Wrangle Dangle

A bit of sunshine makes all the different on the back of a long, cold winter which it has been. While I know it’s been expensive and crowded, I’ve still been envious of friends who’ve managed to venture to Europe and other places to enjoy some warmth over these past few months. My weekends have been busy and week days even busier so that’s been one upside to this cold season – I haven’t really had time to dwell on it.

ANZSOG’s new Dean and CEO was announced last week and the current Victorian Public Sector Commissioner Adam Fennessy starts in October so it will be the end of an era with Professor Ken Smith AO, who my team reports to, stepping down. Higher education as a sector continues to go through seismic shifts and structural change at this time like many industries and I do wonder where it will all end up. I have experienced a lot of change this year and while I’m riding the wave, I am looking forward to some time to refresh, recharge and reflect at the end of the year. There are still a number of very busy months ahead and possibly some travel in store for me so no rest for the wicked.

I’ve felt very grateful to have been able to spend time with friends and family these past two weekends including a birthday celebration with my bestie Jules at Lollo at W Hotel last Saturday night. It’s an Adam D’Sylva restaurant with an Italian/Indian-inspired menu for which we shared a number of different platters amongst four of us. It made for a very glamorous dining destination and has an intimate feel with its mood lighting and clever dimmer lamps on every table.

Kingfish starter – Lollo restaurant

Last Sunday night was a bit more grungy – Mr Rosanna and I went and saw our musician friend (and producer) Marcel Borrack and his band perform a set from his latest, and very funky, instrumental album Telecaster Diaries at The Merri Creek Tavern in Northcote down the Westgarth Theatre end of High Street. Very cool and a lot of fun at an extremely civilised early evening hour, which meant we had time afterwards to grab some pizza at Primo across the road.

While I’ve not yet visited the Melbourne Music Vault at the Arts Centre, I noticed there is a Melbourne Music Bus Tour you can do from October to December with Melbourne music identity Bruce Milne and music journalist Mary Mihelakos as part of Always Live. There are some big acts touring Australia later this year including American singer Leon Bridges (who we saw perform pre-COVID at The Corner Hotel) and Australian band Rufus Du Sol who I think would be massive at clubs and music festivals.

Besides Marcel Borrack, I’ve been enjoying listening to local band The Meltdown‘s new album, and new single with Emma Donovan ‘It’s a long road’, which indeed it has been these past few months and years.

Finally, with the new season almost upon us, I’m also loving Nancybird’s latest clothing range ‘River’ (first and second images above) inspired by nature and the landscape around us. When things get tough, there is always that and I feel very blessed to be living in our small green patch of the world. Have a great week and hello Spring!



It’s cold in Melbourne and about to get even cooler over the next fortnight – traditionally the two coldest weeks of the year. I went running at dusk last Sunday in the rain and wished I had windscreen wipers for my eyes – I did manage not to slip in the mud. It is dark but there are lots of activities taking place celebrating the light.

Lightscape is on at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne until 7 August saluting light, nature and wonder, while the Docklands Firelight Festival finishes tonight. You can also head indoors to enjoy Light: Works from Tate’s Collection at ACMI in the city or Bruce Munro: From Sunrise Rd at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen, the latter of who brought the spectacular Field of Light Uluru light installation to the Northern Territory in 2016. Light festivals are apparently now a thing if you’ve read this article in Traveller.

The Leaps and Bounds Music Festival is currently on and it’s exciting too to hear about new Melbourne music festival Always Live, which is modelling itself on the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. If you like the great indoors, Open House Melbourne starts at the end of this month and I was glad to hear the Nicholas Building is close to being sold under a unique social enterprise model that will allow its creative community to stay. Interesting too that a Robin Boyd house in Warrandyte was also ‘whisked off the market’ last month by one lucky buyer.

It’s been busy at work with end of financial year, with my team launching a re-vamped website (and all the work leading up to it) and doing a bit of professional development. I watched a fascinating presentation on culture, brand and COVID-19 by a speaker from Kantar Public and while perhaps not unexpected, the themes of safety, belonging and self-esteem, have been prevalent and people’s behavioural responses to them over this time.

Also interesting has been census data showing how diverse we have become as a nation, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney. It was also great to see Melbourne re-joining the top 10 most liveable cities list – jointly tying with Japanese city Osaka and being crowned Australia’s most liveable city. While we continue to live with COVID and the numbers are still very high, I’m very grateful to be living with relative freedom this third winter of the pandemic. If anything, I think it’s taught us not to take the simple things for granted ever again.