Welcome

Dear Reader,

WIN_20171120_13_40_37_ProWelcome to my web portal.  I invite you to explore my life and interests online using the menu on the right. My hope is that you will find material that will engage us in conversation and reflection.

My material appears on a number of social media platforms. This site is designed for the visitor who would like to receive  the occasional summary post of published material. Please use the subscribe box to receive notices of updates to this site. My intention is to post a regular monthly calendar and one summary post at the end of each month.

I welcome your feedback and response to posts. As well as text you can choose from the options at the end of each post.

Tony

National Volunteer Week 2018

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One of the practices I learnt from my parents was the value of volunteering in the local community. They modeled  their belief in faith and neighbourhood in action and commitment.  My father was a life long member of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Geelong.  As well as a weekly meeting, Dad looked after the management of  Halstead Place, a hostel for rough sleepers. He also cared for the garden at our local parish Church and was a regular on the Meals on Wheels program.

My mother came from a family where commitment to school, church and community was ingrained as the way of living. As well as school Mothers Club and canteen rosters, Mum joined committees for the local parish and in later life, the management committee at her retirement village. As with many homemakers Mum also volunteered an amazing volume of cakes and goodies for fetes and fundraisers.  When our family were sorting out finances after Mum’s death we discovered her incredible generosity to causes and campaigns that worked for the common good.

I inherited much of this understanding and commitment to volunteering.  Some of my most treasured young memories are the days when my Dad would “dink me” on his bike to the hostel where he cooked and cared for rough sleepers.

On this National Volunteers Week I give thanks to those organisations that have provided me with opportunities to “Give a Little and Change a Lot”  The change has been in my outlook and understanding of the world and how we work together to build community.

At 65 years old I look back with gratitude to the groups and communities that provided volunteering experience and life long learning for me:

As well as groups and associations I have been able to volunteer my services as a photographer to friends and public events as a citizen journalist. This is a role where I am able to us m y images to  challenge social exclusion, prejudice and injustice.

As I begin a new era as a senior citizen I have taken up membership of advocacy groups for my generation.

My hope is to continue to volunteer for my community and causes that promote social change. I hope that through my volunteering at this stage of life I can mentor a new generation of awareness and commitment.

Mary, Mother of Equality, Pray for Us

As a young boy I have a vivid memory of the first Marian Procession I attended at the local convent of Stella Maris in North Geelong.  The candlelight movement of women in dark habits singing the Lourdes Hymn took me into a world where heaven touched earth and all tears were wiped away.

In my mother’s kitchen a small Icon of Our Lady of the Way sat alongside the detergent just above the sink where our daily dishes were washed.  My grandmother was a member of the Legion of Mary and walked the streets of her neighbourhood to join  families who prayed the rosary as the Fatima Statue moved from house to house.  Each rosary with finish with a rousing chorus of Hail Queen of Heaven that echoed down the street

Whoopi Golberg brought a new generation of people the spirit of Marian Hynms and devotion spiced up and inviting with a freshness and adventure that reflected the reality of the young woman of Palestine more faithfully than the Living Parish Hymnal.

The most popular Marian prayer in Catholicism has been the Litany of Loreto.  Its invocations of Mary under Biblical and popular titles has  made it a feature of Catholic Spirituality in chant and languages

And just when we thought we had given Mary every conceivable title  Pope Francis  added a new  one, Mother of the Church.  As one who has been called “First Disciple” Mary also stands as a model for equality.  For those of us who identify with the LGBTIQ faithful this  feast offers another opportunity to acknowledge  the spirituality  of equality.

As an older Queer Catholic I continue the venerationof  Mary in  the Litany to which I have added invocations from my life and experience.

As well as the litany there is  custom of decorating statues in popular culture with flowers and rosaries,  and even money.  I also continue this  custom of bringing elements of my life such as the rainbow colours to decorate and honour the place of Mary in my spirituality.

In this month of May  we invoke Mary, Mother of Equality, Pray For Us.

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April Retrospective

April began with that weird juxtaposition of Easter and April Fool’s Day. As well as attending  the ritual festivities at St Stephen’s Cathedral on Easter morning I also joined a lively discussion  following Evensong at St John’s Cathedral: Christ Foolery: The Ministry of the Fool in The Christian Tradition  My contribution to the discussion was the introduction of  the patrons of my Holy Irritant blog, St Christina the Astonishing, Virgin and St Basil the Holy Fool whose icons  lead this month’s reflection.

My Easter celebrations continued into the second week of April when I joined the Catholic Byzantine Community of Our Lady of Protection in Woolloongabba who celebrated the feast using the Julian Calendar.

Careering Into The Future

This month  marks a milestone in my career as I bid farewell to friends and supporters at Micah Projects after more than 12 years of employment.

The invitation to celebrations that went out through various networks included this amazing image that says much about my work and ethic. A few years ago I created “ Bananaman”, a promotional character for our fledgling social enterprise in South Brisbane. That enterprise now includes Hope Street Café.

Bananaman has made his curtain call. The work of social change and advocacy includes wild humour, a good dose of eccentricity and a costume from eBay. The costume may be retired but the eccentricity and wild humour will continue in my work as a Community Jester.

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Performance of the Month

The Story of Brisbane  with award-winning actors Therese Collie and Tim Mullooly was an extraordinary foray into history, local writers and  secrets of the Brisbane Powerhouse.  There will be a separate post coming about this soon,

Movie of the Month

If you only see one film this year make sure it is STOP THE BOATSSimon Kurian has produced a documentary that exposes the stark brutality of the current culture of inhumane treatment of asylum seekers and refugees who come to our shores.

The film is harrowing, graphic and honest in its exposure of the abandonment of global responsibility, compassion and justice by our recent Governments formed by the two major political parties.

STOP THE BOATS will tear your heart apart. inspire your action to begin a new language and practice about asylum seekers and refugees and hopefully disturb your political conscience.

The ANZAC Mass

You can hardly reflect on April in Australia without a reference to ANZAC.  In recent years I have attended the ANZAC morning Mass at St Stephen’s Cathedral. While I respect the intention of praying for those have died in our armed forces I am disturbed by the presence and parading of military weapons during the liturgy. See my blog post here

April Photography

Great Stuff Found Online

Exhibition of the Month

The AFTM Emerging Artists Exhibition supports talented local outsider artists to further develop their creative vision under the guidance of a professional mentor and support from AFTM. This year’s selected artists were shortlisted by a panel of judges from over 300 entries in last year’s Brisbane Festival Exhibition. They are: Felicity Clarke, Margarita Iakovleva, Filippe Lombardo, Amy Mack and George Moraitis.

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At the Exhibition Opening with George Moraitis

Under the mentorship of Art Consultant, Elizabeth Bates, the 2018 Emerging Artists have been given the opportunity to take part in an exhibition.

Exhibition continues to late June 2018 -AFTM Gallery, 136 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley. Make appointment to come in to view  T 07 3151 6655 E aftm@wmq.org.au

Political Commitment of the Month

Today and every day until #Nabka, May 15 I will wear my #Keffiyeh. This act is a statement of solidarity with the protests in Gaza and a condemnation of the Israeli Government and military for their abuse of human rights.

As an Australian I wear my Keffiyeh to protest the silence of our major political parties and our diplomatic failure to censure Israel for its violence against the Palestinian Community.

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Just Dates: May

28 April – 7 May   Bike Week (Qld)

29 April -6           Heart Week

1          International Workers Day /   World Asthma Day

3           World Press Freedom Day

5           International Day of the  Midwife / World Naked Gardening Day

6           World Labyrinth Day

6-12     International Composting Awareness Week Australia

7           Worldwide Day of Genital Autonomy  

10          World Lupus Day

10-16 Schizophrenia Awareness Week

13       Mothers Day

13 – 19   Food Allergy Awareness Week

15            International Day of Families / Al Nabka 

17            International Day Against Homophobia /  World Telecommunication and Information  Society Day

20-26    National Palliative Care Week

21           World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development

21-27 National Volunteers Week

22           International Day for Biological Diversity

25-31        Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories

26           National Sorry Day

27 – 3 June          Reconciliation Week

29           White Wreath Day / International Day of UN Peacekeepers

31    World MS Day

Community Celebrations 

February-March Retrospective

The months of February/March this year mark a significant milestone as I reach my 65th year, five short of my biblical allocation. On  23rd February I celebrated  my 65th birthday and on 8th March I celebrated the 65th anniversary of my baptism.

This milestone is usually associated with  the transition to retirement, pensions, concessions and the status of a senior citizen. 

I have collected a series of plastic cards that affirm my status. I am a card carrying member of National Seniors Australia,  COTA, and as of now I carry my Qld Seniors Card with me for discounted public transport and other advantages listed in a handy booklet. Combined with my cinema cards I calculate my cost of living to be almost zero!!

Feature Photography for February-March

Additions to established albums

Social Media

Supporting Palestine 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today and every day until #Nabka, May 15 I will wear my #Keffiyeh. This act is a statement of solidarity with the protests in Gaza and a condemnation of the Israeli Government and military for their abuse of human rights.

As an Australian I wear my Keffiyeh to protest the silence of our major political parties and our diplomatic failure to censure Israel for its violence against the Palestinian Community.

Careering into the Future

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A good life is celebrated with rituals that mark significant milestones. Along with birthdays and commitments a rite of passage that many of us know is the ending of a career.

On April 6th  friends and people with whom I have journeyed gathered to celebrate my leaving Micah Projects after more than 11 years of advocacy and solidarity with Forgotten Australians, people who experience social,isolation as well as those who struggle to find a place in our culture and community.

The invitation to celebrations that went out through various networks included this amazing image that says much about my work and ethic. A few years ago I created “ Bananaman”, a promotional character for our fledgling social enterprise in South Brisbane. That enterprise now includes Hope Street Café.

The celebrations of farewell were led by people I have supported,  work colleagues, and members of the local West End Community.  As well as the obligatory speeches the ritual included a time of memories, cards and signing of the Banana suit. I am grateful to those who spoke, took pics and gathered for this rite of passage in  my 65th year.

 

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Nothing is quite as humbling as listening to other people speak of their memories of you. Work in the community sector can be demanding and  challenging as much as rewarding.  It is a diverse workforce that brings together people who can organise, strategize, plan, create, report, write grants, lobby,  budget, debrief, unpack, defuse, drive, intervene, document, and make a decent coffee.

The comments in memories and written on cards and the banana suit reminded me that I bring  a sense of  joy and  humour to  my work and life.  It probably isn’t one of the seven habits of highly effective people. It has been my strength and takes me back to a childhood memory. I was a at a footy match with a school friend when I over heard one of the parents say: “that Tony Robertson is a cheeky lad but you can’t help liking him”.

Bananaman has made  his curtain call.  The work of social change and advocacy includes wild humour, a good dose of eccentricity and a costume from eBay. The costume may be retired but the eccentricity and wild humour will continue in my work as a Community Jester.