Welcome to Part One of a double feature for "Faces of Gippsland", where guest blogger, Eimear McNelis, meets up with Ruth Rogan from Mirboo North and District Community Foundation to discuss the innovative approach to philanthropy in the South Gippsland region.
In Part One we meet Ruth, who is CEO of the Mirboo North Community and District Foundation, where we discuss her journey to the area and sailing on the high seas.......
Kerryn Vaughan works to make every minute count; to live a life of purpose. Achieving all this from her lifestyle property in East Gippsland with her partner and their menagerie of pets by her side. She is a passionate advocate for young people, animal welfare and conservation.
Meet Kellie Robinson. A passionate photographer for over 20 years. She has successfully transitioned from an amateur to a professional since stepping away from other employment to focus on her business Colour of Life Photography.
Born in Gippsland she has spent most of her 40 years here. A working holiday to London followed by a short stint in Melbourne and on the Gold Coast, she has always felt the tug back home to Trafalgar, where she now bases her life. Growing up in Traf; it is here she and her husband Jack have chosen to settle to raise their two children Maya and Fletcher.
“There are so many hidden treasures in Gippsland, from produce to coffee. Home-made treasures, fabulous eateries to beaches and mountain hikes.” Kellie has built a great network of people in the region since starting her own business. “If you have any questions or are looking for something, chances are I will know someone to refer you too.”
While Kellie has a varied portfolio of work from real-estate photography to business branding packages, her passion is in capturing memories for families and family photography is what she wants to be most known for.
Family is a central focus to her. She makes it a priority to get away caravanning with her young children and other families. When away Kellie likes to intentionally switch-off from the business and the demands that come with it. Kellie’s camera is still close to hand when out and about exploring to capture her own family memories.
“Documenting our travels through my lens while we are seeking out new places and adventures; it’s what I do. I try to be 100% present in the moments with family and this is mostly with my camera in hand.”
Heading north in 2017 and escaping some of Gippsland’s winter; they travelled up to Port Douglas then made their way back via Cairns, Airlie Beach, 1770, the Gold Coast & Byron Bay. A month in total was spent with 5 other families.
“We went with a great bunch of families and again this was a first for us travelling with other’s but we loved it. Being someone who works from home alone and needs my space and personal time I wondered how I would go travelling with so many other people, but it was great. There was always someone to chat to over a morning cuppa, go for a sunrise walk, do some exercise, have a drink with, head to the pool or check out a waterfall.”
“I was sceptical how we would go all cooped up together in a caravan for a month as it is the longest holiday we have had as a family, but it was fabulous, and we could have honestly kept going and going.” Says Kellie.
At the tail end of their trip back south, as they reached Canberra they were eager to all be home. Proving that there really is no place like home they set off at 3am their final day to arrive home to Trafalgar by lunch time. Despite their eagerness to be home they’re already planning the next big trip. “The grey nomads are onto a good thing, we hope to go away again and next time the plan is to escape for 2-3 months if we can.”
In between interstate trips, Kellie and her family love exploring their own back-yard with weekends away in the caravan all over Gippsland along with time at a holiday house in Lakes Entrance that has been in the family for around 70 years.
(Kellie is the artist responsible for Faces of Gippsland founder and creative director Phoebe Rae's Profile photo's - see here)
Glenn Rodda came to visit family friends in Gippsland regularly during the eighties.
One day she said “When are you moving up here Rodda?” He jokingly replied, “when you find me a house.”
She did and in 1989 he and his wife Anne moved to Trafalgar, leaving behind their parents and family in and around Melbourne.
Courtney Baker was born in Warragul and after living in Melbourne for almost 10 years, she returned when she was expecting her son to be closer to family. She had only planned to be here a few years, but never left.
Vin Rabl grew up in Warragul in a family with 8 brothers. He thanks his ‘mid life crisis’ for saving his life.
Ken Roberts was born in Maffra in 1960 at Maffra District Hospital. “My twin sister and I were pictured on the front page of the Maffra Spectator as its newest citizens.” Ken has worked in this same hospital the last 22 years as a nurse.
Meet Emma Steendam, Thorpdale farmer, photographer, mother and blogger who has been awarded 'Blogger of the Year' by Bupa. Emma has been blogging for 10 years as she and her now husband Matt , worked around the country, finally settling a few paddocks away from Emma's childhood home. A professional photographer who has captured her life through pictures and her passion for writing, has had her talent recognised this past week.
Meet Brett Glover, a musician turned TV show presenter has, along with a talented crew of volunteers, put his talents to good use showcasing the music artists of Gippsland on ‘Live at Spectrum’, Australia’s first live-streaming music TV show that’s featured on Foxtel each we
Brett Glover hails from the town of Kilmany near Rosedale. He’s since settled close to his roots, making his home in the large regional town of Sale.
Art lover Amie Pump relocated with her family from the NSW Mid North Coastal Town of Laurieton to Gippsland to be close to her extended family. Long before they arrived, Amie was dreaming about a new business venture to launch once she reached Gippsland. Allowing her creative spirit to lead the way she has set about establishing mobile art classes in the region
With an overwhelming response to my shout-out for Gippsland writers to collaborate with Faces of Gippsland, I've chosen a junior writer to be the first to feature here.
Meet Quinn Andrews who writes as Master 10. A boy who only recently celebrated a double-digit birthday and already contributes to his family travel blog 3 Hours from Home.
Brent Sinclair has brought his passion for food and creativity in catering to South Gippsland.
With a growing audience I want to welcome writers of Gippsland to contribute to this page.
Lisa G grew up in a nomadic family, living what she calls a ‘gypsy’ lifestyle before they settled in Gippsland in her late teen years. The family has long since moved on but Lisa has made her home here for the past 30 years.
Ruth Beeby arrived in South Gippsland in 2003 from Western Victoria. Drawn to the rolling hills and clean beaches nearby, she calls it her Sea Change.
Ruth’s passion is evident when talking about the powerful Kingfish. “They can be elusive; you have to go quietly up on them and when they take your lure, hang on – they really put up a fight!" The sight of a Kingfish splashing around early in the morning at Welshpool with the sun just rising and some sea mist on the horizon, there is nothing quite like it”, she shares animatedly.
Steve Haughton is a company director, writer and adventurer based in the Tanjil Valley where his home is positioned with stunning views over the Blue Rock Lake. He has just returned home from a family holiday exploring Europe with his wife Cate and 2 year old son Stanley.
Steve came to the area after he finished his diploma of Natural Resource Management and degree in Park Management at Deakin University, following his parents who had made the tree-change to Gippsland from Melbourne’s south-east a few years earlier.
Noel Bosman had to leave Gippsland to be reminded that it really was ‘home.’ The father of four had a late start in the world of Hairdressing after a career in supermarket management. He was always pestering his sisters to let him do their hair and finally, 10 years ago, he turned his passion into a profession.
Theresa Jacobs came to Gippsland from North Island, New Zealand, 12 years ago to help build a commercial dairy goat farm. Along the way a passion for exercising upside-down has taken her life in a new direction with her opening The Red Room of Pole in Trafalgar.
Jayne Neilson from Central Victoria was brought out of her own deep darkness into a healing light. She now nurtures and inspires others through her gift with music and passion for creating community.
Matthew Henry’s family history is deeply rooted in South Gippsland. Growing up in the Bluegum country of Poowong and the Messmate and Tea Tree flats of Kernot, it was here that his love for the natural world was first allowed to grow. After 20 years as an English teacher Matthew walked away from his day-job to follow a lifelong obsession with horticulture.
Ester de Boer is an illustrator and a writer. She came to Gippsland to complete her Dip Ed at Monash University’s Churchill campus. Having never lived in Victoria she says she looked up Churchill on the map a week before leaving her Queensland home. She then packed her van and drove down; naive to what she would find at the end of her journey.
Merrin Dorothy is a familiar face around Gippsland. The owner of the delightful Yinnar General Store with her husband Matt and a talented artist as well. She is instantly recognisable with her huge smile and red hair.
Rhi Tomholt grew up in the South West of Western Australia. She was living in Darwin after travelling around the country when she met her now husband. They both returned to his hometown of Traralgon in 2011.
Megan Emery, like many others came to call Gippsland home after falling in love with a local. Growing up on the Gold Coast she left her hometown with a suitcase and a few hundred dollars and vowed to experience anything that life wanted to throw at her. She called it the ‘Yes game,’ inspired by the movie Yes Man. This led to meeting a South Gippy lad in Sydney.
The local news is a buzz tonight following the press release that local MP Russell Northe is taking some time away from his demanding career for his mental health. Three cheers for him. His honesty to share is to be applauded as Mental Health still carries an unnecessary stigma.
Josh Whittaker is a driven individual. An advocate for health and passionate about fitness and family.
Kerryn Vaughan works to make every minute count; to live a life of purpose. Achieving all this from her lifestyle property outside Trafalgar with her partner and their menagerie of pets by her side. She is a passionate advocate for young people, animal welfare and conservation.
Get involved in your local community. This is the common thread we are seeing here on Faces of Gippsland and the not-so-secret formula for community connection.
Meet Emma Hudson who arrived in Australia from the UK with her two sons and three suitcases.
[trigger warning: family violence]
Tammy Logan has lived and worked her entire life in Gippsland except for four years when studying in Melbourne. Even then, she travelled back to Gippsland most weekends to the family home at Buln Buln on the same dairy farm her father was raised on.
Michael Dempsey of Trafalgar says the biggest life changing moment for him, was when he met a pretty Australian girl in London and decided to return to her home in Australia -
to 'check it out.'
*Disclaimer: The writers and editors of the Faces of Gippsland team will use the question/answer content responses from the submissions received as they are written. Excerpts of the answers and variations may be made with every intent to honour the original context. The story telling aspect of this creative project is a non-fiction journalistic style. Our every effort will be made to authentically communicate your story with integrity.