Quota Woman of the Year

Quota International Brisbane City Inc. honoured Dorami Keyt as the Woman of the Year at an event held at the Women’s College.

Dorami has contributed many years of volunteering to Girl Guides and Mothers Union Australia Brisbane Diocese. She has filled many roles and continues on with her work today.

QI Brisbane City were honoured to invite Shelley Brown, a current Vice President of Quota International, to speak to the assembled members and friends about just what Quota does in the community, and to assist in the presentation to Dorami.

Quota was formed in Buffalo, in New York, in 1919. Their work focusses on advocating to empower women, ensuring child development, funding deaf resources, inspiring future leaders and delivering world service in 264 communities around the world.

Dorami was congratulated by Marilyn Oulds, Dr Laurel Macintosh OBE (WOY 1984 & 1997), Noela O’Donnell AM (WOY 2015) and Sallymatu Kuyteh (WOY 2016)

QI Brisbane City is a member organisation of NCWQ.

Arts and Letters Report, February 2018

By Jennifer Ann Davies

NCWQ Arts and Letters Adviser

 

Belonging …. People love to ‘belong’. Humans, one observes, respond to the symbiosis that exists between change and continuity. Creators in the fluid worlds of arts and letters enthral readers, listeners, viewers, observers and involve audiences, by linking the communal spirit of past, present and future. Most people have a sense of ‘belonging’, somewhere, in this continuum.

Welshman, John Sunderland, created a unique attraction, ‘Celtica’, telling the story of the Celtic people who emerged from the crucible of European history 3000 years ago.

The Celts were both heroic and inventive; full of boldness, restless creative energy. Sometimes ferocious, sometimes gentle, they were always resourceful and innovative. Exhibitions, story-tell, and 3D dramatizations informed visitors journeying into the Celtic world and otherworld, and a theatrical presentation led them into the future. Survival of the LANGUAGE was a critical element of this man’s remarkable work; and that propelled the Celts into their future. Montgomeryshire, Mid Wales, SY20 8ER. 1995 onwards.

 

GINNY MOON

A novel by Benjamin LUDWIG

HQ Fiction: Harlequin Enterprises (Aust) P/L Sydney NSW 2017

Ginny Moon wants to belong.

This debut novel allows an extraordinarily engaging look into the mind of a curious and deeply lovable character. Ginny is autistic. She starts every day with exactly nine grapes! She really, really wants to belong.

Brave, challenging and firmly grounded in real life experiences, Ludwig’s touching novel, which mightily impressed Graeme Simison, author of ‘The Rosie Project’ , nudges existing notions about resourcefulness, reasoning, love, emotions, attachment and detachment. A grand read!

 

Cairns Regional Gallery continues to thrive. The gallery had been one of the remaining two left, which charged an entry fee.  It was decided that the gallery would no longer charge this fee, but fears remained, that members may no longer see any benefit in renewing their memberships.  However, all have been wonderfully surprised at the continuing success of this gallery, significant in propelling numbers of acclaimed artists into grander arenas, and in supporting fledgling artists in the Far North to continue to follow their creative spirit and their professional dreams!  Memberships continue, as does the significance of this gallery as an important regional institution.

Members receive a number of discounts as well as reciprocal benefits at Queensland Art Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane.

 

Surprises abound in Art Galleries!

These are the ‘homes’ of beauty, wonders, surprises, symbols, historicity, boldness, new visions, hope – and reminders of WHERE and WHY we belong!

 

Francesco TROMBADORI L’essenziale verita delle cose – until 11th February 2018 in case you are visiting Rome, Italy. Galleria D’Arte Modernia, Via Francesco Crispi, 24.

 

Sometimes we sense that perhaps in each Gallery there are works of art….where nothing is quite what it seems…..

Lle nad oes dim yn ddu a gwyn Celtic/Welsh

Unravelling the mysteries is such fun!

 

I’ve no wish to chisel things into new shapes.

The remnant of a mountain has its own meaning.

Judith Wright THE WAY OF IT – Blanks From The Other World: Stefanie Bennett. 2017.

 

Amelia survives change via yesterday’s visual art and artists…

BEFORE YOU FORGET

Julia LAWRINSON hails from the outer suburbs of Perth and writes for children and young adults. She loves dog beaches, Jack Russells, New York, visual art and Life! Penguin Random House Aust. 2017

Year 12 student, Amelia, is having a really tough time.  Humane, clever author, Lawrinson, blends everyday reality, pathos and multiple facets of Art History, to take her readers through the lives, loves, anomalies, silliness, pain, intensities, the mundane, symbology, eccentricities, humour, reflections and vanities of an intriguing range of the world’s visual artists and her main character.  Author and main character link past, present and future!

“…art gallery – again Brett Whiteley – self-portrait – a room – intense blue – Sydney Harbour – (same blue?)

Coffee table, chairs, twisted nudes, mirror

Whiteley utterly miserable – mouth turned down – mournful…

Then…

A tiny painting.

Woman

Jungle

Cat

Monkey

Hair wound up on top of her head – scarf – two white butterflies, sitting very still on top of her head. A chain of thorns around her neck and what looks like a dead bird as a pendant! p.29

The woman isn’t pretty. She has a mono-brow and faint moustache.

…this woman looks like the suffering of all generations has passed through her.”

Amazing, said Amelia, after – she went back inside to look at the self-portrait of Frida Kahlo. p.30

 

WE ARE HMONG

Earth history says that we lived in southern China

And parts of south-east Asia for many centuries and

Who among you is sure of his or her own clan origin?

Some say we lived in the basin of the Yellow River

Hwang He, and that we arrived in Laos and also in

Vietnam between two and four hundred years ago.

Most of us were born in Laos and our memories are

Of hard work, of cutting rice plants with sickles and

Big round bamboo sorting trays, family and birth.

We are Hmong.

 

Our Language is tonal – rich and beautiful! Very old.

Seven tones in all. In the late 1950s there were some

Missionaries who decided we should have our own

Written language and they made up an Alphabet, as

Well as a Laotian script. Our Language bonds and

Binds us; interlaces with movement and heartbeats

And understanding and patterns, Alive! Just like the

Earth’s plants, we reach out towards Life, using tone,

Sound, our beautiful Language, silence and signs.

We are Hmong.

 

In south-east Asian places we farmed with shifting

Cultivation, clearing warm, lush forests of big trees

Burning cut timber and planting crops among the

Stumps. This has been our way, as we understand

Earth and her seasons and her plants and animals

Weaving this understanding in fabric and jewellery

And story-tell, dance, song and ceremony – aged.

We are Hmong.

 

Our history, though, is not as simple as some would

Like to think. Woven through the fabric of traditions

Of our clans of red, white, blue/green, black, flowery

Is the pain, violence, and renting of persecution and

War – tearing at the fabric of culture and family – guns,

Death, fear, starvation, isolation and abandonment-

Quietening a little baby, forever, to save precious lives.

We are Hmong.

 

‘Yellow Rain’ was used to contain and cull us, so we fled,

Walking, using Earth’s sticks and trees for bows and arrows

And her mountains, rivers and bushes to hide. On our big

Journey, we took Hope and Courage. On bamboo floaters

We crossed the Mekong River to safety, freedom, poverty.

Australia offered us new hope; opportunity to rebuild, live.

Our people were settled in Hobart and then some moved

 

North to South Johnstone, Innisfail and up to Cairns.

We are Hmong.

 

We still work hard and still with the Earth – continually

We plant and harvest and wash and pack and market

Wholesome, fresh produce. Some say we are an intact

People without a country – but like you and your clan

We are an old people in a new country! Like you, we

Laugh and celebrate our traditions and cry salty tears

Of memory and know they are the tears of all humanity.

We are Hmong.

Jennifer Ann DAVIES 2002. Published Book Five: Always Becoming 2010. Copyright.

This poem was gifted to the Hmong people of Cairns and District at a Hmong New Year celebration. Quintessentially, it embraces the notion of ‘belonging’ – of having been torn from the basic elements of ‘belonging’, but also links the past, present and future, which then allows the rebuilding that is vital for people to ‘belong’. Embedded, also, is the critical importance of Language, which, like the Celts- the Welsh, and many other communities, continues to connect, bond and bind people. These people are grand examples of those who have lived with and through change and continuity.

New Year’s Resolution: Sing!

Brisbane City Sounds Chorus (BCS) wants women all over Brisbane to sing in 2018. The award-winning a cappella ensemble is encouraging women who enjoy singing to take part in a 4-week vocal education program in February and March. Participants will learn vocal skills, gain experience singing in four-part harmony, and have the chance to perform with BCS for a live audience at a finale event.

 

The vocal education program will be led by Musical Director Kelly Shepard, who recently moved to Brisbane from the USA. Kelly is a highly experienced music educator and an international-level barbershop singer, having placed third in the world on five occasions with his quartet, Metropolis. ‘As a 25+ year vocal music teacher, I’m so excited to be leading this group of ladies and to share with them the joy of singing and the excitement and genuine emotions that music can create!’ says Kelly.

 

Kelly encourages women to take part in the program regardless of their age, vocal range, sheet music-reading ability, or level of singing experience. ‘The start of the year is a great time to make the decision to start doing more things that make you happy. Our program offers an opportunity to get back into singing, or try something you haven’t explored before.’

 

The vocal education program will be held every Thursday night from 8th February to 1st March at the Lavalla Centre, 58 Fernberg Rd, Paddington.  Registration is $100, which includes group vocal tuition, learning materials, and entry to the program’s finale event on Sunday 4th March, where participants will perform with BCS.

 

Register for the program via:  www.trybooking.com/SMDS.

Find out more about BCS via:  www.brisbanecitysounds.com.au.

Arts and Letters Report, January 2018

By Jennifer Ann Davies

NCWQ Arts and Letters Report

 The Languages of Living, Looking and Listening!

Accredited performance storyteller with the Australian Guild of Storytellers, Kate Forsyth, has written: “…books are a magical gateway to other worlds and other times…For a while you walk…in someone else’s shoes, and you travel their journey of discovery with them.  When you come back to your own body, in your own place and time, you have changed.  You have grown. So books are a true kind of magic.”

 Living – Looking

“Little Bee”

Chris Cleave, Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, New York, NY 10020, 2008

“One of the most memorable and provocative characters in recent contemporary fiction.” The Boston Globe

“Sad words are just another beauty. A sad story means this storyteller is alive.” p.9. Little Bee also says to the reader – “We must see all scars as beauty. Ok? This will be our secret. Because, take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived.” p.9.

“Immensely readable and moving…an affecting story of human triumph.” The New York Times Book Review

“It would be a disservice to give away the powerful conclusion of this absorbing and gutsy story, which deals with ethical and personal accountability.” Oxford Times UK

Author, Natalie Goldberg, once said: “Ninety percent of writing is listening, which we do in order to receive ourselves.”

 

Children – 4 (Listening)

Hear the Earth’s heartbeat, way, way down.

Put your ear to the ground and you can hear

Life beat and breathe and move.

You can hear the grass crunkling

Worms wriggling and ants toiling

Snails trailing and beetles toddling

Small, secretive creatures ploffling

Busily harmonious in unison

With the rhythmic pulsing

Of the beating heart of Earth Herself.

Musical, this becomes a symphony!

Hear the Earth’s heartbeat, way, way down…

Jennifer Ann Davies: Book Five/Always Becoming: A Few Thoughts from Me to You: all editions c.

 

Looking – ‘The Other Side of Hope’

Aki Kaurismaki’s new film ‘The Other Side of Hope’ (Finnish/English/Arabic), is a heart-warming, funny and melancholic tale of a friendship between a Syrian refugee who arrives in Helsinki as a stowaway and a travelling salesman who decides to change his life, and invests in an unprofitable restaurant. Kaurismaki works effectively, to shatter prevailing perspectives of refugees as pitiful, arrogant or wilful invaders of our societies.

With his unique sense of humour and an optimistic world view, it becomes evident that a gentle elation infuses audiences, sparked by the story’s evidence of human kindness amid cruelty and indifference. Sydney Film Festival – sff.org.au/tff

Listen!

The language of aliveness is in everything – nature, earth, the ocean, silence and friendship. Mark Nepo

“Listening is the doorway to everything that matters,” claims poet and writer, Mark Nepo. “In a world where we try to make ourselves known by making noise, that’s a revolutionary claim!” MarkNepo.com

“If you don’t become the ocean, you’ll be seasick every day.” Leonard Cohen

A look at a shadow side – ‘The Teacher’ (Slovakian – tff) Slovakia’s Jan Hrebeik disrobes a nasty, unscrupulous teacher, who carefully notes the professions of her students’ parents and exploits their goods, services and fears to a degree where the unwilling were ‘punished’ by failure, poor marks, abuses and public humiliation for their students.

Whilst cleverly satirical, credible and scary, this film is very close to home to numbers of us who have experienced the illicit student anomalies, dire conflict and absences of honesty and integrity, in existing systems.

If, indeed, this satire is a ‘microcosm to make cutting points about society at large’ (Screendaily), viewers must digest the richness of this snapshot to, perhaps, review the presence or absence of honesty and integrity in contemporary educational systems. Change is always possible.

A joyful, uplifting first novel comes to the reader from Catherine Bennetto, who has worked as an Assistant Director on shows such as ‘The Bill’, ‘Coronation Street’ and ‘Death in Paradise’; loves travelling, is an excellent writer and a woman with a superlative, highly entertaining sense of humour – and one who has few illusions about honesty, people, media and life itself!

Bennetto’s rendition of Emma George’s unruly, fractured life, is truly hilarious and heart-warming and will make you laugh and cry, yet reassure you that perhaps your life is not that bad, actually….! Emma inherits a little house and neighbour, Harriet – pedant, Doberman-owning, handicam-wielding, felony obsessed octogenarian…lots of fun!

‘HOW NOT TO FALL IN LOVE ACTUALLY’

Simon & Schuster UK Ltd.2017 – www.simonandschuster.co.uk

‘THE LADY AND THE UNICORN’ – The Mystery and Myth of Art’s Greatest Enigma from Shona MARTYN.   SMH.COM.AU Dec 23-24, 2017 p.8

Subtly lit, in the Musee de Cluny, Paris, a mysterious and influential series of artworks throw a magnetic spell over many visitors.

Author, Tracey CHEVALIER, who wrote a fictionalised version of the creation of the tapestries, said: ‘I have spent hours in that room…unable to leave. Watch the behaviour in front of those tapestries. There is a magnetic pull which keeps sucking people back.’ 

Sydney writer, Charlotte Wood, pays tribute to these artworks in her award-winning novel ‘The Natural Way of Things’; and celebrated German-Austrian poet and writer Rainer Maria WILKE wrote of them in his influential novel ‘The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.’

It has often been said that everyone, from the oldest to the youngest can find something special in these tapestries. Australians will be able to experience these extraordinary tapestries early in 2018, at the Art Gallery of NSW as renovation work at the Musee de Cluny means that the series will make a rare trip away from France!

The allure of ‘The Lady and the Unicorn’ has touched every art form! An excellent history is presented by Shona MARTYN, of the Sydney Morning Herald. Shona travelled to Paris as a guest of the Art Gallery of NSW.

 

‘THE LADY AND THE UNICORN’ exhibition

Art Gallery of New South Wales

March 10th – June 24th 2018

 

Cherries! Uncomplicated, unadulterated Joy – ‘…sometimes all it takes is fresh fruit.” Caroline BAUM “ONLY” a singular memoir. Allen and Unwin NSW Australia 2017.

 

LUNAR calendars are used for many traditional festivities, rituals, parades, feasts and family reunions, by our Asian neighbours. The New Year was welcomed with all of these events, dancing with ancient and traditional music; accompanied by giant Dragons and the Dragon Boat; abundance symbols and tokens swaying in the breeze with the outstanding, vibrant red which invites good health, wealth, good fortune throughout life, protection from evil spirits, fertility and long life!

CHINESE New Year features strongly throughout our Australian history and is celebrated in country, town and city, in our great state.  Greetings abound –

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Xin Nian Kuai Le!

Many of our towns and cities have special relationships with other in China – Cairns has a valued cultural and commercial relationship with the Chinese.www.cairnschinese.newyear.org

 

HMONG New Year differs, and is not as tightly interwoven in our social fabric, perhaps, yet is particularly beautiful, sacred and lots of fun! The Hmong people who live in the Far North belong to different tribes, some of which are Flowery Hmong, Blue-Green Hmong, White Hmong, Black Hmong and Stripy Hmong. Whilst each tribe has particular plants and flora embroidered on traditional costumes, their language, customs and rituals, are singular, beautiful and create great excitement! Cairns Hmong New Year and USA Hmong New Year on Facebook

 

NEPALI New Year is generally celebrated between 11- 15th April, according to the Gregorian calendar. The Nepalese, however, for their spiritual and cultural festivities, continue to follow the traditional lunar calendar. Website to be updated

 

Just received from the Netherlands! “Gellukkig Nieuwjaar!” This Happy New Year Greeting I transmit to you all! – Every Best Wish!

The Bursary Factor at the NCWQ Annual Christmas Luncheon

The annual NCWQ Christmas Luncheon provided a great opportunity for some members of the Bursary Project Team to meet up with some recipients. 2017 recipients, Rebecca Masterton, Soroptimist International bursary, and Lucy Connolly, NCWQ Regional/Remote Bursary, met up with Sonya Sas, 2014 recipient of the Mayor Pam Parker bursary. Now a graduate and commencing her working career, we are thrilled that Sonya has joined Team Bursary 2018 as a Selection Panel member.

Those featured in the photo: Rebecca Masterton – 2017 recipient; Noela O’Donnell, Kathy Cavanagh,  Lucy Connolly 2017 recipient, Sonya Sas, previous recipient of the Mayor Pam Parker bursary (2014 – and a Selection Panel member for this year), and Avril Kent.

International Relations and Peace Report, December 2017

By Georgina Pickers,

NCWQ Adviser

In October Australia was voted onto the Human Rights Council of the United Nations.  This is a 3 year term commencing 01 January 2018.  Australia joins an eclectic array of nations, many who’ve not been well known for upholding human rights.  Perhaps the UN’s strategy is that these countries participation on the council will remind their representatives as to the articles contained in the UN Charter of Human Rights and urge their governments to act accordingly.  A list of countries is available at: www.un.org/en/ga/72/meetings/elections/hrc.shtml

The politicised saga of the Manus Island detainees needs to be resolved.  Every day it drags on it is costly not only to the taxpayer of Australia, adds to the anxiety of those involved but also defies common sense.  If any third country offers sanctuary, their gesture should be accepted.

If the Australian government thinks for example New Zealand is a ‘back door’ into Australia then any would be immigrants, visitors or otherwise should necessitate a visa application for entry.

Not since my primary school days when the Cuban missile crisis threatened World peace have my anxieties been so heightened.  Humanity stands at the edge of a metaphorical cliff that can crumble so easily if an unguarded statement is taken out of context.  Political rhetoric across various media, more for domestic consumption, risks offending cultural or historical sensitivities.  Never has there been a time that the peace doves of diplomacy need to fly.   Some leaders need to ‘dial down’ the political blustering choosing their words more carefully.  With so many fingers now on weapons of mass destruction, the catastrophic consequences for humanity goes without saying.

So how amazingly timely it was that the Nobel Peace Prise for Peace was recently awarded to ICAN – The International Campaign to abolish Nuclear Weapons.  This non-government organisation, originating in Australia now campaigns in over 100 countries.  Now based in Geneva the organisation has a continuous campaign to prohibit such weapons.  The NCWQ agreed to send congratulations to ICAN on their award and on-going work.

The Queensland government has announced that 24 extra Family & Domestic violence co-ordinators will join 30 already appointed across the state.  These officers will train police, government staff and NGOs in dealing with DV issues.  It is hoped that post the forthcoming state election this initiative will be actioned.  The recent death of another Qld. Woman at the hands of her estranged husband was reported in the press as DV related. It should be called what it is – murder.

In late October, the Qld. Government press release announced a new media guide to improve the reporting of violence against women and children.  The aim is to assist editors and journalists to cover issues of D.V. without sensationalising it further or adding increased distress on the victims involved.  The Australian Press Council has detailed guidelines already in place.  These can be seen at: www.presscouncil.org.au

Arts and Letters Report, November 2017

By Jennifer Ann Davies

NCWQ Arts and Letters Adviser

Almost holiday time for some!! Wonderful wit, warmth and wisdom wait for us, this holiday season!

For the ‘time-poor’ there’s the novella!

For the ‘pocket-poor’ there’s the library!

For the eternally avid reader, there’s a range of interesting publishing houses!

For the heart-sore, the saddened, there are songs and there is world music!

For the seekers of social, political and cultural truths – there are some welcome reprints!

For the newer arrivals, there are visually artistic images and photographs of our diverse cultural mosaic in small and large galleries!

 

The Novella is a short novel or narrative. Emma CHASE is author of an hilarious legal briefs’ series of novellas. Emma lives with her husband, two children and two naughty, but really cute dogs. ‘SIDEBARRED’ a legal briefs’ novella. www.authoremmachase.com

 

Borrowed from a local library, the novel ‘NIGHT SWIMMING’ is a funny, diverse story of family, love, friendship, crop-circles and goats! Offbeat, quirky and blending light-heartedness and depth, this rich novel is a delight. Author Steph BOWE was born in Melbourne in 1994 and now lives in Queensland. She has written three novels: ‘Girl Saves Boy’, ‘All This Could End’ and ‘Night Swimming’ 2017.  Textpublishing.com.au           stephbowe.com

 

To ‘restore’ writers conveying our social history, Diana GRIBBE wanted to create an independent publishing house that would find books to enlighten, challenge and entertain us. In 1990, she founded TEXT CLASSICS, publishing our most loved writers who tell our stories. textclassics.com.au

…thusly, ‘THE DYEHOUSE’ …

Mena CALTHORPE (1905-1996) was born Ivy Bright Field, in Goulburn, NSW and baptised Philomena. Because of her own struggles in business, having left the tablelands for Sydney and running an unsuccessful shop in Paddington; Calthorpe became a committed socialist and was active in the Australasian Book Society and the Australian Society of Authors.

“The Dyehouse” (1961), draws upon the writer’s experiences of a textile factory and other workplaces to create a deftly observed account of working life in postwar Sydney. The novel was published in translation in Europe and republished in Australia in 1982.

“The Dyehouse” is a novel about work; and according to Studs TERKEL, the great American cataloguer of labour, this means that it is “…by its very nature, about violence – to the spirit as well as the body.” Mena Calthorpe’s political comments and convictions are specific and convincing and brought to us by an ensemble of characters alive with vivid mobility.  The Text Publishing Company, Melbourne Vict. 1961. Introduction copyright Fiona McFarlane 2016. “The Art of Work” pp. vii-xv.

Fiona McFarlane writes about reading ‘The Dyehouse” as “…a process of rediscovery – of a lost voice, the precise, insightful voice of Mena Calthorpe. Of a lost Sydney…of a lost literary tradition – the Australian books, many of them by women, that imagined work and the worker in the unreliable light of communism. What a pleasure to see (this book) published again, in a new light. May it remain unforgotten.” Fiona McFarlane, 2016.

 

World Music Series!  Ajak KWAI from Sudan is an icon of Sudanese sound and this singer/songwriter and story teller is described as inspiring and soulful. Her performances are infused with funky afro-beats, echoing the depth and richness of her roots. Ajak tells stories of experiences as a refugee exiled from home and family. She sings in Arabic, Sudanese and English and projects a strong image of her Dinka heritage.

Her songs and stories of hope, exile, freedom, love and cows reflect an optimism and belief in the best of human nature. Poignant and refreshingly clear and honest, this graceful, dynamic woman stretched her hands out to her audience whilst she smiled and sang “I Receive You” – a holy welcome to us all!

Choked-up during a live performance, I recalled the real-life stories of my own refugee students, and watched them dance and smile and sing and clap and taste a delicious Joy. That night I watched a Mum who had witnessed her husband having his throat cut in view of their children; who has since lost sons; who has survived war, murder, poverty, fear, rape, and loss that may be hard for some to imagine, dance! I watched the infusion of liveliness and joy and movement and connection and belonging that Ajak re-ignites in the hearts of her people. The concert was exceptionally beautiful and joyful and I have had the honour of having scribed CD’s delivered to me from Ajak, for which I am deeply grateful.  Enjoy! – Ajak is on FACEBOOK under her own name: Ajak KWAI.

 

Funny, feisty and all-too-true, Claire SANDY provides warmth and lots of laughs with busy mum, Fern, who loves her imperfectly perfect family and has fun preparing endless meals for them……well?

Surprise events leap from hors d’oeuvres on mismatched plates, dog walking, running her own business, a daughter who is an eight year old militant feminist, a pair of teenage accidental parents and a husband having a midlife crisis!

Fun! ‘A ‘not quite’ Perfect Family’. Claire Sandy, Pan MacMillan, London N1 9RR, 2017.

 

Soaking WET, yet enthralled, audiences enjoyed The Glen Miller Orchestra, which recently toured DANCE BY TWILIGHT 75th Anniversary Tour. Nostalgia seems to be a recurrent element of the arts throughout 2017, and this was highly evident during this beautiful event in Munro Martin Park, Cairns. I am sure, however, that many were highly hopeful for the completion of our Civic Centre, still in process, and a solid ROOF, under which to enjoy such spectacles!

 

In many of our regions, there are few BOOKSTORES. Happily, the odd ‘pop-up’ shop surprises readers at times, and enriching and useful dictionaries; reprints of Collins Latin Dictionary and bestselling bilingual dictionaries are made available. Harper-Collins Publishers, Glasgow. Classics and best-loved books are varied, and I will try to advise a variety of websites for your collective reading pleasure.

 

“Intelligent, well-crafted and impressive.” Sunday Times. Ross WELFORD, author of ‘Time Travelling with a Hamster’, popped up with his 2017 publication “What NOT To Do If You Turn Invisible!” An astonishing and funny novel about a girl who – by disappearing – will write herself into your heart forever… Harper Collins Publishers Ltd., London SE1 9GF 2017     www.harpercollins.co.uk

 

The Heart of Art – Beautiful but brief glimpses of some of our people from diverse cultures were enjoyed and pondered over, during the recent Cairns Festival, when artistic and photographic images allowed a mercurial look at the extraordinary international mosaic that is the fabric of this northern city and region. Historically, the area was always peopled by a variety of cultures, all sharing language, customs, music, song, dance, foods and connections. Rarely have the images been showcased and it is hoped that lovers of the visual and of our own historicity, will see more of this wholesome, varied and enriching art, in future.

 

Reprinted ‘THE LOST EUROPEANS’ – first published in USA 1958, the current paperback edition was published in the UK 2016 by Apollo, an imprint of Zeus Ltd. ‘The Lost Europeans’ was copyrighted by Aaron LITVINOFF 1958. The Introduction to this reprint is from Michael SCHMIDT 2016. www.apollo-classics.com   www.headofzeus.com

This particular reprint and possible holiday read is posited as “The great forgotten novel of post-war Berlin.”

There is a co-existence of pressure and political protocols for European writers who are curious, brave and bold enough to explore behind the vanished, the Wall (1961-1989); and the most brutally patrolled fault line in the cold war.

During the life of author, Emanuel LITVINOFF, who died in 2011 at the age of 96 years, Europe suffered decisive erasure. A loved friend, the late Paul Kamslar senior, explained to me how so many ‘laundered’ their past, to survive the future.

One cannot but chuckle at the cheeky but honest Introduction, in which the astute Michael SCHMIDT writes: “The narrator never knows anything for certain. English readers, keen on facts, experience a sinister world of ‘seems’, shadows and erasures.” p.ix This is a rich and intriguing read.

 

Australian writer, Glenda LARKE, now lives in Malaysia, but regularly visits her daughters in Scotland and Virginia and her family in Western Australia. Her two great loves in life are writing fantasy and conservation of rainforest avifauna. This author has also lived in Tunisia and Austria where she has taught language English, as she has to Korean, Japanese and Malaysian students. www.glendalarke.blogspot.com  www.glendalarke.com

‘The Shadow of Tyr’ – “The Mirage Makers”

Book two of a trilogy

Harper Collins Publishers Australia, 2007.

Fresh, strange and intriguing Sunday Age, ‘The Shadow of Tyr’ is packed with universal hopes and truths, garbed in new textual robes, as well as adventure, magick and the myriad mysteries of the personal and collective psyche!

“She let a smidgen of power leak…in the deepening dusk, she glowed with a silvery light.” p.145. “I know a lie when I hear it, but at the moment I wish others had that ability…” p.145. Truly interesting and proudly from the pen of an Australian author and adventurer.

 

The University of Queensland ART MUSEUM

University Drive   St Lucia – Open daily 10am – 4pm

Free entry – Free parking on weekends

Many interesting events, displays and discussions!

www.artmuseum.uq.edu.au

 

Queensland Art Gallery now presents the Australian Collection Reimagined, an exciting change is on display now, capturing major historical moments from first contact to colonisation; and exploration to immigration. Dedicated curators and Director, Chris Saines, are proud of the reconfigured spaces in which the art works tell the stories of Queensland and Brisbane, from the region’s perspective.

NCWQ Morning Tea Success

By Noela O’Donnell AM

Noela O’Donnell AM and guests at the NCWQ Morning Tea and Fashion Parade.

The 2017 National Council of Women of Queensland Inc. (NCWQ) bursaries fund-raising morning tea, with a focus on acknowledging rural and regional women, achieved its goals on every measure.

The diversity of the 185 guests in the room, made for a very warm, vibrant and congenial atmosphere – so fitting, given the diversity of the bursary program.

Bella McDonald, from a beef cattle station south of Cloncurry in the Queensland outback, entertained all with her beautiful cello playing, , pieces by David Popper; Paul Hindemith’s Solo Sonata No.3’ and Ludwig van Beethoven’s Sonata for Cello and Piano in A major. Bella completed her primary schooling on Mt Isa School of the Air, and started taking cello lessons over the phone at the age of 10.

She has recently been accepted to Waikato University in New Zealand to study a bachelor of music (Performance) next year following her graduation from Somerville House very soon!!

Bella was accompanied by Mizusa Wang, who Graduated from Ferris University (Japan) Diploma of Performance, and has a Ecole Normal de Music de Paris, diploma of performance.

Bella McDonald performs at the NCWQ Morning Tea and Fashion Parade.

2016 Bursary Recipient Bec Clapperton’s words were both inspirational and moving. Such a wise young woman meeting the challenges of life in regional Queensland!

Bec shared her experiences of her time at the University of Wyoming USA, her participation in an international agribusiness competition in Miami and her love of life back on the family property in the South Burnett.

Both these young women were supported by family, who must have been so proud of Bella and Bec.

Noela O’Donnell AM with Bec Clapperton.

The Fashion Parade was again a lot of fun, thanks to Lee Watt from Soubrét Pink and the “real women” models – Angela and Sandra from the boutique and our own Irene Cayas, Chris Stewart and Marjorie Voss.

Remarkable rural and regional women from different fields – farming, producing, manufacturing, policing, media. writing, hospitality, medicine, creative industries and the arts were acknowledged with many of their products being lucky door and raffle prizes  – sock protectors; books including Annabelle Brayley’s “Bush Doctors”; and Rockhampton’s Anna Daniels “Girl in Between”; Merino wool; an ABC pack in acknowledgement of Hailey Renault of Mt Isa; and a locally made product courtesy of the RSL Longreach. These are the women that are the heart and soul of Queensland. We must support them and their communities as much as we can. To quote Hailey Renault “Every time you champion an outback town and its way of life you do your bit to encourage others to live, work or play out here. Tempt them to experience some of the best places in Australia.

Many are already looking forward to this function next year! Importantly, the funds raised ensure the ongoing sponsorship of our NCWQ bursaries in the 2018 program.

Reflections on Australia Day Awards: honors received by women

This article was reposted with the author’s permission. The original link can be found here

Women make up just one-third of today’s Australia Day honours recipients, the same as they have every year for almost two decades.

Little is known about the decision-making process behind the honours and neither of the bodies responsible for running them was able to cite any action they have taken to shift the gender imbalance.

The Council for the Order of Australia, which chooses who receives the honours, itself comprises 14 men and three women.

On today’s list, women make up just 30 per cent of nominees and 30.3 per cent of recipients, the lowest proportion since 2007.

A spokesperson for the Office of the Governor-General – which oversees the honours – referred the ABC to comments made in 2014 by Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston, the current chairman of the Council for the Order of Australia, encouraging the public to nominate more women.

“If people out there see a woman who is excelling in any way, then they should put a nomination in,” he told Fairfax.

The spokesperson pushed responsibility back to the Australian public, noting the council was constrained by the nominations it received.

“The Council for the Order of Australia can only consider and make recommendations based on the nominations it receives from the community,” he said.

Associate Professor JaneMaree Maher, director of the Centre of Women’s Studies and Gender Research at Monash University, agreed the root of the problem was societal due to ‘women’s work’ being less highly valued.

But she said change would require action from those running the awards.

“I think the notion of critical mass does require a significant change in the council – a commitment to look at women, or to move women’s applications up and to start to say, okay what’s happening here, much more pro-active. I think [that] is required in order to make some change.

“Because otherwise, that pattern that the department identified, ‘oh, well people don’t nominate women’, is not a magic bullet that’s going to make people start nominating women unless there is specific action on the part of the bodies calling for nominations and in the constitution of their judging panels and in the way that they think about these things.”

The council has no formal role in honours policy or promotion and “is simply tasked with assessing the nominations that come to before it”, the spokesperson said.

The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet is responsible for providing advice on the honours system to the Government. Asked what the department had done to change the gender disparity, a spokesperson said it had “recently begun using Twitter to promote www.itsanhonour.gov.au“, though its Twitter stream contains no tweets specific to the issue.

Women do marginally better on a per-nomination basis

Women who are nominated for an honour are slightly more likely to be awarded than their male counterparts.

On average since 1998, nominations for men are successful 57 per cent of the time while 63 per cent of nominations for women succeed.

This could be interpreted as some form of affirmative action by the Council for the Order of Australia to ensure that women are as well represented as possible given the smaller pool of nominees.

However, Associate Professor Maher offered an alternative explanation, suggesting the pattern matches other scenarios where there is underrepresentation of women.

“In universities across Australia the statistics routinely show that academic women do much better than men when they apply for promotion,” she said.

“But they tend to wait two to three years longer before they apply. So they really wait until they have absolutely ticked every single box off, and often ticked it off twice.

“I think the more likely explanation is that when women’s work in this context is recognised it is because they’re doing an absolutely exceptional job – and so their applications are very, very strong.

“For a woman to get noted as meritorious she has to be extraordinary.”

Even though the women being nominated and awarded may be “extraordinary” they’re still not receiving the highest levels of recognition nearly as often as men.

The awards received by women skew significantly to the lower levels of merit. Since 1998 only 20 per cent of people admitted as a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), the top award level excluding Knights and Dames, have been women.

That’s a total of just 42 women compared with 166 men.

In comparison, women make up 35 per cent of recipients of the Medal of the Order of Australia since 1998.

The level of honour being awarded to an individual is entirely a decision of the council, under an assessment process shrouded in secrecy.

This may be something the council is looking to improve. The distribution in 2016 is much more even, with approximately 30 per cent of awardees at all levels being women – numbers which are in keeping with the nominations.

Calls for change, transparency

There have been repeated calls over many years to reform the way the Australian honours system works.

In 2013, Anne Summers – herself an Officer of the Order of Australia – wrote an article critical of the secrecy surrounding the process.

“So we, the public, are not allowed to know what criteria are used to select awardees,” she wrote in reference to a 2012 Federal Court decision rejecting a Freedom of Information Act request for documents pertaining to policy and criteria used in the awards process.

In 2011 the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia released a booklet outlining many of the issues that continue to be evident in the 2016 Australia Day round of awards. The booklet goes on to provide a detailed guide for how to nominate someone for an award and provides strong encouragement for the nomination of more women.

Despite this kind of strong advocacy from prominent women and the continued encouragement of the council itself, little change, if any, has occurred.

Associate Professor Maher agreed with Summers that significant change would likely be required for women to be nominated and awarded in a more representative way.

“I think that hoping for incremental change is probably not going to get the job done,” she said. This is a position supported by the data, which shows little change in nearly two decades.

“We’re not seeing women’s progression in a range of professions the way that we should. We’re certainly not seeing women’s progression in terms of wage equity, in terms of representation on boards, and a whole range of other contexts, and I think we’re not seeing it here.”