What’s in a name?

Ok, what’s the story behind this one…..?
Castlemaine Botanic Gardens, beautiful place it is. Majestic trees, well-maintained, super playground and you’ll always find some splendid dogs to ogle and admire too. Had a horrible thing happen a few years back when couple of people hi-jacked a bulldozer and – weirdly – decided to knock down the pretty little rotunda… that’s been rebuilt and the lake has been renovated… toilets too.

So: who decided that on the women’s side of the new toilets, there’d be that standard trunk-legged-with-skirt female symbol, and the words “Female Toilet” while on the other side, well… see pic.
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Why Bendigo lasted … and thrived

In his magnificent study of the Australian bush – its history and its future – Don Watson travels far and wide, trying to understand our relationship with the country we live in.

It’s a hard history, but Watson’s superb writing makes it a must-read.

For those of us who live in the bush, it brings our lives into focus in a way that has perhaps never been done before.

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What Katrina did next

Bendigo writer Katrina Nannestad was introduced to Writers Festival audiences in 2013, when she talked about writing her Red Dirt Diaries series for young readers. She was shortlisted last year for Readings inaugural Children’s Book Prize, which the bookshop set up to publicise new Australian writers.

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An intriguing South African in Bendigo

By Julie Proudfoot

South African writer, Vladislavic, brought in by La Trobe University, snuck into Bendigo today (October 22) and spoke at the Visual Arts Centre in View Street.

For those who know his work it was a special treat, and for those who don’t, it was perhaps the beginning of a rewarding exploration.

Vladislavic is a creative and productive writer, and known for his works on place, mostly about South Africa. It was endearing to hear him muse about his arrival in Bendigo, speaking about our scrappy flora, the signs of a mining town, which reminded him of his home town, Johannesburg, also a mining town.

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Hands up for the good life

Do you remember the scene in the BBC’s exceptionally good Pride and Prejudice where Lizzie Bennet, played by glorious Jennifer Ehle, is out enjoying the spring weather? Lizzie is a woman alert in both mind and body to the joys of living – the tv show adds in a romp with a dog, watched by Mr Darcy (fresh out of his bath, if you don’t mind) to illustrate the way her physicality matches her intellect.

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Paying the writers

Rosemary Sorensen

As we work away at gathering information for next year’s Bendigo Writers Festival program, I have in mind the whole time the cost of the event, and what we can pay writers to attend.

Can’t tell you who, but an early invitation to a writer, that’s already been accepted, reminded me, again, about how generous people can be. We ask a lot of them to come to Bendigo and share their time and expertise with us, and that so many say yes with such good grace is, frankly, astonishing.

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Bruce’s Second Thoughts

Poet Bruce Oakman launched his new book of poetry in Castlemaine on the weekend.

Second Thoughts follows his earlier publication with Interactive Press, In Defence of Hawaiian Shirts.

He has also published with Ross Donlon’s Castlemaine-based press, Mark Time.

Bruce was an economist, and began writing poetry in 2006. His website tells us: “He strives to create poems that attract readers without trivialising complex issues or compromising the quality of the written word. He feels strongly about expanding the readership of poetry and is encouraged by the many people who were initially reluctant to embrace poetry but who have become engaged after reading his first full-length book.”