Hats off to the hard working crew over at EM Events on the eve of their inaugural Perricoota Pop & Pour Festival.
There is such a playful buzz in the air for this brand new homegrown event and we can’t wait to pop the cork with the crowds on the festival trail tomorrow.
The mercury is set for a balmy 31 degrees, the wine will be flowing and live tunes will be swelling out across the grapevines. It’ll be a happy chance to stoke the bonds of friendship with mates – old and new.
Our duo of towns is well-known for its thriving festivals scene – in fact it’s one of the features we love most about life here on the mighty Murray. Not only do we have boundless opportunities for amazing events, live music, bars, wineries, and eateries, but it’s all set against a backdrop of one of Australia’s prettiest, and most tranquil, natural landscapes.
Travel anywhere across this wide, brown, open land and you’ll be hard pressed to find a place quite like our EM. She radiates the most perfect vibe of urban chic and country hospitality.
If this fast-paced, technologically-wired world we live in has caused you to lose sight of Echuca Moama’s beauty, and you need reminding of all the wonder we have here on our doorstep, we suggest you get along to Pop & Pour this weekend and take a fresh-eyed look. Because seriously, the magic is everywhere.
See you there folks!
If you have ever doubted the power of community spirit then meet Liz Dillon. She’ll challenge anyone who doesn’t believe country towns are the heart and soul of our country, and it’s not hard to understand why.
In her small community of Kyabram and the surrounding districts, Liz and her army of volunteers, have raised almost a quarter of a million dollars to help families in the local area directly impacted by cancer.
Liz is the epitome of community spirit: kind, passionate and generous, and has a ‘can do’ attitude. She has built a career teaching vocals and performing arts to kids at Dillmac Entertainment and after years fundraising for Redkite, a national charity providing support to children with cancer, she realised there were people within her own community battling cancer and in need of financial and emotional support.
“One year we handed over a cheque to Redkite for $84,000 and I suddenly thought: wouldn’t it be better if the money could stay in the town?” Liz said.
Coinciding with the sudden loss of her father-in-law to cancer, she decided it was time to take action, and with the support of her husband Max McKenzie and colleague Andrew Moore, the Kyabram Gift was born.
Six years later, The Gift is a fully incorporated, tax-deductible fund with a board and subcommittee of 14 members and countless volunteers who generously donate their time to assist at key events. Through unwavering community support The Gift raises approximately $150,000 annually, and has now raised in excess of $450,000 since its inception.
The Gift board represents a wide sector of the community and is made up of business owners; parents; youths; professionals; doctors and nurses; people who have had cancer or lost loved ones to cancer; people who are new to the area; and life-long locals. And all are united in the purpose to lighten the load of others.
This inspiring organisation’s winning formula for fundraising includes set events throughout the year that encourage involvement from the entire community, not only to raise money but to increase awareness of early cancer detection and provide fun and connection for people in an otherwise dark time.
The highlight on The Gift social calendar is the annual Gala Ball. More than 350 people attended this year’s event in November, and it has become so popular there is now a ballot for tickets! Eight people also volunteered to lose their locks for the cause and ran their own fundraising campaign throughout the year. Combined with the proceeds from ticket sales and auctions on the night a staggering $60,000 was raised.
The ever popular, Monster Town Garage Sale encourages people to host a site at their house and sell unwanted good with all proceeds going to The Gift. This year’s Monster Garage Sale will be held in Kyabram on December 3, so why not go for a Sunday drive, see what goodies you can find and help support this worthy cause.
Other key events include the Purple Weekend and Purple Sporting Weekend, where local schools, workplaces, businesses, shopping precincts and sporting clubs in the district are encouraged to decorate their premises, wear purple and raise money anyway they can.
To maintain momentum, The Gift is constantly looking for new ways to fundraise and also uses movie nights, Easter raffles and other minor events throughout the year to ensure there is always money in the bank for emergencies and to help those who really need it – when they need it.
“The community has really embraced The Gift and we now service a population of approximately 22,000 including Kyabram, Tongala, Girgarre, Stanhope, Undera, Rushworth, Merrigum and Lancaster,” Liz said.
“We have developed a fantastic working relationship with Kyabram District Health, its team of amazing district nurses and the local counseling services to try and capture all those who need our support,” she said.
People can be referred to the service or an application form is available to anyone who wishes to apply directly for funds. Elected members of the board then decide who receives the gifts based on individual needs.
The gifts are always given in the form of a voucher, product or payment of a utility or other bill. Cash is never handed to any recipient and names of recipients are kept confidential.
To date, The Gift has supported more than 100 families providing items such as:
“With the support of some great local tradies and businesses who have given their support and volunteered their time for free, we have even renovated a bathroom and built and furnished a granny flat to provide safe and comfortable spaces for families with members undergoing treatment.”
Not only does The Gift provide financial and emotional support but it also provides hope.
“We all know the pain and suffering a cancer diagnosis can bring to a family so we try not to focus on what it takes from people but rather what it can give,” Liz said.
‘We wish we didn’t have to help anyone else but there are still so many positives you can take away from the experience – the kindness and generosity of people, new friendships and learnings about yourself and others,” she said.
Sometimes just knowing that someone else cares can be the greatest gift of all.
#spreadingthegoodstuff #thekyabramgift #supportingfamilieswithcancer #thepowerofcommunity
We’re excited to announce the fourth episode in our live Spreading the Good Stuff series, with the remarkable Jason Clymo in conversation at Junction Moama on Thursday December 7.
At age 19, a fall during a night out with university mates caused Jason to break his back, suffer a spinal cord injury and become paralysed from the waist down.
This was a devastating blow for Jason, in his second year of medicine at Monash University, and any plans he had for his future were instantly derailed.
However, fast-forward to 2017 and surprisingly Jason’s focus is not fixed on regaining the life he had prior to his accident or in search of a miracle cure for paraplegia.
Remarkably, this young man is focused on what he can do to support other people living with disability to live a full and ‘inclusive’ life.
Jason’s number one goal is for inclusion for all and he has a strong belief that everyone deserves to feel loved and celebrated – regardless of their ability.
This personal mission has taken Jason on a journey of discovery and down the path of a modelling career, which is quickly becoming much more than a hobby.
So far this year Jason has found himself featured in a four-page photographic spread in the Herald Sun’s Stellar Magazine, in a national advertising campaign for fashion label Target and featured on award-winning, nightly news show The Project.
Not to mention landing a contract with highly respected, national modelling agency WINK Models, where he has been hailed as the next ‘big thing’ for diversity in the modelling industry.
We featured Jason on our Spreading the Good Stuff blog in February when WINK described him as ‘a guy who has turned a negative into a positive by becoming an advocate for diversity’ and it’s no surprise others are taking notice, both here and overseas.
Jason’s star is well and truly on the rise and as the bookings and marketing officer for the Port of Echuca Discovery Centre, he is currently juggling his day job with life and modelling work, including his runway debut in October at FashionAble, an event by Queensland disability support provider Multicap.
He is also an inclusion ambassador with both internationally recognised Models of Diversity and Starting with Julius – both striving for diversity in the modelling industry. And this serendipitous chain of events has not only allowed Jason to carve out a modelling career of his own but created a greater awareness of the lack of representation of disabled people in the media and in advertising campaigns.
Altering society’s perception about modelling for marketing and advertising is what motivates Jason to get out of bed in the morning, despite the daily physical challenges of life in a wheel chair.
From the early days following his accident he has chosen to focus on the positive and surround himself with people who help support him and his passionate cause.
We first met Jason at our first Spreading the Good Stuff live conversation episode with Katrina Myers in June 2016 where he explained he was drawn to the event because of our positive approach and purpose to spread the good news.
Jason believes we all make a choice every day about how we approach life and its many challenges and we can’t wait to share more about how he manages to stay so focused and driven by his goals when he joins us on December 7.
Join us at Junction for a remarkable evening of illuminating conversation with Jason Clymo My Life With Wheels and book your tickets today for our final event of 2017.
Tickets are $30, strictly limited and must be purchased prior to the event day. Included in your ticket price is a complimentary glass of sparkling wine, and nibbles.
Tickets and further details available here.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Christy and Lee
*Image courtesy of H Stewart for Stella Magazine
When the clock strikes 11 on this warm, sunny Saturday morning in November, what thoughts will be running through your head?
Will you be making plans for a lunchtime picnic by the river with family and friends in this glorious spring sunshine; contemplating an afternoon in the garden; or perhaps planning a night out on the town with friends?
Whatever it is, be sure to pop those thoughts aside for just a minute, to imagine a world where such simple pleasures and freedoms did not exist.
Because that could very well have been our reality if not for the many members of our armed forces who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty over the years, to protect the very freedoms we so often take for granted.
No matter your feelings on war, on this day we must cast them aside to acknowledge and commemorate our past.
Through the rose-coloured lense through which we choose to view the world, war is never, ever the answer. But we know that’s a privileged position many of our ancestors were not able to take.
So in this moment – the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month – let’s remember that first modern world conflict that brought about the mobilisation of over 70 million people and left between 9 and 13 million dead.
Let’s observe the moment when hostilities ceased on the Western Front, ending the Great War (World War I) and dedicate our thoughts to those brave soldiers who died fighting to protect our precious way of life.
Lest We Forget
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and as someone who has personally battled this cruel and ugly disease, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to urge other women to be breast aware and shine a light on a handy new initiative developed by an inspiring local lady.
Breast cancer remains the most common cancer among Australian women with a staggering 17,586 expected to be diagnosed this year alone.
As you look around at your mother, sisters, daughters and group of girlfriends the frightening statistic is 1 in 8 of you will be diagnosed with breast cancer by the time you are 85.
A woman’s risk of breast cancer increases with age, with the majority of women diagnosed between 50-69.
However, breast cancer also occurs in younger women and it is estimated that in 2017, 841 women between the ages of 20 and 39 will be diagnosed.
The good news – early detection and improved screening have resulted in very high survival rates.
Finding breast cancer early provides the best chance of surviving the disease so ALL women should be breast aware, know what is normal for them and be regularly checking and feeling their breasts for any changes.
Changes to look for include:
● a new lump or lumpiness in your breast or underarm
● a change in the size or shape of your breast
● a change to the nipple, such as crusting, ulcer, redness or inversion
● a nipple discharge that occurs without squeezing
● a change in the skin of your breast such as redness or dimpling
● an unusual pain that doesn’t go away.
Most changes aren’t due to breast cancer but it’s important to see your doctor without delay if you notice any of these changes.
Local mother to five girls Sharnee McCoy, knows all too well the importance of being breast aware.
After feeling a suspicious lump in her right breast as she simply rolled over in bed one night, she thankfully took immediate action and in April this year was given the heart breaking news that she did in fact have an aggressive stage 3 breast cancer.
But her story, to selflessly turn her own personal battle into something to ease the burden on others, is truly inspiring.
Like many women who undergo breast surgery to remove cancer, Sharnee also had all the lymph nodes removed from under her right arm, putting her at risk of developing lymphedema. Unable to use her right arm for any treatment, blood tests or blood pressure monitoring she began to look for a product to easily advise healthcare professionals but to no avail. This ignited a fire in the courageous young mothers belly….
“After I spoke to Bianca Fleming, Echuca Regional Health McGrath Breast Care Nurse, I realised there was a broader need for this, so I set off to design and produce a pink arm band that could be accessible to other women in the same situation to help reduce the risk of lymphedema,” says Sharnee.
With the generous support of the Little Blue Towels Project in Echuca, Sharnee’s Bands were born and are now available for free to anyone across Victoria and parts of NSW who has had lymph nodes removed as a result of breast cancer.
“I didn’t do this for the recognition but I am incredibly proud to show my girls that we created something really positive out of a negative situation,” Sharnee says.
To get your free pink arm band contact your local Breast Care Nurse or Oncology department today.
Breast cancer doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t respect age, gender, race, ethnicity, wealth, status or a healthy lifestyle. So don’t think because you are young or don’t have a family history that you are safe. The harsh reality is that you or someone you know or love will experience breast cancer during their lifetime.
So when was the last time you checked your boobies?
Women between the ages of 50-74 are entitled to two free mammograms a year with BreastScreen Victoria so book yours in today on 132 050.
Younger women can download the free Curve Lurve App from the McGrath Foundation to learn how to be more proactive in their breast health.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from Breast Cancer, support from the McGrath Breast Care Nurse is free and anyone can access the service on 03 5485 5234.
Learn to love those boobies ladies because they could save your life.
#spreadingthegoodstuff #breastcareawarenessmonth #bebreastaware #sharneesbands #mcgrathbreastcarenurse
Firstly – thank you! We hope you loved it.
And secondly, we’re sending you a virtual high five, because we’ve received word this week that ITP charity partner, Echuca Moama Girls Night Out will receive a huge wod of cash from the day – 5000 smackeroos to be exact!
100% of these funds will go directly to the GNO Oncology Department Supportive Care Fund at Echuca Regional Health to support those in our community fighting cancer. The GNO fund helps cover the hidden costs of treatment including counselling sessions, oncology massage, wigs, alternative therapies, lymphodeama garments, rent payments, fuel cards, acommodation, home care and child care.
ITP was founded by Moama Bowling Club in 2015, and since then has contributed a massive $20,000 to the GNO charity.
It’s an extraordinary event – not only for its support of GNO – but also for the opportunities it provides women in small rural communities like ours.
We don’t often get the chance to take time out from our hectic lives to do that all important work on ourselves. But it’s vitally necessary for each and every one of us if we are to live fulfilled lives both at work and at home.
To be able to put everything else in our world aside and to have a full day dedicated to exploring what’s working for us, what’s not, and where we can grow, would usually require a trip to the city. And given the often logistical nightmare that goes along with that, it’s a luxury many of us rarely take. So having this opportunity right here on our doorstep is a game changer for women in this part of the world.
And while having access to top speakers on home soil is a vital ingredient to ITP, the real magic happens out on the floor. It’s in connecting face-to-face with other like-minded women to share and nurture ideas, and to support and cheer one another through the obstacles and opportunities that life in the country throws our way.
So as event partners and co-hosts of ITP, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for embracing this homegrown event for regional women.
We look forward to welcoming you back again in 2018.
We’re #spreadingthegoodstuff this week for this beautiful place we call home and for the great work taking place behind the scenes at Echuca Moama Tourism to showcase our destination to travellers far and wide.
In case you hadn’t heard, EMT has a new leader at the helm – and while she’s only been here a few months, she’s already having a deep impact.
Kathryn Mackenzie comes to EM from the City of Greater Bendigo, where she was tourism manager for more than 20 years.
She’s vibrant, engaging, inclusive and unquestionably creative and her vision to develop Echuca Moama’s reputation as an authentic experience-based destination is one to get excited about.
And she has the runs on the board. Kathryn assisted Bendigo in becoming one of the leading cultural, heritage and arts destinations in Australia – and her marketing of the Marilyn Monroe Exhibition took out bronze at the national tourism awards in Darwin last year.
We’ve been fortunate to work closely with Kathryn in recent weeks, interviewing local identities and writing the content for Echuca Moama’s new official visitor’s guide and we’re genuinely excited about the direction she’s taking our stunning region.
She believes storytelling has a key role to play in developing and spotlighting the enormous array of ‘experiences’ on offer in this unique part of the world, and we couldn’t agree more.
She is deeply passionate about developing strong and collaborative partnerships, and she believes we, the locals, have a major advocacy role to play in breathing new life into the place we call home.
Well she can sign us up! We seriously love nothing more than spruiking the virtues of our riverside paradise.
You only have to take a look at our little side project #loveEM – which we started on social media in 2012 as a platform to promote and celebrate all that is awesome about Echuca Moama.
We really are blessed to live in one of the most captivatingly beautiful and endearing places on earth, and if we as a collective of ‘locals’ can shout that to the rafters, the people will come.
Stay tuned for the release of the new Official Visitor’s Guide next month. It’s coming together beautifully thanks to Echuca Moama Print and Design and is jam-packed with gorgeous imagery and lovely stories about the many hidden gems and experiences on offer in our region.
And if you’re not doing it already, get proud and loud about this place we call home. There’s nowhere else in the world quite like it.
We’re super excited this week to be Spreading the Good Stuff for our good friend and uber talented local musician Benny Walker who recently launched a brand new single Ghost, which looks set to take his burgeoning career to even greater heights.
Ghost debuted at #1 on the iTunes Blues chart and check out some of the love Benny has received from industry gurus since its release last week on ABC’s Double J with Myf Warhurst:
“Ghost oozes class. Sophisticated and soulful, it’s another step on Benny’s Walkers road to superstardom,” – Jeff Jenkins
“A year ago Benny Walker showed potential. Now he’s the real deal, a soul singer as ready to sing about the world as about the heart, in a rich song that sounds old-before-its-time yet anything but old-fashioned,” – Bernard Zuel
There’s no doubt Benny Walker has ‘arrived’ and if you, like us, have tracked his career since its early days you’ll join us in celebrating his new ‘coming of age’ sound. And we just can’t wait to hear more when the full EP Undercover is released on Monday September 11.
Like many Echuca Moama locals, we are so proud of Benny’s talents, but it’s his ability to stay ‘local’ and humble, which sets him apart.
As a proud Yorta Yorta man, who grew up playing in the bush and swimming in the Murray River, Benny holds strong to the premise that he creates music, and dedicates the majority of his time touring, simply because he is drawn to it.
“It’s an unexplainable thing… but I do it because it’s always enjoyable and it makes me feel good, and always has,” Benny said.
Despite the hard slog as an independent artist and countless nights away from his gorgeous wife Fiona and 14 month-old son Archie, Benny is living the dream and explains how it has provided him the freedom to fully enjoy life.
“I decided I didn’t want to sit around and wait for my life to happen… success can mean something different to everyone and I wish I had gone for it earlier,” he said.
Benny is taking his Wine, Women and Soul tour on the road throughout September and October and you can catch him LIVE in Echuca Moama at The Mill, where he will play his new EP to an intimate audience, which is guaranteed to be teeming with family and friends.
“I just love playing in Echuca Moama and I’ve always felt drawn back home… to family, friends and my ancestral connections – way back,” Benny said.
Benny is super excited about his new sound and the direction he has been brave enough to steer his music, thanks to ARIA award-winning producer Jan Skubiszewski who has worked with the likes of Dan Sultan, Cat Empire and John Butler Trio.
“There’s a huge difference between my previous work and Undercover… it’s an evolution and I’m out of my comfort zone… but you have to be open to it,” he said.
In the past couple of years Benny has played some of the country’s finest music festivals and supported many of Australia’s most talented acts, he was also named Best Aboriginal Act of the Year at the 2016 Age Music Victoria Awards, and you might have heard him as a guest on ABC radio on numerous occasions.
This guy is going places and we are privileged to share just some of his inspiring story.
We suggest you ‘do yourself a favour’ and come along to The Mill on October 15 to see for yourself how this local lad has emerged as a real deal on the Australian music scene.
See you there…
#spreadingthegoodstuff #bennywalker #localtalent #therealdeal
Want to learn how to maximise your productivity and develop smart time management skills to achieve success across your career, family and community life?
What about some practical steps for becoming a great leader, listener and visual communicator to better understand and connect with all those around you?
Or perhaps you’re in need of some expert advice and tangible tips around emotional intelligence, social media, live streaming or marketing?
If the answer is yes – to one or all of the above – then you’re in luck.
Imagine The Possibilities will deliver all this and SO much more in 2017!
We’re now just three weeks out from this fantastic, home-grown regional women’s conference, so if you haven’t already secured your ticket, then hop to it.
If you were an attendee at ITP in 2015 and 2016, you already know how extraordinary this event is, and the positive impact it can have on so many areas of your life. If you’re a newbie – you’re in for an absolute treat!
Now in its third year, ITP offers women from all walks of life a rare opportunity for some pretty spectacular personal and professional development – right here on our doorstep.
Whether you’re a business owner, freelancer, employee, trainee or student – this event will inspire and empower you to live your best life – at work, home and at play.
ITP explores the challenges and opportunities faced by women living large in the country – providing practical tips and insights into professional development, leadership, communication, personal growth and self-care.
And while it’s a rare and wonderful treat having access to top speakers on home soil, the best part is in connecting face-to-face with other like-minded women to share and nurture ideas, and to support and cheer one another on to be our best selves – whatever that looks like for each of us as individuals.
This year’s key note speakers are time management expert Kate Christie, Founder and Director of Time Stylers, who will share her insights into smart time management and productivity; and Jessamy Gee, of Think In Colour, who is a Melbourne artist, illustrator, professional listener and visual translater who will teach us how to communicate well, and communicate differently.
In addition to Kate and Jessamy, ITP guests will have the chance to attend two breakout sessions, which this year feature your choice of Write Style Communications founder Kimberley Furness, leadership performance specialist Louise Thomson, people development expert Reyna Mendes, and social media and marketing coach Erin Griffin.
Not only will this conference enlarge your personal and professional self, it’s also dedicated to a very important local cause. All proceeds from ITP go towards Echuca Moama Girls Night Out and its endeavours to lighten the load for those in our community living with cancer. GNO’s Supportive Care Fund at Echuca Regional Health provides extra care and financial support to cover the hidden costs of cancer including counselling, rent payments, wigs, alternative therapies, lymphodeama sleeves, fuel cards, accommodation, home care and child care.
The Splendid Word is delighted to be supporting MBC in staging this inovative event for the third time, both as partner and MC, and we look forward to welcoming you to ITP2017.
ITP is on Thursday September 14 from 9.30am to 4.15pm at The Venue, Moama Bowling Club.
See you there!
This adventure has been the most extraordinary experience for our family, and I am enormously grateful to you Chris for taking such wonderful care of our TSW clients in my absence, and for managing every facet of the business on your own so effortlessly.
For many years now my husband has worked away from home for big chunks of the week, and on the rare nights that he is home, I’m often working the graveyard shift on the computer freelancing. Our ‘ships in the night’ existence is one we hoped to give a huge shake up by setting out on this adventure. And boy did we ever!
Although we’ve encountered enough communal showers and drop hole toilets to last us a lifetime on this trip, we wouldn’t change a thing, and it’s been a life-changing experience for us all in so many ways. The precious time together as a family unit has without doubt been the pinnacle.
I can’t put into words how liberating it has been to check out of our regular lives, schedules and obligations to spend two whole months together getting lost in this big, beautiful land of ours. No distractions, no responsibilities.
It hasn’t all been smooth sailing of course – it’s a mammoth challenge being under one another’s feet in a confined space 24/7 for that chunk of time – and we’ve had some ball tearing blues over map navigation skills, caravan ‘backing’ & ‘set ups’, the kids (and their father) not picking up their god-damn clothes, me being too precious in the bush (seriously have you seen those toilets!) and so much more.
But despite the menial stuff (oh and the gastro bug that swept through when we were camped without power or water), it’s been an absolute dream come true.
We’ve travelled to some far flung places – exploring national parks, gorges, canyons, waterfalls, infinity rock pools on cliff edges, thermal springs and pristine beaches.
We’ve hiked a million miles, watched the sun rise and set over the most stunning natural landscapes, toasted marshmallows and damper by campfire, mustered 2000 head of cattle, surfed our first waves and swam with dolphins and crocodiles (the latter was unintentional 😬).
We’ve played a billion card and board games, danced under the great night skies, sung our lungs out to pass the time on the road, and laughed til our bellies hurt.
We’ve seriously been bowled over by the incredible beauty we have here in our own backyard.
It’s been a life-affirming, eye-opening time of discovery for us all and it’s given us space to really see and hear each other for the first time in way too long. We’re so glad we could make it happen.
Our heads are empty and our hearts are full, and that’s exactly what we hoped this experience might bring.
It’s good to be back.