NCWQ Arts and Letters Report: August 2020

By Jennifer Ann Davies, NCWQ Arts and Letters Adviser

 Poverty, prostitution, poisoning, pain, paedophilia, people-poaching, panic, physical and psychological paralysis and perversions persist; potently pronounced in places, by the pandemic!

Piccolo, Piano and Pipes play… poignant, purity, pacification. Painters, poets, pages, performers, palimpsests, printers, palettes, publishers, peers, philosophers, pamphleteers, panels, photographers, pantomimes, puppeteers and papyrologists posit pathways and peepholes for people, for peace.

…softly, sometimes silently, souls are soothed, nourished; happy memories are revived, retrieved; new ideas flow forth into body, mind and spirit; resilience rises yet again, to generate new generosities to help with the poverty, prostitution, poisoning, pain, paedophilia, people-poaching, panic, physical and psychological paralysis and perversions…for this is our Job, and one in which Arts, Letters and Music play a healing and significant role, in all communities and cultures, worldwide!

 

BOOK SHARING HAS CONTINUED IN THESE LATTER DAYS OF THE PANDEMIC!

GUILTY WIVES James Patterson & David Ellis Arrow Books, London, 2013

Sitting in a dark, dank prison cell in Paris, serving a life sentence for murder, Abbie Elliot tries to piece together the story of how she came to be here. “This gripping novel by the world’s bestselling thriller writer will have you on the edge of your deckchair.” Daily Express

“I took another deep breath and burst into tears. I dove into the leaves, rolled through them, dug my hands into dirt, tasted and smelled and felt freedom for the first time in more than a year. I cried out and laughed and moaned. I looked up through the trees at the morning sky and marvelled at its majesty. I could stare up at the sky as long as I wished. I was free.” p422

…but she was not…                             SDGs 3/4/5/16

 

A Jack Reacher Thriller – LEE CHILD – THE MIDNIGHT LINE Bantam Press UK 2017

A righteous avenger for our troubled times – we all need Jack Reacher.

This author manages to make explicit a range of truths that are, more often than not, contained only implicitly. In addition to the drama and pathos, there are glaring communal truths of which readers should be aware. “There was heroin cough syrup for children…. Doctors prescribed heroin for fussy babies and bronchitis and insomnia and nerves and hysteria….patients loved it…millions got addicted…Corporations made a lot of easy money. World War 1 intervened…. The corporations took 80 years to back in the heroin business. They made a synthetic version…said they were for pain…” p182 www.leechild.com SDGs 3/4/11

 

BRIDGET JONES – MAD ABOUT THE BOY – Helen FIELDING –  Jonathon Cape 2013

Timely, tender, touching, witty, wise and hilarious!

Wonderful irreverence! – ‘Perfect’ mother: “These boys need to be rounded. They need their flutes. They need fencing. Furthermore, I do not see social engagements as ‘Play dates.’ They are team-building exercises.”

Horrified male teacher: “THEY ARE CHILDREN!” “They are not corporate products! What they need to acquire is not a constant massaging of the ego, but confidence, fun, affection, love, a sense of self-worth. They need to understand, now, that there will always – always – be someone greater and lesser than themselves, and that their self-worth lies in their increasing contentment with who they are, what they are doing and their increasing competence in doing that.” p354

Mr Wallaker, the male teacher, celebrated those who proved that when scary stuff happens, they could be brave and calm. Lots of Fun!  p365  SDGs 3/4/5/10/11

 

 

KHAKI TOWN – Judy NUNN – A wartime story they didn’t want told… William Heinemann Australia 2019. global.penguinrandomhouse.com

Inspired by a true wartime story that has remained a well-kept secret for over seventy  years!

March 1942 – Singapore has fallen. Darwin has been bombed. Australia is on the brink of being invaded by the Imperial Japanese Forces. Val Callahan, publican of The Brown’s Bar in Townsville, could not be happier as she contemplates the fortune she’s making from lonely,  thirsty soldiers. Overnight the small Queensland city is transformed into the transport hub for 70,000 American and Australian soldiers destined for combat in the South Pacific. Barbed wire and gun emplacements cover the beaches. Historic buildings are commandeered.

As racial violence explodes through the ranks of the military, a young United States congressman, Lyndon Baines Johnson, is sent to Townsville, by his president to investigate. “Keep a goddamned lid on it, Lyndon,” he is told, “lest it explode in our faces…”

A revealing read!      SDGs 3/4/10/11/16/17

 

 

THE MUSE – Jessie BURTON – multi-layered, gripping, rich…

 Picador/imprint of Pan MacMillan London 2016. www.panmacmillan.com

“A trio of artistic mysteries propel the story forwards with page-turning urgency. The novel is deftly plotted, a masterclass in pacing, tension and suspense, and richly characterized. Themes of feminism, race, family inheritance and love complete a rich novel that explores the danger of knowing other people’s secrets. ‘The Muse’ is an exquisitely written,  to evocative and suspenseful novel about art, aspiration and identity.’ Sunday Express

Written in sure-footed prose, this novel is delightful and seasoned with warm and wily wit! ‘… I wondered what she wanted…I reached for a bread roll and rested it in my palm. It was the weight and size of a small marsupial and I had an instinct to stroke it….” p24

In tandem with all else, ‘The Muse’ reveals a history of the gender divide in the worlds of Arts and Letters, in which “…the majority of work was by men…” but the main character listened intently and enraptured, to the voices of Una Marson, Gladys Lindo, and Constance Hollar – and was told that one day, she, also, would be READ OUT!  BBCs Caribbean voices. ‘Her little shining face, her bunches, she always made me feel like it was true. Seven years old and she was the only one who ever told me to keep going.’ p38 SDGs 3/4/5/8/10/12/17

 

 

A BURQA AND A HARD PLACE – Three Years in the New Afghanistan – Sally COOPER Pan MacMillan Australia P/L 2008

Sally Cooper grew up in Australia. After a career as a journalist and producer with ABC Radio  in Sydney, she travelled to Africa, working on radio projects in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. In 2004 she joined the United Nations, training local journalists across Afghanistan. This author and journalist makes a point of stating the primary concepts of ‘Journalism as we learned, in our day, before the bastardisation of the profession.  Crucial and primary, in our studies and practices: ACCURACY, NEUTRALITY AND RELEVANCE!

When Sally first arrived in Kabul in 2003, she knew next to nothing about Afghanistan. Over the next three years, together with a small team of Afghans, she travelled across the country training the first wave of post-Taliban journalists.

It was these people and their extraordinary stories that shaped Sally’s time in ‘the Ghan’ and opened up a window on a world completely foreign to most. From the strange realities of grocery shopping alongside armed mercenaries to picnicking amid spent bullet shells on a Kabul hillside, its’ a vivid, and sometimes, irreverent account of working in the ‘new Afghanistan’ and an affectionate portrait of a people coming to terms with yet another change in their nation’s fortune.

An extremely interesting read. ‘Under what circumstances do you decide to wear a burqa for your own protection?’ NON-FICTION. www.panmacmillan.com.au  SDGs 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/10/11/12/16/17

 

 

MORTAL REMAINS – Kathy REICHS – Thrillers don’t get more real than this! William Heinemann UK 2010  www.rbooks.co.uk

This is not just a thriller or a tale of the bones holding the truth.  It is also a tribute to those who continue to seek the identities of service men missing in action; and those who had been in prison camps. From this top forensic anthropologist, supported by remarkable people and research, contacts and addresses are included, so that some may be able to identify, finally grieve adequately and put to rest, their family members, fathers, sons, husbands, lovers, sisters, brothers, cousins….Additionally, ‘In the Belly of the Lizard’, an unpublished manuscript by Miles Davis, provided insight into the United States involvement in the Vietnam War. “Mortal Remains”, writes Reich, benefitted greatly from the help and support of colleagues, friends and family.”

Never underestimate the truths and value of Fiction! This is a wonderful and informative read, as well as a challenging set of puzzles.  “Brilliant….seamless blending of fascinating science and dead-on psychological portrayals, not to mention a whirlwind of a plot.” Jeffrey Deaver. www.kathyreichs.com  SDGs 4/16/17

 

THE THIRTEENTH TALE – Diane SETTERFIELD – Orion Books Ltd London, 2006

“A riveting multi-layered mystery that twists and turns, and weaves a quite magical spell.”

“All children mythologize their birth. It is a universal trait. You want to know someone? Heart, mind and soul? Ask him to tell you about when he was born. What you get won’t be the truth: it will be a story.  And nothing is more telling than a story.” “Tales of Change and Desperation” by Vida Winter

A beautiful, beautiful tribute to the world of Letters – a world of language, writing, reading, stories, books and the preservation and usefulness of all of these!  A biographer of sorts, our heroine works in a bookshop, with her father. “The shop itself makes next to no money. It is a place to write and receive letters….waiting for the next international book fair….It is a repository of books, a place of safety for all the volumes, once so lovingly written, that at present no one seems to want… and it is a place to read.” p15

“People disappear when they die. Their voice, their laughter, the warmth of their breath. Their flesh. Eventually their bones.  All living memory of them ceases. This is both dreadful and natural. Yet for some there is an exception to this annihilation. For in the books they write they continue to exist.  We can rediscover them. Their humour, their tone of voice, their moods. Through the written word they can anger you or make you happy. They can comfort you. They can perplex you. They can alter you. All this, even though they are dead. Like flies in amber, like corpses frozen in ice, that which according to the laws of nature should pass away is, by the miracle of ink on paper, preserved. It is a kind of magic.” p19 SDGs 3/4/5/8/10  www.orionbooks.co.uk

 

GOMA OPENS FRIDAY 7TH AUGUST 2020!!

You will be provided with ‘FREE timed-entry’ tickets

GOMA welcomes you to new Exhibitions

CUT IT:COLLAGE TO MEME/Welcome to Colour Television/I. Object… and much more.

ART LOVERS TREAT AT CAIRNS ARTS GALLERY

Sidney Nolan’s NED KELLY series now has extended presentations.

This is a National Gallery of Australia exhibition which had been cut short by the coronavirus.

The national tour of the series aims to inspire audiences across Australia to engage with this remarkable group of paintings, and contemplate the history or myth of an Australian story that will never die. In association with the exhibition, the National Gallery has loaned Ned Kelly’s death mask from the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) Old Melbourne Goal Collection and an exact replica of Kelly’s suit of armour from a private collection in Cairns. SDGs 4/5/8/10/16

All Queensland Galleries, regional and metropolitan, will follow SOCIAL DISTANCING DIRECTIVES, and are required to collect contact details of all visitors who are in the  buildings longer than 15 minutes. This is to assist with contact tracing in the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19 and will be handled in line with the relevant privacy act. The Precis from: Kuranda Paper July 2020/p10

 

KURANDA ARTS CO-OP welcomes a new member, Louise MABBUTT. Her artwork is inspired by childhood memories of growing up in Sabah, Borneo and in later years working on the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns, as a reef naturalist. During two years in Darwin, Louise found on the local beaches a vast array of different ,corals, shells, seaweeds and sponges. Combining watercolour paint with natural fabrics, she has developed her ‘reefscape’ artworks. The Kuranda Paper July 2020 p11. Gallery hours are shortened but can be checked on (07) 4093 9026. SDGs 3/4/5/8/14/17

 

PAINTED FROM LIFE! The Cardinal RULE of the nation’s most-watched Art Award: THE ARCHIBALD PRIZE. While we have all learned the arts of social distancing and socialising via

devices, the Art Gallery of NSW insists that artists and  must have met in person at least  once. Entries are open but extended through to September because of the lockdown. The  rules are inflexible, and contact cannot be via video!

Another portraiture prize, however, the $30,000 Portia Geach Memorial Award for Women Artists, declared flexibility in impossible times and adapted the rules to  “virtual” sittings. Brisbane Artist, MONICA ROHAN, prepares to enter the Archibald with her portrait of fellow artist, LUCY CULLITON. Monica will use sketches and photographs of Culliton, taken at her rural property before lockdown! The Weekend Australian Aug 1-2 2020 p3 SDGs 3/4/5/8/10/12

 

…softly, beautifully, sometimes eerily, always energetically, beautiful music from yesteryear haunts us…..heals us….heartens us…helps us…listen……

QUEENSLAND SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA is reinventing and recomposing some of the old, old Classics.

German-born English Composer, Max Richter has been shaking up classical music. VIVALDI’S “Four Seasons” was written in 1716 and is a musical expression of nature’s ever-changing calendar.  Listen to the ways in which Richter has captured this calendar, announcing and celebrating each season with evocative melodies and vibrant string textures! Beautiful.

Award-winning Icelandic composer, Olafur Arnalds and classical pianist, Alice Sara Ott took inspiration from Polish composer FREDERIC CHOPIN’S solo piano works, for The Chopin Project. Their composition transforms the listening experience.  Eerily exquisite and enjoyable.  www.qso.com.au August 2020  SDGs 3/4/8/11/12/17

 

 

For You

…the caterpillar worked, spinning her cocoon

her sleeping place – the finale – her tomb.

…and she went to sleep

 

….the butterfly emerged, slowly, new

beautiful, spectacular – vibrant hue.

 

…a beginning and an end- old and new

sleep, re-birth, morning dew.

 

we are ALL caterpillars

and butterflies – adieu!

the Darkness never lasts – yes, you knew!!

A Few Thoughts from Me To You: Jennifer Ann Davies: 1987 2nd edition

NCWQ Arts and Letters Report, July 2020

By Jennifer Ann Davies, NCWQ Arts and Letters Adviser

Wonderful wise women, working well and willingly, continuing to support our overarching humanitarian and educational goals. The goals, warmth and willingness have been embedded in our service since 1905 and have not ‘shape-shifted’, even in a brittle, mercenary era, where fiscal policy can often subsume the humane, and the warmth. Grandest CONGRATULATIONS on the stunning response to the Bursary Programme! Huge efforts have been invested in this wonderful initiative carried out by Kathy, Noela, Avril and a team of 30 members!  The response has been startling because of the interference by COVID-19, demanding greater creativity than ever, to promote the possibilities offered. Deepest thanks, also, to our ‘respectable radicals’; our ‘stirrers with style’; who “…changed the course of politics, altered the attitudes of many….made sure we could have careers….and ensured we could have an education…”! Foreword by Annette M. Lourigan in ‘Respectable Radicals’, authored by Marian Quartly and Judith Smart. Monash University Publishing 2015.                                                                      SDGs4/5/8/10/12/17

 

MUSIC OVERVIEW:

The corona virus pandemic has forced musicians to cancel hundreds and thousands of concerts around Australia. www.abc.net.au/classic

Many musicians face months without income. Some public support may be provided by donations to SUPPORT ACT, a music charity, providing crisis relief to artists, roadies and music workers who are directly affected. Some of the suggestions to help are listed here and are available on the ABC websites.

  • Hang on to your tickets for rescheduled dates! (Saves a lot of reorganising later).
  • Keep streaming and buying Australian music and merchandise.
  • Message your favourite musician or venue to offer moral support.
  • Keep in touch with your favourite ensembles.

Helping the industry through this difficult time will ensure you still have live music to love and share in the future. ABC Classic is working with the music industry to keep the music going, as concert halls go dark around Australia. The Australian website also includes a Euro-headline: “Musicians in Italy perform on balconies during quarantine! “From operatic tenors to tambourine-wielding folk singers, Italian musicians have found a way to share the joy of music in the tense atmosphere of national quarantine.”

The Financial Review reports on live-streaming, Instagram etc. and cites: “…the Australian Music industry employs more than 60,000 people, 37,000 of them fulltime… (This) adds an estimated $4 billion – $6 billion to the Australian economy, with revenue of $1.5 billion – $2 billion annually from live music alone.” www.afr.com.

With a heavy heart, QUEENSLAND SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA has cancelled all performances and activities, up to and including my birthday one on 31 August 2020! “We know this is disappointing for our audiences, not to mention our family of musicians who share a deep love of music and are born to perform.” There was, however, one gathering of the orchestra in the ABC studio, to perform, live, on Thursday 25 June. This was broadcast to the public! Other soul-reaching performances should be rescheduled. These include but are not limited to the following: –

  • The Ballet Beautiful
  • Peasant Prince
  • Mozart’s Jupiter
  • Beethoven, Rossini and Weber
  • Opera Gala
  • Bolero and Beyond
  • Beethoven and Dvorak
  • Mozart and Golijov
  • Last Night at the Proms
  • Don Quixote
  • Music of the Masters
  • Brahms, Muczynski and Martinu
  • Ode to Joy and Vienna and Beyond qso.com.au

Sydney Symphony Orchestra members say:  “While concert halls remain silent, join us online to share the power of music.” www.sydneysymphony.com

 

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra asks music lovers to “Continue to experience the magic of music, with a free online concert series.”             www.mso.com.au

 

Such is the love of music, in 2015 Adelaide was the first city in Australia to be designated a UNESCO City of Music! The designation is an acknowledgement of the breadth, depth and vibrancy of the city’s music culture, its international reach, its history and its aspirations. www.explore.cityofadelaide.com.au

 

Perth Community Radio continues to communicate crisis changes, cancellations and connections for all audiences and artists. www.perthnow.com.au

 

Canberra had given the community ‘Sounds of Silence’ –   which has now become a musical response to COVID-19: “We are living in unprecedented times; it’s more important than ever that we lift each other up…” www.facebook.com/abccanberra

 

In our Northern Territory, in Darwin Nightcliff Seabreeze Festival is planning to go ahead online amid shutdowns. www.abc.net.au

 

SDGs 3/4/8/9/10/12/17

LETTERS/LITERATURE:

Suffering and Sanctuary.  Death and Life. Fear and Freedom. Abuse and Dignity. Hunger and Plenty. All of these are embedded in three very different books about Refugees. Two are written from a personal perspective, with that wonderfully significant personal pronoun “I”. The third is written in third person – an outsider’s perspective – fiction based on soundly researched fact. All of them are interesting and important to give a substantial and genuine ‘voice’ to those who have to flee their home country, or die.

 

“IN ORDER TO LIVE”

A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom

Yeonmi PARK

“For my family, and for anyone, anywhere, struggling for freedom.”

“North Koreans have two stories running in their heads…like trains on parallel tracks. One is what you are taught to believe; the other is what you see with your own eyes. It wasn’t until I escaped to South Korea and read a translation of George Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ that I found a word for this peculiar condition: ‘doublethink’….It is how you can recite the motto ‘Children are King’ in school, then walk home past the orphanage where children with bloated bellies state at you with hungry eyes.” pp53-54

‘An epic, harrowing and heartbreaking story.’ Guardian

‘Yeonmi lifts the lid on the brutal regime of Kim Jong 11, of people starving, helpless citizens doing whatever they can in order to survive.’ Daily Mail

‘On the cold, black night of 31 March 2007, my mother and I scrambled down the steep, rocky bank of the frozen Yalu River that divides North Korea and China. There were patrols above us and below…’

This is the incredible, true story of a thirteen-year-old girl who risked her life when she and her family fled North Korea. Yeonmi reveals what it was like to live under a brutally repressive regime, which starved and terrorized its people. She tells of her family’s courageous decision to escape and of the extraordinary, heartbreaking journey that followed, culminating in a daring night-time trek across the Gobi Desert to freedom.

It is a story of astonishing endurance – both physical and mental – which has already inspired people all around the world. ::

‘A testimony to the incredible resilience of the human spirit.’ Daily Telegraph

Yeonmi PARK was born in Hyesan, North Korea, in 1993 and is now based in Seoul, South Korea. She is currently travelling the world as a speaker and human rights advocate. Penguin Random House UK 2015 SDGs 1/2/3/4/6/8/10/11/16

 

This little poem was published in 1982-83, before Yeonmi was born – new immigrants were still arriving in Australia, ‘though we knew little of their struggles….Jennifer Ann White: Come, Share with Me.

It is written about/and spoken of/and touched upon lightly/and discussed in depth -/that “freedom” is a state of mind/that as we think so we can be;/that happiness is there always-/elevate our minds and so/our whole being will soar to new horizons..

I wonder? / sometimes that freedom and joy/so close…so close – /so visible – so tangible/ I am almost afraid to/reach out and touch it -/ almost…..p20

 

“THE HAPPIEST REFUGEE”

A Memoir – The extraordinary true story of a boy’s journey from starvation at sea to becoming one of Australia’s best-loved comedians. ANH DO Allen & Unwin NSW 2010

 

“Downtown Saigon is a tangle of bikes, pedestrians and rickshaws. The year is 1976 and the Vietnam War has just ended……A young girl steels herself for a run – onto a train. The bag of snacks and fruit that she needs to sell to support her other, five younger siblings, as well as her father and two older brothers who are locked away in communist  ‘re-education’ camps, is on the train…..” p1

Anh DO nearly didn’t make it to Australia. His entire family came close to losing their lives on the sea as they escaped from war-torn Vietnam in an overcrowded boat. But nothing – not murderous pirates, nor the imminent threat of death by hunger, disease or dehydration as they drifted for days – could quench their desire to make a better life in a country where freedom existed. The Happiest Refugee tells the incredible, uplifting and inspiring life of one of our favourite personalities. Tragedy, humour, heartache and unswerving determination – a big life with big dreams. Anh’s story will move all who read it.

“A BELTER of a book.  I’ve been at the National Library for ten years: I’ve had to read a lot of books…this is one of the best!” Heidi Pritchard

Myriad blurbs accompany Anh’s memoir….In a nutshell, this story is about both the absence and the presence of a common humanity and love.  Beautiful. SDGs 1/2/3/4/6/8/10/11/12/16/17

 

 

“SANCTUARY” – Judy NUNN Penguin Random House Australia 2018

A compelling novel in which compassion meets bigotry, hatred meets love, and ultimately despair meets hope on the windswept shores of Australia.

Judy Nunn writes: “I’ve written about immigrants many times in the past, particularly those from ravaged European countries following World War 11; we are, after all, an immigrant nation. In “Sanctuary” I’m once again writing about those seeking refuge from the horrors of war. But this is a new generation and these are different people from different places with different backgrounds. I’ve been enthralled discovering my characters and following their journey.  I hope you will be too. Judy Nunn 2017

On a barren island off the coast of Western Australia, a rickety wooden dinghy runs aground. Aboard are nine people who have no idea where they are. Strangers before the violent storm that tore their vessel apart, the instinct to survive has seen them bond during their days adrift on a vast and merciless ocean.

Fate has cast them ashore with only one thing in common…fear.  When they remain undiscovered on a deserted island, they dare to dream of a new life…however, forty kilometres away on the mainland lies a tiny fishing port.  Here everyone knows everyone and everyone has his or her place…things never change…until now…

Really interesting. Nunn states that among her research resource she would like to recognise the incredible collection of material loaned by Mohammad Sadeghpour; Abrolhos Islands – Conversations Victor France, Larry Mitchell ,Alison Wright; Fremantle Arts Centre Press 1998; and The Morning They Came for Us: Dispatches from Syria Janine de Giovanni, Bloomsbury Publishing 2016.

 

COMMUNITY: For our WOMEN AND CHILDREN in crisis, Refuge is also often needed….

RUTH’S Women’s Shelter Cairns Inc. established a ‘hub’ in a local shopping centre – RUTH’S HUB is located at Shop 108, Raintrees Shopping Centre, Manunda, Queensland. Contact: (07) 4281 6899. This ‘hub’ provides a safe place for women and children affected by domestic and family abuse and violence…here they can meet, chat, laugh, cry, have a cuppa, share stories and discover new ideas, information and advice.

Ruth’s Women’s Shelter is a not for profit organisation that provides crisis accommodation and support services for those affected by family abuse and violence. Ruth’s has been operating since 1977 thanks to the foresight of the four women founders, Ruth Thomas, Pat O’Hara, Joan Trewern and Jean Bleyerveld  who initially formed the Women’s Electoral Lobby in Cairns in 1975. Ruth’s Hub now offers:

  • Computer access and Instruction
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Toiletries
  • Volunteering Opportunities
  • Information and Advice
  • Quiet Space to use the Telephone
  • Support
  • Advocacy
  • Friendly Chats! SDGs 1/2/3/4/5/10/16

Memories of having taken refuge in Ruth’s Shelter in the mid-1980s were vividly retrieved one morning, many years later. This poem was published in 2001.

I am glad you are laughing.

You still are? Yes,

I am laughing too.

I am glad I recognised you

Even if you did not recognise me

We met, you see, in the Shelter

Where we needed to be Safe

Before our long, long Journey!         Jennifer Ann Davies 2001

 

ART:

 GOOD NEWS FOR ART LOVERS!

The Queensland Art Gallery opens on Monday 22 June 2020!

QAGOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) will open on Friday 2 August 2020!

At QAG you will be able to enjoy– Mavis NGALLAMETTA “Show Me the Way to Go Home!”

…the stunning retrospective of the work of this accomplished North Queensland artist. *Please check for details, in case something changes when borders are open and restrictions continue to lessen.                         enews@qagoma.qld.gov.au SDGs 3/4/12/17

*Galleries are working with Queensland Health to finalise site-specific COVID Safe Plans.

 

UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND NEWS: Renowned Brisbane sculptor, Rhyl HINWOOD, is creating modern 3D printed versions of her traditional Great Court sandstone carvings and bronze busts. You can view more detail online.

UQ’s Photo Gallery looks back at historically significant and interesting photos – currently you can view those that look back on 1911 – 1920…..more will be advised they tell me so we will be able to follow a photographic timeline!    advancementnews@uq.edu.au SDGs 3/4/8/11/17

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! The Kuranda Paper Issue 322 July 2020 celebrates the 29th anniversary of ‘The Kuranda Paper’!!

The first edition was printed in July 1991.

 

This community newspaper is bursting with great articles, covering local business and its revival, environmental issues, gardening and seed saving, arts and letters, the historicity of the area and intriguing short stories!  From the scientific information of the local butterflies in the Kuranda’s iconic Butterfly Sanctuary, to warning of meat baits that could be eaten local cassowaries, Merlin and chick, one views local history, the Men’s Shed, Kuranda Arts Co-op, Ranger’s reports, Health issues and much more.

Included in this issue is a reminder of the ARTS FUNDING announced by Premier Annastacia Palasczuk. ARTS QUEENSLAND FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES ARE INDICATED BELOW.  Further information is on the ARTS Queensland website and further information will be uploaded as guidelines are finalised. www.arts.qld.gov.au/aq-funding/arts-and-cultural-recovery-package

Initiatives will be delivered across four key areas, with the first applications made from July 1 2020.

$11.3M to assist in offsetting revenue losses and stabilise businesses in our live music and performing arts organisations and venues.

$4.2M to fund a pipeline of performing arts and live music to support our cultural and tourism recovery.

$4.15M to support audience and market access. New grand funding will be available to support a diverse range of alternative venues and digital support may be provided.

$2.9M to support partnerships with local councils, venues, artists, festivals and organisations to continue employment and provide unique experiences across Queensland.

Thank you, Kuranda Paper and Congratulations on your ongoing success! www.kurandapaper.com

SDGs 1/2/3/4/8/11/17

This is STATE funding and distinct from any grants from the $250M Federal Funding for Arts/Letters.

Arts and Letters Report, May 2020

By Jennifer Ann Davies, NCWQ Arts and Letters Adviser

Click here for a special book preview!

Queensland is blessed with space, fresh air and sunshine; thusly offering little as Host to the virus! Our populations are not dense; our rules are perfectly clear and we are immeasurably lucky, although we must remain alert and care-taking.

Much has been said, in these unusual times, about the ‘place’ and value of all the arts, letters and community events; performers, poets, writers, musicians, singers, specialist and technical practitioners habitually involved.   Ironically, as more and more funding for some elements of this enriching and uplifting domain has been removed, public praise and promotion of all those involved in arts/letters/music has reached a crescendo!

QAGOMA is offering virtual art visits on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For the kids, QAGOMA KIDS is an online portal to keep kids ent3ertained as they explore art and artists from Australia and around the world.

DANCE in the lounge room provides a ‘lift’, with curat3ed playlists on SPOTIFY – musical magic in the “Up Late” series.

COMPOSITIONS inspired by Art: These on your YOU TUBE channel – music by Brisbane’s contemporary classical group “Nonsemble”, inspired by the art of Margaret Olley, Ben Quilty and James Turrell’s ‘Night Life’ – just one of many past performances to enjoy! SDGs 3/4/12

ENTRIES OPEN for BRISBANE INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM AWARDS!

Calling all Filmmakers!! 

Submit your short film now.

All entries will be considered for screening during BIFF2020 with prizes awarded in several categories. enews@qagoma.qld.gov.au

University of Queensland Australia is offering Podcasts and Webinars.

PODCAST: Investigative journalism in an era of ‘fake news’. The new rhetoric with a proliferation of unreliable sources, the disregard for evidence and the denial of accountability raises serious questions. WHY is this happening now? Do FACTS still matter?  Is TRUTH dead?

In this podcast, award-winning investigative journalists, Professor Peter Greste and Marian Wilkinson examine the very real threats to justice, democracy and progress, in this era of post-truth!  advancement@uq.edu.au  SDGs 3/4/11/16

‘We must take care to indulge only in such generosity a will help our friends and hurt no one – for nothing is generous, if it is not at the same time just.’ Cicero

Whilst all the online innovations are wonderful, entertaining and time-filling, many of our artists, performers, technical operators and contracted workers are suffering. One of Australia’s Audio-Visual Technicians, Anna DAVIES, gives us a rare insight into the reality of effects of COVID-19 through the eyes of a “non-essential” worker, in the audio-visual industry.

 “So when are you going to get a real job?” – asked too many well-intentioned friends and relatives over the last five years. “I have one,” I would say defensively.

What they didn’t understand is that casual and temporary contract employees are what make the AV industry go round. It’s the norm. It is incredibly unusual to have full-time sound and lighting engineers. Why? Well, it has never even really occurred to me to question this, as it was simply the way things were done. Perhaps it’s the inconsistent hours, or the late nights, or perhaps it’s to do with the fluctuation in business throughout the seasons.

Each lighting and sound company would have a pool of casual staff, some of whom they relied on more regularly than others. Some lucky staff would get “guaranteed hours” or higher responsibilities – agreements often made verbally; not useful in these times. Companies that provide technical services for large-scale festivals and events with upwards of 5000 guests operate on a daily basis with less than 5 full-time staff members (generally heads of departments, management and admin); they rely solely on their highly skilled casual staff to set up (bump in), operate (sound, lighting, vision etc.) and pack down (bump out). There was never any fear of work running out, or drying out, and thus the structure remained.

Until … the day all events “over 500 people” were no longer to proceed.  This was the day that we realised how precarious our employment was. No more big crowds. Overnight, all of my closest friends became unemployed. Instead of “How are you?” the question was “Have you found other work?”

Some have diversified, stepping into live streaming, facilitating e-learning and more; but by and large, the hard working, highly skilled technicians whom I have spent my life admiring and working with are sitting at home, waiting to hear back from the government on how they can be supported. Whilst there have been a number of grants specifically for the arts industry, very little can be done for the thousands of temporary and casual staff who have been working in this industry for years, with skills that have now been deemed virtually useless; certainly “non-essential.” 

Historically, throughout all periods of conflict, the arts have thrived. Through music, poetry, literature, performance and visual art, people have expressed their joy, sorrow and pain and hope. The fundamental desire to have the arts is core to human society – quintessential to the human spirit.

There has been an incredible outpouring of art, especially music, though social media. Artists as renowned as Andrew Lloyd Webber have skipped the barrier usually put in place by stages, purchasing tickets, record labels and production companies, and are feeding content directly into the hands of viewers. One of his famous musicals is now available each week under the initiative “The Shows Must Go On.”

The shows are going on… we are all so grateful for it. They just don’t need technicians, like us, anymore. (With permission, Anna Davies. Copyright. ACT 2020) SDGs 1/3/8/10/12/17

New Publications available during existing ‘lockdown’ conditions – best prices K-Mart.

  • Harlan Coben – ‘The Boy from the Woods’
  • Fiona McCallum ‘The Long Road Home’
  • Lynda Plante ‘Buried’ 
  • Kathy Reichs ‘A Conspiracy of Bones’
  • Sophie Hardcastle ‘Below Deck’
  • Nora Roberts ‘Savour the Moment: Happy Ever After’ 
  • Stephanie Wrobel ‘The Recovery of Rose Gold  
  • Lauren Chater ‘Gulliver’s Wife’
  • Cassie Hamer ‘The End of Authbert Close’
  • Jackie French ‘Lilies, Lies and Love
  • Leah Swann ‘Sheer Water’   There are many more titles @ $16 each and other great value reading @ 9 each. Not good news for our local friendly and valuable Book Stores – however, they were unable to provide access to stocks throughout this time. ABC online has been a favourite for booklovers during COVID-19.

PARIS – FRANCE – LES LIBRARIES – SBS ….French bookstores have been packing orders and customers have been able to collect their books outside the doors of these bookstores.  Hundreds of wonderful books had been packed into paper carry bags, and handed over the barricade in the doorways! – Myriad smiling faces and “Merci beaucoup!” A brief and delightful interlude in the horrific news that continues to pour out of Europe because of the dreaded virus!  #restez au maison 28/04/2020 

“A life affirming novel” Sunday Express – Nina GEORGE – ‘The Little Breton Bistro’.  “…people here were allowed to see the marks, because the gaze of friends was a balm for all the tears a woman shed over her lifetime – tears of passion, longing, happiness, emotion, rage, love or pain.” p 69.  Marianne passed an old thatched granite cottage with stooping eaves, a house as old as hope…Trees like cathedral buttresses and walls overgrown and ivy arched over the slender path. The fragrance of the woods blended with the peculiar aroma of seaweed, salt and spray.” p 90. 

“On the night of Samhain …the veil between worlds is gossamer- thin like cobwebs. Yet some of us are able to push that veil aside on any day of the year.” p 127.

Marianne Messmann longs to escape her loveless marriage. On a trip to Paris, she throws herself into the Seine, but is rescued by a passer-by. While recovering in hospital, Marianne sees a painting of a beautiful port town and decided to embark on a final adventure.

Once in Brittany, she befriends a host of colourful characters in a seaside bistro called “Ar Mor”. Among food, music and laughter, Marianne discovers a new version of herself – passionate, carefree and powerful. That is until her past comes calling…

‘The Little Breton Bistro’ is a captivating love letter to second chances! SDGs 1/2/3/4/5/10/17

ICW Brief Arts & Letters Report January – April 2020. Jennifer Ann Davies

The joyful songs, dance, diverse cultural traditions, celebrations and classical music that welcomed 2020, have had to ‘shape-shift’, as the Virus continues to devour lives and our former way of life. Arts & Letters continue to inform the development of Social Protection Systems.

Africa’s Alice ACHAN is currently locked down in Australia, where the launch of her important book The School of Restoration is prohibited by the Virus. Students from The Pader Girls Academy are currently studying at home. An important publication of terrorism, sexual violence, captivity and kidnap; the author has helped hundreds of girls left with babies and HIV as a result of enslavement. www.collinsbooks.com 2019 publication   SDGs 1/2/3/4/5/10/16

Christy LEFTERI is the child of Cypriot refugees. The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a book of international significance; born of the time the author worked as a volunteer at a UNICEF supported refugee centre in Athens. “This book dips below the deafening headlines, and tells a true story with subtlety and power.” Esther FREUD.  www.beekeeperofaleppo.com 2019 publication SDGs 1/2/3/4/10/11/16

Charities in UK and Europe who work with refugees and asylum seekers at a local level. Cited in ‘The Beekeeper of Aleppo’ by Christy Lefteri. 2019-2020. Open Cultural Centre: an NGO and informal education & integration project in North Greece. www.openculturalcenter.org

Faros (The Lighthouse): Humanitarian support for refugee children and young adults. www.faros.og.gr  Salusbury World: Refugee support for 20 years; based in north-west London, providing clubs, mentoring, careers advice, guidance and practical support for new arrivals of all ages. www.salusburyworld.org.uk The Buzz Project: West Yorkshire, founded by Professor Ryad Alsous, a refugee who was a beekeeper in his native Syria for over 40 years; lecturing in modern beekeeping and food quality control, teaching young people to keep bees, tend gardens and make honey. www.canalrivertrust.org.uk

The National Geographic Image Collection, of more than 64 physical and digital assets, is a global chronicle of the lives of women, up to the present day, taken over the past century. Snapshots show how women were perceived, treated, and how much power they had – or didn’t have. An extraordinary issue with all female contributing writers, artists and photographers assessed the greatest strengths of each. Shopng.com/books Nov 2019 Melinda Gates alerts us that DATA is power. p.32 Susan Goldberg National Geographic Veteran war reporter, Christiane Amanpour reminds us that we need to get men on our side when looking for equality. p.33 National Geographic: WOMEN: A Century of Change. SDGs 4/5/8/10/12/17

Great strain confronts National Councils, support staff and law providers in most countries, because of the rise of domestic abuse and violence throughout lockdown! Working groups, media and UN liaison cite Brussels, France, Morocco, Britain, Israel, Thailand and Netherlands, in particular; whilst Belgium and France relay cases of ‘femicide’ which were being discussed pre-virus. NCWs, UN, BBC, SBS, ABC 2020. SDGs 1/2/3/4/10/11/16.  Closed borders offer new opportunities for sourcing, trafficking and changed destinations – penal laws are demanded. Despite all, there is a whisper that ‘the Darkness never lasts…’Jennifer Ann Davies

 Returning to the world of Letters – JANE SMITH – “A New World” – retrieving some of Women’s history in Australia with grand spirited adventures and outstanding and beautifully illustrated characters!

Wow! A launch thwarted by the dreaded virus, yet a glorious EXPLOSION of excitement, action and Aussie history, as country girl CARLY, launches into an extraordinary adventure, in ye olde Sydney-town, hurled back in time, where she learns the super-values of kindness, friendship and wonder, from our very own CAROLINE CHISOLM!  A superb blend of fiction and history for young readers; a superb blend of fiction and women’s history for all readers!

Congratulations to acclaimed Queensland author, JANE SMITH! This series, I believe, will make educational and literary history! “A New World” is the first of Jane’s series – readers will be busting to read more….Promotional material providing succinct detail used with permission. SDGs 4/5/17

Congratulations also go to JESS HILL, who has won the Stella prize for “See What You Made Me Do”! “Domestic abuse and coercive control steals people’s language away from them,” says Jess. She has spent the past six years of her life trying to give it back! www.theguardian.com

The following overview has been published and dates exist in the document. This document has been acknowledged at a State level, by the Office of the Honourable Di Farmer MP, Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence. It also sits with Senator, the Honourable Marise Payne, and Minister for Women at a Federal level. 

Overview of Revised Law and Constitutional Changes relating to Domestic Abuse/Domestic Violence in Argentina and Brazil. OVERVIEW relates to suggestions of alternative ways to genuinely PROTECT Women and Children, following widely published review of Jess HILL’S text: ‘SEE WHAT YOU MADE ME DO’ Power, Control and Domestic Abuse.  Some of the following has already been published by NCWQ and NCWA. The information herein is important to understand the problems, context and potential solutions with an emphasis on the SOLUTIONS provided by changing the Law and establishing POLICE STATIONS FOR WOMEN as was done in Argentina and Brazil.

Notes on book “SEE WHAT YOU MADE ME DO” ‘Power, Control and Domestic Abuse’. Author: Jess HILL, published by Black Inc., an imprint of Schwartz Publishing Pty Ltd. Carlton Victoria 3053 Australia 2019 enquiries@blackincbooks.com  www.blackincbooks.com

The content of this book is too important to disappear! In the words of Helen GARNER, “A shattering book: clear-headed and meticulous, driving always at the truth.” I think the content, data, research and cold, hard facts deserve to be known to all of us working with issues of abuse, towards safety and wellbeing and a potentially 50/50 world. 

NOTES ON Hill’s METHODS: “In this book, wherever possible, I have replaced the term ‘domestic violence’ with ‘domestic abuse’. I did this because in some of the worst abusive relationships, physical violence is rare, minor or barely present.” Jess Hill 2019. The author supports her substantial research with eighteen pages of ENDNOTES.

INTRODUCTION: “…A year into reporting on domestic abuse, I had a terrible realisation. It was 2015, and I was hanging clothes out to dry on a stunning summer night alive with the screeching of fruit bats. The air was cool on my skin. I felt content, peaceful; safe…….a cascade of thoughts swept through me with such force it made my eyes sting. How many women would never feel safe in their backyard? How many would be approaching their back steps with a sense of dread? How many would feel their breath quicken at every rustle of leaves, terrified that somewhere in the dark, the man they once loved was waiting for them?”

Statistics like these may shock! “Of the 87,000 women killed globally in 2017 30,000 were killed by an intimate partner, and another 20,000 by a family member. In Australia…one woman a week is killed by a man she’s been intimate with.” This is a book about love, abuse and power. It’s about a phenomenon that flourishes in private and in public, perpetrated mostly by men who evade scrutiny. It’s about all the questions we don’t ask, like ‘Why does he do it?” It’s about turning our stubborn beliefs and assumptions inside out and confronting one of the most complex – and urgent – issues of our time.” p.2

The text is abundant with sound statistics. Hill makes it very clear that abuse occurs everywhere and constantly. It is not confined to particular women and men….it does not occur only to the poor, the vulnerable, the mentally ill or those with a ‘victim mentality’! Hill argues that we must ‘trace the breadcrumbs back to where the destruction begins’! 

She states that, to address the myriad issues generated by abuse, we MUST understand that it is ENTRENCHED throughout societyp.5 To address the problems; to change anything, we must ALL acknowledge this entrenchment*

THIS POINT MUST BE CLEAR to appreciate the truths, research, stories, reality and urgency of the book: ‘Domestic abuse is not just violence. It’s worse. It is a unique phenomenon, in which the perpetrator takes advantage of a partner’s love and trust and uses that person’s most intimate details – their deepest desires, shames and secrets – as a blueprint for their abuse.’p.6

Simply – “Men abuse women because society tells them they are ENTITLED to be in control.” In a cruel twist, increased attention generated by the #MeToo movement has been seen by many to amplify abusive traits in the home and making some perpetrators of abuse more dangerous. Precis p.8. Amplification also occurred in the years following the murder of Luke Batty and the subsequent publicity given to Rosie Batty, in her role as Australian of the Year.* (Not author’s note: Jennifer Ann Davies).

There is not a chapter in this book that is unimportant.  However, for those who need to do a fast read, Chapter 5: PATRIARCHY is vital. Even if one may disagree, at first, please read on…  “Patriarchy is an invisible mainframe that regulates how we live. It sets parameters around ‘acceptable’ behaviour for both genders: men should be ‘strong, independent, unemotional, logical and confident’, and women should be ‘expressive, nurturant, weak and dependent.’” p.135 and explored further in Chapter 11.

Being able to trust police to help is questionable.  It was in the 1980s into the 1990s when I lived with repeated abuse, enforced poverty and violence and despite some changes to our laws and infrastructure, more than 80% of women living ‘underground’ (so they’re not abused anymore or murdered) have not reported to the policePersonal fact Jennifer Ann Davies/statistic Jess Hill p.253

For women with children…no system is as punishing – or as dangerous – as the family law system.” It is exceptionally, completely vital that ALL readers understand this explicit statement, and absorb ALL the reasons WHY this is so* The ways in which we operate our ‘systems’ and ‘supports’ very often inflames an abuser and the same, most certainly, continue to place immense stress, fear-laden practices, demands and huge debts, on abused women and children. p.285

In Brazil, young women were kept in captivity, made to have babies for the officers, and then had their babies stolen – this is claimed to be the basis for The Handmaid’s Tale. p.254 Women, brutalised by the state, looked for an answer. Brazil had introduced a new model of policing: delagacia da mulher – POLICE STATIONS FOR WOMEN – These new stations looked different and were brightly painted houses in the heart of neighbourhoods…led and mostly staffed by female police officers. p.284.

Argentina introduced its first police station for women in 1985, and today in Buenos Aires alone there are 128 police stations for women and children* staffed by around 2300 police. “They have all the powers of regular police – they conduct investigations, make arrests……Their structure (however) is completely different – they report to the police minister via their own Commissioner for Women’s Police, not the head of the common police – and their mission is different too. Their primary purpose is not to enforce the law; it’s to PROTECT THE VICTIMS. …”They never turn a woman away, and they never take their power away from her, which is what abusers do” says Professor Kerry CARRINGTON, head of Queensland University of Technology’s school of justice. “Sometimes they will help a woman apply for a prosecution order. Other times, she may want them to kick her abuser out of the house…she may just want them to talk to him…No matter is too trivial – (the police are there to listen and protect, not to decide whether a law has been broken.” p.254

For a woman with kids, “Crucially, all the services she needs – lawyers, social workers, psychologists – are under the same roof, and police will also help her to get medical and financial aid. Instead of having to contact several different agencies, as most women do in Australia, they can get everything they need in one place.”  It is important to know that the women’s police don’t just wait for the women to come to them. They visit hospitals, community centres, churches and gatherings – they are not afraid and they know where the pockets of resistance are. p.255

Following changes because of Argentina’s system and because of a particularly violent incident, BRAZIL introduced ground-breaking legislation on domestic violence, called Maria da PENHA Law, on 22 September 2006. – The Law was so-called to honour a woman who was almost KILLED by her husband, but there was not a single police station she could go to for help or which was specializing in violence against women. Maria da Penha is now a paraplegic as a direct result of that night of violence and she is in a wheelchair!! She is my age – 71 years – and still a vibrant and tireless worker for future PROTECTION FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN. www.bbc.com  @BBCNewsMagazine

Maria also makes an interesting point that many, including our own organisations and institutions avoid or circumnavigate when trying to understand WHY? Maria states, repeatedly that there was NO SINGLE TRIGGER for changes in the behaviour of the abuser…which means that the abuse or violence is NOT, necessarily, CAUSED by alcohol, drugs, or other ‘triggers’. It is truly ENTRENCHED and I can guarantee all readers that this is 100% correct! The abuse, then, can be directed at the wife, children, babies – the time could be 5am, 12noon or 7.38pm. Personal fact: Jennifer Ann Davies

CHANGES TO THE LAW – heralded as landmark legislation on domestic abuse by The United Nations: BBC World Service Witness Programme

  • Increased punishment for offenders
  • Establishment of special Domestic Violence Courts
  • Requirement of Authorities to open 24 hour shelters for abused women

I have become aware that many members of the public believe that the Family Law Court HELPS women who have been abused and their children – Too often, our existing legislation and laws do NOT protect women and children WHILST THEY ARE BEING ABUSED – nor are there always avenues, shelters or places where they can possibly be safe. There are many facts and factors related to this and this, perhaps, needs further publications. Personal observation: Jennifer Ann Davies

The purpose and function of the special DOMESTIC VIOLENCE COURTS differs from the long-winded, highly expensive and crude system we have in place in our country. ‘Specialists’, counsellors, advisors, psychologists etc. are expensive – they have little cohesion OR some work for particular lawyers, with particular agendas and they do NOT view, compile or transmit immediate and relevant FACTS to KEEP WOMEN AND CHILDREN SAFE! 

Existing ‘Cases’ processing through our Family Law Court are still based upon and biased by laws and protocols that have been challenged myriad times by intelligent professionals; and we are aware that there sit, in an IN BOX, 60 recommendations, which could CHANGE THE WAYS IN WHICH THE COURTS ARE WORKING – particularly for the children currently being placed 50/50 with a parent whose ABUSE has been established!  The models and changes in Argentina and Brazil are underpinned by acute awareness of this contradiction and the dangers inherent. This fuelled the fire of CHANGE – to genuinely protect Women and Children IN THE TIMES OF DANGER – Not later!!!!!!

As already stated, substantial acknowledgements and ENDNOTES support this text. Jess HILL is an investigative journalist who has been writing about domestic violence/abuse since 2014. She has been an ABC Radio producer, a Middle East Correspondent for The Global Mail and an investigative journalist for Background Briefing. She was listed in Foreign Policy’s top 100 women to follow on Twitter and her reporting on domestic violence has won two Walkley awards, an Amnesty International award and three Our Watch awards. The author may be contacted at her publishers: enquiries@blackincbooks.com I will repeat the comment from Jimmy Barnes – “One Australian a week is dying as a result of domestic abuse. If that was terrorism, we’d have armed guards on every corner.” 

Domestic ABUSE is a national emergency: one in four Australian women has experienced violence from a man she was intimate with. But too often we ask the wrong question: why didn’t she leave? We should be asking: WHY DID HE DO IT?  Our systems enable perpetrators – the abuses are often reinforced by the justice system we trust to protect us. ‘Critically, it shows that we can drastically REDUCE the violence – not in generations to come, but today!’ excerpts from blurb: www.blackincbooks.com

Jennifer Ann DAVIES    Advisor Arts/Letters/Music National Council of Women Queensland – Advisor Arts/Letters International Council of Women/Conseil International des Femmes gramunicorn75@gmail.com      Part of this paper was published on 20th October 2019 by NCWQ and also NCWA  This overview remains a ‘work in progress’ and this portion is compiled on the 19th day of January 2020.    Editing for Co-ordinator 2nd February 2020.    

UPDATE FOR NCWQ ADVISOR MEETING EDEN GARDENS Saturday 29 February 2020: Having listened to media since the savage murder of yet another mum and her children in recent times heightens the urgency to suggest alternatives to the dictates of our rusty Family Laws* Our systemics cannot possibly change overnight – however, MORE FUNDING WILL NOT CHANGE THE BRUTALITY OR CREATE SAFETY EITHER!!! Please remember this as we proceed – MORE FUNDING WILL NOT CREATE SAFETY FOR WOMEN UNLESS AND UNTIL OUR MODELS/SYSTEMS CHANGE!!!

The nebulous quotes on ‘breaking news’ horrify those of us who have lived in danger and with brutality, threat, abuse and fear. Mutterings about ‘Women’s Legal Service’ cannot possibly help – not even WAY down the track when clients may be offered ‘mediation’ – when they may, possibly be in a relatively safe place, temporarily – when nothing at all has changed in the way the perpetrator behaves – and please do NOT let us pretend that ‘an order’ stops such a perpetrator from threatening, stalking, abusing, murdering. PLEASE LET’S STOP PRETENDING! 

It is true that in the larger cities with denser populations and perhaps greater diversity than may exist in some regional areas, that there may appear to be more places, organisations or call centres to contact. Many women DO use the DOMESTIC VIOLENCE WOMENSLINE on the 1800 81 1811 number. Responses vary – SAFETY remains a major issue.

In our own region we have the DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICE CAIRNS www.dvcairns.org who can be called on (07) 4033 6100. In a number of recent cases of abuse/violence here this has been of little assistance. Pre-Christmas, a mum and one of her daughters was LOCKED OUT OF THE HOME SHARED WITH THE PARTNER OF THE MUM AND IN WHICH WERE ALL THEIR BELONGINGS. This is usually considered a CIVIL MATTER and all but dismissed by local Police – primarily, I believe, but have not yet confirmed, because no ‘orders’ exist! SAFETY IS NOT CONSIDERED THE ISSUE. (Because this is current I am not able to reveal further details*)

Not long after that, a young mum who had been abused and violated was also LOCKED OUT OF THE FAMILY HOME WITH TWO YOUNG CHILDREN! This young woman was referred to a Domestic Violence agency, to whom she relayed copious details – yet when speaking with police officers, was also told that hers was A CIVIL MATTER, and she was given a contact for yet another Domestic Violence agency, for whom she had to repeat all details, with no real result and NO POSSIBILITY OF BEING SAFE NOR OF OBTAINING ANY OF THE NECESSARY ITEMS OR POSSESIONS FOR HERSELF OR HER TWO CHILDREN. Each of these cases is much more complex but this is as much as I am able, legally and ethically, to reveal*

I had attended a large gathering to which I had been invited at our local University – the meeting was with a female politician. The issue was stated to be HOW we can assist to lower the levels of domestic abuse and domestic violence and the primary question asked by myriad members of the audience, was: WILL I STILL HAVE A JOB?  WILL WE STILL GET FUNDING? A very real question remains for those who persist in demanding MORE FUNDING? WHO AND WHAT IS IT THAT YOU WANT FUNDED?  HOW WILL THIS ADDITIONAL FUNDING POSSIBLY HELP GENERATE OR EVEN CONTRIBUTE TO THE GENUINE SAFETY OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN?

Even re-discovering the 60 suggested reforms to FAMILY LAW for which many of us had awaited, cannot create SAFETY WHEN women and children – and sometimes men and children – are in need! The reforms are primarily to change the systemics and directives in the Family Law Court System. Whilst believed to be of huge value, we need to change possibilities for women and children; and at times, for men and children, LONG BEFORE THEIR ‘CASES’ REACH THE FAMILY LAW COURT. SO WHAT CAN WE POSSIBLY DO?

  1. We need specialist POLICE TEAMS who truly understand the sanctity of Life and who can respond to THE ISSUE AT HAND and not be side-tracked, fearful or nonchalant about the IMMEDIACY OF THE NEED FOR SAFETY. This would not be as demanding on the budget as establishing whole new stations – although the latter is preferable and I believe would have far greater integrity.
  • We need specialist DOMESTIC VIOLENCE COURTS – and please, please do NOT delude ourselves that what exists ‘covers that’! – if so we would NOT be sending beautiful, beautiful CHILDREN back to a person who has abused, raped, violated, with-held finance to enforce poverty, cut, burned, hit, punched etc. (In the absence of applying/legislating any of the 60 suggested reforms to address this issue, Courts and legal practitioners are still FORCING mothers to ‘share’ their children whom they have protected and nourished; 50/50 with a KNOWN PERPETRATOR OF VIOLENCE!!!!!!!!)
  • We need more SPECIALIST SAFE HOUSES or facilities for those beaten, bleeding and under further threat.In some remote regions, police are known to keep women safe for a night or more – however, often, then, they return to their tribes, homes, and the cycle recommences. This is not unusual, as it takes HUGE courage and inner resources as well as practical ones to LEAVE. Often women still love husbands, partners and want to believe this will not happen again. (expanding on this later*) Many choose not to put family and friends at risk – many are still too afraid to let others know what is occurring, which demands OPEN-NESS and much, much more HONESTY about the facts*

4. We need INCREASED PUNISHMENT for perpetrators. That is unequivocal! The public would scarcely believe what brutal and abusive men get away with and who supports their brutality, actions or secrecy. THAT is a huge problem – thusly, again we need HONESTY about the problem. This demands brave, well informed and honest LAW REFORM. SDGs 3/4/5/10/11/16/17/1/2 

The wonderful Maria da PENHA continues to present via BBC and she continues to state that violence is not only physical, but also psychological, moral and sexual. Whilst Brazil’s LAW now lists these kinds of abuses, it is still only in the cities or state capitals that there are shelters and specialised police units and all the needed facilities. The building of the changed facilities is a slow one. There’s still a long way to go to CHANGE ATTITUDES – however – 98% of Brazilian people are AWARE of the altered LAW…Many more women would have been dead without this change!! @BBC News Magazine    www.bbc.com    Update added 29th February 2020.

 Addendum 12th day of March 2020 – Further research has revealed that even though women’s stations have been proposed in Queensland; this proposal was not included in the 2015 Queensland Government’s NOT NOW: NOT EVER policy. There was some consultation with members of the public to which I had been invited, at James Cook University – however a dominant theme and the bulk of questions from the invited audience was whether or not attendees would still have a job and what funding will be provided for existing organisations! Some discussion on this was conducted between ABC’s Matt Eaton and Professor KERRY CARRINGTON of Queensland University of Technology’s School of Justice. ABC radio Mar 2015 7:01pm   www.abc.net.au/2015-03-09

Professor CARRINGTON had spoken of alternatives such as those proposed in the book on which I did a review and by the women in Argentina and Brazil. Carrington spoke at the United Nations 63rd Commission for the Status of Women in New York in March 2019; yet apart from information online, none of the suggestions or successes have been promoted, discussed publicly or implemented in policy at any level. In 2019, Carrington included in her information the fact that today there are many more women’s police stations and she interviewed 100 employees from 10 women’s police stations. Of those interviewed, 82% were employed as police and 18% as lawyers, psychologists or social workers. www.edu.au/law

The distribution of roles, in the context of keeping women and children SAFE, is very different from the distribution of roles we have in our system – one that is not working efficiently enough to SAVE LIVES or prevent harm. Our system does have many organisations and is costly in terms of the federal and/or state budgets. However – how effective are they?  Honestly?

Many Australians would not be at all clear about the law or laws that apply to those involved in domestic abuse or domestic violence. It is clear that the AWARENESS generated in Brazil, of CHANGES TO THE LAW, is significant and effective. www.bbc.com

The objectives of our National Councils of Women are broadly humanitarian and educational and work towards the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. 

Book review and related overview compiled by: Jennifer Ann DAVIES/ Advisor Arts/Letters/Music National Council of Women Queensland Incorporated/ Advisor Arts/Letters International Council of Women/Conseil International des Femmes/Mobile Phone: 0488 037 422/International: +61 488 037 422/Email:  gramunicorn75@gmail.com /Work updated 12th March 2020/compressed 30th April 2020.

NCWQ Child, Youth and Family Report: February 2020

2019-20 Bushfire Events

It has been a devasting start to 2020 for many Australians. From September 2019 fires heavily impacted various regions across Australia. In New South Wales more than 100 fires burnt across the state. In eastern and north-easternVictoria large areas of forest burnt out of control for weeks. Significant fires occurred in South Australia. In Queensland affected areas included south-eastern Queensland. Areas of south-western Western Australia, and a few areas in Tasmaniaand the ACT were also impacted. Over this period, it is estimated that 1 billion animals have perished, 18.6 million hectares has been burnt, 2,779 homes have been lost, and over 30 people killed. Concerns also remain as to the effects of the prolonged smoke inhalation. 

The recent bushfire events serve as a sharp reminder of the different issues affecting women and families including healthy and safe environments. During disasters, people experiencing family or sexual violence may have additional marginalisations including isolation, homelessness, disability, being culturally or linguistically diverse, or being LGBTQI+. Families experiencing violence before the fires may face increasingly frequent violence post-disaster, when trauma, grief, financial stress, and loss of a home or employment may escalate their partner’s perpetration. Women and their children may also find themselves separated from extended family, friends and other protective networks.  

With research and some organisations suggesting that gendered violence may peak during stressful events it is vital that government and those at the coal face deliver timely education and information relating to family violence. In this context a checklist has been developed to support community workers and individuals responding to the bushfire event. The “Checklist to Keep Women and Children Safe after Natural Disasters” comprises a gendered lens and can be found at (https://www.whealth.com.au/documents/publications/is-57116-Women_Disaster_Snapshot4.pdf). Other resources that may be accessed by women following the 2019-20 bushfire events include:

  1. Find a Bed (http://findabed.com.au/)
  2. The Australian National University has produced a factsheet on how to protect yourself and others from bushfire smoke (https://rsph.anu.edu.au/phxchange/communicating-science/how-protect-yourself-and-others-bushfire-smoke)
  3. The Australian Psychological Association has provided information on how to psychologically prepare and recover from bushfires – including advice for those looking after children affected by bushfires (https://www.psychology.org.au/Australian-bushfires-2020)
  4. Website Ask Izzy provides general information on local supports (https://askizzy.org.au/bushfire-support)
  5. ANROWS has done up an opinion piece on trauma and children with a back to school focus on children’s needs who are traumatised not only by the bushfires, but also family violence (https://www.anrows.org.au/opinion/thousands-of-kids-are-going-back-to-school-traumatised-and-not-just-because-of-the-bushfires/)
  6. The Monash University (Disaster Resilience Initiative) have drafted a factsheet on how to ask if someone is experiencing violence during a natural disaster (https://www.genderanddisaster.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Disaster-is-no-excuse-for-violence-edited.pdf)
  7. Telstra is supporting a complimentary phone top up scheme for those affected (https://www.infoxchange.org/au/telstra-top-up?utm_source=Infoxchange+news+and+updates&utm_campaign=db63e045ae-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_01_08_04_11_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5c9798fcd8-db63e045ae-45619929)

Sexual Violence

A recent investigation by the ABC found that police reject 1 in every 12 reports of sexual violence as “unfounded”. The investigation analysed 140,000 reports Australia wide between 2007 and 2017 and found that 12,000 had been rejected. This disbelief of victims remains rooted in societal attitudes around false allegations, with 42% believing that sexual assault allegations are used to get back at men, even though 9 out of 10 sexual assault survivors don’t report, and false reports are rare (ABS, 2017). 

The Queensland Government is delivering the Queensland Violence against Women Prevention Plan 2016-22 and the Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Strategy 2016-2026, and in 2019/20 will provide over $100,000 in one-off grant funding for activities and events aimed at helping to stamp out sexual violence in all Queensland communities through the Sexual Violence Prevention Grants Program. Along these lines the consultation period on Queensland’s review of laws relating to consent and the excuse of mistake of fact, closed on 31 January 2020 and submissions are now being considered. These are all important steps in the generational process of changing individual attitudes around sexual violence.

Family Violence and Homelessness

In Queensland there are over 72,000 social or affordable homes, with a further 5,500 under construction. However, 10% of the waiting list is known to be those at risk of family violence (2,200 out of wait list of 22,000). There is no doubt many more who are not registered. Coercive and financial control are driving factors behind homelessness which forces some women and their children to live in cars or motels. These women need not only proper shelter, but also access to services long term that will support their safety, stability, and recovery.

Family Violence and Disability

Submissions are open for the Royal Commission into violence, abuse, neglect, and exploitation of people with disability. For more information go to their website (https://disability.royalcommission.gov.au/submissions/Pages/default.aspx).

Endometriosis

In the November 2019 report I discussed the national plan aimed at implementing an endometriosis education program in schools for girls in Years 9 and 10. To update I share that the NCWQ are now in the process of writing to the Queensland government requesting that they now take the necessary steps to secure funding under this plan. It is vital that maintaining good health be the primary focus of everyone.

In conclusion, our thoughts remain with those who continue to be affected by the 2019-20 bushfire events. In January 2020 the National Mental Health Commission made mental health recovery a priority by announcing an investment of $76 million (AUD) to support the recovery of families affected by the 2019-20 bushfires. It is important that affected individual’s access, or that we continue to support others to access, the relevant support services.

NCWQ Environment Report: February 2020

By Pat Pepper, NCWQ Environment Adviser

Update on impact of lack of reliable water on regional communities and industries and the environment.   

The Problem: In my NCWQ Environment Adviser’s Report, November 2019, I drew attention to the fact that many billions of megalitres of water can flow out to sea while other parts of the country suffer extreme drought.  The freshwater flood plumes can cause environmental damage to the reefs in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Drought significantly impacts the environment, industries and communities including Murray Darling Basin.

Regional towns were running out of water with dam levels dangerously low.  While some rain has fallen, emergency water restrictions remain in place in some areas. e.g. While the level and volume for Stanthorpe increased from 9.5% and 196 megalitres (ML)  at 3rd February 2020 to 17.5% and 362 ML. at 17th February, water carting is continuing to Stanthorpe. Water remains in Storm King Dam as a contingency for emergency events and to provide a habitat for aquatic life. https://www.sdrc.qld.gov.au/living-here/water-wastewater/water-update

Rain has fallen across Murray Darling Basin recently but not enough to end the drought.  The flows in many rivers will be boosted and dam storage levels lifted but threats to water quality persist, including contamination from bushfire debris.

https://www.mdba.gov.au/managing-water/drought-murray-darling-basin/murray-darling-basin-drought-update

Rainfall Projections: Rainfall in the near future (2030) and late in the century (2090) has been projected by CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology  for clusters of Natural Resource Management Regions including the following:-

  • The Wet Tropics cluster which contains the Wet Tropics and Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Areas, as well as a high proportion of the Great Barrier Reef catchment,
  • The Monsoonal North East with the Mitchell, Gilbert, Norman and Staaten River catchments, all of which flow into the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Burdekin region, 
  • The Central Slopes cluster comprising NRM regions to the west of the Great Dividing Range from the Darling Downs in Queensland to the central west of New South Wales with a number of important headwater catchments for the Murray Darling Basin and
  • The Murray Basin cluster comprises NRM regions across New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. The cluster extends from the flatlands of inland New South Wales to the Great Dividing Range.

In the near future, natural variability is projected to predominate over trends due to greenhouse gas emissions for all of the above clusters. However for the Wet Tropics and Monsoonal North East Clusters it is noted that because global climate models offer diverse results, and models have shortcomings in resolving some tropical processes it is difficult to provide confident rainfall projections.

By late in the century, 

  • for the Wet Tropics, projections generally have low confidence,
  • for the Monsoonal North East, projections generally have low confidence
  • for the Central Slopes, climate models indicate decreasing winter rainfall with high confidence. There is a good understanding of the physical mechanisms driving this change (southward shift of winter storm systems together with rising mean pressure over the region). Decreases are also projected in spring, with medium confidence. The direction of change in summer and autumn cannot be confidently projected due to the complexity of rain producing systems in this region, the large spread of model results, and some inconsistent results from finer scale modelling. 
  • For the Murray Basin cool season (April to October) less rainfall is projected with high confidence. In the warm season (November to March), there is medium confidence that rainfall will remain unchanged. 

Increased intensity of extreme daily rainfall events is projected with high confidence for Wet Tropics, Monsoonal North East and Central Slopes clusters. Even though mean annual rainfall is projected to decline, heavy rainfall intensity is projected to increase, with high confidence.

For the Murray Basin and Central Slopes clusters time spent in drought is projected, with medium confidence, to increase over the course of the century. For Wet Tropics and Monsoonal North East clusters, drought will continue to be a feature of the regional climate variability, but projected changes are uncertain.

WWW.CLIMATECHANGEINAUSTRALIA.GOV.AU CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology Brochures (WET_TROPICS; MONSOONAL_NORH; CENTRAL_SLOPES; MURRAY_BASIN)

Various Proposals to address the problem:

In my NCWQ Environment Adviser’s Report, November2019, the following proposals were discussed:-

  • Bradfield Scheme 1938
  • Revised Bradfield’s Scheme 1981
  • Moore-Hielscher Updated Bradfield Scheme: 2019
  • NSW Proposals (diverting flows from the Manning, Macleay and Hunter rivers inland)
  • Hell’s Gate Dam in North Queensland :
  • Northern Australia Water Resource Assessment program (Fitzroy, Darwin, Mitchell catchments)
  • National Water Grid

Environmental impacts of dams: Dams can supply significant sources of hydropower, water supply or flood protection but a dam must have a sustainable purpose and operating mission to provide a greater benefit than the environmental impacts of its existence or the risks associated with its ageing structurehttps://www.waterpowermagazine.com/features/featurelarge-or-small-4978245/

Environmental issues with dams to be addressed include:-

  • riparian habitat loss,: upstream of a dam, impounded water can drown riparian communities; downstream  the shore line changes and with it the riparian communities,
  •  sedimentation:  Dams can trap sediments normally deposited downstream. The storage capacity of the dam can be reduced with high sedimentation. Seasonal flooding which would fertilise and water flood plains can be interrupted and debris in river channels not cleared or redistributed downstream,
  • erosion can reshape river channels below the dam, once sediment deposition ceases,
  • water quality may deteriorate in reservoirs (e.g., thermal stress, low dissolved oxygen, acidification), especially close to the bottom.  It can decline as a result of drainage water returning from irrigation projects . If the reservoir becomes shallower through sedimentation, in arid regions evaporation could increase leaving behind salts and decreasing the water quality.
  • groundwater: With seepage into bedrock, river water  could enter groundwater and water tables rise around a reservoir,
  • fish migration and reproduction could be disrupted
https://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/dams-environmental-effects

POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE IMPACTS OF DAMS ON THE ENVIRONMENT

M. Sait TAHMİSCİOĞLU, Nermin ANUL, Fatih EKMEKÇİ and Nurcan DURMUS INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ON RIVER BASIN MANAGEMENT 2011 P759=69

Dams: Ecological Impacts and Management Stefan Schmutz and Otto Moog (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/),

The location of the dam, size of reservoir (height of dam, volume of reservoir), and water residence time affect the impact.  The dam operation mode can determine the seasonal variation of stored water, water level fluctuations, sediment capture and release, as well as daily and seasonal downstream flow patterns.

Sediment Management options depend on storage capacity, mean annual runoff, and

mean annual sediment load and include sediment sluicing, sediment flushing, sediment bypass, and sediment augmentation downstream of reservoirs .

Habitat Improvements in Reservoirs. Mitigation measures can comprise instream structures such as gravel bars, islands, etc., lateral widenings of the cross profiles in riverine  sections of impoundments, creating artificial habitats in lacustrine section, and bypass systems within  the alluvial floodplains.

Riverine Zone                          Lacustrine Zone

Dams: Ecological Impacts and Management Stefan Schmutz and Otto Moog (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/),

Large and small dams can provide water storage but the size and type of dam needs to suit both the site conditions and satisfy the objectives for its construction.  The impact of a dam varies with the river, the dam’s design, and the projected use.  Small dams can be best suited for small hydroelectric developments utilising low diversion and storage, for smaller scale irrigation projects, flood control on smaller tributaries, ground water recharge basins, and off-site storage of recycled water or desalinated water.

Off-stream reservoirs constructed on smaller streams which store water pumped from a nearby river or adjacent basin typically have less environmental impact. A small dam can have less impact on the environment if designed to be more effective in safely passing fish species both upstream and downstream, and to bypass sediment  https://www.waterpowermagazine.com/features/featurelarge-or-small-4978245/

While fluvial characteristics are maintained to some extent in small reservoirs, e.g., run-of-the-river

hydropower plants, lentic conditions prevail in large storage reservoirs.

Dams: Ecological Impacts and Management Stefan Schmutz and Otto Moog (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/),

Water security throughout the country and in all sectors is vitally important.  Surely an extensive feasibility study with bipartisan support, both Federal and State, is needed to address this perennial problem of lack of  reliable water for regional communities and industries and the environment.  Surface and groundwater capture-and-storage options, land suitability, the commercial viability of primary production should be considered with potential environmental, social, indigenous and economic impacts and risks.

NCWQ Arts and Letters Report, April 2020

By Jennifer Ann Davies, NCWQ Arts and Letters Adviser

It was in the midst of “Mrs Wiggins Wartymelons” and the pandemic…

…just as Ralphie the adopted goat was pruning the rose bushes,

the whisper first announced itself…. gently…………..

“The DARKNESS never lasts…”

Thusly, we square our shoulders, compose ourselves, hold our heads high – and proceed. ‘Mrs Wiggins’ is set in Korweinguboora.  It is a REAL place! Australia’s Glenda MILLARD and Stephen AXELSEN produced a wonderful kids’ storybook of Change! Endearing and whimsical; often read and loved, though this story is – one cannot explain the whisper – heard again – and again….”The Darkness never lasts”…

As many will be hunkered down and in varied degrees of isolation, I will happily produce much for you to read in this month’s report. Repeatedly, not just like the whisper whilst reading “Mrs Wiggins”, but in the world, all around us, ‘HEARING OUR VOICES’ not only whispers, but calls, sings, chants, shouts, repeats itself, and becomes a magnificent chorus in which there is no dissonance….

CASSANDRA is usually seen as tragic and quite mad! German author, the late Christa WOLF stretched physic limbs to explore changed relationships and retained taboos in her text “Cassandra”. (Virago Modern Classic Number 315 London: reprinted 1985, 1989, 1991). With changed internal and external relationships, gnaws the question of the degree of responsibility inherent in full consciousness. Today, I believe, like Wolf, that Cassandra lives on because the conflict between full awareness and woman’s aesthetic and socio-political impotence, still exists, as does her eternal plea for peace! SDGs 4/5/10/11

Strong, pained, whole, individuated/ I have felt her inside me – many times/Crouched. Previewing mangled, bloody/ piles of lifeless flesh. Death, city Troy Anaemic! Cassandra – fully alive…

Standing. Autonomous. Paradox of Life/pregnant now with the Knowing/that whispers and sings and shouts/and sometimes panics Itself into/Lunacy’s refuge. Dichotomous, Cassandra…

Watching the Sea swallow the Sun/ near the Scean Gate – with Myrine and I/ raising our voices with women – different/laughing, singing, crying, berating/yet no chromatic divergence, Cassandra…

Distorts, deflects or dissipates language/or our Pens, for they are One – and/powerful still, despite aged Shadows/Clytemnestra, Hecuba, Apollo, Priam/mildewy blinds in the contemporary/ and Collective Unconscious. Cassandra…

Boadicea we are not. Daughters of Iceni/Troy, Noonuccal and Etna, we drink no poison/ for our chalice is crafted, finely, of the Gold/and Silver that celebrates Life!…Neither/ full nor empty – the cup contains all Things.

Deep, the draught of Consciousness -/ Inherently potent with the Pain and Elixir/ of Knowing; of Being – every Other and Self. / Shouting and whispering to the Sleeping Ones/the Bound, the Egoic, the Heroes, the Destroyers

Who nevertheless shape Society and State. /Implicit, then, in the stance of Knowing/ is Woman’s still-born cry – still tearing/ impotent…for she is not shape-maker of/ Nations. Only of Self, Prophecy and Pen.

Regardless the dimension of her Perception/ Potent, then, her Pain. Present. Paradox. /Fully Conscious Cassandra, Woman, Mother/Knower, Lover, Political Literate, Priestess/No longer crouched – all seeing forever…./ We stand within each – gestate each other – Separate! Unify! Book Five Always Becoming…Jennifer Ann Davies 2010

WOMEN – The National Geographic Image Collection reflects women’s lives and is available at: shopng.com/booksSusan GOLDBERG wrote HEARING OUR VOICES in a special edition of National Geographic, in November 2019. Her introduction? “THE FIRST SCENE in the history of National Geographic doesn’t have a single woman in it…” Reference is to January 13, 1888, when 33 men of science and letters….voted the National Geographic Society into existence. “Over time, as the Image Collection grew – to more than 64 physical and digital assets today – another record unwittingly was formed: a global chronicle of the lives of women, up to the present day. These pictures, taken largely over the past century, are snapshots of their times, showing how women were perceived, how they were treated, how much power they had – or didn’t have. The images illustrate what used to be called, quaintly, “a woman’s place” – a concept that’s changing before our eyes.” Susan Goldberg National Geographic Nov 2019 SDGs 5/10/11

This was the first ever issue with all female contributing writers, artists and photographers. The question asked of each was: “What is your greatest strength?” Writer, Michele Norris responds that hers is “…my ability to recognise blind spots, see and hear things that most ignore, and spot pathways between well-worn trails.” p.10 Erika Larsen, photographer: “My belief in what I cannot see or hear but in what I feel.” Lyn Johnson, photographer: “I listen.” p.50 Writer, Nilanjana Bhowmick smiles: “I can delve beyond the obvious and apparent, and transform experiences into stories that matter.” p.98 and Saumya Khandelwal’s photography on page 98 supports her response that “Everything that’s in me by virtue of being a woman, I feel closely, live intuitively and steal moments of silence from what I see.” 

The myriad responses to the question of one’s greatest strength are worth reading! This publication is a grand read for every Woman; embracing the truths and possibilities of rejecting inferior status, demanding equality and unapologetically revelling in our ambition and success. Michele Norris p.10. Amid a stunning volume of immensely interesting articles, both here are important to our operations and goals.

Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which supports efforts to reduce inequality, poverty and other global ills: There isn’t a country on Earth where women have achieved true equality, and the barriers they face look different in different places. (However), no matter where you are in the world, understanding these barriers is the first step to dismantling them – and that requires making a concerted effort to gather better data about women and their lives. We don’t have reliable information about how many girls are going to school, how many women have the chance to earn an income, what their health and safety looks like and whether they’re dying preventable deaths. Without the data, we can’t design effective policies or interventions to meet women’s needs. Data is power. p.32 SDGs 4/5/10/17

Christiane Amanpour is chief international correspondent for CNN. A veteran war reporter, she has covered conflicts from Bosnia and Rwanda to Iraq and Afghanistan. Her message is important: “The most important challenge is still being considered second-class citizens, and the most important thing for us is to get men on our side, period. This has to be something that men help us with. It’s not a question of just swapping who’s dominant. We’re not looking for female dominance; we’re looking for equality and to level the playing field – and we can’t do that without men’s buy-in as well.” p.33 National Geographic: WOMEN: A Century of Change 

Overview of Non-Fiction Australian publications: A Dog Called Harry – Jill Baker. My Lucky Stroke – Sarah Brooker. Truganini – Cassandra Pybus.  Missing William Tyrrell – Caroline Overington. www.collinsbooks.com.au

The School of Restoration – Alice Achan & Phillippa Tyndale: Alice was just 13 when the Lord’s Resistance Army first terrorised her village in 1987. She took in a pregnant teenage girl, kidnapped and assaulted by the LRA and began to house survivors of the sexual violence that was a trademark of the LRA’s 20 year campaign. Out of this rose the Pader Girls’ Academy, which Alice saw as a ‘School of Restoration’. It has helped hundreds of girls left with babies and HIV as a result of their enslavement. SDGs 4/5/8/10/16

Overview of Fiction Australian publications – Where the Truth Lies.  Karina Kilmore. Who is more dangerous – a ruthless enemy or a woman pushed to the edge? The River Home Hannah Richell. Change, sorrow, healing…only if the Truth is told. Melting Moments – Anna Goldsworthy. …doing her duty as a woman, occasionally wondering, is this all there is? 

Desire Lines – Felicity Volk: Arctic Circle, 2012. Landscape architect Evie finds herself exhuming the past as she buries Australian seeds in a frozen vault. Molong, 1953. Catastrophe had befallen 7 year old Paddy – shipped from care in London to an Australian farm school, his world was a shadowy place….a compulsive, unconventional love grows, spans decades and takes the main characters in unexpected directions. www.collinsbooks.au

Well informed, prolific writer, Jennifer A. Nielsen, brings us the stories and voices of the lesser known heroines and heroes of the ghettos and death camps during the atrocities of World War 11. “Resistance” blends subjects skilfully: Jewish girls – Poland – The history of underground movements and occupation and the startling Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. 

The blend displays a bravery one hopes the world has not lost! Included in the extensive research is material from the archives of Yad Vashem. www.yadvasha.org (German, Polish & Yiddish words are italicized on first appearance in the text.)

“To those who resisted, in every way they resisted, this book is for you.”

For the young Jewish couriers, I hold you in the highest respect.

“Defence in the ghetto has become a fact. Armed Jewish resistance and revenge are actually happening. I have witnessed the glorious and heroic combat of the Jewish fighters…”excerpt from the last letter of Mordecai Anielewicz, April 23, 1943.

An afterword furnishes brief yet solid facts about resistance in Krakow and Warsaw; of ghettos and extermination camps: Bedzin, Bialystok, Treblinka, Sobibor and Auschwitz. An urgent history! Jennifer collects old books, loves good theatre and thinks that a quiet afternoon in the mountains makes for a nearly perfect moment. She lives with her husband, three children and a perpetually muddy dog! www.jennielsen.com Scholastic Press, N Y, 2018. SDGs 4/16

Kind messages, that pass from land to land

Kind letters that betray the hearts deep history

In which we feel the pressure of a hand

One touch of fire and all the rest is mystery. Henry Wordsworth Longfellow.

KIND MESSAGES have indeed passed from land to land during this unprecedented global crisis! Kind messages come to us from our Elisabeth in Melbourne, hunkered down with her trusty sewing machine and engaged in reviving her delicious veggie garden, as well as continuing reporting for all of us in Australia and our international colleagues, all over the world. President of the ICW-CIF, Dr Jungsook also sends her best and is hopeful that the postponed mid-term conference may be held in Avignon at the end of September 2020. 

Communication continues via our networks – and more kind messages have been received from Annamaria in Italy – Annamaria has been in lockdown for much longer than we have here in Australia – thankfully able to speak with family members but NO CONTACT has been the law in Northern Italy for some time. Mazel in Israel has informed us of the continuing hard work being carried out there with the heightening of tensions and fear as the Virus advances and swallows up lives; of the additional, heart-breaking work of helping those who are experiencing heightened cases of domestic violence and of those who are fearful of HOW they will put food on the table!  Hedva in Israel continues to send beautiful emails of the work and worries of the women in her surrounds; these are kind and wonderfully received, as are those from Eleanore in Austria. A magickal Grande Dame of Music, our international colleague will now be seeking other ways to soothe the soul and maintain hope; without silencing the song and sounds altogether! Leonie, our international co-ordinator for Communications, retains a positivity and humour that keeps people buoyant, as does Noela, our Queensland Angel; eternally contactable, helpful, wise and endlessly extending that beautiful ‘pressure of a hand’!! Salut! to All and Many Thanks! Grazie! Danke! Merci! Detecte! Gamsahabnida!

As Helen Keller once said: “I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.”

Groups of musicians and artists are presenting their ‘gigs’ online – and on Facebook live – the singers and musicians say that this is not as easy as it may look, but some, like Australia’s BLONDE group, have presented their gig at the venue in which it would have taken place pre-Corona virus. The Absence of an audience is eerie, although the presence and vivacity of the performers lightens the darkness.

Other music lovers have sought YouTube presentations, such as that of Ed Sheeran – Perfect Symphony with the famed Andre BOCELLI. Another of great beauty is Andrea and Matteo Bocelli – Radio 2 Piano Room. More news of how the Arts/Music/Drama/Film industries will survive will be advised as such comes to hand.

SBS WORLD MOVIES is currently showing a Queensland film, set in Toowoomba. ‘DON’T TELL’ is moving, challenging, true and a grand tribute to the film-makers, director, script-writer, actors and actresses and to the sheer bravery of the young woman, who forged the way for Landmark Legislation for the future. “Once in a while, a movie qualified as art, because it was about Truth. Art was art only if it honoured enduring truths….” Dean Koontz

The people of Cairns were lucky enough to enjoy the Exhibition Opening Event of SIDNEY NOLAN’S NED KELLY SERIES on Friday 6 March, at the Cairns Art Gallery. This is a National Gallery of Australia exhibition, on tour for the first time in fifteen years. The Ned Kelly series of paintings is widely regarded as a masterpiece of 20th century Australian art. 

The iconic Ned Kelly series demonstrates Nolan’s extraordinary ability as an artist and a storyteller who could weave history with myths and legends to create an evocative and compelling series of works that celebrate an anti-hero and infamous outlaw. 

Dr Deborah HART, Head of Australian Art and Senior Curator of Australian Painting and Sculpture, National Gallery of Australia presented a lively and well-informed talk about the series and the ways in which the paintings are hung – for this is not necessarily in the sequence in which the works were painted. Dr Hart also pointed out the interesting symbology in the works and added some history, stating that Nolan’s grandfather was indeed one of the policemen who has chased Ned Kelly! The works themselves are fascinating, and just as the series did in the Irish Art Gallery in Dublin, it is clear that Nolan opens questions to which he does not actually offer answers! 

This is a delightful exhibition and it is a great shame that the public will not be able to view the series because of our current crisis. If it is to remain in North Queensland longer, I will advise.  Numbers of Queensland Art Galleries kindly informed us of their closures. Many thanks to all of you from the National Council of Women Queensland.

Another grand exhibition one hopes may be extended, is John MAWURNDJUL’s I AM THE OLD AND THE NEW. “Mankerrnge la mankare.” The old ways of doing things have changed into the new ways. The new generation does things differently. But me, I have two ways. I am the old and the new. John Mawurndjul: organised and toured by Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.

As galleries, theatres and myriad venues have been forced to shut to protect Life, we return to the World of Letters – our world of Literature and what people here are reading. Some of these books reveal secrets, some hide more. Some lie and some reveal Truth. Some lighten and brighten, some challenge. All are interesting…and where I bring you the dense and the dark – remember The Darkness never lasts. Perhaps sometimes without it we are not able to see the LIGHT! 

Fiona Erskine – “She blows things up to keep people safe”! The Chemical Detective: Dr Jaq Silver, skier, scientist, international jet-setter, explosives expert, stumbles across a problem in Slovenia. Her evidence disappears. Racing between the snowy slopes of Slovenia and the ghostly ruins of Chernobyl, ‘The Chemical Detective’ is an electrifying read!  Point Blank Oneworld Publications, London, 2019.  www.oneworld-publications.com 

Erskine is a professional engineer based in Teesside, ‘though she travels frequently to Brazil, Russia, India and China. As a female engineer, she is often the lone representative of her gender in board meetings, cargo ships, night-time factories and off-shore oil rigs. Her writing offers a fascinating insight into this traditionally male world.

“Jaq thought that there must be a way.

Surely there was a way.

There was no breeze in the tunnel, no natural light, the whoosh and rattle of forced ventilation had long ceased. Within minutes the stuffy underground warren smelt of decay.

And death.

The lights went off.” SDGs 4/5/10/11

Sweeping across the world…Dean Koontz – The Night Window reflects a different world…. “The art of Francis Bacon reflects his view of human society as chaotic, confirms his belief in the need to impose order by brute power and extreme violence.” p.14 Harper Collins 2019 www.deankoontz.com

“Creating a neural (brain) lace is the thing that really matters for humanity to achieve symbiosis with machines.” Elon Musk

“Ultimately they were going to inject her with the neural lace that would web her brain and enslave her…” p.20

“He told stories of courage and fortitude; stories of ordinary people who refused to be crushed by the system or dictated to by self-appointed elites.” p.117

“It’s a goblin night: eerie green snowflakes, the falling of flakes like luminous citrine scales shed by some gathering of dragons in the sky.” p.122  SDGs 4/11/16     Read while we are all being Brave!

A 2010 novel by Harlan Coben ‘PLAY DEAD’ keeps you in suspense until the final page. Set in Palm Cove, the Pacific International Hotel and business houses just near the Marlin Jetty, this is a great thriller “…full of twists and turns, which explores the fierceness of paternal love…” Evening Standard www.orionbooks.co.uk    www.harlancoben.com

Extraordinary author, holder of the 2011 Medal of Chevalier of the Order of Arts & Letters; famed forensic consultant and founding member of the U.S. National Forensic Academy, PATRICIA CORNWELL penned and publishes “Port Mortuary” also in 2010. Sphere. An imprint of Little Brown Book Group, London. www.hachette.co.uk  www.littlebrown.co.uk   This is a startling, ‘though not an ‘easy’ read. Cornwell compiled an unusual “Note to My Readers’ revealing the chilling reality of places, organisations, weaponry and technology in today’s world.

“The great Renaissance genius, Leonardo da Vinci, believed that art is science and science is art, and the solutions to all problems can be found in nature if one is meticulous and observant; if one faithfully seeks truth.” p.46

“A substantial percentage of research grants go to Cambridge area labs – Harvard M I T…war has become our national industry, like automotives, steel and the railroads once were…robots like MORT could be utilized in theatre to recover casualties so troops didn’t risk their lives for a fallen comrade”. This got tabled because using robots for such a purpose ‘supposes’ they can decide a fallen soldier, a human being, is fatally injured or dead! p.76

“I don’t agree with the belief that technology can save us. Certainly, it isn’t making us more civilised, and I actually think the opposite is true.” Pp179-180

“This is what we’re up against, Kay,” Briggs says, “Our brave new world, what I call neuroterrosism, what the Pentagon calls ‘the big fear’. Make us crazy and you win. Make us crazy enough and we’ll kill ourselves, saving the bad guys the trouble. In Afghanistan, give our troops opium, give them benzodiazepines, give them hallucinogenics, something to take the edge off their boredom – and then see what happens….”p430 SDGs 3/4/11/16

A read like no other!  Primum non nocere….First – do no harm.

Lightening up a little in this epic report – An Aussie Author to remember! Liane MORIARTY

Big

Little

Lies      Pan Macmillan Aust 2015

Liane Moriarty produces novels that are miracles of structure as well as human insight. Sydney Morning Herald

Piriwee Public School is like a zillion others. Mothers frantic, bullying, secrets – new young women, one single, with a son – another married another mother’s ex-husband – fuses herself with Yoga, herbal tea (vegan of course) and chakras…

The author fuses friendship, fuss, fears, fallacies and fun with marvellous humour and incisive insights, treating the reader, as well as her characters, with extraordinary tenderness.

“No-one marries funny and poignant quite like Lianne. She is the mistress of the razor-sharp observation…my favourite so far.” Kate Morton

“…little children have to be handled like explosive devices!” p191

WARNING: This novel may also have to be handled like an explosive device! Moriarty is a fantastically nimble writer. “Lashings of dark humour and ultimately drama.”Saturday Age. www.lianemoriarty.com   SDGs 3/4/10/16

“Magical and healing. 

Lovely.” The Times

“A glorious poem of a novel – a story to read slowly and to marvel at the beauty of it.” Rosamund Lupton.  

“Poetic and deeply moving…a lavish and clever read which will stand the test of time.” Herald.

“A YEAR OF MARVELLOUS WAYS”

Sarah WINMAN

This author writes with an excellence in her sweeping prose and beautiful interconnection with the natural and the unseen worlds. She magically weaves this sheer beauty throughout the entire novel, with her unwavering theme of love in all its forms. It is utterly beautiful and wonderfully readable, with the richest prose that ebbs and flows.

This is a story about Marvellous Ways, an eighty-nine year old Woman who sits by a creek in Cornwell, waiting for a last adventure. It’s also about Francis Drake, a young soldier who washes up there, reeling from the war and broken-hearted. It’s about the magic in everyday life and the lure of the sea, the healing powers of storytelling and sloe gin, and how we carry on when grief comes snapping at our heels.

This is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read and Thank You to Nile and Sheila or I may have missed it!!! You were telling me a story and the story’s not finished. You can’t leave a story in the middle.

How do you know it was the middle?

Because it wasn’t the beginning. And it wasn’t the end.

How do you know it wasn’t the end? p123   Kathy you will love this novel.

SDGs 4/17

‘Marvellous held the postcard up to her eyes again and studied the script. She saw gratitude and promise in the flourish of his hand. It had been a long time since she had cried, but she knew she didn’t need her tears any more because there was no point in tears outliving eyes, so she let them fall.”p235. “Later she listened to the earth turn. It has a melody that only the gentle hear.” p254 

A poet, writer and woman after my own heart, Winman writes in her acknowledgements: “Research is not something that comes easily to me and I find it sleep inducing at the best of times, frustrating at the worst, and a hindrance, always, to my childlike impulse to spontaneously tell a story…” She does, however, thank the people, institutions and organisations for relevant information, which allowed the writing process to be truly enriching….Tinder Press an imprint of Headline Publishing Group UK 2015. www.tinderpress.co.uk www.hachette.co.uk

All the very best in these trying times.  Wait… can you hear that? So very, very soft – gentle – persistent…The softest, most gentle whisper of all Time “Remember – The Darkness never lasts”

Even with libraries closed, there may be new ways to share books – not just online. I will advise if new ideas or projects to accommodate readers are available. Facebook users will already know that The Marketplace offers all sorts of commodities.

NCWQ Health Report, April 2020

By Dr Kathryn Mainstone, NCWQ Health Adviser

Unease During Coronavirus Over Personal  Protective Equipment

Edith Cowan University in WA has recently released a study, based on their questions asked of 350 health workers –  doctors, nurses and paramedics – during the current coronavirus pandemic. It revealed that half of those who responded did not have access to sufficient PPE ( personal protective equipment )  and that 70% had been asked to ration their use of PPE. Doctors were more likely to report overall a lack of face masks, face shields, gowns and hand sanitiser. Over 20% report being tested for COVID-19 and 17% had undergone periods of self-isolation due to work-based exposure. 80% were concerned about exposing their family and 41% expressed this concern as “extreme”. They report a lack of communication between their employers and themselves regarding the issue.       

There is currently a huge gap between what is seen as “safe” for GPs and what in reality is available in terms of PPE. Dr Bernie Hudson, microbiologist at Royal North Shore Hospital, spoke to GPs recently about the issue. He said that in reality, there has been very little research done on the subject but let us know what they currently know. We know that the wearing of surgical masks seems to reduce the spread of infection from someone who already has the virus but does little to stop someone getting the virus. Given that people may be infectious for up to 48 hours prior to getting any symptoms, it might be an idea to offer a mask to anyone wanting to come into the practice and see a GP. He also said that if we had supplies of P2/N95 masks then GPs should use them, assuming that anyone may have COVID-19. The N95 mask is the mask that has a respirator within it and, if fitted well, prevents spread far better than a simple surgical mask. How long should a health care worker wear a mask and can we reprocess them? This is in fact a science-free zone; we have simply not done the studies necessary to give answers to these questions. What we do know is that dentists, ENT surgeons, anaesthetists and maxillofacial surgeons are at high risk given that they are involved in aerosol generating procedures and should be wearing P2/N95 masks at all times.

We have always had pandemics and it comes as no surprise that South Korea and Taiwan have dealt with the current pandemic so well, given that they had to confront SARS in 2003. They knew exactly how to go about dealing with this virus from the outset. It is sad that Australia has found itself so short-supplied with all aspects of personal protective equipment and is still so woefully unprepared. Never again should we rely on overseas countries for the supply of masks, gowns, gloves and test kit reagents. We have mercifully been released from the initial human carnage which has been present in the US and Europe but this is an ongoing story and will require tremendous effort to prevent it from breaking out in spot fire scenarios over the coming months. Hopefully, our current PPE situation will be rectified but that story that is yet to be told…     

NCWQ Environment Report: April 2020

By Pap Pepper, NCWQ Environmental Adviser

The environmental issues of two major recent occurrences, the 2019-20 bushfires and the coral bleaching of reefs in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park are discussed – Why they occurred, the consequences and some actions being taken or that have potential.

The 2019-20 bushfire season was disastrous with at least 34 lives lost, over 5,900 buildings (including 2,779 homes) destroyed and an estimated 18.6 million hectares burnt. NASA estimated that 306 million tonnes of CO2 had been emitted as of 2 January 2020. While this might normally be reabsorbed by forest regrowth, prolonged drought has damaged the ability of forests to fully regrow and may take decades. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019%E2%80%9320_Australian_bushfire_season

Raging bushfire with flames as tall as the trees
Koala after a bushfire sitting on the ground in front of a fence.

                           

Photo: CSIRO                                                       Photo: M Fillinger https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2020-03-05/bushfire-                                             crisis-five-big-numbers/12007716

Australian Academy of Science Fellow Professor Chris Dickman has estimated that Australia has lost at least a billion birds, mammals and reptiles this bushfire season. This figure does not include insects, bats, fish and frogs.  Even if animals survive the fires by fleeing or going underground, they return or re-emerge into areas that don’t have the resources to support them. Others will fall victim to introduced predators such as feral cats and red foxes. Even for those birds or animals able to flee to unaffected areas they will rarely be able to successfully compete with animals already living there and succumb within a short time. Some endangered species may be driven to extinction.

Australia is at risk of losing a significant proportion of its biodiversity and because much of that biodiversity occurs only here in Australia, it’s a global loss.https://www.sydney.edu.au/news-opinion/news/2020/01/08/australian-bushfires-more-than-one-billion-animals-impacted.html https://www.science.org.au/news-and-events/news-and-media-releases/australian-bushfires-why-they-are-unprecedented Also the bushfires have not only taken a heavy toll on wildlife but have affected water and air quality.

While bushfires form part of the natural cycle of Australia’s landscapes, factors such as climate trends, weather patterns and vegetation management by humans can all contribute to the intensity of bushfires. The most destructive fires have been preceded by extreme high temperatures, low relative humidity and strong winds, combining to create ideal conditions to rapidly spread fire. 

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b2/2019_Spring_BOM_FFDI_scs72.png/200px-2019_Spring_BOM_FFDI_scs72.png

            

FFDI (Forest Fire Danger Index), Spring 2019

The primary causes of the 2019–20 bushfire was seen as severely below average fuel moisture attributed to record-breaking temperatures and drought, accompanied by severe fire weather, and that these are likely to have been exacerbated by long-term trends of warmer and dryer weather observed over the Australian land mass. 

The major cause of ignition of fires during the 2019-20 fire crisis in NSW and Victoria is reported to be lightning strikes with alleged arson accounting for around 1% of NSW fires and 0.3% of Victorian fires by 18 January 2020.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019%E2%80%9320_Australian_bushfire_season

The significance of major circulation patterns on climate variability in Australia has been studied:- 

  • the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) referring to the extensive warming of the sea surface region in the central and eastern Pacific, 
  • the Inter-decadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) similar to El Nino in that it is a change in climate related to sea surface temperatures but tending to last much longer, 20-30 years as opposed to 18 months, 
  • the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) – the difference in ocean temperatures between the west and east tropical Indian Ocean, that can shift moisture towards or away from Australia, and 
  • Southern Annular Mode (SAM) – a mode of variation in the atmosphere of the high latitudes in the southern hemisphere. 

One study investigating the influence of the ENSO on fire risk found that the proportion of days with a high, or greater than high, fire danger rating markedly increased during El Niño episodes and was further increased when the IPO was negative during these El Niño eventsVerdon D.C. , Kiem A.S and S.W. Franks (2004) Int. J. of Wildland Fire 13(2) 165-171 https://doi.org/10.1071/WF03034

In another study with data from 39 stations from1973 to 2017, Harris and Lucas (2019) found ENSO to be the main driver for interannual variability of fire weather as measured by the McArthur Forest Fire Danger Index (FFDI). They reported that in general, El Niño-like conditions led to more extreme fire weather, with this effect stronger in eastern Australia but with significant regional variations to this general rule. In NSW, particularly along the central coast, negative SAM was a primary influence for elevated fire weather in late-winter and spring. In the southeast (Victoria and Tasmania), the El Niño-like impact was exacerbated when positive IOD conditions were simultaneously observed. The spring conditions were key, and strongly influenced what was observed during the following summer. On longer time scales (45 years), linear trends were upward at most stations; this trend was strongest in the southeast and during the spring. The positive trends were not driven by the trends in the climate drivers and they were not consistent with hypothesized impacts of the IPO, either before or after its late-1990s shift to the cold phase. Harris and Lucas proposed that anthropogenic climate change was the primary driver of the trend, through both higher mean temperatures and potentially through associated shifts in large-scale rainfall patterns. They also said that variations from interannual factors were generally larger in magnitude than the trend effects observed. 

thumbnail

Time series of 90th percentile FFDI annual anomaly (July-June) at each station (1973–2017). The thick line indicates the multi-station mean. The thick dotted line indicates the linear trend.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0222328.g012

Harris S, Lucas C (2019) Understanding the variability of Australian fire weather between 1973 and 2017. PLoS ONE 14(9): e0222328.

Bruce Boyes, Knowledge Manager, Environmental manager, Project manager, Educator claimed the scale and seriousness of the current bushfire crisis was caused by the progressive temperature increase due to climate change, the strongest IOD on record, the influence of SAM and a well-advanced IPO progressively drying the landscape of southeastern Australia. While each one of these factors on their own would have been unlikely to have caused something of the scale and seriousness of the current bushfire crisis, all of these factors coming together did. Removing any one of these factors but leaving all of the others would also have been unlikely to have caused such a crisis. https://realkm.com/2020/01/11/the-vital-knowledge-missing-from-australias-bushfire-crisis-debates-part-1-what-can-climate-history-tell-us

In a further paper, Bruce Boyes  addressed hazard reduction burning  and debunks some of the myths about Aboriginal fire management practices.  Rather than practices being widespread and constant, they depended on the species composition of the vegetation communities in the area inhabited.  

To provide a line of defence between buildings and bushland, Boyes promotes a buffer zone completely clear of understorey, midstorey, and any fuel load and if local conditions indicate a high risk of crown fires the overstorey trees. He also discusses firelines  along the boundaries between the buffer zones and the bushland to facilitate easy access for back burning in case of an approaching wildfire, and additional firelines within the bushland areas if possible, to provide additional lines of defencehttps://realkm.com/2020/01/25/the-vital-knowledge-missing-from-australias-bushfire-crisis-debates-part-2-the-popular-narrative-and-the-unpopular-scientific-knowledge/

Citizen Science Forum:  On 14 February, CSIRO hosted a national forum which recognised that in a time of crisis, research capability is under pressure and citizen science could provide an important complement to traditional research-led monitoring campaigns.  To that end, in collaboration with the Atlas of Living Australia (a National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy capability) and the Australian Citizen Science Association, CSIRO has developed the Citizen Science Bushfire Project Finder website which allows members of the public to contribute to projects ranging from air quality, to identifying and confirming animal and plant sightings while maintaining safe social distancing practices. https://www.csiro.au/en/News/News-releases/2020/Citizen-science-to-aid-bushfire-recovery   While citizen scientists can be confronted by the number of tools and protocols aimed at ensuring data is captured in a consistent manner, this is essential to make the best use of the data. In many cases it may only be practical to get a true picture of the composition of the flora and fauna in an area and how it changes with time with the help of dedicated citizen scientists.

Threat to koalas from bats carrying a retrovirus:  On top of the high mortality from the bushfires, and loss of habitat and food supply, the koala population can be exposed, by a koala retrovirus KoRV, to cancer and chlamydia, a leading cause of infertility, blindness and kidney failure. Scientists from Burnet Institute, Melbourne and CSIRO have identified bats as a source of diverse infectious retroviruses related to KoRV. This implicates bats as a reservoir of KoRV-related viruses that potentially can be transmitted to other mammalian species. Bats are reservoirs of emerging viruses that are highly pathogenic to other mammals, including humans. For example, while remaining unaffected, bats, can host viruses including Ebola, Hendra and coronaviruses, and transmit the viruses by droppings and body fluids to other mammals. The research of Hayward et al reported the first exogenous retrovirus described in bats. https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/batborne-viruses-a-deadly-threat-to-koalas/news-story/46414d893f0f36ea768b11a77ae993d8  Hayward et al  (2020) Infectious KoRV-related retroviruses circulating in Australian bats www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1915400117While SARS or SARS-like, MERS or MERS-like, 2019-nCOV or 2019-nCoV-like viruses have not yet been found in Australian wildlife (including bats), overseas bats host these viruses. https://wildlifehealthaustralia.com.au/Portals/0/Documents/FactSheets/Mammals/Coronaviruses_in_Australian_Bats.pdf

However, it should be remembered flying-foxes play a crucial role as pollinators and help keep forest ecosystems that support other species like koalas, healthy. https://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/wildlife/2020/04/do-our-fruit-bats-carry-the-virus-behind-covid-19/

Coral Bleaching of reefs in the Great Barrier Marine Park (GBRMP): Sea temperatures in February around the Great Barrier Reef were the warmest on record since the Bureau of Meteorology’s sea surface temperature records began in 1900. 

PHOTO: Sea temperatures in February around the Great Barrier Reef were the warmest on record. (Supplied: Bureau of Meteorology) https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-15/cyclone-great-barrier-reef-bleaching-record-seas-temperatures/12050102

Director of the ARC Centre for Excellence in Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University (CCRS JCU) Professor Terry Hughes said serious coral bleaching occurs when coral suffers heat stress due to spikes in sea temperatures caused by unusually hot summers. 

Aerial surveys of 1036 reefs (focusing on shallow water corals, down to five metres) showed a different pattern of bleaching within the GBRMP than from bleaching events in 2016 and 2017:-

https://images.theconversation.com/files/325593/original/file-20200406-74220-1axw6r6.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&fit=clip

https://theconversation.com/we-just-spent-two-weeks-surveying-the-great-barrier-reef-what-we-saw-was-an-utter-tragedy-135197

The aerial surveys accurately record bleaching to only a five metre depth, and bleaching severity generally declines with increasing depth. www.gbrmpa.gov.au/the-reef/reef-health/coral-bleaching-101

Of the 1036 reefs surveyed

  • about 40%  had little or no bleaching and it is anticipated that most will recover,
  • about 25%  were severely (each reef >60%) bleached and
  • about 35%  were moderately bleached with responses dependent on history of disturbance.

http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/news-room/latest-news/latest-news/coral-bleaching/2020/statement-aerial-surveys-on-the-great-barrier-reef 07/04/20 GBRMPAuthority Weekly Reef health update — 02 April 2020 http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/the-reef/reef-health.

An aerial survey of coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef. Picture: AFP

An aerial survey of coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef. Picture: AFP

Professor Hughes said the distinctive footprint of each bleaching event has closely matched the location of hotter and cooler conditions in different years.  But it was difficult to make predictions about how much coral would die, as scientists had found corals were reacting differently after each marine heatwave. To know whether coral is surviving and recovering after bleaching or dying, water surveys are needed.

Professor Morgan Pratchett also from CCRS JCU, who leads the underwater surveys, noted that bleaching isn’t necessarily fatal as some species are affected more than others.  He will be assessing the losses of corals from this most recent event later in the year.  

With the five mass bleaching events (1998, 2002, 2016, 2017, 2020) the number of reefs escaping severe bleaching continues to dwindle and the gap between recurrent bleaching events to shrink, hindering a full recovery. Hughes and Pratchett are concerned the Great Barrier Reef will continue to lose corals from heat stress, until global emissions of greenhouse gasses are reduced to net zero, and sea temperatures stabilise.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-15/cyclone-great-barrier-reef-bleaching-record-seas-temperatures/12050102https://www.theaustralian.com.au/inquirer/coral-bleaching-barriers-for-the-reef/news-story/3ea4d163fcc4445b1e3b37cf7bab90a6;https://www.jcu.edu.au/news/releases/2020/april/climate-change-triggers-great-barrier-reef-bleachinghttps://theconversation.com/we-just-spent-two-weeks-surveying-the-great-barrier-reef-what-we-saw-was-an-utter-tragedy-135197

The GBRMPA also urges that the strongest possible global efforts be made to reduce emissions and global warming as large scale marine heatwaves and associated coral bleaching events become more severe and frequent, and the Reef’s natural recovery processes are unable to keep up. Such action is needed in conjunction with their current programme protecting coral cover through crown-of-thorns starfish control, improved water quality, increased monitoring and effective Marine Park management, preventing illegal fishing, and developing potential new restoration and interventions that can occur within the Reef.

http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/news-room/latest-news/latest-news/coral-bleaching/2020/statement-aerial-surveys-on-the-great-barrier-reef

Recently the Australian Government launched the research and development phase (initially $150million) of its Reef Restoration and Adaptation Science Program to help preserve and restore the Great Barrier Reef in the face of rising ocean temperatures and coral bleaching and endorsed a two-year feasibility study led by the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) into a range of science-based interventions.

This included: 

  • examining ways to collect and freeze coral larvae for use in year-round coral seeding,
  • seeding reefs with corals that are more resilient to heat to help coral reefs to evolve and adapt to the changing environment, 
  • developing technologies that increase the survival rate of coral larvae and that can produce and deploy large quantities of more resilient coral larvae,
  • an ambitious concept to shade and cool large areas of reef at risk of bleaching by spraying microscopic saltwater droplets into clouds to make them more reflective of sunlight (cloud brightening – see below) and
  • investigating methods to physically stabilise damaged reefs, after cyclone and bleaching events, to facilitate faster recovery.

https://minister.awe.gov.au/ley/media-releases/150-million-drive-innovations-boost-reef-resilience       16 April 2020https://www.theaustralian.com.au/inquirer/coral-bleaching-barriers-for-the-reef/news-story/3ea4d163fcc4445b1e3b37cf7bab90a6

Researchers at Southern Cross University and the Sydney Institute of Marine Science have trialled cloud brightening using a boat-mounted fan similar to a snow cannon to shoot salt crystals into the air and  have achieved promising results. To have a significant impact on the reef, a full-scale experiment would need to be 10 times larger, involving the use of several big barge-mounted turbines. The effectiveness of this cloud-brightening technique would drop significantly as the ocean warms further, hence would need to be used in conjunction with other systems. https://www.sciencealert.com/cloud-brightening-is-the-newest-experiment-to-protect-the-great-barrier-reef-from-warming

IWD 2020: Olivia Hargroder, Bursary Recipient

To mark 2020 International Women’s Day (#EachforEqual), NCWQ is profiling an impressive women each day in and around the 8th March. These featured young women are past NCWQ Bursary Recipients, and have demonstrated incredible leadership, success, community service, intelligence and commitment to their personal and professional passions. In today’s feature, past bursary recipient Olivia Hargroder shares her thoughts.

To learn more about the bursary program, keep an eye on our website in the coming month. 

1. What were the benefits to you in being a 2019 NCWQ bursary recipient?

The NCWQ bursary has enabled me to continue with my acting studies. I have now completed a Cert IV in acting for stage and screen and have just started a NIDA Open course in Screen Acting. I was lucky enough to win an award at the 2019 Qld One Act Play Festival for my role in ‘I Hate Hedda’.

2. What are your goals for this year?

My goal this year is to put together some great takes for a showreel, launch my own website and audition for upcoming roles in film. Inclusive filming is really taking off and it is no longer acceptable to have characters with disabilities played by able bodied actors. Diversity is the new black and inclusive filmmakers will need diverse actors who are fully trained and ready to work in the industry. I’m ready.!!

3. What is your personal mantra or self-talk that you use to keep yourself on track in pursuing your aspirations? 

I always say ‘Olivia, believe in yourself, work hard and then work even harder and your dreams will come true’.

I also say: ‘Always have a Plan B as sometimes things happen in a different way- never give up’.

4. Who have been your most significant female role models?

My female role models are Dame Quentin Bryce, Dani Harmer and Jessica Mauboy.

IWD 2020: Beth Madsen, Bursary Recipient

To mark 2020 International Women’s Day (#EachforEqual), NCWQ is profiling an impressive women each day in and around the 8th March. These featured young women are past NCWQ Bursary Recipients, and have demonstrated incredible leadership, success, community service, intelligence and commitment to their personal and professional passions. In today’s feature, past bursary recipient Beth Madsen shares her thoughts.

To learn more about the bursary program, keep an eye on our website in the coming month. 

1. What were the benefits to you in being a 2019 NCWQ bursary recipient?

The bursary allowed me to purchase a new computer, improving my ability to complete my study. The bursary also helped contribute to fees to attend a conference, further helping clarify my research intentions. 

2. What are your goals for this year?

In 2020, I am aiming to present my findings at 2 conferences, and continue with my research. 

3. What is your personal mantra or self-talk that you use to keep yourself on track in pursuing your aspirations?

I set myself small, attainable goals for each day, each week and each month. This keeps me accountable and motivated. 

4. Who have been your most significant female role models?

My Mum and Dr Anita Heiss!