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.

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Podcast 12 – Eden’s Wanderer Replica Project

Ben Boyd's Wanderer, painted by Oswald Brierly. From Wander Replica Project website.
Ben Boyd’s Wanderer, painted by Oswald Brierly. From Wanderer Replica Project website.

Today the story of a bunch of people with history and salt water in their veins, people making progress on ambitious plans to build a replica of an 1830’s luxury sailing ship.

Scottish-born entrepreneur, Ben Boyd sailed the 25 metre Wanderer into Sydney in July 1842, he soon set sail for Twofold Bay at Eden on the NSW Far South Coast following four steamers crammed with supplies down the coast.

Seeking his fortune, Boyd quickly established a network of pastoral properties spanning a landscape that took in the sea and the snow.

He also took charge of coastal steamship operations linking the region with Sydney, Melbourne, and Tasmania, and was a player in Eden’s whaling industry.

Part of his enterprise remains – the impressive Seahorse Inn. Construction started in 1843 using sandstone imported from Sydney and oak fixtures from England.

Boyd’s Tower on the southern shores of Twofold Bay is his other legacy. Constructed in 1847 the 23-metre-high lighthouse was intended to guide his fleet of ships home.

A number of challenges, not at least his overly ambitious plans and the financial depression of the time, combined to undo Boyd and he was declared bankrupt in 1848.

He left Eden on the Wanderer to restore his fortunes in the Californian Goldfields, but his treasure chest was never the same.

He was last seen in the Solomon Islands hunting for duck. Creditors came looking, but his body has never been found.

The Wanderer Replica Project was launched in 2014 by a group of locals with a love of Boyd’s story and skills in shipbuilding.

Fundraising moves ahead, and so too does the ship building.

I caught up with one of the committee members selling raffle tickets. Jon Gaul says apart from the historical and tourist interest the completed Wanderer will also offer youth training and development programs.

My partners in this program can also help you explore much of this history, Light to Light Camps explore the coastline between Boyd’s Tower and Greencape Lighthouse in style – it’s kinda like Attenborough meets Kardashian.

Check in with Jenny, Arthur and Jake at Light to Light Camps.

Thanks for tuning in – your feedback and stories ideas are always welcome, flick me an email to hello@aboutregional.com.au or we can connect via the About Regional Facebook page.

About Regional – a new place for the stories of South East NSW.

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New eco-tourism venture adds a touch of luxury to the Light to Light adventure

The pinks and purples of the Light to Light walk
The pinks and purples of the Light to Light walk

The pink and purple coastline that stretches south from Twofold Bay at Eden has long inspired bold and daring feats, and it continues to do so in 2107 with the launch of a new eco-tourism venture.

Light to Light Camps rolls out the red carpet for small groups of hikers, the first party of four ‘mature‘ ladies has just returned beaming about the experience.

Jenny and Arthur Robb have seen the potential this distinctive environment embodies, both from a business perspective as a new tourist attraction and at a personal level for those who lace up their boots and walk the track over two nights and three days.

This 31-kilometre adventure spans the ever-changing coastline of the Ben Boyd National Park on the Far South Coast of New South Wales.

The ‘lights’ that inspire the name are Boyd’s Tower and Green Cape Lighthouse.

Walkers travel between seven and 13-kilometres every day, an ‘intermediate’ walk taking between three and four and half hours after a good breakfast.

Mary Pearce (centre, white hat) and her girlfriends standing on top of Green Cape Lighthouse
Mary Pearce (centre, white hat) and her girlfriends standing on top of Green Cape Lighthouse

The first people of this country have known the track for thousands of years, the Yuin People have a history of hunting for whales from this shoreline and collecting shellfish, one midden in the area dates back 3,000 years.

White man history is perhaps more obvious to hikers and was a highlight for Mary Pearce and her girlfriends, the first to do the walk under Jenny and Arthur’s watch.

“Something I knew about but had never been to, and it was very poignant, was the Ly-ee Moon Cemetery, just a little bit north of Green Cape,” Mary says.

Driven by a screw propeller, the Ly-ee-Moon was sailing from Melbourne to Sydney in what the Captain described as a “moderate sea” on the night of May 30, 1886.

At around 9:30 pm the ship struck the rocky reef at the foot of Green Cape Lighthouse, which had only been in operation for the three years prior.

Seventy-one men, women and children lost their lives, the cemetery Mary points to is the stark reminder of the disaster. Sixteen people were heroically rescued in the darkness by the Lighthouse Keeper and his assistant.

Mary says Arthur and Jenny’s knowledge of the history dotted along the track makes for great campfire conversation at breakfast and dinner.

Mowary Beach, a highlight on the Light to Light walk
Mowary Beach, a highlight on the Light to Light walk

History is your starting point on day one of the walk under Ben Boyd’s Tower, on the southern edge of Twofold Bay.

Boyd was a Scottish stockbroker and entrepreneur with big ambitions in the new colony that was taking shape far from his London HQ.

The tower was built in 1847, Boyd keen to establish a lighthouse to guide his fleet of steamers and whaling boats home. His big plans failed on all fronts, but his tenacity is dotted around Eden to this day. I’ll leave Arthur and Jenny to tell you more.

While the history you will experience with Light to Light Camps is rich and varied, it’s the environment that is front and centre during this experience.

“It was absolutely so memorable,” Mary says.

“We’re keen birdwatchers, and we were really after a sighting of the Eastern Ground Parrot, which is quite elusive and rare.

“Arthur had us all clued up for it, he also told us we needed to be quiet,” Mary laughs

Wildlife abounds on the Light to Light walk
Wildlife abounds on the Light to Light walk

Two sightings followed on the stretch between Bittangabee Campground and Green Cape.

“Quite beautiful, quite spectacular, and very special,” Mary says.

Idyllic but basic campgrounds managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service at Saltwater Creek and Bittangabee Bay have always offered respite and sanctuary for walkers doing the track, but camping in that traditional sense is not an option for Mary and her girlfriends, who are all aged in their late 50’s, early 60’s.

What Jenny and Arthur offer, makes camping possible for people who otherwise wouldn’t and without a doubt they take it to a new level.

“When we discovered Light to Light Camps, it was a dream come true,” Mary says.

“We had the camping without the pain of camping, Jenny and Arthur took away the pain.”

Click play to hear more about Mary’s adventure with Light to Light Camps…

 

Mary says the walk itself is not terribly hard and remembers walking into Saltwater at the end of the first leg to be greeted by her hosts.

“We walked into this most gorgeous set up,” Mary recalls

Chillaxing with Light to Light Camps
Chillaxing with Light to Light Camps

“There were twin tents, beautiful camp stretchers with mattresses and white sheets and white, crisp pillowcases.

“We had a shower with hot water and we had gourmet food and wine, it was just like the Hilton at Saltwater,” Mary says.

The smile on the veteran teacher’s face broadens as she remembers the snacks and treats she nibbled in cool shady gullies along the way, and the fresh salad wraps that were eaten at lunch after a swim in the brilliantly blue waters of a sandy cove.

Hostess, Jenny has lived in the local area since the early 1980’s, Arthur since the mid-1990’s.

They are driven by sharing this unique landscape and it’s wildlife with people and providing a connection and experience not possible without their efforts.

“This place is very special,” Jenny says.

The Light to Light Track follows some of Australia’s most spectacular coastline.

The trail moves beside rocks dating back over 400 million years, a marine environment with incomparable diversity, coastal heath and forests of Banksia and Ti-tree, side by side with ancient Aboriginal culture.

“The stories of Eden’s whaling days are also part of the journey and the incredible and long-lasting relationship between whalers and Killer Whales,” Jenny explains.

“There is a lot to take in, and we invite people to explore it all at their our own pace without the burden of tents, food and extra water.

The end of a great few days, Green Cap Lighthouse
The end of a great few days, Green Cape Lighthouse

“We are there at the start and end of every day to spoil you with delicious dinners, a hot shower and a luxurious camp set up – we’ve got you covered,” Jenny beams.

Any new business comes with a good dose of nerves and risk. Being bold and daring is part of the required toolkit.

Mary thinks Jenny and Arthur are on a winner.

“I can see overseas tourists just loving it,” she says.

“It’s a truly Australian experience, it’s not mass-produced and plastic, it’s really as we are, the potential is just amazing.”

Light to Light Camps comes from and is inspired by South East NSW, About Regional is a proud partner and supporter.

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