Monday, January 29, 2018

Visiting Geelong

Just thought I'd add a few words and some photos from the week I spent in Geelong with Work attending the an indigenous ministry conference.

The highlight of the conference was getting opportunity to listen to the Key Note Speaker Mr Harley Eagle. Harley is an expert on trauma experienced by First Nations people. A very caring and understanding man I wish I'd been able to attend every session but I had some other responsibilities during some of his talk. Here's a brief clip of Harley playing flute. 

Sorry this post isn't about what I was officially there to do, I'll have to skip that commentary. 
Now back to me talking about my own simple life.

I was fortunate to be visiting Geelong for work, accompanying a group of people to a conference, but there wasn't a great deal of actual work involved. My role was driver, gofer, carer and administrative fixit boy. 

Being a relatively small group and due to the fact that the organizers had taken responsibility for basic services the workload was ligher than usual although as usual I was required to be on call 24/7 so there wasn't much free time. I attended the meetings and assisted people with personal needs that weren't covered by the organizers but thankfully meals, agenda, minutes, video and camera duties were all taken care of. 

Geelong Grammar - By appearances it really is all that!
The venue was Geelong Grammar! Being a public school boy I had never actually seen a school like this. Fair Dinkum! It's like something out of a movie about the British aristocracy in the 19th century! The school was surrounded by immaculately cared for gardens and perfectly trimmed hedges! The sports oval was covered in a 1cm high flush of perfect green turf that springs back when you step on it... (Oops I wasn't supposed to step on the grass).

Being school holidays this was the time for maintenance at the school, a huge team of people were busy trimming bushes, polishing windows and applying the annual coat of paint to the sports pavilion. Yes that's right, they paint everything once a year!  

Dining Hall

When I first entered the dining hall I thought I was in Hogwarts!

The Grammar is located in Corio, before you get into Geelong in a space between the heavily industrialized North Shore and the wetlands on Hovell's Creek.

Approaching the school you might think you're headed to a wasteland but if you go for a short walk toward the coast you can find a great little trail that follows Hovell's creek past Lime Burner's Lagoon and some fairly under appreciated wetlands.

Romulus - Where I left him

Lime Burner's Lagoon Jetty

My busy schedule for the week didn't allow much exploring but I managed to bring my bike (Romulus) down from Melbourne so cycled the coastal trail before breakfast and after dinner each day. The weather varied from quite cool to very bloody hot (43C) 
Romulus beside Hovell's creek trail sign. (with bullet hole)

A brief break allowed me time to visit an old work friend who brought me to his home which is nestled in a quiet little corner of North Shore. He'd moved there with his partner to participate in a community development program are Norlane called Urban Seed. Apparently the program has morphed a little since its inception. Funding avenues may have changed but at it's core, I am told, is a decent group of people who are committed to sustaining a vibrant and caring community. Norlane is in a part of Victoria that has experienced decades of economic hardship. 

I enjoyed visiting North Shore. At first glance it doesn't look like much, just a few streets of old houses caught between the refinery and various other dockside industries. In fact it was quite a nice place, a quiet corner close to the sea, and not too far from town. 

In the shadow of what can appear to be a crumbling industrialized wasteland, are little pockets and sanctuaries that give hope and allow life to flourish. There was quite a lot of bird life to be found in the shrubs and wetlands, people came to fish or to walk and I even saw a few hares in the paddocks. 
These are the moments I seek. The 'Thin Spaces'.

View of You Yangs from Hovell's creek

I hope to get back there some time to visit the Church they have converted into a community hub, meet some of the people who have devoted themselves to the project and explore some forgotten corners of the bay if I can. 

Jetty @ Limeburner's lagoon


GreenComotion said...

Oh Wow! What a place and how lovely to be able to ride your bicycle around there.
The photos in this post are outstanding, David!
Very well done.
Have a Happy WE!
Peace :)

GreenComotion said...

Harley Eagle's flute music is superb.