The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2019-07-03T02:22:51Z Bendigo Writers Festival 2019 program 2019-07-03T02:22:51Z bendigo-writers-festival-2019-program-1 Bendigo Writers Festival has unveiled the full three-day program for August 9 to 11, with a galaxy of stars and a supernova of sessions set to light up the end of winter. “We’ve dusted off the mirror balls, for a bit of retro party-time,” Capital Venues and Events manager David Lloyd says. “With a new venue to add to our constellation, the Festival Precinct will now be even more accessible and welcoming, so audiences will enjoy hearing all the absolutely brilliant writers on this year’s program.” The Festival launch was held at Bendigo Bowls Club, which will host sessions throughout the day, and then become the Festival Club on Friday and Saturday nights. Festival director Rosemary Sorensen announced the international writers on the program, as well as some of the 150 Australian speakers heading to Bendigo in August. Festival guest Greg Fleet spoke about the writing life, as a comedian, memoirist and novelist. Feature events in Ulumbarra Theatre at the Festival this year include Friday night’s World of Food with Food Safari presenter, Maeve O’Meara. On Saturday night, world-renowned astrobiologist Paul Davies tackles the biggest question of them all - What Is Life? And for a dazzling finale, the internationally acclaimed surgeon Munjed Al Muderis will present the Closing Address on Sunday at 4.30pm, talking about how hope and courage can change lives. “Gastronomy is big on this year’s program,” Ms Sorensen said. “We are keen supporters of the City of Greater Bendigo’s bid to become a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, so we have food writer Jill Dupleix, sustainable farmer Charles Massy and food-and-mood expert Felice Jacka, on the program. “We’re welcoming British philosopher AC Grayling for discussions about democracy, criminal psychologist Julia Shaw, to talk about evil, and from New York, Min Jin Lee, to talk about Korea.” Also on the program: Clementine Ford on Boys Will Be Boys Louise Milligan on Cardinal John Marsden on Parenting Alan Kohler on Money and Ethics Benjamin Law on Growing Up Gay Ranjana Srivastava on A Better Death Speakers include Peter Doherty, Chloe Hooper, Kerry O’Brien, Ginger Gorman, Kate Forsyth, Jessica Rowe, Don Walker, Greg Fleet, Jane Caro and Don Watson. The Text Marks the Spot free schools program takes place on Friday, and a new series of Entrée Events on Friday morning give audiences a chance to get out and about in Bendigo. “We’re delighted to be collaborating with the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, for an event with the “bad Buddhist”, Meshel Laurie,” Ms Sorensen said. “And in the heart of Bendigo, at the beautiful Soldiers Memorial Institute Military Museum on Pall Mall, there’s a first-time event about the women poets of Central Victoria writing during the First World War. “There’s a special launch too, of a new book about Bendigo, called Sludge, to be launched by John Brumby, Chancellor of La Trobe University.” Bendigo Writers Festival is presented by the City of Greater Bendigo in partnership with La Trobe University and supported by Bendigo Tourism. Why Documentaries seeks Celebrities for new Multicultural project 2019-07-02T23:16:06Z why-documentaries-seeks-celebrities-for-new-multicultural-project The project U and Me tells the stories of ordinary Australians with sometimes extraordinary friendships. Mostly friendships between people from different cultural backgrounds, the aim of the online series is to showcase tolerance, our positive multicultural Australia and provide a reference point that normalises these friendships that occur everywhere but are rarely highlighted in the media. A UN Human Rights Award finalist, the next series of 6 short films will work with refugees to the Illawarra to tell more stories. The aim is to work with celebrities and we urge celebrities interested in telling great stories to come forward. and view stories here Second-Chance School Warakirri College Opens its Doors in Campbelltown for Disadvantaged Students 2019-05-28T23:33:41Z second-chance-school-warakirri-college-opens-its-doors-in-campbelltown-for-disadvantaged-students An MTC initiative, Warakirri College is an independent high school catering to disadvantaged young people aged 15 to 22.  The school offers an alternative form of learning to students who have disconnected from mainstream education or did not quite fit into a traditional school environment. With no school uniforms, no school fees and free food for those who haven’t eaten, the college hopes to help students build confidence, manage other challenges in their life and work towards their own life and career goals. “I believe the new Warakirri College campus will be a valuable addition to the Campbelltown community, helping disconnected young people achieve a better future” says Warakirri College Principal, Carolyn Blanden. With campuses already in Blacktown and Fairfield, Ms Blanden goes on to explain how Warakirri College will make a difference to the young people in the Campbelltown region, “These students struggle in mainstream schools, due to their long absences as a result of numerous social issues or because they have mental health challenges or come from complex family backgrounds. We break down the barriers that prevents students from going to school so that they can  complete the Year10 RoSA or a HSC and ATAR.” “Although our students are street-wise,” Ms Blanden goes on to say, “they haven’t had the opportunities that most kids have had. We are a family here at Warakirri so we take the students on excursions or go on bushwalks and camps to inspire and engage them. I feel very privileged to be able to help these young people get their lives back on track and enjoy the opportunities that come from completing their schooling”. Former Warakirri graduate Adriana spoke of what sets Warakirri College apart, “Warakirri College is different to mainstream school as the environment is more relaxed and students are treated like adults.” “Everyone is very supportive and interactive. It’s a great place to learn,” adds Adriana For more information about Warakirri College please contact 02 9914 3250 or visit our website About Warakirri College Warakirri College is an independent high school for young people aged 15–22 completing their Year 10 and Higher School Certificate. Students have disconnected from mainstream schools due to peer relations difficulties like bullying or gender issues, mental health challenges such as anxiety or depression, complex family backgrounds, refugee experience or parenthood.  Warakirri is an independent high school with campuses at Fairfield and Blacktown. As a social impact initiative of MTC Australia, students do not pay fees and are provided with textbooks, food and other resources. Graduates typically progress to University, TAFE, private colleges and employment.  About MTC Australia MTC is the social enterprise that gives people the inspiration, capability and opportunity to create a fulfilling life. We deliver high impact employment, training and youth programs that help more than 15,000 people every year to gain skills for employment and entrepreneurship, build self-worth, and enable possibilities for transformative change. Groundbreaking Australian stage spectacular to make international debut in New Zealand next week 2019-05-27T10:52:03Z groundbreaking-australian-stage-spectacular-to-make-international-debut-in-new-zealand-next-week Groundbreaking Australian stage spectacular to make international debut in New Zealand next week Groundbreaking Australian theatre company, Wild Dreamer Productions is set to make its international debut with stage spectacular MEERA playing six shows in New Zealand next week. MEERA, the brainchild of creative director, Aarti Bajaj, is the ambitious first offering from Wild Dreamer Productions - a sumptuous stage show featuring drama, dance and music. “MEERA is a bold love story about a royal princess who believes in her forbidden love to such a degree that she is willing to go against the norms of society for her love,” said creative director, Aarti Bajaj. After MEERA’s success on the Gold Coast, selling out the 1,100 seat Arts Theatre at Home of the Arts, Ms Bajaj made the bold decision to take the production international to Auckland, New Zealand where she has been working closely with local talent ahead of MEERA’s run at the ASB Waterfront Theatre from the 31 May-2 June. MEERA has been more than 14 years in the making, with Ms Bajaj, who lives on the Gold Coast, balancing her career as a medical sonographer with her passion for the performing arts.  Ms Bajaj is the driving force behind the production, working with talented creatives throughout Australia and the world on everything from the choreography, narration, music, lighting, story, marketing and so much more. “In MEERA, there are eight dance forms; Indian classical, Indian contemporary, tap, jazz, ballet, African contemporary, aerial and pole. The Maori Haka will also feature in the New Zealand production." During the writing process, Ms Bajaj altered the interpretation of MEERA to fit a wider audience.  “I wanted to take all of the religious aspects out, and only focus on the pureness of love in the story,” said Ms Bajaj. “Love is common for every living being, we all can have different religions and beliefs, but we all have one common expression, and that is love. “Everyone can recognise this theme when they walk into the auditorium, no matter where they come from, or what they believe. Ms Bajaj bans the use of the words “white” and “brown” on set, as she aims to present actors, dancers, singers and composers a platform to showcase their talent, without being hindered by their ethnicity. “It simply means when someone’s selecting an artist for a role their colour shouldn’t matter, their ethnicity or where they come from shouldn’t matter, it should be more what their talent is and what they can offer,” said Ms Bajaj. “It is important to me to bring the inclusion and diversity together on stage and to ensure the story itself is more powerful than what colour or what background the actor or character is.” Another major motivation for Ms Bajaj is to create a platform where she can give different artists the opportunity where they don’t need a profile to share their talent - if they have talent she intends to bring the platform to them. "The primary vision and ethos of Wild Dreamer Productions is to bring local talent together wherever the production goes," said Ms Bajaj. “My ultimate goal is for MEERA to see all the beautiful stages and audiences across the globe, to sing out beautifully and loudly so everyone can get involved.” The stage spectacular will play six shows at the ASB Waterfront Theatre in Auckland on the 31st of May, 1st of June and 2nd of June. Learn more about this exclusive production here: Meera: Preview 2018 Gold Coast Production Meera: Interview with Aarti Bajaj (Creative Director) Wild Dreamer Productions Website Meera: Facebook - ends - For more information or photo/interview requests, please contact: Joanne Rahn Director zanthii communications Phone: 0402 148 334 Email: Facebook: Sisters of Charity Foundation to visit Campsie community kitchen 2019-05-14T23:39:10Z sisters-of-charity-foundation-to-visit-campsie-community-kitchen Prosper (Project Australia) is a multi-award-winning small community organisation that aims to support disadvantaged children and their families. Its community kitchen program gives those experiencing poverty and homelessness access to a free kitchen facility, cooking equipment, storage containers and fresh ingredients to prepare healthy meals for their families. It’s not just healthy food the program is providing, however – the community kitchen helps participants build a sense of community togetherness and belonging. “We’ve seen 97 community members coming along to at least one kitchen day,” says Prosper’s Karen Craigie. “When you take into account other members of their household the program has already benefited 720 people since its opening in February.” Foundation donors will get the chance to hear directly from community kitchen participants, and also sample some of their favourite recipes at lunch. “We’re thrilled to be able to show our donors, in person, what their generosity is helping build,” says Sisters of Charity Foundation CEO Reba Meagher. “Prosper is a fantastic organisation doing vital work within the community and we’re proud to be a supporter.” “We’re looking forward to hosting the Sisters of Charity Foundation and showcasing the value of the community kitchen,” says Karen. “It has been a marvellous platform for community-building and increasing the dignity of those who are isolated or disadvantaged.”   About the Sisters of Charity Foundation Every year the Sisters of Charity Foundation is able to make a difference to thousands of people across the country with funds generously donated by compassionate Australians. We support initiatives that receive little or no funding from other sources, that benefit the disadvantaged, marginalised and socially isolated people in our community, no matter their gender, ethnicity, age or ability. New Media App Launches To Kill Off The Press Release 2019-04-30T04:15:39Z new-media-app-launches-to-kill-off-the-press-release A new technology platform has launches tomorrow made just for you. This tech platform called Story Match® will change the way that you receive your story pitches. No more emails, no more press releases and no more hassling PRs (I promise not to be one of those…) First, watch this! In 1.5 minutes it will explain it all to you… Story Match® is a two sided market place App and Desktop platform that allows brands to pitch story ideas to journalists, at the same time allowing journalists to select only what topics of stories they want to receive. Journalists, like you, set up their profile using 6 simple steps. You can select from up to 50 industry tags (food, finance, lifestyle, tech, etc etc) and can localise by State and Territories. If there’s a match on industry tags then you see the pitch. Using swiping technology you can scroll through stories, swipe left if you don’t like the story or right if you do. If you swipe right, it will open an immediate and private chat between you and the person who posted the pitch. The best bit…. The pitches have limitations – so brands can only upload selected images, a headline and up to 500 characters to bring their pitch to life. They then select which industry tag their story is relevant to, and localise it. So now you don’t need to read any more press releases or receive any more pitches that you’re not interested in. Story Match® was developed to improve efficiencies in the media industry, and allow all brands, no matter how big or small the opportunity to get their brand noticed. The tech platform has been developed by Founder and Director of Polkadot Communications Dionne Taylor – who has worked both as a journalist and a PR for the last 15 years. Dionne is available for an interview to chat about this new and exciting platform, built just for YOU! If interested in speaking with Dionne, please get in touch. Tent of Promise Blessing the Darling River in Wilcannia NSW 2019-03-27T09:11:03Z tent-of-promise-blessing-the-darling-river-in-wilcannia-nsw Tent of Promise Darling River Blessing Wilcannia NSW, March 2019 Contributed by Adele Kenyon Gathered in the dry riverbed of the once mighty Darling River this past week were a handful of sojourners from Queensland who had driven 1,500 kilometres to the tired town of Wilcannia in far western New South Wales. YouTube Video: TENT OF PROMISE - Entering Wilcannia 2019 For this small group the township of Wilcannia was the focal destination of their long drive: with their hearts set on praying and prophesying for the revival of the once mighty river and its communities from this spiritual starting point - gleaned after a sustained period of prayerfulness over several months in their home base up north. Led by Bishop Barry Cunnington, Founder of The Tent of Promise Incorporated, based in southern Queensland, the small team of Christian supporters strongly believe their prophetic/prayer mission begun this month in Wilcannia will usher in not only a revived and flowing river, but a spiritual reawakening within the Wilcannia community and beyond. Bishop Cunnington trusts this is a pivotal season for Christian renewal around Australia and believes the seed of blessing sown this week and symbolically poured directly into the dry Darling River riverbed in Wilcannia will herald a new era of reawakening to spiritual truth tied with genuine reconciliation. He explains the spiritual foundation for the belief as being in the Holy Bible (defined as God’s Word to a holy people). One verse consolidating the stance is in 2 Chronicles 7:14, found in the Old Testament of the Bible. The verse is cited below. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV To bless the river the team prayed together in the riverbed near the Wilcannia Bridge on Thursday, led by Bishop Cunnington, who invited a Christian representative of Australia's indigenous/Aboriginal community to prophesy in partnership with he and Wilcannia’s local minister, Pastor Seta, of the Australian Aboriginal Outreach Ministries (AAOM). The indigenous intercessor present was Hazel Morgan, formerly of Pinnacle Pocket in the Northern Territory and now residing in Brisbane. Mrs Morgan’s representation of Australia’s indigenous peoples was itself significant, said Bishop Cunnington – as the pair had both been present at a 1999 gathering at Yulara near Uluru as part of a Christian reconciliation event organised by the Australian Christian Pastor’s Prayer Network. This year represents the 20th anniversary of that Yulara event. To complete the blessing of the Darling River the three appointed representatives together poured olive oil and red wine into the riverbed, followed by the pouring of clean water. Bishop Cunnington said the oil signified “the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on our nation” while the red wine signified “the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ to cleanse the earth” with the oil and wine “coming together to heal our land and our nation”. “The pouring out of the water signifies the welling up of water to flood and fill the River Valley again, in the mighty name of Jesus,” Bishop Cunnington said, adding that this is being fulfilled “as God’s people pray for this town.” “We have the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven to bring this (water/healing) today to earth… So today, prophetically, we release that full river of Heaven to flow here in this land,” he said. YouTube Video: TENT OF PROMISE - Blessing The River Darling, Wilcannia March 2019 As the TOP team continues to trust that these faithful steps into the riverbed at Wilcannia will spark a nationwide revival which will well up and out of Australia's rural and indigenous heartland, out of "country" -- the members of the team also have faith in the renewal of the Darling River from the red centre through God’s grace. The team believes the reawakening that will potentially radiate from the Australian heartland/red centre to bush and coastal areas around Australia will usher in a spiritual revival around the nation. This could be a spiritual link to a prophetic word made more than four centuries ago over the south sea lands by Portuguese explorer, Pedro Fernandez De Quiros, who in 1606 hoisted a banner in the New Hebrides and proclaimed this region and lands beyond it as the "Terra Australis del Espiritu Santu", the last two Spanish words meaning “Holy Spirit”. De Quiros reportedly thought he was in the island -continent of Australia. (Reference: or TACL Vol 27 #1 2006). In more recent times, a popular Australian Christian song, “The Great South Land of the Holy Spirit”, written by Geoff Bullock, features lyrics echoing the Portuguese explorers’ proclamation. The song’s chorus captures the essence: “This is the Great Southland of the Holy Spirit A land of red dust plains and summer rains To this sunburnt land we will see a flood And to this Great Southland His Spirit comes”. The TOP mobile ministry is affiliated with The Promise Faith Centre Churches International (PFCCI), with a base in Coolangatta, Queensland. Bishop Cunnington oversees the PFCCI and on its website ( explains how he has personally experienced transformation in his life and knowing the Grace of God “is compelled to bring the revelation of God's Word in the Power of God's Holy Spirit to those who have the need and Grace to receive”. Syndicated by Baxton Media, the Market Influencers. Tent of Promise Relaunch with Panorama in Wilcannia 2019-03-27T09:09:21Z tent-of-promise-relaunch-with-panorama-in-wilcannia TENT OF PROMISE Relaunch with Panorama in Wilcannia Wilcannia NSW, March 2019 Contributed by Adele Kenyon As Wilcannian locals entered their community hall last week expecting a devotional time and a church service as part of a mission-outreach by a visiting Queensland group to their dry and sweltering township, most of the local residents were stunned to find a gigantic 36 metre illustrated display of highlighted accounts from the Holy Bible plastered around three walls of their large hall. On discovering this magnificent wall display several childrens' jaws dropped and many pairs of eyes - including those of adults - were fixated on the impressive illustrations depicting key events from the Old and New Testaments of the Holy Bible, which when considered chronologically depict God's carefully crafted plan of salvation for every person who accepts the heavenly Father’s gift of eternal life given through his precious Son, Jesus Christ. Reflected in the closing sections of the illustrated Bible display are the joy and peace infilling Christians who have accepted God’s gracious gift of life. The impressive Bible Panorama is a key feature of the Tent of Promise (TOP) touring ministry which was relaunched in Wilcannia in Outback New South Wales this month after almost a decade in recess. TOP leaders are confident the new outreach will generate much interest and as the touring ministry gains momentum will ultimately lead many people around Australia to discover and commit or re-commit to the Christian faith. Bishop Cunnington explained that the team’s confidence in these positive outcomes is due to the team’s collective faith in the Word of God combined with its outward expression(s) of this faith. TOP Founders, Barry and Sandra Cunnington, have remobilised this ministry with team members from their Coolangatta Promise Faith Centre Church in response to the leading of the Holy Spirit. They believe Australia is poised for a faith revival which will sweep the nation. TOP Founder, Senior Pastor and Bishop, Barry Cunnington, believes the power of God’s Word spoken by his righteous people will prevail. The four participating TOP pastors are not new to this form of mobilised outback ministry. For many years they took this style of ministry outreach to various Australian townships, including eleven years on the road with an earlier Bible panorama which they hauled around Australia with help from a devoted mobile pastoral team. Now the panorama has been digitally revamped and the mobilisation process refined so it is all more portable - this helpful to the more senior pastors and other team-members, several of whom while agile and young-at-heart are aged in their seventies. The senior pastors are assisted in this mobile ministry by their younger counterparts, Reverend(s) Timothy and Leah Knowling of Alectown, NSW. Pastor Leah, in addition to her wide range of responsibilities, ably coordinates the music ministry for the TOP team, including contributing her impressively strong and powerful vocals which were well appreciated during this Wilcannia trip. During the TOP team’s visit Bishop Cunnington liaised with Wilcannia’s local minister, Pastor Seta, of the Australian Aboriginal Outreach Ministries (AAOM), so TOP could use some of the local facilities during its visit to the town. Pastor Seta’s worship team also contributed readily to the music ministry during the six-day TOP visit, while Pastor Seta was also a key participant in the blessing of the Darling River Related Article: TENT OF PROMISE - Darling River Blessing YouTube Video: TENT OF PROMISE - Blessing The River Darling, Wilcannia March 2019 The Wilcannia launch of the new TOP mission, now renamed "The Tent of Promise:- Now Mobile", did not disappoint. As local visitors were welcomed, not only were they fascinated by the illustrated Bible highlighted on the hall walls, they were challenged by the delivered oratory during the times of devotion and moved by the music - so much so that in the final stages of the time-of-ministry on the first evening, dozens of children and youth independently went up for prayer with the visiting team. These same children and visiting families subsequently revisited various ministry activities springing up over the next few days and brought along friends and new folk -- who were also treated to a vibrant puppet show/singalong. Outreach activities culminated in an outdoor community prayer time for the River Darling held on the final Sunday evening in The Mallee neighbourhood park. This was attended by many local residents, with music provided by the local Wilcannia pastors and other worship team members as well as by Pastor Leah, followed by a celebratory barbecue to finish -- all well received and attended. Local pastors enthusiastically participated in the music ministry during the TOP visit so a range of musical-worship styles were catered to over the period. The TOP mobile ministry is affiliated with The Promise Faith Centre Churches International (PFCCI), with a base in Coolangatta, Queensland. Bishop Cunnington oversees the PFCCI and on its website ( explains how he has personally experienced transformation in his life and knowing the Grace of God “is compelled to bring the revelation of God's Word in the Power of God's Holy Spirit to those who have the need and Grace to receive”. Syndicated by Baxton Media, the Market Influencers. Harmony is more important than ever this week 2019-03-22T01:28:55Z harmony-is-more-important-than-ever-this-week Harmony Week in Australia coincided with important dates this week, including the International Day of the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, World Social Work Day and the aftermath of the devastating terrorist attack in Christchurch. AASW National President Christine Craik said, “These events remind us that ‘harmony’ within our communities and across society rests on recognising the dignity of every person, while welcoming diversity. “That is how we promote the human rights of everyone. “This year’s Harmony Week shows us how important it is that we all promote inclusion and end discrimination based on differences in heritage, culture or belief.” This year’s AASW World Social Work Day events took time to reflect on the tragedy in Christchurch and how important social work values are in countering racism. Ms Craik said, “Social workers are passionate advocates for justice and helping families, communities and societies to build relationships based on solidarity and mutual respect. “This is how we will eliminate racial discrimination in our country. We need to reflect on the culture that can make politicians believe that there are votes to be gained by blaming refugees, immigrants or Indigenous people for issues that are not related to them, such as pressure on health care, crowded cities or welfare spending. It’s the same culture that led to the terrible act of violence last Friday.” “Social workers are dedicated to creating a society which is just and inclusive in which it is possible for everyone to flourish and thrive. Eliminating racial discrimination is fundamental to our vision. “Now is the time when we look to our leaders to set an example and we call on politicians, business and community groups to commit to join us in eliminating all forms of discrimination.” Christine Craik is available for interview. Media Release: International Women’s Day 2019 Blacktown Celebrates 8th March 2019-02-28T06:14:41Z media-release-international-women-s-day-2019-blacktown-celebrates-8th-march International Women’s Day 2019 Blacktown Celebrates 8th March #Balance for Better SydWest Multicultural Services is pleased to announce that they are hosting a special celebration for International Women’s Day on Friday 8th March 2018 from 10am at Max Webber Function Centre, Blacktown Library, Blacktown.   The event will feature inspirational women including: ·         Esta Paschalidis-Chilas, Government & Member Relations Manager with Settlement Services International (SSI) will give the keynote address on More Powerful Together ·         Anyier Youl, founder of Miss Sahara, the only National Beauty Pageant for Women of African heritage in Australia, a young woman of South Sudanese background will address Empowering young women from multicultural backgrounds ·         Clr Kathy Collins of Blacktown City Council, representing the Mayor of Blacktown, will speak briefly on the theme of #balanceforbetter ·         Glenwood Women’s Group to perform the Giddha, an entertaining traditional dance that they have been perfecting since forming their dance troupe in late 2018.   SydWest Multicultural Services is also pleased to announce that Claudia Taranto, Producer with ABC Radio National, has kindly agreed to perform the MC duties for our event. Claudia has worked at Radio National since 1988 on a variety of programs including Life Matters, Street Stories and The Listening Room. She also taught radio production at James Cook University. Claudia enjoys the intimacy of radio and has a passion for making radio features about the kaleidoscope of ordinary life.   The event’s program will feature presentations and performances, blended with group discussion activities and food. A Butterfly Wall will be produced by the guests at the event and reflecting what the women like most about themselves, part of the activities to continue to empower and inspire.   CEO of SydWest Multicultural Services, Elfa Moraitakis said: We are exciting to be hosting this year’s event for Blacktown, where exciting new women entrepreneurs will be showcasing their offerings through food and gifts during the day, part of the SydWest showcasing of our Women Taking Care of Business program. We are looking forward to continuing to inspire and empower the multicultural women of the Blacktown area, to celebrating the achievements of women and the rich diversity and strengths of women in the Blacktown area. Mike Emery reflects on China's history this Lunar New Year 2019-02-08T02:54:47Z mike-emery-reflect-on-china-s-history-this-lunar-new-year This month marks the Lunar New Year, where more than a billion people around the world are celebrating the New Year and beginning of the Year of the Pig. In Australia, we have already seen the dumpling world record broken as the Sydney Chinese New Year Festival draws in crowds from around the world. With such a unique moment, it is worth reflecting on the rich history that China has, and take a rarely before seen journey into what life was like in China almost 40 years ago.  In the Spring of 1980, Photographer Mike Emery was on board one of the first ever American passenger cruise ships sailing the China coast. No one on board had been to China, in fact, it was a seldom visited country for Westerners. Mike found himself arriving at a time of rapid change and excitement, with economic, political and cultural reforms sweeping the country.  With his bright clothes, fair hair and Nikon camera, Mike stood out in the streets of the cities he visited in China. Local people were intrigued, as Mike played the clown to gauge reactions. He’d pull faces, poke out his tongue, and even lay in the middle of the street to get noticed. Sometimes he’d get crowds up to 50 people, wanting to speak English or just satisfy their curiosity about this strange westerner.  As a result, Mike was able to capture the essence of the time, both in people’s faces and the unique urban landscapes they inhabited.   39 years later, and Mike has collected his finest images and memories into a uniquely beautiful hardcover coffee table book. China’s Children is not solely a collection of works featuring children, rather it captures a time over which a generation grew up. It captures everyday people in their lives with a freshness and reality rarely seen.   Colour photography from this time is extremely rare and images of this quality are hardly ever seen. Capturing a simpler time, the book features everyday life in Beijing and Shanghai. Perhaps you grew up in China in this time? This beautiful book offers a unique opportunity for people that may not have photos of their own from this time. Sharing these precious memories with family and friends is a great joy that appeals to every generation.   In celebration of the Lunar New Year, Mike Emery is giving away 3 copies of his book, 'China’s Children’. To receive a copy of the book, please email, and let us know what is your favorite way to spend Chinese New Year! Visit his website today: *Terms and Conditions apply. Getting Connected: Drama workshops help adult ESL students learn English and improve their confidence 2018-11-12T00:09:53Z getting-connected-drama-workshops-help-adult-esl-students-learn-english-and-improve-their-confidence MTC Australia delivers Skills for Education and Employment (SEE), a government-funded program that helps job seekers improve their English language, computer and job searching skills. Since 2016, Sydney Theatre Company (STC) Teaching Artists have collaborated with our SEE English Trainers to deliver the Connected: Adult Language Learning through Drama (CALLD) program. “Connected is a program that uses drama approaches to improve literacy, particularly with people who are learning English as an additional language. A lot of our participants are migrants, refugees and asylum seekers,” says STC Teaching Artist Zoe Hogan. “Drama is a really engaging way of working with students regardless of their English language levels and that’s because we’re using our body language, facial expressions and other ways of making meaning.” Connected has seen some great results, with students improving their literacy and gaining confidence and new skills. Western Sydney University Lecturer Dr Rachael Jacobs is studying the impact of the program. “Out of Connected we see so many different positive results,” says Dr Jacobs. “The students start using more complex adjectives, they start using longer sentences. The other benefit is that students start to see their own creative potential. They start to imagine their future possibilities.” Recently MTC SEE English Trainer Kathryn Salman and her class took part in the program and were part of a 2-day video shoot detailing the experience. View the video here: “My students are a warm, generous and lively group,” says Kathryn. “They refer to MTC and this class as their second family. They try to help, support and encourage each other through their experiences in Australia, and greatly appreciate the opportunity to learn and understand more.”  “I greatly enjoyed the Connected program. I involved the students and myself in this venture 100%, by expanding on what we learned in the workshop during our regular classes, and because of that the program was very successful. Now the students are asking to do more drama as we learned so much! “Would I do it again: 1000 times yes! I cannot recommend it highly enough, it gave me so much joy, insights and a challenge to try something new.” Connected is made possible by a group of donors to Sydney Theatre Company’s education program.   MORE INFORMATION The Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training. Filming/photo opportunity: WW1 Remembrance Event 2018-11-07T22:00:00Z filming-photo-opportunity-ww1-remembrance-event Event: Rookwood Cemetery honours Australian war heroes at WW1 Remembrance Memorial for 1700 unofficially recognised service men and women buried at Rookwood Cemetery Date & Time: Friday, 9 November 2018 from 10am to 2pm at Rookwood Cemetery’s All Souls Chapel Interview: George Simpson, CEO, Rookwood Cemetery Overview The World War I centenary marks the completion of a four year long project for Rookwood General Cemetery, identifying and documenting the unofficial graves of servicemen and women who served in WW1 and buried in the grounds of Rookwood. The project was managed by a team of Rookwood General Cemetery staff and volunteers, who located the graves, undertook research about the individuals and their families, and cleaned or repaired the grave stones. Throughout the project, Rookwood appealed for public assistance to help identify family members of those who served during World War I and were buried at Rookwood. The project uncovered 1700 graves of Australian service men and women, with family members sharing their stories and photos. The memorial event on Friday will honour these Australians, share some of their remarkable stories and acknowledge their bravery and sacrifice. Following is an example of one of many veteran stories that will be shared at Friday’s event: Edwin Arthur Hollinworth: Grew up in Texas, Queensland Was known as the horse breaker (he owned a beautiful horse named, Starlight). Served in Cairo with Starlight, and was a classic example of the close bond between a man and his horse He died on May 25, 1936 in Coogee after demonstrating to a visitor how a bomb, that had already been detonated, would have worked (the bomb was a souvenir he brought back from the war). However, the salt in the air, combined with remnants of gun powder still in the bomb, caused an explosion which led to Edwin’s death. The WW1 Remembrance Event will include: An official ceremony (held from 10:30am to 11:30am) Video tribute Morning tea Gun-fire salute Anzac Tours Open-air museum View the full program at or call 8575 8100 for further information. Population Review needs to be balanced and sensitive to community cohesion says Settlement Services International 2018-11-02T03:05:31Z population-review-needs-to-be-balanced-and-sensitive-to-community-cohesion-says-settlement-services-international-1 Settlement Services International (SSI) welcomes NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s appointment of an expert panel to develop a population policy for NSW, especially if it brings balance, fact and data on Australia’s migration program and ensures Australia’s successful multicultural social fabric and community cohesion are not undermined. The panel will consider "the current rate of population growth and infrastructure pipeline" and "how long is needed for infrastructure to catch up with population growth rates". In her announcement (link:, the Premier renewed her call for net overseas migration levels to return to more sustainable Howard-era rates until a proper population policy is put in place. She said, “It is becoming increasingly clear that the current high rates of population growth are putting even more pressure on our infrastructure.” A "Howard era" benchmark — when NSW's net migration averaged at 45,000 people per year under the Howard government — would require halving the current levels, which have averaged above 100,000 for the past two years. SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis said, “Discussions about levels of immigration are essential in an inclusive and democratic country like Australia, however we do not want to compromise our successful multicultural cohesion by focusing only on impacts to planning and infrastructure.” Ms Roumeliotis said while Ms Berejiklian believed, "NSW’s economic success is attracting a far greater share of total immigrant numbers than it has in the past" she also needed to acknowledge that much of that economic success could be attributed to the migrant population. She said, “Migration has clear economic and social benefits for Australia. Australia’s migration levels prevented our economy going into a technical recession after the World Financial Crisis. “The Productivity Commission Inquiry Report Migrant Intake into Australia (2016) found that with net migration at the historic average rate, GDP per person is projected to increase by some 7% relative to zero net overseas migration by 2060.” Ms Roumeliotis said there were planning pressures in any big city but “we must remember that migrants come to Australia with high levels of social and economic capital and a strong willingness to contribute and, further, have shaped modern Australia since World War II.” She said SSI supported the Productivity Commission’s recommendation that, in determining migrant intake, the Australian government should give greater consideration to the implications for planning and investment and that State and Territory governments should develop detailed infrastructure plans that are consistent with population growth. She said SSI also agreed with the Productivity Commission’s recommendations that the Australian government: develop and articulate a population policy, and calibrate the size of the annual migrant intake according to that population policy; and in determining the migration intake, give greater consideration to planning and investment in infrastructure. However, Ms Roumeliotis said, “Planning of population levels and infrastructure should involve all levels of government and other stakeholders, including industry and employer bodies, education and training providers, other service providers, academia, planners and representatives of relevant migrant and other community groups.” Settlement Services International have co-hosted the International Metropolis Conference held this week in Sydney. NOTES TO EDITORS For more information and interviews with Violet Roumeliotis, please contact: Stephen Webb l l 0488 684 163 Shergold to take an evidence-based approach to NSW population policy 2018-11-01T01:27:30Z shergold-to-take-an-evidence-based-approach-to-nsw-population-policy Western Sydney University Chancellor Professor Peter Shergold who was announced on NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian’s three-member panel to develop a NSW population policy, addressed a global delegation at the International Metropolis Conference in Sydney yesterday. When asked about his involvement in the panel he told the 700 strong audience: ''We need to take an evidence-based approach to ascertain how much of the problem is one of urban infrastructure and how much of it relates to temporary and permanent migration. ''I look forward to gathering a range of opinions and data to assist in making recommendations to the Premier,” said Professor Shergold. Premier Berejiklian announced on Wednesday that she wanted the state to return to ‘Howard-era immigration levels’, which would mean halving the state’s migrant intake, due to concerns about population expansion. “It is becoming increasingly clear that the current high rates of population growth are putting even more pressure on our infrastructure," she said in a statement. The International Metropolis Conference, Sydney is the largest migration and multicultural event in the world. It continues until Friday 2 November. Violet Roumeliotis, CEO of Settlement Services International and Chancellor Professor Peter Shergold Notes to Editors For more information or to interview those featured in this press release, please contact: Marlise Beasley I Senior Account Manager, ZADRO via 0423 624 013 Felicity Zadro I Managing Director, ZADRO via 0404 009 384 Limited Media Passes are available for relevant and interested parties and subject to approval. If you would like a media pass, please contact Marlise Beasley on About the Event The International Metropolis Conference will be held at the ICC Sydney 29 October – 2 November 2018. Metropolis 2018 is the only platform to bring together international, national and local migration influencers alongside academic, government, practitioner and community perspectives to highlight the latest research, challenges, insights and successes in migration, diversity and integration. Metropolis 2018 is important as the thought leaders and brightest minds of the migration sector will come together to drive enterprise, innovation and social change. We will see and hear the stories of lived experience center-stage at our event, and we will encourage debate on the hard questions, whilst seeking important new solutions. Metropolis is committed to sharing the intricacies of 21st Century migration, to shape 21st Century solutions. The Conference Chairs are: Violet Roumeliotis, CEO, Settlement Services International and Telstra Business Woman of the Year 2018 Dr Bulent (Hass) Dellal AO, CEO, Australian Multicultural Foundation Hakan Harman, CEO, Multicultural NSW The conference theme is Global Migration in Turbulent Times. It will focus on the following eight sub-themes: Enterprise, Innovation and Employment – catalysts for social change? Migration and Mobility – the dynamic shifts in the Asia-Pacific region Displacement and asylum – new dimensions driving an old phenomenon Visible and powerful – migrant voices in a connected world Conflicting agendas? National, local, regional and global responses to the governance of migration Religious diversity – a bridge or a barrier to belonging? Migration and inequality – complex challenges under the microscope Australia a multicultural paradise – myths and realities For all conference and program information