Earth Oven Food Feast at NAIDOC

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA—What a bonus to sample the aromatic pleasures of an Aboriginal earth oven feast in Sydney’s Hyde Park last week.

The earth oven food was part of Naidoc in the City, where visitors could enjoy a taste of Indigenous food and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures while listening to live performances from artist such as Radical Son, Green Hand Band, Jessie Lloyd and Mi’Kaisha.

Apart from a host of activities such as storytelling, language workshops, bush tucker talks, weaving and demonstrations by Aboriginal chef, Mark Olive, the food sampling seemed to be of particular interest, judging by the long queues.

Lamb, beef and pork were slow cooked from pre-dawn using a traditionally styled ‘earth oven’. The oven is created by digging out a shallow pit and lining it with native Gymea Lily stems – the heating comes from the addition of burning hot rocks.

Wet hessian bags and sand seal in the heat and the result is a rich smoky cuisine – a method that ‘steams, roasts and barbeques’ the native herb-infused meat all at once.

NAIDOC SydneyAnd while the lunchtime patrons and spontaneous tourist passers-by may not have known the intricacies of this ancient cooking technique, the appreciation was palpable. Mounds of pork, beef, lamb and vegetables subtly infused with flavours such as pepper berry and lemon myrtle were memorable – and entirely delicious.

Hearty and flavoursome on a crisp winter afternoon, this earth oven food celebrated the rich diversity of Australia’s bush flavours while ensuring that this age-old tradition received the recognition it deserves.

Introducing a community choral project: Voxi

VoxiOver the past three years Cape Town-based Nic Paton has been hard at work on a community choral collective entitled Voxi – an intriguing, warm, spacious set of songs exploring ancient and contemporary spiritual traditions with ‘awe, yearning, and gratitude’.

Voxi’s tagline is ‘exploring sacred song spaces’. So perhaps this comforting album is something timely, given this week of mourning for Nelson Mandela.

The album has a number of fascinating and moving back stories. For example ‘Fully Grey’ (featuring the exciting, angelic voice of his daughter Gemma) was penned by Alison MacPhail who died at 28 but whose dearest goal was to become old, wrinkled and grey.

And ‘Abwoon‘, the Aramaic ‘Our Father‘ might unintentionally be a reverent tribute to Madiba, ‘Tata, Father of the Nation.

Out of a sense of artistic and spiritual journey, they have developed a unique sacred music referencing varied traditions from the Psalmists to the Post/Modern, using six languages.

Now available on iTunes and other outlets, it’s a veritable gift for Christmas 2013.

Visit to hear, see and read more.

Australian Ultra Cycle Event supporting underprivileged Kenyan children

Calling intrepid cyclists!

The Grand Tour of Hope 2013 charity cycling event leaves Brisbane’s Rocks River Park for Crow’s Nest on a challenging 600km route on May 24, 2013 with cyclists returning to Brisbane on May 27, 2013.

While the event attracts experienced cyclists, it’s not all about endurance. The aim is to raise much needed funds for orphaned or heavily disadvantaged children in Kenya.

In the past three years, a total of $180,000 has been raised from proceeds from the Grand Tour and its sister event, the family-friendly Tour of Hope held in September.

GTOH 2012 Windy RoadThe Grand Tour is limited to 30 entrants and the $500 entry fee includes a cycling jersey, accommodation, meals, transport and the support of a full crew during the four-day event.  While there is a basic entry fee, participants are also encouraged to attempt a fund raising target of $1,000.

Ten acres of prime land bordering Lake Victoria in Western Kenya has already been purchased with funds from both Tour of Hope events in the past three years. The land will house an early childhood development centre and a variety of out houses for staff and volunteers.

“Every cent raised from the events goes to Africa,” says Rodney Callanan, one of the directors of the non-profit organisation organising both events.

”The money goes such a long way – people in Kenya, for example, can live on $2 a day so they are so grateful for the help they receive.”

Cyclist, Rick Baker, who has participated in two Grand Tour of Hope events, encourages other cyclists to get involved.

“The event has been one of the most challenging yet incredibly rewarding events I’ve ever participated in. The ride itself is tough with long days in the saddle negotiating hills but the bonding with mates and each pushing each other through, makes it worthwhile.

“It’s humbling to realise that while we are suffering on a bike, the people we are raising funds and awareness for are going through a lot more pain each and every day, and not by choice,” he said.

Tour of Hope committee member, Katie Bickerton was equally enthusiastic.

“This is not just a bike ride for cyclists; it’s about everyday people changing the future for many who won’t get the chances that we have been so blessed with.”

For further details on how to enter this year’s Grand Tour of Hope, visit their website


Proposed Route

Day 1: Brisbane to Crows Nest (168k)
Day 2: Crows Nest – Wivenhoe Dam Loop – Return (182k)
Day 3: Crows Nest – Yarraman – Nanango Loop (183k)
Day 4: Crows Nest – Brisbane (178k)

Making Music from Recycled Garbage

Each day in the town of Cateura, Paraguay, garbage collectors swarm like flies around fresh loads of dumped trash looking for goods to sell.

Established on landfill, the town is a dangerous place to raise children who are at risk of being enticed into dealing in drugs and joining gangs.

As a deterrent, orchestra director Szaran and music teacher Fabio decided to set up a music program. However, the number of children who wanted to join the program far outnumbered the available instruments.

That soon changed when Szaran and Fabio were brought a violin made out of discarded materials. As time passed and the idea of making instruments from trash caught on, The Recycled Orchestra was formed.

An upcoming film, ‘Landfill Harmonic’, to be released in 2014, captures the creativity of the human soul and the determination to transform other people’s trash into beautiful sounding musical instruments played by children.

Like Landfill Harmonic on Facebook



International jazz singer to perform at Fig Tree Pocket flood relief concert

A COMMUNITY JAZZ CONCERT flood fund-raiser featuring a host of talented jazz musicians including international jazz singer, Amanda Carr who sings for the famous Boston Pops Orchestra, will be held at Fig Tree Pocket State School oval, Cubberla Street, Fig Tree Pocket in Brisbane, Australia on September 17 from 4pm to 6.30pm.

The event will raise funds for families still struggling to get back on their feet after January’s devastating floods.
Brisbane flood-affected suburbs
Fig Tree Pocket was one of the areas significantly affected by floodwater and long-time resident and sponsor, Joanne Bullock-Saxton has organised the event to help those still battling to regain their lives and rebuild their homes. She hopes the concert will provide a boost in spirit and finances for locals affected by the flood.

“Like so many other flood-affected suburbs, we still have many who have not yet returned home and who have been hit hard by the cost of rebuilding, but we are resilient and wherever possible help each-other out and I think that quality is what has drawn such support and interest in this concert. It is meant to inspire fresh hope this Spring and we urge everyone who can make it from all suburbs to come and enjoy this amazing line-up of good-hearted and talented musicians,” she said.

The celebratory concert includes performers from well-known Brisbane band, the UQ Big Band.

They will play under the direction of Clint Allen, an award-winning trumpet player.

This will be followed by Willy Qua and Friends Jazz Band (composed of members of Galapagos Duck).

Galapagos Duck became an Australian household name since they started recording in the 1970s.

They will support jazz vocalist Amanda Carr, whose repertoire includes jazz standards and songs just a bit ‘left of centre’. She was recently named ‘Queen’ of the Noosa Jazz Festival, where she is also scheduled to perform between Sept 1 – 4. Amanda is CEO of the newly formed not for profit organization American Big Band Preservation Society, Inc.

The flood relief concert promises to be a relaxed, fun-filled family event and the cost is $10/ticket (children under 16 free). A sausage sizzle and soft drinks will be provided by the Fig Tree Pocket State School P&C but patrons are also encouraged to bring their own refreshments, a rug, cushion and plenty of friends!

The event is sponsored by a generous donation from Westpac Bank. In addition, support has also been offered by The Brisbane City Council Lord Mayors Suburban Relief Grant, Walter Taylor Ward, Rotary Club of Brisbane, Westside News, Cathy Lammie Real Estate, Star Stuff Graphic and Fig Tree Pocket Physiotherapy. All profits from door sales and raffle tickets will be donated to flood relief in the Walter Taylor electorate, particularly in Fig Tree Pocket.

For tickets contact the following Fig Tree Pocket residents:

Joanne Bullock-Saxton – M: 0413 582 956 or email

Cathy Lammie on – M: 0400 155 366 or email

Katie Wilson on – M: 0412 129 049 or email

Glenda Condon, Pastoral Assistant, Integration, Brisbane

What do you love about your job?

I love meeting new people and hearing their journey in life, where they come from and who they are, their families etc. I find people incredibly interesting.


There is absolutely nothing I dislike about my job – it’s a perfect fit.

You have an accounting background, why the switch?

All my clients were always telling me I was in the wrong business – I was just too much of a people person to be an accountant and I always knew there was something else out there for me.

Where did you grow up and what countries have you lived in?

I’m a country girl and grew up on a big sheep farm in Maldon, Victoria, Australia. I lived in New Zealand for 20 years and managed to pick up a Kiwi husband! I think NZ is as stunning as parts of Europe but a lot cheaper to live. And of course, there are lots of sheep! My favourite part is the South Island – mainly Queenstown. I lived in Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty and used to wag school constantly in Grade 12 to go surfing!

You’re a person who loves to laugh. What tickles you?

I love English humour and laugh a lot at myself. I find people hilarious. My animals make me laugh too – we have a whole menagerie – three cats, a dog, a bird and guinea pigs.

What is your favourite spot?

Basically anywhere near a beach! I love Coolangatta and camping on Moreton Island.

Favourite holiday destination?

Camping on Moreton Island – the beaches, dolphins, snorkelling off the wreck – it’s a great place to get away from it all.

The Tangalooma Wrecks on Moreton Island provide good diving in depths from 2-10m.

Favourite restaurant/café

Olive Grove, Kenmore which is basically my second office – I’m always taking people there. The food is fantastic and the prices affordable.

You’re a big fan of travel, if money was no object, what would be your ultimate destination?

Probably Europe – and Greece – I love the idea of sitting in a little taverna, sipping a glass of red wine and listening to the waves lap the shore…

What is your passion?

To connect people with God and with each other.

Wheels for Jana

Jana Wilson Brisbane-based Jana Wilson, then aged 27, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in September 2000. Since the diagnosis Jana has lost the ability to perform daily tasks that we take for granted such as having a shower, running the kids around or a walk in the park. However she has not lost her sense of humour or her love for life, family and friends.

Those family and friends are organising a family fun day in Brisbane with all proceeds going into a trust fund “Wheels for Jana”. We would love your family to be part of this community event.

Family Fun Day

Perin  Park, Toowong, Brisbane

Date: 26th July 2009

Only $20 per family.

Your $20.00 family registration will enable the trust fund to purchase a list of items to make Jana’s life easier whilst she is battling this debilitating disease.

Sunday 26th July starting at 10 am – Perrin Park Toowong.

Includes a day out with your family, kids rides, sausage sizzle entertainment – and every family goes in the draw for some great prizes.

Lexi Hamilton-Smith will be your MC for the day.

Sponsored by the Lord Mayor’s Suburban Initiative Fund and Jane Prentice, Councillor for the Walter Taylor ward, who have generously funded the family fun day. Other major sponsors are Cathy Lammie Property and Made to Order Financial solutions.


Payments can be made at Qld Teachers Credit Union:

Account Name: Wheels for Jana

BSB: 804002

A/C: 1595030

To hear Jana’s story in her own words and to check on the progress of her wish list visit