Tag Archives: Victoria

Pozible campaign to support Yorta Yorta Community

Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation and Tracey M Benson are working together to develop a series of projects that will benefit the Yorta Yorta community.

We need your support!

Check out this video about part of the project: https://vimeo.com/122281770
Please share and support this project to help reopen the “University of the Bush” Every little bit counts!!


Project outputs
There are a range of outputs intended for this project, they include:
1. The development of a Yorta Yorta language book for children incorporating the use of augmented reality technology
2. The development of an augmented reality walk around Barmah National Park, which builds on the existing GPS/Bluetooth project.
3. Providing workshops for young people in the Yorta Yorta community in digital imaging, bookmaking, video and creating augmented reality works with the Aurasma tool
4. The creation of an interactive map/screen at the Dharnya Centre which would be enhanced by augmented reality
5. To reinvigorate the Dharnya Centre through the above activities.

365 Places: Lorne

Day 77: Lorne, Victoria, Australia

Today, I am continuing the journey along the Great Ocean Road, to the very pretty beach town of Lorne.

Image Credit: http://www.visitvictoria.com/Regions/great-ocean-road/Destinations/lorne.aspx
Image Credit: http://www.visitvictoria.com/Regions/great-ocean-road/Destinations/lorne.aspx

Lorne is famous for a couple of things aside from its natural beauty, popularity as a seaside resort, proximity to GOR and Great Otway National Park. It is also home to the Falls Music & Arts Festival which occurs over the New Years long weekend every year, and the Lorne Sculpture Biennial, most recently held in March 2014.

Image Credit: http://www.visitvictoria.com/regions/Great-Ocean-Road/Activities-and-attractions/Nature-and-wildlife/National-parks-and-reserves/Great-Otway-National-Park.aspx
Image Credit: http://www.visitvictoria.com/regions/Great-Ocean-Road/Activities-and-attractions/Nature-and-wildlife/National-parks-and-reserves/Great-Otway-National-Park.aspx


The Falls Festival is best known for contemporary music performances, dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret, as well as other art forms. Because the event runs over three days, people bring a tent and camp out at the event. The festival started in 1993, with a small one day concert called the Rock Above The Falls. This initial event attracted nearly 11,000 people, far exceeding the organisers expectations, and the organisers quickly negotiated the use of neighbouring land to accommodate the crowd. Since this humble start, the Falls Festival is now in three locations – Lorne, Byron Bay NSW and Marion Bay in Tasmania.

© All rights reserved by Public Record Office Victoria
© All rights reserved by Public Record Office Victoria

Lorne has long been a place that attracts creative people as well as beach lovers. For example, In 1891, the area was visited by Rudyard Kipling who was inspired to write the poem Flowers, which included the line:

Buy my hot-wood clematis,
Buy a frond of fern,
Gathered where the Erskine leaps
Down the road to Lorne.

Mr Wikipedia says about the area prior to European settlement:

Lorne was part of the traditional lands of the Gadubanud or King Parrot people of the Cape Otway coast according to Ian Clark, although many popular websites report that the area was occupied by the Kolakngat Aborigines.

Given that there is some conflicting information about the pre-European occupation, I am interested to find out more on this subject. The text referred to is listed below as a reference.

We loved seeing Lorne and it is a town definitely worth visiting and exploring as part of the Great Ocean Road journey.

Ian D. Clark, pp119-123, Scars on the Landscape. A Register of Massacre sites in Western Victoria 1803-1859, Aboriginal Studies Press, 1995 ISBN 0-85575-281-5

365 Places: Anglesea

Day 75: Anglesea, Victoria, Australia

Image Credit: http://www.angleseabeachfront.com.au/gallery-full.asp
Image Credit: http://www.angleseabeachfront.com.au/gallery-full.asp

Anglesea is another place worth stopping along the Great Ocean Road which is famous for its beautiful surf beaches and coastal lifestyle.

Located close to Torquay and on the banks of the Anglesea River, the Travel Victoria website says about Angelsea:

Anglesea is a particularly significant town on the Great Ocean Road as it marks the first spot south-west of the road’s official start at Torquay where it meets the coast.

Anglesea is a much smaller community to nearly Torquay, with about 2000 people living in the area, compared to about 6500.

Image Credit: http://www.angleseabeachfront.com.au/gallery.asp?offset=24
Angelsea at Dusk, Image Credit: http://www.angleseabeachfront.com.au/gallery.asp?offset=24

Anglesea is also well-known for its parks and gardens which line the coastal foreshore and the Anglesea River. For example, Coogoorah Park at the end of River Reserve Road features a network of islands linked by boardwalks and bridges through wetlands.

Image Credit: http://www.angleseabackpackers.com.au
Image Credit: http://www.angleseabackpackers.com.au

The Travel Victoria website also says:

Around 10 kilometres north-east of Anglesea is Point Addis where rugged sandstone cliffs overlook a marine national park. It’s popular launching place for hang gliders, while steps lead down from the cliff top to the beach which is an ideal surfing spot.

It is no wonder Angelsea is a popular place for  Melburnians to escape for summer holidays. There a number of related posts about this journey – check out Torquay, Kangaroo Island and Great Ocean Road.

365 Places: Torquay

Day 74: Torquay, Victoria, Australia

Today, I return to a journey I started to document earlier – the trip we took across Great Ocean Road (GOR), which included our couple of days in Kangaroo Island.

Dawn at Torquay, Image Credit: © Tracey Benson 2012
Dawn at Torquay, Image Credit: © Tracey Benson 2012

Torquay is considered the gateway of GOR and is located about 20 kilometres south of Geelong. The township faces Bass Strait, so it is a bit chilly to swim in the ocean compared to the warmer waters of SE Queensland and northern NSW, where we usually go swimming. Although the water is cold, Torquay and nearby Bells Beach are famous for their surf beaches and surf culture is a key aspect of Torquay’s identity. Mr Wikipedia says:

Many of the world’s most famous surf companies have their home in Torquay, including Rip Curl and Quiksilver- all of which make up part of the Surf Coast Plaza, which provides shopping and eating, as well as the Surf World Museum.

If surfing is your thing, then the best time to head to Torquay is over Easter to check out the world’s best surfers compete in the mighty Rip Curl Pro.

The Torquay shops are well worth a look, with a number of galleries and interesting boutiques featuring local art and craft. We came across the work of  Ed Sloane and also the Watermarks Gallery had some lovely photographic art works.

Torquay, Image Credit: © Tracey Benson 2012
Torquay, Image Credit: © Tracey Benson 2012

The coastline around this region is beautiful and it is no wonder Torquay became a popular spot for day trippers and picnickers from Melbourne and Geelong. For us, it was a great start to our journey and we hope to return back there some day soon.

365 Places: Great Ocean Road

Day 46: Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia

Tracey at Torquay © Martin Drury 2012
Tracey at Torquay © Martin Drury 2012

By now many of you have figured out that I love the coast. Being by the sea makes me happy, as I love to feel closer to the beauty and power of nature. The movement of the tides and the impact of weather at sea is a humbling reminder of our transience as human beings and the constant change of our universe. The ocean has also been part of my earliest childhood memories and continues to be a significant place for me to be inspired and mindful of the wonderment of our beautiful planet  earth.

Torquay, Image Credit: © Tracey Benson 2012
Torquay, Image Credit: © Tracey Benson 2012

So today, I would like to share with you a special journey along the coast from a couple of years ago, along the Great Ocean Road. It is a road trip that is also on many Australian’s bucket list – for good reason. This heritage listed 243 kilometre long piece of bitumen takes travellers along the Victorian coast from Torquay to Allansford, taking in some incredible coastline along the way.

© Tracey Benson 2012
12 Apostles © Tracey Benson 2012

Some of the most iconic Australian scenery is located along this route, for example; Torquay Beach, Bells Beach and the 12 Apostles. But it is not just the beautiful scenery that makes this road important for Australians. Great Ocean Road was built by returned soldiers between 1919 and 1932 and is dedicated to soldiers killed during World War I, making the road the world’s largest war memorial.

For many years the Great Ocean Road has been considered one of the world’s most scenic roads. Even back in 1962, The Age newspaper reported that the Tourism Development Authority  recognised the opportunities for commerce and tourism for the region making the decision to generate tourist interest through publicity.

Over time, I will write about some of the lovely places to visit along the way, but for now I hope you enjoy a little teaser article about this amazing Australian road trip. For now, here are some images from our journey.

365 Places: Violet Town

Day 39: Violet Town, Victoria, Australia

Today’s post is about a place that we only visited briefly last year – to check out the locally famous market. The Violet Town Community Market is held every 2nd Saturday of the month and there is a bevy of local produce and arts and crafts.

Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/52846207@N04/8074997719/
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/52846207@N04/8074997719/

We went with a couple of friends, who I met through working with the Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation. One friend was Sue Walker, the writer and director of the recent sell-out play Turning Tables.

The Violet Town Community Market website says:

Founded in 1978 this thriving community market supports local groups and is renowned for its focus on sustainable living principles – remember to bring your own bags.

Image Credit: http://www.violettown.org.au/
Image Credit: http://www.violettown.org.au/

Violet Town is situated on the Hume Highway, which is the inland highway between Sydney and Melbourne, and sits at the foot of the Strathbogie Ranges. It was also the first inland Victorian town to be surveyed.

The explorer Major Mitchell Thomas named the site of the township Violet Ponds, impressed by the host of native flowers growing round a pond alongside which he camped. The Travelmate website says:

Although the name has since undergone a slight change, the town retains much of its original village atmosphere. The village has grown round Honeysuckle Creek and the floral theme is enhanced by such street names as Primrose, Lilac and Tulip.

The town itself is an important centre for ballooning, gliding and sky-diving and is the gateway to the scenic routes and horse-riding trails of the ranges which also boast a number of herb and deer farms.

Railway Hotel. Image Credit: http://www.violettown.org.au
Railway Hotel. Image Credit: http://www.violettown.org.au
Cowslip Road. Image Credit http://violettown.org.au/
Cowslip Road. Image Credit http://violettown.org.au/

So if you find yourself on the highway on the 2nd Saturday of the month, drop into Violet Town, have a great coffee and take some time out to look around.

365 Places: Shepparton

Day 17: Shepparton, Victoria, Australia

Today we are going back to Victoria, to the town where I spent 6 weeks as a secondee with Jawun – Shepparton, more affectionately known as Shep. While I was in Shepparton, I worked for the Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation , to find out more you can read my recent story titled: Collaborations between culture and science: Yorta Yorta projects.

Shepparton lies in the flood plains country of northern Victoria and is nestled on the banks of the Goulburn River. The region is known as the Goulburn Valley, and it is famous for its many fruit farms. Sadly in recent years, the fruit canning industry in Australia has been in decline, having a big impact on Shep and surrounding communities.

Shepparton Cows
Shepparton Cows

The first thing that stuck me about Shepparton was the diversity of international cuisine, as there are many restaurants in town with all manner of foods – including Indian, Thai, Turkish, Chinese, and most interestingly Albanian. I was very surprised to learn that Albanian migrants have been in the region for several generations, mainly fruit farming (along with Italian migrants).

Lutfiyes Shish Kebab
Lutfiyes Shish Kebab

Lutfiyes Shish Kebabs is run by an Albanian family and has great food – great variety of salads, curried meats, kebabs and even lasagne. The people that run Lutfiyes are simply amazing. Over many years they have volunteered their time and energy to the Shepparton community, doing everything from preparing ANZAC Day brunch to feeding tired, hungry firefighters. You can see some of their great community support on their Facebook page.

Image credit: https://www.facebook.com/lutfiyes.shish.kebab
Image credit: https://www.facebook.com/lutfiyes.shish.kebab

One curious and interesting fact about Shepparton is that it has an abundance of tattooists.

Another place I love in Shep is SAM – Shepparton Art Museum – it has a wonderful collection of Australian art and is a beautiful space.

Although I missed my family a lot when I was working in Shepparton, I met some fabulous people who are now our friends and learnt a great deal about Yorta Yorta culture, the history of the region and even some things about myself.

Collaborations between culture and science: Yorta Yorta projects

It is almost a year since I headed to Shepparton on a Jawun secondment to work with the Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation (YYNAC). My role was to help them to develop their social media presence and internal communications tools. It was a big brief for six weeks, and it is great to see that they continue to be very active on Facebook, having over 700 followers liking their page at https://www.facebook.com/YYNAC. For me, it was a really enriching and challenging time and one of the highlights of my public service career to date.

When I heard that I would be working with YYNAC, I was thrilled – as I had read about the work that they had done with researchers into building bridges between cultural knowledge of land and scientific research. For example, their ongoing partnership with the Monash Sustainibility Institute has resulted in numerous research papers. I was very fortunate to be in the audience for the presentation of their paper Indigenous voices in climate change adaptation, at the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) conference in Sydney last year. Another researcher from the US, Caroline Addler has also worked with the Yorta Yorta people over the years – check out pp 36-37 of Mountain Meridian.

Map of Barmah lake area, Image Credit: www.facebook.com/YYNAC
Map of Barmah lake area, Image Credit: http://www.facebook.com/YYNAC

I have recently heard that they are developing an app for mobiles and handheld devices, using Bluetooth technology, with the working title Bluetooth Tourism Product: for a walking tour around Barmah National Park. This project sounds really exciting and I can’t wait to go down to visit and try out the app.

From the Facebook page:

Since the closure of the Dharnya Centre we continue to create opportunities through a range of different activities that can value add economically and educationally.

The particular product is a new app tool using bluetooth sensors and tablets. We are currently recording people from community talking about significant areas of country to create a walk from the Dharnya Centre taking in to area to the Barmah Lake, Broken Creek.

If you want some background into their work, the suite of digital stories on the YYNAC website is a great place to start understanding the research that has evolved over recent years. In particular, the video, Nhawul Bultjubul Ma (To See with Both Eyes) offers some brilliant insights:

To further highlight the Yorta Yorta peoples engagement with key agencies and researchers, in December 2013, a delegation from the World Bank met with the Yorta Yorta community. The delegation included representatives from Cambodia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Laos, Samoa and Zambia.

World Bank Delegation, Image Credit: www.facebook.com/YYNAC
World Bank Delegation, Image Credit: http://www.facebook.com/YYNAC

The Yorta Yorta people stand out as a highly engaged group, willing to collaborate, share knowledge and learn from new technologies. I look forward to seeing more amazing work from this community. It was a real privilege to work with them and I hope our connection continues to strengthen over time.

If you are interested in reading more about my Jawun secondment, you can check out the blog posts I wrote while working with YYNAC on the geokult site.


Griggs, DJ, Lynch, AH, Joachim, L, Zhu, X, Adler, CE, Bischoff-Mattson, Z, Wang, P & Kestin, TS 2013, Indigenous voices in climate change adaptation: Addressing the challenges of diverse knowledge systems in the Barmah-Millewa, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Gold Coast, 64 pp.


365 Places: Shamrock Hotel

Day 15: Shamrock Hotel, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia

Today I am posting again about a place in Bendigo – the Shamrock Hotel, where we stayed when we visited. As mentioned in and earlier post 365 Places: Bendigo, this hotel is known as the “Grand Old Dame”. Indeed she is grand, it was a treat staying here. Hope you enjoy the photo essay.



365 Places: View Street

Day 14: View Street, Bendigo, Victoria Australia

Today we had a great day discovering a little of Bendigo. We loved visiting this elegant regional city and hope to drop in again one day soon.

My post is about a wonderful street in the middle of town – View Street. What I loved discovering about this place was the many interesting shops and galleries. A lot of the shops have vintage and antique wares, which I adore fossicking through – to discover treasure. In particular, I loved the incredible amount and diversity of vintage jewellery and furniture that we saw. For me these ‘precious’ objects tell a story of a town that was very wealthy, steeped in culture and opulence.  Many of the older buildings also tell this story, with their beautiful stained glass windows and an abundance of copper and wrought iron work.

Back to View Street. We also discovered a great art exhibition in a gallery close to the Bendigo Arts Centre. The exhibition was titled The Beauty in Decay and put together by the A7+ Artists’ Collective. The gallery is located on 60 View Street. Here is a Facebook page with more details. The artist in the exhibition are: Belinda Fraser, Lisa Guzzardi, Sandra Hosking, Jodie Louise Knight, Pat Thwaites, Sarah Wallac-Smith and Judith Warnest.

Here are some pictures of the work in the gallery, including one of Sandra Hosking working in the gallery.