Week 16/2022: Three days in Geelong

Week 16: Week of 18 April 2022

Three days in Geelong

On Monday, we left Slabs’ family and drove to Geelong. Before this trip, I think I’d been to Geelong once, when I was a kid and our family did a road trip from Melbourne to Adelaide. This was before the days of freeways and ring roads, and I think we drove through Geelong (or maybe very close to it) on the way.

The sum total of what I knew about Geelong was:

  • It has an AFL team that used to have a lot of red-headed players in the 1980s.
  • The Ford Motor Company, which sponsors the above mentioned AFL team.
  • There’s an oil refinery.
  • There’s also a rather magnificent brutalist office block somewhere in the city.
  • Deakin University, which, for a very brief period in my illustrious academic career, I was enrolled at, is there too.

Other than that, my only memory of Geelong is the AM radio station 1341 3GL (now K rock 95.5). Living on the tip of North West Tasmania, the nearest commercial radio station to us was 558 7BU in Burnie but we were also able to pick up 3GL (with its “On the West Coast” slogan), and I used to listen to Don Crawford at night, when the signal was clearest. I googled Don to see if he was still in radio and found that he passed away in 2016.

So, based on that, I had a lot to learn about the place!

Geelong is located on the land of the Wadawurrung people of the Kulin nation, and its name derives from the Wadawurrung name, Djilang, meaning “a Tongue of Land”.

It was all new to me, with lots of buildings to photograph, including this one, the rather magnificent brutalist office block (aka the state government offices), built in 1978-79.

The corner of the State Government Offices, Geelong
State Government Offices, Geelong (1978-79)

Unfortunately, it’s currently surrounded by construction activity, which made photographing it somewhat challenging. However, I’ve now seen it and construction fences are better than not having seen it at all.

As you might imagine, finding this little guide book was a real treat and I made it my mission to find and photograph every building in the book.

A hand holding a small booklet titled "Some Highlights of Geelong's 20th Century Architecture"
Geelong’s 20th Century Architecture

I think I only missed one!

Geelong's T&G Building on a street corner at dusk
Geelong’s T&G Building (1920)

One of the other highlights of the trip was photographer Ponch Hawkes’s 500 Strong exhibition at the Geelong Gallery:

The world is awash with images of naked youthfulness. A naked older woman is an extremely rare subject and hardly ever portrayed with any sense of desirability. In 2018 renowned photographer Ponch Hawkes embarked on a project to photograph 500 Victorian women over the age of 50 from all backgrounds and locations—including numerous from Geelong—in the nude to celebrate the diversity and reality of older women’s bodies.

A series of black and white images of naked women on a gallery wall
500 Strong

Ponch says her project was part of a larger show that was seeking to address “the invisibility of older women and the gendered shame attached to ageing”.

I’d heard about the project a couple of years ago and loved the idea. I never thought I’d get to see it in an exhibition though, so I was delighted to find out it was being shown just a short walk from where I was staying. It’s absolutely stunning work and I’m so glad to have had the chance to see it.

We also had a lovely day on the Bellarine Peninsula, including a tour of Fort Queenscliff, and learned about the disappearing gun and the High Light, which is the only unpainted bluestone lighthouse in the southern hemisphere.

A daytime view of some small hills across a bay
Portarlington
A black lighthouse against a blue sky
The High Light at Fort Queenscliff
A close up of the back of a very large gun on a military base against blue sky
The Armstrong Disappearing Gun at Fort Queenscliff

Thursday was travel home day and, apart from a minor incident at Melbourne airport involving a misprinted bag tag and a lack of staff members to help (yes, I might have over reacted, suggesting my travel and covid anxiety is not very far below the surface, no matter how relaxed I might have thought I was feeling), it all went okay.

Thanks to the neighbours for looking after the chickens.

What did I want to do this week?

All I really wanted to do this week was to take care of myself as best as I could.

My goal for the trip was to find new photo opportunities. And when I got home, I wanted to sort out my photos as quickly as I could so I didn’t leave them sitting in a folder for months . . .

Did I do it?

I think I can say that I did both of these things. I still have an awful lot of photos to edit but at least I’ve sorted them and saved them into the correct place on my computer. I’m calling that a win.

I also took some time to clear out a space in my bedroom to be a reading space where I can’t hear any noise from the rest of the house. An unplanned bonus activity!

What worked well this week?

Nothing stands out as having worked spectacularly well this week. I was calm and relaxed most of the time, and that felt good.

What didn’t work so well?

The worst day this week was the day we came home and the airport bag incident.

I can see the pattern here. When I’m already in an uncomfortable situation or feeling anxious, and something that’s supposed to happen in a particular way doesn’t, it’s enough to tip me into “I can’t cope land” and I don’t react particularly well.

Even the deep breathing, which can often help before I get to that point, doesn’t help in this type of situation because my already stressed brain thinks, “she’s doing the deep breathing, she does that when she’s overwhelmed. I’m going into total overwhelm now!”

I don’t know what to do in situations like that. I can’t think clearly and I just fall apart.

22 for 2022 summary

The only thing I worked on this week was my reading challenge (thing 21).

  • Things completed to date: 5 (10, 11, 13, 18, 22)
  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things I worked on this week: 1: (21)
  • Things in progress: 4 (1, 8, 12, 21)
  • Things not started: 13 (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20)

What do I want to do next week?

  • Edit some photos from the trip for my photo blog
  • Look back over the book Four Thousand Weeks and make notes
  • Take some photos of the house windows
  • Work through the journal activities for a photography/creativity program I’ve been neglecting. Set aside time every day to work on this.

Weekly summary

What did I learn this week?

I learned (and I should have known this based on my experience a couple of weeks ago) that I should not try to cook something I’ve never cooked before, with an unknown degree of difficulty, on an evening following a day where I’ve been helping a family member being discharged from hospital.

Next time, it’s baked beans on toast!

What was the best thing about this week?

Finding new places to photograph.

What I’m reading this week

  • Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman
  • Menopocalypse by Amanda Thebe
  • The Love You Deserve by Jen Morris

Habit tracker

  • Days I went for a walk in the morning (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did controlled breathing (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did jaw stretches (Goal = 7): 0
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 7
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 5): 7
  • Days I shut my computer down before 9.30 (Goal = 6): 5
  • Weekly review at work: No (I wasn’t at work)
  • Weekly review at home: Yes
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