Hall of Service to take soil from 65 South East locations

NSW Governor, David Hurley collects a sample of soil with members of Narooma RSL sub-branch looking on. By Ian Campbell
NSW Governor, David Hurley collects a sample of soil with members of Narooma RSL sub-branch looking on. By Ian Campbell

Soil collected from sixty-five war memorials across South East New South Wales will be featured in a new state memorial honouring First World War veterans and their hometowns.

The Office of Veterans Affairs is overseeing the program, which is collecting soil from almost 1,700 WW1 enlistment locations for an art installation in what will be known as the Hall of Service at the revamped Hyde Park memorial in the centre of Sydney.

An artists impression of what the Hall of Service will look like when complete in 2018. Source: anzacmemorial.nsw.gov.au
An artists impression of what the Hall of Service will look like when complete in 2018. Source: anzacmemorial.nsw.gov.au

Narooma is one of 15 Eurobodalla locations identified for the program, and one of the first local spots where soil has been collected. NSW Governor, His Excellency the Honourable David Hurley who visited the Shire this week was the one to do the honours.

Other South East locations include:

Adaminaby

Batemans Bay

Bega

Bergalia

Bermagui

Berridale

Bibbenluke

Bimbaya

Bodalla

Bombala

Bredbo

Broadwater

Burragate

Candelo

Cathcart

Central Tilba

Cobargo

Colinton

Conjola

Cooma

Craigie

Dalgety

Delegate

Dignams Creek

Eden

Eurobodalla

Jerangle

Jindabyne

Jervis Bay

Jingera

Kameruka

Kanoona

Kiandra

Maharatta

Merimbula

Michelago

Milton

Monaro

Moruya

Myalla

Narooma

Nelligen

Nerrigundah

Nethercote

Nimmitabel

Numeralla

Pambulla

Quaama

Rock Flat

Rockton

Rocky Hall

Roasedale

South Pambula

South Wolumla

Stony Creek

Tathra

Tilba Tilba

Tomakin

Towamba

Ulladulla

Wagonga

Wolumla

Woodlands

Wyndham

Yatte Yattah

Linda Hurley chats to Narooma school kids about life in Government House. By Ian Campbell.
Linda Hurley chats to Narooma school kids about life in Government House. By Ian Campbell.

When complete, memorial visitors will be able to learn about each location via their personal digital devices.

The information presented will include details on the soil collection, the names of enlistees who gave that location as their home address, and maps showing the local area and its surrounding memorials and schools.

The simple soil collection program forms part of a $40 million enhancement of the memorial marking the centenary of World War 1.

Works are on track for opening on Remembrance Day 2018, which will bring to life the original 1930’s vision for the space and include a second water feature and new educational areas.

NSW Governor, David Hurley told About Regional, war memorials like this are a reminder of the strength of service and sacrifice for current day service women and men and of the history they are a part of.

His Excellency believes the new Hall of Service will be stunning and emotional…

This story was made with the assistance of About Regional members Wendy and Pete Gorton, Amanda Dalziel, Phil Martin, and Olwen Morris – thank you for supporting local story telling.

Tathra made taiko drums head west to the beat of Japanese tradition

Luke Hamilton and Chris Korvin - Taiko Drums Works. By Ian Campbell
Luke Hamilton and Chris Korvin – Taiko Drum Works. Photo: Ian Campbell

Twenty-four Japanese drums hand crafted in the salty air of Tathra are being delivered to Western New South Wales today.

“We often stop work to watch whales breach and blow their spray,” Luke Hamilton says.

Luke and Chris Korvin are both drummers with the Bega Valley based Stonewave Taiko but have branched out to create their own taiko making business.

Taiko Drum Works was born out of Stonewave’s need for more authentic instruments to practice and perform on.

“Stonewave started playing on tyres wrapped in duct tape because we didn’t have any drums to play on,” Luke says.

Vertical slats are cut to the right angle and glued, forming the body of the drum. By Ian Campbell
Vertical slats are cut to the correct angle and glued, forming the body of the drum. Photo: Ian Campbell

Taiko is Japanese for drum, performances date back to the sixth century, where they were used as part of Japanese festivals and rituals – which is still the case today.

“Every little town has a taiko group,” Chris explains.

The drums also have a history of being taken into war and used to communicate announcements and motivate soldiers.

“David Hewitt, the leader of Stonewave had one made by a master, and he said – you can take this drum a part and have a look at it. So we did,” Chris says.

“We copied one drum and David played it and gave us the thumbs up and said keep going.”

Tape holds the timber slats in place while the glue sets, sanding and shaping will follow. By Ian Campbell
Tape holds the timber slats in place while the glue sets, sanding, and shaping will follow. Photo: Ian Campbell

Chris and Luke have been getting together twice a week to make more drums, outside of that Chris is a dentist and Luke works in Waste Services at Bega Valley Shire Council.

“I’ve been a model builder since I was eight, so I have good fine motor skills,” Chris says.

Luke describes himself more as a tinkerer, which perhaps undersells his skills.

“My main interest has been in metal work and forging and making knives,” Luke says.

Taiko in the drying room after being oiled. By Ian Campbell
Taiko in the drying room after being oiled. Photo:Ian Campbell

In recent months the pair’s taiko making has become more than a hobby that simply supplies Stonewave.

“We’ve been working on an order for 24 drums for a community group called Moorambilla Voices in Western NSW, our drums are spreading across the country which is really exciting,” Luke says.

“They are being split up initially to go to three different schools as part of the MAXed OUT group.”

For 12 years Moorambilla has been building ‘musical and cultural excellence’ from their home base in Tamworth.

The group’s vision is a cracker:

Moorambilla Voices celebrates life’s incredible possibilities.

We empower children and youth to think big and dream wide as they participate in our exceptional yearly choral programs incorporating Taiko, Dance and visual art.

We offer children the rare and valuable opportunity to connect with artists of the highest calibre – composers, musicians, choreographers and visual artists to co-create outstanding works for performance that celebrate the rich culture of this region to standing ovations!

We provide a unique chance for young people in remote and regional communities to share their creative selves in an environment that celebrates capacity. Like our rivers in flood – our creative capacity is powerful, breathtaking and immense.

Participating children come from schools at Brewarrina, Bogan, Nyngan, Bourke, Cobar, Coonamble, Gulargambone, Dubbo, Gilgandra Narromine, Trangie, Walgett, Lightning Ridge, Collarenabri, Warrumbungle, Coonabarabran, Dunedoo, Baradine, Warren, Wellington, Tamworth, Orange, and beyond!

The MAXed OUT Company is geared towards high schoolers with a focus on taiko.

This delivery of drums from the other side of the Great Dividing Range has been funded by a Government grant and will add to a small pool of instruments that are currently being shipped from school to school for rehearsals and performance.

Raw hides are used so that the markings on the animal shine through. By Ian Campbell
Raw hides are used so that the markings of the animal shine through. Photo: Ian Campbell

Luke and Chris beam as they detail the process they have gone through over the last eight months to fill the order.

Both explain that taiko making is a family business in Japan passed down through generations over hundreds of years.

Standing in their Tathra workshop, with the smell of eucalyptus turps and tongue oil thick in the air, I sense that both men have approached this traditional craft with the same respect and reverence as a young Japanese apprentice.

“These skills are kept closely within families,” Chris says.

“Finding out how to do this is not easy or straight forward.”

Both dream of being able to visit a taiko workshop in Japan one day.

Getting ready to lace up the taiko. By Ian Campbell
Getting ready to lace up the taiko. Photo: Ian Campbell

A range of materials have been used to fill the Moorambilla order, including red deer hides from Western Australia and cow hides from Tasmania.

Raw hides that are soaked in water overnight are the preference so that the unique markings and colouring of the animal are visible on the surface of each taiko.

“The drum is a hide stretched over a metal ring, ropes put tension on the hide, you can change the pitch with different tension on the rope,” Luke explains.

The timber used in the body of the drum adds its own characteristic.

“The thickness and the way the timber has been worked and shaped results in a different tone or pitch as well,” Luke says.

“And we have looked for Australian timber that is close in density and performance to traditional Japanese timbers,” he says.

Plantation Paulownia from Coffs Harbour and West Australian Jarrah have gone through the workshop and a rare sample of Red Cedar from Brogo.

“Brogo Woodworks at Tanja, a friend of ours, had a piece of cedar that was sitting in his workshop covered in dust and rat shit for twenty-five years, he generously sold it to us,” Luke smiles.

Stonewave Taiko by Ben Marden
Stonewave Taiko in action. Photo: Ben Marden from Stonewave.com

Outside of Japan is anyone else making taiko drums?

Chris believes other performance groups are making their own.

“But not on this scale or with this professional finish and quality,” he rightly boasts.

The craftsmanship and materials are reflected in the price, drums range between $1100 and $1800, plus up to $35 for a pair of Japanese drumsticks known as ‘bachi’.

Taiko Drum Works at Tathra is here to stay beyond Moorambilla, Luke and Chris have worked hard to understand this art form in every way and have developed their own systems and work flows – know how they keep close to their chest like an old Japanese master.

The finished product, ready for Moorambilla. By Ian Campbell
The finished product, ready for Moorambilla. Photo: Ian Campbell

 

This story was made with the support of About Regional members, Cathy Griff, Julie Klugman, Nigel Catchlove, and Maria Linkenbagh. Thank you!

 

Spring is supposedly just around the corner, actually it’s here! By Kathleen McCann

Kathleen McCann
Kathleen McCann – About Regional permaculture guru. By Ian Campbell

Are you set to get into spring and all that it entails – making your garden ready for the next few months of warming conditions? In some gardens on the south coast, plants (as well as animals and birds!) have already begun their explosion of flowers, perfume, and accelerated growth.

What to do?

Well, hopefully you’ve survived the challenge of a very dry winter. Some of the crops I planted were very slow to grow, but since the last good drop of rain a few weeks ago, my garden has started to pump again. I have broccoli, parsley, three types of lettuce and mizuna really taking off, keeping me in greens.

A little slow to start at first, the peas have finally come in and the broadbeans are also flowering and fruiting fast.

Broadbeans have really responded to our recent rain. By Kathleen McCann
Broadbeans have really responded to our recent rain. By Kathleen McCann

But I’m contemplating what to do to get my beds ready for even more food.

I’ve got some horses that have moved in next door and my chickens are making an excellent pile of poo for me too. So it’s out in the paddock with a couple of big buckets and a shovel for the horse manure then I am raking up the chicken debris under the roost to help my garden along.

Usually, I would put both manures through my composting system – which I did throughout winter – but I am also going to put it straight onto the beds and lightly dig them in. This will give the micro-life in the beds a real boost, plus I am going to add some potash and dolomite and to top it off a healthy dose of mulch.

Choose your mulches wisely, if you are buying from a produce store make sure you enquire where the bales have come from. Organically grown or chemical free is the best to get – or slash your own if you can – as long as seed heads have not appeared, most grasses are good for mulching. I am lashing out and have bought a couple of organic sugar cane bales.

A mini hot house to protect fragile seedlings from cold late winter nights, with lady bird watching on. By Kathleen McCann
A mini hot house to protect fragile seedlings from cold late winter nights, with lady bird watching on. By Kathleen McCann

But rice straw, lucerne (horse food grade), wheat and oat straw work well too. Lucerne has more goodies in it because it is a nitrogen fixing plant. I steer away from pea straw as I have heard that it is sprayed with herbicide to make it easier for baling. It’s good to always check.

I’m making up seed trays out of old styrofoam vege boxes (free at the back of most supermarkets – goes straight to landfill otherwise).

My soil mix for planting seeds is two parts old sawdust, one part old manure, one part compost.

I’ve already got tomatoes going and springing into life! I placed a couple of old glass louvres on top to make a simple greenhouse – keeping the moisture and warmth in. As the weather warms overnight I will take the glass off.

Next to go in the boxes with be all my summer lovers – zucchini, cucumber, more lettuce, and maybe some extra different heritage tomatoes. I plant beans, corn, carrot and beetroot straight into the soil.

This year I am also experimenting with more subtropical plants – two types of sweet potato, ginger, turmeric and choko.

My garden - in need of a spring tidy up. By Kathleen McCann
My garden – in need of a spring tidy up. By Kathleen McCann

I did plant some yacon one year, but it doesn’t agree with my belly! (A bit like Jerusalem artichoke). I’ve also planted more tamarillo and passionfruit as my older plants are on their way out now after 4 years of growth – both plants usually only last 5 years.

So get out there and get started!

Fruit trees have already started flowering, the soil is receptive for more planting after the good rain we’ve had so it’s an ideal time to get into it!

Happy playing and planting,

Kathleen

Words and pictures by Kathleen McCann – permaculturist, artist, good chick and number 1 worker at Luscious Landscapes.

Marriage equality – have you got the energy for this? South East locals hope you do.

'Love Makes a Family' as seen at the 2016 Sydney Mardi Gras
‘Love Makes a Family’ as seen at the 2017 Sydney Mardi Gras. Source: C and N

The disappointment around the postal plebiscite on marriage equality is real and bitter for many, but it seems it is the only course of action available to bury this boring issue once and for all.

Boring because for so long the vast majority of Australian’s have understood that ‘Love is Love’ yet the months/years of political scratching around has disillusioned and disengaged the community.

There are those challenging this process in the High Court of Australia, describing it as unlawful; the full bench of the court will decide  on September 5 and 6.

The wheels of the Australian Bureau of Statistics, who will run this show, will continue to spin regradless – getting ready for the survey which is due to start just a week after the High Court decision.

While those in our community at the sharp end of this cheer on the High Court challenge, in the back of their mind they are also laying the ground work for the campaign ahead – mobilising as many people as possible to vote ‘yes’ in this non-compulsory process.

Bega Valley LGBTIQ advocate, Tas Fitzer says it took him a couple of days of reflection to work out the way ahead.

“I really understand the temptation for supporters of marriage equality to say ‘I am not voting, I am boycotting this process’, because it’s not a process we’d like to legitimise,” Tas says.

“We are giving a platform to debate that is going to be harmful to children of same sex couples, for young LGBTIQ people, and for people struggling with their identity.

“We don’t want to be here but we are here, this is something we have to deal with and the best way to deal with it is to take it head on,” he reasons.

Tas Fitzer. Source: Facebook
Tas Fitzer. Source: Facebook

Tas says he’ll be voting ‘yes’ and will be actively campaigning for others to do the same.

“Disagree with the process – absolutely, disagree with how it’s being done – absolutely, but let’s accept the fact we are here and make the most of it,” Tas says.

C and N are women who live on the Sapphire Coast and have been together for over two decades, they have a teenage son and are active members of a range of community and sporting organisations.

They have asked me not to use their names, mindful of the impact any publicity might have on their boy.

“For the first time in a very long time, I feel different and vulnerable, and that I have to somehow show evidence of how healthy, normal, and loving my relationship is with both my partner and son,” C says.

“How I live my life day to day and how I parent our child is under the microscope for those who don’t know us.

“And, I’m embarrassed for Australia – friends, colleagues, clients, people I know, across the age span, those with faith and those without, really don’t understand what the problem is, there is this sense of – really, we are still talking about marriage equality?,” C says.

Reflecting on the weeks ahead C and N believe there will be a relatively small but vocal group of people who will feel the postie poll gives them permission to voice their bigotry, to judge, attack, and say dreadful, hurtful, untrue and damaging things about the LGBTIQ community.

If it goes ahead, the result of the poll will be known on November 15 but it will be parliamentarians that ultimately decide if the Mariage Act can include same sex couples.

Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull has said he’ll be encouraging a ‘yes’ vote and if ‘yes’ wins his Liberal MP’s will be free to vote according to their conscience.

ABC South East reported this week that Anne Sudmalis, the Liberal Member for Gilmore which covers the northern end of the Eurobodalla, won’t reveal her personal view on same sex marriage.

The ABC said that Ms Sudmalis would stand up for what her electorate decides.

A survey on the issue conducted by Ms Sudmalis in October 2015 pointed to 62 percent approval for marriage equality in Gilmore, 36 percent were opposed, while the rest undecided – the ABC reported.

Colourful tutus with a clear message
Colourful Bega Valley tutus with a clear message at the 2017 Sydney Mardi Gras. Source: C and N

Labor’s Mike Kelly, the Federal Member for the neighbouring seat of Eden – Monaro told About Regional, “The fastest and cheapest way to deliver marriage equality is through a free vote in the Parliament, not a $122 million survey.”

“If we are going to be forced to take part in this farce then I think the best thing we can do is send the Turnbull Government a message they can’t ignore – vote yes for marriage equality,” Dr Kelly says.

Dr Kelly is urging eligible voters to enroll or update their details with the Australian Electoral Commission before August 24 so that they can take part in the marriage law survey.

The former Army colonel is hopeful the campaign ahead will be respectful and tolerant.

“I plead with everyone in our community to exercise the utmost civility and join with me in urging that we all refrain from engaging in misinformation or hurtful comments,” Dr Kelly says.

Twenty-one-year old Tas Fitzer is of a similar mindset.

“The mental health of some of our young LGBTIQ people is of real concern to me,” he says.

“That’s why I have decided to get out there and campaign for a ‘yes’ vote so that they can see there are people out there to support them.”

Click play to hear more from Tas…

 

Speaking with C and N in fading light this afternoon, both fear some in the community who would vote ‘yes’ are now unmotivated to take part given the level of discussion the issue has had over an extended period of time.

“Many people honestly don’t understand what the fuss is about and are exhausted by this debate,” N says.

“Because same sex marriage seems a no brainer to them, I’d implore people to realise that unfortunately for some Australians the idea is frightening and abhorrent.

“Giving free reign to people to say whatever they like, to judge us simply for not living our lives like them is scary, scary for us now and for the next generations,” N explains.

Both are hopeful people will push past the grubby, lengthy politics of the issue and find the energy and motivation to say ‘yes’.

Writing for About Regional almost 12 months ago on this issue, Iain Dawson the convener of Bega Valley for Marriage Equality asked people to walk in his shoes…

“John Howard’s change [to the Marriage Act] in 2004 defined marriage as ‘a union between a man and woman only’.

“I am incredulous that Australia still judges my relationship with the man I love, ‘to the exclusion of all others’ as less than equal to my peers, friends, and family.

“For those not yet convinced; put yourself in that equitation and see how it feels, what it says to your soul.

“80% of Australians want our leaders to change the Marriage Act.

“The majority of my countrymen see my relationship as equal; that gives me and the LGBTIQ community strength and hope,” Iain wrote.

Whatever happens in the High Court on September 5 and 6 this issue will remain unresolved, work still needs to be done to finish this, energy needs to be mustered.

As a heterosexual father of three, with friends and family seeking equality that I take for granted, I will find that energy, despite the shit sandwich we are being served, I ask you to do the same.

Thanks to About Regional members – Tim HoltAmanda StroudDeborah Dixon, and Nastasia Campanella for supporting local story telling.

Declaration: Tas Fitzer is a part-time Electorate Officer for Mike Kelly and former Country Labor candidate.

 

Eurobodalla, Bega Valley and Monaro firefighters at work in Canadian wildfires

Garry Cooper. By Ian Campbell
Garry Cooper. By Ian Campbell

Fire fighters from South East NSW are about to step into the heat of the Canadian wildfire season, with British Columbia ravaged by more than 3,300 fires since early July.

As the third wave of NSW fire fighters prepares to leave tomorrow (Wednesday) the situation on the ground in Kamloops, about four hours bus drive east of Vancouver is deteriorating.

The latest overview talks of active fire growing significantly, very high fire dangers to continue, communities under very thick smoke, and worsening fuel and fire measures over the next week

Bega’s Garry Cooper will see it first hand.

Garry spends his working week overseeing fire mitigation and hazard management for Far South Coast Rural Fire Service, covering the Eurobodalla and Bega Valley.

However, he will finish this particular working week with his boots on the ground in Canada as part of a 100 strong deployment made up of personnel from the NSW RFS, NSW Forestry Corporation, National Parks and Wildlife Service, and ACT RFS.

Kamloops wildfire, August 2017. By Kim Anderson of iNFOnews.ca
Kamloops wildfire, August 2017. By Kim Anderson of iNFOnews.ca

“Up to 1.2 million hectares has been alight and they have called on other countries for assistance,” Garry says.

Two earlier contingents from NSW are already on the ground, including Tracey Anderson and Simon May from Malua Bay RFS, and David Philp from Brogo.

Garry will arrive in the earlier hours of Thursday morning Bega time with Patrick Waddell from Bermagui Brigade, Jason Snell from Dalmeny – Kianga, and Ben Winter from Berridale.

This third six-week deployment marks a shift in the Australian contribution so far, with ‘arduous personnel’ requested by Canadian authorities.

“Key incident management staff have been helping out in planning, operations, and logistics but now they [Canadians] need fire fighters on the ground, Remote Area Firefighters like Patrick, Jason and Ben to support ongoing operations,” Garry explains.

Temperatures have been around or above 40 degrees Celsius right through summer, according to Garry, and over night humidity in the low twenties.

“Unprecedented weather conditions,” Garry says.

The remains of mobile homes destroyed by wildfire are seen at a trailer park in Boston Flats, B.C., on July 9 2017. By Darryl Dyck, Canadian Press.
The remains of mobile homes destroyed by wildfire at a trailer park in Boston Flats B.C. on July 9, 2017. By Darryl Dyck, Canadian Press.

Canadian media has declared it a ‘Summer of Fire‘ with thousands forced to flee their homes at different times over the last month – up to 45,000 at the peak of the emergency,  an estimated $230 million in fire fighting costs, and dozens of homes and trailers lost.

While hot, smokey, dirty conditions are nothing new to the Aussies on the ground, they will be working with and in a different landscape and environment.

“It’s extremely steep terrain, very close to the Rocky Mountains,” Garry says.

“And I am guessing a lot of their forests are pine and red woods – all that conifer type timber, very different to what we are used to fighting.”

Local RFS boss, Superintendent John Cullen says he supports Garry and local volunteers being called up to serve overseas.

“Garry is respected throughout the state and that’s why he’s been picked,” he explains.

John says he is happy to see the effort and commitment of local volunteers like Tracey Anderson, Simon May, David Philp, Patrick Waddell, and Jason Snell being recognised with these higher duties.

“We are very proud of them, going over and representing this area,” he says.

“The experience they will gain out of this will be healthy for our organisation nationally and locally,” John believes.

And there’s a debt to repay, part of the fraternity of fire fighting John says.

A helicopter dumps a load of water on a grass fire in British Columbia. By Adam Proskiw of iNFOnews.ca
A helicopter dumps a load of water on a grass fire in British Columbia. By Adam Proskiw of iNFOnews.ca

“In a time of need, everyone steps up.”

“We’ve had firefighters from this area of Canada over here working with NSW RFS during serious fires,” John says.

Garry has been an RFS volunteer since he was 17 years old, following a family tradition. From there it built into a career with Far South Coast RFS based at Bega Fire Control.

He says this opportunity to help on the other side of the world is overwhelming.

“The Service puts out an Expression of Interest every year to all members of staff and volunteers to go on an Overseas Deployment Register,” Garry explains.

“That register is there in case a request comes through for supporting fire fighting operations in other countries.”

By the time Garry and his comrades return to the Far South Coast the region will be in the early days of its bush fire season.

“The introduction of very large air water tankers here in the last couple of years is something that is day-to-day business for the Canadians and the Americans, so there is scope for us to learn more.”

“The more we do this and communicate with other countries, the more versatile we become for our communities at home,” Garry says.

Made with the assistance of About Regional Members, Jo Riley-Fitzer, Nancy Blindell, Phil Martin, Wendy Gorton, and Julie Rutherford Real Estate Bermagui – thanks for supporting local story telling.

Feminism forum looks for local relevance and perspective

Join the forum on July 26, everyone is welcome
Join the forum on July 26, everyone is welcome

An open forum later this month is looking to find a local perspective and relevance around ‘Feminism in the 21st Century’.

It’s a topic that I instinctively pull away from but strangely am drawn to at the same time.

The women who lead these discussions continue to throw up modern experiences I struggle to identify with but none the less are experiences that I accept and am keen to understand.

This inaugural forum has been organised by the Bega Valley based ‘Mnemosyne: South Coast Women’s Journal

“At Mnemosyne, we have had many discussions about the term – feminism,” organiser Jodie Stewart explains.

“We have all had difficulties defining who we are in relation to a movement that has produced so many definitions of womanhood. We continue to search, to probe and to speculate.”

Perhaps I am not alone in the push and pull of Feminism?

Mnemosyne was the Greek goddess of memory and mother of the Muses, who were the goddesses of inspiration in literature, science and the arts. The story of Mnemosyne and her Muses centres on the skill and storytelling of oral cultures and the power of memory.

Locally a group of woman has taken inspiration from the Greek goddess and used her name to form a writing and discussion group, known as the ‘Mnemosyne: South Coast Women’s Journal

Those behind Mnemosyne the group/journal describe themselves as, “A feminist collective made up of PhD candidates, undergraduate students, creative writers, poets, musicians, filmmakers, historians, and librarians.”

Jodie Stewart. Source: Facebook
Jodie Stewart. Source: Facebook

“Our aim is to help raise the voices of women on the South Coast of New South Wales and to amplify them through the publication of the Mnemosyne: South Coast Women’s Journal,” the group’s website says.

To date, their writings have lived in the digital world, but the group is working towards a print edition of their ‘muses’.

Member, Noe Lumby says, “Our journal will reveal the stories, opinions, research and creative work of all south coast women.”

For any men still reading this, you are invited and welcome to Mnemosyne’s July 26 forum in Bega.

Mnemosyne hopes to foster a chorus of voices and men’s voices are an important part of this discussion,” Ms Stewart says.

“We have invited a young local man to be a part of our panel, Tas Fitzer, who stood as a candidate in last year’s local government elections.

“A range of experiences and insights are an important part of an open forum on contemporary feminism. All are welcome and we encourage everyone to come along,” Ms Stewart says.

Other panelists include Dr Annie Werner, Indigo Walker, and Lorna Findlay, with the discussion chaired by Ms Stewart, who is a PhD candidate and tutor at the University of Wollongong (UOW), Bega.

Dr Annie Werner is head tutor in the Faculty of Arts at the Bega campus of UOW. Her current research addresses the sexual and social challenges of living in a non-reconstructed post-breast-cancer body.

Indigo Walker is the founder of local business Topsy-turvy Intimates which makes underwear out of recycled materials. Indigo also represents the new generation of feminists and women’s social justice advocates.

Lorna Findlay is a feminist historian who studied law in Melbourne in the 1980s and then worked in the field of domestic violence.

Lorna’s research interest lies in the development of second and third wave feminism. She hopes to investigate the similarities and shared beliefs that remain and whether feminism has lost its political voice.

In speaking to About Regional, the forum’s chair is expecting some interesting discussion influenced by the forum’s rural setting.

“Like the rest of the country, there is still much work to be done here in South East NSW,” Ms Stewart says.

“At a practical level we need more women in leadership positions in our community and more women making decisions that affect other women.

“Only 7% of general managers and CEO’s in our area are women. According to the Bega Valley Shire’s ‘Social Issues Paper’.

“Women are also under-represented in higher paying jobs and over-represented in underpaying jobs,” she says.

“This has a significant impact on social justice outcomes for women in our community.”

The panel ready to talk feminism.
The panel ready to talk feminism on July 26 at UOW Bega.

While acknowledging the influence a female Mayor and a female General Manager of Council will have in the Bega Valley, Ms Stewart believes challenges still exist.

“It’s an important step forward and an important part of social and cultural change, but there remains a significant barrier in terms of social attitudes and pervasive gendered expectations,” Ms Stewart explains.

“Women are still funneled disproportionally into ‘caring roles’ both inside and outside of the workforce because these roles are still seen as inherently female,” she says.

Sexism and the equality issues that forged the feminist movement decades ago are still relevant now in the Bega Valley according to Ms Stewart.

“Sexism is the elephant in the room,” she believes.

“Sexism is institutionalised and is part of the everyday experience of being a woman, compounded when you are Indigenous, a woman of colour, if you are part of the LGBTQI community or a woman with a disability.

“In our community, it is still advantageous to be a white male,” Ms Stewart.

There is much of what Jodie Stewart talks about that I don’t understand or can relate to, I am one of those white males after all which no doubt blinds my judgment.

There is clear evidence though from those walking in different shoes that something needs to change, which gets my attention and opens my mind.

The ‘Feminism in the 21st Century’ Forum is on Wednesday, July 26 at the University of Wollongong, Bega from 5pm-7pm – a local opportunity to be part of a bigger discussion that is being led at a national and international level by writers and commentators like Clementine Ford and Jane Caro.

Mnemosyne: South Coast Women's Journal
Mnemosyne: South Coast Women’s Journal

Light refreshments will be provided and entry is by gold coin donation, all funds raised will go towards the publication of Mnemosyne’s first hardcopy edition.

RSVP to southcoastwomen1@gmail.com by Monday 24 July or book your free tickets online at www.mnemosynejournal.org/events

Disclaimer: About Regional is Media Partner for the ‘Feminism in the 21st Century’ Forum.

About Regional will be recording the forum for later publication.

New southern NSW tourism boss gets down to work

Shane O'Leary, the General Manager of Destination Southern NSW
Shane O’Leary, the General Manager of Destination Southern NSW

A new energy is at play in the region’s tourism industry, with Shane O’Leary appointed to the newly created position of General Manager, Destination Southern NSW.

O’Leary’s boots are under his new desk for the first time this week as this new organisation finds it’s feet and makes good on the State Government’s tourism reforms.

Most recently working as Economic Development Manager at Bega Valley Shire Council, Mr O’Leary says he is looking forward to settling into his new job and the work ahead.

“We will work across the region with peak tourist organisations in our Local Government Areas to identify, promote, support and facilitate strategic opportunities with Destination NSW involvement,” he says.

It’s a whopper of a region covering a dynamic mix of environments, communities, and interests.

Murrumbateman Filed Days. Source: Yass Valley Council
Murrumbateman Field Days. Source: Yass Valley Council

Destination Southern NSW covers eight local government areas – Goulburn Mulwaree, Hilltops, Queanbeyan‐Palerang, Upper Lachlan, Yass Valley, Snowy Monaro, Bega Valley, and Eurobodalla.

Six Destination Networks were established by the NSW Government this time last year, replacing eleven Regional Tourism Organisations that crisscrossed the state.

At the time Tourism Minister, Stuart Ayres said, “The networks will improve industry engagement and better development of visitor experiences and products.”

In July 2016, the Minister announced that around $10 million a year will be channeled into new initiatives that aim to bolster visitor numbers in regional and rural areas.

“The NSW Government has a goal of doubling overnight visitor expenditure by 2020, and we know that regional tourism is an important driver in meeting this target,” Mr Ayres said.

Each of the networks is governed by a six-person, skills-based, paid board. Southern NSW Directors include Natalie Godward from Cruise Eden, Wayne Kirkpatrick from Tourism Snowy Mountains, and Roger Linderman from Virgin Australia.

Southern Chair, Richard Beere comes to the job with 34 years of tourism industry experience. Ahead of this week’s board meeting in Cooma, Richard congratulated Shane O’Leary on his appointment as General Manager.

“We had a very strong pool of talented applicants but the interview panel was very impressed not only by Shane’s skills and experience but also his ability to “take us on the journey”

“He strongly believes in collaboration and negotiation to gain mutual agreement and support and this is also a key value of the Board,” Mr Beere says.

Skiing at Perisher. Source NSW National Parks
Skiing at Perisher. Source NSW National Parks

The chair says Mr O’Leary builds on the expertise of the board.

“But most importantly we all have a passion for the area and helping local businesses maximise the opportunities and benefits of increased tourism receipts,” Mr Beere says.

Apart from recent his local government experience, O’Leary  comes to the role having been Executive Director of Tourism, Events, and Sport with the ACT Government, and as Chief Executive Officer of the 2009 Sydney World Masters Games Organising Committee.

“Highlights included securing a number of first-ever and significant major sporting events for the nation’s capital,” Mr O’Leary says.

“The first ever One Day International cricket match featuring the Australian Cricket Team, a Trans-Tasman Netball Test,  and hosting the AFL’s annual Hall of Fame Dinner to name a few.

“Other highlights include leading the negotiations that resulted in the first ever naming rights sponsor of Canberra Stadium and overseeing the project that saw the installation of lights at Manuka Oval,” he says.

O’Leary, a former Yass local who now calls Bemboka home, was also part of the team that worked with Canberra Airport to develop the business case that would ultimately lead to the commencement of direct international flights to and from Canberra.

“This project, in particular gave a clear and detailed insight into the tourism attractions and potential of southern New South Wales,” Mr O’Leary says.

Whale watching at Montague Isand. Source Eurobodalla Tourism
Whale watching at Montague Island. Source Eurobodalla Tourism

“An integral part of the Canberra value proposition we developed highlighted the ease of access for inbound travelers to the region Destination Southern NSW will support and work with.”

Initial priorities for the new tourism boss will be setting up a headquarters for the organisation in Merimbula and recruiting an operational team, quickly followed by the development of a Destination Management Plan.

Destination Southern NSW is the direct conduit to government for industry support, development, marketing campaigns, and other services and support, Mr O’Leary says.

“In this regard, we will advocate and highlight opportunities and the needs of the region.

“The Destination Management Plan is the first step and will guide our work and help build a case,” he says.

O’Leary is keen to engage with a local tourism industry he describes as, “diverse and universally passionate.”

“We have no intention of duplicating the successful programs of existing local tourism organisations within our Local Government Areas (LGAs),” Mr O’Leary says.

Goulburn's St Saviour Cathedral. Source: Goulburn Cathedral
Goulburn’s St Saviour Cathedral. Source: Goulburn Cathedral

“I understand and respect the diverse range of experiences on offer across the region and the importance of supporting, not disrupting, the existing well-regarded tourism bodies that exist.

“The aim of Destination Southern NSW is to add value that brings clear benefits measured over the medium term by increased visitation and spending,” he explains.

“How this is best achieved will be identified quickly through the establishment of a communication and collaboration framework with existing peak tourism bodies and the leadership of LGAs across our region.”

When reflecting on his capacity to cover such a large territory with numerous stakeholder groups, O’Leray touched on his time leading the organisation of the 2009 World Master Games in Sydney.

An event that wrangled over thirty thousand athletes from over 100 countries covering 30 sports at 80 venues around the Sydney metropolitan area and beyond.

Bermagui Harbour with Gulaga looking on. Source: Sapphire Coast Tourism
Bermagui Harbour with Gulaga looking on. Source: Sapphire Coast Tourism

“It was a great privilege and wonderful experience to have led the organisation from the time Sydney was awarded the Games through until the post-event wind-up,” Mr O’Leary says.

“As CEO I am proud of what our team of over 60 staff and some 5000 volunteers achieved.

“Working effectively with a great board, dealing with twelve Local Government Areas and selling Sydney and New South Wales to the world were fundamental responsibilities I enjoyed and will bring those experiences to Destination Southern NSW.”

 

 

 

 

 

Podcast 15 – Refugee Week in South East NSW with ANU Professor of Diplomacy

Welcome Refugees from Refugee Council of Australia
Welcome Refugees from Refugee Council of Australia. Please note the balloons are tied up!

Refugee Week is being marked around the region, the theme is a clever play on words borrowed from our national anthem – “With courage let us all combine.”

The aim of the week is to celebrate the contribution refugees make to Australian society and to ultimately build a better understanding between different communities.

A range of cultural, social, and advocacy events are planned across the Eurobodalla, Bega Valley and Snowy Monaro in the coming days.

At Cooma on Thursday (June 22) there is a film screening, “Constance on the Edge” between 5:30 and 7:30 at the Cooma Multicultural Centre on Mittagang Rd.

‘Constance on the Edge’ follows a charismatic mother of six, as she confronts her painful past in war-torn Sudan, risking everything in Australia so her family can thrive. Filmed over 10 years in Wagga Wagga, the documentary is an unflinchingly honest portrayal of one refugee family’s resettlement story in regional New South Wales.

The Bega Valley branch of Rural Australians for Refugees has a packed program of movie screenings, dinners, and author talks and on Friday (June 23) at 10 am in Littleton Gardens Bega, a rally to raise awareness of Refugee Welcome Zones.

And in the Eurobodalla, locals are invited to join a celebration in Moruya on Saturday morning (June 24) as the Welcome Scroll visits as part its national journey.

The Welcome Scroll is 5 metres long, features hand turned red gum handles and the signatures of representatives from over 140 Refugee Welcome Zones around the country – including the signature of Eurobodalla Mayor Liz Innes.

Head to Russ Martin Park between 10 and 12 this Saturday, they’ll be food and live music and you can check out the Moruya Markets at the same time.

South East NSW busy as always!

To this week’s podcast – William Maley, Professor of Diplomacy at the Australian National University, and Vice President of the Refugee Council of Australia, has just been in the region as a guest of the Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast.

Bill’s book “What is a Refugee?” is a guide to the complex issues that surface whenever refugees are discussed, while also telling the stories of families and individuals who have sought refuge.

Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast, refugee forum 2016
Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast, refugee forum 2016.

Bill came to Merimbula keen to motivate and inform advocacy around the issue, hoping for a more humane approach to refugees from the Australian Government and sections of Australian society.

He spoke for almost an hour to around 200 people, I’ve boiled it down to about 17 minutes, I’ve cleaned the audio up as best I can but there is a little bit of background noise, which I hope you can forgive.

Thanks for tuning into About Regional, your feedback, story ideas, and advertising inquiries are welcome, just flick me an email – hello@aboutregional.com.au

Thanks to my partners in this week’s podcast – Light to Light Camps – pristine beaches, great food, hot showers and comfy beds. This is your chance to explore the Wilderness Coast in style.

See you out and about in South East NSW.

Listening options:

Listen and stream here and now…

Listen and subscribe via iTunes, Audioboom, or bitesz.com

Daniel Champagne goes back to school ahead of his tour of South East NSW and the ACT

Class five at Mumbulla School in Bega played host to a star from their alumni today (June 14, 2017) ahead of a big gig at the school on Saturday night.

Over the next week, Daniel Champagne will also play in Braidwood, Jindabyne, Nowra, Canberra, and Sydney, check his website for ticket info.

Thanks for tuning in, the craft of video editing is new, baby steps! Stay tuned for part two, the kids get to ask the questions!

You might also be interested in catching up on the last time About Regional chatted with Daniel.

Cheers
Ian

About Regional presents TEDx Sydney in Bega – get your tickets here!

TEDx Sydney 2016. Source: TEDx Sydney
TEDx Sydney 2016. Source: TEDx Sydney

TEDx Sydney is the leading platform for promoting Australian ideas, creativity, and innovation to the rest of the world, and this year Bega gets a front row seat.

TED is a not for profit organisation devoted to ‘Ideas Worth Spreading’, you might be familiar with TED Talks – a global video and podcast sensation. These talks of between 5 and 20 minutes spark deep discussion and connection, TEDx Sydney is an extension of that.

People expert in their field, people you might not have never heard of stand up with something to say and usually stand up ‘for’ something.

On Friday, June 16, the Bega Valley Commemorative Civic Centre (BVCCC) will plug into the exclusive live video stream from TEDx Sydney at the International Convention Centre at Darling Harbour.

About Regional will host local discussion around the program from Sydney.

“Full of brilliant ideas and extraordinary stories that bring heart and mind together.” – TEDx Sydney 2016 attendee

The program is packed with people and ideas that will be new, people and ideas that will build on your own thoughts, and people and ideas that will challenge your way of thinking.

The live stream program on the big screen at the BVCCC is non-stop from 9am on Friday, June 16:

9:00am – 10:30am

  • Airling, fast becoming one of the most talked about young artists in Australia.
  • Bronwyn King, Australian radiation oncologist.
  • Tom Griffiths, Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science at Berkeley University.
  • Judy Atkinson, community worker and academic in the fields of violence, trauma, and healing.
  • L-FRESH The LION, prowling the Australian scene, the Western Sydney artist has quickly become renowned for his powerful presence, inspiring live shows and thought-provoking lyricism.
  • Jane Gilmore, a journalist with a strong focus on data journalism and feminism.

11:15am – 12:45pm

2:15pm – 3:45pm

  • Uncle Jack Charles, award-winning actor, Aboriginal elder and musician.
  • Sarah Blasko, acclaimed singer, songwriter, musician and producer.
  • Sarah Houbolt, Paralympic swimmer, and circus performer.
  • David Power, helping to end the threat of illegal fishing and overfishing to Pacific Island communities.
  • Andy Dexterity, a performance maker recognised for his unique brand of movement, which fuses dance, physical theatre and signed languages.

4:30pm – 6:15pm

  • Stu Hunter, multi award-winning Australian composer, producer, and pianist.
  • Fast Ideas.
  • Scott Griffiths, researcher of male body dissatisfaction and eating disorders.
  • Jordan Raskopoulos, comedian, actor, singer and co-creator of The Axis of Awesome.
  • Peter Greste, an award-winning foreign correspondent.
  • Ngaiire, one of Australia’s most unique and fearless musicians

Following the live stream from Sydney, a local discussion with a room of thinkers and leaders will give TEDx a Bega Valley spin, finishing up before 7:30pm.

There are lots of ticketing options

Option 1: The live stream from TEDx Sydney will run all day, come and go as you please. An all-day pass, including gourmet finger food and a drink for the evening session, is $30.

Business people, entrepreneurs, students – anyone! Is invited to work from the BVCCC all day on June 16 with wifi and desk space provided. A chance to ‘get the job done’ and network with like-minded locals, all while being able to take part in TEDx Sydney. An all-day work pass costs $30, which gives you access to the BVCCC co-working space from 9am, as well as entry to the evening session with nibbls and a complimentary drink from 4:30.

The BVCCC. Source: Hines Constructions
The BVCCC. Source: Hines Constructions

Option 2: The lunch session runs 11:30 – 2:30 and costs just $10. Taking some inspiration from this year’s TEDx Sydney theme of ‘Unconventional’ you are encouraged to bring your own unconventional lunch along to the BVCCC, find a spot with friends in front of the big screen upstairs and take in the experience.

Option 3: The after work/evening session runs 4:30 till 7:00ish, come and enjoy TEDx Sydney with gourmet finger food and a drink, tickets are $25.

Bring your Friday drinks to the BVCCC, the bar will be open!

High school and university students can have all day access for just $5, evening drinks and nibbles are extra.

Get your tickets HERE and be part of the discussion.