February 14, 2014
The Governor General, Her Excellency the
Honourable Quentin Bryce, AC, CVO announced on the 13 February 2014 that
Corporal Cameron Stewart Baird, MG has been awarded the Victoria Cross for
“I am immensely proud of Corporal Baird’s unwavering courage and determination
in the face of grave danger but I am equally saddened by his selfless sacrifice
and the Baird family’s loss,” General Hurley said.
“Corporal Baird was a true modern day warrior who set a standard that every
soldier aspires to achieve. Modest yet inspirational, he led from the front and
“Corporal Baird represents the best of the ANZAC spirit. Australians should
never forget the sacrifice he made in our nation’s name. ”
Corporal Baird is survived by his parents, brother and partner.
Source: Gen. David Hurley, Defence Department
February 10, 2014
The State Parliament reconvened an inquiry to assess the supply and use of methamphetamines in Victoria on the 28 January at the Grand Promenade, Traralgon, and have held a subsequent hearing at Parliament House.
Methamphetamines such as speed, ICE, crystal meth and methamphetamine base are used recreationally, with prolonged use causing anxiety, depression and intellectual deficits. Former addicts of the drugs have shown symptoms of anhedonia and chronic apathy.
The inquiry headed by the Law Reform, Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee will examine the channels of supply of methamphetamines as well as the prevalence and culture particularly in rural Victoria among indigenous youth, links between the drug’s use and crime and long and short term consequences of the drug’s use.
The committee will also examine state and federal strategies in dealing with methamphetamine use.
The next planned public hearings are to be in Wodonga (24/2/2014), Shepparton (25/2/2014) and Warrnombool (3/3/2014). Venues for the public hearings are yet to be confirmed.
In 2011, 13 people have died in Victoria from psychostimulants such as methamphetamines, with the number said to have increased 250% over the last three years.
The committee will report back no later than the 31 August 2014 and further details can be found at http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/lrdcpc/inquiries/article/2134.
Source: Parliament of Victoria, Harvard Medical School, ABS, ABC
The Walk Home 2014
The Walk Home 2014 (TWH2014) team are finalising vehicle and gear hire for a planned 300 km march along the Thai-Burma Railway in Thailand on ANZAC Day 2014. The march will raise awareness and money for Soldier On, a charity that looks after the welfare of mentally and physically injured Australian soldiers.
The group consists of 10 to 12 serving or returned Australian Defence Force personnel, state and federal police and civilians from throughout Australia, with Perth members meeting monthly for group training. The team will start at Ban Pong in Thailand and work their way North West to Sangkhla Buri along the ruins of the Thai-Burma Railway (nicknamed “The Death Railway” due to prisoners of war being used as forced labour in its construction during World War Two). The trip is estimated to take 12 days.
TWH2014 is the brainchild of Bryan R., who came up with the idea of the march whilst deployed to Africa earlier this year with the Federal Government.
“On a brief period of leave, I had arranged to meet up with my wife in Thailand where we visited the museum at Kanchanaburi. This is where I had the initial idea to walk it (the Thai-Burma Railway) and my wife suggested that I do it for charity. On my return to South Sudan, my wife informed me about the new charity called Soldier On. On ANZAC Day this year, after a couple of brown lemonades, I managed to convince some mates to join me.”
So far, TWH2014 have managed to raise over $26,000 with corporate sponsorships and other events and the 8/12 Royal Australian Artillery regiment has planned to raise around $3000 through weekly sporting activities.One hundred percent of donations will go to Soldier On, who work to get the best care for wounded Australian soldiers to help with their recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration. In Afghanistan, 261 Australians from all three branches of the ADF have been wounded with 8% of all personnel deployed to Afghanistan returning with psychological problems such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
For more information, visit http://thewalkhome.com.au/
To donate to Soldier On
click on this link: http://www.soldieron.org.au/
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Saturday 1 – Monday 31 March 2014
Various venues in and around Greater Shepparton
Full program details: www.sheppartonfestival.org.au
The SheppARTon Festival is thrilled to announce its program of arts, events and celebrations taking place across March. Teaming up with La Trobe University, and in partnership with Greater Shepparton City Council, the SheppARTon Festival highlights a culturally rich arts community. Working around the theme of Unique Events in Unusual Places across the Goulburn Valley, the festival program is sure to delight every member of the family.
The Shepparton Festival is now in its 18th year and is the largest cultural event on the Shepparton calendar.
In 2014, the SheppARTon Festival extends from 11 days to the full 31 days of March. The SheppARTon Festival features a rich program of music, theatre, literature, dance and film, celebrating the unique community of Greater Shepparton and its myriad stories. Shepparton, the heart of Victoria’s ‘food bowl’, is a vibrant, culturally diverse, modern city with a strong indigenous population and a long history of immigration. With the threatened SPC Ardmona potential closure, the festival offers strong support to a community in uncertain times.
The festival kicks off with a weekend of family-friendly activities. Emerge at Twilight (1 March) is a spectacular multicultural celebration around Victoria Park Lake including a global marketplace, music and dance from local indigenous, refugee and emerging communities and culminating in a fireworks display over the lake. Polyglot Dream Weavers (1 & 2 March) present Tangled, an interactive and engaging installation combining weaving, music and storytelling; and the Victorian Concert Orchestra present an afternoon of music in the sun, basking in Shepparton’s beautiful natural surrounds for Orchestra in the Dookie Hills (2 March).
The long weekend starts early with purveyors of fine Australian jazz, The Andrea Keller Jazz Quartet, bringing their spirited style to Shepparton (7 March). The Festival then hosts celebrated opera, concert and stage performer David Hobson at Opera in the Orchard (8 March), in the gorgeous setting of the Findon House Gardens. Distinguished memoir writer Patti Miller discusses her latest novel, The Mind of a Thief, at the Literary Lunch (9 March), and the Dream Voices Gala (9 March) brings together the specially directed, multicultural Dream Voices choir with festival guest Deborah Cheetham, renowned Aboriginal Australian soprano, actor, playwright and proud Yorta Yorta woman. Deborah Cheetham and rising local star Tenielle McKenzie have composed songs especially for the event, in an evening not to be missed.
With hundred of entries already receieved, the 15th Shepparton Shorts Short Film Festival (14 March) promises to delight, with a prize awarded for the best film on the theme Dream Voices. Finally, closing out the festival in an exciting spectacle comes The Community Dragon Boat Regatta (30 March), with festivities including a Blessing of Boats ceremony and a traditional race across Victoria Park Lake!
Coinciding with the SheppARTon Festival, visual art lovers can enjoy a number of exhibitions on display at the Shepparton Art Museum including Melbourne-based artist Nick Selenitsch’s Play, featuring interactive installations and sculptures that draw upon sport, games and modern abstractions, and Sydney-based painter Mitch Cairns’ sweeping mural using bold cartoon forms and deadpan humour for The Drawing Wall #14. More information can be found at SAM’s website: www.sheppartonartmuseum.com.au/
The festival offers experiences for the local and visitor alike, SheppARTon Festival Artistic Director John Head said, “The 2014 SheppARTon program has something for everyone, whether you want to relax in our exquisite natural surroundings, enjoy quality arts and community performances, or treat yourself to some of the country’s finest produce. We have workshops in singing, sculpture, yarnbombing, bellydancing, creative mentorship and photography, with a host of talented artists and performers coming to Shepparton to share their skills, knowledge and passion. It is an opportunity to come together to celebrate the things that make Shepparton such a unique place.”
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