The Victorian Snow Fields experienced a long season with full coverage to delight skiers that could enjoy skiing in fine weather.
The lure of fun on the slopes draws Melbournians out of the urban web and into the quiet melancholy of a country morn. Off to Buller for three glorious days.
‘Another crystal clear and sparkling day here on the mountain. It will climb to 9 degrees today so will feel delicious in the sunshine. SPF your nose, get out early for the crunchy snow and enjoy a mild Spring day’
Snow borders spend more times on their behinds than those that prefer the dual drive, however the competent make it look easy and provide entertainment for those moments between chair-lifts.
Mount Buller is Melbourne’s closest mountain and locals claim that this is the best season they have had since 1986. The easy access encourages families but I would not recommend it as a learners destination due to its steep drops, the green runs turn into blue runs and spill into black runs. No matter how green you are, you will find yourself on an advanced run to make your way to a lift, back up the mountain. The ‘Family Run’ is a blue run with sharp black drops. If you suffer from vertigo head off to the Burnt Hut or the Mercedes Run but for those that love a black run with speed and tight turns this is your mountain.
Most Ski parents have no comprehension of danger and some take their kids to the Summit. The offspring of snow mums learn to ski when they can walk, or as one mum explained, “when they are out of nappies”. Toddlers and children follow their Ski teachers like ducklings.
The major flaw of this field is the disconnect between sections of the mountain that involve a trek that makes it more difficult for the snowboarders. There are sections where a T-Bar would be a convenient link. For time-out the Mercedes Hut offers a lounge, fresh water, chill out music and phone charges and there are also cafes and bars for a break, or a glass of wine on the home run.
The Buller advantage is the 300 hectares of coverage and 22 lifts to take you there.
When your energy levels are low and each day seems the same as the last, it may be time to get-away. A week-end retreat keeps it simple and offers an opportunity to step-back from the race and breath.
The Resting places
The Daylesford Hotel
The Daylesford Hotel
Whether in a simple room above the Daylesford Hotel, or an Airbnd off the beaten path; the time away will reignite your dwindling flame with country vitality and charm.
The main strip offers cafes for morning coffees and brunch in front of open fires as the cares fall away. Some Tourists come up for Spas and Massages but don’t need them after a day of wondering through antique stores, art galleries and climbing up streets without the visual insult of ‘development’.
are located at the top of the climb and few tourists are up early enough for a Sunday service but that won’t stop a charming convert from offering a stranger a lift to the market, when they are only asking for directions.
Get to know the locals at the farmers market. Few stores have EFTPOS so remember to bring cash and enjoy over-sized samosas, a store devoted to mushrooms, antiques, fresh produce and a yarn with every purchase.
runs through the market, it is a living museum of leather seats and wooden panels that rattle and rock as it parades through the country side, with city folk smiling by.
Cafes spotted throughout the town for an afternoon tea or a glass of wine, many have open fires to warm up by.
on top of the hill offer botanic country paths to meander
As the last veil of sunshine and warmth left our streets at the end of June, a shadow fell like doom and cast us into our beds with flu’s. June was invigorating, July is dismal. Fortunately there is the The Tour De France to remind us of a Summer, somewhere.
Sorting through the closet each morning to find something warm to wear is challenging and reduces the rotating option to the point where black is best. There is nothing more unnerving than looking out of the window, before heading out, and seeing the trees twisted over by the wind. For bike riders, it tests endurance.
During Summer people proclaim winter is great as you can rug-up, mmmm, wind and hail are stronger. In the sunny season, they say, it’s cosy in front of a fire, mmmm, who has an open flame? They say it’s easier to get warm than get cool, mmmm, my bedroom is an ice machine.
What to do?
The Clever ones are exploring Central Australia, cruising the Islands or flying North. For those that forgot to book the early-bird airfares there are a few local options.
Option 1. Head to the snow, you can buy bus day-passes at Southern Cross railway station, on your way home from work.
Option 2. Do Christmas in July, make it fun.
Option 3. Book a ticket on the ferry to Tasmania, be fearless.
Of Course, there is football.
On that happy note, be brave, drive carefully and buy orange juice.
White Ribbon Ambassadors are men who recognise the importance of taking responsibility and playing a leadership role in preventing men’s violence against women. They are formal representatives who have the knowledge, skills, attributes and determination to influence Australian men to critically evaluate their attitudes and behaviours toward women.
Brent Howard, a White Ribbon Ambassador, ran the Medibank Melbourne Marathon to raise money and awareness for the prevention of violence towards women. He is a young father and committed to the it’s objectives.
“Eva (his daughter) is why programs like White Ribbon are so important. I for one, don’t want my daughter to grow up in a country where Domestic Violence is a common occurrence. When she grows up I want to be able to look her in the eye and say I didn’t stand by, I did something to make her world a better place.
Howard was the grandson of a caring woman who was a victim of domestic violence.
The person I think of most when I run is my Nan. My Nan was subjected to domestic abuse by the man she married. He died long before she did and with it so did the abuse. But what he left behind was a wife and 6 kids. My Nan was the most determined, caring and courageous woman I’ve known. She earned the nick name Sadie as she worked 3 cleaning jobs to keep a roof over her children’s heads. Growing up my Nan was an avid runner, but I never knew her as a runner. This along with many other things is something you have to give up when left to pay the bills and look after a house full of kids.
I run for White Ribbon, for those like my Nan. – for those who can’t”
“Men’s violence against women is a serious social issue in Australia and has been for decades. Now this issue has a more focused spotlight, it is a critical opportunity for government and services to better work together, to create real social change”claims Libby Davies, CEO of White Ribbon Australia
Ms. Davies also called on governments to increase support for violence prevention:
“There is evidence that prevention is working. We have data showing that White Ribbon programs are driving the attitudinal and behavioral change needed to stop men’s violence against women.
Brent Howard raised $5,792.32 for the protection of women
“I use my love of running to raise awareness and funds for White Ribbon Australia.”
The West have had a ‘hell of a time’ getting here.
Airfares have skyrocketed to the point that it is cheaper to go to Europe from Perth, than to Melbourne.Word on the street is that one of the airlines held back ticket sales for 2 weeks untill the final outcome was decided and then, the price hike. What to do?
There is talk that many booked to go to New Zealand, because it was cheaper, got off at Melbourne and did not return to the flight.
Some flew via Bali and Singapore,they had a mini break and then arrived in Melbourne. It was cheaper than flying direct.
There are those that flew via Adelaide and Sydney, but the airlines caught on. Prices went up.
The rest drove. The Nullarbor Plain, not an interesting landscape, for 2 days it is as flat as a dead liner (and still another day to go).
Its a long way to come, to watch the West Coast Eagles lose bitterly to Hawthorns, Hawks.
Directors Natalie Rozen and Paz Loyola-Blanco are strong and inspiring women.
Rozen has worked through undermining conditions and become a captivating person that charges your soul as you speak to her.
It’s a paradox that them that did not destroy you, made you, the powerful one.
As we look at the alarming rise of slavery, worse than it ever was, we hope that those that survive will become internal warriors, returning home, an asset to themselves and those around them. Not destroyed, although deeply harmed.
Speakeasy in South Yarra rolled out the red carpet for a glamour night of Art and Theatre by those that have suffered with dignity and pride.
The lovely nibbles and organic wine did not distract one from the important issues. Information about Slavery was projected onto the wall.
The Performers and Artworks were examples of people who have suffered from various issues and made friends with their pain through Art therapy. The money raised goes to helping,educating and empowering very vulnerable people in Nepal that are victims of human trafficking.
You are not a loser, you are not a victim, you are a human being that has met fear and anxiety and recruited it into ones life as a friend, as something that made you strong.
Melbourne Press spoke to the performers Cathrine Pourreau and Svetlana Bykovec, they have been through their own personal journeys and see the cause as universal.
“Something comes from within, that just rises from it” Pourreau claims.
“It’s about where you come from and where you are now and appreciating what you have turned into, if it wasn’t for those hardships .. the world has opened .” Bykovek explains
“When you dare to go there, you are tapping into what it means to be human.”Pourreau adds.
They embrace the dark days, those lonely times and appreciate where they are today.
Its was a performance that the eye and heart enjoyed. It was genuine.
An interview with Natalie Rozen.
Natalie Rozen believes in the healing power of Art Therapy and directs survivors as they empower their spirit and transform the ugly into a quest within ones self.
Atira Tan the founder of Art2Healing and Carla Van Laar the Senior Advisor, have done some incredible work. To me they are Masters of Art Therapy.
In my own experience Art Therapy has been a powerful modality to not only heal psychological wounds, but help me deal with physical ailments as well. The funds we make at the exhibition are going directly to victims (of human trafficking) in Nepal.
Our artists have been taken through an in-depth processes within the last couple of months, prior to the event. They aren’t characters or actors, they are people sharing their diverse real life experiences with the audience. Asking our Artists to step back into a difficult time of their lives is certainly going to be an emotional experience.
The Hero’s Journey is a concept used by many therapists. It is a pattern of narrative identified by the American scholar Joseph Campbell , it appears in drama, storytelling, myth, religious ritual, and psychological development. It describes the typical adventure of the archetype, known as The Hero, who goes out and achieves great deeds on behalf of the tribe.
Our artists are sharing their journey through Art and Moving Sculpture (like a performance). There are three parts of their journey ; the Call, the Initiation and the Return. “The inner strength of the individual serves the greater good of the community on their return.
By raising awareness what do you hope to achieve? MP
“ It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.”JosephCampbell
“If we really explore the underlying causes of our issues, we get a greater understanding of ourselves and don’t need to suffer anymore. We become the hero of our own story.
This is what the Art2Healing Project is about. They are dedicated to assisting and empowering individuals at risk. They provide psychological support , education and growth through Art Therapy.
After suffering chronic anxiety and some agoraphobia for 20 years I found that the field of Art Therapy is a powerful means of personal transformation for emotional and spiritual healing.
Raising funds is one thing but where it goes is another. Giving people the opportunity to build personal power and prevent future traumas is a blessing.”
What support (any type) has the production received? MP
“We have had endless support throughout this project. From University lecturers to co – workers who have come on board. We have over 20 sponsors and many volunteers. We couldn’t be more grateful for the help we’ve received in making this production expand to what it’s is now.
It just shows how many heart centred people there are. It has been a Hero’s Journey in itself and next week we will be celebrating The Return, at the exhibition.”
What brought you together? MP
Paz approached me at the start of the year with her vision and asked whether we could Co-Direct for The Hero’s Journey Collective and Exhibition. We both studied counselling together and are qualified psychotherapists, which is originally why I became involved.
We realised that we had a love for the creative arts and wanted to organise a production by correlating this with psychotherapy. We then interviewed artists that had some connection with the therapeutic field.
We were very clear on safety when bringing in people; we chose those that were able to hold themselves together through the deep internal work. These artists have been incredible and I look forward to working with each of them in the future, whatever form it may take.
“To celebrate the works that neighbours have done.”
The evolution of Art is a process that requires, curiosity, appreciation, skill and patronage. Not every person that attempts art will be apt in its curly concepts, many will find that the creative pursuit is an end, in itself. The banal and the grand begin at the same place, which is the opportunity to access it. Many regional art centres throughout Victoria are seeking a cultural voice, the most well known are Castlemaine, the Yarra Valley, Ballarat, Daylesford and Bendigo.
Local artists in Nathalia (Nth Victoria) were working in isolation before the local art centre forged an artistic hub. William Kelly a local artist had suffered violent neighbourhoods in his past and sought to unite the township together through art. It’s a functional non-for profit Art Centre and it has become the focal point of creative energy in the region. They have tried to engage every person in the community and encouraged them to participate in the workshops.
‘I hope you realise what you have achieved
Because it’s fairly plain to me,
Your introducing culture! God forbid, have you no shame!
What was wrong with up the pub, getting full as a boot?
The beer, the blood, the spit on the walls….
…………….the gardens are full of sculpture!’ (Poet, Tammy Muir)
The G.R.A.I.N store gallery and workshop, opens its doors to all in the community who are willing to explore their creativity. They do not discriminate and in this melting pot of Art and Craft, originality can rise to the surface. They invite school children and the elderly to be involved. The early involvement of local children in cultural projects ensures future growth of the Arts in the region. Locals are offered a space to explore their ability in a non-threatening, appreciative environment.
The culture has changed from being sceptical of art and its artists, to becoming active in its progress. The Regional Arts Council claims it has become a model project. Patron of the Arts, Bernie Ryan (4th generation dairy farmer) supports local artists and provides a gallery space. He commissions work from his local art pool and has enhanced the creative strength of the area. He believes that most patrons in Australia over fund sport and neglect the Arts.
Original Artists that have been nourished by the community include Linden Lancaster and Bella Angyal. They have forged a path that leads back to future artists in the area.
Linden Lancaster was applying Nathalia landscape into her quilts, creating visual pieces that few saw until she showed her work in the local G.R.A.I.N.store windows. She is now an international success. She applies 3 layers to produce multi-dimensional and textural work, through material collage. Her landscapes are reminiscent of Hockney’s later work but her palette is fabric and her brush is a needle
Bella Angyal, a self-taught artist, depicted stark realism through sculpture. His statues are erected in the town centre. His war sculpture ‘Mateship’ depicts the trauma of violence; his ‘heroes’ are local lads struggling through travesty. It’s the excessive detail that gives the work its haunting reality.
All forms of Art, Craft, Music and Poetry, are supported by the Centre. They invite international talent into the town to give talks and workshops that provide a means of access through exposure. The art seed has germinated in Nathalia, it has all the support networks necessary to allow it to develop.
“You do what you think will make the world a better place” Artist Veronica Kelly claims.
Top image: from AQC 2015 Quilt Show/The Letter by Linden Lancaster
Young Australian men joined forces and fought for Peace at a time when evil deeds were tools of power. War Stories surface from the battles and are told by the tired ones that survived. Both World Wars brought many refugees who fled Europe to build a life for future generations in Australia.
Rosa was born in Poland, she was 13 years of age when World War 2, broke out on September 1939. Her young life would be thrown into a horror that she would have to endure. What is most remarkable about Rosa’s account of what happened to her and her family was her unrelenting bravery.
Her father had a shop that sold leather goods such as purses, shoes and bags; it was a successful business that provided a comfortable life for Rosa and her family. The war encroached upon them bit by bit, schools were closed and then the shops were off limits to them because they were Jewish. They had to leave their home, possessions and business and move into a ghetto.
Rosa’s 17-year-old sister decided to go to Russia where she could continue her studies in design, or find work. Many Jewish people thought they would be safer in Russia. Meanwhile Rosa’s remaining family that included an older brother and a baby were resettled on a cold and raining day. In the morning was a ‘Selection’.
“We were lucky as we were all selected to go on one side, I don’t know which one was the good one, right or left? But we were allowed to go home. That day I lost my grandparents, aunties and uncles.” Rosa explains.
Many of Rosa’s extended family were sent to the death camps in the town of Auschwitz, they were ignorant of their fate and thought that the re-location was into the township. Life was very dangerous. A near by Synagogue was burnt with men within it and Rosa remembered the dreadful smell.
Her older brother was sent to a work camp. One day he came home with a self- inflicted wound, a friend at the camp had advised him to cut himself so that he could get some leave. It worked but overnight the wound got infected. It was curfew but the mother risked going out and pleaded with a German soldier to send for a doctor. His life was saved as the doctor came and gave him the medication he needed to recover.
Food was scarce and Rosa stood in bread lines from 5am in the morning, but it made no difference as she was denied her share, due to her ethnic background. Her father resorted to the Black Market. Most things were available on the Black Market so her father decided to sell his leather goods on it, to generate an income.
A Jewish man in their neighbourhood was collaborating with the Germans and he found out about the side business. Every Thursday Germans would search Rosa’s home and even though they could not find any evidence they arrested her father. Rosa’s mother paid a ransom to the traitor every week to free her husband and keep him out of jail.
The family were sent orders that Rosa was to go to a work camp even though she was very young and weak. Originally, they hid her at an Aunties’ house but she was discovered and reissued orders. Despite her family’s protests, Rosa decided to go so as to protect them from repercussions. Her father thought that if she were wounded, as her brother had been, she would be able to stay with them. He was wrong. He burnt his daughters arm with acid and that action diverted her from being sent to the work farm but put her in line for Auschwitz
The ‘traitor’ that had been collecting money from Rosa’s family saw that she was on the list to the death camp. He decided to help her due to the payments he had received.
“He could say who was going to live and who was going to die”. Rosa explains.
“Your too young to die” The Traitor told her.
She was saved from the death camp and ended up at a work camp where she was told that she would be making parts for bicycles. She was then told to give up all of her meagre possessions such as watches, photos and jewellery. As her greatest possession were two photographs (that she still has) she hid them behind a brick in the wall. They no longer called her by name but rather by a number, which she resented.
When she was working at the factory she went into a back office looking for an officer. She went into the vacated room and read the German signage on the wall and realised that they weren’t making bicycles. They were making bombs.
“’My God! What are you doing Rosa? Helping to kill your family, your friends? ”
No! I wont do it. Rosa explained her thoughts.
When she was discovered in the forbidden office, she pretended that she couldn’t read German. Secretly she asked God to forgive her lie. When she was returned to the factory she informed her friend of her discovery.
“I’m going to sabotage the bombs” young Rosa declared
“ I made them not to measurement, I made them bigger, they were good for nothing. My boss, he noticed and asked me to concentrate more, he was German so I couldn’t tell him. I broke the needles, I made them bigger and everyday he said, what you are doing is wrong. One day more men came and stood behind my back and watched me working. I break more needles; I make them bigger. They told me to stand up and sent me to a German woman, she was not very nice and she told me that I was to go to Auschwitz.” Rosa recalled.
That was three months before the war had ended. Everyday Rosa reported to her and everyday she was told that she would go the following day. They couldn’t send her because the Liberation had begun; it was 1945. Suddenly there was no work for the girls and the factory seized operations. Men with guns surrounded the camp and called for the girls to come out but they were too frightened to do so. They yelled out to them that they were free but Rosa and her friends didn’t believe them until from a window, she saw her cousin in the crowd.
“Its not a joke anymore, we are free’ Rosa declared to the girls.
“We laughed, we cried, we kissed. The first thing I did was go a get the pictures,” Rosa explained.
Rosa came to Australia in 1960 with her husband and two children. They settled and made a new home. She is happy here and thinks that it is a beautiful country.
“ I have seven great grandsons. Hitler didn’t survive long enough to kill me too.” Rosa states.
Her final message to the next generation is that ‘we are all the same’ and not to discriminate!’
* Rosa spoke at the Jewish Holocaust Museum, Elsternwick
(Rosa’s older brother and sister survived but her parents and baby sister did not).
One woman is murdered, every week in Australia by her spouse. It’s an alarming statistic. The White Ribbon campaign is designed to inform the nation of this serious dilemma. This is a national, male led campaign to end violence against women. Globally, White Ribbon is active in more than sixty countries.
White Ribbon Ambassadors advocate themselves to protect women. They come from all walks of life and include former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Within our community men are adding their names to the growing list.
Mick Doleman, Deputy National Secretary of the Maritime Unions, for 43 years, spoke to Melbourne Press in regard to his commitment to this cause.
Mike attributes his moral compass to the early influences of his life. He came from a strong family. At 15, he became a sailor and mixed with a breed of men that he deeply respected. He emulated himself on these early role models. The men were smart in worldly affairs and possessed a great respect for women, aboriginals and other nationalities. They spoke up against racism.
In 1978, Mike was aboard the Blythe Star when it sank, off the east coast of Tasmania. He was 18 years old and spent 11 days with ten men, on a life boat where three died before they were rescued.
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” he claims.
In 1984 he became the Assistant Branch Secretary of the Seamen’s Union of Australia. He was the first person in the Maritime Industry to establish a sexual harassment policy. He has been honored as the White Ribbon Ambassador of the year, for two years.
“Government’s have to put massive resources in place and police need to be trained in how to deal with domestic issues” Mr Doleman states.
Many children are traumatized by domestic violence. By recognizing the seriousness of abusive relationships, lives can be saved through intervention. Through the White Ribbon campaign, men have become united to protect women.
(Photo of Mr & Mrs Doleman courtesy of Bernie Howard)
(Artwork ; The Great Leviathon by Thomas J Barker-Webb 2014)
Jan’s son, Jade Amantea constantly tests the boundaries of fear, he is a stunt man who loves risk. She has learnt to deal with the lifestyle that her son has chosen. She is proud of his achievements and knows that he is living his extreme life with pure satisfaction.
Jade’s career began as a teenager when he debuted on the TV program, Neighbours. Since then, he has jumped off buildings and drove recklessly through a catalogue of blockbusters. Jade Amantea is known for his work on Knowing (2009), The Wolverine (2013) and Predestination (2014). He is currently in Queensland with Johnny Depp working on the Pirates of the Caribbean.
The path Jade chose did not come without personal challenges and a crisis. As a child Jade had asthma but he did not let this prevent him from attending gymnastics, an activity that his mum encouraged. It was when he was practising somersault stunts, on a trampoline, that Jade twisted and fell badly on his leg.
His mother got the shocking news and demanded that no surgery be done on him until she could locate the best medical professionals to perform the operation. It was a delay that saved his leg. The surgeon told Jade that he would have to choose another career but he was resolved, to have a full recovery.
“It was through his determination, the support of his family, his girlfriend Stephie and his physio that he got back to where he was.” Jan sighs.
Jan is acutely aware of the risks that her son embraces. She winces when she sees him on fire, run down buildings and jump through basketball hoops. It’s not the life of an average mother.
“Its nerve racking but I’m very proud of him” Jan calmly states.
He began driving on his grandfather’s knee, back at the farm, where Jan grew up. He had his first motorbike when most children were given pushbikes. When Jade drives his mum, he likes to tease her with the occasional spin. Jan has learnt to hold on.
“He is a great driver, he can drive anything.” She states proudly.
Jade grew up in an environment that allowed him to develop strong physical ability. Jan encouraged his gymnastics, and continues to advocate it as an activity for children; she prefers it to group sports. It does not require a dependency on others and helps build children’s self esteem.
“Every kid should do gymnastics, they learn how to fall; how to look after their bodies and what muscles they have.” She explains.
Jade lives in the fast lane and loves it. His family and friends support him, and watch his feats with their hearts racing.