Thursday, 24 January
Thursday 24th Jan, 7.00pm 10.45pm, Theatre Royal
Sunday, 20 January
Sunday 20th Jan, 3.00pm 5.00pm, The Bridge Hotel Castlemaine
Saturday, 12 January
Saturday 12th Jan, 8.00pm, Theatre Royal
Thursday, 03 January
17:30 Southern Cross - Epsom will terminate at Bendigo.
Alternative transport will be available for Epsom customers. [19:16
18:25 Southern Cross - Swan Hill will not run and has been
replaced by road coaches due to extreme heat. [14:36 03/01]
13:36 Bendigo - Southern Cross is delayed by
approximately 21 minutes due to the late arrival of a previous
12:54 Swan Hill - Southern Cross train has been
replaced by road coaches.
1788 - Captain Arthur Phillip was on board HMS Supply when,
bored to tears from the long First Fleet voyage, Smarty-Arty played
Eye, Spy with the coast of Van Diemen's Land.
1812 - Amongst the various Government and General Orders issued on
this day by Gov Macquarie was..
"His Excellency, the Governor directs that tomorrow shall be
considered as a holiday, and that the convicts shall be exempted
from labour during the whole of the day.
His Excellency is further pleased to direct that an extra ration of
one pounds and a half of fresh beef shall be served out tomorrow to
each non-com officer and soldier of the 73rd Reg't and male convict
in the settlement of Newcastle with the usual proportion to all the
women and children...."
1813 - At Kissing Point (Putney) Woollarawarre Bennelong passed
from this world to the next, he was buried in the orchard of his
great friend brewer James Squire.
1825 - The absconding convicts headed south and reached as far as
Reid's Mistake (Lake Macquarie) a distance of about 15 nautical
miles. Lieut. Owen reached the same place on the 3rd January where
he found the oars and rudder, all that remained of the gig which
had been swamped. With the help of the native trackers they soon
afterwards captured five of the prisoners - Tunnicliffe, Pritchard,
Smith, Johnston and Collins in a hut with Private Yams. The
telescope was found with them. They were brought into Newcastle on
this day and lodged in the gaol.
1826 - Father Philip Conolly opened the first Catholic school in
Van Diemen's Land at Hobart.
1827 - Pack the picnic basket with the Waterford Crystal Auntie
Maud....The first boat regatta, organised by the officers of HMS
Success and HMS Rainbow, was held on the Derwent River.
1839 - John Hutt replaced James Stirling as Governor of WA.
Stirlingm, not one to mess about, left for England the next
1840 - Read all about it...The Port Phillip Herald began
publication in Melbourne, edited by George Cavenagh.
1841 - The steamer Clonmel, on just its second voyage between
Sydney and Melbourne, was wrecked near Corner Inlet.
1850 - Victoria's first stamps issued. Costing 1d., 2d. and 3d.,
they featured a portrait of Queen Victoria, who was most definitely
not amused to have 'colonials' licking her back !
1851 - Today was the final day in a series of 'examinations' aka
massacres that took place on Fraser Island between Christmas Day
1850 and January 3, 1851. In a newspaper report it was called "a
jaunt" with the added description of "...natives were driven into
the sea and kept there as long as daylight or life lasted."
1853 - Keep the pennies under the mattress...The Bank of Victoria
opened in Melbourne.
1861 - The Wallsend Railway Branch line (NSW...
Wednesday, 02 January
Gliding on a Lake is a track from my album Mysteries of
Affordability improves in 2018
House prices were 10 per cent and 9 per cent lower
over 2018 in Sydney and Melbourne respectively.
Unit prices were 6 per cent and 2 per cent lower in
the same two cities.
Overall, dwelling prices at the national level were
5 per cent lower over the year with prices down sharply in the most
expensive quartile (-8 per cent) and flat in the cheapest.
Perth's housing market had looked to be bottoming
out, but has been clobbered anew by new mortgage lending rules
along with the rest.
Brisbane, Adelaide, and Canberra recorded modest
price growth in 2018, and Hobart topped the charts (click on the
graphic to expand):
Gross yields in the largest two
cities are off their cyclical lows, rising from about 3 per cent to
3 per cent.
Yields on capital city real
estate are of course low when compared to a 'risk free rate' of
about 2.3 per cent, though of course you can't live in a 10-year
Housing is a unique asset class
as both a consumption and investment good (for example, I'll always
keep property in Sydney - the alternative if I decided to return is
paying at least $50,000 per annum in rent, and probably $75,000
plus the way rents are good heading for terraces...no
The Refugee Action Coalition has dismissed the government
announcement that Maribynong and Blaxland at Villawood will close,
as an empty gesture. The fact is that the government has increased
detention capacity with new compounds being opened at Yongah Hill,
and a high detention facility opening in the Melbourne Immigration
Transit Accommodation, to replace Maribynong, said(...)
Just like that, a new year begins.
Although I am going to begin the new year with a look back at
what happened last year.
The so-called Santa rally never came to the markets in 2018.
That is, a small spurt for stocks to finish the year higher.
The broader Aussie market sold off as December came to an
Over in the UK, the FTSE 100 finished December where it
Major indices in the US, on the other hand, were savagely sold
off as the year wrapped up.
And it turns out Aussie house prices took a bigger beating than
New year, same news
The last week of a year, and the first week of the new year, is
my favourite time.
In Australia, theres generally very little do, other than
complain about the heat. Most places are closed. Theres no rushing
from place to place. You have time to finally finish that project
you started a year ago, or enjoy guilt-free Netflix binges. You
lose track of the days. The markets are quiet.
The time of year when you actually have the time to read the
paper but theres nothing really new to read.
Take The Age this morning.
It kicked off the year talking about falling Aussie house
According to The Age, theres more doom and gloom ahead
for the property sector in 2019. Todays headline is: Weakest
property market since 2008: Sydney, Melbourne house prices
According to the article, Sydney house prices fell 10% for 2018,
while Melbourne prices are down 9%. Australias two largest cities
contributed to a nationwide property fall of 4.8% for the year.
The good news is that the average Joe didnt bear the brunt of
Turns out, the worst performing areas are where the rich people
It seems that houses in inner Sydney and Melbournes inner east
are falling the most. Both areas saw double-digit falls for
Basically, multimillion-dollar houses are dropping back and
becoming just million-dollar homes.
This skews the data somewhat, in the sense that the percentage
figure of property price falls looks bigger. I mean, theres only a
select group of people who can buy in those areas. So, already the
number of purchases is reduced.
But the gloomy outlook doesnt end there.
Not only that, but The Age has wheeled out an economist
or two to suggest that the falls will get even bigger in 2019.
Ah yes. New year but with th...
Tuesday, 01 January
I just read (on a plane) The Labyrinth Index the latest
novel in Charlie Stross Laundry series (a mashup of HP Lovecraft
and Len Deighton). The central conceit is a spell which causes
Americans to forget the existence of the President whenever they go
to sleep. After reading the book and nodding off, I had a dream
that someone has a similar office in Australia, with a couple of
deputies, one in charge of the bush and another in charge of the
money. On waking though, I couldnt remember any of these.
Im not alone.
In Australia we have a significant lobbying
force for the Palestinian position within the political sphere. The
Australian Palestinian Advocacy Network (APAN) is quite active and
effective at running campaigns to highlight the plight of
Palestinians. For example, they have had great success with a
campaign entitled No Way to Treat a
Child which chronicled the conditions
under which Palestinian children are convicted and incarcerated in
Along with elder statesman and former Foreign
Minister Bob Carr, APAN has also been lobbying for
recognition of the state of Palestine within the Australian Labor Party (ALP). The Labor
Party is in opposition in the Australian parliament to the ruling
center-right Coalition bloc, of Liberal and National party
Two weeks ago on December 16 to
18, the ALP held its
triennial national conference in Adelaide, the capital of
South Australia. Persistent efforts to engage
with senior members of the current ALP parliamentary group appear
to be having results. APAN is a very diverse group. On the
executive board are a retired Anglican Bishop, Palestinians of both
Muslim and Christian heritage, secularists and a professor
of Jewish background. They all participated in
efforts leading up to the conference as this is the arena where
policy positions are debated and then adopted.
To attract further attention to the cause I
long range advocacy walk to highlight the unequal treatment of
Palestinians. From November 18 to December 16, the
walk covered a distance of 458 miles (starting in
Melbourne and finishing in Adelaide). Many MPs and Senators greeted
our arrival in Adelaide. The arrival was specifically planned to
coincide with opening date of the ALP conference.
Bob Carr was overseas during the conference
but made an address via video.
Delegates to the conference would also have
been aware of support for recognition by former Prime Ministers Bob
Hawke and Kevin Rudd and another long serving Foreign Minister,
There is still strong support for Israel
within the ALP but those members w...
Take a pulse
It's a happy new year, and all that, but not so
much for bankers, with lending growth continuing to
The Reserve Bank's latest figures showed credit
growth slowing to 4.4 per cent, down from 5.2 per cent a year
earlier, and broad money growth at fresh quarter-century lows of
just 1.86 per cent.
The distinction from housing debt-to-income
was quite interesting (to me at least) as the lines between
housing, small business, and personal credit are blurred at best,
with small business loans often secured against a home, and so
As you can see in the chart below, changes in the
direction of housing credit growth have tended to lead changes in
dwelling price growth.
You can also see that no such change had occurred
by the end of November 2018.
A simple credit impulse model as favoured by ANZ
economists suggests that capital city (i.e. Sydney and Melbourne)
dwelling price declines should moderate, although there are several
New Years resolutions are not for me. Never had one and likely
never will. Every day is a new day. Every hour sings a new song.
Every moment is entirely special and paradoxically nothing in
1785 John Oxley , who was an early Australian explorer, was
hatched in Yorkshire, England. In 1824 Oxley tripped over the
Brisbane River and Bremer River on Moreton Bay, an area now known
1793 The Flogging Parson aka Samuel Marsden was appointed assistant
to the chaplain of New South Wales.
1809 Lieut William Paterson frocked up & rocked up at Port
Jackson where he assumed the ballgown and role of Governor.
1810 Because he had nothing better to do that day (apart from
recover from a hangover), Major General Lachlan Macquarie took up
office as the fifth Governor of New South Wales.
1811 Governor Lachlan Macquarie's police regulations for Sydney
came into effect, and the Sydney Police Court was established.
1812 John Joseph William Molesworth Oxley (in England) is appointed
Surveyor-General of NSW.
Oh, and happy 27th birthday, Johnny-boy!
1814 The Fair Isle of Oz got its first form of currency when The
'holey dollar' and 'dump' trotted out into circulation.
1822 The Van Diemen's Land Agricultural Society was formed in
1823 YES! We should have this day off as an extra public holiday
just to give thanks for the fact that distillation of spirits was
officially allowed in the colony of NSW.
It's already a public holiday.
1825 Richmond Bridge, Tasmania, was opened to traffic; it is still
in use today. When completed the Bridge had the record of having
the longest span of Australias bridges, a record not surpassed
1827 The Sydney Gazette began daily publication. On 10th February
this was reduced to three times a week.
1829 Explorer Charles Sturt's party reached the Bogan River. He
tickled about the edges of the Darling River while having a good
stickybeak near present day Bourke, and then fox-trotted his way as
he traced the Castlereagh River.
1830 I like their timing...4 hotels in Fremantle became Western
Australia's first licensed premises.
1837 For a pittance of 10 licence fee generous Gov. Bourke told
squatters to go forth and graze beyond the limits of location.
1838 First horse race meeting held in Adelaide.
1838 Another bloke with too much time over the festive
season....Melbourne's first newspaper, a miniature sheet of four
pages handwritten in manuscript, called the Port Phillip
Advertiser, was founded and issued by John Pascoe Fawkner.
1839 Assignment of convicts for service in towns ended.
1841 WA Governor John Hutt laid the....
Monday, 31 December
I am travelling for most of today across land and water and so
have no time to write anything coherent. So it is just a music day
to welcome in 2019. Happy New Year to all and lets hope a few
banksters go to prison, that a few politicians join them on
corruption charges, that Italy tells the European Commission to
jump and leaves the Eurozone, that the Gilets in France spread
throughout Europe and bring down the whole disastrous monetary
union, that Britain goes out without an agreement and that the
British Labour Party gets some spine, sacks its New Keynesian
advisors, and demonstrates how to actually run fiscal policy, and
that you get the drift.
Music to listen to and welcome the New Year amid all the chaos
in the world
Jimi Hendrix played at the Monterey Pop
Festival on Sunday, June 18, 1967 in the evening session. He
followed the Grateful Dead.
He was introduced by Rolling Stone Brian Jones.
In their song about the festival Monterey
released in December 1067, the Animals referred to Jones presence
in this way:
His Majesty, Prince Jones,
smiled as he moved among the crowd
Ten thousand electric guitars
were groovin real loud, yeah
That was one of the coolest things I ever read when I was just a
teenager trying to absorb all this music.
Ten thousand electric guitars were groovin real loud, yeah
sounded like nirvana to me (the utopia not the band)!
Jimi Hendrix played 9 songs at Monterey and some of the footage
never made it to the public for various reasons.
I saw D.A. Pennebakers movie release of the festival Monterey Pop at
the Palais Theatre in Melbourne sometime in 1969.
Leo de Castro did a song before the movie started Lucille and I
loved the riff. This was a great era of music and guitars.
It was a magic era really and Jimi Hendrix was at the apex.
Anyway, song 3 for Jimi Hendrix....
In a good year Nankeen Kestrels can easily
raise three young. This year conditions have not been favourable,
with food scarce on the plains. As a result only a single youngster
has emerged in 2018 at least two nestlings were seen earlier in
December. Normally three eggs will be laid but
nestlings will weaken and die if there is not sufficient food to go
Juvenile Nankeen Kestrel, Moolort
Plains, 30th December 2018
Sunday, 30 December
Join the Friends of Castlemaine Art Museum on an
Excursion to Bendigo Art Gallery (at your own cost). This
is a fundraiser for CAM
When: Thursday, January 17th
Departing by COACH leaving Castlemaine Station at 9.22am
Please Book before January 15, 2019 by email to
email@example.com. Enquiries to 0400 156 021
$15 CASH PAYMENT ON DAY Come and help us all support CAM
See attached for details
Craig Minogue is a prisoner in Victoria's high security Barwon
Prison. He should be completely out of circulation, but somehow
he's pumping out regular and confronting messages to the world via
Twitter. Thirty years ago Minogue and others parked a Commodore
loaded with explosives outside the Russell Street Police
17:20 Southern Cross - Echuca is expected to be delayed
approximately 15 minutes on departure due to a train fault. Please
note this service will now run as a 3 carriage VLocity. [17:35
Saturday, 29 December
I was concerned that in my absence over Xmas the 2018/19 crop of
Rainbow Bee-eaters may have fledged and left their
Not so. The adults are still busily bringing prey to the
youngsters and I think it will be a few days before they take
Rainbow Bee-eater with dragonfly, Sandon
State Forest, 29th December 2018
Australias most wanted jihadist, Neil Prakash, has been stripped
of his Australian citizenship.
Announcing the move, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton
described Prakash as a very dangerous individual.
Intelligence officials say Melbourne-born Prakash was a
recruiter for the Islamic State (IS) group and encouraged terrorist
plots in Australia.
He is currently being held in Turkey where he faces trial on
In July, a Turkish
court ruled against extraditing him to face terrorism
charges in his home country.
In Australia, he faces charges of being member of a terrorist
organisation as well as supporting and promoting IS.
In a televised new conference, Mr Dutton said Prakash had been
central to ISs efforts in the Middle East.
If given the opportunity Mr Prakash would harm or kill
Australians and our country is a safer place for him having lost
his Australian citizenship, he said.
In 2016, the Australian government described Prakash as the
principal Australian reaching back from the Middle East into
networks in Melbourne and Sydney.
In a court appearance in Turkey in 2017, Prakash admitted he had
something to do with terrorist plots in Australia but said he was
not 100% responsible.
He said he had been forced to make IS propaganda videos and that
he had fled the group after seeing its true face.
Prakash, 27, left Australia for Syria in 2013, taking the name
Abu Khaled al-Cambodi. He was mistakenly reported to have been
killed in a US air strike in Mosul, Iraq, in 2015.
Through his father, Prakash had joint Australian and Fijian
citizenship. Under Australian law, a dual national can be stripped
of their citizenship if they are convicted or suspected of terror
Prakash is the 12th dual citizen to be stripped of Australian
Returning home after a few days on the coast I was pleased to
see our bird baths doing their job. Id filled them to the brim when
we left on 23 December and most had at least a pool of water
remaining, after a succession of days in the high thirties.
Heatwave conditions can be tough, for small birds especially.
There was a steady procession last evening to our home garden
watering points Weebill, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Common Bronzewing
and Brown-headed Honeyeater, in addition to those pictured
Galahs, Wyndham Street Newstead, 28th
Friday, 28 December
This is going to become a familiar sight over the next couple of
months as summer takes hold and we experience more weeks like the
past one. It gives a new meaning to fried greens and kale
chips! The January Notes are now posted, mostly conventional, but
with some ideas for managing the month ahead (including Continue
When: 6:30pm Monday 21st January 2019 Where: ANMF Vic Branch,
535 Elizabeth St, Melbourne Facebook event here In 2018 the
campaign to get #KidsOffNauru won significant support,
and put huge pressure on the Liberals to bring children and
families from Nauru to Australia. But there are still 3 children
and hundreds of refugees on Manus and Nauru.(...)
The Andrews response to Victoria's violence. Meanwhile in the
real world. Chelsea Beachgoers attacked in horror night People have
been attacked at Chelsea Beach. Picture: Mark Stewart AN HOUR AGO
DECEMBER 28, 2018 Youths have glassed a young man, bashed others
and robbed beachgoers of their belongings during a horror...
Thursday, 27 December
Click here to view the embedded video.
Ray Ray, Hansel, Burpy, Together, Lucille, Babe, Queenie,
Lemonade, Mary, Try. These are just some of the lives our Five Dollar Friday community changed in 2018.
52 weeks of kindness. 52 weeks of changing lives together. We
couldnt do it without you.
Property Couch return
I mostly fly Virgin when headed interstate, but
when I fly Qantas I always make sure to jump straight onto
Q-Streaming to take in a Property Couch podcast.
In an industry often known for its colourful
characters these fellas have shone through with such generous and
high-quality content over the past few years that their podcast is
the most downloaded in the genre (at well over 4 million downloads
the last time I checked).
A brief scroll through the back-catalogue
shows the calibre of the guests they've
had on, from Paul Clitheroe to Alan Kohler, and from Nerida
Consibee to NBA Superstar Andrew Bogut.
It's not a bad roll call, to be fair!
So when I was invited back onto the couch for my
second appearance it was a no-brainer for me to get down to
Once you get past the hyped introduction
(thoroughly undeserved) and a droll observation about my haircut
(admittedly, deserved), it was a ripper episode and here are some of the key themes
we covered this
Defence under attack on nuclear waste
dump https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/defence/defence-under-attack-on-nuclear-waste-dump/news-story/fd851b6cefd7c5701d354c7ed1adf09d LUKE
GRIFFITHS @_LukeGriffiths DECEMBER 27,
Woomera must be revisited as a potential
site for Australias first nuclear waste dump, says Centre Alliance
senator Rex Patrick, who accuses the Defence Department of
deception over claims the site is unsuitable.
Senator Patrick said he would question Defence
officials at Senate estimates hearings over why the department
dismissed Woomera as a potential site because of an intolerable
risk and its impracticability a position since backed by Resources
Minister Matt Canavan.
The 122,000sq km Woomera Prohibited
Area, located in the South Australian outback 450km northwest of
Adelaide, is a military testing range under federal government
Senator Patrick said significant nuclear
waste materials had been stored there since 1994, including 10,000
drums of low and intermediate-level waste from a CSIRO research
facility at Fishermans Bend in Melbourne.
In a report published on its website last week,
the CSIRO said tests had found the material posed no threat to
health or the environment.
Tests in May found radiation levels adjacent to the storage
had natural background values for Australia, as would be found in
typical soil and rock.
The report findings make a mockery of Defence
claims theres no way a national radioactive waste management
facility could be located anywhere in the enormous expanse of the
WPA, Senator Patrick said.
The reality is radioactive waste has been
One day I stood on tiptoe in order to kiss the moon, she would
have none of it. So I went down on one knee in homage, hoping for
her love, again she ignored me....
Wednesday, 26 December
I remember Black-headed Sugar Ants (Campanotus
nigriceps) from my childhood being somehow special and of
sweet temperament. They seemed very placid and Id never known them
to bite or be aggressive.
A wander in the bush on a warm night at our place at Strangways
and there are plenty of them, foraging on both eucalypts and Golden
Black-headed Sugar Ant
I was quite startled to watch one of these serene beings of the
night staking out a smaller black ant that was feeding on the
nectar gland in the bend of the leaf stalk of a Golden Wattle. The
Sugar Ant seemed very keen to get to the gland and suddenly struck
out at the smaller ant. My naive view of this species seemed
She seems to want to move the smaller ant on.
The several strikes were rapid and I could see the mandibles
moving. But she seemed to be hopelessly short of range and actually
quite desultory and after a few half-hearted efforts, she moved on
to other pickings. My faith in them restored. To a point.
On another Golden Wattle, I found a few other species seemingly
sharing in harmony. Like an Acacia Jewel Beetle feeding with two
Leaf Beetle larvae.
Acacia Jewel Beetle and Leaf Beetle larvae
And a another pair of beetles munching in mirror image.
Beetles on Golden Wattle
I found another intriguing beetle on a Mistletoe I think its
another Jewel Beetle.
Due to heat speed restrictions, 16:13 Swan Hill - Southern Cross
will originate at Bendigo and 18:35 Southern Cross - Swan Hill will
terminate at Bendigo. Please note that both services will be
running with a reduced capacity 3 of carriages. Alternative
transport will be available for affected customers. [12:00
Tuesday, 25 December
Heat speed restrictions apply on the Bendigo line from 12:00 -
22:00 today. For more information please visit vline.com.au/heat
Monday, 24 December
The Award Winners
Image of the Year
Gaze of a Child
Adrian Cook Award
Ken Lowery Award
Best Child Portrait
Gaze of a Child
Experienced Colour Print
Gaze of a Child
Experienced Mono Print
Novice Colour Print
Best wishes for a productive garden this festive season, heres
hoping you have plenty of stonefruit, berries, tomatoes, eggplants,
greens and the odd zucchini (exciting seeing the first of the
inchoate zukes in the garden, but the novelty will probably soon
wear off ) Thanks to all our garden members for their participation
Continue reading Have a productive
xmas and tanks
Look who came to spread some joy to the residents this
ChristmasSanta and a merry band of helpers.
Thank you to everyone who supported Edgars Mission in 2018, your
belief in our work ensured that every day for our many residents
felt like Christmas
here to view the embedded video.
Tightening labour force
Lots of people would like more work, which probably
isn't that surprising given the ongoing casualisation of the
But the volume of underutilisation is clearly
falling, as at November 2018 down to the lowest level since the ABS
began reporting this in its surveys at 7 per cent.
The improvement has been driven by New South Wales
(6.3 per cent) and Victoria (6.5 per cent), where the jobs markets
have now picked up to levels consistent with stronger wages
Total construction employment has declined to a
still-elevated 1.15 million, which is the lowest level in 15
months, albeit still 9 per cent of the total number of employed
This figure will likely fall further given that
about three-quarters of construction employment relates to the
On the other hand mining employment has picked up
sharply to the highest level in four years.
Sunday, 23 December
Meet Skippy and Joey. A sad twist of fate saw this ovine duos
world turned upside down when their human friend passed away,
however kindness intervened and they were soon Edgars
Its safe to say, the kind heart who set out to seek a safe and
happy outcome for Skippy and Joey hadnt quite anticipated what lay
in store. With loving forever homes for sheep few and far between,
it was a chance referral to Edgars Mission that saw a lifeline
thrown the girls way. However, Skippy and Joey hadnt quite got the
memo that we were indeed the good guys and it was only after some
impressive fence-hurdling antics akin to that of their resident
kangaroo friends (hence the names) that Skippy and Joey were
eventually aboard our Kindness Van.
It is not only Skippy and Joeys outwardly appearances that have
transformed since their arrival. Having had the opportunity to
settle into their new patch of the world, adjust to a new routine
and with us now instead gently offering wheet bix treats as we pass
by, the duo are beginning to realise that we are indeed the good
guys. Skippy and Joey remind us of our undeniable duty to those we
have tamed. They remind us simply;
All beings tremble before violence. All fear death. All love
life. See yourself in others. Then whom can you hurt? What harm can
Today, 23rd December 2018, marks a decade of Natural
The first post recorded some observations that I made with
Joe in the Rise and Shine on the 23rd December 2008.
I guess its apt that todays note, post number
2767, should also feature The Shine one of my favourite
local places, that is also enjoyed by lovers of nature far and
Dusky Woodswallow, Rise and Shine, 16th
Saturday, 22 December
Record low unemployment
Greater Sydney's economy continued to add jobs at a
remarkable, thunderous pace throughout 2018, with total employment
up by a rip-roaring 100,000 over the year to November.
That's more than a third of all new jobs created in
Australia on a net basis over that time.
The media is all about traffic congestion, light
rail delays, and falling house prices in the harbour city, but
meanwhile the unemployment rate quietly fell to just 3 per
cent in November 2018 (not reported anywhere, as far as I could
Interestingly, that's now the lowest monthly
unemployment rate figure on record for Sydney, a dynamic which can
happen at the tail-end of a monster construction boom.
On an annual average basis, Sydney's unemployment
rate is now down to only 4.3 per cent, while Melbourne has been the
biggest improver of recent times, and Adelaide has recovered nicely
from a sticky patch.
At the other end of the spectrum, the equivalent figure for Perth
remains elevated at 6.3 per cent.
These are backwards-looking indicators, of course,
but still those are some healthy results in the two largest capital
As the labour force grows there will be more
unemployed persons in absolute terms over time; but the latest ABS
figures showed that some inroads have been made here.
In fact the trend rate of unemployment is at the
lowest level in 7 years at 5.1 per cent, with the total number of
unemployed persons down by -34,000 over the...
Friday, 21 December
There are quite a few different weevil species active at our
place at Strangways at present. Recently, I found a Long-nosed
Weevil curled up in the fork of leaf stems on a Golden Wattle.
These are so hard to see as they are only a couple of millimetres
long and curl themselves up so that they look like a little gall on
the stem rather than an insect.
Long-nosed Weevil Haplonyx sp.
Last night, I found another tiny weevil clinging to the stem of
Weevil #2 Goniopterus sp?
Goniopterus mating on Red Box
Also common at the moment is another type of Eucalyptus weevil
Belid Weevils, are also around in good numbers. When I met this
one, I only had my super macro MP-E65 lens with me, so I couldnt
fit the whole species in, so I went for a real close up. For a
wider view of this species, have a look at https://geoffpark.wordpress.com/2018/12/05/wattles-who-doesnt-love-them/
Belid Weevil up close
This year has been the worst on record for drownings of native
water rats, and the second worst for platypus.
DELWP, an average of five platypus are drowned per week in
Victoria, victims of illegal or inappropriate yabbie nets. One of
the culprits is the Opera house net, which traps air breathing
animals, stops them from surfacing, and drowns them. An
alternative, appropriate net would have an open top, allowing the
animal to escape.
Its illegal to use the Opera net in public waterways, but has
been legal in private water: however, from July 1 next year, it
will be illegal to use it in all Victorian waterways.
The Victorian Fisheries Authority has a deal with some stores to
offer a free exchange of old opera house nets with open top nets.
The Authority has done tests and found the new nets are very
effective yabbie catchers. The Victorian Fisheries Authority had
list of participating stores.
So it was a bit of a downer to find one of our local stores
offering Opera house nets for a bargain price before Christmas.
Nothing illegal about it, of courseup to next July. But maybe not a
great Christmas gesture for one of Australias most remarkable
Photo caption: Christmas catalogue for
Lyal Eales stores. The Opera style yabbie net is a platypus
By the way, there are heavy penalties for taking protected
wildlife, or using prohibited equipment in public waters: nearly
$39,000 and 24 months jail.
Join Connecting Country and Muckleford Catchment Landcare
on Saturday 19 January 2019 from 10.00 am to 12.00
pm to learn about snake ecology and
behaviour. Snakes play an important role in healthy
ecosystems, snacking on frogs and smaller reptiles and providing a
food source for larger predators. Find out what makes good snake
habitat, how we can protect snakes, as well as keep our pets and
The workshop will include an opportunity to meet real live
snakes. However this activity is optional.
This is a family-friendly event held at a property in
Muckleford. All are welcome. Morning tea will be provided.
RSVP is essential. For bookings and more
information contact Jacqui Slingo by email
at firstname.lastname@example.org or
phone 03 5472 1594.
A flyer on the workshop is available here.
This workshop has been made possible by funding from the North
Central Catchment Management Authority.
While you are celebrating your end of year events, our community
is being tortured, abused and murdered in Australian run detention
centers in front of your eyes every single day. Have you
This is a call by RISE eX-detainees to the Australian public and
the International community to join our #SanctionAustralia Campaign
and stand AGAINST Refugee/Asylum seeker Detention, Torture and
Refoulement committed by the Australian government, during end of
year events across Australia and Overseas.
What you are witnessing RIGHT NOW against Refugees in Manus or
Nauru or any other Australian run detention camp is not something
new. The systemic abuse against refugees coming on boats to seek
asylum has been going on for over 26 years now. Australia needs to
stop using us as political pawns and
STOP TURNING BACK REFUGEE BOATS
END MANDATORY DETENTION
Furthermore, Australias state sanctioned refugee trafficking,
detention, torture and abuse has been the laboratory for the world.
It has given a green light to many across the globe who claim to
support refugees including the European Union who recently made a
major deal with Libya to intercept refugee boats.
RISE eX-detainees call for immediate pressure to be placed on
Australia in the way of global sanctions that address their
deliberate and inhumane mandatory detention process and refugee
boat push back policies. Specifically, Australia should be excluded
in participating in international humanitarian and human rights
forums until mandatory detention and refoulement of asylum seekers
is abolished in Australia.
We eX-detainees request all supporters of eX-detainees and
current detainees held hostage by Australia to take a stand during
end of year holiday events and bring to the forefront the forgotten
people in our community being tortured, refouled and abused by this
government while mainstream Australia celebrates this festive
What can you do?
Download our posters and display them at public places and send a
strongmessage that you are no longer going to stand by idly while
the trafficking inhuman misery is leveraged for political gain.
Hand out our sanction Australia brochures
For more details about the #SanctionAustralia campaign initiated
and run by eX-detainees visit the main page: #SanctionAustralia
We will be closed from 3pm Friday 21st December and
will re-open 9am Monday January 7th.
If you are required to report to Centrelink during this time, a
laptop has been made available at the Castlemaine Library.
Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday season!
The post Christmas & New Year Closure appeared first on
Population growth still strong
The June quarter tends to be a quiet one for
population increase, but over the course of FY2018 estimated
population growth remained strong at 391,000 or +1.6 per cent,
despite a moderate slowing of visa processing and net overseas
Total births increased by 7,000 over the 2018 financial year,
mainly due to a jump in New South Wales, although there have been
processing lags and blips before.
In time this will set Australia up for its next property cycle as
apartment construction slows dramatically over the next few years,
but at the moment it's all about mortgage processing delays and
New migrants from overseas are now dominated by
young arrivals from China (83,000 in FY2018), India (67,000), and
other Asian countries, and less so by permanent migrants from New
Zealand, Britain, or other parts of Europe.
Of the 553,000 migrant arrivals in FY2018?
Overwhelmingly they still headed for Greater Sydney (179,000),
Melbourne (151,000), Brisbane (56,000), and Perth (48,000)
respectively, with other parts of south-east Queensland capturing a
fair chunk of the remainder.
The bulk of new migrants lie within the 18 to 34 years cohort, and
some 85.4 per cent now opt to reside in the capital cities, and
especially so Sydney (32.4 per cent) and Melbourne (27.3 per
There have, however, been some internal migration
shifts over FY2018.
Interstate migration to Queensland increased to the
highest level in a dozen years as incumbent Aussie residents moved
away from the crowded capitals for the more affordable Sunshine
I'm hiding in that maroon line myself somewhere, albeit at the
nadir of the cycle some years back.
Thursday, 20 December
in the life of this Dusky Woodswallow.
I observed it last weekend, one of three juveniles almost ready
to fledge from a nest in the Rise and Shine. While its two siblings
remained in the nest this youngster was determined to test its
pin-feathered wings. At one point, perched about a foot above the
nest the sight of an incoming parent with food prompted it to
flutter excitedly into space whereby it grabbed a dangling piece of
loose bark. After clinging skilfully for a few minutes it flew back
to its original perch.
With this sort of determination its chances of reaching
adulthood are probably better than average!
Juvenile Dusky Woodswallow, Rise and
Shine, 16th December 2018
Unemployment keeps declining
Stacks of interest in today's employment report -
so much, in fact, that the ABS website crashed again.
Funding required, to use a hackneyed Muskism.
The composition swung back to part-time, but the economy added
another +37,000 jobs in November 2018 on a seasonally adjusted
basis to 12.7 million, led by firing Victoria at
Looking through the noise the economy added an
impressive +295,700 to total employment year-on-year, for a growth
rate of 2.4 per cent.
On a cyclically positive note the trend
participation rate hit the highest level on record.
And in spite of this the trend unemployment rate continued to
decline to 5.12 per cent, the lowest since all the way back in July
Victoria has been the great improver of late, but
New South Wales saw its unemployment rate fall to a 40-year low of
just 4.4 per cent.
The annual growth in hours worked was still very
modest at under 2 per cent, which is hardly a ringing endorsement
Raffles turn out to be strange things, very often. Our
wonderfully and generously provided raffle was drawn today by Suzie
a valued ex-member and non ticket buyer and the winner was
Peter McDonald. Congrats Peter! A wonderful prize for you which
gets us over the line to pay our water bill. The
Continue reading And the winner is
The Board of Castlemaine Art Museum (CAM) is pleased to announce
the appointment of Naomi Cass as Gallery Manager, CAM.
Naomi has a longstanding career in arts management and
development, including most recently as Director of the Centre for
Contemporary Photography (CCP), Melbourne. Naomi has previously
been a curator and writer working in contemporary art, craft and
CAMs outstanding art and history collection and her respect for
regionally based creative communities were what attracted Naomi to
apply. Ms. Cass said, I welcome the opportunity of living and
working within Castlemaines exceptional artistic community. I pay
my respects to the people of the Dja Dja Wurrung and look forward
to working with the traditional owners of the land.
On her resignation from the CCP, Naomi was recognised for more
than 14 years of leadership, for being the driving force behind
CCPs growth as a leading arts organisation and that she had
successfully fostered a tight-knit creative community of artists
and supporters. Naomi played an integral role in supporting early
career artists, curating mid- career artists as well as advancing
curatorial practice in ground breaking exhibitions and
commissioning projects to engage the wider community.
Castlemaine is distinguished by the quality and range of artists
living and working in the region as well their active engagement
across multiple art forms. I am keen to engage with this diverse
Wednesday, 19 December
Donald Trumps rejection of trade agreements and aggressive use
of unilateral tariffs, and One Nations similar policies in
Australia have tapped into resentment of current neoliberal trade
policies, which for many people have not delivered
promised jobs and growth, and have contributed to growing
Trump and One Nation have mobilised this resentment from a
conservative and racist perspective, fanning ultra-nationalist and
anti-immigrant sentiment. But their simplistic responses of high
tariffs on imports will not magically restore lost jobs. Building
walls and discriminatory migration policies based on fear will not
improve peoples lives but will bolster militarism and the danger of
AFTINET is part of the global movement of
progressive groups supporting peace, human rights and global
solidarity. We are not opposed to trade, but want a more just
global trade system
What Trumps rupture with some neoliberal trade policies
does demonstrate is that they are not immutable
economic rules resulting from market forces, but political
decisions that can be changed. As advocates for trade Justice we
must seize the opportunity to challenge bad policy and develop
alternatives which benefit the majority, not just the top 1%.
Whats wrong with current trade policy
Fundamentalist neoliberal trade policy as practised by the
Coalition Government aims to achieve not only zero tariffs but also
zero other barriers to all trade and investment.
Each country should specialise in its most narrowly-defined
competitive products or services, import everything else at the
lowest possible prices, have no active industry policies and
minimise other government regulation. Australia would be a farm and
a quarry, with deregulated service industries like tourism and
This policy culminated in former Treasurer Joe Hockeys
admission that his government decided to end all
assistance to the car industry to reach trade deals with....
Tuesday, 18 December
New home sales up a bit
Some brighter news for builders in the last monthly
Housing Industry Association (HIA) release of the year, as new home
sales increased 3.6 per cent.
Still comfortably lower than a year earlier.
The HIA included cautionary comments
about credit becoming too
It's interesting to arrive at the end of a year and look back.
The theme for our planet of talking heads seemed to be people
wanting others to behave in acceptable ways and have opinions like
Monday, 17 December
About 20 people gathered at Walmer last Monday for the FOBIF end
of the year BBQ. It was perfect weather for a relaxed and enjoyable
end of the year celebration.
Looking north-west at Walmer. Photo by
Lynette, Harley and Rex relaxing.
The FOBIF committee wishes all friends of our forests a happy
Christmas and a great new year. Our 2018 walks program will soon be
available. Well see you in the bush in the new year!
This weekend (22-23 December) is the last one for the
Nature Photography in the Goldfields exhibition by Patrick
Kavanagh, Geoff Park and Bronwyn Silver at the Newstead Railway
Arts Hub. The Hub will be open from 10am 4pm.
Dusky Woodswallows. Photo by Geoff
Echidna. Photo by Patrick Kavanagh
Emerging Yellow Gum blossom. Photo by
When: 4:30pm 19th December 2018 Where: Australian Federal
Police, 383 LaTrobe St, West Melbourne, VIC Facebook event here
Bahraini refugee Hakeem Al-Araibi, a permanent Australian resident
living in Melbourne, is being held in Thailand and faces
deportation back to the threat of torture in Bahrian. He fled
Bahrain because of persecution and torture due to(...)
Sunday, 16 December
It appears this latest burst of summer rain may have spurred on
a surge of breeding before the hot weather kicks again.
This Black-fronted Dotterel found a typically
risky location to lay its eggs on the edge of a driveway near Pound
Lane. The two beautifully camouflaged eggs blend seamlessly into
the surrounding gravel. While the location may appear unusual it
enables the adults to leave the eggs safely exposed at the
slightest hint of danger.
Black-fronted Dotterel, Pound Lane
Newstead, 16th December 2018
A new study published
in Nature has found evidence for 467 ways
in which climate hazards due to global warming are making life on
the planet harder for humans. It confirms that we are witnessing a
shift in the functioning of the Earth system as a whole, a shift to
a new state that is unsympathetic to the continued flourishing of
A changing climate is only one feature of a warming globe. Human
activity has bounced the Earth into a state that has no equivalent
in its 4.5 billion year history.
The Earths new trajectory as it spins into the future has led
scientists to tell us we have entered a new geological epoch, the
Anthropocene. We have crossed a threshold and the geological clock
cannot be turned back. The disruption we have caused is
increasingly unpredictable and uncontrollable, and it has no
There are, therefore, two questions humankind must face. What
must we do to prevent serial disasters becoming existential
catastrophe? And how can we make our social and economic systems
flexible enough to cope with the new dispensation?
There are several reasons an international agreement has proven
so hard. The leading one is sabotage by climate science deniers.
Sunday 16th Dec, 3.00pm, The Bridge Hotel Castlemaine
Sweet Bursaria (Bursaria spinosa) is a prickly bush,
indigenous to our area, with sprays of white flowers in early
summer. Weve had a few specimens on our place and have been lucky
to augment them with plants grown by Frances Cincotta from seeds in
our own lane in Strangways. The ones we planted in our front yard,
free from grazing pressure, have a profusion of small, delicate
flowers at present.
The plant takes its name from the purse-shaped seed pods. As the
plants have been flowering over some time, there are seed pods
forming alongside new flowers.
Sweet Bursaria seed pod.
Slender Bee Flies (Geron sp.) are frequent visitors to the
flowers at present and make great subjects as they dont seem
bothered by the proximity of the camera.
Slender Bee Fly
I love the way these flies so often seem to have pollen grains
on their eyes. Their long probosces are great for going deep into
flowers. I am also fascinated by the intricate details of all fly
species, especially around their thoraces where the wings join
Slender Bee Fly up even closer
Red and Blue Beetles (Dicranolaius sp) have also been enjoying
Red and Blue Beetle
On one plant, I thought this Rhytidoponera ant was
doing some pollinating, as ants are very important...
Undiminished by her disability, Babe, a rescued bobby calf
inspires us daily that sight is but a state of mind, and that a
vision for a kinder world rests within us all. The very first
photo we saw of sweet Babe told of the fondness she had found at
the hands and heart of a kindly worker who had ever so gently
painted a red heart on the calfs side. Determined to find a happy
outcome for Babe, several phones calls lead to Edgars Mission where
happily ever after and a life unhindered by prejudice awaited
Babe. Watching the sweet Babe and her belled buddy, Sophie we
have pause to thought that the greatest disability held is perhaps
by those humans who see animals not for who they are, rather only
for what they can produce.
The only thing worse than being blind is
but no vision.
Saturday, 15 December
This one small gully on the edge of the Sandon bush yielded a
rich bounty of birds, and other creatures on Friday evening.
Brown Treecreeper with food for
youngster, Sandon State Forest, 14th December 2018
Shes a feisty one, we cooed as we gently plucked the bemused
little Muscovy duck from the back of the rangers vehicle. Despite
her vocal and wing-flapping protests, we loved her the instant our
eyes meet. Found doing unwelcome laps on a householders pool,
Feisty had flown in from who knows where. Highlighting how poorly
protected our feathered friends are, there exist no statutory
requirements for holding lost, stray or abandoned birds.
Fortunately, in this instance we were able to offer sanctuary to
this sweet, albeit forthright duckher fate is now good, but sadly
this does not address the problem so many of her kind face. Feisty
did not fall from the sky, she is not the result of native
waterbirds breeding; rather, her existence is the result of human
intervention. And so to tackle the dire circumstance so often faced
by unwanted, lost or abandoned birds, we need to go back to the
root, or in this case the nest of the problem, and remind one and
all that we are forever responsible for who we have tameda feisty
Friday, 14 December
Friday 14th Dec, 4.00pm 8.30pm, Western Reserve
https://ScientistsWarning.TV Kevin and
Hugh are back with us this year discussing the new climate
glitterati that come annually to Davos to feign concern about the
climate while they discuss techno-fixes that might allow the (in
their minds at least) to continue their excessive lifestyle that is
heading us directly for runaway climate change and
Tip to Chris Harries for this COPOUT chart..
Heres a flashback to that time Charity lamb got back on her feet
with a little help from her friend Dr Chris Brown.
Its been over four years since Charity made her television debut
on Bondi Vet and since then, not only has our prosthetic-wearing
Special Needs Sheep flock grown, so too have the number of friends
helping our animal residents like Charity get back on their
Our Five Dollar Friday community enables us to provide
life-changing interventions for animals like Charity, who was born
without hooves on two of her feet.
Fitting prosthetics is one thing but it takes a whole lot of
time and effort to ensure they remain functional and comfortable.
As Charity has grown, so too have her boots and with the support of
our Five Dollar Friday community, we know we are able to keep
Charity comfortably mobile (and fashionable) for many years to
To help animals like Charity get back on their feet, head to
When: Saturday May 4, 2019
Where: Bendigo Town Hall and Library
Further information will be supplied closer to the
Here, in the 18th year of the New
Millennium, the 28th Year of Our Internet (delivering unlimited
information to all), and the 30th year of the Great Harangue over
Climate Change (dating it from ...
Almost run down by a fast-paced BMW, the terrified kid goat
dodged yet another bullet, or more to the blunt point, a fancy car.
The previous day it had been chaotic traffic on an overpass that
nearly claimed her life and the day before it could well have been
a train. Whilst her past remains uncertain it was clear her future
would have been both bleak and sealed had she not been seen for the
vulnerable little being in urgent need of a kindly hand that she
was. With the universe guiding her to the safety of a secure
backyard, all kind-hearted council rangers could do was watch and
thank their (and her) lucky stars they were at the right place at
the right time. Not long thereafter the Lady in the Hat stood
peering into the back of the Edgars Mission Kindness van cooing the
words I see you, youre safe now, and for the first time in a long
time ICU was.
The message of this story is simple: if only people could take
the time to peer into the eyes of the animals who are farmed for
food and fibre they would see before them, staring nervously back,
a being who, just like us, desperately wants to live. The power
balance here is enormous, yet the garden of our souls knows it
should also tilt towards kindness as we utter the words I see
youand the world will be as it should.
Thursday, 13 December
Roaming in a public reserve with many years fleece eventually
proving too great a burden to carry, this handsome boy found
kindness in the nick of time. Named Better because thats exactly
what he deserves, a much-needed haircut was promptly scheduled as
our work begun to ensure his would be a life worth living from here
With Betters body soon relieved of over 13 kilograms of wool, it
is unlikely this five year old sheep had ever met with a shearer in
his life. With painful burrs and spear grass gently removed from
his skin, this dear wether told us he did indeed feel better, half
closing his eyes and sinking into the touch of our hands across his
now closely clipped fleece as we removed the painful grasses that
had penetrated Betters skin.
One thing we know for sure his life is about to get a whole lot
Better from here! Our unending thanks go out to the kind hearted
workers in the area who refused to rest in their effort to seek a
safe outcome for Better.
Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Til your good is better
and your better is best. St. Jerome
Just a reminder that our show, Nature Photography in the
Goldfields, is on for another two weekends at the Newstead
Railway Arts Hub.
Bronwyn, Patrick and I have been delighted with the response so
far and it would be great to see you drop by.
The Hub will be open from 10am 4pm, this weekend and next.
Praying Mantis by Patrick Kavanagh
Its so nice reading an article that joins the dots. I get
so sick of people concentrating on one issue or another, ignoring
everything else troubling civilisation. From
Consciousness of Sheep, who else.?
Britain has apparently been thrown
into crisis overnight. Meanwhile across the channel, French
president Macron is desperately trying to extinguish the flames of
another weekend of mass protests that have now spread to Belgium
and Holland. In Eastern Europe the hard-right are gaining
support; even undermining the previously untouchable Angela Merkels
power base in the former East Germany. Across the Atlantic
meanwhile, the lines between deranged Democrats and MAGA
nationalists are being drawn in readiness for Americas second civil
war. We are surely living through the greatest crisis in
Well, yes indeed we are. But everything set out in the
first paragraph is no more than the froth on the beer. These
political spasms are merely the outward manifestation of a human
catastrophe that has been decades in the making.
Two far greater symptoms of our predicament have gained at least
some public traction this year. First was an all too visible
plastic pollution crisis that is increasingly difficult to ignore
now that China has ceased acting as the Wests rubbish dump.
Second is the somewhat less visible insect apocalypse that has seen
the near extinction of a raft of pollinating insect species;
without which we humans are doomed to starvation.
Interestingly, while these two symptoms are only tenuously related
to climate change, they have tended to be included under that
shorthand heading. Plastic certainly damages the environment,
but its build up owes far more to the ongoing power of the
petrochemicals industry and the myth of recyclingthan
to changes in climate. The same goes for the insects.
While there may have been some climactic impact on migrations and
reproduction, the main cause is the vast quantities of chemical
insecticides required by an industrialised agriculture tasked with
feeding 7.5 billion humans on a planet that could barely feed one
seventh of that without fossil fuels and agrochemicals.
In the affected areas, local populations have been stunned by a
series of red tide events that
result in the mass deaths of fish and other marine creatures.
Climate change is indirectly involved in these events because of
the increased rainfall from warmer storms. But once again it
is our industrial agriculture that is the primary cause ...
Midsumma Festival will reveal itself in all its
finery once again in 2019, bringing a kaleidoscope of preeminent
queer arts and cultural festivities from 19 January to 10
February 2019 #midsumma Midsumma.org.au
IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE
COVER DEC/JAN: Gerwyn DAVIES, Hotrod,
(part of Widgets and Doohickies from a Camp Toolbox, RMIT,
Project Space/Space Room) | PARALLEL
PARK (Holly Baytes and Tayla Jay Haggarty),
Tandem, 2016. Archival inkjet print. (part of Queer
Economies, various venues) | Snehargho
GHOSH, Andy, In Situ Series, 2018 (part of In
Situ Series 2, Blindside) | Melanie Jane
WOLF & Ashton GREEN, CHORUS (The
Substation) | Tyza STEWART,
Nap 2017 (part of Personal Touch, Incinerator
Gallery) | Anna THOMPSON, Madame
Nightshades Poison Garden (Gasworks Arts Park).
They say that music can rejuvenate the soul, and that was what I
was hoping for on Saturday 10th November as I
arrived in leafy Amberley for the 2018 CMVic
Singing Camp on a beautiful sunny morning. I had been
struggling with my own emotional demons the day before so I was
hoping to find my centre; my support again. Perhaps music
could reorganise my brains foggy neural connections again into
After the standard check-ins for new arrivals (most people had
stayed over from the Friday welcome event the previous evening),
all attendees gathered in the Banksia Room for an acknowledgement
to country, welcomes, warm ups and an innovative Body Percussion
musical game led by Jane York and Nicki Johnson. It was a
great way to meet some new people and to experience the unnerving
sensation of speaking a simple repeated chant while engaging our
bodies in a series of percussive movements. Think of the
frustration you get trying to pat the top of your head while
rubbing your belly, and you get the idea. It was fun, fast
and quite furious! Well done Jane and Nicki for waking us up
and energising us all into a frenzy!
Well we all know how that one goes but this Jack didnt jump over
a candlestick. It was most likely a leap over a fence or gate that
saw this young Boer goat holed up in an outer suburb pound
recently. Fearful of we humans at first and quick to nimbly flee
from our presence, it didnt take too long for this dear boys
personality to shine through as he began to nibble on our
outstretched hands in anticipation of a treat, slowly learning we
were indeed the good guys.
So strong in fact, is this goats cheeky demeanour that we soon
had to rewrite the name recorded on our entry sheet with Jack Be
Nimble becoming you guessed it Jack Be Nibble!
Welcome Jack Be Nibble! Yours will be a life truly worth living
from here on in.
Funny Stuart Wilde audio snippet from 33 Steps Beyond the Earth
Wednesday, 12 December
We will be at Talbot Farmers market on Sunday selling the rest
of our garlic come and get yours or help sell ours and enjoy the
historic surrounds of Talbot plus two busy pre-xmas markets Thanks
to the Gs Gayle, Garry, Gillian and Gen for assisting at Clunes
last Sunday. Continue
The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has welcomed the
announcement that the Victorian government will provide additional
funding to assist the Overland passenger train to continue running
between Melbourne and Adelaide and has renewed calls for the
government to support reinstatement of regular passenger trains to
The Overland has been supported by the South Australian and
Victorian governments for many years; its future was jeopardised
when the South Australian government recently announced it would
cut its portion of the funding. Todays announcement represents an
increase in funding from the Victorian government, with the
remainder of the shortfall coming from Great Southern Rail, who
operate the Overland.
The Overland runs twice weekly in each direction, and stops at
North Shore (Geelong), Ararat, Stawell, Horsham, Dimboola and Nhill
in western Victoria; it is the only passenger rail service that
travels west of Ararat, and is therefore a very important link for
those communities. The Overland also serves Bordertown and Murray
Bridge in South Australia.
PTUA Ballarat Branch convener Ben Lever praised the Victorian
government for working with Great Southern Rail to ensure that the
Overland can continue to run in 2019.
The Overland is the only passenger train that runs west of
Ararat, and it serves as a vital link for people who live in places
like Stawell, Horsham, Dimboola and Nhill. Not only does it connect
these towns to Melbourne and Adelaide, it connects them to each
other and to Bordertown and Murray Bridge in South Australia.
Many people in these communities cannot drive, and some struggle
to use high-floor coaches its vital to maintain the rail link, and
we are delighted to see the Victorian government step up to
preserve this service.
While welcoming the news that the Overland will continue to run,
Mr Lever noted that places like Stawell and Horsham needed a higher
level of service than the Overland currently provides.
While its great that the Overland will still run, there is still
a real need to provide regular rail services to Horsham in the very
near future. The Overland provides a lifeline service to these
communities, but years and years of cuts mean it only runs twice a
week, and has a reputation for slow speeds and poor punctuality so
its not an attractive option for most trips.
Great Southern Rail have committed to a full review of the
Overland service, to determine its future beyond 2019. Mr Lever
encouraged the Victorian government to take the opportunity to take
a holistic view of rail transport....
Tuesday, 11 December
The leaves of our Box trees are sporting quite a few
Spiny-legged Leafhopper nymphs at present. A nymph is an immature
insect which, unlike larvae, look somewhat like their adult forms.
The undeveloped wings are the sign of a nymph stage.
Spiny-legged Leafhopper nymph on Grey Box leaf
Leafhoppers are bugs, which means they feed by tubes that they
use to suck nutrients from their food source. In the case of
Leafhoppers, these are leaves. On the same Grey Box sucker on which
I found the nymph was this adult Spiny-legged Leafhopper. The name
fits well, as they have spiny legs, live on leaves and hop! I think
this one is a Brunotartessus species.
Spiny-legged Leafhopper adult
What really surprised me was a miniscule bit of white fluff with
2 long antennae crawling along the leaf stems of a Long-leafed Box,
a bit further into our bush. Through the lens, I still couldnt see
it properly, but guessed in might have been something like a
Lacewing larva, which often camouflage themselves by sticking
debris on their backs. When I downloaded the image onto my
computer, I saw that it was another leafhopper nymph, but at the
most 2mm long. I wonder if this is how they look just after
hatching. Or is something else going on?
Elsewhere, on a Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha) a few
dark Praying Mantis nymphs were on the hunt. This one, about 15mm
long, looked about to take a step into space.
Praying Mantis nymph
Monday, 10 December
In the forest of Qian, a sprinkle of snow announced the early
winter. Ambling through his domain and picking herbs the old sage
encountered three young men from the nearby 
What a welcome drop 13mm of rain yesterday afternoon was blessed
relief after the heatwave.
As the last showers drifted east I took a quick circuit of the
plains. Galahs feeding on thistles and stubble clearly
enjoyed the cool change.
Buloke landscape, Moolort Plains, 9th
Vicroads has set up a community consultation on its plans to
clear vegetation from the Pyrenees Highway between Newstead and
Readers may remember that FOBIF objected to some of these
removals, arguing that the safety objective could be better
achieved by rumble strips and reduced speed limits on the winding
stretch of road. Vicroads response to that was to say, effectively,
that reduced speeds would make no difference, something we found
hard to understand. The Vicroads 2016-7 Annual report
noted that The most common crash types were run-offroad on
high-speed country roads and intersection crashes in metropolitan
Melbourne. On the face of it, efforts to reduce speeds, along with
traffic calming measures, might be a good response to this brutal
fact. Vicroads response, however, seems to give up on the speed
matter, and hope to soften the impact of any accidents.
Vicroads last consulted the community in 2016 and since then
they have been developing strategies to mitigate risk to fauna and
flora as part of our obligations under federal legislation. We
understand that this involves assessing the impact of tree removal
on Swift Parrot populations.
The consultation is a drop in session on Tuesday January 8, from
5 pm to 8 pm [drop in any time you can], at the Newstead Recreation
centre, 21 Panmure Street.
Were offering this info tentatively, since Vicroads email on the
matter sets the date at Tuesday 8 January December 2018
You can verify all this by emailing an RSVP to NRengagement@roads.vic.gov.au
A justification of the project can be found
You can find FOBIFs posts on the matter by putting Pyrenees
Highway into the search box at the top of this page.
We believe works are due to start not long after the
In 2012 a British think tank estimated that for every pound made
by advertising executives, they destroy an equivalent of 7 in the
form of stress, overconsumption, pollution and debt; conversely,
each pound paid to a trash collector creates an equivalent of 12 in
terms of health and sustainability.
So says Rutger Bregman in his book, Utopia for realists
. We cant verify this, but we find it strangely plausible.
Who hasnt winced at some commercial being yelled from the radio?
The amount of mental damage inflicted by some of these ads must be
Heres an example, in the form of a question:
Should drivers be forced to drive on roads? Or should they have
the right to drive wherever they like?
Tyre marks on moss beds, Mount
Alexander: irresponsible, dangerous and damaging behaviour is
actively encouraged by car manufacturers and retailers.
These seem like pretty weird questions: of course you should
drive on a road. People dont drive into the Botanical Gardens, up
to the edge of the lake. They know there are limits.
But the bush is different. Opponents of the recent VEAC
recommendations on the Wombat and Wellsford forests complained that
if these places were national parks, they would have to drive on
roads, an infringement of their traditional rights. Apparently they
dont realise that the law on this matter is the same on all public
Some drivers of SUVs, and riders of motor bikes, believe that
these machines have the right to go anywhere. Earlier this year,
believe it or not, Coliban Water had to appeal to motorists
not to drive into the Malmsbury reservoir! Cars have been
driven across moss beds on Mount Alexander, and when Parks Victoria
blocked a very small section of road near Langs Lookout, the rock
barriers were furiously graffitied by drivers who didnt want
to walk an extra 100 metres
Where does this weird mindset come from? If you want to know,
just watch a few sporting events on television, and be amazed
at the comm...
Coliban Water has been promising to close down some of its
inefficient water races for years. These include the Poverty Gully
race, which has been leaking
repeatedlya problem not helped when a DELWP fuel reduction burn
destroyed the plastic lining water authorities had installed to
try to improve the channels efficiency. They certainly reduced that
FOBIF supports the closure of the channel, believing the water
is best allowed to boost the ailing Coliban River. At the same
time, the closure will have some unfortunate side effects. Channel
leakages over the years have created the odd interesting minor
wetlands, which dry up when the channel isnt running, but manage to
revive when the water comes.
So, what happens when the water stops for good? It seems that
the authority may have at last acted to close the channel, and
Naomi Raftery has the following response:
A few years ago I wrote a piece for Connecting Countys
Nature News. It chronicled the excitement of moving into a
new rental in Chewton, which backed onto an ephemeral creek line,
fed, as it were, by a leak in the Poverty Gully water race. My
enthusiasm was for the frog and birdlife that abounded following a
leak and my newfound interest in identifying different species
attracted to the water.
Coliban Water are in the process of decommissioning the water
race, which will be finalised in January 2019. The result is
a deafening silence. The frog chorus is gone, the White-faced
Herons are not anywhere and the weed march is on.
While FOBIF applaud the sensible decision to decommission the
race, it is a good case in point for illustrating what will happen
in the event of a warming climate and reiterates the importance of
setting up solid, long view management of our natural places and in
order that they become resilient refugia for humans and
plants and animals.
Right: although an artificial situation, the case is a very good
example of what lies ahead for vulnerable corners of our region,
like wetlands and water courses, as a warmer and drier climate
settles on the country.
Sunday, 09 December
As per Castlemaine Field Nat tradition, the December 2018
general meeting is a chance for any member (or visitor) to make a
short presentation. People are encouraged to talk for up to 5
minutes about a topic related in some way to natural history.
It might be photos from a holiday to an exotic location, video
footage of birds in your backyard, an analysis of recent weather
patterns or reciting a poem about a forest. It is only
limited by your imagination. There will be a projector, PC
laptop and screen available for use.
The evening commences from 7.30pm on Friday 14th December in the
Fellowship Room within the behind the Uniting Church on Lyttleton
St (next door to the Art Gallery). Members and visitors of
all ages are welcome, and entry is free.
If youd like, bring along a plate of food to share with everyone
Gabriella MANGANO and Silvana MANGANO,
There is no there (still) 2015, single-channel High
Definition digital video; 16:9, black and white, sound, 10 minutes
27 seconds; edition 2 of 3. Geelong Gallery. Purchased with funds
generously provided by Geelong Contemporary, 2018. Reproduced
courtesy of the artists and Anna Schwartz Gallery. Geelong Gallery,
Little Mallop Street, Geelong (VIC), 8 December 2018 to 10 February
Winner of the Koorie Heritage Trust Highly Commended Award,
GOTAFE Shepparton, Aunty Girl 2018,
ceramic, textiles. The Koorie Art Show, Koorie Heritage
Trust, Yarra Building, Federation Square, Melbourne (VIC), 8
December 2018 24 February 2019 koorieheritagetrust.com.au
Andrew NICHOLLS, Porcellini (self-portrait as
Tobias Smollett) 2015-2018. Large format photograph, 120 x 150
cm. the artist. WA Now Andrew Nicholls: Hyperkulturemia,
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth Cultural Centre, Perth
(WA), 15 December 2018 15 April 2019 ...
Saturday, 08 December
The following sequence was captured last week, with my favourite
raptors on the plains.
The female Nankeen Kestrel, pictured here with
a spider, was making repeated visits to the nest in the late
afternoon. The chicks are still quite small and fluffy (you may be
able to just make out one in two of the images), but will develop
rapidly over the next few weeks.
Nankeen Kestrel, Moolort Plains, 5th
TREADING LESS AGGRESSIVELY IN THE WORLD
by Helen Kelly
Its Sticky Beast time of year! This tradition
is slowly but surely taking root as a seasonal celebration. In our
land without snow for snowmen we make do with sticky weed.
Alice Steel and her son Haku make Sticky Beasts out of the
abundance of sticky weed that grows plentifully in Central Victoria
at this time of year. Hakus favourite colour used to be yellow but
now it is green he informed me when we recently had a chat. Sticky
Beasts are not gender specific but Haku reckons the one he most
recently made with his Mum is a Grandma.
The now yearly tradition of Sticky Beast making grew out of fun
seasonal picnic celebrations that Alice and her friends organised
on a regular basis when they were in their late teens and early
twenties they just happened roughly around when we could get
together and when we noticed that it felt like it was definitely
Summer, or definitely Spring, and people would bring food that was
representational of that time of year. There was no strict
observance of any particular time or ritual; the gatherings were
more like spontaneous get-togethers to celebrate the seasons with a
sense of respect, fun and creativity.
On one of their picnics at a spot where two small local creeks
meet, they were pulling out piles of sticky weed. As it is a weed,
and they are environmentally active and caring kinds of people,
they were cleaning up the area. This was something Alice had been
taught to do from a young age. Her Grandmother, Helen Laycock (nee
Steel), was a botanist and avid educator in native Australian
plants. She fought hard for the rights of local plants and wanted
the world to understand the importance of having endemic plants
growing where they should be. Helens views were radical for her
time she hated roses and fought for the underdogs of the plant
world. She was disturbed by the lack of understanding that the
non-indigenous public had about native Australian flora, and did
her best to take action to change that.
Alice recalls having her Grandmother Helen in mind when she
first made a sculpture out of stickyweed. It was growing all around
that area where we were having a picnic and although we
acknowledged it was a weed and we were bundling it up trying to get
rid of it out of this lovely little bush spot, we started to
embrace it and realised how well it rolled in to a ball, and we
just started going with the flow and sculpted it into this sticky
And so, from a spontaneously creative act of love for and
connection to the environment, and the fact that, now, Alice has a
child of her own and is responsible for passing on family
traditions to her son Haku, the legend of the Sticky Beast was
Friday, 07 December
POPULAR UNREST IN AN AGE OF FALLING
Between my French origins and the opinions expressed
within this little blog, I have taken more than a passing interest
in the events happening in France, especially when its fuelled by
passionate and restless wwoofers who come from there too! As you
will or should know, I believe the real economy runs on energy, not
money, and surplus energy in particular as a result, I have been
following Tim Morgans Surplus
Energy Economics blog for a while, which I would encourage you
all to follow too. This is Tims latest gem, which proves that when
you do the math. the truth comes out!
This weekend, the authorities plan
to field 89,000 police officers across France in response to
anticipated further mass protests by the gilets jaunes. In the
capital, the Eiffel Tower will be closed and armoured cars
deployed, whilst restaurateurs and shopkeepers are being urged to
close their businesses at one of the most important times of their
Though the government has climbed down on the
original cause clbre the rises in fuel taxes
planned for next year there seems to be no reduction in the worst
protests experienced in the country since the 1960s. Reports
suggest that as many as 70% of French citizens support the
protestors, and that the movement may be spreading to Belgium and
For the outside observer, the most striking features of the
protests in France have been the anger clearly on display, and the
rapid broadening of the campaign from fuel prices to a wider range
of issues including wages, the cost of living and taxation.
The disturbances in France should be seen in a larger context.
In France itself, Emmanuel Macron was elected president only after
voters had repudiated all established political parties. Italians
have entrusted their government to an insurgent coalition which is
on a clear collision-course with the European Union over budgetary
matters. The British have voted to leave the EU, and Americans have
elected to the White House a man dismissed by experts as a joke
candidate throughout his campaign.
Obviously, something very important is going on why?
Does economics explain popular anger?
There are, essentially, two different ways in which the events
in France and beyond can be interpreted, and how you look at them
depends a great deal on how you see the economic situation.
If you subscribe to the conventional and consensus
interpretation, economic issu...
Friday 7th Dec, 7.30pm, Theatre Royal
Or listen on iTunes, Spotify or Stitcher
That Was Then, This Is Now
involved young adults and award winning writers (and a publisher!)
coming together on stage to discuss much loved modern classics that
have made an impact on them. Produced in partnership with the
Castlemaine Childrens Literature Festival and Castlemaine Library,
this event featured Robyn Annear and Cohen Saunders (The Outsiders
by S.E. Hinton), Ellie Marney and Rosa Carrington (A Wrinkle
in Time by Madeleine LEngle), Cate Kennedy and Abigail Meadows (To
Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee), Gryffin Winsor and Kristin Gill
(The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien)
The event took place on 7 November 2018, in the Phee Broadway
Theatre, Castlemaine, initiated and produced by Lisa DOnofrio.
This Event was supported by the Regional Centre for Culture
Program, a Victorian Government initiative in partnership with the
Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation and Mount Alexander
Shire, and a Mount Alexander Shire Community Grant.
by Steve Proposch
The Necks celebrate what it is to be a
musician, living in the moment of the music, where a
single note rings out in space and sparks an idea. Not even the
band knows where it might lead, but the possibilities are virtually
The Necks know all the possibilities. Individually they are
veteran musos with accomplished careers stretching back to the
early 80s. Together they somehow find their way from silence and
nothingness through spare bass notes, piano chords and feedback, to
nifty riffs, to driving grooves, to crashing crescendos, to some
kind of answer.
Lloyd Swanton plays bass for The Necks and is a three-time
winner of Best Bassist in the Australian Jazz and Blues Awards.
Along with Chris Abrahams (piano), and Tony Buck (drums), he has
been lauded in the world press for his work in this band as
everything from a genius to some kind of musical
shaman-stroke-prophet. The Necks performances have been described
as Ecstacy in slow motion magically euphoric (Weser
Kurier, Bremen, Germany), and a kind of religious experience
(The Australian). We spoke to Swanton in the lead up to
their performance at the Castlemaine State Festival in March
Your music feeds on itself, building from the first note
with ideas tried out in the moment Do you ever play a song the same
Lloyd Swanton: No, never. Even if we wanted to,
Is that ever a problem? Do you sometimes have audiences
requesting an old fave the play something we know mate
LS: Well, people often come up to the merch
desk after the show and ask which one did they play tonight? No,
no-one ever asks for old faves. People just seem to know. For
example, our first album Sex sold well and continues to
sell well, 24 years later, such that wed expect to see some of
those buyers rocking up to our shows, but although we get good
crowds at our shows, its nothing like what youd expect considering
how many copies Sex has sold, so clearly people just know
that theyre not going to get the Sex experience at the
live show (Ill tactfully avoid the many obvious jokes I could make
there). And Im fine with that. We always have a good turnout to
play to, and I think its great to know weve got a whole other
Did you perhaps start out thinking you might form a straight
up rock or pop band?
LS: (Snort.) We formed the band with the
specific intention of exploring this modus operandi we had
in mind. Incredible t...
Judge: Graham Anderson (Pakenham Camera Club).
Category : Architecture
Photographer: Cathy Branson.
Photographer: Heather Bell.
Photographer: Heather Bell.
Photographer: Heather Bell.
Category : Children
Photographer: Tammy Thomas.
Action Alert: Human Rights Day Refugee Rally to call for end to
offshore crisis Refugee supporters will rally on Human Rights Day,
6.30pm December 10 in the Bourke St Mall, calling to end offshore
processing and bring the refugees here. The rally will also call on
MPs to back the Phelps refugee bill when federal(...)
As Seen on TV
Karen Cooper recently took this photo of Avoca's main
street. It was selected by Channel Ten,
who displayed it during their weather segment.
Maryborough's Local Phone Book Cover
This Central Victoria Landscape
by Chris Crossley, has been
chosen for the cover of the new local phone book. The photo was
taken just outside of Talbot
near Mount Greenock
Thanks to Kerry at Innovative Tags (she provided all the printed
thermal labels free of charge) we have a heap of new galvanised
plant markers for our fruit trees and other permanent crops
to make finding your way around the garden much easier. You can
discover exactly what that brilliant tasting peach or apple is,
Continue reading Planting the
Wednesday, 05 December
Birds generally look their best during the bookends of the
This male Rainbow Bee-eater is perched above
its nesting tunnel in the Sandon State Forest, stitching and
preening as it contemplates the day ahead.
The White-browed Woodswallows are part of a
small company that has set up camp along Mia Mia Road this pair
paused briefly during a burst of pre-dusk insect hawking.
Rainbow Bee-eater, Sandon State Forest,
3rd December 2018
Victorian architecture is
a series of architectural revival styles in the mid-to-late 19th
century. Victorian refers to the reign of Queen Victoria
(18371901), called the Victorian era, during which period the
styles known as Victorian were used in construction. However, many
elements of what is typically termed "Victorian" architecture did
not become popular until later in Victoria's reign. The styles
often included interpretations and eclectic revivals of historic
styles. The name represents the British and French custom of naming
architectural styles for a reigning monarch. Within this naming and
classification scheme, it followed Georgian architecture and later
Regency architecture, and was succeeded by Edwardian
Ballarat is a city in the
state of Victoria, Australia, approximately 105 kilometres
west-north-west of the state capital Melbourne situated on the
lower plains of the Great Dividing Range and the Yarrowee River
catchment. It is the largest inland centre and third most populous
city in the state and the fifth most populated inland city in
Australia. The estimated urban area population is close to 100,000
inhabitants. It was named by Scottish settler Archibald Yuille who
established the sheep run called Ballaarat in 1837 with the name
derived from local Wathaurong Aboriginal words for the area, balla
arat, thought to mean "resting place". The present spelling was
officially adopted in 1996.
Ballarat is one of the most
significant Victorian era boomtowns in Australia. Just months after
Victoria was granted separation from New South Wales, the Victorian
gold rush transformed Ballarat from a small sheep station to a
major settlement. Gold was discovered at Poverty Point on 18 August
1851 and news quickly spread of rich alluvial fields where gold
could easily be extracted. Within months, approximately 20,000
migrants had rushed the district. Unlike many other gold rush boom
towns, the Ballarat fields experienced sustained
Proclaimed a city in 1871,
Ballarat's prosperity continued until late in the 19th century,
after which its importance relative to both Melbourne and Geelong
Tuesday, 04 December
The wattles at our place at Strangways are a very reliable
source of invertebrate subjects at present.
By night, I commonly these nocturnal ants feeding on the
glands on the stem of the Golden Wattles Acacia pycnantha.
The glands secrete a sweet nectar which entice ants which might
benefit the plant by deterring insects that would feed on the
plant. Im not sure of the species of the ant, but on Natureshare,
it was suggested that it might be a Camponotus
Ant feeding on wattle gland nectar.
Also by night, I found this fly, which I suspect is a species of
Robber Fly on a Silver Wattle Acacia dealbata.
A fly snoozing on Silver Wattle
By day, the wattles are still a busy place. Acacia Jewel Beetles
certainly live up to their name. The live on Acacias and look like
jewels. The larva of these beetles are responsible for the little
piles of sawdust at the base of some wattle species and will
eventually end the life of the host wattle. This one is on a Golden
Acacia Jewel Beetle
Another denizen of the Golden Wattle world is this tiny Lace
Bug, a Nethersia species. At a couple of millimetres long,
they seem to like hiding in the nooks between wattle stems. Lace
Bugs mostly feed by piercing the underside of leaves of the host
plant and sucking out sap.
Nethersia Lace Bug
On two Golden Wattles, I found many of these tiny Leaf Beetle
larvae. Gastroenterological imaging seems easy in this little
creatures. No x-rays, scans or endoscopes needed!
There are now almost daily suicide attempts among refugees on
Manus Island, and no medical facilities to cope with the crisis.
The small Pacific International Hospital (PIH) at the East
Lorengau compound has only one room to treat emergency patients, so
there is no place to care for in-patients, so they are returned
Hakeem Al-Araibi has been recognised as a refugee and granted
permanent protection by the Australian government. Last week, while
he was in Thailand, he was taken by the Thai authorities to an
immigration detention centre and told he will not be sent back to
The Thai authorities informed him that due to an Interpol red
notice, he would be deported to Bahrain instead. Today there
are reports in the media that the Interpol red notice has been
lifted, yet there is no clear sign of guaranteed safety and
protection for Hakeem Al-Araibi by Australian and Thai state
authorities or International authorities in the UN or ICRC with a
Im a refugee in Australia, Im scared of the Bahraini
government They will kill me. I dont know whats going to happen
there. My life will end if I go to Bahrain. Hakeem Al Araibi who
has been detained in Thailand.
This is a critical case as it sets a further precedent of abuse
and torture across the world, and makes us refugees more insecure
about travelling outside Australia. It violates our right to
freedom of movement, life, safety and protection. RISE has emailed
UNHCR Thailand, UN-CAT, The Asia Pacific refugee rights network and
our team has contacted UNHCR in Thailand by phone.
We urgently request our supporters to contact Thai and
Australian authorities and International agencies listed below and
ask them to intervene and stop the deportation of Hakeem Al-Araibi
to danger and provide him with proper support and safeguards for
safe travel back to Australia.
1. Contact Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs
Electorate office: (02) 9687 8755
Foreign Affairs: Foreign.email@example.com
2. Australian Ambassador to Thailand. Paul
Phone : 02 344 6300 (Thailand) or 1300 555 135 (Aus)
*[Also contact your local Australian embassies]
3. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) head
office in Canberra
Switchboard: +61 2 6261 1111
Fax: +61 2 6261 3111
4. UNHCR Australia
Phone: 1300 361 288 (within Australia)
+61 (0)2 9262 5377 (overseas).
5. OHCHR | Convention against Torture
6. UNHCR Thailand
Phone : +66 2288 2180
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Facsimile: +66 2280 0555
We should stop refugees from being deported to any country where
they are likely to face harm and persecution.
here to view the embedded video.
This is Try
Try, an ageing merino ewe, was witnessed recently by a member of
the public aboard a livestock transport vehicle, desperately
clinging to life as she lie almost motionless on the trailer floor,
having endured being trampled beneath the hooves of her terrified
companions. Injured, exhausted from her efforts to stand and
covered in excrement, it was a miracle the elderly sheep had even
made it this far. Some of her companions sadly had not been as
fortunate, having succumbed to their injuries having had no way to
escape from beneath the sea of hooves upon them.
In a twist of fate, as the livestock truck pulled into a service
station, the stricken ewe made eye contact with the occupants of
the vehicle beside her and a connection was made between the heart
of this dying sheep and the people who saw her. Following
the tug of their heartstrings, the kind hearted
Samaritans knew what had to be done.
And so, they tried.
With the truck driver advising the kind hearts he was,
meant to knock the injured ones on the head, but just couldnt bring
himself to, they were advised to meet the vehicle at its next
scheduled stop. It was then a race against time as
they abandoned their previously made plans and sought to save
the dear sheep who they knew needed them to try. With
sanctuary at Edgars Mission promised and our Rescue Team
dispatched, the truck driver and kind hearts made good on their
deal and Trys safety was secured. Bundling the shaken,
frightened and dripping with faeces sheep into the back seat of
their late model car, they well and truly knew the life of
this gentle being was worth the price of mild inconvenience on
their part. Meeting our rescue team along the road to
safety, Try was then Edgars Mission-bound. With the
frightfully thin, ageing and badly injured sheep now in our care,
our battle had only just begun. Only time, patience and a whole lot
of care would tell if salvation had arrived too late.
And so, we tried.
to view the embedded video.
On the 30th of October 2018, kind hearts united to try and save
the life of a downed ewe. What seemed an almost insurmountable task
was made possible simply because people tried. Trys story serves to
remind us that the everyday choices we make have the power to make
a difference, what that difference will be you will never know
unless you try.
If Trys story touched your heart and youd like to ensure our
life-saving and life-changing work on behalf of animals continues,
please donate to our Medical Fighting Fund today. But dont worry if
you are not in a position to financially support our work, simply
sharing these stories of hope has enormous potential to change the
world for animals. Please Try.
It was a dark night when Sophie came into our world, the
circumstances those of a perfect storm. Delayed leaving the
sanctuary for her rescue, with a tank low on fuel, a phone battery
not fully charged, and a vehicle highlighting the simple yet
challenging question, If we could live happy and healthy lives
without harming otherswhy wouldnt we?, we bravely ventured into
dairy country to rescue a blind bobby calf.
Taking the story back a week or two, we were first alerted to
this tiny albeit determined waif by an animal-loving veterinary
nurse holidaying in Australia. Drawn by this love, Sophie found
herself working on a dairy farm, tending the many calves. Do you
know what happens to the unwanted calves? her voice trembled. Like
Alice, she had stepped into the unknown, but unlike Alice, she had
wound up on the other side of the curtain that shields the dairy
Knowing as we do the stark fate of these calves born to this
industry, it is hard to conceive that others do not, yet there was
a time when we too lived in blissful ignorance, believing the
impact of the dairy industry on the animals who make it possible
was benign. With her heart breaking just that little bit more each
day, but taking comfort believing the wee babies in her care would
at least know some measure of kindness in their short time on this
earth, this kind heart was touched beyond belief by a sweet little
Jersey-cross calf who doggedly struggled to hold her own amongst
her fully sighted brethren. Unaccepting of the fate that would
normally befall such an animal, the race was on to find sanctuary
for the calf we were to name Babe. The first picture we saw of Babe
told of the fondness in which she was helda single red heart was
painted on her side. Such an image, such a plight and such a
determination swung us into action.
A Stuart Wilde article: Some people dont need redemption, they
believe they are perfect. The rest of us need as much redemption
The weirdest right-wing takes on the student
climate protest , Australias free speech warriors took a righteous
stand against children fighting for their future. Crikey,
NAPIER-RAMAN DEC 03, 2018 After
years of apocalyptic headlines and government intransigence on
climate change, the sight of thousands of high school students
packing Sydneys Martin Place last Friday provided a jolt of
for the future. Armed with loudspeakers, and some incredibly
creative posters, the strike which also took place in
Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Coffs Harbour, Bendigo and other city
centres represented part of a
global surge of student-led climate change protests.
It also caused a surge of righteous fury among conservative
politicians and commentators; a feeling that was not shared by
most Australians who are more
worried about climate change than ever, and
increasingly are in favour of more
renewable energy. Heres a selection of the responses from
those who chose to take a stand against the children advocating for
their future: (subscribers
Monday, 03 December
As summer commences two of our migratory species tend to fall a
little silent. The Sacred Kingfisher and
Rainbow Bee-eater are both tunnel nesting species,
the former using both earthen tunnels as well as tree hollows. At
present the birds will be incubating and they tend to be less vocal
than will be the case in a few weeks when feeding young.
In Rainbow Bee-eaters both sexes excavate the nesting tunnel you
can see some evidence of activity on the bill of the male
below. In both the Sacred Kingfisher and the Rainbow Bee-eater both
sexes incubate, although my observations suggest the female
bee-eaters do the majority of sitting.
Rainbow Bee-eater (male), Loddon River @
Newstead, 2nd December 2018
The FOBIF breakup for the year is on next Monday, 10
December beginning at 6pm. Further details can be found
FOBIF members and supporters are welcome.
Sunday, 02 December
The loud, screeching calls of flocks of corellas are a feature
of the natural soundscape of the summer months around Newstead.
Increasingly its Little Corellas that are
forming these flocks along with their larger relative, the
Long-billed Corella. Little Corellas can be distinguished by their
handsome crest and lack the extensive pink colouration around the
face and neck.
Little Corellas, Loddon River @
Newstead, 2nd December 2018
Central Victorian Photo Location
The Bristol Hill Pioneer Memorial Tower is the latest addition
to our Central
Victorian Photo Locations Map. It was built in 1933 during the
Great Depression, largely of material from the old Maryborough
Gaol. It offers great views of the town.
Saturday, 01 December
I think whats striking in Matt Canavans comments is how
demeaning he is about young people and what they actually know, and
how he underestimates their understanding,
I heard students today at the rally talking about the IPCC
report, talking about the 700 odd days until emissions can peak
before we exceed 1.5 degrees.
These are kids that actually understand the science in a way
that I think most of parliamentarians dont.
Organiser Deanna Athanosos, who is in year 10, said Mr
Morrisons rhetoric towards the strike made her laugh.
If you were doing your job properly, we wouldnt be here, she
Students strike for climate change protests, defying calls to
stay in school ABC News Thousands of Australian
students have defied calls by the Prime Minister to stay in school
and instead marched on the nations capital cities, and some
regional centres, demanding an end to political inertia on climate
- Students called for politicians to act on climate
- Thousands of young people were inspired by 15-year-old
Swedish pupil Greta Thunbergs protest in Stockholm
- Resources Minister Matt Canavan criticised
demonstrators for missing out on school
Protests were held in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Coffs
Harbour, Bendigo and other cities, as students banded together to
pressure the Morrison Government in the lead-up to a federal
The politicians arent listening to us when we try to ask nicely
for what we want and for what we need, said Castlemaine student
Harriet OShea Carre.
So now we have to go to extreme lengths and miss out on
It follows similar protests in Canberra and Hobart earlier this
week, which have spurred on the junior activists.
You dont learn anything from protesting
But the protests have sparked their own reaction among key
members of the Federal Government who have used commercial radio to
dress down the students.
Resources Minister Matt Canavan said the only thing children
would be learn from th...
Friday, 30 November
A Breakdown of the health and education institutions currently
financially tied to security companies complicit in ongoing
detention torture. There have been countless reports and inquiries
regarding the deaths, torture and sexual abuse faced by
refugees who have been incarcerated within Australias mandatory
detention centres. These detention centres are allowed to exist
with impunity because they are directly orchestrated by the
Australian government for profit.
RISE encourages employees, students and clients of these
institutions as well as general supporters to use the contact
points linked below, maintain a physical presence at these
establishments and demand they divest from the detention industry
immediately and sever ties with these security companies.
Stanley Hospital (Western Australia), Serco
Broadmeadows Health Service, Wilson Security
Hospital, Wilson Parking
Health, Wilson Security
Private Hospital, Wilson Parking
Royal Womens Hospital, Wilson Parking
- Valley Private
Hospital, Wilson Parking
- Peninsula Health
(VIC) , Wilson Security
Hospital Epping, Wilson Security
- Northern Health
Bundoora, Wilson Security
- Northern Health
Craigieburn, Wilson Security
- Eastern Health
(VIC) , Wilson Security
Mind Mental Health PARC Facility Ringwood (VIC), Wilson
- Darwin Private
Hospital (NT) ,...
30th November 2018
Tune in for Live Broadcast 4am -6am Monday 3 December from the
Eureka Dawn Ceremony at the site of the Eureka Massacre (Cnr
Stawell and Eureka Sts Ballarat). As part of the day long series of
events organised by the Anarchist Media Institute commemorating the
164th Anniversary of the Eureka Stockade massacre starting with the
4am dawn vigil, Eureka Awards ceremeny at Bakery Hill, a long march
through the streets of Ballarat to the Old Ballarat Cemetery, a
visit to the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka to see the
Eureka Flag finally brought home to its origins in Eureka Park, the
site of the Eureka Stockade; and concluding with a dinner at the
Eureka Stockade Hotel. The
Anarchist Media Institute has been holding Reclaim the Radical
Spirit of the Eureka Rebellion Celebrations, in Ballarat on
December 3rd, since 2002 reclaiming the historical revisionism and
Over the years, Ive written a fair bit about debt and how the
only way out is a Jubilee. well, Michael Hudson, someone whose
podcasts I now listen to religiously, has written a whole book
about this subject. Heres a review of the book I must buy
A Review of Michael Hudsons new book
. and Forgive Them Their
As published on Naked Capitalism
by John Siman
To say that Michael Hudsons new book And Forgive Them
Their Debts: Lending, Foreclosure, and Redemption from Bronze Age
Finance to the Jubilee Year (ISLET 2018) is profound is an
understatement on the order of saying that the Mariana Trench is
deep. To grasp his central argument is so alien to our modern way
of thinking about civilization and barbarism that Hudson quite
matter-of-factly agreed with me that the book is, to the extent
that it will be understood, earth-shattering in both intent and
effect. Over the past three decades, gleaned (under the auspices of
arvards Peabody Museum) and then synthesized the
scholarship of American and British and French and German and
Consciousness of Sheep keeps coming up with magnificent
like this one..
I know I keep saying this too, but the Matrix cant
continue lurching about for too much longer.
Despite a series of stock market scares, see-sawing oil
prices and central banks jacking up interest rates, it seems likely
that we are going to get through 2018 without experiencing the
economic crash that many expected at the start of the year.
But while we may breathe a sigh of relief to have got to the
festive season without a complete meltdown, the odds of another
crash are still high.
Understanding what might go wrong is a particular problem
according to Helen Thompson at the New Statesman. Not
least because 10 years on, we still cannot agree on what caused the
In July 2008 the then president of the European Central Bank
(ECB), Jean-Claude Trichet, declared while announcing an increase
in interest rates that the Eurozones fundamentals were sound. In
fact, a recession had begun in the first quarter of that
The causes of recessions are also sometimes wrongly
diagnosed even in retrospect. For instance, the impact of
exceptionally high oil prices and the response of central banks to
those prices are still routinely ignored as causes of the US and
European recessions in the aftermath of the 2008 crash.
Thompsons article sets out a range of weaknesses across the
global economy where a new economic meltdown could begin.
China, the (albeit anaemic) growth engine of the global economy for
the last decade, has developed debt problems not dissimilar to
those in the west in 2008:
Economic growth in China has been slowing since the second
half of 2017, and even the growth of the first half of that year
was an interruption of a downward slope that began in 2013.
Predictions of a Chinese financial crisis, owing to the countrys
huge accumulation of debt since 2008, are made too readily. But
China is now caught between a policy shift towards deleveraging to
try to avoid such a debt-induced financial crisis, and another
debt-financed push for higher growth amid an economic slowdown and
a fierce trade war with the US. The Chinese government is
struggling under these conflicting imperatives as the countrys
dollar reserves fall....
An interesting narrative by Susan
Lets explore a thought puzzle: Can you change the
You are transported onto the deck of the RMS Titanic,
the largest ship ever built and designed to be unsinkable. It is
midnight 13 April 1912. There are 2,224 people on the ship, which
is under full steam on the fastest ever crossing of the Atlantic.
You know what will happen, what will you do?
You know that at 11:39pm on 14 April the lookout will spot
an iceberg, and by 2:20am the ship and 1,517 people will be gone.
Can you change the future?
You know that at 11:39pm on 14 April the lookout will spot an
iceberg, and by 2:20am the ship and 1,517 people will be gone. The
ship was launched with lifeboats for less than half the number of
people on board. You could take a self-sufficiency strategy and
make sure you are near a lifeboat, but you know they will be
allocated according to class and you might not get a spot.
Clearly, the best solution is to slow down, change course and
not hit the iceberg. You know that t...
Thursday, 29 November
Looking to escape the mad bustle of xmas? What better place to
escape to than the garden. The December Notes are now posted, so
you can find out what to plant, when in the month is best, plus
some tips for watering over the summer. Stumped for christmas gifts
this year? If you buy a
Continue reading December
gardening and garlic for xmas
Earlier this week I found this White-plumed
Honeyeater nest suspended in River red-gum above the
At least two small nestlings were being fed by the adults, as
they ferried food from the neighbourhood at regular intervals.
In the space of a few minutes I observed what looked like either
a dragonfly or damselfly delivered, one of the adults remove a
fecal sac from the nest and a sudden alarm call uttered from the
nest site as a raptor passed overhead. Little vignettes of nature
White-plumed Honeyeater feeding
nestlings, Loddon River @ Newstead, 26th November 2018
The removal of Palestine by Google
I am really pleased to have been invited to write this opinion
piece for The Big Smoke on why Palestine is not on Google Maps and
the journey that Palestine has been forced to make into
non-existence by Israels existence. (Published 29 Nov 2018)
Very informative history and for me an introduction into the
part played by map makers and services like Google Maps with their
biases, making them complicit in political struggles for borders
and land, and erasing nations like Palestine from their maps and
all that implies. Great article and mu...
RESULTS in the Victorian election last weekend will go
a long way to guaranteeing that Liberal-turned-independent Julia
Banks will retain Chisholm at the next Federal election, if she
decides to stand.
How is that, one might ask. Chisholm will fall to Labor on a 3.4
per cent swing and Labor got a 6 per cent swing in the state
Well, it is all to do with Victorias Upper House, the
Legislative Council, and the dirty deed Labor did on the
The Legislative Council has eight electorates of five members
each. The election is run on the same basis as the Federal Senate
before the 2016 changes. Voters voting above the line just put a 1
in one box and their preferences are determined by a pre-registered
ticket by that party.
You cannot express preferences for different parties above the
line, as you now can in a Federal Senate election.
So the parties, major and micro, do deals to swap preferences,
usually irrespective of political philosophy.
The quota to get a seat after preferences are counted is 16.6
Now preferences are counted from both ends in this sort of
election. Preferences from excluded parties are counted but so are
the preferences of the leftover vote of the major parties. For
example, in one electorate Labor got 37.5 per cent of the primary
vote and had 4.3 per cent leftover after using two lots of 16.6 per
cent of get its first two candidates elected.
But who did Labor preference? A whole lot of micro parties and
others before the Greens. The Coalition did the same thing, but
that is understandable on policy grounds.
As the count progressed and micro party candidates got
eliminated all their preferences went to other surviving micro
parties. Eventually, the last micro party left unexcluded took the
last seat in all eight electorates.
In one electorate the Transport Matters Party won with just 0.6
per cent of the primary vote.
In three other electorates micro party candidates won with less
than 2 per cent; three with less 5 and one with 7.
In all eight electorates the Greens had the third-highest vote
behind Labor and the Coalition yet got just one seat losing four of
its existing seats because of these diabolically undemocratic
The Greens only seat was in the electorate where they polled
15.8 per cent of the vote, so close to a quota they hardly needed
any preferences at all.
The Greens will not forge...
Mark Jackson knew he was doing something right when a member
from one of his nine Ukestras informed him that she was too busy
seeing friends to come and play.
My number one ticket holder said, Sorry I cant come to Uke
today, Im playing cards with my new friends, you dont know what
youve done with the ukulele, its been fantastic.
Helping people to make music, building community and
sustainability are three significant keystones in the lives and
business model of Mark and his partner, Jane Jelbart. The
pair work together as The Sum of Parts, teaching Ukulele, running
participatory groups, holding Ukestras and developing and
encouraging sustainable leadership using their very own, finely
honed Ukestra Method1.
They do this so well that for the past nine years it has been
their primary source of income and they have now written two books
packed with insights about their work: The Ukestration
Manual, about creating music making communities with the
Ukulele and the Ukestra Method, and The Business of being a
Community Musician for people who want to make a living or run
a small business as a community musician.
A chief value underpinning what they do is the conviction that
being active in our community is good for us and that a decline in
the uptake and participation in socially focussed, group-activities
such as sport, church or clubs is mirrored by a decline in the
physical and mental health and wellbeing of the people within the
Community is really good for us and I think Its really good for
the planet as well if were together. Its almost like making music
together was the first way that we came together, and which wasnt
about fighting or reproducing.
Once you get a community music group up and running, theres the
question of how to sustain it and offer support and mentorship to
emerging new leaders.
Being such an accessible and appealing little instrument, new
people are drawn into the sphere of the ukulele all the time, which
is fortunate when sustainability is so integral to making a living
as a community musician. Youve got to constantly be
introducing people into this environment and thats whats so
fantastic about the ukulele. Its an instrument that you
can play really complex things on, but you dont
have to says Mark.
What you need is a system of teaching and leadership that is
effective and sustainable. If we just relied on the people we
started out working with nine years ago, we wouldnt have a
business, we wouldnt be connecting people up. If it was all stale,
then people wo...
Very few people join all the dots, and as usual,
Gail Tverberg does her best to do so here again. There are so many
signals on the web now pointing to a major reset its not
Many people, including most Peak Oilers, expect that oil
prices will rise endlessly. They expect rising oil prices because,
over time, companies find it necessary to access more
difficult-to-extract oil. Accessing such oil tends to be
increasingly expensive because it tends to require the use of
greater quantities of resources and more advanced technology. This
issue is sometimes referred to as diminishing
returns. Figure 1 shows how oil prices might be expected to
rise, if the higher costs encountered as a result of diminishing
returns can be fully recovered from the ultimate customers of this
Wednesday, 28 November
Every day between the peaks, some lines are packed because the
trains run only every 20 minutes.
Melbourne is growing; to cut waiting times and crowding, we need
frequent services all day.
Share this video on
Facebook and Twitter
The Monthly Discussion in December Bust and Beyond
What: Discuss + Debate + Drinks + Pizza When: Wednesday,
December 5th Time: 6pm Cost: Free Is the property market
in meltdown? In the blue corner sits plunging auction clearance
rates (sub 40% in Melbourne last weekend), tighter lending
conditions, and national land prices down 5% year-on-year 
His life was fortified by our kindness and a straw-filled bed,
the latter only the day prior refreshed by an intrepid group of
corporate volunteers to whom Max quickly endeared himself. Of
course, he did this in his own inimitable and affable way, leaving
them walking away with snoutmarks on their hands and in their
Shadowed by a life before Edgars
Mission that saw him found wandering the streets in a town made
famous for its bacon factory, Max was destined to make the
headlines. From his daily sojourns about his little patch in the
world at Edgars Mission, Max featured on billboards plastered
across Australia and the internet, and in major daily newspapers
and state news services. Max ruled supreme wherever he was seen,
and, lets be honest, you could hardly miss him. True to the spirit
of pigs, Max was a tidy boy, designating a section of his home
range for his ablutions and bringing joy to our hearts as he seized
a rake between his teeth and put the finishing touches to his straw
bed. His antics with his ball broke all expectations of the
fun-loving nature of pigs (but sadly, too, eventually the
Maxs life could best be summed up as a river of turbulence in
his passage to find sanctuary here, quickly swapping that for one
that was to be peppered with beauty, serenity, wisdom and the
occasional bout of proud flatulence (if youre smiling now chances
are you know pigs all too well; if not, you, have something to look
forward to -not!). Max indeed made wise counsel; he was a stoic, a
Zen master with a glorious Buddha-like belly. If you had a problem,
best sit with Max, look deep into those wise eyes (if you managed
to catch him when he was awake) and massage that plump tummy and
the answer was simpl...
Monday, 26 November
On my first visit to Ireland I met a man whose endowed purpose
was to Exude Love amongst other things such as drink beer, smoke
weed and generally be a nuisance....
Male and female Dusky Woodswallows are
impossible to tell apart from their appearance alone. Their
behaviour during the breeding season however, often provides a
clue. This pair was perched atop a dead tree in the Rise and Shine.
The male departed at regular intervals, returning with a beak full
of insects for the waiting female each time. They have probably
commenced nest-building nearby and this ritualistic courtship
feeding is a sign that egg-laying is imminent.
Dusky Woodswallows (male at front), Rise
and Shine Bushland Reserve, 25th November 2018
The Number 5 is the most dynamic and energetic of all the single
digit numbers. It is unpredictable, always in motion, and
constantly in need of change. Although it is moulded from an almost
equal mix of masculine and feminine qualitites, in general the the
5 is slightly more feminine albiet a daring, tomboyish kind of
feminine, with nothing demure or submissive about her.
Exhibition Opening: Sat 1 Dec, 2-5pm
Gallery Hours: Saturday and Sunday 2 Dec 16th Dec,
The opening of Nature Photography in the
Goldfields by Geoff Park, Patrick Kavanagh and Bronwyn
Silver will take place this Sunday at 11am at the Newstead Railway
Arts Hub. Everyone is welcome and refreshments will be provided.
The exhibition will run between 10am and 4pm over the first 4
weekends in December. The first day of the show is this Saturday, 1
December. Find all the details
One of Geoff Parks exhibition photos:
Male Mistletoebird, Spring Hill Track, 3rd September 2018
And the FOBIF Creatures photo exhibition at TOGS will finish
this Thursday (November 29). All photos are for sale and
reasonably priced. Proceeds of sales go to FOBIF to cover costs.
You can see more Creatures photos on our Flickr
site and on this previous
We would like to thank TOGS once again for their support in
mounting this exhibition. This is our fifth show at the cafe and
our ninth in total.
Victorias weird practice of classifying deer as a protected
species for the benefit of recreational hunters has come
increasingly under fire from farmers, landcarers and
municipalities, both rural and Melbourne fringe.
Deer in Chewton: They damage crops,
trash the bush and are a traffic menaceand illegal hunters are a
danger to the public.
If youre under the impression that deer are cute species which
occasionally appear in romantic pose, have a look
here for a wake up call about the damage to agriculture and the
environment caused by rapidly growing feral deer populations. They
dont just damage the environment: theyre a pest to farmers and a
danger to motorists. Whats more, rural residents in remote rural
areas report living in fear of illegal hunters.
Perhaps as peculiar as the protected status of the deer is the
apparent protected status of hunters. The recent draft deer
strategy showed clearly that recreational hunting is not reducing
deer numbers, now at a million and growing exponentially. Yet the
strategy is heavily weighted to giving hunters more chances to
enjoy their sport while doing nothing about the problem.
FOBIFs response to the strategy can be found here.
On Monday 10 December Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests is
having a BBQ at Bronwyn Silvers place in Walmer.
It starts at 6 pm and the address is 1036 Muckleford-Walmer
* food to share, including something for the BBQ if you
* crockery plate, cups, cutlery
* a chair
All FOBIF members and supporters are welcome.
Walmer South Nature Conservation
1) Films about food and why the food movement is
2) GMO potato is dangerous and should be withdrawn, says the
scientist who created it.
3) Australia postpones deregulating new GM and why is the US
military creating extinction technologies?
4) The Monsanto Files: Roundup - is it in your hair? and how to
get it out of your Council.
5) Thank you and goodbye.
|1) Films about food and why the
food movement is unstoppable!
Bill in Parliament to get all children and families off Nauru:
Contact Labor MPs
One of the arguments being pushed by those on the political
right seeking to downplay the Victorian election outcome is that
Australian state governments generally get a second term. A look
over the period since 1990, however, brings up several
exceptions to that rule. Heres my list:
Borbidge (Queensland), Baillieu-Napthine (Victoria), Newman
For the second-term argument to work in downplaying the result,
more is needed. It has to be the case that, having won a second
term, governments mostly fail to get a third. Heres a list
 of instances where two-term governments have been defeated.
Groom-Rundle (Tasmania), Greiner-Fahey (NSW), Kennett
(Victoria), Carnell-Humphries (ACT), Court, Gallop-Carpenter,
Barnett (WA), Martin-Henderson (NT)
Eagle-eyed readers will notice that all of the exceptions in the
first list were conservatives, while only two of the confirming
instances in the second list were Labor.
With a limited data set, its easy to support a wide range of
conclusions. Still if conservative commentators want to use
historical patterns to argue that, having easily won a second term,
Daniel Andrews is on track to lose next time, I think theyre
fn1. This is a
moderately famous Internet meme, coined by Alan Greenspan
fn2. One might arguably add the Goss government in Queensland,
which won the 1995 election, but lost office after a by-election
required by the Court of Disputed Returns.
Sunday, 25 November
Public responses to the VEAC recommendations for the Central
West Investigation Area are due next week [December 10]. A simple
letter is enough, indicating your interest in the area in question,
and your reasons for your view.
The recommendations do not concern the Mount Alexander region,
but they include two important proposals for our immediate northern
and southern neighbours: the proposal for a new national park in
the Wombat Forest, and a Nature Reserve in the Wellsford Forest. We
believe both should be supported.
VEACs draft report can be found
here. A method of making submissions is
A concerted campaign is now under way to attack the proposals.
It contains a number of strange claims. These include the
The recommendations would put an end to camping, horse
riding, motor bike ridingIn fact these activities are
explicitly allowed in most of the proposed parks, under conditions
broadly accepted by the community. Bizarrely, one objection is to
the requirement that vehicles be driven on formed roads. The laws
on this are the same in state forests as they are in parks.
Commercial photography in parks costs $80 an hour.
Actually the fees are the same for parks and state forests. The $80
fee only applies if a ranger is required to be present.
A strange video circulating on the web shows a man walking with
his granddaughter, and informing her that green groups have stopped
us from picking flowers in national parks. The old gentleman doesnt
seem aware that wildflowers have been protected since the
Wildflowers and native plants protection Act of 1930, an act
reasserted by the Bolte Liberal government in 1958. That government
was definitely not a green group.
The gist of these objections to parks is that any restriction on
the activity in question is a violation of our liberty. Theres a
big problem here, never satisfactorily resolved in our culture: how
much limitation should we be prepared to accept on our favoured
activity, for the benefit of the environment and the wider
The main effect of the VEAC proposals would be to reduce
logging, hunting and prospecting. We believe these are good
proposals: you can read a defence of them here.
As a sidelight to FOBIFs
ongoing interest in vegetation clearance on the Pyrenees
Highway, we draw readers attention to a nice item in the
Midland Express [November 20].
Animal shelter managers in Elphinstone lobbied
Vicroads to reduce the speed limit on Pollards road to cut the
number of animal deaths. Vicroads wouldnt come to the party, but
the Mount Alexander Shire put in 70 kph advisory signs and wildlife
crossing signs. Before the signs went up an animal a week would be
presented to the shelter. After: theres been one in 12 months.
Pollards Road: calm down, slow down and
reduce animal deaths.
This is a good news story, reinforcing ideas that should by now
be commonplace: speed kills, not only people, but animals. As weve
reported before, you can reduce your chances of hitting an animal
by up to 50% by reducing your speed in a known hit area from 100kph
to 80kphand that if you did this over 200 kilometres, youd be
adding only two minutes to the journey!
FOBIFs submission to Vicroads on the Pyrenees Highway emphasised
that significant improvements in safety could be achieved by speed
reduction and traffic calming devices like signage and rumble
strips. Vicroads, however, is governed by the logic that says that
a road like Pollards road should have the same speed limit as the
A Deakin University Phd student has claimed that farm dams are a
major contributor to greenhouse gases, according to the Weekly
Times [ 21/11 ].
This is due to the microbes in dams, which release carbon
dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.
But, according to the scientist behind the work, emissions from
dams could be halved with simple changes to farming practices.
The studys lead author, Quinn Ollivier, a PhD candidate in
Deakins Blue Carbon Lab, found Victorias 375,000 farm dams produce
the equivalent amount of greenhouse gas emissions as 385,000
Mr Olliviers study found dam emissions were caused by dissolved
nitrate concentrations, and were significantly higher on livestock
farms, compared to cropping areas.
Well, we never knew that. The good news, however, is that the
problem can be largely fixed by revegetating dam edges, which would
obviously have other environmental benefits.
And while were on the subject of dams, the state government has
proposed putting a brake on farm dams by instituting a reasonable
use limit on them from early next year. The proposal is designed to
prevent distortions on water accessibility which may happen, for
example, if an upstream landholder reduces the amount of water
available to downstream users. The proposal has met with plenty of
As weve explained before, FOBIFs position on this matter starts
with a distinction between genuine farm dams, useful for
agricultural production, and ornamental dams, put in by some rural
users just to have a nice water view. The latter have exploded in
number in recent decades, and have a significant effect on our
waterways. As the
Dja Dja Wurrung joint management plan puts it:
Dams fragment the watercourse theyre built on, preventing
movement of aquatic animals between parts of the stream on either
side of the dam. Dams and channels can decrease gatjin [water]
flows downstream, particularly in low rainfall periods, reducing
streams to disconnected pools, or causing problems associated with
low flows, such as algal outbreaks.
After any state election with a decisive outcome, partisan
analysis shows a predictable pattern. On the losing side, the state
party blames its federal counterpart, while the feds say that the
election was decided on state issues. On the winning side, there is
generally enough credit to go around, with the state party basking
in success, while the federal party (particularly if it is in
opposition) points to the outcome as a message to Canberra.
The recent Victorian election is, I think, rather different.
Thats because, on the conservative side at least, the usual
state-based issues (health, education, roads) were disregarded in
favour of a culture war campaign almost identical to that being run
by the Morrison government at the national level and by the
political right globally. Notable examples were an overtly racist
law and order campaign, a revival of the drug war, and proposals
for publicly funded coal-fired power stations aimed at appealing to
climate science denialists. Guys slogan get back in control could
just as well have been used by Donald Trump, or by the rightwing
advocates of Brexit.
The stunning rejection of Guys campaign gives some hope that
Australian voters will not fall for this. In part, thats because
Labor ran on its
traditional strength at the state level. But the outcome was
very similar to Morrisons drubbing in the Wentworth by-election,
where the state level advantage didnt apply.
Its only one election, but its one of a number, notably
including the recent US midterms, where the supposed irresistible
force of rightwing identity politics has proved to be not so
irresistible after all. Its too early to start cheering, but it now
looks possible that, in a few years time, the whole rightwing
upsurge will prove to have been the final spasm of the losing side
in the culture wars. The question then will be how to build a
better world from the mess we will inherit.
I was going to write a post saying that the resounding victory
of the Andrews government in Victoria reflected the fact that Labor
is the natural party of government at the state level in Australia.
A quick check revealed that Id already written pretty much the same
thing in 2002 (over the fold). Ill add some updates and
qualifications in comments.
Australian Financial Review, 5 December
The latest Labor landslide at the weekend reinforces the great
paradox of Australian politics. Labor is in office, and looking
comfortable in all the States and Territories, but seems doomed to
endless Opposition at the Federal level.
It could be argued that this is just a random fluctuation. After
all, something very close to the opposite configuration occurred
during the last year of the Keating government.
Then there is the general tendency of Australians to distrust
overly powerful governments, reflected in the strength of minor
parties in the Senate. A Liberal government at the federal level is
therefore good for Labor at the state level, and vice versa.
There is something in this, but not enough. Labor now appears to
be the natural party of government in all the states, with the
exception of the Northern Territory and perhaps WA, and even there,
the old mould of non-Labor dominance has been broken.
In the past fifteen to twenty years, Labor has rarely lost a
state election, except when it has displayed high levels of
incompetence, arrogance or both. Even in the wake of fiascos like
the Victorian and South Australian bank failures, the Liberals have
struggled to gain a second term, and have never managed a third. By
contrast, all the Labor governments on the eastern seaboard have
won re-election by landslide margins, and all look set for extended
periods in office.
At the Federal level, John Howards current dominance of the
political stage has led many observers to overlook the fragility of
his hold on power. The government scraped back in 1998 with a
minority of the two-party preferred vote, and appeared doomed to
defeat early in 2001. Only the combination of international crisis,
astute demagoguery and a hopelessly lame opposition strategy saved
them, and even then the win was far from crushing. As recently as
August, the government trailed Labor (on a two-party basis) in
In an election fought solely on domestic issues, the government
would probably lose, despite relatively good economic performance
and the absence of an inspiring alternative. Since state elections
are always fought on domestic issues, Labor has a huge headstart at
the state level. Its only potential weak point is law and order,
but the current crop of Labor leaders have proved entirely capable
Saturday, 24 November
As the French government increases taxes on petrol and diesel to
encourage people to switch to cleaner transport, as if they can
afford to just dump the cars they now own to buy something really
expensive.. this is what collapse looks like, no doubt about
it. And its spreading to Belgium
Friday, 23 November
While the IEA got a lot of coverage for its World Energy
Outlook 2018 (WEO 18), there might be a little snippet that got way
On page 159 of its Outlook, accessible only behind a
payment barrier, the following graph can be found:
It is clear to see that Peak Oil will be hit well before 2020,
while demand keeps on rising, unless the worlds Oil Majors and
State Owned Oil Companies would massively invest in new
exploration, according to the IEA.
However, the Oil Majors did already heavily spend on new oil
exploration in the years after 2000, where a fossil fuel hype with
an accompanying coal boom lead up to an oil price of over $150 in
2008. While this oil price proved unsustainable for a crashing
world economy, this oil exploration boom lead to very little new
findings in the big scheme of things:
Yet again, Refugee eX-detainees are thrown
under the bus by so-called progressive political campaigners during
the Victorian State election According to the election scorecard
formulated by Colour
Code, an outfit that is run under the umbrella of GetUp and claims to independently
represent people of colour, the Australian Labor state government
and the Greens are given a positive score for Commitment
to multiculturalism, equality and inclusionand saying no to attacks to communities because of
race, religion or language.
Here are questions we have for GetUp and Colour Code on the
above points in their Victorian state election
- How does this match with racial profiling and
abuse of our people by Victoria Police under Daniel Andrews Labor
- How does this match with the Andrews State
Labor government, maintaining an
MOU with Victoria Police and Peter Duttons
Australian Border Force. The Australian Border Force is a
paramilitary wing of the Department of Immigration, originally
formed by the current Australian Prime Minister and member for
Cronulla, Scott Morrison. What have the Greens or Labor done to
cancel this MOU?
- Are you giving the Australian Labor
Party a positive score on these points for starting mandatory
detention, resulting in death, torture and rape of detainees and
ex-detainees or giving Greens and the Australian Labor Party a
positive score for supporting mandatory detention?
- Are you saying that the Australian Labor
Parties support for the policy of pushing refugees arriving by boat
back into the ocean is not an attack on communities because of race, religion or
language and proves a Commitment to multiculturalism, equality and
We would also like to note that a similar
organisation called Democracy in Colour has given the Australian
Labor Party and the Greens in Victoria a positive tick
Thursday, 22 November
By Bridget Roberts with Sarah Berry
Each year CMVic budgets for a day when all the workers, paid and
unpaid, are invited to get together and do something as a team.
This year we gathered at the Body Voice Centre in Footscray and had
an introduction to TaKeTiNa. Ever heard of it? I hadnt. TaKeTiNa
(the name translates as 1-2-3-4) is a worldwide practice of
teaching rhythm and learning from the teaching of rhythm that draws
on multiple traditions: it appears simple, but it is both mentally
and physically challenging. It is also a lot of fun!
Okay, so we sat in a circle and learned a basic body and voice
rhythm. Were all musicians of one stripe or another, I thought, so
what will this add to what, for us, is business as usual relaxing
into a groove, listening to each other, treating variations kindly,
and so on?
Then the leader (Tania Bosak) made things harder and
harder, so that we made mistakes, sometimes having to drop out and
recover before joining back in. At times we were all gently taken
back to a basic groove for a while, before heading off on another
challenge. This went on for two and a half hours, with short rests
and one short reflective conversation. Looking back at the morning
over a shared lunch, the group talked about the experience of
confusion or frustration arising from the desire to get it right on
the one hand, through to letting go and a sense of flow on the
other; of being able to return to our centre when confused; of
sometimes finding more space in the mind.
It was important to be challenged and sometimes to fail in this
safe space. Without the right level of challenge there couldnt be
that sense of delight in finding the flow.
There were lessons too about the distinct processes of learning
and performing. For instance, even a business as usual step-clap
and call-and-response sequence hides many levels of complexity;
levels that can be broken down into the smallest learning blocks
and held up for examination and experimentation. At the same time,
while we work in a circle becoming the audience for one another we
are confronted with our own changing levels of self-awareness and
group-awareness. For instance, of trouble-spots, of how we judge
these moments, and of how we can persist through these moments and
re-join the flow.
As leaders, in music or elsewhere, it was good to be reminded of
how our group members feel when we lead them into new experiences.
How they need us to challenge them but also walk alongside them
with good humour. And how its okay to give participants permission
to step out of the practice if theyre overwhelmed, and to shake it
all out before coming back in.
Wednesday, 21 November
If youd like to know more about our highly popular Art
Pathways course before booking in for next year, bring your
questions along to this information session. Chat with the tutors
and past students, find out why it books out so fast! To register
interest, please email email@example.com
Date: Thursday 29th, November
Time: 6pm -7pm Location: 30
Templeton St, Castlemaine.
The post Art Pathways Information Night appeared first on
Its been pouring rain here in the last 24 hours, and the
quagmire is making it rather difficult to do much around the place,
especially grass cutting, which I have been doing almost non stop
for two weeks now. I need a day off, and so Im writing
The trip down in Glendas Little Suzi had me thinking about just
how much cars have improved since I was a boy. My first memory of
any car in the family was when my father got a job as a rep selling
something or other, and his company car was a Renault 4CV. I just
cannot imagine anyone today being given anything remotely as small
as that as a company car!
I remember my dad raving about how good this car was
with petrol and how enthusiastically he used to drive it around,
even rolling it on its side once on icy roads in Haute
Savoie.. it was so light, he and his companion simply lifted
it back on its wheels and drove off, with hardly any damage. No one
got hurt either, even though seat belts hadnt even been thought of
back in ~1957, let alone air bags..
To cut to the chase, when I was 16, my grandmother bought me one
of these cars I was too young to even get a learners permit, but
back then you could get away with murder!
It cost the grand sum of $90. I learned to drive in this car,
covering untold miles before eventually getting my licence.
My only memories of this little car was just how crude it was.
Three speed gearbox, no heater, terrible handli...
It was a cortege of kindness, respect and the utmost of love
that accompanied Hip Hop Bob to her final resting place amongst the
trees and piggy friends she loved so much in Piggy Paradise. As the
cows solemnly watched on by the fenceline where they had gathered,
Tippi let out several long, low and heart-wrenching moos as the
tractor set to work to inter the body of our friend.
With Hip Hops presence still with us, as it always will be, we
are struggling to come to terms with the injustice of the last 24
hours. Rallying beyond belief against the spinal condition that had
robbed this most resilient pig of the use of her back legs (but not
of her or our determination to get her back on her feet), Hip Hop
daily inspired us with reasons for hope. Despite the occasional
hiccup along the way, she had reached the point we felt that
walking unaided was but a forthright trotter-step away. And then,
over the last 24 hours, the curve balls came and came, as
veterinary diagnostics struggled to find their sinister source. Yet
one thing became soul-destroyingly clearthe prognosis was not good
and all we could do was grant our sweet friend the kindest of
mercies. As tears well in our eyes and a lump in our throat makes
swallowing nigh impossible, we revisit the hauntingly beautiful
image as Kyle and Hip Hop shared that final moment. The look of
love between the two, love in its purest of forms, the connection,
the knowing, the heartache and finally the acceptance of what was
to follow. Oh, how Kyle loved that little pig, and witnessing the
two together, it was so poignantly clear that love was reciprocated
The narrative of Hip Hop Bobs life was always one laced with
kindness, love and cool things to do. Even...
Tuesday, 20 November
Stuart Wilde audio snippet from Trance States
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site youre visiting, and may come from a number of ad
The Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club do not endorse any of the
companies or products advertised at the bottom of any of our blogs
that you receive by email, nor do we receive any financial
benefit. We are investigated our options to return to an
ad-free website and blog service as soon as possible.
As a follow-on from the November 2018 presentation by Deanna
Marshall (Trust for Nature), Zoos Victoria has just released this
video of some captive-born Plains-Wanderer chicks. Enjoy!
Victoria is two weeks out from an election and finally somebody
is talking revenue policy. The Liberals have launched a new
website, in ominous shades of red and black, detailing the
governments taxation agenda. The website reveals Labors shocking
new taxes (9) and their dastardly agenda to increase taxes. While
the site is designed to 
Monday, 19 November
Photography is about a stillness - developing a relationship
with the world around us
Vicroads proposed tree removal works on the Pyrenees Highway
between Green Gully and Newstead have been put on hold pending
advice from the Federal Department of the Environment [DEH] on the
impact these removals might have on the health of migrating Swift
Readers will remember that
FOBIF has argued that removal of these trees, some of
significant size, is both harmful for the amenity of the road and
unnecessary for safety. We have argued that a reduction in speed
limits and other measures would be a more effective policy, given
that this is a winding stretch of road, probably unsuitable for
Vicroads response to this has been to point out that a car
crashing into a tree at 80 is as fatal as a crash at 90 or 100which
seems to be ignoring that fact that the lower speed would most
likely remove the probability of a crash in the first place.
Vicroads Annual Report for 2016-7, noting a 15% increase
in road fatalities in that year, points out that The most
common crash types were run-offroad on high-speed country roads and
intersection crashes in metropolitan Melbourne. In spite of
numerous TAC campaigns like speed kills, and wipe off 5, it seems
to us that Vicroads is more concerned to improve traffic flow than
to influence drivers to drive to conditions. In a weird way,
Vicroads and the Transport Accident Commission seem to be at
Vicroads will be holding more consultations in the local area
before the works begin.
Patrick Kavanagh, Geoff Park and Bronwyn Silver are holding a
photographic exhibition at the Newstead Railway Arts Hub starting
on Saturday December 2018.
One of the exhibition photos by Patrick
Kavanagh. Lipotriches Bee with Black-anther Flax-lily.
The expression taking photographs is a curious and revealing
usage. In English, we dont make photographs, we take them. When
photographing nature wildlife, plants, landscapes it can seem that
the photographer captures a beauty already there, taking something
that belongs to the subject, but without diminishing the
Bronwyn Silver, Geoff Park and Patrick Kavanagh roam the
goldfields of Central Victoria, stealing images of the beauty they
find. Birds, mammals, plants. Not even mosses and lichens are safe
from their pilfering ways!
While the targets of their larceny are unaffected by the
process, these thieves have been profoundly altered by the images
theyve stolen from the wild, seeing more deeply into the wonders of
the natural environment. They are happy to share their bounty at
Newstead Arts Hub this December.
Newstead Railway Arts Hub, 8a Tivey Street, Newstead
Dates: Starts 1 December 2018, 10am 4pm
Opening: 2 December 11 am, refreshments provided, everyone
Open 10am 4pm on the first four weekends in December: 1st &
2nd, 8th & 9th, 15th & 16th, 22nd &
Contact Bronwyn Silver for more details, 0448751111
And a reminder that the FOBIF Creatures
photo exhibition is on at TOGS till 29 November.
Sunday, 18 November
Sunday 18th Nov, 9.30pm 11.10pm, East Street Sheds
with Dr Mark Halloran
Or listen on iTunes, Spotify or Stitcher
Professor Bain Attwood has published
extensively on the history of colonialism and indigenous
history. His latest book, The Good Country (Monash University
Publishing): eschews the generalisations of national and colonial
history to provide a finely grained local history of the Dja Dja
Wurrung people of central Victoria.
In this episode we discuss in detail the protectorate system
that was set up in Victoria in an attempt to protect the Aboriginal
people from the early settlers and in particular the settlement at
Franklinford, near Daylesford in central Victoria, from which many
descendants of the Dja Dja Wurrung can trace their ancestry. At the
time the Franklinford protectorate was described as a successful
Like what you hear? Listen to all of the Deep Trouble interviews weve run to date.
Captain- defn: A leader. One in command.
And commanding our attention recently was a handsome Wiltshire
Horn wether we have christened The Captain. Having arrived at our
sanctuary after experiencing an horrific predator attack, The
Captain simultaneously reminds us of all that is good in the human
heart and all that is wanting in our relationship with the animals
we farm for food and fibre.
Suffering severe wounds which see the muscle of his forelimb
completely exposed and at risk of infection, The Captains condition
upon his arrival at our sanctuary caused us to audibly gasp. Whilst
The Captain was fortunate to eventually cross paths with a kind
heart who brought him into our care, it was evident his injury was
not recent but one that had been present for some time. Exactly how
someone could allow a living, feeling being to endure such pain was
beyond us. Charismatic and welcoming of our attention, our hearts
sank even further when we realised The Captain was trusting of
mankind, meaning he had most likely held a close relationship with
a human in his past. Somehow this made the failure to meet his
basic needs all the more upsetting.
However, it is not judgement of The Captains former carer, for
we arent to know his or her unique circumstances, but a reflection
upon our entire species relationship with those we label farmed
animals. In fact, The Captain is the third sheep in as many weeks
to enter our care suffering insufficiently-treated injuries
resulting from a predator attack.
That our countrys recently-endorsed Standards and Guidelines for
Sheep, to eventually be adopted by all states and territories,
still allows for the performance of flesh and tail removal
procedures as well as castra...
Saturday, 17 November
Saturday 17th Nov, 9.30pm 11.00pm, East Street Sheds
Saturday 17th Nov, 6.00pm 7.10pm, East Street Sheds
Saturday 17th Nov, 5.30pm 6.00pm, East Street Sheds
Saturday 17th Nov, 5.00pm 6.10pm, The Convent Gallery
Friday, 16 November
Friday 16th Nov, 7.30pm 8.10pm, Daylesford Town Hall
Friday 16th Nov, 5.00pm 6.10pm, The Convent Gallery
2014-2018 has seen significant public transport investment under
Labor, and they have delivered on their major promises. But as
Melbourne continues to grow, and demand for regional travel
increases, the challenge ahead is to build a public transport
network not only copes with patronage growth, but also provides
usable services into areas which currently dont have them.
So how do the parties rank?
1. Greens in some ways the Greens have the
least ambitious transport plan. But its full of affordable,
commonsense policies. They are the only party to commit to the
Metro 2 tunnel, and to frequency upgrades across the train, tram
and bus networks essential for making the public transport network
vastly more usable in the short term. Accelerating the rollout of
low-floor trams and implementing on-road priority, extending metro
services to outer suburbs with high capacity signalling are also
important initiatives. Their policy of free public transport for
students is misguided, but The Greens rightly oppose the major road
projects proposed by the other parties, recognising that they will
simply generate more traffic.
2. Labor some ambitious plans in starting the
huge Suburban Rail Loop project, alongside continuing the
successful Level Crossing Removal Program, and extensive upgrades
planned elsewhere around the metro and regional rail networks. They
lose points for construction of three major tollways/freeways, a
lack of progress on bus and tram upgrades, and for lagging on the
rollout of more frequent all-day metro train services essential for
a big city such as Melbourne.
3. Coalition theyve backed away from what is
probably their best policy, of metro trains every 10 minutes all
day, leaving commitments to build three major tollways plus other
freeways, and the messy grade separation of road intersections.
More positive is commitments to extend metro trains to Clyde and
Baxter. Their regional high speed rail plan is ambitious, but would
only speed up trains moderately, and there are doubts over whether
it could really be delivered in the timeframes promised.
For more details, including a summary of minor parties,
read the full report (PDF)
Keep watching www.ptua.org.au/election2018
Thursday, 15 November
Thursday 15th Nov, 9.30pm 11.00pm, East Street Sheds
Thursday 15th Nov, 7.30pm 8.40pm, Daylesford Town Hall
Thursday 15th Nov, 6.00pm 7.10pm, East Street Sheds
Thursday 15th Nov, 5.30pm 6.00pm, East Street Sheds
Thursday 15th Nov, 5.00pm 6.10pm, The Convent Gallery
We are slowly working towards getting our signage needs sorted
at the garden. The Give Us A Sign project, funded by Mount
Alexander Shire Community Grants aims to improve the
experience for members and non members alike when they visit.
Thanks to the generosity of Richard Flavell at Sandleford, we now
have durable stainless steel
Continue reading Our numbers
Wednesday, 14 November
Wednesday 14th Nov, 9.45pm 11.15pm, East Street Sheds
Wednesday 14th Nov, 5.00pm 6.10pm, The Convent Gallery
Ive just listened to his podcast, and its a must
listen item you will not be disappointed!
Did you know energy is free, and Peak Oil is not dead?
That comes from a French expert in technology, energy, and climate,
Jean-Marc Jancovici. Jean-Marc co-founded Carbone
4 consultancy, and The Shift Project. He advises, writes books, and
lectures mostly in French, but his ideas resonate with American
writers like Richard Heinberg.
We have a special treat for you this week: the world premiere of
an English language in-depth radio interview with Jean-Marc Jancovici. Jean-Marc is well known in Europe and
beyond. He is a Professor, an author of several
books, the latest being Sleep quiet until 2100, and other
misunderstandings about climate and energy (French only,
translation pending?). Jancovici is also a member of...
Tuesday, 13 November
Whats worse than when population growth puts strain on our
When road traffic grows even faster than population.
But that was the reality in Melbourne for nearly four
No matter how much or how little Melbourne grows, well need to
be smarter in future.
Read the study:
Stories of Growth Population, Transport and Melbournes Future
(November 2018) PDF, 184 Kb
with Dr Mark Halloran
Or listen on iTunes, Spotify or Stitcher
In this episode we are in conversation with biologist Dr
Tim Errington, Director of Metascience for the Center for
Open Science (COS), which is dedicated to the replication of
scientific research. First we discuss the Reproducibility Project:
Psychology, which found that of the 97% of significant results
published in high-ranking psychological science journals only 36%
of the replications were significant. We discuss some of the
post-hoc explanations provided by researchers to explain this
failure of replication, as well as the funding incentive system
within science which discourages reproduction of research. We
follow on from this by discussing the Reproducibility Project:
Cancer Biology, which aimed to reproduce medical studies that were
published in top-tier journals such as Nature, Science and Cell. So
far, 3 of the 5 studies they have attempted to reproduce had
strikingly different results from the originals. We discuss this in
terms of the extremely high failure rate of phase 2 clinical
trials, and how these drugs may not make it into human trials if
the pre-clinical trials were more statistically and
methodologically robust. We also talk about the general statistical
illiteracy in the field as well as the extreme pressure to find
positive results in science which is dominated by a culture of
publish or perish.
Like what you hear? Listen to all of the Deep Trouble interviews weve run to date.
About a month ago, I was woken up at the crack of dawn
by my mobile phone ringing. this cant be good news I figured. It
was my darling wife who informed me I had to be at Hobart airport
by mid-day, shed booked me on a flight to Brisbane that was
scheduled to leave at 1PM. her mother, she informed me, was
probably going to die that day, or some time very soon, and I was
needed for moral support, among other things.
Obviously, I staggered out of bed, packed my bags, forced
breakfast down, and cleaned up my mess at the building site.
I had originally been booked a week or more later to attend a
wedding, and everything was now up in the air literally as I sat in
one of those amazing aluminium tubes that can fly you thousands of
kilometres in the blink of an eye lid, thanks to those
irreplaceable fossil fuels..
It was warm and sunny when I left Tassie, and pouring rain and
cold when I arived in Brisbane. I had planned for this, carrying a
raincoat on board. My son picked me up in Brisbane and drove me
through peak hour traffic to Caloundra where my mother in law
was going to spend her last three days before calmly
passing away, unconscious, I think. It was a lot like turning the
ignition off a very old and tired motorcar that had simply reached
the end of the road..
At 94, darling old Betty, who has been the kindest and most
generous mother in law one could have wished...
Free flow. A metaphysical understanding of giving and
Monday, 12 November
How we manage fire is an important conversation for rural and
bush communities. What can we learn from how Aboriginal people used
fire? Are those techniques applicable today in local landscapes
that have changed a lot over the last 200 years?
Join the Newstead community for two events this November:
Returning cultural burning Djandak Wi to
Thursday 29 November 7.30pm.
Newstead Community Centre (9 Lyons Street, Newstead). All welcome,
no booking required.
Reviving Indigenous Burning Practices in a Changed
Landscape: Community Search Conference
November 9am-5pm. Newstead Community Centre (9 Lyons Street,
Full details can be found on the
Talking Fire website.
Talking Fire is a community initiative designed
to create different kinds of community conversations about fire.
Supported by the Mount Alexander Shire Council Community Grants
Friday, 09 November
Friday 9th Nov, 9.00pm 11.00pm, The Bridge Hotel Castlemaine