Emblems of Victoria, Australia

I’ve been looking for things relating to the city and state I live in and then realised there should be some emblems.  A quick search soon proved that to be true and here they are:

The emblems of Victoria include…

Floral emblem: Pink Heath
Animal emblem: Leadbeater’s Possum
Bird emblem: Helmeted Honey-eater
Marine Faunal Emblem: Weedy Seadragon

Sadly, the Leadbeater’s Possum and Helmeted Honey-eater are considered to be endangered species in 2007.

You can find out more about our emblems here.

Don’t let Bushfires stop tourism in Victoria

I got this message from one of my Virtual Assistants who lives and works in Beechworth. Whilst there have been fires very close by and they have been on alert, she wants to spread the word that they haven’t been wiped out and still depend very much on the tourism that helps their area to survive.  The following is in her words:

We are above the smoke haze here in Beechworth and it’s the most beautiful clear day with a light wind. Quite surreal…. except for the occasional fire plane surveying the countryside.

One thing that is impacting on Beechworth and Yackandandah is that people are staying away, even cancelling accommodation as far ahead as June. It’s been very immediate, and understandable.

Because the fire started at Beechworth and it’s being called the Beechworth Fire, people believe that we have been destroyed too which is certainly not the case. All our traders and accommodation houses are now extremely worried about how to get people back to our beautiful towns. Our local councils and Tourism Vic have started to deal with what looks like having a huge impact on the North East.

While being respectful of those that have lost everything, the flow on effect of no tourists in a tourism town can be extreme and affect every member of our community, as businesses and shops close. This is our major industry and it’s very much like when a large manufacturing plant or similar closes in a small town.

So please spread the word that Beechworth is safe and we would love to have you come and visit.

If you’re one of those who have booked accomodation in these areas please don’t cancel it, especially if it’s going to be in the cooler weather. Why not contact the Beechworth Visitor’s Centre and check with them?  And if you’re looking for a place to visit for a day or a weekend, then Beechworth and surrounding areas certainly have a lot to offer!

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Orange glow in the sky

It’s 6.39pm and I went outside to see what the bright glow was coming through my office window. There had been news reports earlier in the day not to panic, that burning off is happening in the hills to help protect areas around Melbourne from the bush fires but that Melbourne would be shrouded by smoke.

It’s really eery out there. I’ve taken some photos to give you an idea of the contrast of colour from the orange cloud and sun shining on the garden at a time when the sun is getting low.

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Bushfires bring out the good and the bad

The news was first filled with the horror of it all but now the sick news stories are coming out. Those who are bogus charities collecting funds, a 15 year old boy who has been arrested for starting one smaller fire on the weekend, people looting the burned homes before the owners have been allowed to go back to them. The stories continue.

What is wrong with people these days? Don’t they have a conscious? Do they not care about others? It would seem not.

Thank goodness I listed to a radio station that is intent on giving good news every single hour of every single day it broadcasts. Radio LightFM 89.9FM (it does stream so if you’re not in Melbourne you can tune in, online) has been sharing the stories of the good things that have been happening. Those who have freely given of their time and resources with no expectation of anything in return, no pay. People ringing to tell their stories of faith and hardship, of help coming from unexpected quarters. Of reunions, of love, of sadness. All sorts of things. And the extraordinary amount of $$ that have been donated so far – millions! Good to hear Peter Hitchener from Channel 9 on there regularly too. He’s become a regular on the radio station talking to Luke and Susie (and now Lucy too) on the morning breakfast show.

Please excuse the long post but there is much to share here. I get regular emails about support happening via our church and other groups and want to share some of that here also.

From Transforming Melbourne:

What you can do:

Link: How Can I Help? (and Where Can I get Help?) www.abc.net.au/melbourne

Today we’ve heard that:

  • One group of 40 young people are cooking for the fireys
  • Two leaders are massaging firecrew – That’s being the hands of Christ!
  • At least one church, Diamond Valley Baptist Church, has opened its doors to co-ordinate volunteers & deliveries of food, clothing and any other useful items.
  • At least one church, Bayside, is setting up a scheme to provide ongoing support to families who have lost their homes.

Share your initiatives at: www.transformingmelbourne.blogspot.com/

Donations This morning Victoria Police and the Red Cross have requested that people wanting to donate not use any numbers listed for emergency use only.

  • Red Cross State Government Victorian Bushfire Appeal Visit www.redcross.org.au Phone 1800 811 700
    Go to any NAB, ANZ, Westpac or Commonwealth Bank branch, Bunnings
  • Victorian Bushfire Relief Fund
    Make a direct deposit to the BSB 082-001, Account number 860-046-797
  • Myer Bushfire Appeal proceeds to the Salvation Army.

Messages of Encouragement:

Leave your message of support to the fire crews here

Message board: Make contact with loved ones here

From my church:

Bayside Church is operating as a receiving centre for aid that will be sent to Victory Church, Bendigo for distribution to those in need in the Bendigo community. The following items are needed:

– Food (non perishable items only)

– Toiletries

– Clothes (new or nearly new)

Undergarments (new only)

– Toys

– Baby Products (Nappies, wipes, formula, clothing)

– School supplies

– Household items (linen, cutlery, crockery, towels, etc – not furniture)


Vouchers

Vouchers will also be received on behalf of the relief effort and preferred retailers are:

Coles Myer (including Kmart, Target, etc) and Bunnings

Vouchers need to be handed in at reception, Bayside Church, Argus Street, Cheltenham, clearly marked “Bushfire Relief”.

Lysterfield Lake Park, Victoria – beautiful!

I love the Australian countryside and the gum trees have such character. Here’s a small selection from this weekend’s visit to Lysterfield Park.


Receiving much needed rains

Here it is, past the middle of November and leading up to Summer and we’re experiencing cold, wet and windy days and thank God, much needed rain. The news report on the radio this morning told us that so far we’d received 20mm of water in the catchment areas and that was just by 9am. Hopefully that means we’ll get a lot more through the day.

We’ve been on water restrictions for a few years now and I have a pipe running down the wall at the front of our house and it feeds our pond so that the fish are kept in water. Well, today it’s looking very full and we might have to switch the tap control to prevent it overflowing before too much longer.

Melbourne has always been known as a city of 4 seasons – in one day, but today it’s more like winter and I’m not complaining. Bring on the rains!

Lovely day in Kallista

With a public holiday yesterday in Australia, my husband and I decided to spend sometime with our eldest daughter and husband. So we took a drive to Ferntree Gully where the boys (Graham and Ryan) promptly took off on their mountain bikes for a ride in the hills and Melanie and I drove to Kallista to go for a 2 hour walk on the beautiful tracks there. Even though we’ve experienced quite a drought, it was amazing to see how damp underfoot it is in the rainforests there. I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as we enjoyed being there.

After that we all went to a bakery in Mt Dandenong for some delicious pies, cake and coffee. The weather was lovely – it was the perfect autumn day in Melbourne really.

Melanie sitting on a tree root raised in the ground.

Cycling in Victoria

My husband is a mountain biker and so participates in several of the mountain bike endurance races around the state. Fortunately for us, most of these places are only 2-3 hours out of Melbourne so easy to get to, but because he doesn’t need a long drive home after the races we usually choose to stay at a B&B the night before and after the race, so I get some time away too.

Some of those places include Beechworth, Bendigo, Fryerstown, Lysterfield, Officer, Werribee. Lysterfield is literally 40 mins drive from our home and is a popular place for practicing too – Graham and his mate Dave disappear there almost every weekend. Werribee is just over an hour’s drive so not too bad but the others will mean we’ll stay somewhere.

If you are planning to visit Melbourne and enjoy cycling or mountain bike riding you’ll find there are lanes for cyclists on many of the major roads and heaps of tracks in the countryside.

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Tram in Bendigo

Victoria has lots of great places to visit and some still have an air of the earlier age in them. Bendigo for example. We’ve stayed at B&Bs in Bendigo a few times.

Wanna train ride?

Puffing Billy, Dandenong Ranges

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If you come to Melbourne sometime you must go for a ride on the Puffing Billy, in the Dandenong Ranges.