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’.

Trailer: https://www.howtothrivefilm.com/watch-trailer

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.

https://www.howtothrivefilm.com/screenings

Samantha Voyle Hallihan.

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 the second of our six-part series, we meet Sam Voyle Hallihan, one of the Prepaid Funeral Consultants at Kings Funerals. We explore what is involved in working with people who are pre-arranging a funeral and the meaning that Sam finds in her role. 

“I’ve been an artist, muralist and decorative painter for most of my life. And I really felt that I wanted to do something with people, something shere I could connect to people so I was actually helping.” Sam Voyle Hallihan – Torquay local.

#humansingeelong #HumansofKingsFunerals #KingsFunerals #Hereforyou @kingsfunerals

Community Visitors Scheme.

There are a lot of lonely people out there.

If you have time to spare and room in your heart for an elderly member of our community, Red Cross would love to hear from you.

“The Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) is a free program where volunteers get matched up with an older person for social companionship and friendship on a weekly or fortnightly basis.  The Community Visitors Scheme is available to older people who live in an aged care facility or receive a home care package in their own home. 

“Australian Red Cross are currently seeking volunteers in the Geelong Region who would love to have a cuppa, share their life stories, or listen to music with an isolated older person.  

“To apply please follow the link: Volunteer opportunities | Australian Red Cross

“For more information about CVS please Email  vicsocialconnections@redcross.org.au or phone Rae Nuss-Soeharto CVS Program Officer 0419 151 830.”

Photo supplied.

Build a farm in a day.

An exciting world first pilot project called ‘Farm My School’ is coming to Drysdale. This original and ambitious project aims to transform an unused soccer pitch at Bellarine Secondary College into a productive 1.5 acre permaculture market garden. It’s hoped the commercially viable market garden will provide regular produce to school families through affordable weekly organic veggie boxes and supply fresh food to the school canteen.

The pilot project is launching with a 24 hour ‘build a farm in a day’ festival – where it’s hoped many community hands will gather together to create a massive no-dig garden, also known as a lasagne garden. And to join in the fun, ABC’s Costa from Gardening Australia will also be making an appearance.

The no-dig festival is taking place from 9am this Saturday October 1st to 9am October 2nd at Bellarine Secondary College, Drysdale. Community members are invited to register for a workshop, attend the whole day or even camp out overnight for the full experience.

The 24-hour festival will feature local music and workshops where participants will learn how to build a no-dig market garden.

Participants are being asked to pay what they can for a ticket up to the cost of $20, with any proceeds raised contributing to the cost of running the workshops. Children are free.

Festival-goers are encouraged to bring a picnic and to be mindful that it is a zero waste event.

To find out more or to book into a workshop go to the Farm My School Ltd Event page: https://farmmyschool.com/build-a-farm-in-day 

Thanks goes to Bellarine Community Health, Farm My School Ltd and Bellarine Secondary College.

Photo: Costa at the Geelong West Community Garden.

Premiership Parade.

“Come to the street parade tomorrow and soak up all the Premiership excitement,” enthuses Geelong Mayor Peter Murrihy. The City of Greater Geelong will host a street parade to celebrate our fabulous Geelong Cats winning the 2022 Toyota AFL Grand Final. Footy fans will be encouraged to come into Geelong and line the parade route to cheer for their heroes and enjoy the family friendly celebrations, with the parade starting at 11am on Tuesday 27 September.

The Waterfront will be brought to life for the street parade, which will see the Cats players travel by car from Upper Eastern Beach Road, along Brougham Street, down Moorabool Street (temporarily renamed Premiership Way) and along Eastern Beach Road. The parade will culminate at Steampacket Gardens at midday for a civic presentation with the players.

Mayor Peter Murrihy said “all Cats fans from across Australia are welcome in Geelong. This is a fantastic opportunity for fans to congratulate coach Chris Scott, all the players, their families and support staff.”

“The City of Greater Geelong is thrilled to host this street parade and I encourage everyone to come into the city on Tuesday.”

“Following the celebrations, you can enjoy fabulous food and drink at cafes, pubs and bars across Geelong.”

Anne Fairbairn.

It was while out walking her dogs that Anne Fairbairn first came across two places in Geelong that have become close to her heart.

A long time ago, Anne liked to walk her dogs just north of the Barwon River and south of the Breakwater industrial estate. The area has been fenced off for many years though, due to safety concerns about the ageing Ovoid Sewer Aqueduct, which runs across the floodplain.

Porronggitj Karrong, with the aqueduct in the foreground.

“When I heard last year that Wadawurrung would guide the rehabilitation of the land, I thought I’d love to be involved in learning about the environment, Wadawurrung culture, and traditional practices such as cultural burns,” Anne explains.

Continue reading “Anne Fairbairn.”

Am I useless?

TRIGGER WARNING – this story discusses severe depression, suicidal thoughts but also hope.

Am I useless? The misuse of alcohol and other drugs can have a damaging impact on individuals, families and communities. It is important to get support if you or someone you know needs help to manage a substance use issue.

My story starts with a young man (me) living what is considered a good life.

Well educated.

Loving and caring family.

Competitive sportsman with a lovely girlfriend.

A well-defined career path.

Sociable, mild party animal who enjoyed both a drink and party drug use.

Life’s pressures to perform gradually found me increasing my intake and strength of both alcohol and other drugs.

It was only a year ago, I felt like I was stuck going nowhere in life. 

Morbid and depressed, best described my state of body and mind.

I used these substances as an escape from reality which led me down a spiral of depression. 

Isolating from friends and family, found me spending my time at work or alone in my room.

Hiding from the real world, from which I was seeking escapism, experiencing signs of depression, anxiety and paranoia. 

“The eyes were open, but there was nothing happening behind them” 

It is a feeling of not wanting to be in the here and now.

Suicide would solve all my troubles!

And the hurt that I was inflicting on those whom cared for me. 

How many ways are there to finish it – an awful lot.

But they all require a total commitment – something I couldn’t muster. 

Thank goodness that I didn’t have the courage to go through with any of them.

Today, I am a born-again human. 

I came across Complete Health Geelong on Facebook and saw that they had a men’s Mental Health and Fitness support group along with a lot of other co-ed support groups (swimming, walking, social, Martial arts, cooking, Mental Health and disability groups) that I could go to.

Continue reading “Am I useless?”

Queen Elizabeth II

The most poignant of images.

Possibly reflective, of the oft times loneliness and isolation, from such strenuous and dedicated duty, that was thrust upon one so young and so unprepared.

How challenging would it be to balance history, stability, protocols, expectations, an evolving world view, an even more invasive paparazzi and an array of Prime Ministers. One can perhaps understand more why Queen Elizabeth II so enjoyed the company of her horses and dogs!

In a world where change was happening at a faster rate than ever before in the history of human kind the roles of Monarch and Mother would have been challenging.

Her mother’s heart must have broken often. To have your children’s lives played out in public, would have been excruciating for any parent, yet she remained loyal and loving.

Seventy years, two hundred and fourteen days, she was the personification of her own 2008 Christmas Message, “ When life is hard the courageous do not lie down and accept defeat; instead they are all the more determined to struggle for a better future”.

I am not a monarchist and I am very cognisant of much of the pain caused by colonisation. However in a turbulent world there appears to be something comforting in her stability and predictability. There is also sadness and nostalgia, as we acknowledge what feels like the passing over of our world’s grandmother. That’s why there appears to be both a global and personal sadness expressed by so many. In her own words, “Grief is the price we pay for love”.

There is much respect for someone who embraced faith, nature, commitment, humour, hard work and such stoicism.


“There’ll be blue birds over, the white cliffs of Dover….”


Jacinta Foster-Raimondo

Megan Castran – the Jewelchic.

“I think there should be more colour and joy in the world. I’m primarily a jewellery designer but I’ve also been doing a lot of fun collaborations lately.” We hear from the vibrant, fun-loving Megan Castran, the @jewelchic. It’s no surprise that Megan embraced jewellery making, as her grandfather was Frank Duff, of Duffs Jewellers. You can’t help but admire how Megan exudes positive energy.

“Besides my jewellery, I have a knitwear line with Zaket and Plover, a homewares line with House, a shoe line with Paper Krane and compression socks for ATN. A percentage of the sales go to Olivia Newton John’s foundation to help find kinder cures and treatments for cancer using plant medicine. 

Continue reading “Megan Castran – the Jewelchic.”