I was blown away when I heard Rach Brennan and the Pines play at the Worker’s Club Geelong in late July. It wasn’t only the vibrant, jaunty, infectious songs that had the whole place moving; it was something else. Watching Rach I was reminded of what was special about seeing Martha Wainwright perform as part of the Melbourne Zoo’s Twilight series. Again, here was a musician, an artist, so true to themself that there was no other way they could be. No trying or pretension involved. Just them immersed in the music, presenting their inner self through their art. It was mesmerizing. I wanted to find out more.
Rach has been playing music since an early age. As a kid she scribbled lyrics and put them to Aqua backing tracks. She loved the idea of writing and performing songs. She grew up in a musical family in Geelong and spent time as a child in a small town in Ireland. Her Grandfather, was a renowned Jazz pianist, a prolific performer who played 18 gigs in the weekend before he passed away recently.
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A light emanates from the workshop in Deakin Waterfront’s campus. The sun is setting and most people are dispersing to the car parks at the end of a long day of lectures and studying. After a while, only a dozen people remain, working away on a project that intends to span years. The dream: a Pako Festa on water, with a dozen hand-built wooden boats bringing together a multicultural community for exercise, festivities and fun on the city waterfront.
For many of these builders, however, they have never seen a boat before. The Syriac people of Iraqi who are working on the boat alongside Geelong Iranian Society – G.I.S have escaped devastating conditions under ISIS and travelled to Australia seeking refuge from their war-torn country. The youngest of these is just 16 years old.
Continue reading “Boat Building, Peter”
‘It is time to dispel the myths surrounding the Freemasons. We wear white gloves to Masonic functions so the hands of a surgeon look the same as the hands of a labourer. In bygone years, no one would talk about the Freemasons. The men went off in their dinner suits and wouldn’t even tell their wives. But now we’re coming out in the open to shout out loud that the Freemasons have been supporting a whole host of charities for years.’ Interview with Bob Pullin.
‘The Freemasons are an organisation of ‘good men’ supporting each other, their families and the community. We don’t discuss politics or religion. It’s a place to meet in harmony and enjoy each other’s company, while working towards helping valuable causes. It’s open to any man over the age of 18 and welcomes a diverse range of occupations and beliefs.
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Stephanie Woollard, Seven Women Founder & CEO will be a keynote speaker at the Humans in Geelong Expo 2017. Stephanie Woollard is a Melbourne-born social entrepreneur, Rotary Foundation Peace Scholar and Rotarian who has created the international aid organisation Seven Women, tour-company Hands On Development and the International Training and Hospitality initiative.
Stephanie started her Seven Women project when she was only 22 years old, after visiting Nepal and meeting seven disabled women making soaps and candles in a small tin shed. In Nepal, disabilities carry a strong social stigma, believed to bring bad fortune. The women were consequently able to sell only a fraction of what they produced at market and lived in dire poverty.
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Alison Marchant tells us why she was passionate about stopping Fracking. ‘The past 4 and half years, I have dedicated my time to a community campaign that was concerned about unconventional gas mining which is known as Fracking. Throughout that time, I have joined my local community group to create awareness and act to protect our water, environment, agriculture, tourism and community health. I have become very passionate about communities having a voice and being a part of the wider decision-making process.’
What inspired you to try to make a difference?
My community inspired me. When the Western Victorian community were faced with Fracking, it was a very stressful time, especially for rural farmers, but I saw people step way out of their comfort zone to fight. I firmly believe there is no use complaining unless you’re willing to be a part of the solution. Communities as a united voice, can drive the change we are after.
What have you achieved?
Continue reading “Anti Fracking, Alison”
‘There are so many reasons why we should advocate for cycling; there are recreational benefits, benefits to mental health, one’s fitness and for the environment.’ We hear from Helen Lyth, webmaster for Cycling Geelong. ‘We are more than a riding club and advocacy group. Our website links people with most cycling clubs throughout the region and even wider. We are affiliated with groups such as Bike Safe Geelong and Barwon BUG (Bicycles Uses Group). We all have similar focuses and work together. https://cyclinggeelong.com.au/
‘Cycling Geelong is a diverse group of like-minded people. Our members range from an Ex Vice Chancellor to tradespeople and retirees. For example, there is one member who worked at the cemetery. The club started around 2000 with a focus on advocacy in the Geelong region. There are now over 80 members.
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Walking the Kokoda Track for the 5th time with young people who are facing challenges in their lives is Leading Senior Constable Andrew Brittain. He is the Youth Resources Officer for the Geelong Region. He has a total of 28 years police service across Western Victoria, including general policing and time in the Air Wing and has been in his present role for 10 years. Between 2010 and 2014 he was seconded to the Education Department and worked with a leading teacher running the Operation New Start Program in Geelong, working with young people at risk. He was awarded “Policeman of the Year” by Highton Rotary and “Worker of the Year” by the City of Greater Geelong.
As part of his current role he is the police facilitator for the Geelong Kokoda Youth Program. This program involves taking young people who are facing challenges in their lives on a life-changing experience walking the Kokoda Track. This year  will be Andy’s fifth year of taking a group along the Kokoda; 47 young people have done the trip so far, 45 of whom are back at school, university or holding a steady job.
Continue reading “Kokoda Track, Andy”