Proud to be a dad
After being nominated by my daughter (and subsequently winning the P-2 category) I had the honour of attending the fabulous Father of the Year awards breakfast hosted and supported by Brophy, Rotary, South West Credit, Bunnings, The Standard and many other prominent Warrnambool organisations. The event was also very well supported by the many involved schools, upstanding political figures and local councillors. There is no doubt that every dad in the room was beaming with pride. It is a very special experience to be involved in something like this, knowing you are there because of your child’s submission. For me, it was a very humbling moment and I was incredibly proud to be part of it. From the initial discussions with Ian Cairns at Brophy and the friendly Brophy crew through to the event itself, it has been a remarkable and memorable process. I do very much hope the region continues to support this valuable program because I think as dads we really do wonder sometimes if what we are doing is ‘right’ and it was comforting to sit and listen to other dads and see that we all share very similar experiences and doubts undertaking this fatherhood gig. I think it is fair to say that the dad role has seen plenty of change particularly over the past 30 years and maybe even more so in the last 15 or so. Being a dad is a complex role as we balance work, society’s ever-changing expectations, emerging family structures and parenting trends and through it all our constant desire as dads to navigate it all and be the best we can for our children. I always find it somewhat amusing that dads seem to have this inherent non-verbal language that all other dads relate to. It is evident particularly at school pick up or school-related events (in my profession as a teacher I get to see this perhaps a little more often). It’s the knowing smile, the dip of the hat, the wink or roll of the eyes that all dads quickly relate to and empathise with. It’s the loving awkwardness and at times semi-embarrassment fused with the over-riding pride in our children that we all adhere to, all while maintaining, or trying to, some semblance of parent composure. It’s a language we all speak, no matter what our backgrounds are or vocations and it is a common thread that binds us.
This had never been more evident to me than recently when the Principal Daniel Watson at Woodford (a fabulous school we are privileged to have our children attend) organised a dads social gathering in response to the highly successful and consistently well attended mum get togethers. On paper, it looked like an unlikely group with an incredibly diverse range of people coming together that suggested this may be a somewhat short lived event. But it was a fantastic evening for all who could attend, and the common bond? Dads. Yes, we are all on common ground through our aspiring endeavours as fathers and turns out it makes for a pretty impressive basis for a social gathering.
As a proud Dad, I feel like we have won the lottery after moving to Warrnambool. In the three short years we have lived here, I am constantly reminded of just how great the community spirit is and how it embraces all who call it home. My wife Lucy and our two children Hamish and Heidi are a close-knit family and we have had to be as our immediate family are all overseas or in Tasmania. But the community really does feel like our family. We are blessed to be raising our children here, have them attend a fantastic primary school and we are truly blessed to call this part of the world home.
Father’s Day this year has been a particularly proud moment for me as a result of the Warrnambool regions Father of the Year Awards. Because of the work of Brophy, Rotary and all the supporting organisations involved we have a program and community that recognises and values all the remarkable and unremarkable achievements that us dads do. We make mistakes, we no doubt embarrass our kids on a daily basis, but we love and cherish our children in a way that only a dad can truly understand.
Ian Leonard, Warrnambool
National important road
Why all this posturing over whether or not the Princes Highway is a road of national significance? Of course it is. The highway and many other roads and bridges in western Victoria are being destroyed because rail is being ignored as a the sensible option for increasing amounts of freight. In 2009, SA and Victorian transport ministers agreed on the need for a user pays system to pay for damage. The system was never implemented, nor was a recommendation for private support for rail upgrades. Private industry being subsidised by hundreds of millions of dollars, improving its profits but putting a massive burden on the public's bottom line.
Frances Thompson, Nelson
Bright idea, wrong location
The proposed solar farm near Camperdown is to be approx 7km long x 1-2km wide with 700,000 panels, this is a clear case of an innovative project in an inappropriate site. The land where this solar (factory) is to be situated is zoned rural – (pastoral, agricultural) for the production of food and fibre, there is no sound reason to use this valuable land in a reliable rainfall belt, for a solar factory when three-quarters of Australia is arid. World famous painter Eugene Von Guerard was so impressed with the beauty of this volcanic plains area, that he produced no less than seven paintings of views between Mt Leura, Mt Elephant and Mt Noorat. Larra (Mt Elephant) 1857, Meningoort, Bush Fire (over old Timboon) 1859, Lake Bookaar, Koort Koort-nong, The Basin Banks (Lake Gnotuk) 1859, and Lake Bullen Merri 1858. Four groups come to this region to visit some of the volcanic landscapes depicted in the Eugene von Guerard paintings, these views, especially the ones from Lake Bullen Merri and Lake Gnotuk must be protected now and for future generations.
Joan Mahony, Camperdown
Put hold on wind farms
I have asked the Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, to put on hold all wind farm permits in south-west Victoria. I have done this - not to inhibit the state’s responsibility to support renewable energy – but to enable a comprehensive review of the impacts of wind farms in this region to date. And there are many wind farms, with many more to come to achieve the state’s Renewable Energy Target of 40 per cent by 2025. I want to understand the social, economic and environmental impacts of these wind farms. I want to know how they impact health, amenity, landscape and lifestyle. There are enough wind farms out there now to instruct on that. But so many more are planned and we are heading into unknown territory. What we have seen so far are significant taxpayer subsidies going into an industry that promises much more than it delivers into the national energy grid. We must make sure we get this right. Changing the landscape forever is a very big decision to make.
Simon Ramsay, Western Victoria MP