2012 Presenters

Meet the presenters and performers (in alphabetical order by first name)

Alan (Fox) Rogers  (Project Director Partnerships and Engagement – Sunshine Coast Council)

Fox is currently the Project Director Partnerships and Engagement reporting directly to the CEO of Sunshine Council. He chairs Council’s sustainability and innovation group and was responsible for coordinating both council’s corporate plan and the Sunshine Coast community plan.

Fox has travelled widely in Australia and New Zealand undertaking a variety of jobs including clown, farm hand, taxi driver, event organiser, social entrepreneur and proud public servant. He has a BA in Australian Cultural Studies from Griffith University, a Masters in Creative Industries from QUT and is still using his juggling skills from his days as a performer at the People’s Circus.

Annie Rooke (Hunter Valley Quakers)

Annie has been part of the Quaker community since her teens, moving from the conservatism of 1960s Catholicism, to a faith group who placed non-violence at the centre of their belief and practice. For her, the journey in non-violence, means the striving to be active in a positive, caring way in all aspects of life. Therefore, social justice and care for the environment are important, so she is involved with: a local community garden, taking charge of health and well-being, Refugee rights, the Greens; as time allows with a growing number of grandchildren.

Cheryl Kernot (Chair of the Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand, Former Member of Parliament and Director of Social Business at the Centre for Social Impact)

Cheryl is the Director of Social Business at the Centre for Social Impact and is Chair of the Fair Trade Association of Australia and NZ. Since 2007 Cheryl has been an honorary board member of Foresters Community Finance which is pioneering social investment in social enterprises, and is also on the founding committee of a UK charity which works to provide shelter and education for street children in Kampala, Uganda. Cheryl was Leader of the Australian Democrats from 1993-1997, and the Member for Dickson and a Labor Shadow Minister from 1998-2001. Her political portfolios included Indigenous Affairs, Treasury, Employment, and Women’s Policy. Following her distinguished political career, Cheryl spent five years working in the UK as a Programme Director at the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurs at Oxford University and as the Director of Learning at the School for Social Entrepreneurs in London. Cheryl is one of the National Trust’s 100 National Living Treasures.

Circus Avalon
Circus Avalon is a huge community group with members aged from 4 up. They offer circus classes for all age groups, including adults, at the PCYC in Broadmeadow. Talk to one of us about joining – no experience necessary. Learn juggling, Unicycling, balances, trapeze tightrope etc. We also have a professional branch offering high quality shows.

Daniel Ben-Ami (Finance and economic journalist, Author of Ferraris for All)

Daniel has worked as a London-based journalist for 25 years, during which he has contributed to numerous British, international and specialist publications. He has written on a wide range of subjects including economics, emerging markets, environmentalism, the eurozone crisis, finance and the happiness debate. Ferraris for All, his book defending economic progress, was published in 2010. Cowardly Capitalism (Wiley 2001), his work on global finance, was recommended by the Baker Library of Harvard Business School. Daniel is currently working on a project on the debate about social inequality in North America and Western Europe. His website can be found at: http://danielbenami.com/ and his blog can be followed on Twitter: @danielbenami.

Dave Kerin (Project Worker – Eureka’s Future)

Dave Kerin became active in the anti-Vietnam War and Moratorium movement in the late 1960’s before starting work in the building industry at the end of 1970, when he joined the Builders Labourers Federation (BLF). In his current position as Project Worker for Eureka’s Future he is working to establish the first union-supported social enterprise, manufacturing green technologies, in Morwell.

Debra Rodrigues (CEO of Newcastle Urban EcoVillage Pty Ltd)

Debra Rodrigues is CEO of Newcastle Urban EcoVillage Pty Ltd. She was a resident and President of the EcoHome Sustainable Living Demonstration Project 1998 – 2001, Co-chair of Permaculture Hunter Region 2006 – 2007. She led the design team for “The Pocket EcoVillage Project” from 2005-2008 gaining DA approval for “The Pocket” Neighbourhood Design by unanimous vote in under 5 minutes from Newcastle City Council.

Dee Brooks (Family Action Centre, The University of Newcastle)

Dee is a passionate and highly energetic community worker who currently works with the Family Action Centre based at the University of Newcastle. She is a people’s advocate who believes everyone has gifts and abilities to share. Her background is in youth work, community research and community development. She currently focuses on facilitation and training with a focus on Asset-Based Community Development and the Art of Hosting.

Dr Donnie Maclurcan (Founder and Ideas Guy at Project Australia and Co-founder of the Post Growth Institute)

Dr Donnie Maclurcan is co-founder of the Post Growth Institute – an international group exploring and inspiring paths to global prosperity that don’t rely on economic growth. He is also the founder and ideas guy at Project Australia – a community organisation helping people start, scale and sustain not-for-profit initiatives. Donnie’s passionate about innovative yet simple approaches to social change and likes to build on what’s already working, whilst retaining a critical lens by which to make such observations. He’s recently written a book titled Nanotechnology and Global Equality and coedited another: Nanotechnology and Global Sustainability and was the 2011 global convenor of Free Money Day. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, distinguished fellow with the Schumacher Institute for Sustainable Systems, and best known as ‘that guy who ran across Australia as a teenager’, raising $35,000 for The Fred Hollows Foundation, for whom he is an ambassador.

Doris Puiahi (Program Manager, Tugeda Tude fo Tumoro Project, Solomon Islands)

Doris Puiahi is a passionate and committed Solomon Islands woman who is currently Program Manager for the Tugeda Tude fo Tumoro project with Live and Learn Environmental Education. As part of this project she is able to use her leadership and community development skills to help rural based Solomon Island communities practice sustainable inclusive natural resource management. One focus of the project is working with communities to acknowledge and address the need to empower rural based women to realise their leadership potential and take part in important decision making processes regarding natural resource management. Doris’ hope for the future is that Solomon Islands will be a society where gender equality is not talked about, because it is not an issue anymore.


Earthbound is professional working duo that is starting to focus on their original music. Bruce has sung and played guitar in a variety of bands over the past 20 years, which have covered music from jazz to hard rock. Prior to this, Bruce spent many years honing his skills as a classical guitarist and completing a music degree at the Newcastle Conservatorium. Bruce has been writing songs for well over 20 years and has developed a distinct and expressive style. His skills as a songwriter are well developed and as a consequence his songs appeal to wide range of audiences.) Jenni also studied at the Newcastle Conservatorium, her major being piano.  She also, however, has a knack for being able to play pretty much any instrument she picks up, and as such she excelled in voice, strings, brass, percussion, and woodwind classes during her studies. When not singing or playing guitar, Jenni displays her competence in percussion instruments (tambourine or shakers) or will be playing harmonica. So proficient is she at these instruments that she also plays stomp box for most of the performance.

Fouad Attar (Muslim Youth Worker)

Fouad (a computer systems engineer working in research & development) has a passion for religious and social studies, studying and learning from both local and international scholars and teachers from different sects and communities. He focuses on youth and the family unit, working with many different groups and organizations. He has delivered more than 250 talks in the last 3 years to youth on topics ranging from social issues, comparative religious studies, Islamic history and Islamic spirituality and mysticism.

Graeme Stuart (Transition Newcastle and Family Action Centre, The University of Newcastle)

Graeme is committed to inclusive, interactive processes that build on the strengths of communities and individuals. His teaching, practice and research, at the University of Newcastle’s Family Action Centre, focuses on community engagement, Asset-Based Community Development and strength-based practice. He started working with communities in 1983 (through the peace movement) and has continued to work with communities in both paid and voluntary capacities.  Outside of paid work he’s been happily married to Cathy for 26 years and they have two beautiful girls (Jasmine, 11 and Alexa, 8),  he is the convenor of Transition Newcastle, the president of the Lambton Public School P&C and writes a blog – Sustaining Community Engagement.

Gregg Heathcote (University of Newcastle’s Buddhist chaplain)

Gregg is an ordained Shin Buddhist priest, and has been the University of Newcastle’s Buddhist chaplain since 2004. Gregg is Newcastle born and bred, and has long been an activist in local environmental, interfaith, and social justice circles. After attending the Parliament of the World’s Religions, and in the wake of the failed climate talks in Copenhagen, in December 2009 Gregg was 1 of 23 protesters arrested blockading the Kooragang coal export terminal.

Greer Allen and Paul Spencer (magnificent Revolution Australia)

Greer is the founder and director of Magnificent Revolution Australia, a project officer for  culturehunter.org at Octapod Association  and a sustainability auditor and researcher at Green Shoot Pacific.

Magnificent Revolution Australia (MRA) is a not for profit organisation established in 2010 to create pedal power for events, workshops and art installations for Australian audiences.  They hope to deliver key messages around energy, cycling, environmental engagement and wellbeing.

Kate Beveridge and Mark Brown  (Purple Pear)

Kate and Mark are the people behind Purple Pear, a 14 acre farm just outside Maitland. The aim of Purple Pear is to produce sustainable outcomes on a small scale agricultural endeavour. They have a market garden designed along the principles of a mandala garden and are establishing table olives and grapes as well as nut trees to supplement the food boxes they  distribute in a community supported agriculture box system to the local community.

They have a passion for providing nutritious food, especially for children and for walking softly on the Earth, and are keen to tell others of the experiences they have encountered.

Leonie Shanahan  (Author of “Eat your garden: Organic gardening for home and school“)

Leonie is the author of “Eat Your Garden: Organic gardening for home and school”.  She has set up  20 schools with her Edible School Gardens program over the past 10 years and is now a regular speaker and presenter on edible gardens.  She is an active member of Permaculture Noosa and many community gardens.

Matthew Clarke

My performance is best described by the lyrics of the song by Eric Bogle “The Dreamer”

Some people call me a dreamer
as if dreamer is a dirty word
They say I sing a song that few still believe in
and fewer still have even heard
They say i’m living in a time that is over
not in the real world of today
and that we need more doers less dreamers
and folks like me just get in the way.

I play acoustic guitar and sing songs of hope for a future where “we live at peace on this earth together where the air tastes sweet and the rivers all run clear”  I live at Morpeth and can often be seen busking in Swan street,singing at the Open Mic sessions at The Imperial Hotel Maitland and until recently at the Cornerstone Cafe at East Maitland.

Mike Collins (Hamilton Uniting Church)

Mike works as an engineer developing large scale solar energy generation. In his spare time, he is a volunteer with Climate Action Newcastle and is the local coordinator for the “100% Renewable Energy” campaign. In the time he has left over, he attends Hamilton Uniting, fixes push bikes, plays music or enjoys good conversation over a cup of tea.

Nerds & Music

Nerds & Music is a folk-parody duo from Newcastle NSW. Composed of Clark Gormley and Wayne Thompson, the Nerds paired up in 2007 and are building a following through their comedic performances around Newcastle’s beer gardens, street fairs and festivals in the area.
The Nerds’ style could best be described as folk-comedy in the tradition of Tripod. But there’s only two of them, so let’s call them Bipod. Performing entirely original songs (they were all originally written by someone), Nerds & Music aim to reveal the semiotic truths behind everyday existence by forensically dissecting subjects such as mowing the lawn, mumbling and the colour brown. No one is safe from their biting satire, be they lawyers, bankers or kitchen staff at Ex-Servicemen’s clubs.

Penny Davies (Community Development Officer – Carrathool Shire Council)

Penny currently works as the Community Development Officer with Carrathool Shire Council. She has a long history working with communities to build strong, healthy, resilient communities who have a sense of identity, cohesion and purpose. Much of her work has been in the fields of heritage, education and libraries. She has previously worked as a volunteer with a group in the Bega Valley providing mentoring, capacity building and financial support to the East Timorese and spent some time working as a volunteer with the  Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor as a capacity builder with the fledgling library staff.

Rebecca Whan and  Marcelo dos Santos (AUWA Earth)

Rebecca and Marcelo from AUWA Earth are passionate about disseminating knowledge on how to return to building with the earth, for the benefit of all. Marcelo is an experienced earth builder and Rebecca is an architectural designer specialising in ecological and earthen architectural techniques. They adhere to low-cost, low-tech solutions so that one can learn these and then pass on the knowledge.

Ross Brown and Diane Lenham will be appearing as Go Go and Dee Dee.




Sara Jevo and the Balkan String Kings

Sara Jevo and the Balkan String Kings is a five piece band which performs music primarily from the Balkan countries. Instrumentation includes Tahu (made by a band member), Violin, Mandolin, Guitar and djembe drum. The performance is energetic and the music is complex both rythmically and melodically. Most of the pieces are intrumentals with variety produced through explorations of various combinations of the above instruments and through the skill of each performer. Each performer is an accomplised musician in their own right, bringing the individual skills to the band that are required to perform this unique and emotive music.

Dr Shann Turnbull (International Institute for Self-governance, Author of Democratising the Wealth of Nations and co-author of Building Sustainable Communities: Tools and Concepts for Self-Reliant Change)

Dr Shann Turnbull is Principal of the International Institute for Self-governance and a Patron of Economic Reform Australia, and also of the Fourth World Review. Dr Turnbull is a prolific, internationally recognised author in socio-economic reform. He has founded, directed and managed many organizations, three of which have traded publicly. Examples of his writing include ‘Building Sustainable Communities: Tools and concepts for Self-reliant economic change’, and ‘Democratising the Wealth of Nations’. His is also a founding life member and fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors; a Senior Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia and a founding member of the Australian Employee Ownership Association.

Tess Rendoth and Fiona Whitton (the Loft Youth Arts and Cultural Centre)

The Loft Youth Arts and Cultural Centre opened in April 2006 and supports the development of youth arts as an incubator for young artists, musicians, promoters and performers while providing a safe space for social engagement and recreation.  The Loft’s primary focus is enabling young people to become organisers and managers of their own events through education and mentoring as well as being a completely drug and alcohol free venue.

Professor Trevor Waring AM (Clinical Psychologist, Chancellor and Conjoint Professor of Psychology at The University of Newcastle)

Professor Waring is a clinical psychologist with 40 years experience working in mental health. He is a Conjoint Professor of Psychology at the University of Newcastle where he is also the Chancellor. He is currently the Chair of the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council and member of the Hunter New England District Health Board. He has been a Director of the Australian Psychological Society, was President of the NSW Psychologists Registration Board and Chair of the National Council of Psychologists Registration Boards for 14 years.

Professor Waring’s clinical experience includes 17 years as a clinical psychologist in outpatient psychiatric services and 12 years as Director of the Hunter Institute of Mental Health and Deputy Director of the Hunter Centre for Mental Health Studies. He has also been in private practice for 30 years and was made a member of the Order of Australia in 2004 for his work in mental health and psychology. He has recently been awarded the Australian Psychological Society’s 2011 President’s Award for Distinguished Service to Psychology in Australia.

Tricia Hogbin (Little Eco Footprints Blogger)

Slightly obsessed with sustainable living and the environment, Tricia is an urban working mum who dreams of living a simple life, being close to nature, having space to grow food, having a teeny little ecological footprint, and being part of a community. She once thought that meant moving to ‘the country’, and perhaps even giving up her job. She’s since realised she can live that dream right now despite her city-living working lifestyle and shares some of her experiences in her blog – Little Eco Footprints. Most days she struggles to balance it all, but is happy as long as she’s had time to focus on the important things in life:  family and fun!


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