Saturday, 30 June 2012






Friday, 29 June 2012

Decades ago I joined my first environmental organisation. Now it's celebrating 50 years - Wildlife Preservation Society of Qld

The first environment organisation I ever joined, the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland, is celebrating 50 years of activities this year.  

Networkers might be interested to join in the celebrations.  See, the document below to plan how you will join in.

When I think of what I have learned over a lifetime and reflect on what a naive, know nothing, enthusiast I was way back then!  My husband and I joined - I think perhaps it was because some of our friends did.  We were living in Toowoomba in Queensland.  

The membership was small and trying to establish itself (this would have been late 60s or, more probably, the early 70s).  The bit I do remember after all the decades is that Judith Wright visited Toowoomba and I was the only one available (being a non-working mum back in those days) to look after her.  I remember going out on the edge of the Toowoomba Range where Ian Leslie (he had been at Toowoomba's Channel 10 for donkey's years and looked as if that would be where he would stay - but he went on to national fame on 60 Minutes) interviewed her.  

Toowoomba Garden Festival
Toowoomba Garden Festival
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A couple of years ago, when a friend and I went to Braidwood to the Two Fires Festival, Don Henry (formerly the WPS director - see details below) was there and mentioned his days with the WPS.  As a matter of interest, he asked was anyone in the audience ever a member back then.  A few hands, including mine, went up. All rather fitting considering the connection between Judith Wright and the Festival.

Don's details taken from here.

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Thursday, 28 June 2012

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Rally for Public Education and Training and against the cutting down of TAFE education





Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Crocodiles are to be up for grabs for trophy hunters in the NT. Do Australians really want this?

If there is one thing that turns me off tourism quicker than anything else - it's the tourists.  I have had two occasions in my sightseeing life when I was turned off in spades.  One was a visit - where I made my "no more zoos, ever" pledge to myself - to the Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo where I was under the misapprehension that I would see animals on the plains as I had in Kenya.  The animals might not have been behind iron railings or in cages but the swales of earth imprisoned them in a similar way - and I have never forgotten the forlorn looks of the giraffes and the uneasy pacing backwards and forwards of the snow leopard.

But what took the cake was a visit to the wolf.

One viewed the wolf from a raised platform looking down into long grass where the wolf lived.  When the wolf appeared, the noise from those around me frightened the wolf back to the furthest end of his habitation in what I can only presume was terror.

This brought back another nauseous memory of when I took a trip on Yellow Waters in Kakadu.  The trip was full of interest - the bird life, the vegetation including distinctive trees.  I looked around my companions on the flat bottomed barge and found expressionless faces.  No one, it seemed to me, was as impressed as I at what was surrounding us - until..... until we came upon a crocodile basking on a mudbank in the sun.  Then, those around me sprang to life.

Now, I do know that wolves and crocodiles in the wild can take people's lives so I suppose I should force myself to acknowledge the scare factor - as one would for the titillating pleasure of a scary movie.  Coming close to something scary and remaining safe might be more inclined to induce a perverse pleasure than noting the Burdekin Plum or the birdlife.  

Please, if you feel you must go to a zoo to see imprisoned wildlife, can you 
  • make the visit worthwhile by learning all you can about the animals you see.  
  • can you think of the animals you are visiting more than yourself
  • can you set a good example for the children around you so that their behaviour might improve
  • can you suggest to the zoo you are visiting that they establish, as a condition of entry, a twenty minute class for visitors which would encompass an overview of the animals, noting the really shy ones and advising/warning visitors of the most appropriate behaviour around the animals.  
You can also put these thoughts into action right away by going to this website and taking action to stop commercial crocodile deaths in the Northern Territory.

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Reprise - once more Father Bob comes to Ballarat

LBWR presents a conversation with 
  Father Bob Maguire
Our Community… the Ripple Effect

Tuesday 7 August 
Wendouree Performing Arts Centre
1220 Howitt Street Wendouree
Free admission 
Registration required

Thursday 2 August or 5332 1247
Leadership Ballarat and Western Region

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Monday, 25 June 2012

Welshpooll Lock the Gate Meeting to-night : Victoria's Gippsland Foodbowl - assaulted by CSG and Fracking.

Things are hotting up in Gippsland - and it's certainly not the weather. 
For more info on how CSG and Fracking
is invading Victoria's beautiful,  rich, and beloved foodbowl

And if you want to get off your rear end and do something about,
My friend and Networker Junnita is keeping me/us up to date on this.

 There is another Meeting locally in the Welshpool Hall 
at 7.30pm Monday night June 25th. 
There will also be a film shown too.

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Illawarra CSG project frozen! Congratulations to all who populate the bridge

This announcement is most heartwarming and agreeable  - 
one only hopes it lasts and CSG doesn't come to The Illawarra.
Congratulation to Jess Moore who organised what you see in the picture above.

C'mon, Aussie, come on! Support a fair go, a fair crack of the whip, a fair suck of the sauce bottle for all of us.

The Greens are endeavouring to get an Inquiry into Newstart, Australia's unemployment benefit scheme, up and running.  Read their briefing paper below.

Australia has, for at least the last forty years, supported a living income for unemployed people.  However, it is dwindling and the gap is widening between Newstart and other forms of social security.   The Greens suggest that the declining value of the Newstart income support may actual be hindering the ability of people to apply successfully for work.  My view is that if Australia does not provide meaningful social inclusion and income support for its people, particularly for those who need to be in work, we are going down the American path of foodstamps and little or no support in many social fields.  C'mon, Aussie, come on! Support a fair go, a fair crack of the whip, a fair suck of the sauce bottle for all of us.

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Saturday, 23 June 2012

Happy anniverary to me, happy anniversary to me - and thank you to Twopcharts for the reminder

I don't usually bother with blogging milestones.  However, my friend Denis over at The Nature of Robertson has been marking dates and numbers of posts.  

I congratulated him with this comment:
Congratulations, Denis, on your blogging milestone. We have been blogging together for quite a while. I haven't kept up on milestones myself but have done a check.

I began with The Eagles Nest on 6 June 2005 and wrote over 800 posts at This blog is now closed but still available.

I then continued at The Network with 1246 posts at Then there are my other blogs as well. These are to be found by clicking on the tabs at the top of The Network.

We are on Facebook together but I have yet to convince you to begin tweeting.

You and I are living proof that social media is not the sole province of the younger ones.

I have made some wonderful friendships through blogging including you. With you, I have had some of my bestest times. Your expertise is invaluable to me and I frequently prevail upon your environmental knowledge, particularly in relation to birds and plants. And then you send through to me material which you think will be appropriate to my interests.

When we first started blogging you were not in good health ... but you have survived some very serious life issues. Your fortitude, courage, and survival are admirable.

And even now you are often to be found on your tummy in adoration - and gleaning knowledge - of ground orchids. Words fail me in this regard!

Above all, one has to commend you in your endeavours to familiarise people with the Creation around them - through your lectures and tours in national parks and through your blog as well as membership in many environmental organisations.
However, imagine my surprise when I opened up my HootSuite this morning to find that I have been on Twitter for four years and it is MY anniversary. Thx to the good folks at Twopcharts for reminding me. Whoda thunk it?  Only seems like a month or three ago!

Baillieu Government : children and families overboard

Victoria is governed by a Liberal/National Party coalition
(this means conservative and even more conservative, respectively)
It is led by Ted Baillieu.

Ted Baillieu's talents for political life can be summed up as follows:
Wears a suit well
Is photogenic
Has nice manners
Significant wealth

He is a dunce at public policy and, clearly, takes advice from nutters
who think that rolling government into a tiny ball
and making it small
is a wonder to behold.

It's dumbest decision was to allow cattle to graze
in the Alpine National Park and claim this was supported by good science.

Now the Baillieu Government is on the ran-tan
to make itself teeny-weeny and hold on to lots of money for its friends.
(For friends, the words 'property developers' and 'real estate moguls' can be inserted.)
And who else is to benefit from the budget cuts, Baillieu & Co propose?
Certainly children and families aren't - 
an always overstretched and underfunded Human Services Department
is getting chopped and hacked.
Certainly the environment is not benefitting -
but we always knew that was a backburner department
even if masses of middle-class Liberal voters love National Parks.
And so it goes. Check the graphic above.
Count up how many of those cuts affect kids and their families.
Then see the number of jobs being cut in the relevant portfolios.

It soon becomes evident -
The Baillieu Government doesn't give a high priority 
to families and kids
but it does to money.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Stefano's changing life

Stefano has sent me news of his new future and latest doings.
As we all know, Stefano has his busy fingers in many pies.
He explains all that below.
So he will be absent from his restaurant -
but his spirit will still be felt, I'm sure

What's happening in my part of the world and what I am up to.

Looking back after 20 years in the kitchen I can see that it is high time for me to make room for new blood and new ideas. Of course, there are some of you out there who say they would prefer Stefano's of old - the classic Italian dishes of the comfort variety that fit so well in a country town-local ingredient-narrative at a reasonable price. But there have been plenty of you lamenting that Stefano's was not keeping up with the times, offering creative dishes with local ingredients that somehow transcend the usual classical gastronomic categories. So I have taken the plunge and appointed Jim McDougall to take Stefano's restaurant in a different direction and to shake me from my habits. You can argue that somehow I should clone myself to keep the tradition going, but I do not see the purpose in cloning people and expect somehow that they be loyal to my idea of how things should be. And boy, taking the plunge I have felt that double up-draught in my shorts as I jumped from branch to pool, as Les Murray would say.

Jim McDougall started his cooking career in the Stefano's group years ago and then went on to cook for and with Shannon Bennett of Vue de Monde fame. He is, like me, passionate about our region and all its culinary possibilities. We are very, very fortunate to have him with us not only because he is a bloody good cook, but also for his generosity of spirit and esprit de corp (he looks grumpy most of the time, but do not let that fool you!)

Jim has been fantastic. He has enabled me to take and enjoy a sabbatical leaving the restaurant in his hands and those of the rest of the capable team. During my absence The Age Epicure was mightily impressed giving the restaurant a score of 17 out of 20 and that surely counts for something. The Age said that I could continue my skiing holidays undisturbed, as the restaurant was doing fine without me.

Jim and I have a book in the pipeline called Nuovo Mondo, or The New World, showing how we can blend ideas and also keep some of the old classics in the equation.

And whilst I was overseas (not skiing, by the way) I made another little, quirky Stefano's Cooking Paradiso for Lifestyle Food to go to air on August 12. It will seem rather strange as I shift from the summer gardens of Mildura to the depth of winter (minus 7 degrees) in northern Italy in the same episode, but then I have never adhered to an exact script! And if you think I was having a good time doing it, please think again: look at the snot freezing under my nose.

Stefano's Preserves is now in the capable hands of Ryan Casey whose great passion for fresh, simple ingredients gets transformed into the delicious preserves and chutneys our customers have come to love. I met Ryan in Broken Hill some years ago and got him to come to Mildura. He spent a couple of years with Lyndall on the preserves and now he is ready to take responsibility in that area. Lyndall is taking time off and a deserved rest. We wish her the best.

At the helm of Stefano's Café Bakery are my brother in law and sister in law, Mario and Maria. They produce good coffee, breads and cakes and a good breakfast as usual. Paul Clarke, an artisan baker, is still with the team, ensuring a high degree of continuity. The bustling feeling in the cafe, the revolving shows in Gallery 25, the new products that come out from time to time make me excited. I had a croissant there recently which was on par if not better than the same in Paris: buttery, soft inside and flaky outside, pure bliss. And here, what's more, not in a capital city. These are little victories one must savour.

As you may have noticed I am more and more involved in the manufacturing side of the Mildura Brewery which, on top of making good beer, employs several local lads. Times are tough out here and keeping jobs is a responsibility I take very seriously. And remember that when people have had their stint with us they move on to other microbreweries: we already have four ex Mildurians in important positions in Western Australia, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia. That gives me great satisfaction indeed.

Our expansion through Melbourne, Dan Murphy and First Choice means that people like our beer efforts and this is very important to me as well.

Above all, I have to keep some energy for other interests, mostly around the arts here in Mildura. So many good people are involved and work hard to keep our minds engaged and alive despite all the troubles and cynicism prevailing nowadays……

For me, there is a lot to be excited about, so whether you come to Mildura to enjoy what we have to offer or you sample our products somewhere else, we hope you find what we are doing exciting as well. 

Earthquake information and humour

My friend Junitta lives on a mountaintop in southern Gippsland.  Gippsland, east of Victoria's capital city Melbourne,  was the site of an earthquake this week.  She has provided some information on it - with a sense of humour as you will note. If you open the information picture in a new tab, it will enlarge and be easier to read.  Junitta also wonders what mining might contribute to earthquake phenomena.

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NSW Irrigators have numbers on the impact of the Murray Darling Basin Plan in NSW. Please discuss

So many friends of The Network are active in the defence of water for the environment under the Murray Darling Basin Plan.  On the other side of the argument, are the irrigators.  The strongest voice among the irrigators is the NSW Irrigators Council.  To-day @nswirrigators have tweeted as follows:

Below is the Basin Impact Analysis done by the NSW Irrigators.
You can read online or download tokeep.

Political prisoners in Pakistan : climate change and textile workers

Emergency speakout for jailed Pakistani activists
Free Baba Jan & the Hunza 5!
Political prisoners of the climate change crisis

Wednesday, June 27, 12:30-1:30pm. 
Cnr Bourke & Swanston Sts, Melbourne. 

Baba Jan is a Pakistani activist from a community that has fallen victim to climate change. He is also a victim of the 'War on Terror'. In January 2010 several communities were engulfed by flooding and landslides in the Hunza River valley, in the remote Himalayan Pakistani-administered territory of Gilgit-Baltistan. These floods and landslides were the result of deforestation, soil erosion and climate change.
The lake was formed by a landslide in January 2010

In 2011 Baba Jan, a member of the Labour Party Pakistan, was involved in organising protests demanding compensation for effected communities. Police repression of these protests included the shooting of two villagers (a father and son). 

In the aftermath, Baba Jan and four others were arrested and charged under Pakistan's Anti-Terror Laws. On April 28, Baba Jan was taken from his cell by elite security agencies and has since been subjected to beatings and torture.

Others charged under Pakistan's Anti-Terror Laws include the Faisalabad 6, who led a textile workers' strike, and textile worker unionists in Karachi. The Pakistani state's contribution to the 'War on Terror' also includes disappearing hundreds of civilians in border regions and collaborating with US drone strikes.

This speakout is part of an international week of action. For further background see Urgent appeal for Baba Jan, prisoner of climate change and Pakistan: International week of action for the release of Baba Jan. Sponsored by Socialist Alliance, Industrial Workers of the World (Melbourne), Socialist Alternative. Other endorsements welcome. For more info ph Tony 0437 237 010.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Coal seam gas, government & corporate deceit, extraction & water destruction - Southern Highlands, NSW

Networking friend, Denis Wilson, has forwarded this information.
It is a podcast of Alan Jones interviewing our mutual friend Peter Martin
who lives in Sutton Forest in the Southern Highlands of NSW.

The information in this is shocking - 
I would call it deceit on the part of the corporation and the NSW Govt.

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