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Chasing Cherry Blossoms in Japan and New Zealand

Cherry Blossoms in Japan

Japan, 2019.

THE allure of the Land of the Rising Sun was undeniable when my eldest son invited me to join him, his wife and their then-toddler daughter on a journey to Japan in May 2019. The country offers a plethora of sights, from the lively cityscapes of Tokyo to the tranquil landscapes of Kyoto, and from the ancient temples of Nara to the innovative architecture of Osaka.

Little did I know this adventure would lead me to discover the cultural significance of cherry blossoms and the unexpected joy they would bring me later in the year.

As we embarked on our journey to Japan, keenly aware the cherry blossom season would likely be over by the time of our arrival, I still hoped to glimpse the fleeting cherry blossoms.

Cherry Blossoms in the heart of Christchurch, New Zealand.

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Hanami Harmony: Embracing Life’s Transience

Cherry blossoms, native to Japan and known there as Sakura, are delicate and ephemeral flowers that symbolize the transient nature of life. These iconic blossoms usually grace the Japanese landscapes in spring, creating breathtaking displays of pink and white hues. The blooming period varies, but it generally occurs between late March and early May.

The cultural and religious significance of cherry blossoms in Japan has deep roots. These flowers represent the beauty and fragility of life, a concept embraced in various aspects of Japanese culture. In Shinto, the indigenous spirituality of Japan, cherry blossoms symbolize the impermanence of all things and the importance of embracing the present moment. The practice of Hanami, or flower viewing, reflects this philosophy and holds a special place in Japanese culture.

Hanami involves more than mere flower-watching; Families and friends gather under the blooming trees, enjoying picnics and celebrating the arrival of spring. The cherry blossom festivals held across Japan during this season further highlight the cultural significance of Sakura. These festivals showcase an array of Japanese traditions, from traditional tea ceremonies to performances and parades.

The association of cherry blossoms with warplanes may seem unexpected, but during World War II, Japanese pilots painted Sakura on their kamikaze planes. The symbolism was both poignant and tragic, as these pilots embraced the fleeting nature of life and the sacrifice they were making for their country. However, in the contemporary context, cherry blossoms are no longer associated with military or self-destructive purposes. Japan has transitioned from wartime symbolism to a more peaceful and celebratory embrace of Sakura.

As we navigated Japan in May 2019, my anticipation for cherry blossoms turned into acceptance as I realised the season had bid farewell. However, the unexpected delight awaited me in September of the same year when I visited the South Island of New Zealand. To my surprise, cherry trees adorned with flowers in full bloom greeted me, adding a touch of magic to the landscape.

Finding cherry blossoms in New Zealand, far from their native Japan, was a testament to the global reach of these beautiful flowers. While Japan is synonymous with cherry blossoms, other countries, including the United States, South Korea, and China, boast cherry trees. Some of these nations even host their own cherry blossom festivals, celebrating the beauty and symbolism of these delicate blooms.


Cherry Blossoms Inspire Journeys Beyond Boundaries

My pursuit of cherry blossoms in Japan and New Zealand was a source of inspiration, revealing the universal appeal of these flowers. As I reflect on the experience, I invite others to embark on their own journeys to witness the magic of cherry blossoms. Whether in Japan during the spring festival season or in unexpected corners of the world, like the South Island of New Zealand, these blossoms have the power to captivate and inspire.

In planning your travels, consider aligning your trips with the cherry blossom seasons in different regions. Embrace the cultural richness and natural beauty these blossoms bring, and join the global celebration of life, impermanence, and the sheer joy of witnessing nature’s fleeting wonders.

The beauty of cherry blossoms transcends both location and time. They remind us to appreciate life’s transience and find joy in the surprises that bloom along our journeys.

Cherry Blossoms - Queenstown, NZ

The view of cherry blossoms overlooking Queenstown, New Zealand, from the front door of our accommodation.


Q & A

In what seasons do cherry trees blossom in Japan and New Zealand?

Cherry blossoms (or Sakura) bloom in Japan from late March to early May. In New Zealand, particularly the South Island, September is the prime season for these delicate flowers.

What other places in the world to see Sakura?

Apart from Japan and New Zealand, you can catch cherry blossoms in various locations globally. Washington D.C. in the United States boasts a stunning display, as does South Korea, Taiwan, and China.

Where is Sakura celebrated with festivals?

Japan takes the cherry blossom festival cake with its renowned Hanami celebrations. South Korea’s Jinhae Gunhangje Festival is another must-see. Even in the U.S., the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C. is a vibrant celebration of these ephemeral blooms.

More stunning displays of cherry blossoms in New Zealand’s South Island.

Cherry Blossoms in the New Zealand regions of Akaroa, Arrowtown, Christchurch and Queenstown. Photos: Jocelyn Watts, 2019.


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Exclusive insights into He Loves Me Not filming

SET against the breathtaking backdrop of K’gari, amidst the logistical challenges of island filming and the collaborative spirit of a close-knit crew, Jeremy Stanford, film writer and producer, shares exclusive insights into the making of He Loves Me Not with Jocelyn Magazine.

Stanford, renowned for his previous work, performing in many lead roles in musicals, plays, and most Australian TV staples, sheds light on the unique challenges and advantages that come with filming on this island paradise.

As the production continues, Stanford also discusses the film’s integration of local culture, the response from the Fraser Coast community, and the initiatives undertaken to give back to the very community that supports Fraser Coast Film’s cinematic endeavours.

What emerges is a tale of resilience, creativity, and community spirit, woven intricately into the fabric of film-making on K’gari island. Read on to find out what Stanford has to say.

K'gari island - He Loves Me Not cast

The talented lineup of renowned Australian actors include Rhiannon Fish, famous for her roles in Home and Away and The 100, as the lead character, Holiday. Lincoln Lewis, known for his appearances in Tomorrow, When the War Began, and Home and Away, stars as Adam. Other outstanding stars include Georgie Parker as Marissa, Sean Perez as Mikey, Naomi Sequeira as Jemma, Bonnie Sveen as Tracey, and Candice Hill (photo unavailable) as Bella. Photos: Contributed.

Q & A Spotlight

What are the challenges and advantages of filming on K’gari island?

Let’s start with the challenges. Because it’s being filmed on an island, everything we have, we have to bring over with us.

We had a lot of cars to bring, plus camera equipment, lighting equipment, sound equipment, costumes, and the art department; all of that had to come over on the barges and we had to find somewhere to put it.

So, at the moment, it’s in everybody’s villas or hotel rooms being sorted through. We’re cramped and living in each other’s pockets.

Another challenge is that if we don’t have something we need, we have to go to the mainland to get it.

Those are the logistical challenges where we have to think ahead. A lot of pre-planning went into putting this shoot together.

The advantages are that we’re all staying and living in the same place, and working in the same place.

So, at night we’ll come back and we’ll finish the day, have dinner, and we can start talking about what is going to happen the next day; pre-planning.

People are getting to know each other and having dinner. It’s a really collegiate kind of environment to make a film.

Usually, people will just get in their cars and go home, but for us, we just go back to our hotel rooms.

Has the local environment influenced any creative decisions?

When we conceived this film, we came over to K’gari and spoke with the managing director of Kingfisher Bay Resort, to make sure they were happy to partner with us, and for us to come here and make this film.

We didn’t put pen to paper before we got their okay. Once they said they were interested and they wanted to be part of it, we created the script literally around the resort.

So, Tam (Sainsbury) and I were literally by the pool talking about story ideas and where we could set each scene. We walked around the resort and we went to Lake McKenzie and Pile Valley.

We drove around the island and the film came out of it. As a result, we want K’gari itself to be a character in the film. So, we’ve put some of the history of the island into it, and the locations, plus we wanted to put some indigenous story into it as well.

So, we partnered with the Butchulla people and there’s a planned to be a Welcome to Country in the film that talks a little about their story and the indigenous history of the island too. That way, we create a really rounded picture of what this place is.

K'gari Island

Several scenes in He Loves Me Not are being shot at K’gari’s iconic freshwater Lake McKenzie. Photo: Shutterstock.

How many extras are there involved in the filming of He Loves Me Not?

There are about 25 extras. Of those, there are three people who are regulars coming over from Hervey Bay. They’re playing part of the reality TV film crew, so they’ll be standing around with clipboards and that kind of thing.

As much as possible, we’ve tried to use local people for extra work, but we’ve also got one guy coming up from the Sunshine Coast. That’s a longer story because he’s also helping the crew.

Other than that, all of our extras are Fraser Coast people.

If anyone is interested in becoming part of the film, they can just go to the Fraser Coast Films website. We’ve got an Engage tab, so people can click on that and say they’d like to be an extra.

We put their names on a spreadsheet and if there’s a day where we need extras, they’ll get a phone call and a time to show up, and they can come and be part of the film.

What can audiences expect in terms of visuals or special effects?

Because it’s a romantic comedy, there aren’t a lot of special effects, but what they can expect is a beautiful love story, a bit of comedy and some very beautiful backdrops.

How has your previous work influenced your approach to this project?

I have been a writer for many years now, and I wrote the last film, 13 Summers, quite a few years ago. When I finished that film, I went off and worked as a novelist.

I’ve written three novels now, and that really influenced the way I write. I think when you write novels, your grasp of language and the way to express it on the page really skyrockets.

So, with writing this film, I could write it quickly because I felt like I had quite a bit of experience with the pen in hand. I think that’s what’s happened for me in the last couple of years.

How has the local community responded to this movie being filmed on K’gari?

We’ve really had a lot of support from Hervey Bay, from the Fraser Coast.

I think the idea there’s a film company on the Fraser Coast now is quite exciting to many people.

They’re eager to get involved and we’ve had many people sponsor us and get involved with putting product placements, using their clothing or the products they want put into the film.

It’s really heartening because we really couldn’t do it without the community. At the moment, we’re just a start-up company, so we need that help and they’ve been incredible.

Are there any initiatives to give back to the community from this production?

As much as possible. We want to include local businesses in the film.

So that was why we reached out for sponsorship and we thought if we can partner with local businesses, we can put them in the film and we can really showcase the Fraser Coast.

Also, we’ve been engaging with TAFE. We’d like to train some students with make-up, hair styling, catering, and set construction. There are a lot of skills we need as a film company.

Will He Loves Me Not be marketed in the same way as 13 Summers?

Yes, it’s made for a similar market. Because it’s a romantic comedy, it will have a different audience, but it is being made for the streaming market too.

He Loves Me Not - Kingfisher Bay Resort

Kingfisher Bay Resort is featured in Fraser Coast Film’s production He Loves Me Not. Photo: Shutterstock.

Celebrating community, collaboration, and creativity

In the realm of filmmaking, where challenges spark innovation and communities rally around creative ventures, He Loves Me Not stands as a testament to the collaborative spirit that defines the Fraser Coast Film community.

Jeremy Stanford and the Fraser Coast Films team, buoyed by their experiences and inspired by the scenic wonders of K’gari, embark on a journey that transcends the screen.

With an enthusiastic local response and an inclusive approach, this film not only captures the essence of romantic comedy, but also embodies the essence of community-driven artistry.

As the production continues to unfold, there remains an open invitation for enthusiasts to join the cinematic voyage as extras, ensuring that the very community that inspired this film remains an integral part of its narrative.

He Loves Me Not is not merely a movie; it’s a shared story, a testament to the beauty of collaboration, and a celebration of the rich tapestry of talent and passion that defines the Fraser Coast Film’s legacy.

It’s the third production for Fraser Coast Films; the second – 13 Summers – is expected to reach our screens later in 2023.




Feature Photo: Writer and co-producer Jeremy Stanford relaxes at the Sunset Bar on K’gari, by Jocelyn Watts.

Published 14 October 2023.


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He Loves Me Not: Cameras roll in October

He Loves Me Not - Rhiannon Fish

Rhiannon Fish. Photo by Eva Rinaldi, Creative Commons.

PREPARE to immerse yourself in a world of love and beauty on K’gari as Fraser Coast Films embarks on the production of a new romantic comedy set to start production in early October 2023.

Titled He Loves Me Not, the film promises to enchant audiences not only with the talent of Australian actress Rhiannon Fish but also with the breathtaking scenery of K’gari itself, which serves not just as a backdrop but also as a “character” in the movie.

Fish is best known for her role in the Australian television series Neighbours and Home and Away.

Director and co-producer Tam Sainsbury said the decision to cast Rhiannon Fish as the lead in He Loves Me Not was not taken lightly.

Sainsbury praised Fish’s acting prowess and her rise as a rom-com lead, which includes her involvement with Hallmark, a major player in the rom-com genre in the United States.

“I’ve known her as an actress from back in a Home and Away days,” Sainsbury said.

“She’s really good; really beautiful. I’ve seen the journey she’s been on and know she’s becoming well-known as a rom-com lead. She’s the perfect choice; she fits the character perfectly.”

Writer and co-producer Jeremy Stanford emphasised the international appeal of Fish.

“She’s great for the character, but we also know that to have an actor with an international star that’s rising will help sell the film around the world,” Stanford said.

He Loves Me Not - K'gari island

Beautiful K’gari will star alongside Rhiannon Fish in He Loves Me Not, a romantic comedy that’s to start production in October 2023. Photo: Cam Laird, Shutterstock.

Love, dreams, and surprises on K’gari

He Loves Me Not explores the story of an American actress working and living on K’gari at Kingfisher Bay Resort.

Her dream is to secure enough money to attend a prestigious acting course in Los Angeles. However, her life takes an unexpected turn when a dating show comes to the island, offering her a wild card entry.

She seizes the opportunity, hoping to win the cash prize, but along the way, she falls in love with the film’s male lead.

K’gari: more than a backdrop

K’gari, the film’s distinctive setting, isn’t merely a backdrop but a vital “character” intricately woven into the story’s fabric, Stanford said.

“K’gari is beautiful. We want to portray the beauty elements of K’gari because the show is about falling in love. All of those beautiful feelings you have (watching the film), come from K’gari as well.

“The essence we want to capture with this film is that of beauty. But also, we want to tell some of the Indigenous story as well.

“So, it’s not just us coming to the island and saying, this is beautiful!

“K’gari has a much deeper history than that, so we wanted to add some of those elements as well. It really feels like K’gari’s not just a backdrop, but it’s a character in the film.”

Beyond showcasing K’gari’s natural splendor, the creators aim to ensure sure the island’s depth and significance are portrayed authentically on screen.

Film delves into love, growth, and reality show realities

He Loves Me Not isn’t just another love story; it also delves into themes of personal growth, self-discovery, and moral integrity.

The protagonist, a strong-willed woman, embarks on a journey of self-love and growth while navigating the complexities of romance.

Her willingness to right a wrong, even if it means sacrificing her own happiness, adds depth to her character and the film’s overall message.

The film also sheds light on the darker side of reality shows, a topic close to the creators’ hearts.

Sainsbury and Stanford expressed their dislike for such programs, which have affected the film industry by diverting resources from traditional drama.

In He Loves Me Not, they integrate a critique of reality TV’s impact on careers and artistic expression, reflecting their genuine concerns about the industry.

Production for He Loves Me Not is scheduled to run from October 9 to 28, 2023, with over two weeks of filming on K’gari and nearly a week in Hervey Bay. It will have a production crew of about 30 people, including a cast of 10.

He Loves Me Not - Kingfisher Bay Resort

He Loves Me Not explores the story of an American actress working and living at Kingfisher Bay Resort (pictured). Photo: Unknown Author, Creative Commons.

He Loves Me Not sparks sponsorship opportunities

He Loves Me Not

Executive Producer Glen Winney. Photo: JW

Local sponsorship and involvement will play vital roles in Fraser Coast Films’ productions, with several local businesses already offering to support the project.

Executive Producer Glen Winney said several businesses had already come on board as sponsors and more were welcome to take part through product placement and other avenues.

“Fraser Coast Films aims to build a sustainable filmmaking ecosystem in the Fraser Coast region for future projects,” Winney said.

“For those interested in becoming part of this cinematic journey, Fraser Coast Films has a website where people can register to be extras in the movie, provide background support, or even become sponsors.”

For more information, visit https://frasercoastfilms.com.au/

Fraser Coast Films is dedicated not only to bringing He Loves Me Not to life but also to nurturing the local film industry, making it a win-win for the community and film enthusiasts alike.

With a compelling cast, a stunning natural backdrop, and a heartfelt narrative, He Loves Me Not promises to be a romantic comedy that captures the beauty and essence of K’gari Island while delivering a message of love, growth, and self-discovery.

As production gears up, it’s an exciting time for both filmmakers and the community to come together and create something special on the shores of the Fraser Coast’s K’gari and Hervey Bay.

He Loves Me Not is the second production for Fraser Coast Films; the first – 13 Summers – is expected to reach our screens later this year.



Feature Photo: Writer and co-producer Jeremy Stanford and Director and co-producer Tam Sainsbury, by Jocelyn Watts.

Published 21 September 2023.


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Exploring the art of gift-giving at Christmas

WITH the arrival of Spring, it’s hard to ignore that familiar, heartwarming thought – Christmas is just a few months away! Yes, that magical time of the year when twinkling lights adorn homes and the spirit of generosity is rapidly approaching.

For many, Christmas is more than just a holiday; it’s a season of cherished traditions, gatherings with loved ones, and, of course, the joy of giving and receiving gifts. As we navigate our way through the final months of the year, our thoughts naturally turn toward the festive season. But beyond the anticipation of presents beneath the tree and the allure of feasts, it’s worth reflecting on the essense of Christmas.

Christmas is a time when the spirit of kindness, compassion, and goodwill seems to permeate the air we breathe. It’s a reminder to cherish the moments with family and friends and to find ways to spread joy, even in the face of life’s challenges.

In this post, we will delve into the art of gift-giving, exploring its pros and cons, and discovering creative alternatives that can make this Christmas season truly special, regardless of budget constraints.

So, as the days grow longer and the nights shorter, let’s embark on this journey together, preparing ourselves for the festive season ahead.

1. The pros of giving gifts

The act of giving gifts is a time-honoured tradition, and it carries with it a multitude of benefits that enrich both the giver and the recipient.

  • Expressing Love and Thoughtfulness: Gift-giving serves as a tangible expression of love, care, and thoughtfulness. It allows us to convey emotions that words alone may struggle to articulate. Selecting a thoughtful gift demonstrates that we’ve taken the time to understand the recipient’s preferences and interests, which can deepen emotional connections.
  • Strengthening Relationships: Gifts have the remarkable ability to fortify bonds between people. Whether it’s a token of appreciation for a friend, a gesture of affection for a partner, or a symbol of gratitude for a colleague, the act of giving fosters a sense of closeness and reciprocity. It can serve as a reminder of the value we place on the relationship.
  • Creating Moments of Joy: The sheer delight of unwrapping a beautifully wrapped gift is an unparalleled joy. The anticipation, surprise, and gratitude that come with receiving a gift can uplift spirits and infuse happiness into both the giver’s and the receiver’s lives. These shared moments become treasured memories.
  • Cultural and Social Significance:  In many cultures, gifts hold profound cultural and social significance. They mark important milestones, rites of passage, and celebrations. Gifts often play a pivotal role in reinforcing social bonds, etiquette, and the sense of belonging within a community.

In essence, the act of giving gifts transcends materialism; it’s a vehicle for expressing love, strengthening connections, creating happiness, and honouring tradition. It reminds us that the true value of a gift lies not in its price tag, but in the sentiment and care behind it.


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2. The cons of giving gifts

Gift-Giving at Christmas - Australian currency and a Christmas bauble

PHOTO: Hidesy, Shutterstock.

While gift-giving is a cherished tradition, it’s not without its drawbacks, which can cast a shadow over the joyous act.

  • Financial Strain: One of the most significant cons of gift-giving is the potential for financial strain. In an age where consumerism often reigns supreme, people may feel compelled to spend beyond their means, leading to debt and financial stress. Struggling to meet the expectations of lavish gifts can detract from the true spirit of generosity.
  • Pressure and Expectations: Gift-giving can create a pressure cooker of expectations. There’s often a sense of obligation to find the perfect gift, which can lead to stress and anxiety. The fear of disappointing someone with an inadequate present or not receiving something of equal value can overshadow the joy of giving.
  • Environmental Impact: In a world increasingly aware of environmental concerns, the production and disposal of gifts can contribute to ecological issues. Mass-produced items often involve excessive packaging and contribute to waste. Thoughtless gifts that aren’t well-used or appreciated can exacerbate these problems.
  • Miscommunication and Misinterpretation: Sometimes, gifts can send unintended messages. A poorly chosen gift may be interpreted as a lack of understanding or care, leading to misunderstandings or hurt feelings. Additionally, gifts can be misunderstood, leading to expectations that weren’t intended, and potential disappointment.

Navigating these cons requires thoughtful consideration and communication. It’s essential to remember that the true essence of gift-giving lies in the sentiment, not the price tag, and open communication can help mitigate many of these downsides.

3. Alternatives to traditional gifts

In an era when meaningful connections often outweigh material possessions, alternatives to traditional gifts have gained prominence as heartfelt ways to express care and affection.

  • Homemade Gifts and DIY Ideas: Crafting a gift with your own hands infuses it with a unique, personal touch. Whether it’s a hand-knitted scarf, homemade preserves, or a custom-made piece of art, these gifts showcase thought, effort, and creativity. They not only save money but also provide a lasting memento of your thoughtfulness.
  • Gift of Time and Experiences: Time is one of the most precious gifts one can offer. Sharing experiences, whether it’s a day at the spa, a cooking class, or simply spending quality time together, can create lasting memories and strengthen relationships. These experiential gifts often have a more profound impact than physical items.
  • Acts of Service and Kindness: Offering to help with tasks, chores, or responsibilities is a remarkable way to show you care. Acts of service, such as babysitting, mowing the lawn, or cooking a meal, alleviate burdens and demonstrate thoughtfulness through actions rather than objects.
  • Charitable Donations in Someone’s Name: Making a charitable donation in someone’s name not only benefits a meaningful cause but also honours the recipient’s values and interests. It’s a gift that keeps on giving, as it supports a greater good and leaves a positive impact on society.

These alternatives to traditional gifts not only cater to various budgets but also emphasise the thought and intention behind the gesture. They shift the focus from materialism to meaningful connections, making the act of giving even more profound and memorable.

Gift-giving - hand holding a glass globe and growing tree

Making a charitable donation in someone’s name not only benefits a cause but also honours the recipient’s values and interests. PHOTO: Julia Ardaran, Shutterstock.

4. Find the right balance

Finding the right balance in gift-giving is essential to ensure that the experience remains joyful and meaningful, without causing undue stress or misunderstandings.

  • Setting Budgets and Expectations: Establishing a clear budget for gift-giving can prevent financial strain and set realistic expectations for both the giver and the recipient. It’s crucial to communicate openly about budget limitations to avoid any discomfort or misunderstandings. By doing so, you can focus on the thought and sentiment behind the gift rather than its price tag. Moreover, setting expectations regarding whether or not gifts will be exchanged can reduce pressure and promote a more relaxed atmosphere during special occasions.
  • Effective Communication in Gift-Giving: Open and honest communication is at the heart of successful gift-giving. Givers and recipients should feel comfortable discussing their preferences, interests, and expectations. This ensures the gifts chosen are thoughtful and well-received. Moreover, discussing the meaning behind a gift or the sentiment it conveys can enhance its significance. Effective communication also involves active listening, allowing the giver to better understand the recipient’s desires and values.

In essence, finding the right balance in gift-giving involves transparency, understanding, and empathy. It shifts the focus from materialistic expectations to the emotional connections that make gift-giving a genuine and rewarding experience for all parties involved.


5. Make gift-giving meaningful

In the hustle and bustle of our consumer-driven world, it’s easy to lose sight of the true essence of gift-giving. Yet, at its core, it’s a powerful act of love, connection, and thoughtfulness. In this conclusion, we reaffirm the importance of making gift-giving meaningful.

Gift-giving transcends mere material exchange; it’s a language of the heart. It’s a way to express love, gratitude, and affection. It’s a bridge that strengthens relationships, creating bonds that withstand the test of time. While the pros of gift-giving include expressing love, strengthening relationships, creating moments of joy, and honouring cultural significance, we’ve also explored the cons and alternatives.

To make gift-giving truly meaningful, remember these principles:

  • Thoughtfulness Trumps Expense: A thoughtful, well-chosen gift, regardless of its cost, can leave a lasting impression.
  • Communication is Key: Effective communication with the recipient can prevent misunderstandings and ensure your gift resonates with their desires and values.
  • Consider Alternatives: Explore creative alternatives to traditional gifts, like homemade presents, shared experiences, acts of service, or charitable donations.
  • Set Realistic Expectations: Be open about budgets and expectations to avoid financial strain and pressure.
  • Focus on the Sentiment: Ultimately, it’s the sentiment behind the gift that matters most. Your love and thoughtfulness are the most valuable gifts you can give.

As we approach this season of giving, let’s remember that the true magic of gift-giving lies in the emotions and connections it cultivates. It’s not about what you give but the love and care you put into the gesture that makes it truly meaningful. So, make this holiday season one filled with heartfelt, thoughtful, and meaningful gifts that reflect the depth of your relationships and the spirit of the occasion.


Feature photo by Tegan T, Shutterstock.
Published 18 September 2023


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See rugby league from a worm’s perspective

As fans of State of Origin rugby league matches, we all know how nail-bitingly intense these legendary fixtures can be. But have you ever thought about what the worms on the grounds feel as tens of thousands roar in celebration and despair?

Believe it or not, one artist – Erika Scott from Lamb Island, Qld – gave that very perspective its own spotlight through an out-of-the-box project titled Worm’s-Eye View in the Origin Story exhibition now showing at the Hervey Bay Regional Gallery.

Scott’s sculpture, Worm’s-Eye View, captures the essence of State of Origin with discarded popular culture breathing life into the soles of sports shoes.

Commissioned for Origin Story, this maximalist assemblage beautifully depicts Rugby League’s rituals through the sensory and emotional symptoms of football.

Worm’s-Eye View is a masterfully crafted, freestanding work that can be viewed from two distinct, and opposing positions.

Her sculpture is among the many displays celebrating the history of the State of Origin rugby league series in this exhibition.

Inspired by Queensland’s passion for the greatest sporting rivalry of all time, Origin Story brings together artists from across Queensland to reflect on the cultural contribution of State of Origin to Queensland’s identity.

Curated by the Hervey Bay Regional Gallery’s Llewellyn Millhouse, the show features commissioned artworks from Joel Barney, Shane Jacob, Ashley Nixon, Phillip Piperides, Phoebe Paradise, Jack Rodgers, Teho Ropeyarn, Erika Scott, and David Spooner.

Origin Story features work from the Fraser Coast Regional Council Collection and loans from the QRL History Committee, Army Museum South Queensland, and State Library of Queensland.

Get a close look at the original State of Origin Trophy

Did you know that during World War II, the first State of Origin QLD v NSW Rugby League Match was played on 16 September 1945? The venue was at Torokina, Bouganville, off New Guinea.

State of Origin - trophy

The original State of Origin trophy can be seen at the Hervey Bay Regional Gallery until August.

What’s also interesting is that the trophy awarded to the winning team was made from a 120mm Japanese shell casting with two handles mounted on each side. It had a three-tiered carved wooden base secured by a large six-sided bolt in the centre.

The trophy, also known as ‘Trench Art’, was engraved with a presentation inscription: ‘Interstate Rugby League Series, Bougainville September 1945, won by Queensland 10-9, 20-13’.

Major General W Bridgeford CB CBE MC presented the winning team with the trophy that was inscribed with the names of Queensland players.

That original State of Origin Cup from 1945 is now on display at the Hervey Bay gallery, thanks to the Army Museum South Queensland.

Deputy Mayor Denis Chapman said, “Origin Story is the ultimate exhibition for sport, history, and art lovers, celebrating the significance of rugby league within the Fraser Coast community.”

1994 ED Falcon – Marooned just for you!

State of Origin - Maroon Car.

Fraser Coast’s biggest Origin fan Shane Jacob has volunteered his pride and joy for the exhibition – a fully ‘Marooned’ 1994 ED Falcon which sports the dates of all the years Queensland has claimed the premiership! Jacob is pictured with fellow fan Lynn and Deputy Mayor Dennis Chapman. Contributed photo.

Origin Story

This is a small preview of what can be seen at the Origin Story exhibition at the Hervey Bay Regional Gallery.

Feature photo @ top is artist Erika Scott next to her Worm’s-Eye View sculpture. 

Gordon Hookey: A MURRIALITY – a must-see exhibition in Hervey Bay

The other new exhibition showing at the Hervey Bay Regional Gallery until August is Gordon Hookey: A MURRIALITY, which presents perspectives on historical and contemporary issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through sculpture, printmaking, video, and large-scale painting.

Gordon Hookey: A MURRIALITY is a touring exhibition from the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, and UNSW  Galleries, which features loans from major collections including Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art, and the National Gallery of Australia.


Exhibitions run until late August

The exhibitions are on display until 27 August 2023 at the Hervey Bay Regional Gallery at 166 Old Maryborough Road in Pialba. Open hours are Tuesdays to Fridays from 10 am to 4 pm and on weekends from 10 am to 2 pm. Entry is free.

For more details, visit the gallery at https://hbrg.ourfrasercoast.com.au/



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A tribute to Margaret Olley, an Australian art icon

Margaret Olley’s remarkable talent for depicting still life in its full color and vibrancy left an indelible mark on the Australian art world.

Her enthusiasm, generosity, and lust for life influenced people from all walks of life to appreciate her unique genius.

From collecting eclectic items at home to travelling to far-flung corners of the world, she truly lived a radiant existence.

This year, 2023, marks what would have been Olley’s 100th birthday, so let’s pay tribute to this incredible lady by looking at her captivating story.

Margaret Olley Art Centre - man in a gallery

Margaret Olley Art Centre. PHOTO: Tweed Regional Gallery

Step into the world of Margaret Olley

While visiting the Gold Coast in Queensland recently, relatives invited me to join them on a day outing across the New South Wales border to the Margaret Olley Art Centre in Murwillumbah.

The MOAC forms a major part of the Tweed Regional Gallery and is a must-see destination for any art enthusiast. It features work from Olley’s incredible career and gives insight into her life.

This Australian legend was born in Lismore, NSW, on 24 June 1923, and at the tender age of two, she moved with her parents to Tully in tropical North Queensland.

Later, as a 16-year-old art student in Sydney, Olley discovered her passion for painting everyday items like flowers, jars, and ribbons, with vibrant colours.

Items collected while travelling around Australia and to Asia, Europe, and America also often made it into her artworks.

Without question, one of the biggest attractions of the MOAC is seeing inside her home studio, which was painstakingly moved piece by piece all the way from 48 Duxford Street, Paddington, Sydney.

Olley’s recreated home gallery offers an amazing opportunity to explore where she created some of her most iconic pieces of artwork.

Peering into her the rooms—like the Yellow Room and Hat Factory—of her much-loved home studio, I felt transported back in time. I could almost see Olley herself painting nearby.

As I made my way around her home filled with over 20,000 pieces collected throughout her life, I couldn’t help but marvel at how she lived amongst it all and captured the scenes so beautifully on canvas.

***Jocelyn Magazine is an affiliate of Booking.com, so if you book accommodation, attractions, flights, car rentals, and airport taxis by clicking a Booking.com link on this website, then we’ll receive a little something in return. It’s how affiliate programs work–win-win!***


Margaret Olley Art Centre - art gallery

Margaret Olley Art Centre. PHOTO: Tweed Regional Gallery

A talented artist and philanthropist extraordinaire

Margaret Olley had a true zest for life. Our gallery tour guide said she loved hosting memorable soirees and attending celebrations and parties.

Music was an important part of her life, particularly Australian Chamber Orchestra concerts, which she attended regularly.

Her also a wicked sense of humour shone through in one of the most unexpected places: table mats with scenes from the Kama Sutra on her dining table!

Despite struggling with depression in the 1970s, Olley found success as a painter through still life works, plus made smart property investments along the way.

The S. H. Ervin Gallery in Sydney held its first Olley retrospective exhibition in 1990. She became a celebrated Australian artist and enjoyed a long and successful career, holding over 90 solo exhibitions.

Her philanthropic mission was clear—she also wanted to give back, and in 1990, Olley founded an art trust; a mission that would preserve their legacies for generations to come.

She also supported the acquisition of incredible works at renowned art galleries in Australia.

Through her philanthropy, masterpieces by artists such as Giorgio Morandi and Pablo Picasso found their way into The Art Gallery of NSW. Her generosity also funded the acquisition of major artworks at the National Gallery in Canberra.

Olley was honored with many distinguished awards, including the Officer Order of Australia in 1991 and Companion of the Order of Australia in 2006, as well as several honorary doctorates from esteemed universities.

In 2001, the Art Gallery of New South Wales named the Margaret Olley, Twentieth Century European Gallery in her honour. Five years later, she opened Stage II of the Tweed River Art Gallery in Murwillumbah, the MOAC.

Olley also made history as the first person to have had two Archibald Prize-winning portraits created of her—one in 1948 by William Dobell, then again in 2011 by Ben Quilty.

She passed away on 26 July 2011, aged 88, and her Paddington home sold for $3 million in 2014. She never married or had any children.

If you would like more information about this amazing woman, you can read her biography at https://gallery.tweed.nsw.gov.au/visit/margaret-olley-art-centre/biography-margaret-olley


Celebrate Olley’s life and work this year

Margaret Olley left behind a lasting legacy that will continue to benefit generations of Australians into the future.

Her commitment to philanthropy helped shape many lives while her work as an artist continues to inspire new generations as they discover it today—a true testament to her kind spirit.

This year marks what would have been her 100th birthday, so be sure to look out for special events happening this year, including:

Acquisition appeal

The Tweed Regional Gallery Foundation Ltd. and the Friends of Tweed Regional and Margaret Olley Art Centre Inc. are raising funds to acquire paintings by Margaret Olley to gift to the Tweed Regional Gallery collection. If you’d like to make a donation, visit https://gallery.tweed.nsw.gov.au/whats-on/activities-events/margaret-olley-100-years

Dinner, activities, and events

You can also help celebrate the 100th birthday of Australia’s most admired painter of still life and interiors by attending a special dinner at the Tweed Regional Gallery and MOAC on 24 June 2023, or taking part in an exciting program of exhibitions, activities, and events including workshops, tours, talks, and more.

For details, visit https://gallery.tweed.nsw.gov.au/whats-on/activities-events/margaret-olley-100-years

Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre

You can visit the Tweed gallery and MOAC every Wednesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm (except closed on Good Friday; but it’s open Easter Saturday and Sunday). Remember, NSW follows AEDT time, so it’s one hour ahead of QLD during daylight savings.

Entry is free. If you’ve got a larger group, bookings are required for over 10 people. Plus, don’t miss out on the daily guided tours at 11:30 am, where numbers may be limited to six people.

 Address: 2 Mistral Road (corner Tweed Valley Way), Murwillumbah South, NSW 2484 Australia

Phone: 02 6670 2790

Email: tweedart@tweed.nsw.gov.au

Website: https://gallery.tweed.nsw.gov.au/visit

Margaret Olley Art Centre - view from the cafe

When you visit the MOAC, why not take in some of Tweed Valley’s stunning views while treating yourself to a delicious bite in their cafe? Plus, pick up one-of-a-kind creations by nationally acclaimed local talent at their gallery shop—perfect for gifting (or keeping)! PHOTO: Jocelyn Watts

Margaret Olley: lauded and loved artist, by ABC News


If you enjoyed this story, you might also like Stefano Guseli: The Artist’s Journey


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Sydney’s Art & Soul, a must-read for culture travellers

05 Oct 2022

WITH its lively arts scene and nature’s artistry on show at every turn, creative energy charges through the harbour city.

Now, as a jam-packed calendar of world-class cultural events weaves its magic throughout spring, summer and beyond, you’ll find innovation meets inspiration wherever you venture.

Here, are the must-do experiences that’ll leave you feeling energised long after the applause fades.



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Enjoy a refreshing new perspective in Sydney

For more than 150 years the Art Gallery of New South Wales has showcased extraordinary creativity, and now its hallowed halls are set to unveil their own transformation as the Sydney Modern Project reveals a brand new building, inspiring outdoor spaces, and dynamic galleries.

Feel your mind expand as you explore the works of Adrián Villar RojasDaniel Boyd and Sol LeWitt; feast on Matt Moran’s culinary creations, and discover nature’s treasures on an Aboriginal bush tucker tour in the nearby Royal Botanic Garden.

Discover an icon’s secret stories

The Sydney Opera House is the glittering centrepiece of Australia’s arts scene, and as its pearly sails sparkle in the spring sunshine its stages feature everything from lively musicals to classic concertos.

Get swept away by powerful storytelling at Phantom of the OperaInstruments of Dance and L’Hôtel; discover the house’s rich, hidden history on a private tour, and afterwards, raise a toast as you drink in the views from the Opera BarQuay Quarter Lanes and Bennelong.

Embrace the magic where old meets new

With its futuristic cityscape perched atop historic cobbled streets, Sydney’s layers of living history set a magical scene for all manner of arts events.

At UNESCO World Heritage-Listed Cockatoo Island, the iconic architecture lends an industrial feel to contemporary events, including the upcoming season of Opera Australia’s Carmen and the Mode Festival.

The steampunk vibes continue to inspire at Carriageworks, where 1800s railway workshops host everything from the experimental art festivals to Sydney Dance Company’s New Breed – all just a stroll from South Eveleigh’s innovative eateries.

Venture east to feast your senses

With its twinkling city views, cosmopolitan villages, golden beaches and playful spirit, Sydney’s East is a cradle of creativity.

Become part of its effervescent rhythm as pop living legends Bruno MarsElton John,  Robbie Williams and Justin Bieber hit the stage; be awed and enthralled by Paddington’s eclectic galleries, and let your inspiration guide you to Bondi, where the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition showcases the world’s best creativity and landmark eateries like Sean’sIcebergs and Totti’s serve inspiration on a platter.



Live in the theatrical moment

From the art deco opulence of the State Theatre to the heritage grace of the Capitol and the modern charms of the Sydney Lyric Theatre, the city’s entertainment venues are themselves inspiring works of art – and host everything from Moulin Rouge! The Musical to CinderellaThe Angels Symphony and Aussie comedy greats throughout spring and summer.

Afterwards, head to the Darling Quarter for late-night bites, before slipping between the sheets at The AidenSofitel Sydney Darling Harbour, or Crown Towers in buzzing Barangaroo.

Explore unexpected treasure troves

Wander around The Rocks and you’ll find arts, culture and entertainment as vibrant as the harbour itself.

With its thought-provoking collection of more than 4000 modern works and a rolling roster of world-class exhibitions – including the ground-breaking Do Ho Suh and Australia’s most exciting young artists – the Museum of Contemporary Art always inspires.

Nearby, look for treasures hidden in plain sight on an Aboriginal culture or architecture walking tour, before hitting refresh in YCK laneways‘ secret bars.

Revel in the buzz of diversity

Sydney’s community spirit comes to life in its lively culture. At the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre on the banks of the Georges River you’ll find a busy spring-summer schedule of events, including the Italian Film Series, and the multimedia extravaganza, Where Shadows Meet.

Just 15 minutes drive away in Campbelltown, the offbeat Fisher’s Ghost Festival brings everyone together each November; meanwhile, in Cabramatta, the local Vietnamese community shares its delicious culinary heritage at a delectable range of eateries all year round.

Find joy in the eclectic and eccentric

With its street-art-filled lanes, breweries, and a live soundtrack featuring everything from rock to rap, the Inner West is buzzing with creativity.

Embrace its carefree spirit at the Enmore Theatre, where upcoming headliners include Eskimo Joe and Joey Bada$$.

At The Vanguard, Sonny Grin and Blondie appear between cabarets.

Out and about, you can soak up the creativity at the White Rabbit Gallery, and the Imperial and Factory Theatre, and spend a night or three basking in the inspiration at the atmospheric Old Clare Hotel.




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Stefano Guseli chats about his art and exhibitions

Hervey Bay artist Stefano Guseli has a lot to say about art. In this interview, he chats with Jocelyn Magazine about his unique approach to art-making, the role of intuition in his work, and how he strives for creative spontaneity in his pieces. If you’re curious about what drives an experimental artist like Stefano, be sure to check out this interview!

‘Art is a mirror for the viewer, not a soapbox for the artist’

“Once you have sent a thought, it will not return. Once captured, it will not be let go of. The moment of realisation, the moment of transference, is a shared moment—something to treasure, not to disdain.”

This idea about the transference of thoughts is the basis of Stefano Guseli’s rationale for his art exhibitions in Maryborough, Queensland, later this year and in 2023.

“Perhaps letting go is the most vital part of the puzzle,” the Hervey Bay High School design teacher said.

“Once a ball is thrown, the pitcher has no control over the reaction. It is suspended in mid-air, defying gravity, hurtling, diving, and closing the gap between the two,” he said.

“If it is caught, the moment is not over, but it has just begun.

“Elation or loss may result. Can the pitcher take back the throw? Can the hands of time be wound back? Which is more reasonable? To pitch again or to take back the impossible?”

Stefano uses the metaphor of a ball game to explain how he sees the relationship between his artwork and its viewers.

“I know a lot of artists work to express themselves, but I prefer to make art for the viewer to be immersed in it and to interpret it their way.

“I feel the art I make is more of a mirror for the viewer rather than a mirror for me, so I shy away from interpreting individual artworks for the viewer.

“Basically, I can write anything I want on the plaque next to it in a gallery, but it is the viewer who I want to interpret my work.”

Stefano’s art

While French artists Henri Matisse and Marcel Duchamp, and the Spanish painter Pablo Picasso have influenced Stefano’s method, what he paints comes from 20th-century art history and contemporary movements.

From Bendigo, Victoria, Stefano studied art and design at La Trobe and Griffith universities.

He moved to Queensland about 14 years ago to marry his wife, Kim Guseli; they now live in Hervey Bay with their two loveable Dachshunds Lucia and Dexter.

Stefano has his own backyard “man cave” where his thoughts and ideas come to life as visual art.

“I like to observe the way art has developed over the past 100 years, particularly with the visual experience and installations. They are two very different things.”

“With installations, I’m getting more heavily into the style of the Dadadists, an art group from the First World War. For example, I’ve got a few found objects, such as an old television set, that I’ve incorporated into my artwork.

“But I don’t reconstitute found objects to make them look like something visual for example spoons welded together to look like an animal.

“I class myself as an ‘experimental artist’ because I really don’t know where I’m going with it. All I know is I’m going somewhere with it!”

While most human figures in Stefano’s painting come from his imagination, some are based on real people.

“The ones based on real people are abstracted, so I don’t reveal who they are. It’s more about abstracting the narrative.”

Stefano Guseli - artist and painting

Hervey Bay Artist Stefano Guseli at work in his backyard “man cave”.

Preferred mediums

Stefano’s preferred art medium is acrylic because it dries more quickly and he can work faster, but he also loves oils.

“I love the richer, more vibrant textural qualities of oils, but it has drawbacks.

“One of my oils was so thick it took two months to dry!

“I submitted it to a competition, but the judge disqualified it; not because it was wet, but because it was still too soft in spots.”

Stefano mixes his own colours but sometimes they come straight out of the tubes.

“My artworks are usually pretty bright! I find bright colours, not diluted with black, grey and white, can be very positive.”

Experimental art

As an experimental artist, Stefano looks at the visual aesthetic, the installation, and the conceptual sides of art, pushing those elements together, apart, or moving them around, which is unusual.

“A lot of early experimental artists ended up spearheading methods for future ideas in the arts,” he said.

“If I got onto the bandwagon of a painting to a certain theme, I could see a trajectory in a direction where I could attract a certain type of clientele or a certain type of viewer and I’d keep making that sort of art.

“Some masters did that. They made the artwork that people liked, and that was in demand, so they were cutting edge in the eyes of many collectors.

“Experimental art is not theme-based repetition, at least it should not be in my view.”

Stefano said he also has a passion for book illustrations, which he has done several times in recent years.

“Illustrating is a finished product I can give to the client,” he said.

“It’s a reciprocal arrangement too, making the author happy, the publisher happy, the reader happy, and me happy!”


Stefano has only recently begun entering art competitions, so it’s a case of “watch this space”.

“I’m hoping to submit to the Archibald competition,” he said.

“Many of the artists who are successful are known in the painting community, but being an experimental artist it’s not my niche,” he said.

“So, we’ll see how I go over the next few years.

“You do your best work, submit it, see how the judges go with it and then see how the public goes with it.

“Entering competitions is often just an exercise in seeing what reaction you get from viewers and what comments they make.

“That’s really why I’m entering.”

Why create art?

“The choice to create art is about being true to the viewer by making it as an artistic mirror which reflects their interpretation,” Stefano said.

“Why am I making this piece? Am I making it because I do really want to, or am I solely interested in profit?

“Some of the most successful artists, mainly American and British artists, who sell their work for millions of dollars have been accused of being peddlers, but I don’t think they are.

“I think they’re just extremely successful financially.  Money should not be the primary purpose in art making.

“Any artists, even very poor artists, can make art and sell works for money.

“The point is art should be a connection. If money comes in small or large amounts, that is not the primary purpose.”

Where you can see Stefano’s art

If you’re interested in seeing more of Stefano’s work, check out his website at https://www.stefanoguseli.net/

Stefano Guseli - artist and painting

Stefano Guseli, Hervey Bay Artist.



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***Jocelyn Magazine is affiliated with the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet and Booking.com. When you make purchases through links on the website, we receive a small commission, which helps us provide you with more great content.***

Rotary Peace Pole: A reminder to strive for world peace

Have you seen the new Rotary Peace Pole outside the Brolga Theatre in the Queensland city of Maryborough yet? It’s a beautiful sight.

The pole, consisting of three elements, is a hand-crafted monument that displays the message “May Peace Prevail on Earth” on each of its sides in different languages.

There are tens of thousands of Peace Poles in 180 countries across the world, dedicated as monuments to peace. They serve as a constant visual reminder to strive for world peace.

The project was unveiled recently in a dedication ceremony where it’s installed beside the pathway leading to the Brolga Theatre from Lennox Street.


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Peace Pole designed by local artists; supported by Council

The Maryborough Peace Pole, a project of the Rotary Club of Maryborough Sunrise, was designed by local artist and Rotarian Willy Paes (pictured with his wife Di) with assistance from Fraser Coast Regional Council senior arts development co-ordinator Trevor Spohr.

The project was supported by many local businesses, other Rotary Clubs through a Rotary Grant, and the Fraser Coast Regional Council through a grant from the discretionary fund of Councillor Daniel Sanderson.

The work consists of three distinct pieces, which unite as one to symbolise our need to move forward together.

The pieces range in height up to five metres high and have been placed in a stepped design to mirror the roofline of the Brolga Theatre.

One pole is made from weathered steel that was left over from the Gallipoli to Armistice Memorial in nearby Queens Park.

Steel laser-cut message in multiple languages

Rotary Club of Maryborough Sunrise acting president Adrian Pitman said the Maryborough RSL Club donated the steel, which was laser-cut with ‘May Peace Prevail on Earth’ in multiple languages including the Butchulla language, English, Japanese and Mandarin.

The languages reflect the immigrants who entered Australia through the Port of Maryborough and our sister-city relationships; the piece represents the steel buildings of the former Wilson and Hart Sawmill, which occupied the site before the Brolga Theatre was built and the city’s manufacturing industry.

Mr Pitman said the carved timber log, which was rescued from the bank of the Mary River near Tiaro had been carved by Willy Paes with local flora and fauna to connect with the Mary River, forests and animals and birds of the region.

This piece represents the Timber City and timber industry on which Maryborough was founded.

On the third pole, a steel column has been inset with glass art designed by indigenous artists Aaron Henderson and Samala Cronin depicting local history and creatures of the Dreamtime and environment.

Rotary advocates for international peace

“One of the six areas of focus for Rotary internationally is peace and conflict prevention and resolution,” Mr Pitman said.

“Through service projects, peace fellowships, and scholarships, Rotarians are taking action to address the underlying causes of conflict, including poverty, inequality, ethnic tension, lack of access to education, and unequal distribution of resources.

“Clubs support peace in a myriad of ways from raising awareness of bullying, to helping to protect domestic violence survivors and their families.”

Each year Rotary offers 100 fellowships to Rotary Peace Centres around the world including one at the University of Queensland.

More than 1000 students have graduated from Rotary’s Peace Centres programs.

Visit the Rotary Peace Pole

If you’re ever in the Queensland city of Maryborough, be sure to visit the Rotary Peace Pole.

The beautiful monument is a sight to behold and its message serves as a reminder that peace is possible.

Rotary Peace Pole



If you enjoyed this story, you might also enjoy reading:

A Croquet-lover’s Guide to Exploring the Wide Bay


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***Jocelyn Magazine is affiliated with the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet and Booking.com. When you make purchases through links on the website, we receive a small commission, which helps us provide you with more great content.***

A Stitch in Time: Capturing the Colours of Australia

When most people think of Australia, they imagine the bright red outback or the blue water of the Great Barrier Reef. While these holiday hotspots are popular for their vibrant colours, there are so many other hues to see in this great country.

The Colours of Australia exhibition by members of the Hervey Bay Spinners, Weavers and Fibre Artists on the Fraser Coast in Queensland brings together artworks made in response to the inspirational beauty of the Australian landscape.

Hervey Bay Regional Gallery assistant curator Llewellyn Millhouse said the works showcased the deep sense of pride and respect that these artists have for Australia’s natural environment.

“As many members of HBSWFA have experienced living and travelling all around Australia, the land and seascapes depicted in the works are exemplary of the rich diversity of our continent.

“The works feature storm clouds over a desert landscape, mossy logs in a temperate rainforest, wildflowers carpeting open plains and mangrove forests lining a tropical estuary.

“Considered together, these works reveal the natural affinity between textile and landscape, bridging the undulating contours of land and sea with the texture and form of interlocking fibres.

“From the ancient method of drop-spindle to the modern motor-driven spinning wheel, the preparation of raw fibres into workable material is key to the aesthetic process of fibre artists.”

If you’re looking to get a genuine sense of Australian culture, the Colours of Australia exhibition is a must-see.

Colours of Australia Exhibition

Colours of Australia convenor Lidia Godijn shows the major collaborative weaving project of the exhibition. PHOTOS: Jocelyn Watts



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Belonging: The backbone of community arts

“The art of spinning and hand-dyeing yarn was often taken for granted,” Mr Millhouse said.

“The derogatory term ‘spinster’ gives us some indications as to how this labour has been valued by the patriarchal cultures of our recent past.

“Along with other skills and productive responsibilities that are deemed ‘women’s work’, both the economic and the artistic value of fibre work has been perpetually under-appreciated.

“This dismissal of women’s labour is exacerbated by the intersection of age discrimination.

“Though the term ‘spinster’ is used less often today, the visibility, value and artistic capacity of older women continue to be undermined by our cultural institutions and in public culture more generally.

“In celebrating the work of spinning and weaving, Colours of Australia is intended as an affirmation of the vibrancy and expertise of the HBSWFA community.

“The beauty of this exhibition lies not just in each of the artworks, but also in the stories, skills and relationships that are fostered by this creative community.

“On visiting the group’s regular meetings, you cannot help but notice the joy and lightness held between its members; a sense of care, humour, connection and solidarity.

“It is these relations of reciprocity and belonging that are the backbone of community arts organisations, and which deserve further artistic recognition by contemporary art institutions.”

The nature of textiles

Textiles are often seen as a gentle art form, but there is great strength in their delicacy.

In order to create such intricate pieces, artists must have a deep understanding of both their craft and their subjects.

The fibres used each have distinct qualities that can be exploited to produce desired results.

Using colour is also integral to the success of these pieces; each hue can evoke a different emotion or feeling in the viewer.

In this Colours of Australia exhibition, the artists have expertly captured both the colours and textures of Australia’s diverse landscapes.

Colours of Australia textile exhibition

Hervey Bay spinner, weaver and fibre artist Jenny White uses a rigid heddle loom.

See Australia through the eyes of local artists

The Colours of Australia exhibition provides visitors with an opportunity to see this country through the eyes of local artists.

These artists have cleverly used textiles and landscapes to create bridges between the contours of land and sea.

As you wander through this exhibition, you’ll be able to appreciate the uniqueness of each piece while also marvelling at the overall cohesion of the show.

In addition to being visually stunning, the Colours of Australia exhibition is also deeply meaningful.

These artworks provide insight into how Australians view their natural environment.

They also reveal the importance that locals place on preserving and protecting our landscape.

This is an exhibition that will leave you feeling proud to be an Australian traveller.

The importance of art

In today’s fast-paced society, it can be easy for people to forget about the importance of slowing down in life and taking momentary pauses to enjoy what surrounds them.

Art has a way of encouraging us to do just that.

It’s a way for people to broaden their horizons and help them to understand they’re not alone in their experiences.

This Colours of Australia exhibition is a beautiful reminder of how connected we are to both our land and one another.



Colours of Australia: A must-see exhibition

This exhibition is a must-see for all people travelling or living in Australia.

The extensive collection of works on display is a testament to the skill and creativity of the local artists and provides a unique insight into the Australian landscape.

If you’re looking to get a genuine sense of Australian culture, this is the perfect place to start.

Whether you’re an art lover or simply appreciate beauty, this stunning display will leave you feeling inspired.

So, make sure you add it to your itinerary when you’re next in Hervey Bay.

Contacting spinning, weaving and fibre artists

Running until 27 November 2022 at the Hervey Bay Regional Gallery, this free exhibition is open Tuesday to Friday 10am to 4pm, at weekends and on most public holidays 10am to 2pm. Check the gallery website for more details.

If you miss this exhibition or are interested in fibre or yarn crafts, you’re invited to contact the Hervey Bay Spinners, Weavers & Fibre Artists on 0457 366 738 or visit them on Facebook.

Australia is a land of many cultures and as such you’re sure to find other spinning, weaving or fibre art groups on your travels through most towns and cities.

You can also learn about spinning, weaving and fibre arts by visiting Shuttles & Needles.



Colours of Australia textile exhibition

Hervey Bay textile artist Gaye Harris on a spinning wheel. Samples of her work are pictured above.

FEATURE PHOTO: Kate Campbell shows her one-of-a-kind, handcrafted scarf.


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