All Articles

New Boots offers good cheer

At first glance Newstead , a town with a population of only 572 people would appear to be a little backwater of no consequence, but that’s where you’d be wrong. This is a town that is full of surprises.  A colourful history, a strong arts community and a music festival that attracts performers from around Australia and overseas and that’s only the start. Newstead is also home to New Boots Café.  Established by well-known Newstead identity, Lou Brown, it can be argued the café is a reincarnation of the original Boots Café created by Lou a few decades ago in…

Looking after locals

There has been a fair amount of negative press on the metal health and wellbeing on people during Covid and yes, there are difficulties, there’s no denying.  However, there is also been an increase in thoughtfulness and caring for others – at least in this part of the world. We have heard it from businesses who were supported during the lockdowns and who are seeing a distinct increase in custom since the doors started opening.   Neighbours who regularly checked with their neighbours to ensure they were okay.  There have been stories of all sorts of kind gestures. This one came…

Creswick’s dedicated music venue

Every cloud has a silver lining, an old saying, but never so true than what people have found during Covid. Cameron Ivchenko of Odessa at Leaver’s Hotel in Creswick has used the ‘down time’ over the past twelve months to rebrand the venue.  The first change was to engage a new chef, Kitt Mukaprom and introduce a Thai cuisine.  The first weekend it proved to be a ‘baptism of fire’ for Kitt as they completely sold out both days.  Although Kitt specialises in Thai food, there are other dishes on the menu for those who shy away from spice. As…

Everyone knows a Betty

In a time when hospitality has taken a huge hit due to pandemic lockdowns, it is heartening to see a new cafe opening soon in Ballarat Betty’s Red Star Café is the brainchild of Pia Sims and Nic Bradley who bring with them a breadth of experience in various fields.  Pia has had thirty years – on and off – in hospitality from pizza shops, top Melbourne pubs and restaurants, to the ski fields of Victoria’s High country.  Conversely, she also has vast experience in the funeral industry from directing, mortuary, embalming, coronial transfer and as a celebrant.  Pia has…

A secret no longer

There are those special occasions in life that just have to be perfect.  Be it a wedding or extraordinary event, the right venue is essential and Banyandah Homestead is that right venue. Set in a private, breathtakingly beautiful location, with rolling hills, a magnificent private lake and the natural beauty of Central Victoria, Banyandah Homestead manages to combine simplicity, charm, ultimate privacy with a sophisticated atmosphere.  It didn’t happen overnight.  Sue and Peter Quinlan, owners of Banyandah had a dream, a dream that developed over many decades. The family has always lived in the area of Wattle Flat and enjoyed…

An entrepeneur and a cute caravan

How do you define an entrepreneur?  Most people think of entrepreneurs as high fliers, the huge risk takers of this world, whereas in truth a true entrepreneur is someone who isn’t afraid to take a chance and seeing opportunities no matter how obscure they may seem.  Anthony Faure is an entrepreneur.  Anthony operates a coffee van seen daily outside the IGA supermarket in Creswick and in various spots around Ballarat.  But this isn’t any ordinary coffee van – this is Little Ezra and Olive, a strange name of no particular origin that serves great coffee from the cutest little bubble…

From PR to Peanut Brittle

It’s easy to see that Greta Donaldson, owner and operator of ‘Bendigo Brittle – Gold for Your Gob’ has a background in Public Relations.  Her eye catching presentation cart, decorated in black and pink made me stop to chat to her at a local market a year or so ago.  However, with Covid lockdown and the cessation of markets I hadn’t come across her for some time, so it was an absolute delight to receive a gorgeous presentation box of her brittle in the mail.  The move from PR to gob smackingly good brittle is a stretch in anyone’s book. …

The Day Australia came of age

When I was a child standing to attention at school assembly to commemorate Anzac Day, I experienced mixed emotions. Firstly, pride in my country, but sadness that so many young people had died on the battlefields in a war that held very little meaning to those of us standing facing the flag with hand over heart. The other emotion I felt was of disappointment – irrational as seen from my more mature eyes, but disappointment nonetheless because my father didnʼt serve in the war. He was too young to serve in the First World War and too old for World…

The Pyrenees – it doesn’t get better than this

The Pyrenees has it all. At just over two hours easy drive from Melbourne and an hour from Ballarat and Bendigo, the Pyrenees offers superb wineries, stunning scenery, inspired walking tracks, picnic areas, camping grounds, delicious food and so much more.  A visit to the Pyrenees is an adventure, a place where you can explore and indulge your senses. If you’ve ever deserved a break, this is the year to make it a good one.  Moving beyond one of the most challenging years we can remeber and as we see life slowly, but steadily moving toward a greater state of…

Town support

Living in a small country town locals are very protective of their traders, so when circumstances threaten those businesses, local support comes into its own.  When Covid hit, there was considerable concern for the survival of favourite businesses. Brothers, Jorban and Raj Singh of Creswick’s Smokeytown Café sat down together when the lockdowns first hit and discussed what they would do.  Without hesitation, they agreed that no matter what happened, they would keep the doors open, albeit for take away only, but they knew they had to be seen to still be operating.  Sometimes they were standing in their café,…

The natural way to unwind

The Covid pandemic threw up a whole new concept for living that for many proved to be stressful. Lockdowns meant separation from family and friends, working from home, parents being teachers, Zoom meetings – it seemed that our lives were controlled by the internet.  Little wonder that so many suffered cyber overload. There is a place where you can recover from those negative vibes.  Imagine no phones ringing constantly, just peace and quiet and communing with nature.  Banyandah Homestead Cabin on the Lake is a stunning farm, close to everything if you need it to be and yet private.  The…

Yvonne George – The Eternal Knot

Each autumn and spring Mica Grange gardens opens their doors to lovers of gardens and art with their biannual exhibitions.  The spectacular exhibitions of the blend of mother nature and artwork is remarkable and 2021 is no different. This year, Bendigo sculptor, Yvonne George is exhibiting new works showcasing her kinetic pieces that she describes as “These pieces are based on the eternal knot, the symbolism within wisdom, compassion, life and death.  We are the result of what we think, what we focus on and what we believe.”  Yvonne added, “these kinetic pieces are an interpretation of energy through movement. …