July / August, 2015 Edition
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'Community & Economic Development Matters' Newsletter


Greetings.  This edition of the Newsletter once again illustrates the richness of what is happening across the globe in terms of community and economic development. It contains some amazing stories and resources that are available to inspire and equip community builders. It also shares a range of excellent learning opportunities that are occurring over the next three months. In particular, we would like to draw your attention to our favourite Conference event – the annual “Future of Communities: Power to the People” Conference which BOI runs in conjunction with the Municipal Association of Victoria. Dates are the 26-27 August in Melbourne. Details are below.
August is also the month that we in Australia are privileged to have Cormac Russell from Nurture Development and ABCD Europe (based in the UK) visit and share his insights about community building and Asset Based Community Development (ABCD). Besides being the keynote presenter at the “Future of Communities: Power to the People” Conference, Cormac will deliver three one day ABCD Master classes in  Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne. Click here to learn more. Cormac was also the convener of the recent international ABCD Festival in Blackpool, UK. Click here to read Cormac’s reflections on this wonderful event and access Festival resources.
This edition, we recognise as our recipient of the Global Community Builder Giraffe Award, Tom O’Toole for the way he has over a 40 year period “stuck out his neck“ and demonstrated his commitment to regional Australia and given us the ultimate model for rural business success. Tom and his Beechworth Bakery has been an inspiration to the Bank of I.D.E.A.S. and many businesses across the globe. From a small town of only 3000 residents, three hours from a capital city, Tom and his staff have created the biggest turnover bakery in Australia. Based on this Beechworth experience, Tom has subsequently replicated the success in five other rural locations. It is an amazing story of entrepreneurship. Besides the bakeries, Tom is now one of Australia’s most inspirational public speakers on business success. To learn more about Tom's story and the Beechworth Bakery, view the website and click here to listen to a podcast with Tom. Thank you Tom for all that you have taught us.
Finally, it is with a real sense of sadness, that we share the recent passing of Gerry Delaney from Durban in South Africa. Gerry’s contribution to the development and promotion of local economic development in South Africa and internationally was immense. His commitment to the new South Africa and its successful evolution and to the development and empowerment of impoverished communities was inspirational. He will be particularly remembered for the development of the Business Retention and Expansion Program in South Africa and his contribution and unique humour to many international gatherings about local economic development. His mark and impact will always remain in many South African communities. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Ann, and his daughters.

Go well,
Peter Kenyon  (Director)                    
Maria D'Souza (Executive Officer)


Tom O'Toole, recent Global Community Builder Giraffe Award recipient.


Gerry Delaney


‘The emotional brain responds to an event more quickly than the thinking brain’. (Daniel Goleman)

‘You never know when one seemingly unrelated event may become the catalyst that sets off a chain of synchronistic events. Though you may not know for sure when something important will happen, you can always be ready to take action’.
(Andrea Goeglein)

“The Future of Communities: Power to the People” Conference - August, 2015

This unique Australian national conference, organised jointly between BOI and the Municipal Association of Victoria will be held 26-27 August, 2015 with Cormac Russell from ABCD Europe as one of the keynote presenters. Click here to download the flyer. Click here to register.

Master Classes in ABCD with Cormac Russell: August, 2015

The relationship between organisations and communities is changing and this change is going to require a fundamental shift in behaviour from both officers in organisations and residents in communities. In a mind stretching and refreshing master class, Cormac Russell, who is a thought and practice leader in Asset Based Community Development (ABCD), will provide participants with the opportunity to look at three fundamental questions for creating sustainable and resilient communities:
  • What can communities do that organisations cannot?
  • What can organisations do that communities cannot?
  • What can communities do with organisations that neither can do alone? 
Cormac will demonstrate why he believes that the traditional customer segmentation and needs analysis approaches are the ways of the past, and that a focus on assets and strengths is the future.
Dates: 17 August (Perth), 19 August (Adelaide), 25 August (Melbourne).

Click here to learn more and register.

Into the Spotlight Conference: August, 2015 – Perth

The Into the Spotlight Conference brings together Linkwest’s 19th Conference for Community, Neighbourhood and Learning Centres in Western Australia and ConnectGroups’ inaugural conference for WA-based Self Help and Support Groups. Into the Spotlight is all about building the capacity of Self Help and Support Groups and small community managed Not for Profits. Dates are 26-28 August, 2015 and location is Perth, Western Australia.  Click here for more information.

Strictly Hypothetical: August, October & November – Perth

Inspired by Geoffrey Robertson, Strictly Hypothetical uses fictional scenarios to explore real world issues. The 2015 Hypothetical Eco-series supports Western Australia’s Environmental Defender’s Office “Legal Aid for the Environment”. Share three hilarious, thought provoking nights out, exploring three compelling scenarios, while raising urgently needed funds. Dates are 29 August, 9 October & 28 November, 2015. Location is Perth, Western Australia. Click here for more information.

WA Men's Shed Conference: September, 2015 - Perth

The 2015 Beyond Tools Men’s Shed Conference will be held at the Cannington Exhibition Centre on Monday 21 September, 2015. Participants will have the opportunity to share the experience of the leaders of some established Men’s Sheds, to build and connect to a rapidly growing Men’s Shed community and obtain information that will help communities to establish and further develop their Men’s Shed. Click here for more details.

The Unconference: September & November, 2015 – Melbourne and Sydney

Discover new ways of thinking! The Unconference is a unique and transformative gathering, bringing together like-minded people around large scale conversations that matter! Unconference “Agitators” will provide the space and experience to support the emergence of social innovation and transformation. NSW: 15-18 September, 2015, Victoria: 24-27 November, 2015. Click here for more information.

2015 Collective Impact Summit: September / October, 2015 - Vancouver, Canada

The 2015 Collective Impact Summit is being held in spectacular Vancouver, Canada, from Sept. 28 – Oct. 2, 2015. This five day learning experience is intentionally designed to introduce participants to new ideas and techniques, but also provide the opportunity to renew passion for one’s work and connect with peers in similar positions. It will provide knowledge and specific tools to offer the leadership needed to connect, engage and mobilize citizens and communities to generate a shared vision and action plan for change. This year includes a special focus on transformative techniques to unite diverse opinions into a common agenda. Click here to visit the event website.

Assets Based Community Development (ABCD) Workshop – Sydney

This workshop is being run by CommunityMinds Inc. Community members, community leaders, community development workers, health and education professionals and anyone working in the community would highly benefit from the 2 day training workshop.
The workshop will demystify three critical ABCD processes: shifting the community mind set from needs and deficiencies to assets, resources and possibilities; identifying, mapping and connecting the diverse range of community assets; and harnessing the connected assets and vision to a hopeful and positive future for the community. Workshop facilitator will be Peter Kenyon. Dates are 12-13 October 2015, and location is Bankstown.  Click here for more information and to register.
SAVE THE DATE: 8th International Urban Design Conference – November, 2015 - Brisbane
The 8th International Urban Design Conference is being held at the Sofitel Brisbane from the 16 - 18 November 2015. This conference will showcase these innovations and projects which embrace and create transformational change in urban environments, ranging from the modest but high impact idea to the new eco-city, from technological experimentation to multicultural cities, from the use of big data to physical city making.
For further information please visit the conference website.

Imagine Better Assemblies, New Zealand: November, 2015

This year, Imagine Better is bringing a fresh approach to its annual conference by introducing two-day Assemblies in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch with a new group-discussion format. Bringing together community members, leaders and thinkers from across the street and around the world, participants will explore the theme of “Connections, Community, Citizenship”. Click here for more details.

The New Barn-Raising – international webinars on sustaining community and civic assets: April – December, 2015

What is your community, town or city doing – and what can it do - to sustain key assets such as parks, libraries, theaters and museums? This may seem like a local issue, but communities, towns and cities globally are all asking these same questions – from Amsterdam and Accra to Brasilia and Beirut. The New Barn-Raising inaugural webinar series - starting in April – captures 28 examples of global best practice (from 10 countries across 6 continents) on how best to sustain community and civic assets. Click here to find out more and register.

The National Volunteering Conference: April, 2016 – Canberra

This event is being held from 6 – 8 April 2016 at the National Convention Centre Canberra. The Conference is the principal Australian forum for not for profit leaders, volunteer managers and policy contributors to come together and build knowledge, innovation, networks and leadership to advance volunteering. Delegates can expect to gain new skills, learn about innovative programs, and connect with subject experts in an engaging and relevant program.  Conference content focuses on current and emerging trends in a positive, solution-driven environment. Click here for more information.

 Rural & Small Town  Development 

Artisans Transform One Small Town’s Economy

Tieton, Washington, USA with a population of 1,200 sits on a plateau above the Yakima Valley. A decade ago, it was just another economically depressed American farm town, one more victim of the corporatisation of agribusiness. Successful small to mid-size farms had virtually disappeared, along with most local enterprise. Now, Tieton is a place for creative people to enact their visions. Almost by accident, an influx of creative enterprise is bringing a different kind of prosperity to this one-time fruit boomtown. Click here to read more.
(Photo courtesy

Two New Rural Initiatives Receive Resource Support

After the Rural Youth Ambassadors presentation to the Australaian Minister for Education and senior personnel from the Department of Education and Training, two of their proposed initiatives have been provided resources to begin scoping and piloting – Rural Inspire and Rural and Urban Partnerships. Click here for more information or to become involved.

Small Town Transformations

The highly anticipated Small Town Transformations book 'How Can Art Transform Your Town?' has been released! Featuring the five remarkable projects from Avoca, Dookie, Natimuk, Neerim South and Ouyen. Click here for more information.

Residents of Australia's tiniest towns share what happiness means for them

A new survey conducted by the University of Melbourne has found Australians who live in towns of fewer than 1,000 people are significantly happier than others.
Click here to take a look at snapshots of life in a few of Australia's tiniest towns.

Te Kowhai, New Zealand

Te Kowhai is a small village north west of Hamilton. There is a green grocer, a dairy and a take-away which is only open three nights a week for two hours. However, behind this seemingly small façade is a big history, a strong community heart and a quiet determination to make Te Kowhai an even better place. Click here to read this small community success story.

 Community Building 

'The influence of a beautiful, helpful character is contagious, and may revolutionize a whole town'. (Collier Graham)

Community Empowerment Bill (Scotland)

After four years in the making, the Community Empowerment Bill (Scotland) was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 17 June, 2015.  The Bill provides a legal framework that will promote and encourage community empowerment and participation.  It creates new rights for community bodies and places new duties on public authorities. Click here to find out more about this how this revolutionary legislation is taking shape.

Looking Back to Look Forward: the intellectual heritage of Asset-Based Community Development by Cormac Russell

Following the ABCD Festival held in Blackpool, UK during June to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the ABCD Institute, Cormac Russell releases his much anticipated book.  Click here to read a reflective piece by Cormac. Click here to download a copy.

History of ABCD in Australia

Dee Brooks of the Jeder group has written a great summary of the evolution of ABCD in Australia. Click here to read.

Nine Principles for Supporting Families and Communities

In 2006, Graeme Stuart of the fantastic blog ‘Sustaining Community’ helped facilitate a national forum for family and community workers supporting permanent residents of caravan parks. Through the forum, nine principles of practice for working with permanent residents of caravan parks were identified. However, these principles, have much broader relevance. Click here to see the list and read more.

If You Care About Changing Society, Focus on Strengths
This is the name of another great article from Graeme Stuart where he discusses strength based approaches and how they can be applied not only to community building, but also to social movements.  Click here to read.

6 Tips for Building a Successful Community / Ecovillage

This article shares advice from the community building experiences of the Valhalla Movement, especially in regard to conflict resolution.  There is some helpful advice in this article that can be extended to other community building scenarios. Click here to read.

Thanks God It’s Monday- Sunday Not Enough

This is the title of a wonderful new book and resource by Paul Bartlett. Paul is a senior Pastor of Lighthouse, a church at the centre of many interesting community development initiatives in the Wollongong region. This is a book challenging churches to become more involved and engaged in their local communities. The book has a wonderful section on the importance of ABCD as a methodology. This is a book we strongly endorse. To order a copy, view Paul’s website.

Community Treasure Hunts

Community treasure hunts are a fun and effective way of connecting residents with each and their local assets. Our Amazing Place is a project that has been refined and developed by Violence Free Waitakere. The process has multiple dimensions which are all directed at connecting a community with its local assets.  The process involves mapping the wonderful assets that are located within a neighbourhood and profiling them in a fun free family fun event. Click here to visit the website of Our Amazing Place Community Treasure Hunts for some fantastic resources and tips.

 Localism & Social  Connection 

‘We must continuously work to reduce the height and thickness
of the walls around communities’.
(Tim Borich)

Streetlife, UK

Increasingly, social network platforms that connect residents are being created around the world in a response to the lack of local community and neighbourliness especially experienced in urban areas. Click here to discover Streetlife – one such platform from the UK.

A Preschool Inside a Nursing Home

We love hearing about initiatives that bridge the generational gap. This is another great one.  Click here to watch this delightful video that also highlights the importance of combating social isolation.

Neighbours Deepening Community

This beautiful video, Neighbours Deepening Community was  created by a group of young artists, who recently won a global United Nations Award for their earlier work  and  debuted last month at the 2015 Neighbours: Policies & Programs gathering. It inspired 200 community-builders to discover essential strategies for mobilising neighbourhood action; policies that support neighbourhood strategies; community hubs; stories of place; how to create ecology of care; and, how to use Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) to build strong neighbourhoods. Thanks to Paul Born and Engage Magazine for sharing.

 Local Economic  Development 

‘All progress takes place outside the comfort zone’. (Michael John Bobak)

Somerset Share Shop Offers a New Kind of Enterprise

By allowing residents to borrow, for a minimal fee, good quality household and leisure items donated by the public, the Share Shop aims to save people money and reduce waste – the average electric drill is used for just 15 minutes in its lifetime, the organisers point out. At the same time, the scheme has offered the young people who built it from scratch free, intensive training in community entrepreneurship. Click here to read more.

Caption: The Frome Share Shop, the first of its kind in the UK, opens its doors. Photograph: Jim Wileman / The Guardian

Understanding Alternative Finance

This article provides some very interesting statistics – data and survey results – on all the alternative finance approaches now developing rapidly around the world many of which are useful to social/community entrepreneurs and community enterprise start-ups. There is especially interesting material on why certain types of investors invest in social enterprise, as well as what should be incorporated into business cases for finance by social enterprises from these various ‘sources’, crowd sourced equity and community shares. Click here to read. Thanks to Alan Greig for sharing.

The End of Capitalism Has Begun

Click here to read a fantastic piece on postcapitalism..."Capitalism, it turns out, will not be abolished by forced-march techniques. It will be abolished by creating something more dynamic that exists, at first, almost unseen within the old system, but which will break through, reshaping the economy around new values and behaviours”.

Mighty Tieton

Mighty Tieton is an incubator for artisan businesses. This small group of entrepreneurial urban and rural designers, architects, artists, and creative individuals is working in the Central Washington town of Tieton, fifteen miles west of Yakima. Their goal is to revitalise the economy of the town and region by combining creative and professional skills, and connecting with local resources to build successful businesses involving art, design, hospitality, and recreation. Click here to visit the website and read their story.

(Photo courtesy


‘Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world’. (Gustave Flaubert)

‘Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller’. (Ibn Battuta)

The 25 Must See Libraries in the World

Click here to view some stunning photos and facts of 25 of the worlds most beautifully designed libraries. Congratulations on the two Australian libraries that made the list!
(Photo: Website :

The Rise of Dark Tourism

Click here to read an article about increasing numbers of people visiting war torn areas in the name of tourism. It is estimated that the broader adventure-tourism industry, which includes travel to war zones and political hotspots, has grown by an average of 65 percent annually over the past four years and is now estimated to be worth $263 billion. It is certainly food for thought!

10 Tiny Towns with Big Tourism Dreams

Click here to read about 10 tiny towns drawing on their assets to bring in the big bucks from tourism.

Why Should Visitors Love Your Town? Count the Ways

Click here to read a useful article from the University of Minnesota which gives practical advice on how to map the tourism assets of your town. A good resource for anyone involved with or interested in tourism development. 

 Youth Empowerment & Participation  

Resilient Youth Australia

Over the past year, Resilient Youth Australia has surveyed over 18,000 young Australians in year levels 3 – 12 to gain a picture of their resilience. The information collected is used across Australia by schools and communities to prioritise resilience interventions that build upon the strengths of young people as well as addressing areas of risk and vulnerability. To gain an insight into some of the key findings around the resilience of young Australians click here. To gain an insight into some of the key findings around the resilience of men in particular click here

Six Ways Australia’s Education System is Failing our Kids

Amid debates about budget cuts and the rising costs of schools and degrees, there is one debate receiving alarmingly little attention in Australia. We’re facing a slow decline in most educational standards, and few are aware just how bad the situation is getting. Click here to read more.

Unlocking You Child’s Genius: a book by clinical psychologist Andrew Fuller
All parents want their children to be the best they can be, but how do they discover and encourage their child’s natural talents? Andrew believes that all children have the innate inquisitiveness, creativity and lateral thinking which forms the basis of genius. However, social conditioning and school life can lead to a desire to conform and fit in which can quash that curiosity. Click here to find out more and to purchase.

Click here to download.

Grange Farm School, California

Grange Farm School is a new working farm in rural Mendocino County, California, where up to 10 students from around the world live, work, and study on-site for three months at a time. Students engage in 25 hours of “experiential learning” per week, which includes classroom lessons, field trips, building projects, livestock management, and row-crop farming. Accredited through nearby Mendocino College, students pay $3,000 for tuition, room, and board, and receive a certificate as well as four college credits after successful completion of one three-month quarter. Click here to read more.

 Food / Community  Agriculture 

‘The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.’
(Masanobu Fukuoka)

“The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. That is not very long ago. Until then, where was all the food? Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard.”
(Joel Salatin taken from Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World)

Food is Free Project

Food is Free Project is a non-profit group which grows both community and healthy food while also helping people gain independence from a “broken agricultural system.” The organisation teaches how to establish sustainable front yard community gardens which provide free, shared harvests. The once novel idea is now a thriving movement that has expanded to elementary schools, community art spaces, farmers markets, churches and small businesses across the globe. Click here to read an interview with the man who started it all – John VanDeusen Edwards. Click here to read about the Ballarat gardener leading the revolution in Australia.
(Photo courtesy

Canberra to Establish a Food Forest

Gardening guru Costa Georgiadis has described a new food forest initiative in Lyneham as a "project of national significance". The Lyneham Commons project has created a model of urban farming in Canberra that allows unused pieces of public land to be planted out with fruit and nut trees. Click here to read more.

28 Inspiring Urban Agriculture Projects


Did you know that around 15 percent of the world's food is now grown in urban areas? According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), urban farms already supply food to about 700 million residents of cities, representing about a quarter of the world’s urban population. Click here to read about 28 Inspiring Urban Agriculture Projects. Congratulations to Canberra City Farm for making the list.

Hats off to Vertical Farming!


The Greenhouse – a 48'x48' greenhouse, the farm grows 135,000 plants a year in Tower Gardens, using 5% of the water used by outdoor farming. The farm supplies Walt Disney World resorts, along with Emeril’s Orlando, Ritz Carlton, Marriott World Center & the Hilton with fresh greens and herbs year round. "We also have incredibly small losses, and the consistency of growing allows us to be able to deliver the same quantities weekly to our restaurants, making us a lot more reliable than “traditional” farms" says Katherine Grandey, Co-Founder & Owner of The GreenHouse. Click here to read more.
In other news, Newark, New Jersey will soon be home to the largest indoor vertical farm in the world (pictured). The city just broke ground on the massive, 69,000-square-foot AeroFarms headquarters that’s capable of producing up to 2 million pounds of vegetables and herbs annually once it is in full operation. Click here to read more.

Caption: An artist rendering of the 69,000-square-foot AeroFarms headquarters in Newark, New Jersey. Photo credit: AeroFarms


Greek Villagers' Secret Weapon: growing their own food

A practical example from Greece as to why maintaining self sufficiency – even in the smallest ways – is so important. Click here to read. Of course, Greece is not the only example of how breaking away from the system can save you in a crisis. The collapse of the Soviet Union created many of the same conditions that Greeks are faced with today. Click here to read about Russia’s Dacha gardens.  Click here to read an article that draws on both the Greek and Soviet situation highlighting the importance of communities taking ownership of agriculture.
(Infographic courtesy

 Leadership & Personal  Development 

‘The task of leadership is to create an alignment of strengths...making a systems weaknesses irrelevant’. (Peter Drucker)

Coady International Institute: Transformative Leadership Education Programs

Click here to see the exciting leadership programs on offer in 2016. These programs are especially useful for community builders. Their flagship 20-week Diploma in Development Leadership is designed for citizen leaders who are passionate about creating positive change.

A different kind of note-taking: using art to capture conversation

Graphic recording is gaining popularity as a useful and impactful method of note talking and recording, especially in group sessions. Click here to read about the benefits and gain some useful tips.

Australians Abandoning Volunteering?

New ABS data shows volunteering rates in Australia are declining for the first time in almost 20 years with 75 per cent of people surveyed saying they feel too rushed or pressed for time. Click here to read more.

Volunteers Should Contribute to Government Decision Making

A new report from the United Nations Volunteers program reveals volunteers are playing a vital role across the Asia-Pacific region in making Governments more accountable and responsive to their people, but their contribution is seriously under-valued. In light of this, there are calls for volunteers to have more input into government decision making. Click here to read more.

Networking to Change the World

Networking – everyone understands the importance of it, but do we really know how to harness the power of networks? Despite the “mainstreaming” of network concepts and methods, there have been few comprehensive resources to help practitioners attend to all the practical tasks of building and managing these productive webs. Until now. The book, ‘Connecting to Change the World: Harnessing The Power of Networks for Social Impact’ by Peter Plastrik, Madeleine Taylor and John Cleveland, more than fills the gap. Drawing from diverse examples of urban sustainability, manufacturing, homelessness, and faith-based community-building, the authors have put together what may well be the best guide for practitioners to date. Click here to find out more about the book. Thanks to Mark Cabaj and Engage Magazine for sharing.

Sustainable   Development 

(photo courtesy

Communities are taking renewable power into their own hands

Click here to read an interesting article that summarises successful community owned renewable power initiatives in Australia. Click here to read an article that focuses on the success of community investment in renewable power in the Denmark / Mount Barker region of Western Australia.

Seven Small Towns Taking Big Steps to Get People Walking

Click here to read about the practical steps (pun intended) these small towns took to get residents walking.

Benson Bubblers

In light of growing awareness of the need to stop buying and using plastic water bottles, this is the inspiring story of Portland's iconic Benson Bubblers. In 1921, free public water was seen as the mark of a civil society. Think of the fun cities could have creating beautiful, iconic water fountains today. Click here to read about Benson Bubblers.

(Photo courtesy Portland Water Bureau)


Pope Francis Releases Encyclical on the Environment

On 18 June, Pope Francis released his highly anticipated encyclical on the environment. The Pope’s powerful encyclical calls for a common response to the critical threat climate change poses. His plea for all religions to work together reflects the urgency of the challenge and has not gone unheeded. Leaders from all faiths have supported the call to action based on our duty of environmental stewardship. Click here to read about the key things we should know about this Encyclical.  Click here to access the Encyclical ‘Laudato Si’. Click here to read key excerpts.

 Social Development  

(graphic courtesy

Pathways to Indigenous Empowerment in Remote Communities

Click here to read a comprehensive article by Nicolas Rothwell (The Australian) that takes a look at how poor leadership and badly designed strategies and programs have failed remote indigenous Australians and how we might look to rectify that.

Community Festival for Peace

This event takes place in Launceston, Tasmania. The project offers the community opportunities to define and share what peace means to them as individuals and organisations. ‘Peace’, in the context of this concept, is not only about the conflict of wars: it is about our behaviour as citizens of local communities and global societies. At a community level, the Festival aims to celebrate the roles of art, diversity, education and sport in building community cohesion and goodwill between people. This amazing project has grown from humble beginnings to involve over 60 organisations.  Click here to learn more.

17 Ways You Can Work For Social Justice

This article outlines practical ways we, as global citizens, can ensure social justice, after all the price of freedom is perpetual vigilance! Click here to read.

NAIDOC Week, 2015

During the second week of July, Australia celebrated NAIDOC Week.  Click here to read an insightful piece by journalist and NITV News presenter Natalie Ahmat on the history of NAIDOC Week and what it means.

Happy Birthday Magna Carter: Commemorating 800 years of Democracy (1215-2015)

A Friendly Reminder from Benjamin Franklin (1755)
“……Those who would give up essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary Safety deserve neither Liberty nor Safety….”
Click here to read an article on how the great document was commemorated and why it is as important now as ever. 

Remote Indigenous Outstation Rejects Federal Government Policy and Opens Own School

This is an inspiring article about a well executed idea – proof that new pathways to education can be created. Click here to read.

Photo: Bininj children at their new school at Kabulwarnamyo on the west Arnhem Land plateau (photo courtesy ABC).

 Inspirational People &  Stories 

‘People make events into stories. Stories give events meaning’.
(Scarlett Thomas)

Linda Pang

Click here to meet Linda Pang, the inspirational teacher from Sydney who started the ‘Feel Good February’ initiative after struggling to find an answer when her son asked her what a terrorist was. Feel Good February, is a month-long initiative that encourages people to perform random acts of kindness for others in the community. For this year’s inaugural event, Linda drew up a list of 22 cost-free kindness ideas – things like ‘write positive sayings on Post-Its and leave them on the mirrors in public restrooms’ and ‘clean people’s windscreens in a shopping centre carpark’ – as well as another 22 ideas that cost a small amount, like leaving loose change in a vending machine or topping up parking meters on city streets. The point, she says, is to make people realise that kindness and connection is within the grasp of every single one of us.
(Photo courtesy

My Son’s Football Coach

‘My son’s football coach is a hero. He coaches all these teams for the local club, has done so for twenty years, and if a kid can’t get to training he goes and picks them up.  He becomes a bus service!  He inspires them, he disciplines then and he comforts them, and he doesn’t get paid, he doesn’t ask for thanks.  Now that’s a hero for you.’
(Anonymous Australian, from Gina Lennox’s book In Search of Heroes)


Finding Happiness

Once a group of 50 people was attending a seminar.
Suddenly the speaker stopped and started giving each person a balloon. Each one was asked to write his/her name on it using a marker pen. Then all the balloons were collected and put in another room.
Now these delegates were let in that room and asked to find the balloon which had their name written, within 5 minutes.
Everyone was frantically searching for their name, pushing, colliding with each other, and there was utter chaos.
At the end of 5 minutes, no one could find their own balloon.
Now each one was asked to randomly collect a balloon and give it to the person whose name was written on it. Within minutes everyone had their own balloon.
The speaker began: This is exactly what is happening in our lives. Everyone is frantically looking for happiness all around, not knowing where it is. Our happiness lies in the happiness of other people. Give them their happiness, you will get your own happiness.
And this is the purpose of human life.

(Author Unknown, photo by Andreka on Redbubble)


Some Kentish Humour...

(Photo courtesy

Zoo Humour...

For Those Who Love the Philosophy of Ambiguity, as Well As Idiosyncrasies of English:

  1. One tequila, two tequila, three tequila...... Floor.
  2. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
  3. If man evolved from monkeys and apes, why do we still have monkeys and apes?
  4. The main reason that santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.
  5. I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, “where’s the self- help section?" she said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.
  6. What if there were no hypothetical questions?
  7. Is there another word for synonym?
  8. Where do forest rangers go to "get away from it all?"
  9. What do you do when you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant?

(Thanks to Gerry Osborne for sharing)

What can't you carry on a bike...

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