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.

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 or phone Rae Nuss-Soeharto CVS Program Officer 0419 151 830.”

Photo supplied.