 23rd, Luke Anderson and prominent Geelong Psychologist Chris Mackey who was consulted on the film and is in it albeit briefly, will be on the Q&A panel afterward with the film director and program facilitator.