Opening of Angela Cavalieri’s Parole Viaggiante at Maroondah Art Gallery

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Maroondah Federation Estate and the Maroondh Art Gallery. The gallery, which is located in the art room of the former Ringwood Primary School is Maroondah’s premiere art gallery featuring a diverse range of art exhibitions.

This evening I was invited to launch Parole Viaggiante, the latest exhibition at Maroondah Federation Estate, which was jointly curated between La Trobe University Museum of Art and the Maroondah Art Gallery. Parole Viaggiante features works by Angela Cavalieri, which captures her travel experiences, depictions of cities and the multifaceted use of language.

The exhibition which opened tonight will be shown at the Maroondah Art Gallery until the 26th of May. The speech delivered during the opening is available in this post:

Continue reading “Opening of Angela Cavalieri’s Parole Viaggiante at Maroondah Art Gallery”

Attendance Report: Celebrating Maroondah’s Arts and Cultural Events

On the 26th of February I attended the Picnic in the Park hosted at Maroondah Federation Estate, which coincided with the celebrations for its 10th anniversary. Maroondah Federation Estate was established in partnership between local, state and federal governments on the site of the former Ringwood Primary School

The foresight that resulted in the establishment of Maroondah Federation Estate, delivered a premiere arts and cultural centre for Maroondah and Melbourne’s outer east, with a gallery that attracts a wide variety of exhibitions and space for community organisations. The festivities included photographs from the former school reflecting the historical value of Maroondah Federation Estate.

On the 18th of March I was back at Maroondah Federation Estate where I had the pleasure of opening the Kaleidoscope Exhibition at the Long Gallery located in the former class rooms. The exhibition, which is organised by Scope, celebrates the artistic skills of people with disabilities by focusing on their talents. The exhibition, which is one of several through Kaleidoscope showcased artworks under the theme of Inspiration Works and several participants travelled considerable distances to be able to attend.

Accompanying the exhibition was music provided by members of Scope, highlighting the diverse range of artistic and musical talents that exist. Kaleidoscope is a celebration of these talents and it was a pleasure to meet many of the exhibiting artists at the opening of the exhibition.

Media Release: Change your clock, change your smoke alarm battery

Maroondah City Council would like to remind residents that daylight saving time will end on Sunday 3 April.

Councillor Alex Makin said the end of daylight saving time meant two things – an extra hour of sleep, and remembering to make sure your smoke alarm battery is working properly.

“Checking the health of smoke alarm batteries at the beginning and end of daylight saving has become a bi-annual tradition,” Cr Makin said.

“Even if the alarm is hardwired into the electricity supply, residents still need to check the back-up battery. Quite often when a fire takes hold, the power goes off,” Cr Makin said.

“You should also check smoke detectors are in the right position, usually on the hallway ceiling near bedrooms. This will give them the best opportunity to do their job by detecting smoke before it reaches those who are asleep,” Cr Makin said.

“For only a few dollars, keeping smoke alarms in good working order is the cheapest insurance for families and property,” Cr Makin said.

The end of daylight saving means clocks should be wound back one hour before 2am.

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North Ringwood Community House Annual General Meeting for 2011

North Ringwood Community House is located at 120 Oban Road in Ringwood North and is the only community house in Maroondah that provides accredited training through courses offering Certificate III and Certificate IV accreditation.

North Ringwood Community House is the only community house not located on Council land, hampering the ability to seek grants for extensions and new developments.

Today’s Annual General Meeting provided an update on the relocation of North Ringwood Community House, with Council adopting in December last year to fund a masterplan for Quambee Reserve through the 2011/2012 Council Budget. This masterplan will include extensive consultation with North Ringwood Community House, Quambee Reserve and residents to ensure the best range of facilities for the community.

The guest speaker was Russ Haines the President of the Ringwood Historical Society who discussed the progress of the group’s history of Ringwood North.

I offered to return to the Committee of Management for North Ringwood Community House to assist the House in its activities over the course of this year.

North Ringwood Community House continues to experience strong growth in its courses reinforcing the need for a new home for this community facility.

Opening the Kaleidoscope Exhibition

Kaleidoscope is the name of an art exhibition hosted by Scope, which showcases the artistic talents of people with disabilities. The exhibition, which is being held across the State, includes a series of exhibits at the Long Gallery at Maroondah Federation Estate.

This morning I was invited to open the Exhibition at Maroondah Federation Estate to encourage members of the community to view artworks that were submitted under the theme of ‘Inspiration Works’. The launch was accompanied by ambient music provided by members of Scope, showcasing musical, as well as artistic talents.

Alex with the first prize winner of the Kaleidoscope Exhibition
Alex with the first prize winner of the Kaleidoscope Exhibition

The Kaleidoscope Exhibition was widely attended with several members travelling across Victoria to be present at the opening. It was wonderful to be a part of the exhibition and to see Scope celebrating the artistic talents of its members.

The speech I delivered during the proceedings in available within this post:
Continue reading “Opening the Kaleidoscope Exhibition”

Master of Ceremonies for the Eastern Volunteers Annual Fun Run

Like many community based organisations Eastern Volunteers holds events to assist in raising funds to support its volunteer recruitment and community based transport services.

The Annual Fun Run, which is held each March, is one of the major fundraising and community events held by Eastern Volunteers, with the event attracting over 500 participants and significant business support.

Alex as Master of Ceremonies for the Eastern Volunteers Annual Fun Run
Alex as Master of Ceremonies for the Eastern Volunteers Annual Fun Run

This morning I served as the Master of Ceremonies for the event, providing instructions for participants, as well as acknowledging the major sponsors and supporters.

This year’s Fun Run included three major sponsors, who were invited to participate on the day. As the Master of Ceremonies I introduced the major sponsors, as well as Terry Avery, the Mayor of the Yarra Ranges Shire Council and board members from Eastern Volunteers, including the chairperson Terry Macdonald.

Alex with Terry Avery, Mayor the Yarra Ranges Shire Council and Terry Macdonald. Chairperson of Eastern Volunteers
Alex with Terry Avery, Mayor the Yarra Ranges Shire Council and Terry Macdonald. Chairperson of Eastern Volunteers

Fortunately the rain held off until the afternoon, providing ideal conditions for the 2011 Annual Fun Run. The event was a success with a record number of participants and significant support from the business community. As Master of Ceremonies it was my responsibility to direct participants to the registration desks and starting positions, as well as acknowledge sponsors and their support.

At the conclusion of the race I assisted Terry who conducted the formalities and presentation of awards as Chairperson of Eastern Volunteers. I also ensured there was an opportunity for sponsors to speak to the participants, reinforcing the value that business partners received from the event.

Alex with Terry Macdonald, Chairperson of Eastern Volunteers during the presentation of awards
Alex with Terry Macdonald, Chairperson of Eastern Volunteers during the presentation of awards

Eastern Volunteers hold two major community events each year, with the Fun Run being held in March and the Multicultural Festival which will be returning in October.

Media Release: Master the art of web marketing

Small businesses are being given the chance to boost their social marketing skills at a workshop on Wednesday March 23.

Maroondah Councillor Alex Makin said Web Works for Small Business would be valuable for any business owner wanting to get ahead of the competition.

“Online marketing has become such a vital tool in business promotion and networking. There is a whole world of opportunity out there, but the key is knowing how to make your website work for you,” Cr Makin said.

“This workshop has been developed especially for owners of small business.  It can help business owners develop practical skills in web marketing which can be immediately applied to their businesses activities,” Cr Makin said.

“Some of the topics of discussion include how to attract and retain customers through website marketing, using the Internet to identify competitors, reducing the costs of marketing and creating regional or national networks,” Cr Makin said.

Following completion of the workshop attendees will have access to future mentoring opportunities and resources.

Web Works for Small Business is on from 9.30am to 12.30pm on Wednesday March 23 2011 at Council Offices, Braeside Avenue, Ringwood. The event is free, but a $20 surcharge is required to secure your place, and will be refunded post attendance.

The workshop is proudly supported by Maroondah City Council, Chisholm, SBMS, Business Enterprise Centres Victoria and AusIndustry, an Australian Government Initiative.

To reserve your place at the Web Works for Small Business workshop contact the Business Enterprise Centre on 9238 8550 or email

Media Release: Survivors of Stroke taking to the stage

Maroondah-based choir Stroke a Chord is celebrating its first birthday by launching a website and announcing its first public performance.

Maroondah Councillor Alex Makin said the choir started in 2010 to allow people with limited or no speech to experience something positive and joyful with their voice in a social and understanding environment.

“Imagine not being able to speak but having the ability to sing perfectly. This is the reality experienced by a number of people living with aphasia,” Cr Makin said.

“The idea for the choir was first raised during Stroke Week 2008. After hearing that several people in Maroondah were living with aphasia, Council took the first tentative steps towards the formation of a choir,” Cr Makin said.

“With the help of a number of external organisations, the choir has gone from strength to strength, with more than 20 members now meeting every week at Maroondah Family Church in Ringwood East,” Cr Makin said.

“Thanks to a $15,000 grant from the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust the choir has a qualified music therapist working alongside the participants to ensure they are getting the most out of the experience,” Cr Makin said.

“After a trial performance in front of a group of family and friends the choir are now ready to perform publicly, with their first performance to be held at Karralyka Theatre during Stroke Week in September,” Cr Makin said.

Last month Stroke a Chord launched its own website,, to raise awareness of aphasia and the choir in the community.

“Having a website allows the choir to expand their network and hopefully increase its profile, so more people know what they do and how people can become involved,” Cr Makin said.

“The site provides a background on the choir, information on aphasia, and links to resources which are available to people who have aphasia,” Cr Makin said.

Stroke a Chord will perform publicly for the first time at 2pm, Saturday September 17 at Karralyka Theatre, Ringwood East. For more information

The Stroke a Chord initiative is a partnership between Maroondah City Council, Yooralla, Royal Talbot Hospital, University of Queensland, Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre, Croydon Stroke Support Group and Melbourne University.

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