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2018 Program Graduates


Please Join us in welcoming our newest Alumni: 

  • Blessing Furusa, Sinclair Wilson
  • Kate Haberfield, Wannon Water
  • Andre Barr, AB Electrical
  • Penny MacDonald, Corangamite Shire
  • Julie Neeson, Shearer Woolhandler Training 
  • Melanie Bennett, Glenelg ShireCouncil
  • Phil Dennis, DET – The School forStudent Leadership – Gnurad Gundidj Campus
  • Tony Harrison, Lyndoch Living
  • Trevor Carr, Portland Aluminium
  • Lauren Peterson, Grattons Gate DairyFarm
  • Richard Wade, Moyne Shire
  • Julie Perry, Warrnambool City Council
  • Mark Brennan, Primary CarePartnership
  • Alison Quade, Southern GrampiansShire
  • Peter Gaffy, WestVic Dairy


2018 Closing Retreat


It was with joy and some sadness that the group came together one last time before graduation to reflect on their personal journey, their learnings from the community projects and their professional development throughout the program.

The Closing Retreat was not the end of their leadership journey as many participants shared in their own vision for the future and defined their goals moving forward. The 2018 participants will now join an extensive list of LGSC Alumni across the Great South Coast, who are influencing change as they each continue on their leadership journey.


Actively Contributing to our Community


Volunteerism and the contribution volunteers make to our region was fitting the theme for our final Program Day. Volunteering is worth in excess of $25.4billion (excluding travel) to the Australian economy. And whilst this economic value is often overlooked, participants dug deeper as we broke down the construct of the hierarchy of valued volunteer roles in our community and the barriers that people may experience to being able to contribute and participate as volunteers in our community.

The fact is there are so many voluntary roles that need to be filled for everyday programs and services that help our community function and to improve our wellbeing.

As an example, when the Warrnambool and District Hospice began the death rate at home in Warrnambool was at only 15%, it is now over 50%, this valuable service provides both volunteers and the families of those needing palliative care, compassion and the capacity to live their remaining time in their home. The respectful approach to both the Hospices’ volunteers and the families utilising this service is inspiring.

Another example is Foodshare. In 2017 Warrnambool Food Share fed over 12,500 people including 2000 families, that is over 6000 local children who would’ve gone hungry without their assistance. Together with community donations Food Share has then been able to redistribute over 125,000 tonnes of food to families of need. This highly efficient program runs with the support of 3,600 volunteer hours each year and many local individuals and businesses contribute with generous donations of resources such as transport costs.

The leadership, positive culture and passion was evident at the Warrnambool SES led by Commander Georgio Palmeri. Professionalism and expert training coupled with passion creates a formidable force when faced with emergencies and the lives saved and impacted from this cohort of volunteers is amazing.

Regardless of what you do or how often you do it, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you – the volunteers of our community.

With thanks to SES Warrnambool Commander Georgio Palmeri for hosting us, Dr Bernadette Northeast, Dr Eric Fairbank, Director of the Warrnambool and District Hospice and Dedy Friebe Executive Officer, Foodshare.


A Day on Country


It was hard to avoid feelings of raw emotion as an incredibly brave Gunditjmara woman, Denise Lovett, and rightly proud Gunditjmara man, Ben Church, guided LGSC participants through Gunditjmara lands. Budj Bim National Park, Lake Condah and the associated Weir are breathtakingly beautiful yet tarnished by a lamentable history for the traditional owners. The strong connection that both Denise and Ben, as well as speaker and fellow Gunditjmara man, Denis Rose, still have with the lands that their family have lived on for hundreds of generations was evident throughout the day, as was a genuine sense of welcoming that extended to us all.

A smoke ceremony and heartfelt words from Ben helped participants feel genuinely welcome to such a sacred place. Denise walked the group to a stunning lookout over the volcano and spoke of how Aboriginal people believe the creation spirit Budj Bim revealed himself in the landscape as a volcano and shared his blood and teeth with the people in the form of a lava flow which was witnessed by the Gunditjmara. The resulting lava flow forms the areas that make up the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape and the abundant food pantry for the Gunditjmara people. No question seemed unanswerable even at this early point of the day with Denise’s wealth of knowledge and warm, sobering, and considered responses creating a safe and inviting environment for participants to explore the history of family, landscape, politics and culture with her guidance.

Similarly, a Lake Condah Mission walk proved to be an emotional rollercoaster for everyone present as Denise spoke of a deplorable abuse of human life, racism, prejudice and loss, but also of resilience, strength and fond childhood memories shared with her by her elders. Resilience seemed to be the especially dominant theme, which saw traditions and knowledge survive, and was spoken about with pride. As Denis spoke about the long journey toward World Heritage acknowledgement, that resilience and persistence shone through once again, as he told us of the ever changing system that seemed to be obviously stacked against the cause. The ingenuity, intimate knowledge of the country and sustainable farming techniques that were wiped from historical records by design were also astonishing to hear about.

Hearing Denise, Ben and Denis speak from the heart as they told their story, undoubtedly left participants feeling enlightened, frustrated, sorrowful, and angry at an extraordinarily painful history. Equally, the strength, determination and pride that was also obvious as each speaker shared their experiences and stories was infectious and left each participant wanting to play our own part in closing the gap, and the story that is yet to be written, together.

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