The Little Red Shirt That Captured The World’s Attention For All Of The Wrong Reasons

Aylan Kurdi’s body was found on a beach in Turkey in September 2015. Lifeless, his innocent body was dressed in a little red shirt and boots. At just three years old, Aylan Kurdi brought immediate light to a crisis previously ignored by the mainstream media and the rest of the world. When I first saw this image in September 2015, I remember staring blankly at my computer screen with tears rolling down my cheeks. I wasn’t sad or angry, I felt numb and empty. I remember being mesmerised by his little red shirt. There is no denying the overwhelming sadness this image brings us. However, there are certain questions and issues around this image that are important for us to address as we look through a lens at people and a world far from us.

 

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Refugees rescued from the coast of Libya. Source

Why this image?

Thousands of photos have been captured documenting the enormous movement of people since the beginning of the refugee crisis during the Arab Spring. The photo above is an example of a photo that would typically be used by the media to sensationalize and dehumanize refugees and their threat to our way of life (Klocker & Dunn, 2003).

‘Images of children suffering form the ultimate emotional argument, compelling us to move from sentiment to action, from the particular to the universal, from passivity to engagement’ (Kennicott, 2013). People around the world reacted to this image. It may not have been for the right reasons, but they saw shame and horror that they couldn’t ignore. (Sontag, 2003).

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Cover of the Independent showing the body of Aylan Kurdi. Source

To look or not to look? To publish or not to publish?

A debate which arose following the publication of the photograph of Aylan’s body was whether or not to show the image, and whether or not we should be looking. Channel 10’s The Project stated that they would not show the image as it was ‘too distressing for viewers’ (Ting, 2015), followed by host, Carrie Bickmore, breaking down expressing ‘I am lucky that I and my children live in Australia’ (Ting, 2015).

“A picture of a dead child is one of the golden rules of what you never published.” (Laurent, 2015)

What is interesting is that the network’s primary concern is the wellbeing of its viewers. That they’re doing their audience a favour by not subjecting them to such horror of the reality of this migrant crisis. What about Aylan? His father? His Aunty? What about their distress and suffering?

A view that some may share with Sontag, is that by capturing images of suffering, ‘where news has been converted into entertainment for a small, educated population living in the rich part of the world, is that everyone becomes a spectator, suggesting that there is no real suffering in the world’ (Richard, 2010). Richard then goes on to suggest that we as ‘consumers of globalized media should refuse to look at photographs of suffering because suffering’s urgency is thereby diminished’ (Richard, 2010).

 ‘Perhaps the only people with the right to look at images of suffering, are those who could do something to alleviate it.’ (Sontag, 2003, pp. 37)

The Independent (as illustrated above) took another stance by putting Aylan on the front cover. By doing this, they are refusing to igrnore this issue and reaching out to those with the right to look who can do something about this suffering. And is that something that we as global citizens should be doing? Educating ourselves about what is happening in the world, and being motivated to do something about it.

The West vs. The Rest

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One of the many cartoons that emerged after the image was published. Source

Laurent expresses that the child’s ethnicity played a critical part of the photo’s reception. He explains that ‘dozens of African kids have been washed up on the beaches of Libya and were photographed and it didn’t have the same impact’ (Laurent, 2015). This is then illustrated by Carrie Bickmore and the world’s reaction thinking that could be my child. Ethnocentrism is a key issue in mainstream media, why do we only pay attention when there are terrorist attacks in Paris but not Aleppo? Is it up to us as global citizens to seek global news, or should we sit back in our beach chairs and wait for it to be handed to us on the front page of a newspaper?

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‘Hope for a New Life’ Warren Richardson. Source 

Other significant images of struggle and suffering

Whilst the image of Aylan Kurdi’s body is one whose importance will linger, there are many other significant photographs which capture the struggle and suffering of refugees. The image above ‘Hope for a New Life’ was captured by Australian photographer Warren Richardson in August 2015. A baby is being passed through the border from Serbia in to Hungary (World Press Photo, 2016). This image won the World Press Photo of the Year, a highly prestigious title in the name of visual journalism. And looking back over the past winners, there have been many which carry a similar theme. Where an audience sits at their computer screen, flicking through winning photographs of people subjected to torture, abuse and suffering absolutely unimaginable.

Moving On

We have two options. The first is to look away. We can ignore this little boy, face down on a beach, and lay on our beach chairs and carry on with our lives. Something the Australian government would prefer to do. Or we can choose to look, we can choose to be upset, confronted or angry. And we can choose to do something about it.

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When I went to the ‘Let Them Stay’ rally in Wollongong on the 20th March 2016.

 

Further Information

You can see, what I regard, the most important photo of 2015, Aylan Kurdi found on the Turkish beach, here.

You can see the Project’s take on reporting this news here. 

References

Klocker, N & Dunn, K. M 2003, Who’s driving the asylum debate? Newspaper and government representation of asylum seekers, ‘Media International Australia incorporating media and policy’, No.109, pp. 71-92

Laurent, O 2015, ‘What the image of Aylan Kurdi says about the power of photography’, Time, 4 September, viewed 19 March 2016, http://time.com/4022765/aylan-kurdi-photo/

Kennicott, P 2013, ‘Why Syria’s images of people suffering haven’t moved us’, The Washington Post, 13 September, viewed 20th March 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-syrias-images-of-suffering-havent-moved-us/2013/09/13/30407f98-1bb3-11e3-8685-5021e0c41964_story.html

Richard, F 2010, ‘The Thin Artefact: On Photography and Suffering’, The Nation, 23 November, viewed 19 March 2016, http://www.thenation.com/article/thin-artifact-photography-and-suffering/

Sontag, S 2003, Regarding the Pain of Others, Chapter 3, Hamish Hamilton, London, England, pp. 36-52

Ting, I 2015, ‘The Project’s Carrie Bickmore breaks down over image of drowned Syrian toddler’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 September, viewed 19 March 2016, http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/the-projects-carrie-bickmore-breaks-down-over-image-of-drowned-syrian-toddler-20150904-gjetma.html

World Press Photo, 2016, ‘World Press Photo of the Year’, World Press Photo, 28 August 2015, http://www.worldpressphoto.org/collection/photo/2016/spot-news/warren-richardson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home & Away: Home Is Where You Make It

‘Home is where you make it, if you don’t expose yourself to your new environment, what’s the point.’

Meet my friend Bacon. I met him this year when he put his hand up to play netball for our college team. I was then lucky enough to attend a leadership conference at university where we were in the same team. Since then, I’ve come to know Bacon as an extremely positive, outgoing and happy member of our college community and a lovely friend. Bacon is from Malaysia and currently studying Commerce with a double major in accounting and finance. Having only been in Australia for four months, Bacon offered some very unique perspectives on the management of home in Malaysia and here in Australia.

My friend Bacon
My friend Bacon
Family in Malaysia 

Bacon’s parents and two older sisters still live in Malaysia. I automatically assumed he would spend a lot of time on Skype, and was extremely surprised to discover that he usually makes phone calls to his family back home. “I get 300 minutes of free international calls, it’s a lot easier and cheaper for me to just call them.” Then when discussing Skype and the wonders of new technology, he said that he rarely used Skype. I was pretty surprised because when I spent a year abroad, I generally Skyped my parents once a week. But then he proceeded to explain the frustration associated with dodgy internet connections and I remembered back to all of those frustrated hours spent loading and reloading Skype due to horrible connection. He concluded saying that Skype leaves him wishing he was at home with his family or wishing that his family were here with him, so he’d rather stick with his fortnightly phone calls.

Bacon knows that his parents and family is only a phone call away which is a reassuring feeling when separated by distance. It’s common for international students to have a ‘telepresence’ with their network back in their home country (Martin & Rizvi, 2014), which is the sensation of being somewhere else through technology. Bacon’s new ‘complex social networks exemplify the blurred lines between ‘here’ and ‘there’ (Martin, &Rizvi) and allow him to balance these networks despite distance.

Friends in Australia 

Bacon is extremely independent, so it makes sense as to why he has already created a new home here in Wollongong. Bacon says he has two sorts of ‘groups’ here in Australia; one is of International Students, and a group of other Asian students. He likes being apart of both groups because it’s nice to connect with other people who share similar cultural traits, however he enjoys making the most of his new Australian friends. Living at college makes it easier for him to embrace the opportunity to live and study in Australia and create a home here. He’s also taken on the challenge of adopting some Australian slang like arvo and dodgy (which he used effortlessly in our conversation). ‘I’ve noticed that a lot of Asian international students tend to stick together. I love hanging out with them, but at the end of the day I came to Australia to immerse myself in this environment. I want to make the most of this opportunity.’ 

Bacon represents people who keep in contact with their friends and family back home, however don’t let it interfere with their newly created home. He lives in the moment and makes the most of opportunities, whilst balancing different friend groups here in Australia, all with a smile.

***

Thankyou Bacon for your time, energy and insight into communication in Australia and back home for International Students. Your opinions and perspectives are incredibly valued. 

Further Information

“If you spend your time absorbed in your phone, you’re missing out on living in the moment”

The following video is an information clip for outgoing exchange students heading to Denmark on exchange. It covers very interesting points about keeping in touch and making the most of your time abroad.

References

Martin, F, & Rizvi, F 2014, ‘Making Melbourne: digital connectivity and international students’ experience of locality’, Media, Culture & Society, 36, 7, pp. 1016-1031, viewed 31 October 2015, http://japanfocus.org/-Audrey-Yue/4268/article.html

My Love/Hate Relationship With The Bachelor And The Bachelorette

My heart skips a beat when I see an advert for The Bachelor. You’ve got women in stunning dresses, men in gorgeous suits and of course, Andrew G (Osher will never catch on, it’ll always be Andrew G!). But as this season’s Bachelorette draws to a close, with the finale this week, I can’t help but reflect on my love/hate relationship with the TV show.

The 'contestants' on The Bachelor. Source
The ‘contestants’ on The Bachelor. Source

So I feel like I don’t have to go into too much detail as to why I love this show. It’s dramatic, it’s easy watching, it’s funny, awkward and entertaining. Don’t get me wrong, I’m completely aware that it’s created by producers, it’s not natural and it’s all for entertainment purposes, but sometimes my moral brain kicks in and asks ‘why are you watching this shit?’ So here comes the hateful side of this relationship… and it ain’t pretty.

There’s just something so morally wrong about fighting others for the affection, attention and eternal love of Sam (just in case you’ve been living under a rock, both the Bachelor and the Bachelorette’s names are Sam, so I’ll be referring to ‘Sam’ as both the bachelor and bachelorette). Why should we be competing for someone’s attention? It only encourages insecurity and doubt whilst fuelling bitchiness and the breach of the ‘brocode.’ Just think of it locally, on a small scale… imaging you and your three best friends all had a crush on the same guy. You wouldn’t spend the next few months flirting with him and going on weird group dates. In fact, you and your girlfriends would probably just settle on going out for dates with one another. The whole concept is just wrong!

It’s ridiculously white washed and clone-ish. As in, all the girls are attractive, tall, thin girls… and the guys are attractive, tall, muscley, blokey fellas. Has Channel Ten heard of diversity? It’s extremely misrepresentative of Australia and the men and women who live here.

Nice group of average height, toned, white clones, I mean men.... source
Nice group of average height, toned, white clones, I mean men…. source

Love isn’t a game. The amount of times the phrase ‘i’m looking for true love,’ is mentioned is enough that my friends and I managed to turn it into a drinking game. While yes you may be looking for true love, would you like some high resolution glasses because I think you’re looking in the wrong place. Literally. Think about it. For one minute. Imagine all of the millions of people we’ve passed in our lives, subconsciously thinking ‘they could be the one,’ and then being put in a mansion with 12 people and apparently, one of them is your ONE! Nope, nuh uh, don’t buy it.

How does living in a beautiful mansion and wearing dazzling dressed and suits allow you to get to know anyone personally? Wand to get to know people for who they really are? Take them camping for 3 months to the middle of a forest or dessert. I’m pretty sure that dealing with real life situations and not dates where you get a private helicopter tour is a much more efficient way to get to know someone. Also, it’s kind of setting the whole relationship up for failure. Unless the Sam’s can actually afford the frequent helicopter ride or bridge climb or snow trip or insert over the top romantic date here date… then they’re going to be disappointed when their weekends consist of movie nights in a dominos pizza.

However, we do learn some very valuable lessons…

Guys can be emotional.

A sequined dress doesn’t guarantee true love.

A kiss over 4 minutes long on top of the harbour bridge is just awkward!

Ritchie is the cutest human alive and shouldn’t marry Sam… hello Ritchie… I’m single.

And… the bro code should NEVER be broken… isn’t that right David?

Don't break the brocode David. Source
Don’t break the brocode David. Source

What do you think? Do you love it or hate it? Let me know in the comments below!

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: SEPTEMBER

Ok 2015. You can slow down now. But seriously, how quickly has this year flown? Well I guess if it’s just going to keep on flying by, it’s important to have a quick look back on the month that was September 2015!

I’m on a BUS!!! Not sure if anything else can ever beat this one! One minute I’m on a flyer at uni, next minute… a bus! Move over Carrie Bradshaw! I’m coming for you!

Representing UOW on  a BUS!!! Carrie Bradshaw style!
Representing UOW on a BUS!!! Carrie Bradshaw style!

Welcoming Spring with a Sunrise swim. I love the fact that this is a thing! Starting a new season on the right foot by getting up early and watching the sunrise from the ocean! And if you’re with friends, it makes the freezing cold sand almost bearable!

Worth the 5:30am wake up
Worth the 5:30am wake up

Volunteering with OXFAM. For the next few months, I’m lucky enough to be involved with Oxfam, campaigning against Climate Change in support of food security and sustainable development. I’m really excited to be given such an amazing opportunity like this to become more engaged in the community and make a real difference to the world.

Hit Record TV. Firstly, i’s got Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Secondly, Joseph Gordon-Levitt! But seriously this show is soooooooo good! If you love music, art, creativity and just all round amazingness… then this is the show for you!

Glamping on the South Coast. Ok so we were planning on going camping and then we stayed at a friends holiday house so I’m going to call it glamping. It was such an awesome weekend, spending time at the beach, playing drinking games and just spending some great time with some great people!

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ASLA’s S4S Leadership Conference. I was lucky enough to attend a National Leadership conference at the University of Wollongong. I had the best weekend meeting people from all over the country, focusing on what we’re passionate about and what purpose we have. It was absolutely awesome to meet such inspiring people and really focus on what it means to be a leader.

At the S4S Conference doing our army leadership rotations.
At the S4S Conference doing our army leadership rotations.

Just generally enjoying time with great friends. This month I’ve just been so grateful for all of the wonderful people I’ve met and who are in my life right now. Whether it’s watching the Bachelorette, drinking coffee, going crazy in a study room, ordering pizza and just being there for a hug, you’re all amazing and I’m so grateful for all of your support and love.

Some of my fab friends
Some of my fab friends

Well I hope you had a fabulous September and I hope October is splendid.

Technicolour Saturdays: Movie Memories

“I felt like a knight in shining armour” – Grandad

Weegee's Lovers at the Palace Theatre. Source
Weegee’s Lovers at the Palace Theatre. Source

I’ve always loved going to the movies. Getting a large salted popcorn, choc top and some lollies, whilst sitting with your family or friends, escaping reality and immersing yourself in this new world. When told that for this weeks assignment we had to go to the movies I was thrilled! I immediately looked up what’s showing and the times. And then, some of Torsten Hägerstrand’s constraints came in to play, which is rather strange considering his field of work has nothing to do with cinema’s or media. In fact he was a ‘time geographer,’ who introduced three constraints regarding being somewhere or doing something. We can apply these constraints to attending the cinemas (or my lack of ability).

  1. Can I get there?
  2. Can I get there on time?
  3. Do I have the authority to be there?

By analysing these constraints, it allows us to examine the larger structures of society (Rose, 1993). So personally, this week I was unable to attend the cinema (as much as I wanted to watch Last Cab to Darwin), mainly due to the first and second constraint. I’ve been overloaded with uni work, went to Sydney to catch up with a friend, entertained my parents and worked. If I were to go to the movies, I would’ve had to have caught the 55A into town (which is never reliable) and also spend money, that I don’t really have at the moment.

Charlie Chapman, one of Grandad's favourite actors. Source
Charlie Chapman, one of Grandad’s favourite actors. Source

After paying a thripence to get into the movies, these are some of my Grandad’s stories.

Can I get there?

When Grandad was a child and living in Corrimal, he would walk down to the local cinemas with his siblings, barefoot with a Streets ice cream in hand. He remembers sitting at the front of the cinemas but before the movie began, they would watch news clips, updating them about WWII. His uncle. Our Uncle George was in Papua New Guinea at the time and whilst most would be worried, Grandad was just concerned about whether or not Uncle George would bring back the bird feather he asked for. And then, they would watch the ‘serials,’ like Flash Gordon which were ongoing series that would run for 15 minutes prior to the film. And back in those days, they’d have a pianist out the front, accompanying the film. These days we’re just inundated with advertisements and after watching the introduction to the Fash Gordon serials below, I kinda wish we had something like that.

Behind every great young man, is an even greater car… and Grandad had a ripper. A black, 1929 chevy. He bought it for next to nothing and did it up to impress the ladies. And it must’ve worked because in no time he was picking Grandma up and taking her to the cinemas.

Can I get there on time?

Of course having a car meant they could get there on time with little problems. However, getting Grandma home on time seemed to be a bigger problem. After one particular date, Grandad fell asleep in the car. He then raced Grandma home when he was then scolded by her mother for dropping her home late.

Do I have the authority to be there?

There were no specific rules or regulations that prevented any movie going experiences, however there were certain societal rules that must be followed at all times. Firstly, Grandad would sit towards the middle. The front was where all the kids would sit and the back was where children would roll Jaffas down the wooden floorboards under everyone’s chair. Secondly, if you went to the movies on a date, you could expect a smooch or two to occur. And just in case any of the Jaffa rolling or smooching got too disruptive, there would be a doorman (who acted as a bouncer) to remove you.

The Royal Theatre, Kurri Kurri. Source
The Royal Theatre, Kurri Kurri. Source

Something interesting.

Grandad told me that they would go to the cinemas every Saturday afternoon. Every Saturday? It’s sometimes so difficult to get my family together for dinner some nights let alone commit to travelling into town to go to the cinemas each Saturday. Also that when attending the cinemas, you’d have to dress up nice, though Grandad said ‘at least I wore shoes.’

The promises that 3D technology brings us. Source
The promises that 3D technology brings us. Source

The future of the cinemas?

When asking Grandad about the future of the cinemas, he remains optimistic. He feels it’s important for older people to keep getting out and about. Going to the movies is a way that Grandma and Grandad can go get some lunch, coffee, and enjoy some time relaxing at the cinemas. Grandad’s only concern is the technology, especially with 3D films. You see, he only has one eye and 3D glasses just don’t have the intended effect on him.

From here, we can use Hägerstrand’s time geogrphy constraints to examine society as a larger structure. This allows us to get a more detailed image of what life was like in the 1940’s in regional Australia, and tell the story of a young man, his car and his new girlfriend.

References

Rose, G 1993, ‘Feminism and geography: the limits of geographical knowledge’, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press

Running the City2Surf

Fitness and sports has never really been my thing. I love and value being fit and healthy, but my GAP year in London somewhat destroyed any ‘fitness’ I had. And then I came to uni and decided I needed to get back into it. I started playing netball, joined the gym and did yoga classes at least once a week. And then in August last year, my Dad (who’s in his 50’s) ran the City 2 Surf. And this was the point where I decided that I would add this 14km run from St. Mary’s cathedral in the city, to beauitful Bondi beach with UOW.

The determination is real
The determination is real

And today… I did it! Honestly, my only goal was to finish without dying. I was lucky enough to race with one of my friends, Liam. It was a beautiful sunny day, the atmosphere was incredible and there’s nothing quite like that burning feeling in every muscle as you stumble towards the finish line. So, here’s some of the thoughts, feelings and words of advice that I’ve come up with/I experienced whilst running (beware, when I was approaching 9kms, I was getting pretty delusional).

Beautiful Bondi
Beautiful Bondi

Have a running buddy. I ran with one of my friends Liam, and I’d definitley recommend it because they push you along when you feel like you can’t take one more step.

Thinking to myself *this is the longest kilometre ever* Enough said.

Motivation, inspiration and determination is a magical thing. I didn’t know I was capable of running 14kms in one go (OK so I walked some of it, but you get my gist). The music that’s pumping from DJ decks, the people cheering, clapping and shouting you on, the amazing sign that said ‘run like Channing Tatum is at the finish line…’ It pushes you beyond any physical boundaries. And it made me realise the true power the mind possesses and how important it is to believe you can do it.

At the finish line soaking up some sunshine
At the finish line soaking up some sunshine

Train, train, train… This was probably my biggest problem. I’m great at procrastinating and managed to make up 101 reasons why I didn’t need to go running after work, or uni, or whatever else I was doing. Definitely make sure you work on your stamina and your core strength. It will make it a lot easier I assure you.

Make sure you arrange a specific point to meet people afterwards. I was lucky that I ran with my friend, but when I tried to meet my Dad last year, my gosh it’s merely impossible!

Make a good running playlist. When the music isn’t blasting from onlooking houses, make sure your running playlist is on point. You want bangerz to keep you pushing through the pain. Any song that would be played at retro night will get you in the mood.

Liam and I finished the race
Liam and I finished the race

But the most important thing is to make sure you have fun. It’s a rare chance you get to run through the main streets of Sydney with 80 000 other people. I know it sounds cheesy, but it really inspires you to train more, push harder and make the most out of every opportunity life throws at you.

xxx A

A License for Television: Memories of Television in the Home

“I thought we were Kings and Queens…” – Grandad

Imagine a device that made you feel like a king. Well that’s how my Grandad (Peter Thompson) felt when he first acquired a television set from his older brother.

Wind back to the 1950’s and you have my Grandma and Grandad, just married, and living in Kurri Kurri, NSW. When the TV came to Australia, people from the town who couldn’t quite yet afford one, would flock down to the ‘Harvey Norman’ of the time, and crowd around these mystical TV’s in the shop windows. Grandad inherited his brother’s TV set after moving to Perth for work, and only had to pay off a few remaining instalments. After lodging an application for a TV license down at the local post office (yes, you had to have a license for a TV) and installing the ridiculously long antennas on the roof, my grandparents had a TV set.

Source. Vladmir Fedotov, July 15, 2009. CC License: Some rights reserved
Source. Vladmir Fedotov, July 15, 2009. CC License: Some rights reserved

It was 1956 and the first images were broadcast from Sydney and Melbourne. Because they lived 150km away from Sydney, the signal was never reliable, so Grandad, being an engineer, developed a theory. Whenever the signal would cut in and out, him and my Grandma’s brother, Ted, would climb up on the roof, and spray the antenna with water, finding that it would help them get much clearer reception (turns out there was actually no benefit of doing this, but at least they tried).

“The A-Bomb Goes Up” – The News

Source
Source – For more historic events in South Australia, click here

The footage of the A-Bomb going off was actually welcomed by my Grandad. He shared similar views that as long as we had nuclear weapons to fight of Communism we were safe (refer to the Domino Theory through South East Asia). In hindsight, we see how irresponsible nuclear testing was in South Australia but the TV set that broadcast these images brought hope to a lot of people who had just survived the Great Depression and World War II, and were in need of some security and hope.

I am very close to my Grandparents, and some of my fondest childhood memories were spent in their loungeroom. Where the walls are covered with 50 plus years of marriage and their mantlepiece displays a family of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren they have created together. I remember Grandad making us watch one of his favourite films, ‘October Sky,’ and it was rather fascinating winding back the clock and discovering what it was like when a television set was the hot talk of the town.

So this post is dedicated to them. For feeding me countless sandwiches and biscuits whilst we sat under your watchful eyes that have seen so much change.

Grandma and Grandad
Grandma and Grandad

***

Further Information

Visit the National Film and Sound Archive website for similar stories regarding the first regional broadcasts of television in Australia. It is an indepth and insightful insight to the people who experiences the first broadcasts in regional Australia and broadcast stations that started up in regional centres like Orange, Bendigo and Toowoomba.

The following website looks at the 50th anniversary of NBN (the regional broadcast station for Newcastle where I grew up). It looks at how news and advertising broadcasting and production has changed throughout time.

Curing Wanderlust Whilst You’re Stuck At Home

So recently, my case of wanderlust has been beyond ridiculously strong. And to rub it all in, I’d say about 90% of my Facebook friends are in Europe at the moment and obviously have exceptional internet service because they seem to be instagramming every minute of their trip. And so I’ve spent my break working working working, with the wanderlust increasing. So here’s my guide to all of you who are also stuck working at home over the break, with their toes twitching for adventure.

Check out a local farmers markets and enjoy some local, tasty food with friends
Check out a local farmers markets and enjoy some local, tasty food with friends

Treat your tastebuds. One of my favourite parts of travelling is eating amazing food 24/7. So why not treat yourself to that expensive Italian restaurant that you’ve never been to before? Or that quaint little cafe you walk past on your way to work? Go out with a friend or two, eat lots of food and drink even more wine. If you drink enough wine, it’ll feel like you’re in Italy or any other country before you know it.

Banana and bacon french toast in Newtown, Sydney
Banana and bacon french toast in Newtown, Sydney

Snap away. When you’re in a new place and especially a different country, you can’t help but see everything as unique, different, beautiful and in need of being on your Instagram immediately. If you apply that mindset to you’re hometown, you’ll look at it in a completely different way and be quite astounded with how beautiful it can be. And your instagram will love you for it!

Be a tourist in your hometown. Sure you may roll your eyes at all the tourists taking photos of famous buildings or street signs or statues. But how about you join them for a day? Go to all of the hotspots and embrace how remarkable the place you live in is.

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Go away for a few nights. I recently booked a 4 night holiday to Melbourne and it was one of the best things I could’ve done. It’s true, 4 nights in a new city isn’t much, but it sure is enough to check out of reality and have some fun exploring somewhere new. You can read about all of my Melbourne adventures here.

Get on a train. Or a bus, or a car and head and go on a daytrip somewhere. A small trainstop that you’ve always been through but have no idea what’s there, a bus ride to the last stop and go for an adventure. The key is to look at everything as if it was the first time.

Stick with the classics, and your breath will be blown away
Stick with the classics, and your breath will be blown away

Watch a foreign film. You don’t even have to get out of your PJ’s for this one. Just explore some of the great foreign films on offer on Netlix and bam, you’re in another country. Les Intouchables, Samba, Amelie and Amour are some of my favourite French films which will leave you feeling as though you’re strolling through Paris.

If these ideas are not enough to cure your wanderlust until you’re next overseas holiday, then why haven’t you gone already?!

xxx A

11 Things To Do in Melbourne

After my amazing girls long weekend away to the amazing city of Melbourne, I’ve come up with my ultimate to do list in this spectacular city.

1. Brighton Beach Huts. Only a 15 minute train ride from Flinders Street Station, is Brighton Beach. From the station, you can make the quick walk to the beach where you’ll get exquisite views of the Melbourne city skyline and get to see the quaint, beautiful and bright beach huts. And once you take your photos, you can venture up to the main street of Brighton and enjoy some shopping and beautiful cafes.

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2. Chapel Street. Get the train to either Windsor or Prahan and just wander that street my friends. Perfect for day and night. Great little boutiques, funky bars, unique restaurants and a cool vibe that resonates with King Street in Newtown, Sydney. (Note: the bar tenders at Taco Bill are really attractive).

3. The Lion King. If you’re a sucker for musical theatre like I am, and if you great up singing Hakuna Matata, you’re in for a dream come true kind of night. When we went, a little boy was bouncing up and down and cackling to himself in his seat and it just made me even more happy and excited.

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4. Cookie. I don’t really know how to describe this hidden tower of bars and restaurants but it’s awesome! Located on Swanston Street, from the outside you wouldn’t even look twice at the entrance. But up every flight of stairs, there’s a different bar, club or restaurant. The best is saved til last… the ROOFTOP BAR! We drank a jug of sangria whilst listening to some awesome music and looking out over the dazzling city.

5. Degrave Street. Located off of Flinders Lane is the incredible little street stuffed with amazing cafes! One part of the street feels like you’re in Paris, other half on the other side of Flinders Lane feels like you’ve just stepped into Japan. It’s so diverse, with little boutiques and bars, we felt so lucky we didn’t have to travel far to get some amazing food and shopping done.

6. The Great Ocean Road. You can read about our adventure on this spectacular piece of coastline here. If the picture below doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will.

The magnificent 12 Apostles
The magnificent 12 Apostles

7. Take a tram ride. The CBD of Melbourne is lined with trams. And the best part is that they’re free! It’s a fun, easy, quick and free way to get around to all of the hot spots that Melbourne has to show off.

Wandering the streets
Wandering the streets

8. The National Gallery of Victoria. A big and beautiful gallery located just off of Federation Square, is a great way to see some beautiful Australian art and also spend a rainy cold winters day.

9. The Yarra River. Stroll along the river and soak up some sunshine (well, maybe if you go in Summer). It’s a gorgeous river dotted with cafes and a great bicycle track. Around Melbourne there’s also bikes you can hire for a few hours (similar to Barclays bikes in London), so you can ride along the river and get a different perspective of the city.

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10. Hosier Lane. Another hidden gem of an alleyway that is completely covered in street art! It’s funky and fresh and makes for some absolutely amazing photos! Oh, and there’s some Mike and Sully from Monsters Inc artwork aswell. What’s not to love?

Hosier Lane
Hosier Lane

11And if nothing else… just wander around the streets. You’ll never know what cool bar or amazing coffee you’ll stumble across.

Anything I’ve missed? Where would you want to go if you visited Melbourne? Let me know in the comments below!

xxx A

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One day exploring the Great Ocean Road

The Great Ocean Road is one of those breathtaking journeys that you just have to experience in your lifetime. I was lucky enough to go with my family when I was a wee lass, however, being 4 years old, I didn’t exactly appreciate/remember the whole experience. So… on a girls long weekend away to Melbourne with one of my best friends (Tishia), we decided to relive this awesome journey together and it was one of the best day tours I’ve ever done.

The magnificent 12 Apostles
The magnificent 12 Apostles

We travelled with ExtraGreen Holidays located in Swanston Street. Our tour guides name was Frank, and frankly (haha get it?) he was awesome. For $45 we definitely got our value for money. From 7:30am-7:30pm, we were on and off the bus and absolutely breathtaken by the spectacular views of the unique coastline of the Great Ocean Road. We were considering hiring a car and doing it ourselves, however for that value for money, we not only got there and back, but were also taught some great history lessons along the way. So in our situation, it was totally worth our money. (NOTE: The weekend special is $45, any other day can cost you up to $100).

These windy roads are not for the faint hearted. If you're prone to car sickness, be prepared.
These windy roads are not for the faint hearted. If you’re prone to car sickness, be prepared.

We stopped and had lunch at Appollo Bay for an amazing Fish and Chips feast (what else can you expect from a small coastal town?) and continued on down the windy roads with many photo stops along the way. The tour highlight include, the 12 Apostles (the most iconic part of the Great Ocean Road), Lord and George and London Bridge. Even though we willingly came to Victoria in the middle of winter, it was indeed pretty damn cold, so a good jacket and warm clothes are definitely recommended. And as Frank wisely advised us, on the Great Ocean Road, it can be sunny one minute and raining the next so always be prepared.

With so many photo stops, you'll have plenty of time to capture the perfect photo
With so many photo stops, you’ll have plenty of time to capture the perfect photo

Many of you may ask if it’s worth spending the full day on a bus to see some rocks and cliffs. If you’re spending several days in Melbourne (like we did) then yes, absolutely. It’s cost effective, exciting, adventurous, and you get to meet lots of great new people and learn about the history and making of the Great Ocean Road. However, if you’re intending on doing further travel throughout Australia and Victoria and already hire a car, it’s probably worth heading there yourself. Then you can do it at your own pace. Saying that, we were definitely given plenty of time at each spot to explore each area and take some pretty amazing photos.

The photos speak for themselves. The Great Ocean Road is definitely a must- regardless of if it’s Summer or Winter, raining or sunny, it’s going to take your breath away I can guarantee that!

Have you been here before or want to know more about it? Let me know in the comments below!

xxx A

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Tishia and I. Nothing better than going on adventures with your best friend
Tishia and I. Nothing better than going on adventures with your best friend

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