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The Famous Mrs Fanny Finch

The Famous Mrs Fanny Finch

Written by Cassidy Krygger

On the 18th of August 2020, it was the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment in the United States, meaning it was a century ago that some women in the US finally had the right to vote.

The anniversary was widely and justifiably celebrated throughout America and in turn, was all over my social media feeds. And it got me thinking, what about women’s suffrage in Australia? Who were the women who fought long and hard so that women could vote? I was happy to discover that we were almost two decades ahead of our American friends with Australian women over the age of 21 given the right to vote in 1908. Of course, this does not include Victorian Indigenous women who could not vote until 1965. But there was one woman who cast her vote in Victoria 52 years before women’s suffrage was achieved. On January 22nd, 1856 – businesswoman Mrs Fanny Finch cast her vote in Castlemaine, Victoria and wrote her name in the history books.

Fanny was born Frances Combe in London, 1815. An orphan from birth, she believed her parents to be of African descent. 

She grew up in the St Pancreas Fledgling Home which protected her from slavery and provided her with an education. In 1836 at the age of 21, she was granted free passage to the new colony of South Australia as a servant of the well regarded surgeon William Wyatt. Within the decade of arriving in Australia, Fanny had left the employ of Mr Wyatt and his artist wife Julia, and had married a sailor by the name of Joseph Finch.

It mustn’t have been a joyful union because by 1850 and for reasons unknown, the now Mrs Fanny Finch had left her husband and with her four kids in tow, walked her way from South Australia to Victoria.

Castlemaine Art Museum

Mrs Finch was about to strike gold, arriving in Victoria 12 months before the Gold Rush began. 

She and her children settled in Castlemaine, which at one point in the 1850s was one of the richest goldfields in the world. 30,000 people descended on Castlemaine from all around the world and Mrs Finch quickly became a successful businesswoman with her very own restaurant and boarding house. Rumours abounded that her business was a place for the more impolite side of society. A place where a person could get some sly grog and a woman to sleep with for the night. And in 1855 she was persecuted for selling illegal spirits. In an astounding move for a woman at the time, Mrs Finch defended herself and demanded an apology letter from the Mount Alexander Times, which was the newspaper that had reported on her trial. 

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But it was in 1856 that Fanny Finch etched her name in history when in the Castlemaine elections, she and another anonymous woman cast their votes.

And they did it legally. The Municipal Institutions Act of 1854 stated that  “any rate-paying persons’ which Mrs Finch as a businesswoman was, could vote. Scandal followed soon after. Melbourne newspaper The Argus reported on the event, called her the ‘Famous Mrs. Fanny Finch’ and her actions the ‘incident of the day’.

Election officials disallowed the women their votes on the basis that ‘women had no right to vote.’ And in 1865 the Municipal Institutions Act of 1854 was amended to exclude women from voting by changing the law from “any rate-paying persons’ to “any rate-paying men” 

Fanny Finch died in 1863 at the age of 48 and was buried in an unmarked grave. 

It wasn’t until January 2020, that the Victorian Government and Fanny’s descendants erected a headstone in her honour at Castlemaine cemetery. 

A woman fighting for survival in a male dominated world. A single mother. A woman of colour. And the first woman to vote in Victoria. Why has the famous Mrs Fanny Finch been allowed to fade away to history? And it has got me thinking, what other influential and now unknown people lurk under the dusty pages of our history books?

https://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/places/national/castlemaine-diggings

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/4829043

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Olympic Sport; The Birds Eye View of Art

Olympic Sport; The Birds Eye View of Art

Written by Montanna Macdonald

Have you ever wondered what sports look like from a bird’s eye view?

Well, this is what Sydney Based photographer Brad Walls set out to explore. 

Brad Walls, known as Bradscanvas, is an aerial photographer. Keeping it unique with drone photography, Brad adds flair to scenes such as sport; showing the art form of us. Winning the Skypixel awards for his synchronised swimming team photo series this year, Brad explores a different perspective of Olympic sports like tennis, ice skating, gymnastics and synchronised swimming. Not only sport, but Brad also photographs the world from the eye of the sky that genuinely leaves you in awe; Imagery using symmetry and majestic patterns creating art with geometric flair.

We pondered, how does Brad get these fantastic shots from above so perfectly? And also, maybe there should be cameras from above more often rather than just side on in sports to appreciate the beauty we may have never noticed? 

Ponderings had the pleasure of talking with Brad about his incredible photo skills.

Where did your photography journey start? What do you love about the art form?

As a teenager, I was quite creative, borrowing friends’ cameras, playing with 3d software, building stuff with my hands and generally being a curious kid. It wasn’t until I bought a drone that I began to take it seriously. I started with video snippets of clips for Instagram, but it was a lot of work and didn’t enjoy the process as much as working on one photographic composition. I’m drawn to photography as it has the ability to blend creative concepts and the real world, creating a hybrid environment to let your mind wander but also being quite grounded truly.   

What led you to do aerial photography and sport and Olympic photography? 

Aerial photography provided a realm of new opportunity within the photography space. A space, which I believe has lacked creative innovation. 

The sports series was inspired by the shapes from above. When thinking and exploring, many sports provided those shapes that without an aerial perspective may have never been exposed. As you can see from the synchronised swimming, ice skaters and gymnasts series, all of which offered new and intriguing perspectives.

What is your creative process to deciding what you will photograph and how from an aerial view? 

My creative process is varied; it could come from out in the everyday world and spotting a moment or a structure and wondering what that could look like from above. Or it may be looking on google earth and spotting something that may look beautiful from the air; this method worked particularly well with my’ pools from above’.

Ultimately, it comes down to curiosity, as an artist, you constantly need to be curious, questioning “what could be.”

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Can you share with our Ponderers some of your favourite photo series from your works and the meaning behind them, we see you have just released a new series called “pools from above”? 

Great question and obviously a very hard one to answer as each series has their own identity. However, the pools from the above series are my favourite. 

The pools from above series sparked a transition in my aesthetic and deep understanding of composition. I remember spending hours trying to perfect this image named “A Palm Springs Ting” on my Instagram “It must have taken me 50 edits to get that image to sing, but that learning process was the foundation of the entire series. I cannot stress the importance of failing time after time to find a winning formula. 

Do you have any new series in the works? 

I am continually working on my “pools from above” series, working towards a coffee table book in the near future. 

I’m in the middle of launching a series with an Australian Ballerina, which has been very popular with viewers. Watch out on my Instagram for that to drop. 

Could you please share with us one of your favourite photo series concepts you have done, and why it is a favourite?

That concept would be the upcoming release with the Australian Ballerina. It’s my favourite because I loved the experience of being pushed to try a perspective that hadn’t been attempted before, and ultimately that is what drives me to do what I do.

Brad’s upcoming Australian Ballerina series is a beautiful perspective that we know you ponderers will appreciate, as well as the many other creative shots Brad captures. You can check out his Instagram @bradscanvas

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Gen Anthems That Rocked Our World  Part 2: 1960s-1990s

Gen Anthems That Rocked Our World Part 2: 1960s-1990s

Written by Montanna Macdonald

Here at Ponderings, we have brought together the generational hits of the western world in a three-part series.

Highlighting the political discourse and issues of the time, the art form of music as a communication platform for social change is evident throughout our history.

These artists have succeeded and confronted the many facets of revolutionary, culturally challenging ideas and civil movements for the greater good of a collective human feeling. In Part 2, we will be exploring the 1960s to the 1990s and their music scenes. 

 

1960’s

 

Dominating the 1960’s is the protest for social change in the American Civil Rights Movement, one of the most iconic eras for art being an expression of oppression and racial prejudice. We see anthems emerge in this era, from artists like Bob Dylan, Sam Cooke, Joan Baez, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Peter Seeger, Buffalo Springfield and even in the UK, the Beatles.  

Not only in America, but the Australian Civil rights movement is emerging in the 1960s, fighting for Aboriginal rights, including the 1967 Referendum which called for two discriminating references to change in the constitution.

We see from the 1960s to the 1990s many famous songs dedicated to the Indigenous civil rights movement, native title to land and the hardships of the stolen generation. Songs include: 

  • Kev Carmody and Paul Kelly’s ‘From Big Things Little Things Grow’ (1993, which is about Gurundiji people strike),
  •  ‘Took the Children Away’ by Archie Roach (1990), 
  • Shane Howard’s ‘Solid Rock’ (1982), 
  • The Yothu Yindi’s ‘Treaty’ (1991), and 
  • ‘Black Fella/White Fella’ by the Warumpi Band (1985). 

A special mention to Kev Carmody’s and Pual Kelly From Big Things Little Things Grow, it still to this day has a significant impact, listen and watch this cover by Electric Fields released last month. 

This version of Shane Howards Solid Rock (Puli Kunpungka) was recorded for the songs 30th Anniversary with famous Indigenous artists. It was not released until the closure of climbing Uluru in 2019. 

 

Australia’s music scene changed forever from Jazz to garage rock bands once the Beatles toured Australia in 1964. We see the emergence of an iconic Australian rock sound, inspired by Rolling Stones and the Beatles, including the Easybeats, The Atlantics, the Bee Jees, The Aztecs, The Groop and more. 

Fun fact, Fireworks (1967) by Val Stephen, was the first piece of electronic music released internationally by an Australian composer. 

1970’s

 

The ’70s is the era of third-wave feminism protest and recognition of global war-torn prejudice. We see female pop stars, like Australian Helen Reddy in America, fighting to break female gender roles, sexism and the right to vote.

We also hear anti-war cries for world peace from John Lennon influenced by the Vietnam War and civil movement in Zimbabwe and Jamaica from government oppression and lack of human rights by artists like Wells Fargo and Bob Marley. Another political action emerges surrounding protecting the environment, with popular anthems like Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell and Beds are Burning by Midnight Oil. 

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Rock n Roll Aussie bands start making it big time in the 70s, including ACDC, Daddy Cool, The Angels, Johny O’Keefe, Radio Birdman, The Master Apprentices, Skyhooks and The Boys Next Door. An iconic era for the formation of unique Australian music culture. 

 

1980’s-1990’s  

Put on your skates and your eyeliner, because we have just entered the era of disco, dance-pop and grunge. The biggest global musical legends were born into fame in the 1980s including David Bowie, Elton John, Queen and also our Australian friends, ACDC, INXS and the Bee Gees. 

The 1980s and 1990s in Australia are iconic for number 1’s in pop, rock and Aussie country, with acts like Kylie Minogue, Australian Crawl, Tina Arena, John Farnham, Daryl Braithwaite, Icehouse, Jimmy Barnes, Slim Dusty, Silverchair, Twelfth Man, Savage Garden, the Moving Pictures, Rick Springfield and Men at Work. 

Equally, we see songs dedicated to protesting. A variety of agendas are lyrically shared, including anti-war songs, modern-day slavery, violence against unarmed protestors in Northern Ireland, AIDS research and funding, the reunification of Germany, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, peace songs, the Indigenous Gurindji Strike in Northern Territory and so much more. Big names like U2, Crowded House, Dolly Parton, Paul Kelly and Bob Marley go down in the hall of fame.

 

We also need to make a special mention of the evolution of International live satellite TV and the influence this had on music. Prince Charles and Princess Diana opened The Live Aid benefit concert in 1985 in London, created by Midge Ure and Bob Geldof to raise funds in the fight against the Ethiopian famine.

This saw the world’s biggest acts, including Bowie, Queen, U2, The Who and more perform. Not only in the UK, but concerts were live linked all around the globe, including in Philadelphia, Canada, Australia, Russia, West-Germany and Japan via our TV screens. To date, this was one of the largest satellite television broadcasts in history and had an accumulative audience estimation of 1.9billion, which is nearly 40% of the world population. The Live Aid concert raised a total of $127 million for famine relief. 

To listen to many of the songs that rocked our world, you can listen to Pondering’s  Music Playlist here! 

 

 

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Here at Ponderings, we have brought together the generational hits of the western world in a three-part series.

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From the 1920s to the 2020s, from Blues, Jazz, swing, pop, rock, reggae, rap and everything in between, here at Ponderings we have brought together the generational hits of the western world in a three-part series.

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Join

Subscribe & Support Positive stortelling

Support our mission to write and produce Positive Stortelling, it takes a tribe to build one. We donate $2 from every subscription to Vision Australia

Gen Anthems That Rocked Our World  Part 1: 1920s-1950s

Gen Anthems That Rocked Our World Part 1: 1920s-1950s

Written by Montanna Macdonald

From the 1920s to the 2020s, from Blues, Jazz, swing, pop, rock, reggae, rap and everything in between, here at Ponderings we have brought together the generational hits of the western world in a three-part series.

Highlighting the political discourse and issues of the time, the art form of music as a communication platform for social change is evident throughout our history. These artists have succeeded and confronted the many facets of revolutionary, culturally challenging ideas and civil movements for the greater good of a collective human feeling. In Part 1, we will be exploring the 1920s to the 1950s and their music scenes. 

First, let’s take our Ponderer’s back to the 1920s, the roaring Gatsby era of speakeasies and the Harlem Renaissance. 

1920’s 

 

First, paint yourself a picture, immerse yourself into Bazz Luhrmann’s 2013 Great Gatsby to encapsulate what a liberating, radical age the roaring 20s were.  

As technological advancement changes the music industry forever, society can take music home via radio and vinyl. In 1919 America, the manufacturing and sale of alcohol is banned, resulting in the ‘prohibition era’ where many people were flocking to speakeasies jazz bars to listen to controversial revolutionary music and illicitly drink alcohol. 

Beginning in New Orleans in African-American communities, Jazz and Ragtime roots spread to Chicago and New York, with African American and European American jazz music colliding, transforming the social landscape. Famous artists that iconically represent this era include Bessie Smith, Cliff Edwards, Duke Ellington Orch, Louis Armstrong and one of the first famous European American white women recognised for singing Jazz, Marion Harris. We also cannot forget the slow emergence of southern country music.

Artists like Vernon Dalhart became the first national success country singer with the song ‘the wreck of the old 97’ about the derailment of the Southern Railway Fast Mail train No. 97 in Virginia after crashing into a ravine and killing nine people on board. 

This was the decade of artistic, intellectual and social African-American culture blossoming in Harlem, Manhattan, New York.

The birth of the American flapper girl also arises, inhabiting what was considered “male” like behaviour with short hair, smoking cigarettes and dancing in speakeasies. The roaring twenties generation came to a halt in 1929 on October 29 ‘Black Tuesday’ after the fall of Wall Street stock prices, leading to our next generation, the 1930’s and the Great Depression. 

1930’s – 1940’s 

The Jazz and blues era was influencing a new sound, swing music—a world puzzled by the losses and successes of war, the Great Depression and racial prejudice. The 1930s becomes the gateway platform for Old Hollywood romanticised swing music and communicating African-American generational pain. We see the birth of ‘pop stars’, mostly recognised as male blues singers such as Rudy Vallee and Bing Crosby. 

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With the emergence of Old Hollywood, film had a significant influence on music, creating global western world hits like Judy Garland’s 1939 Somewhere Over the Rainbow for the film The Wizard of Oz directed by Victor Fleming. 

 

However, the 1930s began to see music as an instrument for protest.

One of the most influential songs of the time includes Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit 1939, protesting the monstrosity lynching of African-Americans that were terrifyingly common at the time in Southern America. This song is considered the revolutionary beginning of the civil rights movement. 

The 1940s strives with Jazz, swing and blues, big band sounds but also the rise of country music.

With global communication in World War II, radio and recordings made artists’ as well as musical genres globally’ famous and influential in the western world between allies, even in Australia. As a sign of the times, music is primarily focused on producing war songs, but also becoming a propaganda tool, surrounding the want to end the war and bring soldiers home. 

Even after the war, the culture of Jazz from the west could not be ignored, with Minister of Propaganda for the Nazi’s Joseph Geobells, creating a Nazi swing band called Charlie and his Orchestra as a war tool to turn western music songs against itself. Songs were released called “let’s go bombing”, and “so you left me for the leader of the soviets” as mimics of popular American songs. They did not become a huge success. 

1950’s

Ahhh the age of rock and roll; not a lot of social change, but a whole lot upbeat post-war celebratory love making music. Welcome Baby Boomers. The 1950s were the parents to world-class Jazz, pop, rhythm and blues, swing, doo-wop, country and, American southern rockabilly. Elvis, Chuck Berry, Bill Hayley & His Comets, Louis Armstrong and more Elvis! 

 

To listen to many of the songs that rocked our world, you can listen to Pondering’s Music Playlist here! 

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Here at Ponderings, we have brought together the generational hits of the western world in a three-part series.

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From the 1920s to the 2020s, from Blues, Jazz, swing, pop, rock, reggae, rap and everything in between, here at Ponderings we have brought together the generational hits of the western world in a three-part series.

Follow Us
Join

Subscribe & Support Positive stortelling

Support our mission to write and produce Positive Stortelling, it takes a tribe to build one. We donate $2 from every subscription to Vision Australia

The Evolution of Dogs

The Evolution of Dogs

Written by Montanna Macdonald

I am sitting in the sun on the grass in a pandemic lockdown,

looking into the puppy dog eyes of my three-month-old dog as she eagerly watches the tennis ball in my right hand.

She tilts her head like mine, mimics the movement of my arm following the ball, and with tails wagging and tongue out, she happily leaps like lighting to catch it. 

I ponder what the evolution of the dog is? Have modern-day breeds always existed? Did our caveman ancestors cuddle our fur friends of joy and play fetch with bones? 

 

How in the world do I domesticate and train my dog? Is my dog a genius?

Let’s  dive into the history of our intelligent, globally superior favourite pet. 

What we do know is that your cute puppy was once a wolf. Dogs evolved from their canine ancestor, a Gray Wolf. To date, scientists are baffled  by the timeline where wolves merged into dogs and the art of domestication. 

Dog fossils date back as far back as 20,000 to 40,000 years ago in the Neolithic Era, so our fur babies are Stone Age, a friendship that has lasted eons. 

 

In studies by Professor Dr Krishna Veeramah at Stony Brook University, ancient fossils of dogs in Germany were very similar to our modern European dogs, even many of the breeds we have today as pets. 

Another interesting study by Brian Hare, Director of Duke University Canine Cognition Center found that wolves have domesticated themselves into dogs, changing not only their behaviour to survive as companions with humans but also their physical features. This self-domestication process of changing eyebrows, floppy ears, splotchy coats, are all a visible byproduct of their “friendly” evolution from wolf to dog. This is evident in the study of domesticated foxes in Russia, who made themselves look adorable over time and pick up on human social cues.  

Your dog was once a snarling member of a pack that radically altered its appearance and manner to quite literally become our best friend! Crazy right? 

So next time your dog gives you that puppy dog looks when they want your dinner, remember, they are purposely putting on that face to get what they want.

Cute, but oh too easy to give in. 

There is also a unique bond between dogs and humans; when they look at each other, equally both brains produce the chemical oxytocin, a hormone which is likened to maternal bonding and trust. Dogs are the first animal proven to have this bond with humans, and one of the first animals to domesticate itself with humans, well before humans were herding sheep, cows, pigs and growing crops. It is a beautiful connection between human and dog, and incredible to know a little history; from wolf to friend. 

 

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Support our mission to write and produce Positive Stortelling, it takes a tribe to build one. We donate $2 from every subscription to Vision Australia

Melbourne Social Media Series: The Business Pivot

Melbourne Social Media Series: The Business Pivot

Written by Renae Failla

How are businesses pivoting and diversifying their product range during COVID-19 to re-emerge stronger than ever?

 

Westpac’s SME COVID-19 response report revealed that 49 per cent of Australian small businesses have changed the way they function due to the COVID-19 hit. For most this has been in the form of adding additional products and services 29%, shifting business to online 21% and transferring the focus of their business 19%.

 

With a plethora of new businesses popping up during the last couple of months and the diversification of almost every business, we have been noting the trends.

 

Shift to online

 

Firstly, although we do live in a digital age – it is interesting to note that pre-COVID many businesses did not have an online presence. Considering your local cafe, butcher, florist or supermarket – many shoppers were so accustomed to visiting the store and deciding what they wanted to buy on the spot, however, there has now been a forced shift to online.

 

Australian Study conducted by McKinsey & Co surveying Australian customers suspects that post COVID-19 or during a COVID Normal 25%-65% of customers will make a portion of their purchases online in most categories while 70 -145% anticipate they will make all of their purchases online. This spans not only groceries, apparel and household supplies but also makeup, snacks, alcohol etc.

 

Small business tip: Websites such as Wix, WordPress, Squarespace and Shopify are becoming a must for small businesses to rise in the online space.

 

Identify and push products within your business that meet current consumer needs

It’s no surprise that the COVID-19 Pandemic has forced a sudden shock on consumption and consumer spending with partial and total lockdowns all around the world. This has resulted in a change in what consumers are buying and prioritising which is consequentially pushing businesses and retailers to adapt and push products that weren’t normally selling as well.

Namely, there has been an identifiable increase in the purchasing of loungewear, candles, masks, care packages, graze boxes, pre-packed groceries and takeaway items as consumers seek convenience and value with stay at home orders. Many businesses are recognising this need and the products they already have to centre marketing campaigns around this.

One retailer that is paving the way and demonstrating its adaptability, placing relevant products front of mind to their consumers is The Iconic.

Now including a #StayHome section – you are able to find all relevant items such as workout wear, WFH footwear and even face masks all in one unique hub.

A shoutout to small business in Metro Melbourne, Mini-Me Mango @minimemango cafe who have managed to utilise their current staff members to do free delivery within 5km of the store. Noticeably with tighter restrictions, they have also expanded their takeaway menu offering and pushed items like their vegan donuts which are a perfect gift for #isobirthdays.

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Change/add to your product range

For other businesses, the pandemic has forced the introduction of additional product ranges and offerings to majorly pivot and remain operable at this time of uncertainty.

Harvard Business Review advises that a pivot to the product range and offering for restaurants could be “to offer a flat rate for a set number of meals per week or per month, with limited menu choices” or “to offer a combination of precooked dishes with sides or additions that could be prepared at home using ingredients supplied by the restaurant. The restaurant could send a link to a video that walks the customer through preparation, thus incorporating an experiential and learning element.”

This pivot has successfully been undertaken by a local Italian restaurant who hit the nail on the head for Father’s Day, offering customers a ‘homemade cannoli kit’, keeping the brand front of mind and ensuring their customers felt as if they were eating cannoli together in the restaurant.

In the same way, businesses from all categories learnt to respond to the shortage of face masks and sanitiser around the world and jumped on the trend quickly – especially with the introduction of mandatory face masks in many places.

Open a new business based on new talents

Stay at home orders and significant job losses have urged people to become more creative, trying new things and learning new talents that have eventuated to a surge in new small businesses.

In fact, the ABC reports, “There were 253,529 new business names registered between January and July this year, compared with 222,516 over the same period last year,” proving how individuals have become more malleable and adaptable than ever to hasten future ideas and dreams.

CCIWA chief economist Aaron Morey has indicated that they are now seeing startups that respond to changing consumer demands as well as a surge in consultancy type businesses.

Small business tip: If you have started creating your own candles in your garage, learnt how to arrange aesthetically pleasing platters for graze boxes or been busy sewing garments throughout the night – now is the time to take that plunge and carry out your dreams.

If you have either started a new business, diversified your product range or shifted to online during the COVID-19 pandemic we would love to hear your success stories! And if you’re busy working on your new Business Strategy and need someone to ramp up your Social Media strategy post COVID-19, Melbourne Social Media can help! To get in touch, email renaelaurenfailla@gmail.com or call 0448 875 934.

Instagram: @melbournesocialmedia

References

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Here at Ponderings, we have brought together the generational hits of the western world in a three-part series.

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From the 1920s to the 2020s, from Blues, Jazz, swing, pop, rock, reggae, rap and everything in between, here at Ponderings we have brought together the generational hits of the western world in a three-part series.

Follow Us

Join

Subscribe & Support Positive stortelling

Support our mission to write and produce Positive Stortelling, it takes a tribe to build one. We donate $2 from every subscription to Vision Australia

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