Apr 3, 2014

Ballan Autumn Festival ~ 2014

What a fantastic Autumn Festival the little town of Ballan put on once again!

the weather was kind to us, there were plenty of amazing stall holders, the Fashion Parade was a success, the entertainment was amazing, the fun pet parade, the main street parade was just fantastic ... 

what more could we want?

here are just a few images from the 2014 Festival...

The next Ballan Autumn Festival will be held on

Sunday 22nd March 2015

and the theme will be:


40th Annual Ballan Art & Craft Society Art Show -

[Saturday and Sunday]

Lal Lal Moorabool Photographic Group Photo Exhibition 


Pet Show

Wood Chop Vintage Machinery

Historical Society

Model Rail

Street Stalls





Our Art - Kid's Art Exhibition

Please note & save the Festival website for 2015:

Ballan Autumn Festival ~ 2015

Ballan Autumn Festival is on Twitter & Facebook:




Ballan Autumn Festival Facebook Page

Ballan Autumn Festival Pet Show

The following links take you to three

blog posts from the 

2012 Ballan Autumn Festival:

Make sure you mark the diary now

Sunday 22nd March 2015 

for another fantastic Ballan Autumn Festival!

Ballan is a rural village in Regional Victoria, just 74 klms west of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Population is around 2700 and is on the rail link between Ballarat and the City of Melbourne.

see you on Sunday 22nd March 2015 for another fun packed day in Ballan!!


Mar 29, 2014

Beautiful advice from a divorced man after 16 years of marriage!

My advice after a divorce following 16 years of marriage,
by Gerald Rogers.

Obviously, I’m not a relationship expert. But there’s something about my divorce being finalized this week that gives me perspective of things I wish I would have done different…

After losing a woman that I loved, and a marriage of almost 16 years, here’s the advice I wish I would have had.

1. Never stop courting. Never stop dating. NEVER EVER take that woman for granted. When you asked her to marry you, you promised to be that man that would OWN HER HEART and to fiercely protect it. This is the most important and sacred treasure you will ever be entrusted with. SHE CHOSE YOU. Never forget that, and NEVER GET LAZY in your love.

2. Protect your own heart. Just as you committed to being the protector of her heart, you must guard your own with the same vigilance. Love yourself fully, love the world openly, but there is a special place in your heart where no one must enter except for your wife. Keep that space always ready to receive her and invite her in, and refuse to let anyone or anything else enter there.

3. Fall in love over and over again. You will constantly change. You’re not the same people you were when you got married, and in five years you will not be the same person you are today. Change will come, and in that you have to re-choose each other everyday. SHE DOESN’T HAVE TO STAY WITH YOU, and if you don’t take care of her heart, she may give that heart to someone else or seal you out completely, and you may never be able to get it back. Always fight to win her love just as you did when you were courting her.

4. Always see the best in her. Focus only on what you love. What you focus on will expand. If you focus on what bugs you, all you will see is reasons to be bugged. If you focus on what you love, you can’t help but be consumed by love. Focus to the point where you can no longer see anything but love, and you know without a doubt that you are the luckiest man on earth to be have this woman as your wife.

5. It’s not your job to change or fix her… your job is to love her as she is with no expectation of her ever changing. And if she changes, love what she becomes, whether it’s what you wanted or not.

6. Take full accountability for your own emotions: It’s not your wife’s job to make you happy, and she CAN’T make you sad. You are responsible for finding your own happiness, and through that your joy will spill over into your relationship and your love.

7. Never blame your wife if you get frustrated or angry at her, it is only because it is triggering something inside of YOU. They are YOUR emotions, and your responsibility. When you feel those feelings take time to get present and to look within and understand what it is inside of YOU that is asking to be healed. You were attracted to this woman because she was the person best suited to trigger all of your childhood wounds in the most painful way so that you could heal them… when you heal yourself, you will no longer be triggered by her, and you will wonder why you ever were.

8. Allow your woman to just be. When she’s sad or upset, it’s not your job to fix it, it’s your job to HOLD HER and let her know it’s ok. Let her know that you hear her, and that she’s important and that you are that pillar on which she can always lean. The feminine spirit is about change and emotion and like a storm her emotions will roll in and out, and as you remain strong and unjudging she will trust you and open her soul to you… DON’T RUN-AWAY WHEN SHE’S UPSET. Stand present and strong and let her know you aren’t going anywhere. Listen to what she is really saying behind the words and emotion.

9. Be silly… don’t take yourself so damn seriously. Laugh. And make her laugh. Laughter makes everything else easier.

10. Fill her soul everyday… learn her love languages and the specific ways that she feels important and validated and CHERISHED. Ask her to create a list of 10 THINGS that make her feel loved and memorize those things and make it a priority everyday to make her feel like a queen.

11. Be present. Give her not only your time, but your focus, your attention and your soul. Do whatever it takes to clear your head so that when you are with her you are fully WITH HER. Treat her as you would your most valuable client. She is.

12. Be willing to take her sexually, to carry her away in the power of your masculine presence, to consume her and devour her with your strength, and to penetrate her to the deepest levels of her soul. Let her melt into her feminine softness as she knows she can trust you fully.

13. Don’t be an idiot…. And don’t be afraid of being one either. You will make mistakes and so will she. Try not to make too big of mistakes, and learn from the ones you do make. You’re not supposed to be perfect, just try to not be too stupid.

14. Give her space… The woman is so good at giving and giving, and sometimes she will need to be reminded to take time to nurture herself. Sometimes she will need to fly from your branches to go and find what feeds her soul, and if you give her that space she will come back with new songs to sing…. (okay, getting a little too poetic here, but you get the point. Tell her to take time for herself, ESPECIALLY after you have kids. She needs that space to renew and get re-centered, and to find herself after she gets lost in serving you, the kids and the world.)

15. Be vulnerable… you don’t have to have it all together. Be willing to share your fears and feelings, and quick to acknowledge your mistakes.

16. Be fully transparent. If you want to have trust you must be willing to share EVERYTHING… Especially those things you don’t want to share. It takes courage to fully love, to fully open your heart and let her in when you don’t know i she will like what she finds… Part of that courage is allowing her to love you completely, your darkness as well as your light. DROP THE MASK… If you feel like you need to wear a mask around her, and show up perfect all the time, you will never experience the full dimension of what love can be.

17. Never stop growing together… The stagnant pond breeds malaria, the flowing stream is always fresh and cool. Atrophy is the natural process when you stop working a muscle, just as it is if you stop working on your relationship. Find common goals, dreams and visions to work towards.

18. Don’t worry about money. Money is a game, find ways to work together as a team to win it. It never helps when teammates fight. Figure out ways to leverage both persons strength to win.

19. Forgive immediately and focus on the future rather than carrying weight from the past. Don’t let your history hold you hostage. Holding onto past mistakes that either you or she makes, is like a heavy anchor to your marriage and will hold you back. FORGIVENESS IS FREEDOM. Cut the anchor loose and always choose love.

20. Always choose love. ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE. In the end, this is the only advice you need. If this is the guiding principle through which all your choices is governed, there is nothing that will threaten the happiness of your marriage. Love will always endure.

In the end marriage isn’t about happily ever after. It’s about work. And a commitment to grow together and a willingness to continually invest in creating something that can endure eternity. Through that work, the happiness will come. Marriage is life, and it will bring ups and downs. Embracing all of the cycles and learning to learn from and love each experience will bring the strength and perspective to keep building, one brick at a time.

These are lessons I learned the hard way. These are lessons I learned too late. But these are lessons I am learning and committed in carrying forward. Truth is, I loved being married, and in time, I will get married again, and when I do, I will build it with a foundation that will endure any storm and any amount of time.

If you are reading this and find wisdom in my pain, share it those those young husbands whose hearts are still full of hope, and with those couples you may know who may have forgotten how to love. One of those men may be like I was, and in these hard earned lessons perhaps something will awaken in him and he will learn to be the man his lady has been waiting for.


Commit to being an EPIC LOVER. There is no greater challenge, and no greater prize. Your woman deserves that from. Be the type of husband your wife can’t help but brag about.

I saw the above on Facebook today and thought it worth sharing ...

Thank you Gerald Rogers.

Feb 27, 2014

the journey to Kangaroo Island

the journey to Kangaroo Island .... well the one that we have planned!

A month or so ago I started organising our next vacation. We are planning on Kangaroo Island seeing as it is about the only place in Australia we have not been to!

Our plan is to leave home on the Saturday and head down towards Mt Gambier staying there overnight to break the journey and allow us more time to see the South Australian Coastline from Mt Gambier, via Robe to Cape Jervis.

Cape Jervis is where we board the SeaLink Ferry to Kangaroo Island.

We are staying in Cape Jervis on the Sunday night as the ferry departs on Monday morning at 9:00am.
The Saturday night happens to be the Easter Weekend and it was a total pain to locate any accommodation as I mentioned in a previous blog post titled: neither simple, easy or low cost!
Most places I contacted either directly or thru Zuji, Trip Advisor etc all required a minimum of three nights booking due to it being a 'holiday weekend'. Some of them didn't even bother to return my messages! After much frustration I called The Tower Motor Inn at Mt Gambier direct, what a pleasant experience that turned out to be. I had been on booking.com and knew the lowest price that the Superior Room was selling for, so when I asked him how much would he sell the room to me for, he gave me a higher price!  Told him the lowest price I had seen and he offered me the room at the same price and then proceeded to 'sell' me the Superior Deluxe Suite at a greatly reduced price and for the one night! ..... this man knows how to sell a room and he certainly knows about 'customer service'!


Thank you Gary Walters!

The Tower Motor Inn also had good reports on TripAdvisor, so hopefully our stay will live up to our expectations!  Will certainly let you know either way.  I gave him the cc details and the confirmation by email arrived by the time I put the phone down.

Must admit this is the sort of 'customer service' we should all expect and receive, but sadly it rarely happens in Australia.

Superior Deluxe Room at The Tower Motor Inn at Mt Gambier

Our next place for accommodation was to be around the Cape Jervis area as we had booked the SeaLink Ferry for the 9:00am crossing.  Again, we kept hitting brick walls due to the two or three night minimum booking.

Eventually we came across the Cape Jervis Station and Cottages.  Lovely receptionist on the phone, very helpful, especially with me asking many questions and then after the booking realised I had booked the wrong date!  Had to call her back and request the change .... she was very pleasant about it and told me it was a good learning experience for her too as it was her first day on duty. I certainly hope she is still there as she is more than just a good asset to their business.

We found this to be a little expensive at $175.00 with breakfast, but again, we had no choice due to the dates traveling. Will keep you up to date on the value after we have stayed!

though most of the comments on TripAdvisor are good:

We had booked for one night prior to going over on the morning ferry but ended up staying for two nights as the ferry was cancelled due to terrible weather (next time I will get travel insurance!). Accommodation was great B & B style in the homestead. Electric blanket was a blessing as it was freezing. Had dinner both nights and was lovely home cooked style with a lovely bottle of Shiraz from Kangaroo Island. The hosts were very welcoming and nothing was too much trouble.

Stayed here overnight for an early ferry to Kangaroo Island. The owners were very welcoming and showed us to our room with en-suite. The room was in the older homestead. We were the only people in that part of the complex. There are a variety of ways to stay on the property. They have caravan and motor home sites, log cabins and stone cottages. It is a working farm and the breakfast eggs were from the farm. Delicious. Nice and quiet, I did not hear any traffic noise myself.

Good to note the extra travel Insurance needed, am glad we have purchased ours already!

The downside - for Cape Jervis Station - was when I tried to get on to their website for some images and extra information, it kept coming up with the following message:

Now that is a very bad move for their business, either they need a better service provider or they need to extend their coverage!

I still managed to get a few images of the property and surrounds thru google maps and off TripAdvisor as seen below:

The Monday morning will see us up bright and early heading down to the Ferry Terminal at Cape Jervis to get the 9:00am Ferry ....

from Google Maps, view from the highway after leaving Cape Jervis Station

from Google Maps, view from the highway just before entering Cape Jervis.

and hopefully an hour or so later we are on our way to Cape Borda Lightstation !

My next blog post will be on our return journey from Kangaroo Island, Cape Jervis to Middleton and on to Naracoorte before returning home.

Make sure you subscribe to this blog for follow up posts on our journey to and from Kangaroo Island.


Cape Borda Lightstation on Kangaroo Island.

most of these amazing images of the Cape Borda area are from the Flickr site

After living overseas for about 6 years we are trying to reacquaint ourselves with life in Australia and what it has to offer. We have already seen quite a bit of the country having done two trips "around Australia" over the years. 

But the one place we have not been to is Kangaroo Island.

Booking accommodation for the trip to Kangaroo Island was not simple, easy or cheap, as seen in one of my previous blog posts .  But first of all the priority was accommodation on the island as our plans included the Easter and Anzac Day break. We would worry about the rest later!

I spent all morning going through TripAdvisor for accommodation of any kind ... there was nothing available. Probably because I was quite specific as to the dates.  We are to leave on Saturday 18th and return on Saturday 26th April.  We wanted three nights / four days on the island itself, with a couple of nights traveling either way.

The nights we were wanting were Monday / Tuesday / Wednesday.

absolutely nothing available.

at any price anywhere.

Well that is apart from the Luxury Southern Ocean Lodge where their rooms START at $990.00 for a twin room PER PERSON PER NIGHT and they advertise it as:

"Rates as quoted are PER PERSON PER NIGHT and include all dining, open bar with premium wines and spirits (cellarmasters list additional), in-suite bar, signature experiences and island airport transfers"

but that was a little beyond our budget.

Would be rather amazing to stay there though!

by the way, the top price is $1800.00 PN PP in a twin room. But if you wanted just a single room for yourself, the cost would be $2700.00 per night with a minimum of two nights! Remember it does include all meals and an open bar.

They do get amazing reviews at TripAdvisor.

anyway, I digress .....

accommodation on Kangaroo Island, oh yes, where was I?

We tried the National Parks of SA (South Australia) website as well and nothing came up. I had tried the accommodation page all morning, so gave up ready to hit the phone and computer again in the afternoon.

Lo and behold, put the same dates in and up popped Cape Borda Lightstation!

images from Flickr and the National Parks of South Australia
location of Cape Borda Lightstation on Kangaroo Island

There must have been a cancellation, so whoever you are, thank you!!

On the National Parks website they 'advertise' Cape Borda Lightstation as:

Set within Flinders Chase National Park, Cape Borda Lighthouse is perched on cliffs overlooking Investigator Strait. Located on the north western corner of Kangaroo Island, this unique square lighthouse was built in 1858 and is steeped in European history.

To discover the maritime history of the area you can take a tour of the lightstation. The lighthouse area features a restored signal cannon, a museum and kiosk where refreshments and souvenirs are available. Don't miss the daily cannon firing on the 12.30pm tour.

After exploring the lighthouse, enjoy a stroll along one of the walking trails around the park including the Cliff Top Hike. This short trail through a picturesque rock garden takes you to a stone lookout that provides an ideal vantage point for spotting whales and dolphins.

and for the accommodation it has:

Flinders Light Lodge - Cape Borda

The beautifully restored Flinders Light Lodge is an ideal romantic getaway for couples or retreat for families. This gracious stone homestead comfortably sleeps up to six guests in three bedrooms with one queen size bed and four single beds in two rooms, living and dining rooms, kitchen, and veranda with views of Cape Borda Lighthouse.

Set within the Flinders Chase National Park, Cape Borda offers a special kind of peace and tranquility. Enjoy stunning sunsets and spectacular views across Investigator Strait.

Explore the park's walking trails or join a tour of the lighthouse and discover Cape Borda's maritime history. Phone +61 8 8553 4410 or email kiparksaccom@sa.gov.au if you experience difficulties making a booking.

We can accommodate 2 infants (under 4 years old) at no charge including complimentary cot and High chair loan, please call or email to add infants and requirements to your booking.

of course I immediately booked the three nights that were available. 

I checked the Flickr site for images of the area of Cape Borda and came up with quite a few here, and yes, I can definitely see us here for three days of photography, peace, quiet, reading, walking and whatever else comes our way!

When looking for places to travel to I always use Flickr to give me an idea of what the area is like and what we can expect to see (as seen in the first image above)   .... it is as good as using TripAdvisor to verify accommodation!

Also had another look at the TripAdvisor reviews for Cape Borda Lightstation. It looks as though everyone has been happy with their stay and am sure we will be too..... even the 30klms of corrugated road will not deter us! Well that's what we are saying now, stay tuned and we will let you know on our return at the end of April. :)

the 30klms of corrugated road we are to expect!

After booking our accommodation, I had to make sure we were able to board the SeaLink Ferry .... the booking process was quick and easy, though we did find the cost of the ticket rather expensive at $428.00 in total for two passengers and our vehicle. It did however include QBE Travel Insurance for the ferry journey which covers cancellations etc. But still the actual ticket costs $184.00 each way for a 45 minute trip!

What I will add here is that the Ferry ticket to Tasmania (in total) for two adults in a cabin, plus a vehicle is just $479.00!

images from the SeaLink Website

We did notice some accommodation places included the ferry ticket in their pricing, so if you are able to get that, then do so!

We have now booked all the accommodation for our journey to and from Kangaroo Island but will tell you about that in our next post.

Apart from all the reading, walking, eating and sleeping I intend to do, I am so hoping I can manage a photo or two just like these by Egui from Flickr:

another amazing image off the Flickr site by Egui_

so yes, stay tuned or subscribe to my posts or follow me on google+ and hopefully you will get to see photos like the above later on in April.