Australian Father of the Year Award

Australian Father of the Year Award

Written by Renae Failla

With Father’s Day, a day to remember paternal bonds and the influence of fathers on society, fast approaching on the 6th September 2020, we look to the Australian created award that recognises and congratulates famous fathers in society for their achievements.

Surprisingly, Father’s Day is so significant that it is celebrated by over 111 countries.

About the Award

The Australian Father of the Year award is an annual award that is normally awarded to high profile fathers of society which includes prime ministers, politicians, business leaders and entertainers. It recognises the support and guidance that they not only show to their own children but to other children in society. The award is normally announced annually at luncheon with all proceeds from the day being donated to The Shepherd Centre, however, this year will look a little different with specific details of the ceremony yet to be confirmed.

JAX Tyres for Ponderings

This year’s winner is yet to announced, however, Dr Jim Hungerford, CEO of The Shepherd Centre, has spoken to the qualities of this year’s winner saying

“The 2020 Australian Father of the Year Award winner is a father who has played a critical role in fostering community recovery and spirit during some of the tough times Australians have faced over the last 12 months. While the timings of this year’s nominations mean that the 2020 announcement is not related to COVID-19, this father has provided critical support to Australian families – including his own, over the course of the year. 

However, there is no reason why the 2021 Australian Father of the Year couldn’t be one of our dad’s on the COVID-19 frontline. The Shepherd Centre and the Australian Father’s Day Council would love to see nominations that recognise these heroes and their contributions. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted how the 2020 Award will be presented but we look forward to what will nonetheless be a very special announcement and invite Australia to celebrate with us.”


How it all began

The awards were inaugurated in 1957 and later co-run by The Shepherd Centre, a world-leading children’s charity helping deaf children to develop spoken language at early intervention stages. The second organisation who run the awards are Father’s Day Council Australia. 

Past Winners of the award include the following:

  • Bandit Heeler from the TV show Bluey
  • Sports Journalist Mark Beretta
  • Entrepreneur, aviator, adventurer and philanthropist Dick Smith AC
  • Former NSW Premier Mike Baird
  • Former Governor of New South Wales His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d)
  • GP and community leader Dr Jamal Rifi
  • Basketballer Andrew Gaze
  • Aussie Home Loans founder John Symond
  • Air Chief Marshal (retired) Angus Houston
  • Former Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Taronga Conservation Society Australia Guy Cooper
  • Author of best-selling autobiography Mao’s Last Dancer Li Cunxin
  • Former Swans Coach Paul Roos

To qualify for the award, nominees must meet the following criteria:

  1. A father who is an inspirational role model and maintains a strong commitment and involvement with his family.
  2. A father who is an inspirational role model to the children in the communities with whom he associates.
  3. A father who has made a significant contribution to the nation and is recognised for his personal, academic or professional achievements.
  4. A father who is committed to maintaining an ongoing and future contribution to the nation. Consideration is given to voluntary, unpaid work undertaken and awards and recognition previously received.

This year, nominations for the award closed on the 29th June 2020.

Mark Beretta, the 2019 award winner

Last year’s winner of the award was Sunrise sports presenter Mark Beretta. Mark, is a father to two young children and over the years has been a strong supporter of many organisations including RAISE Foundation, Fight Cancer Foundation and the Australian Paramedic Support Foundation.

On being selected as the 2019 winner, Mark was undoubtedly honoured saying

“Becoming a dad is a special experience and it does change your life in a very fulfilling way – all my favourite memories involve my family. So many dads out there are doing a great job with their families and I am regularly inspired by the role they play in bringing up brilliant Australian kids. I take my hat off to fathers across Australia for all they do; they deserve a pat on the back.”

photo credit: The Shepard Centre

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Top Ten Go Fund Me Pages In Australia

Top Ten Go Fund Me Pages In Australia

Written by Renae Failla

While we are sitting at home during COVID, particularly for those of us in Victoria, it’s easy to feel a little powerless and out of touch with the happenings of the world.

Everyone’s situation is different at the moment with some of us being completely stood down from our jobs, partial days or working full time in the new normal climate that COVID 19 dropped down on us in a whirlwind. 

For those of us who have noticed some extra savings due to staying at home more often, dining in, or cutting back on those material purchases, you may be looking for something to focus your energy on and impact a real difference. 

We have foraged through the countless listings of those currently in need looking for some extra support around Australia and comprised our round-up of The Top Ten Go Fund Me fundraisers who need additional support at this time.

Meals for Hospo – A COVID-19 E.A.D Initiative

This team led fundraiser by E.A.D, hopes to provide some much-needed support following the rise of COVID-19. The team produces chef cooked, pre packed meals that are delivered via contactless delivery within 20km from Melbourne CBD.

The initiative was brought to life by two bar owners that wished to feed their stood down employees and later grew to extend their efforts to all of Melbourne. Hospitality workers made up a large percentage of those who found themselves unemployed when the pandemic hit. For many families, this has meant struggling to make ends meet. An added bonus about this initiative is that even $1 donations can make a difference as the unit cost of producing and delivering a meal can range between $1 – $3. So for the price of a daily coffee, you can pay it forward to someone less fortunate with a meal. 

The Bennet Family – QLD


A family of three, The Bennet Family didn’t realise how their life would change forever on the fateful night of the 6th of August. Glen, the father of the family, was involved in a truck accident while working.

With Glen now in an induced coma and burns to over 70% of his body, the family have been inundated with emotional support from those close to them, but have taken a huge financial hit.

Stefani, the organiser of the fundraiser, decided to create the page as Glen’s wife , would never be one to ask for financial support.

Monetary donations are the best way to contribute to Glen’s recovery and will not only cover the hospital bills for months to come but also assist in supporting his wife who has taken time off work, cover the cost of food, pay for daycare for their child, cover the cost of fuel, accommodation and parking fees.





JAX Tyres for Ponderings

Help for Noodles – VIC


For the dog lovers out there, this one’s for you. Noodles was unfortunately diagnosed with a condition called Hydrocephalus at just 6 months old.

It is a condition where fluid can build up in the cavities of the brain and apply pressure resulting in brain damage.

Noodles has suffered brain damage in his case and over the last two years, his family has invested $45,000 to help pay for his surgeries.

With Noodles being so young, his family will do anything to keep him going and the latest update is that he has only had 2 seizures in the last month but has been doing well, gaining some weight.

All funds received will go to Noodles procedures and in the event that he passes away, will be donated to neurological research in animals.




Save The Blues Train – VIC

Local The Blues Train business, has taken a big hit during COVID-19 which has been worsened by the second wave of lockdown in Victoria. Now struggling to keep the train chugging, The Blues Train is looking for some extra assistance aside from JobKeeper and State Government Support.

Requiring $70,000 to keep the business afloat, The Blues Train are searching for a monetary injection that will support not only their staff but their Blues Musicians and the volunteer-run Bellarine Heritage Railway.

They are requiring support to cover rent, phone bills, IT Support, Marketing and much more. If you can cover one of the following with complimentary services – feel free to reach out directly.




End the Itch for Australian Wombats – NSW


The Wombats need our help! Unfortunately, a skin mite that was introduced around 200 years ago by European Settlers is still making its way around the wombat population.

When a wombat is infected with the skin mite, it can suffer endless itching and subsequent infections which often lead to death.

Considered the ‘death sentence’ for many wombats, Dr Chris Brown is hoping to raise money that will create a ‘fighting fund’ to develop better research and understanding into the disease and possible treatments as wombats in some parts of Australia continue to become endangered.





Dental Work for Baylie


Baylie was diagnosed with both Phelan Mcdermid Syndrome (PMS) and Ring chromosome 22 at just a week old. This has resulted in Baylie being non-verbal and delayed in her development.

The only way for Baylie to keep her smile is to get porcelain veneers placed over her stable teeth. Her developmental delay has meant that she does not understand the importance of brushing her teeth twice a day and they are as fragile as butter.

Baylie’s mum Keri hopes to raise this money as soon as possible to give Baylie the perfect smile before her 21st birthday.





A Cause For Good – NSW


A brand invented to feature in a family gym to make it ‘a clean place’ now has the mission to develop products that can change the world.

Hoping to bring this vision to life and provide innovative, healthy ways to clean – A Cause For Good is hoping to raise money that will assist in meeting manufacturing requirements so it can be introduced into the market. Plus any donations of $50 or more are eligible for a complimentary hygiene starter pack.



Good Love – VIC


Like many other restaurants and cafes in Victoria, Good Love have been forced to close their doors during COVID 19 and as a result, are unable to pay their rent.

With hopes to stay open once lockdown is over, they are looking at taking a different approach – they are offering merchandise and permanent discounts upon reopening to keep themselves afloat.

With a $30,000 goal to reach, they are offering options such as a beanie for $20 or 2 beanies, $150 for 2 meals, a bottle of wine and a membership with a 12.5% discount for life.



The Claxton Family – SA


This family was put through the wringer late last year and early this year. Just before Christmas, their family home burnt to the ground and they had no insurance to cover the rebuild based on hidden technicalities.

Following this, in February this year, they lost father and husband Michael due to a sudden heart attack at just 37 years old. Now left with no home or father, this family has commenced the rebuild of their new home.

With labour donated from friends, Luke Woolman hopes to raise $100,000 to assist with the rebuild.



Cobargo Community Bushfire Recovery Fund – NSW

Cobargo is seeking funds to Recover and Rebuild after the Australian Bushfires that hit earlier this year.

Their rural village was impacted greatly and now The Cobargo Community Bushfire Recovery Fund Inc has been set up by four of Cobargo’s leading not-for-profit community groups which include the Yuin Folk Club Inc, the Bowerbird Opportunity Shop, the Cobargo Cooperative Society Ltd and the Cobargo Show Society Inc.

As of July 28, 2020, the fund has provided grants to 15 projects but they still have a long way to go, seeking $1,000,000 as their final goal and anticipating a 10-year rebuild.


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Meet the Dungeon Master – Interview with Joshua Failla

Meet the Dungeon Master – Interview with Joshua Failla

By Renae Failla

He’s a Computer Science University Student, specialising in Artificial Intelligence, a Real Time Analyst, an avid reader, game player, ‘The Beast’ in the final year of his high school’s theatre play of Disney’s Beauty and The Beast and he is also my brother – Josh.

But more importantly and less talked about, he’s also a Dungeon Master in the game Dungeons and Dragons. 


Now from an outsider perspective looking in Josh recognises that to many “…all we are really doing is rolling dice and talking with funny accents,” but it is much more than that, it’s about creating a dialogue. 


As we sat at the family dinner table, Josh provided me with some insight about the game and all the effort that goes into being the ‘Dungeon Master’ – with Mum interjecting, reminding us that “Sometimes people prefer doing that than studying.” Our discussion, in an immensely condensed version, went a little like the below. 


JAX Tyres for Ponderings

It’s important to note my legend of Technical Terminology if your knowledge of the game stems from the little snippets that are shown in Stranger Things (referenced in the YouTube video above) – much like myself.


Technical Terminology:

Party – the group of people playing the game

DND – Dungeons and Dragons

DM – The Dungeon Master

Twitch – A streaming platform for gamers

Skeletal Dragon – a dragon who was killed and brought back to life

Paladin – The paladin is one of the character classes in most editions of the game

Wizards Of The Coast – Creators of the game


Why do you believe there has been a resurgence in the game and what do you attribute this to?


The resurgence of Dungeons and Dragons (DND) has been largely due to the increased media exposure that the game has had over the years. Since it’s advent in 1974 by Gary Gygax and Dan Arneson, the game has been featured in shows such as Freaks and Geeks, Community and more recently Stranger Things.

Each of these brings new eyes on the beloved game. Wizards Of The Coast, the current manufacturers of the game, have also reached out to the creators of these shows and manufactured modules (short playable stories) that work within their created worlds. 


Prominent members of pop culture have also come forth and publicly announced their love of the game, notable figures here include Joe Manganiello, Stephen Colbert and Vin Diesel. Compounding this was the creation of streamed DND in the form of visual streams on Twitch and YouTube as well as in purely podcast form.

This phenomenon was started by a group of nerdy-ass voice actors calling themselves Critical Role.

Comprised of 9 actors all recognisable from video game and anime series, the Dungeon Master (DM) Matt Mercer, is well known for voicing the character McCree in the Overwatch series. Since Critical Role these types of shows have been cropping up more and more, all fueling this resurgence.


What is Dungeons and Dragons? Can you tell us a simplified version of how the game works?

A simple version would be, the DM thinks of a story they would like to tell, this could be a pre-written official module from Wizards of the Coast, the likes of which include the Curse of Strahd, Hoard of the Dragon Queen and Storm King’s thunder or the DM could think of a story all on their own, with their own cities and characters. Once the story is decided, the group will get together and create characters. The Player’s Handbook explains the bounds in which characters can be created (races, classes and backgrounds). The characters will then play through the story, this could take weeks or in many cases span years of regular meetings to complete the story.

Give us an example of a scenario/event that has happened in one of your games?

There have been many moments over the years that have been notable, I think one that stands out was when I was playing a Dragonborn Paladin (Zylas) and the party was fighting a skeletal dragon. The dragon had an ability that causes those looking at it to become so frightened that they cannot move closer to it or look at it for too long. This means that much of the party was unable to effectively attack it. Zylas was not affected by this because as a paladin he could not be affected. He maintained the attention of the dragon and with the power of his god infused in his strikes to deal more damage he was able run up the back of the dragon and crush it to the ground nearly dying from the amount of damage that he took throughout the battle, he fell unconscious and was saved by his party’s artificer Cassandra.

Who invented the game?

Gary Gygax and Dan Arneson, it was first published by Tactical Studies Rules (TSR) and was originally 3 pamphlets, the combat was based on an older game from 1971 “Chainmail”. The game was revamped in 1989 with 2nd edition DND known as Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. Then Wizards Of The Coast (WoTC) bought TSR in 1997 and since then a few editions of the game have come out with the current edition (fifth edition) releasing in 2014.

What is the underground appeal and why did it become popular? What do you love most about the game?

I think the fact that the game is so free form with the DM being able to think up any scenario for the players, keeps the game fresh for existing players and intriguing for new players. The story can involve the party brawling with some ne’er-do-wells in a bar to doing the bidding of omnipotent gods. Also being able to attempt absolutely any action in any scenario makes the game diverse and branching. For example, if I was fighting a bear in a cave I could try to collapse the cave to get away, fight the bear head on or even try to tame the bear. These all might have varying levels of success and none of them can really be considered the “correct” option but all of them are viable.

If I wanted to start playing now how would I do this? Where can I find the rulebook and a party to play with?


There are a few ways you can try to find a party, there are online Facebook communities that are always starting new games both in person and online. Another method is to look on the Roll20 site who facilitate both playing and looking for groups. You could in theory play with someone from the other side of the world. If you aren’t able to find a group through one of these methods you could also get together a few friends and DM a game yourself, see how it feels, there is a free module that has been published by Wizards Of The Coast called Lost Mines of Phandelver. I’d recommend reading and running that module for a group and you will find your groove. 


There are many free resources that are available to new and existing players such as DND Beyond which is a site (by Wizards of the Coast) that allows a user to make a character using any of the standard races and classes with purchasable expansions should that be desired. Otherwise you could purchase the core books Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master Guide and Monster Manual at Zing or any of your local gaming shops. If you are hard pressed to find them, they can be ordered online but if you can support your local shop then definitely start there.


To join the Dungeons and Dragons movement and to become a Dungeon Master like Josh, you can source your own party and use the Lost Mines of Phandelver as a starting point.


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To Be Human Is To Be Musical- We Ponder With Allison Davies

To Be Human Is To Be Musical- We Ponder With Allison Davies

words by Kate O’Donnell 


This month we pondered with the wonderful Allison Davies. 


Safe to say this interview left the heart full and the mind is buzzing with new information and some life-changing insights.


Allison Davies has this extraordinary ability to draw on her extensive knowledge of music, the brain and all of its mechanics, and present insights in such a way, that even the really big revelations of brains and behaviour is easy to digest and becomes common sense!


Professionally, Alli is known by many as a registered music therapist, her work with understanding brains and behaviours, neurodiversity, inclusion and her creation of the Brain Care Cafe. 

Growing up listening to Blues albums and Rock and Roll, Alli’s first words were out of a Fats Domino song. 


Music has always impacted her life, but it wasn’t until she was a neurologic music therapist that she truly understood the relationship between music and the brain.


It turns out, the information our brain gets from music, and the stimulation is far greater than you probably imagined. Relaxation music is not what you thought, and fast-paced music blaring on your road trip could encourage a lead foot and speedy driving—not joking! The mind boggles.

Allison davies Ponderings magazine
photo credit: ponderings magazine

So what is the essential aspect people NEED to understand about music and helping the brain?


According to Allison, it is critical to reclaim our musicality and to understand that to be human is to be musical. 


“Our brain is a musical organ.

We are all musical.

We are all driven by rhythm. 

All experience melody.

We all have voice and vibration.


We need to understand this. To feel and believe that we can use music in our homes, in our classrooms, and by ourselves strategically and therapeutically and in ways that will help us and support us.


Too often, we are led to believe that we aren’t musical. When it comes to music, there is no right or wrong. You can’t sing out of tune unless you’re singing someone else’s song. YES! Shower closet rock singers unite! There is hope for us all!”

ponderings image guitar shot
photo credit: ponderings magazine

Now more than ever, anxiety is peaking, mental health, exhaustion, and dysregulation is on the rise in epic proportions. The struggle is real. 



“Our brains were not designed for a fast-paced, expectation dense, highly structured, modern, Western, rushed world. No humans, no brains have had this kind of environment in the last 100 years.”


Alli’s expert advice: We need to pull back. If we use ISO and the current COVID situation as an example.- although it’s been a stressful and angsty time, with a lot of survival mode for a lot of people, simultaneously- our brain has had a break. We’ve been rendered choiceless and forced to pull back. Pulling back from information, back from sensory overload, back from too much socialising- this is the stuff our brain health depends on.

Allison davies Ponderings magazine
JAX Tyres for Ponderings
There are a lot of things we could be doing more of for our brain to function at it’s best. 


Allison very successfully runs the Brain Care Cafe. More than a membership, the cafe is a library of brain care strategies and a community committed to making progress on their own brain care.


Allison defines brain care as “more of what helps the brain run and less of what shuts it down.”


In our daily lives, there are a lot of things we could be doing more of for our brain to function at its best. The Brain Care Cafe focuses on 12 pillar specifics that are really important for our brain. Each week Alli delivers a brain care strategy. There is an activity that will help the brain to regulate and function at its full potential. This Cafe is a library of brain care strategies. These are mostly musical based and all things we can be doing in our daily life, everyday anxiety management. 


photo credit: ponderings magazine
But it’s not just music therapy and a string of other titles and boxes that Allison fits into. Connection is key. From her picturesque sanctuary in Tasmania, Alli shares her thoughts and processes regularly on Instagram and Facebook. The landscape is intoxicating. Nestled amongst 40mt high gumtrees, you will find her bush bath. Complete with flowers, platter and a cheeky glass of wine this is the bath Mother’s Day dreams are made of! (swoon). When Ali shares a post, it feels like you are listening to a friend- and creates this beautiful space where you find yourself asking similar questions and parallel pondering!

It was no surprise when we asked our Ponderings question Treehouse or Cubby House that Alli chose Treehouse. Hands down.

Instagram Ponderings leaderboard

Tasmania – #thebarn TAS


Quirk factor: an award-winning converted barn

Just minutes away from cultural and culinary attractions in the CBD, you will feel like you are spending a night on a luxury farm. The young super hosts that own the property are also the architects behind the renovation with 1820s sandstone detailing kept intact.

With all the essentials and basic necessities for cooking, you don’t even need to leave the comfort of the home.

Marie stayed pre-COVID-19 in March 2020 and commented on the personal nature of the space as well as the extra special finishing touches

“Beautiful property tucked away in the middle of the city. Set up to feel like our own personal, special space straight away, a bottle of champagne on arrival!”

#thebarn has received 463 reviews and a 4.91 rating.

So there is a clear common theme within our collection! We hope you and your so enjoy our list of the quirkiest and most likely the most unique Airbnb stays around Australia and would love to hear if you get to try any for yourself. Leave a reply below.

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