BAF2020 postponed until October - Public Health issues around COVID-19

With so many local small businesses already at breaking point, this 'stay home' V. 'life-as-normal' argument is coming to the forefront.

Yesterday the local village at Ballan was bustling. The monthly Farmer's Market - with fewer stalls than normal - was attracting a small crowd and parking in the main street was at a premium.
Today the street was empty with bored shop owners closing early and going into the larger regional towns to stock up on larder essentials as the threat of a 'lock-down' is looking increasing more like a reality.

How do you maintain a community spirit when the message is to isolate and with all gatherings of 500+ cancelled?

With the increase in free SMS and messenger services like Facebook, What'sApp and the like, we have lost the art of the telephone call which allows for immediate two-way communication and the opportunity to 'hear' how our friend at the other end is feeling. You can hide behind an emoticon but not the sound of the human voice.

There are a few old skills and attitudes we need to brush up on to help us get through these next few months.

When was the last time you said, or heard someone say: " So nice to HEAR your voice"?

Welcome to 2020

Welcome to 2020!

This is a year where I step back from some long-term NFP positions to take up a more dedicated commitment to a few. 

Please come and continue the journey.


Highland Mist

No heavy rain this morning but we are surrounded by low cloud. Fed the horse at 5am and it was like a Highland mist all around: it is it no falsehood to call this area the Central Highlands. It will be an interesting drive in to Ballarat for an early breakfast meeting, the haunting wind turbines with their jaunted crowns being momentarily illuminated by the car’s headlights with the pitch and turns of the Yendon Road.

Pink Up Your Town during Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October).

Pink Up Your Town is a fantastic way for a local community to come together during Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October). Driven by the dedication and passion of local volunteer groups, Pink Up Your Town is a way to bring together clubs, businesses, schools and neighbours to create a visual show of support for those experiencing breast cancer and raise funds for the  nurses of the McGrath Foundation.

Moorabool Shire 2019 Citizen of the Year, Kevin Harper, is looking to the local community to join with him and support this community initiative.  When recently interviewed Kevin said: “Since the CoTY award in January,  I have been exploring ways in which I can involve and connect the local community with some of my passions – when the invitation came to ‘Pink up Ballan’ it seemed the obvious fit”.

The next stage for Kevin is to form a committee and gather a  group of volunteers to make this happen. Kevin hopes that through an arrangement between the Community House and the Autumn Festival Committee,  a Community-wide engagement will be possible.

Further information from:


St John's Bungaree 150th - Celebration Eucharist


It was a great day of celebrations at Saint John's Anglican church in Bungaree this morning.

This small rural community has been faithfully witnessing to the Gospel on this site for 150 years:  a significant time in the recent (PI) history of Australia. Some present today could trace their lineage back to the original founders. The church building is unique in this part of the Ballaarat Diocese in that the building and plant have been maintained by the same few families since the original Bluestone church was built. 

I remember well the first service I lead at Bungaree: it was one of the Christmas Carol services for which the church is famous in the local community.  Fr Turnbull, the then incumbent, was suddenly hospitalised with an acute gallbladder attack: "it's all done for you, just read from the running sheet and say a few words at the end" was his plea from his hospital bed.  I arrived at Bungaree - a very hot December evening - cassock, hood and preaching scarf in hand  - and instantly fell in love with the people and their ministry. Over the next decade I had the privilege of exercising a more intentional  ministry.

I must disclose, not a secret for it is well known, but a Bungaree conspiracy supporting of one of my weaknesses. I love 'Jelly Slice' !!! 

Whenever I am at Bungaree, in whatever capacity, there is  always a plate of Jelly Slice in the fridge with my name on it.  

Today, even though I had been unable to confirm my attendance, the Jelly Slice was there, in the fridge with a post-it-note with my name on it, waiting for me.....

In his homily this morning, Bishop Garry spoke about the Prologue in the Gospel of John (the gospel reading for the day) being the 'big picture' - he recalled as a teenager seeing the first pictures of the Earth from the Moon, further reflecting on beyond the big picture of creation and our current healthy concern with the effects of Climate Change, to say that God is also interested in what we do individually in small communities, such as Bungaree, in celebrating incarnational faith (those are my words not the Bishop's, but that's what he meant). 

I am reminded of the stories of the Widow’s Mite; the Centurion’s Servant; the boy with his five loaves and two fish - all low-key events in their local context but transformational events that still speak to us two millennia later. 

Like most 'Cradle Christians' of my era with a theological degree earned after post graduate studies in our vocational fields, we find ourselves on a  'sine curve'  journey - oscillating between conviction and doubt.

A combination this morning of the Bishop's words and the home-coming welcome of the Bungaree community has placed me at the top of the curve.

Celebration, with reflection leading to action,  is a good thing.




Bagpiper at Bungaree

It was a cold and misty start to the ANZAC Day commemoration at Bungaree but that didn’t stop over 300 locals gathering to pause from their busy farming lives and remember the fallen. 104 years to the day of the first landings of the ANZANC force at Gallipoli  and 80 years sins the start of World War 2. 

Toddlers - and for them  it will be many years before any of this has any meaning - energised  the elderly  for whom today is a reminder of past horrors and just how near we are to another wave of mass slaughter. 

The sustained trench warfare of 1915 has today been replaced with surprise  attacks on non-combatants: women  and children number higher than men  in the list of dead and injured. 

Just as the young men who formed the first ANZAC response were ill prepared for what was to await them, we are equally unprepared for the horrors  of Christchurch and Sri Lanka.


Busy start to the year

It has been a very busy start to 2019, mainly brought on by some changes in the Autumn Festival committee which has seen me wearing a few extra hats.

Gordon Bleu is still in recess which has freed up time for Autumn Festival and Hospice matters.  Today is my first half-Friday that I have been at home and working in my Study before a meeting in Ballarat this evening. 

As I worked this morning, with Brexit and the Australian Federal election dominating all news services, I looked back with to the days of gentler politics and political  respect - now so sadly missing from the world stage. 

A true example of this is the election of the first lady Speaker to the British House of Commons.  The link via YouTube is HERE