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.
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:
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.
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 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 15but 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.
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.
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.
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’.
High school students from Cooma have combined with a locally based, online fashion house in a colourful approach to tackling family violence.
The idea of a workplace ‘Colourathon’ is being trialed at Birdsnest in Cooma, with female students from Monaro High School preparing to launch the idea nationally in November.
New ‘Colourathon for Corporates’ kits come packed with everything a business will need to host their own event, broadening the community response to family violence.
Artistic change maker, Big hART is leading the collaboration under the banner of ‘Project O‘.
“Project O is a national program we run with young women aged 12 to 15, assisting them to build new skills and capacity and to learn how to be change makers,” says Genevieve Dugard, Project O National Director.
Project O started in the ‘family violence hotspot’ of North West Tasmania and has since been rolled out to Cooma, Roebourne WA, and Canberra.
“A colourathon is a colouring-in arts marathon,” Genevieve explains.
“An arts endurance event, where every hour of colouring-in is sponsored and raises money for trauma therapy services for young children fleeing violence and needing crises care.”
A colourathon at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra on November 30 will help launch the corporates kits being developed at Birdsnest by the twenty young women from Monaro High School.
“They roll out a play based therapy program in women’s shelters,” Genevieve says.
“The average age of a child fleeing violence is two and a half years old, through the fundraising we provide training in play based therapy which helps children who can’t talk or express their feelings like adults.”
The add on to Big hART’s Project O initiative for the Monaro girls is the opportunity to be mentored by the innovators and entrepreneurs that make up Birdsnest – winner of the ‘Best Online Customer Service Award’ at the Online Retail Industry Awards in 2015 and 2016 and BRW Australia’s 8th ‘Best Place to Work’ for companies with 100 employees or less in 2015.
Former IBM e-business consultant, Jane Cay is ‘head bird’.
“It’s such a great opportunity for them to realise that they can create change even when they are young and at school,” Jane says.
Students have been embedded in Jane’s company for a ten week period, mentored by staff in event management, product development, publicity, design, logistics, and a range of other business skills.
“It’s a massive company and it’s amazing that we are able to have workshops here,” says Brooke, one of the Project O students.
‘We are so lucky that we have this experience, to meet all of the staff and learn new things from them,” Brooke’s friend Georgia adds.
Both students say they have also been surprised to learn about the issue of family violence.
“It does happen in Cooma, I didn’t think it would happen in Cooma, it’s been a shock to me,” Georgia says.
“I hope this [The Colourathon] will show people that it is happening and it needs to stop,” Brooke says.
“Hopefully we raise money to help them [children] get through it and find more support through play based therapy,” Georgia adds.
Aside from the benefit to the community through programs like Project O and the Colourathon, Jane Cay believes it makes good business sense for corporates to get involved.
“People need to come to work feeling nurtured, and they need to look after themselves in order to be of service to anyone – whether that’s in the workplace or to their families,” Jane says.
“If the family environment is not a safe and nurturing place it’s very difficult to then come into a work place without that very basic foundation that humans need to operate.”
Thanks to About Regional members, Jeanette Westmore, Claire Blewett, Fay Deveril, and Fiona Cullen for supporting local story telling.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
‘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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Long before Donald Trump turned America’s back on the Paris Agreement, Australian families decided that investing in solar energy for their homes and businesses made sense, in fact Australia has the highest take-up rate in the world.
The NSW Office of Environment and Heritageis keen to build on that and have just been in the region, dropping in on towns where the take up of solar panels hasn’t been as great as it has been in other communities.
Free community seminars in Queanbeyan, Cooma, Eden and Ulladulla have helped “Demystify Solar Power’.
OEH staff were on hand to answer questions and lead discussion – explaining the different options for businesses and households wanting to switch to solar; saving money and saving the planet.
The Paris Agreement was part of the conversation that took place at these seminars, but this all happened just before Trump quite, not that I think the local response would have been different.