Rikki Dank, Gudanji Traditional Owner.

My name is Rikki. I’m a proud custodian of the lands and waters of Gudanji Country in the Northern Territory.

I know this Country. I read this Country. I speak for it and its songlines. Fighting for it is my birthright.

I’ve been fighting for my Country against fracking gasfields for years. But any day now, the Federal Government will try to rush through new laws that would pour $50 million of public money into fracking gasfields across my Country and the Country of neighbouring Nations.

If this goes ahead, our lands, water, cultural heritage, and the future of our communities are all at stake.

But the Senate can block these new laws – if enough of the opposition stand up, against it. So I’ve written them a letter with Traditional Owners of neighbouring Nations of Yanyuwa, Garrwa, Alawa, Mudburra, and Jingili.

Our message is simple:

We will not allow fracking corporations to cause any more pain, hurt or division in our communities. We will not allow them to drill fracking gasfields across our Country. Not now. Not ever.

Humans of Geelong, we are asking you to join us in our call.

Will you add your name to our open letter ?

SIGN ON!

These greedy gas and oil corporations have consistently shown us disrespect as we say no to their dangerous and risky fracking gasfield plans. Giving them more power and money to desecrate our lands undermines our land rights as Traditional Owners.

They say this money is for “recovery”. Tell me, how does drilling into our land and poisoning our water help us recover?

How does pouring money into destruction instead of answering our persistent calls for proper housing and healthcare in our communities help us recover?

$50 million for fracking corporations is not recovery – it’s short-term money that will cause long term pain, sow division, and damage Country and community.

Sincerely,

Rikki Dank, Gudanji Traditional Owner.

Note, a group of locals worked very hard to implement a ban on fracking in Victoria.

Photo: Aboriginal artist, through the Torch Project, projected on to building next to Barwon Water by Matt Bonner for Reconciliation Week 2021.

Ana Fernanda Covarrubias.

“I want to make women feel comfortable in their own skin, while focusing on sustainable and ethically made fashion.” We hear from Mexican Eco-Fashion Designer, Ana Fernanda Covarrubias who now calls Geelong home.

Ana and partner Noe Mondragon, came to Australia 5 years ago under the Skilled Worker VISA scheme and as part of this visa requirement, lived in Dubbo NSW, for 3 years before moving to our beautiful region of the world. They love our proximity to Melbourne and our stunning beaches. They’re thrilled to be permanent residents who will be applying for Australian citizenship soon.

Ana is extremely grateful to be living here, she wants to connect with community and give back. This led her to running ‘The Second Start’ program which were workshops based on fashion sustainability, recycling and styling for refugees. These workshops were supported by Diversitat, Barwon, Child, Youth & Family (BCYF) and Sister Works in Melbourne. While last year put a stop to these, Ana plans to run them again in the future.

“There are many ways to approach a more sustainable fashion world – you can be fashionable and look amazing while being sustainable. I use deadstock cotton and recycled clothing to create a truly unique, upcycled Couture.

“Why follow trends when you can create your own style.

Continue reading “Ana Fernanda Covarrubias.”

Alli Sinclair.

A born traveller, Geelong local Alli Sinclair worked as a mountain climbing guide in Peru and Argentina in her early twenties. Alli recalls that she felt like she was home when she arrived in Argentina, and her book Luna Tango is her love letter to the country. Alli’s books have been translated into many languages and are read around the world. With international travel currently restricted, Alli recommends armchair travelling through books as a fulfilling alternative. After starting her family in Canada, Alli moved back to Australia so her children could experience the same opportunities she had taken for granted growing up. Australia is a very lucky country, Alli tells me, especially now that there are many different cultures living here that we can experience and learn from.

Alli’s sixth and most recent book, The Codebreakers, explores the story of female codebreakers during World War II. The Codebreakers is more than a WWII story, but also about loyalties, and the power of women and female friendships. “I love writing about women who buck the system,” Alli tells me. After writing Burning Fields, set in 1948 Brisbane about a woman working in the Australian Women’s Army Service, Alli searched for other Brisbane women for inspiration for her next story. A tiny article about female codebreakers popped up, and Alli went down the rabbit hole researching this story. Alli says it is important for writers to write the story that appeals to them. “You’ll spend a lot of time with the book, so make sure to write from the heart.”

Continue reading “Alli Sinclair.”

Reconciliation Week 2021.

Reconciliation week was launched last night. There was an uplifting smoking ceremony and welcome to country delivered by Wadawurrung Traditional Owner Corrina Eccles. Norm Stanley accompanied her on the didgeridoo. It was lovely to see his children joining in.

Reconciliation week runs from May 23 – June 3. The theme this year is ‘More than a word. Reconciliation takes action’, urging the reconciliation movement towards braver and more impactful action. National Sorry Day is Wednesday May 26th.

Projection artwork can be viewed until June 6, next to Barwon Water and outside Geelong City Hall. It is by talented Matt Bonner, you can read his story on our website or watch the video he sent in for the Online Expo on our YouTube.

The Indigenous artwork was through the Torch program. “We provide art, cultural and arts industry support to Indigenous offenders and ex-offenders in Victoria. Our aim is to reduce the rate of reoffending by encouraging the exploration of identity and culture through art programs to define new pathways upon release.” https://thetorch.org.au/

The City of Greater Geelong website lists events that will be held this week, including Reconciliation in the Park, Johnstone Park, which will be Sunday 30th May.

Nyatne (thank you) to all involved.

Photos by Jacqui Bennett

Soroptimists.

What is a Soroptimist? The word Soroptimist is derived from two Latin words ‘soror’ which means ‘sister’ and ‘optima’ which means ‘the best’.  Put these two words together and you get ‘Soroptimist’, which can be translated as ‘the best for women’, which is what we have been working towards for the past 100 years.

The first Soroptimist Club was founded in Oakland, California in 1921 and has spread to 72,000 members in 212 countries.  We are now a global volunteer movement, advocating for human rights and gender equality and, at the heart of this advocacy, is our work across eight United Nations Centres, where our representatives ensure that the voices of women and girls are heard. 

The first big international project was in the Maldives in 1978. Other big international projects have been

  • Water, women and leadership, responding to water scarcity
  • Educate to Lead – based in Nepal
  • See Solar, Cook Solar – working with women in Mali, Uganda, Fiji, Nepal and PNG
  • Birthing in the pacific, based in Papua New Guinea
Continue reading “Soroptimists.”

Top Designs.

We love it when our local youth get the opportunity to showcase their talents, and this time we celebrate with Chloe Skinner and Ruby Taylor who have both had their VCE work selected for exhibition at Top Designs 2021 in Melbourne.

Top Designs is an annual exhibition that showcases work created by VCE students who completed VCE Media, Product Design and Technology, Systems Engineering, Theatre Studies and Visual Communication Design subjects, as well as VCE VET Creative Digital Media and Integrated Technologies. The 2021 exhibition displays works from 2020 Unit 3 and 4 VCE students.

Ruby and Chloe both produced their very different creative pieces while completing their VCE at Kardinia International College, here in Geelong.

Ruby’s VCE Media film, ‘The Girl Who Cried Sick” has already won ‘Best Film Award’ at the 2020 Odyssey Film Festival, which showcases the best VCE Media films from across the Geelong region, and will now also have the honour of being the ninth Media student in nine years from Kardinia International College to be recognised at Top Designs.

Chloe Skinner not only designed her unique Geometric Chair, but also built it from scratch in VCE Product Design and Technology. The Geometric Chair is one of six products selected from 290 shortlisted pieces in this area.  Chloe’s work has also been selected to be in contention for the People’s Choice Award, which is the only award that is presented at Top Designs.

Kardinia International College Principal, Catherine Lockhart said she is proud of the recognition that Chloe and Ruby have received.

“This is fantastic recognition for Chloe and Ruby, who both worked extremely hard on their projects during 2020.  To be recognised amongst the top VCE works is a wonderful achievement and I am very proud of both Chloe and Ruby.  I would also like to commend the families and staff for their commitment and support.”

Top Designs 2021 is exhibiting until Sunday 11 July at Melbourne Museum and there are 95 works on display. https://museumsvictoria.com.au/melbournemuseum/whats-on/top-designs-2021/

Photos of the students, Ruby and Chloe who is pictured with her chair, compliments of VCAA Season of Excellence.

Community Solar.

Be part of the biggest community solar program. This your chance to reduce your power bills while helping create a clean energy future.

Designed by our friends @Geelong Sustainability to increase renewable energy in our region, this program leverages the buying power of the community to provide quality, affordable solar and battery storage for homes and businesses. https://www.geelongsustainability.org.au/

You’ll get leading product warranties and quality components in a system specifically tailored to you. Using the best local installers, it will also make a positive impact on the local economy.

Join them for a free solar and battery information session with their experts. They’ll unpack everything you need to know about going solar or installing a battery, including latest technologies, what they cost and how much you can save. For businesses, they’ll cover the range of energy and sustainability services available for commercial operators to help you find the best solution.

Every installation helps our community – For every home or business that takes part, a solar panel will be donated to a non-profit community project!

Interested in finding out more?

Local information sessions will be held this week and over the next month, where you can ask questions and learn about the program, the brands, technology and costs involved. Click below to find the session closest to you.

Click here for more

Noah Stott.

“Hey everyone! My name is Noah, I love music and I’ve achieved a dream of programming concert lighting and DJ for 30,000 people in Fiji.” Noah talks some more about his Type 1 Diabetes and how it hasn’t held him back.

“I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on a holiday in Spain at 18 months old. I am now 20 and have had diabetes for almost 19 years.

“I manage my Type1 diabetes with a Dexcom G5 and a Medtronic 640G insulin pump, but I am upgrading soon to a G6 and a T-Slim. Growing up I really struggled learning to manage my diabetes and struggled with the idea that I would be restricted from achieving great things. But my diabetes hasn’t stopped me!

“I am a Lighting Technician, DJ and Music Producer. Some of the things I have done are move interstate alone at 19 to study at NIDA, program concert lighting and DJ for 30,000 people in Fiji, jet ski alone and most recently become a mentor on type 1 camps for @thetype1foundation. I’m running a live dance party for them called ‘Diabeats’, for teens and young adults, on July 3rd. Register on their website.

“I really want to help teenagers and young adults feel better about their Type1 diabetes and understand that it doesn’t have to limit them. My DMs in Instagram are open if anybody wants to chat @stottnoah

Fun Fact – Noah was Spiderman at the Humans in Geelong Expo 2018 and is part of our Flashmob video, which continues to delight many, from that Expo. You can find it on our YouTube.

Story: Jacqui Bennett. Photos supplied.

Renewables Not Gas for Geelong!

Geelong Sustainability are spearheading a campaign to convince the State Government and Viva Energy to switch their future investment focus to renewable energy projects.

“Fossil fuels like gas and coal are on the way out. The last thing we want is a repeat of the Ford factory where Geelong was stuck with a slowly dying industry and missed other economic opportunities.”

Geelong Sustainability recently hosted the Geelong Energy Futures Forum opened by The Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change and Minister for Solar Homes. This sold out event saw guest speakers give expert advice on alternative energy and job opportunities for our region.

“There’s already a big battery planned for Moorabool, and Geelong can be a gateway to the booming wind industry in Western Victoria.”

Viva Energy are currently proposing to build a gas import terminal in Geelong. Geelong Sustainability understand that fossil fuels, like gas, are a finite resource, and so are campaigning for a longer term, renewable, energy industry for our community.

If you want to show your concern regarding the gas terminals proposed for Geelong, and support renewable energies, there’s currently a petition you can sign: https://www.geelongsustainability.org.au/grng/

If you’d like to find out more about this issue, contact Geelong Sustainability. https://www.geelongsustainability.org.au/

“Geelong can be a renewable energy hub. We’ve got the infrastructure, skilled workforce and proud manufacturing heritage to position our city as the place for the rapidly growing clean energy industry.”

School Strike for Future, come along to support the students. Johnstone Park on Friday May 21st at 11am to show support for a sustainable recovery from COVID-19 in Australia, one that doesn’t involve investment in fossil fuels. For more information: https://fb.me/e/3mnohmFGb

Photo supplied.

Graeme Heard, Artist.

“The idea is that when you stand back it comes together as an image; it’s not painted to look like a photograph or a replicated image.”

I stared and stared at the artwork, wondering why Graeme Heard named one of his portraits ‘Prince of Wales after Sir Joshua Reynolds’.  I couldn’t see anything but smudges of colour, an abstract oil on marine ply.

How could this possibly be a portrait of HRH Prince Charles, regardless of whether he’s painted after Sir Joshua Reynolds?  Prince Charles is a familiar face, (admittedly, I had to Google Sir Joshua Reynolds to find an image to reference), and still I couldn’t see anything resembling a person, let alone royalty. 

Prince of Wales after Sir Joshua Reynolds

Then, as if a veil was lifted, there it was. The portrait appeared like magic! There was audible excitement as I delved further into this extraordinary collection, discovering new details in each piece of art.

Geelong local Graeme Heard has always been an artist, but his creative path wasn’t as he first planned. After commencing a commercial art course at Gordon Technical School, he successfully applied to the Melbourne National Gallery Art School.

“I quite liked the fine art approach taught there but somehow it just didn’t bring me satisfaction. After some 13 months I was asked to leave. Although feeling a bit disappointed in myself I started my own business of garden renovation, construction and maintenance which I thoroughly enjoy.  I continued oil painting as a hobby.”

Continue reading “Graeme Heard, Artist.”