Parkrun in the Warringal Parklands in Heidelberg launched last Saturday. The free weekly 5km timed run is held at 8am in various locations across the country and a number of people I know regularly volunteer and run at parkrun events including a kinder mum who has now run a couple of marathons.
Speaking of volunteers, nominations are now open for Banyule’s Volunteer Awards and as someone who works in the giving space; it’s hard to put a value on the time and talent given back to the community through the work of volunteers. I’ve been caught up the past couple of weeks helping my colleagues in Marketing recruit a number of people for the third iteration of La Trobe University’s branding campaign and a lot of the work comes down to building relationships and goodwill.
It’s been lovely with daylight savings doing more in the evenings and Mr Rosanna and I had dinner last week with the friends we holidayed in Greece with at Spanish restaurant Chato in Thornbury. It was buzzing in that particular section of High Street and we got dessert later from Icecream Social further down the street near the very cool looking and sounding pizza and bar Wolf and Swill, which was pumping out the music and feel good vibes.
Locally, The Pioneer Cafe in Rosanna is holding a Latin Asian fusion dinner (BYO drinks) on Saturday 29 March and the Alphington Farmers Market is launching its food and booze twilight events on three Thursday nights in March. As a non-drinker, I think you can definitely have a good time without alcohol and it’s interesting to see more venues and retailers now catering to customers who don’t drink and those who want more vegetarian and vegan options food-wise.
It’s been glorious today weather-wise and Mr R and I had a quick sticky at 54 Lucerne Crescent in Alphington (pictures further above) – the heritage-listed former home of Archibald Prize-winning artist W.B. McInnes located in a beautiful spot down near the river. The Desbrowe-Annear designed Arts and Crafts house itself is a renovator’s dream if you have a builder in your family as well as an artistic eye – without being updated, the house is full of character and charm – but in the right hands, it could be even more amazing. The mind boggles…
The La Trobe University Distinguished Alumni Awards were held on Monday evening and it was a long day and night for me. They are an annual event which were held in the city at Metropolis Events at Southgate which offered glittering night-time views of Melbourne and it was spectacular to get there late afternoon where we could see Arbory Afloat on the Yarra opposite us.
I got to mingle at the start of the evening talking to a number of high profile people I’d previously worked with when I managed the Bold Thinking Series including Virginia Trioli (who was one of the winners) and her partner Russell Skelton, Tony Walker, Geoff Walsh and Professor Jenny Graves AO plus a number of other leading academics and industry professionals with ties to La Trobe. Prior to the Awards, guests were also treated to a surprise performance by the Australian Ballet School – one of the University’s partners.
Writer and academic Dr (now Professor) Clare Wright was MC with Chancellor John Brumby AO making presentations along with Vice-Chancellor John Dewar to the stellar lineup of winners, which included Young Achiever Awards to Melbourne AFLW player Daisy Pearce and surgical resident Dr Batool Albatat; rural women’s pioneer Alana Johnson, epidemiologist Dr John Hopper AM, SecondBite co-founder Simone Carson AM and ABC Melbourne Mornings host Virginia Trioli completing the field.
My wider team and La Trobe staff were given the beautiful floral table decorations at the end of the night and so I have stopped to smell the roses and enjoy the beauty of life this week, knowing that lift itself is a gift.
If the weather holds, the Malahang Festival is also on this Sunday in Heidelberg West as well as the Public Run Day at the Box Hill Miniature Railway. Strange to think our Spring weather has been so mild this year and my thoughts have been with our NSW neighbours up north battling those horrific bushfires this week. Stay cool…
I was in the city for training on Friday (note to self: remember not to let your Myki card go into negative) getting there just on time only because I’d allowed enough time to catch the earlier train, which was the smart move as twice now I’ve been caught out either due to the just on time train being cancelled or in my case on Friday, having an invalid Myki card and needing to top up thus missing the earlier train. Aargh! At least I got there early enough to (just) get myself a coffee…
La Trobe University actually allowed staff and students to attend the global climate strike on Friday given sustainability feeds into our cultural qualities: connected, innovative, accountable and care – all of which are included in our 2018 – 2022 Strategic Plan. Interesting too in that one of the Bold Thinking Series ideas which we never progressed but had a meeting with academic Lawrie Zion about (who wrote The Weather Obsession) was how people will believe meteorologists (scientists) when they talk about the weather but not when they talk about climate change. It never got up but is food for thought.
I had meant to post earlier today as the Alphington Farmers Market (where you can find the La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary) was on from 9am until 1pm in Wingrove Street Alphington (where you’ll also find relatively new Greek cake shop Nikos Fairfield) and the Melbourne Farmers Market had also allowed its staff to attend the climate strike given this year’s farm production is forecast to be at its lowest in four years with drought a serious contributing factor.
I’ve been reminded of cakes and sweets as one of my Italian work colleagues has let me know about the cannoli carts available for hire from That’s Amore Cheese in Thomastown and the opening of the Pascoe Vale outpost of Augustus Gelatery. I think cannoli and mini gelati both make great wedding and other party desserts. A reminder too that the Italian Film Festival is currently on at Palace Cinemas until 16 October.
Finally, I got to check out Longridge Camp (photos above and below) in Warrandyte today as per my previous post on local/weekend camping and it is definitely a hidden secret in Melbourne’s north-east set amongst the rolling hills off a dirt road (and across the river from the other hidden secret that is the Laughing Waters swimming hole) which can be hired for exclusive use for around $175 per night ie. no other campers onsite! There’s a BBQ, toilet and shower facilities and fire wood is also supplied but it is unpowered. If you’re not wanting to pitch a tent you can also hire a campervan for around $110 so it makes for a great introduction to first time campers and groups of up to 40 people who want their own space. It is a nature lover’s paradise and in light of the climate strike, I’ll leave you with the famous American Indian quote to ponder on.
When the last tree is cut, the last fish is caught, and the last river is polluted; when to breathe the air is sickening, you will realise, too late, that wealth is not in bank accounts and that you can’t eat money.
Wild foxes lives in the local area and I’ve seen a number at dusk and late night when driving around. However, I’d never seen one during the day up until a few weeks ago which we caught on camera (below). Our neighbours keep free-range chickens and while it’s a lovely idea, when you don’t live on a farm with cattle dogs and other animals to keep predators at bay, they can attract rats, mice, snakes and yes, a pretty hungry looking fox in our case.
Mr Fox waited until our dog was inside and then leapt over another neighbour’s fence before making its way across our back yard then scaling the fence to next door in a blink of an eye. My youngest caught sight of its big bushy tail and I only got there just in time, I think, to bring one lucky chicken to the safety of its coop at around 10am in the morning!
I’ve also been doing online grocery shopping for a while now given I’m so time poor and just wanted to mention Your Grocer who have taken over from Aussie Farmers Direct. I gave them a trial not so long ago and while it’s a bit more pricey – the quality is higher than your average supermarket plus it’s all sourced locally. They also provide food in fruit and vegetable cardboard boxes and transportable branded Your Grocer ‘eskies’ which are returned the following week so a lot nicer and more sustainable than plastic bags. I’m starting to get hungry…
It’s been an interesting election weekend – a lot of people voted early so it was pretty subdued at the local primary school compared with previous elections. I wonder if it reflects the state of the Australian psyche regarding all things political and I wonder too if Bob Hawke’s passing may clinch the deal for the Labor party.
I attended my first graduation ceremony at La Trobe University during the week – something I’d not previously done despite working at the University for three years now. While Olivia Newton-John received her honorary doctorate last year, this year’s recipient was Kon Karapanagiotidis (above) from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, twice a La Trobe alumnus, whom I was lucky enough to work with in 2017 for the Bold Thinking Series lecture on Social Cohesion in the Goulburn Valley held in Shepparton. My colleagues and I said a short hello to him before official proceedings and have been very proud to call him one of our own.
So while I had seen him previously speak in a public forum, his keynote speech to students was a rousing and impassioned one, if not a little evangelical in nature, where he asked graduands “what are you going to do with your power and your privilege?”. You can watch the full speech here. Kon had also brought his mum with him who was sitting in the row behind me and his speech was also very moving with him tearing up while talking about his parents’ sacrifices in his early days as the child of immigrants who could not speak the language but had a great love of this country. He spoke of love, of hope, of culture and community and the things that bind us together as people and his message regarding the fact that your integrity and your values are things that no-one can take away from you regardless of your circumstances.
On another note, I did want to mention that the next Bold Thinking Series lecture is on Can dogs heal hearts and minds? and there will be two therapy dogs present at the event being held at the State Library Theatrette on 13 June. I read with interest about a recent National Australia Bank study that found that owning a dog, cat or other animal was an overwhelming factor for improving our sense of satisfaction, life worth and happiness as the top influence adding to our wellbeing as recorded by economists.
Also on tomorrow is World Bee Day Celebration at the Alphington Farmer’s Market from 9am – 1pm and I must admit I’m always happy to see the bees happily buzzing around in my backyard which are one of the signs of healthy local ecology and environment. If you are a fan of bees, you might also love the handmade necklaces by UK designer Alex Monroe (above) available locally from The Fairfax Store. My current boss, who is British, has one in rose gold and it’s a lovely symbol to have around your neck!