History Alive! Geelong’s Unique Cemetery Tours.

A walk through a cemetery can elicit many ideas about ghosts or morbidity, but as the title of this tour suggests, here you actually meet the residents who tell you their stories at their grave sites. They are played by actors of course- some of Geelong’s most experienced. As the walk progresses around the cemetery, guided by one of the residents themselves, tour participants are presented with a human portrayal of that person’s life; bringing a voice to names many of us hear or see every day, but know little about.

It all began in 2015 when Geelong Cemeteries Trust’s deputy CEO Frank De Groot contacted local theatrical entrepreneur Colin Mockett, with the core of this idea. Together they researched and put together a line-up of real people for the first tour in 2016.That has grown to now become five tours over three local cemeteries, occurring every weekend in March 2021. And every revived ‘character’ still adheres to the original concept that they must have ‘a strong storyline and a recognisable connection with Geelong today.’ That, along with ‘an element of surprise and a backstory that resonates with the 21st Century tourist’.

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Acclaimed for his major transformations of abandoned spaces worldwide, RONE returns to his hometown of Geelong with his first survey exhibition and a unique and immersive experience set to inspire audiences. His exhibition opens 27 February 2021 at the Geelong Gallery.

‘My show is an ode to abandoned spaces and a reminder to value the original treasure they once were. Influenced by the architecture of the building and the toll of time, the central installation preserves an imagined moment of the space adorned at its finest and left to slowly deteriorate. Featuring a push and pull between light and dark, viewers may be compelled to either end of the experience but are united in the same recognition of overall decay. The damage has been done and my installation invokes a longing for what is lost and cannot ever return.’

Over the last two decades, RONE has built an exceptional reputation for large-scale wall paintings and entrancing installations that explore concepts of beauty and decay. Geelong Gallery’s presentation will include the first comprehensive solo survey of the artist’s career from early stencil works and street art, to photographs that document his transformation of abandoned spaces (one of which will be brought to life in a 3D recreation, commissioned for this exhibition).

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Fresh Creative Entertainment, Chantelle & Benji.

Imagine girls in spectacular, sequined outfits on roller skates. Imagine small, curious circus acts. Imagine scintillatingly dressed characters on stilts. You name it, Fresh Creative Entertainment are your bet. It was fun catching up with directors, Chantelle Fava and Benji Leeks.

Chantelle tells us, “it was 11 years ago that I started the business and Benji joined us about 8 years ago.”

Chantelle started her career in Musical Theatre being flown to Europe to perform in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s record breaking musical, Starlight Express. This is where she found her love for roller skating! Chantelle worked throughout Europe dancing on many live TV shows and touring with shows such as Saturday Night Fever, to name just one.

“Once back in Australia I enjoyed working as Captain Starlight at the Royal Children’s Hospital. Benji started his career in America touring with a circus. In Geelong he works as a massage therapist at The In8Life. 

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Rocky and Whiskas.

“The words Gay or Homosexual are not uncommon in the world today. In fact, they are quite acceptable. Now, prepare yourself for what is fact in the rooster world and the entertainment for me is something magical.” Elaine Janes has a Valentine Tale for us.

“Rocky, my silkie rooster, almost three years old, is a rock-solid male. He has always been a real loner and is a magnificent looking creature. His shiny long hair covers many shades of golden brown to blonde. He never gets in a tizz and always sleeps alone in a big dog kennel, putting himself to bed between 5 and 6pm every night.

“Now his life has changed dramatically. Love at first sight happened the afternoon of arriving home with Whiskas, a rescue rooster who needed a home. He was tucked under my arm, and had no idea how his life would become enriched and mushy.

“Whiskas, a mixture breed has a velvety coat of rainbow colours highlighted with a white feathered moustache. He looks gung-ho, he also has an unusual walk. His feet cross each other almost like a ballet dancer. One could say he often walks on demi-point.

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Floating gas terminal proposed for Corio Bay.

Would you like something like this to be a blot on the landscape of our beautiful bay? “Are you aware that VIVA Energy are planning to build a floating gas terminal for Corio Bay, near the current VIVA oil refinery to enable the import of LNG (methane, a fossil fuel) to Victoria? Do you want to see more sustainable energy solutions for Geelong and Victoria?” Geelong Sustainability tell us more.

“If the project is granted environmental approvals, large gas tanker vessels will be sailing past Portarlington, Clifton Springs and other bay beach areas and docking within view of Eastern Beach.  

“To accommodate these ships, the Bay will require some dredging, a pier and a 900m floating storage regasification vessel is proposed for construction. 

“There is likely to be significant impacts upon the local environment (including the nearby Ramsar Wetlands at Limeburner’s Lagoon), as well as impact upon our community’s recreation and amenity, greenhouse gas emissions, climate, business and energy futures.

“Geelong Sustainability is hosting a Community Information forum on Wed Feb 24 (6.15 for 6.30pm start, Covid restrictions allowing) at Geelong West Town Hall to inform the community about this project.  

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Are you looking for the Geelong UooUoos? They’ve moved to Pivot City at the Federal Mills in North Geelong. There are 100 UooUoos displayed across Geelong and Melbourne, they are designed by Australian artists and sponsored by local businesses. They’ve been commissioned for the Royal Children’s Hospital 150th Anniversary Art Trail.

The art trail will run until 21 March 2021, with all sculptures going to auction to raise funds for The Royal Children’s Hospital.

Here’s a list of the Geelong UooUoos below. Geelong artists such as Jacklyn Foster, who designed Art Can Change Your World, and Christy Chudosnik, who designed Crystalline Opal Dream, have theirs exhibited in Melbourne. You can read more about the design inspiration and artist on the UooUoo website: https://uoouoo.org.au/uoouoos/

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Tom Meadows Music

16 year old music enthusiast, Tom Meadows, cleverly used his initiative to get in touch with our friends at @thebarwonedgeboathouse and suggest that their lawn would be the perfect place for Sunday arvo sessions of live music.

Tom tells us, “I love performing and even better at such a great venue. I’m keen to save live music as it has been such a tricky time for the industry.

“At the age of 2 I was inspired by the Wiggles. I began learning the guitar at 5 and have never stopped playing.

“At age 11, I was honoured to be selected as one of four young song writers to collectively write a song for every Australian school student to learn in the Australia-wide ‘Count Us In’ program. This is where every student around Australia sing the same song, at the same time. This ignited my passion for writing my own original songs.

“Now at 16, my passion is stronger than ever and I’ll happily entertain a crowd for hours.

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i4give Day, Geelong.

Sometimes, it only takes a few people to take action and create change. Steven Rajan and wife Jacqeulin Thangavelu were inspired by i4give Day and held a last-minute gathering in Geelong on Monday at Johnstone Park, in honour of this day.

i4give Day was launched by Sydney parents, the Abdullah and Sakr families, who lost 4 of their children in a horrific crash on February 1st last year. To help them heal, they have forgiven the man who was driving the car that killed their children. They said ‘forgiveness is the greatest gift you can give yourself and to others’. This resonated with Steven and Jacqeulin who organized the Geelong vigil at 6pm on Monday. They also believe it is important to focus on forgiveness. They hope this day will be marked in our city each year.

Steven reminded us that 13 people have died on Victorian roads to date this year. He also spoke of a loved ones he had lost in an accident.

Steven is the Reverend and Jacqeulin the Senior Minister (centre) at the Covenant Grace Church in Geelong. Thanks for inspiring us to think about forgiveness.

Photo: Jacqui Bennett

#humansingeelong #makingadifference #i4giveDay #community #care #geelong #greatergeelong #hope #forgiveness

Blues at Pistol Pete’s.

Jimi the Human visited @pistolpete’sfoodandblues last night to thrill blues enthusiasts in a line up with Frank Sultana and the @bluesroulettes. It was part of their Australia-wide tour.

Jimi Hocking is Jimi the Human. Here are some fun facts:

  • born in Melbourne June 1963
  • been a band member of The Angels and The Screaming Jets
  • plays hard rock, electric and acoustic blues
  • lead guitar, vocals, mandolin and keyboards
  • October 2004 won the local Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society’s Blues Performer of the Year
  • Went on to win the 2005 International Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Plays regularly on The Blues Train

It’s great to see live music back. Who’ve you seen?

Video: JB

Are you bogged mate?

“I spend a lot of time raising awareness about spray drift but recent events have compelled me to talk about something that disturbs me even more than spray drift.

“I have spent my whole life working in rural and remote Australia and always around country blokes; working with them, for them, and beside them. My father was one, my brother is one, and most of my dearest friends are country blokes. I have always worked in male dominated occupations and that certainly doesn’t make me special but I believe it has given me a good understanding of rural men and it has definitely given me a deep and profound respect for them.

“So, when I see country blokes facing challenges like never before, I need to say something because I know none of them will. I’m talking about rural men’s mental health and more specifically, rural male suicide. Yes, that mongrel black dog that sneaks in when you least expect it, grabs all of your rational thoughts, buries them somewhere you can’t find them, and without you or those close to you noticing, it gradually pulls you into a hole, a bog hole.

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