SirPrize!!!! Avos now and the Avo Club is coming

Introducing the Avocado Club! 

What a crazy time in the world right now. We hope you’re all staying safe and well during this strange time.  

During these times, we want to make life (slightly) easier. We know that supermarkets have become a bit of a nightmare, and that all Australians (us included!) are visiting them much less frequently. We wanted to let you know that if you’re used to delicious, fresh and regular (!) avocadoes – we’re here to help!

Year-round avocados… delivered to your door 

Barham Avocados is going to be bringing you the best quality avocados from around Australia, delivered straight to your door. 

For a while now (pre Covid-19!), we’ve been trying to work out how we can get you avocados form around Australia all year round. Did you know that avocados are actually in season all year round in Australia in different places at different times? 

So we thought, what about if we could co-ordinate getting you these avocados so you could have a year round supply of good quality, guaranteed avocados? 

Introducing ‘The Avo Club’ 

We’re very close to launching our new ‘Avo Club’ service, to do just that but – meantime we wanted to bring you avos right now. 

One, because we know you need them and two,  because there are growers who are struggling to sell their precious fruit which is ready now, because of the Coronavirus and the shutting of restaurants and food service industries. So we want to help! 

[Order your first tray online now.]   

Introducing the ‘Sir Prize’ avocado 

The avocados that are in season at the moment come from the gorgeous Grove Family in Gympie, Queensland. 

The Grove family grow theSir Prize avocado, which is native to Mexico, and ripens early in the season (now). People love the Sir Prize for its excellent seed to flesh ratio (basically, a very small seed and lots of the good stuff you can eat!) 

Yes please! Get me avos!

If you’re sick of missing out on the best fresh produce down at your local supermarket – or maybe, like many of us, you’ve stocked up on food for a few weeks – head over to our shop pageand place your order now.

As always, if you’re not 100% happy we will refund or send you some more. 

What next? 

We’ll be launching our new website ‘The Avo Club’ in the next week or two. When we do, you’ll be able to sign up for an avocado subscription. You’ll get access to all manner of varieties from growers across Australia – so stay tuned!  

Remember, we love hearing from you! If you’ve made a particularly delicious or inspired avo-recipe, let us know via email or social media! We always love to see your photos, videos and recipes! 

Stay well,  

The Barham Avos Team


2019 Wrap Up

So it’s that time of year. The time to reflect on the year that was and think about what’s to come while also trying to enjoy the moment.. hmm.. It’s funny because we did a whole episode on surviving the Christmas silly season on the podcast that I co-host “Spreading the Good Stuff” but I don’t really feel like I have taken my own advice this year. It all feels to have been a bit rushed lately and it hasn’t really felt like Christmas but I am very much looking forward to getting in the car and heading North for Christmas Day. 

It’s been a mixed bag this year really. For me personally, there’s been a lot of challenges but ones that I can now see as learnings which is good. Off the farm, there’s been lots of great developments but also some challenges there too.

I’ve learnt a lot about change and how people cope with change. I’ve learnt a lot about leadership and what it really means to be a good leader and I continue to learn about the importance of mindset and good wellbeing as the foundation for thriving no matter what the situation. 

Last week we had a live event for our Spreading the Good Stuff Podcast in Echuca and it was just a lovely way to finish the year. My co-host, Leonie, Christy and I, each shared our personal experiences. I thought it would be nice to continue looking at the year through the lens of gratitude here.  

I guess overall I’m grateful that through my daily practices and my healthy mindset, I can now see the difficult things I went through this year as learnings and that I have a good foundation of wellbeing which allow me to cope better overall. 

So I guess the stand out things for me this year are:  

My experience on the Basin Community Committee. 

I started off the year as a member of the Basin Community Committee which is basically a community advisory group for the Murray Darling Basin Authority. The purpose of the group is to advise the MDBA on what’s happening in communities across the Basin with members from all the different regions. But, mostly the role is to advise the MDBA on how to engage with the communities better. Being in this role proved to be a lot more challenging than I had anticipated. It put me in a difficult position in my community and I felt compromised because I am such a community person and I try to do a lot for my community and really want to help drive our community forward. So I actually decided to step down form the role and put my focus back on to more positive things.

Setting up the Daycare Service in Barham 

I was also involved in the establishment of the daycare service at our local preschool as I was on the Preschool Committee. This also had its challenges. It’s a fantastic thing for our community but going through a period of change with any organisation is tricky. I’ve learnt a lot about change management and called on Brene Brown a lot. In the end it’s been a fantastic thing and its going so well so I’m really proud of what we have achieved for our community and it taught me a great deal. 

Harvest and the Avos

On the farm we had a pretty average harvest after a fantastic fruit set due to the really hot temperatures over Summer and prices were down a little bit this year as well. 

But we expanded and bought another sand hill up the road and have planted another 2000 trees which is really exciting. It’s a great block of dirt with lots of potential. We continue to try to make our farming systems as sustainable as possible and think about how we can adapt our systems to a changing climate and less water. It’s an ongoing discussion! 

Family and Travel 

We went to Portugal for my sisters wedding which was truly amazing. Hard work with four kids, but just amazing. I was grateful every day to be there experiencing it. The wedding was amazing and we had such a special time with Sars and Andre showing us the life of the Portuguese. 

I guess that’s the things that really stand out for me and I am so grateful for all of it. 

Next year I really want to start working on empowering rural women to create change, become leaders, start businesses and thrive. We need more female change makers everywhere and particularly in rural Australia and I want to do my bit to encourage that. I want to share what I have learnt to help other women rise. 

For five years I’ve been writing in my journal about wanting to start a business for rural women but I just don’t seem to get it off the ground. This is going to be the year. I think I’ve finally got myself to a point in my own self development where I can do it. Watch this space. 

Thanks for your support again this year, have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and see you next year! 


What have we been up to?

As most of you know, over the past couple of years we haven’t been opening the online shop. Mainly because after having Henry, our FORTH baby, I really just found that I needed to step back a bit from the business and take a bit of a break and work out what we were doing and which direction we wanted to go in. The online shop was a lot of work for me and we felt that for our family unit, the easiest option to take the pressure off for a couple of years was to send our fruit solely through the wholesale market system. We have a really great agent, All Aussie Avocados who we supply in the markets and we supply another buying group, The Avolution as well and that system has been working really well for us. It certainly freed up my time a bit, mind you I’ve managed to fill it in with other things and I’ve been thinking a lot about starting my own business to help other awesome rural women start their own business, among lot’s of other crazy ideas that I have, but that’s another blog post all together.

So it’s been working well and it’s been more simple for Tim and the team from a logistics perspective as well – BUT,  we’ve decided that we really do love selling our fruit direct to you, our fabulous customers online. We love being able to build our brand and share our avos with people directly and now that Henry is getting a bit bigger things are getting easier, plus, we’ve added a new member to the Barham Avos team, Steph Anthony! Steph is my cousin, Nick’s partner and she’s amazing! Steph and Nick moved back up to Barham about 12 months ago and they actually lease part of our new sand hill from us to grow pumpkins, so it’s so lovely to have Steph on board. She’s going to be running the online shop and also helping out on the farm. This means that we can expand the online shop and update our website and we’ve got some other really exciting things planned for next year as well.

Meantime, we’re using our current set up so we can bring you the Reeds in time for Christmas so it’s not all snazzy and new like we’d like it to be yet, but we really want to get them out to you and get Steph up to speed with how running all the online side of things works. We can’t wait to get these beautiful babies on your door and we hope you’re as excited as we are. Thanks so much for checking back in with us and we can’t wait to share the next part of the Barham Avos adventure with you. 


How to Rule Your Mind Series – Practicing Gratitude

Welcome to my second post in my “How to Rule Your Mind Series”.

The second thing I want to share with you that has really helped me and is well known as a practice for helping improve your state of mind is gratitude. Now, I know gratitude can sound a bit fluffy and weird but what is gratitude? Some people perceive it as just giving thanks but actually it’s more than that, as positive psychologists contend, gratitude is “more than feeling thankful for something, it is more like a deeper appreciation for someone (or something,) which produces longer lasting positivity. (

So in terms of being able to “practice” gratitude” it’s really about focussing on the things you have and the things that you are thankful for, that give you positive emotions, rather than the things you don’t have or that you don’t like about your life that result in negative emotions. This simple way of thinking and feeling can impact your whole outlook as well as having many other positive benefits. For example, gratitude has been show too:

  • Help you make friends. A study found that thanking a new acquaintance makes them more likely to seek a more lasting relationship with you.
  • Improve your physical health. People who show gratitude report fewer aches and pains, a general feeling of health, more regular exercise, and more frequent checkups with their doctor than those who don’t.
  • Improve your psychological health. Grateful people enjoy higher well-being and happiness, and suffer from reduced symptoms of depression.
  • Enhance empathy and reduces aggress. Those who show their gratitude are less likely to seek revenge against others and more likely to behave in a prosocial manner, with sensitivity and empathy.
  • Improve your sleep. Practicing gratitude regularly can help you sleep longer and better.
  • Enhance your self-esteem. People who are grateful have increased self-esteem, in part due to their ability to appreciate other peoples’ accomplishments.
  • Increase mental strength. Grateful people have an advantage in overcoming trauma and enhanced resilience, helping them to bounce back from highly stressful situations. (Morin, 2014)Source:

Pretty cool hey?! Just by feeling grateful we can get all these benefits! OK, so we know it works but what exercises can you do to get all this goodness in your life? Well, it’s actually super simple and there are loads of ways you can practice it. Some are even really fun for getting the kids involved. It doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. Here are five simple exercises to get you started.

Morning or evening practice

First thing when you wake up before you do anything else, or last thing at night before you go to sleep, write down three things you are grateful for. Or even just say them in your head, but make them specific, not just general, “my family” or “my kids” be specific, like “I am so grateful that my friend Pip rang me yesterday and we got to have a chat” or “I am so grateful that my husband took the rubbish out tonight” or “I am so grateful that my husband made me a cup of tea” or “I am so grateful that I have my health,” Simple yet specific. I think we can all take things like this for granted but if we stop and think about the things people have done for us, even just the simplest things, it can really make a big difference to our overall outlook.

Gratitude Letter 

Write a letter to someone who did something really wonderful for you. Write a letter to him/her describing just how thankful you are. Include details about how it made you feel and how it made you feel about them. Who wouldn’t love to get that letter?!

Best Worst Thankful

This is a fun one for the whole family. We do this one with our kids on the nights when we all sit together at the table. We go around the table and each person has to say the best thing that happened that day, the worst thing that happened and something they are grateful for. It gives everyone a chance to get out of their head something that might be troubling them, but also focus on what has been good that day and what they are thankful for.

2 minute gratitude mediation

You can do this one at the end of your meditations every day. So after your 5, 10 or 20 minutes meditating spend 2 minutes sitting in silence and go over all the things you are grateful for in your head.

Gratitude act 

Do something nice for someone else that is totally unexpected. Leave a note for someone, pay it forward by shouting a stranger a cup of coffee, or call someone you haven’t talked with in a while. Happy acts for other people can make you feel so good and the other person gets a buzz too! Double win.


So there’s a couple of ideas for you and a great place to get started is to do a 21 day gratitude challenge! 

I’d love to hear if you have any other ways that you practice gratitude and being thankful. Thanks for reading and see you next month


Here are some great articles not he subject if you are feeling really keen!

The Science Behind Gratitude 

Gratitude benefits

40 Gratitude Hacks 

Gratitude Exercises Facebooktwittermail

How to Rule Your Mind Series- Meditation and how to do it!

Welcome to the first post in my  “How to Rule Your Mind” series.

In my last blog post I asked you to think about having just one goal for this year – to improve your wellbeing and your mindset. I really believe that if you make this the one thing you will work on this year then everything else will fall in to place. That’s certainly what happened for me, so I thought I’d share some of things that I’ve found useful in a series of “how to rule your mind” posts!

So where do you start? I’ve found that often people want to do something to improve their mental health but they have no idea where to start. So, I thought I’d do this series to get you on the right track. It’s really important to know that mental health and wellbeing is a really personal thing and it’s not a one size fits all approach. What works for me might not be exactly the same for you. So these posts are intended to be a starting point for you – a guide to what has worked for me and to give you a sample of what might work for you!

I thought I’d start with meditation. When I started on the road to looking after my mind one of the first things I did was start meditation. At first I just dabbled a bit, doing 5 minutes here and there. Now I’ve moved on to a really dedicated practice of Vedic meditation twice a day for 20 minutes. I can honestly say it’s transformed my mindset and the way I view my life and I am a really big advocate of meditation for everyone!

Often when people think about mediatation they think they need to “clear their mind” and they’ll say ” oh I can’t mediate, I can’t think about nothing, my mind is too crazy and I can’t stop my thoughts”. But the thing is – meditation is not really about “stoping” or “blocking” the thoughts and it’s not about being able to think about nothing (although that might be nice). Mediation is really about being able to let your thoughts come and go but not attach any emotion or feeling to them. It’s about being able to catch yourself when your thoughts are going and learning to come back to the breath or the mantra or the stillness. Then it about bringing that in to our every day lives so that we can be more calm. So we are training our brains to let thoughts come and let them go but not get hung up on them. And it takes a lot of practice.

Meditation should actually be the easiest thing in the world to do, because it’s just doing nothing,  but in today’s world we find it very difficult because we can’t sit still. We are all so busy and so geared up for being on the go at all times that sitting in stillness is now really difficult. So even though it should be really easy because it’s just doing nothing, it actually takes a lot of practice. For me, when I started, even just the thought of sitting still in one place for 5 minutes seemed totally unachievable. Seriously – I thought, “how am I going to sit in the one place for 5 minutes!!” I found it really hard.  But I persevered and I kept at it and now I can sit happily for 20 minutes twice a day – amazing!

It’s important that meditation is done sitting in stillness.  I know a lot of people say “running is my mediation” or “I meditate while I’m walking or gardening” but true mediation should be done in complete stillness, just sitting on the couch or on the ground. Running, gardening and walking etc are all fantastic, but that is more mindfulness rather than actual meditation. Those things are still great if you enjoy it and it makes you feel calm and you should definitely do those things as well, but to get the real benefits of meditation you need to dedicate a time and practice it in stillness.

So – where do you start? If you want to start meditating the best place to start, I think, is with the Smiling Mind app. This is how I started and I think it gives you a good taste of what mediation is all about and how to do it. You can watch a video I made with the Smiling Mind team here too.

You can also just start out by yourself with self guided mediation, but this can be a little more tricky when you are first getting going and takes a little more discipline. The apps take you through what it’s all about and how to do it. Plus they are a bit shorter and will give you the direction. It depends a bit on whether you like the voice of the guy on the app too. There’s a few other guided ones I’d recommend trying like Headspace, or Deepak Chopra and I also discovered another one recently called Insight Timer . Give them a go and see which one sits with you best.

If you want to start with a self guided mediation, simply start by counting your breath. So breath in is one, breath out is 2 do it up to 10 and then start at one again. Just do that over and over for 10 minutes. You will have other thoughts come in to your head but that’s fine just let them come and as soon as you realise you are thinking about something else just come back to counting the breath. Some days you will be off thinking for ages before you realise it and other days you will find you can hold the counting of the breath for a lot longer. Every meditation is different and there is no “good” or “bad” meditation, it’s all just what it is. There is no judgement, that’s all part of it!

I would recommend starting with and committing to 5-10 minutes every morning as soon as you wake up and see how you go. I find I love the morning meditation and it helps me get out of bed! Instead of it being hard to get out of bed, I know I am getting up to meditate and it sort of eases me in to the day and I feel much better after meditating than I do after a 10 minute hit of the snooze button!

So – my challenge to you is to commit to meditating every morning for 10 minutes for one month! (Actually why not do Mindful in May?!) Set your alarm for 5 minutes earlier and meditate as soon as you get up. No checking phones or doing anything else until you’ve meditated and see how you go! I’d love to hear if you notice a difference. Do you find you are able to stop yourself snapping at the kids more?  Do you feel you are able to enjoy things more? Do you feel a bit calmer overall? See if you notice any changes. For the full range of awesome benefits from mediating they recommend 20 minutes at least every day but every little bit will help and you are teaching yourself a new skill so you need to start with something achievable!

If you need more convincing on the benefits of meditation check out this article from Harvard University Eight Weeks to a Better Brain

I learnt to do Vedic mediation with The Broadplace and loved it. You can find them here.

You can download the Smiling Mind app here: Smiling Mind

I also listened to (and highly recommend) the Crappy to Happy podcast recently. They’re episode on mindfulness nails it and pretty much covers all of what I’ve talked about here.

Good luck and have fun. Meditation is so cool and I love it and I hope you love it too!

My next post will be all about practicing gratitude to improve your mental health so until then – happy meditating!



Make This Your One Goal for 2018

Could I even call myself a blogger if I didn’t write a post about New Years Resolutions and goal setting?

It’s that time of year when everyone is talking about what they want to achieve in the new year. Whether it be: lose weight, get a new job, start a business, be kind, move overseas, take more risks?

What are you thinking of for your goals? Well, I’ve got a suggestion that I’d like you all to consider. How ’bout this year you just set one big goal for yourself – to work on your mind and your mindset?

The one big thing I’ve learnt over the past three years of working on my own mental health and mindset is that it is the key to everything. If you can get your mind right and your outlook right, then everything else becomes easier. It doesn’t mean you won’t experience difficult things, but what it does mean is that you’ll be able to cope better. As I’ve said in a previous post, it’s all about how we respond to what happens to us, not what happens to us.

So rather than setting out a list of 20, possibly unachievable, grand goals to change your life, why not just focus on getting your mind right. Make that your goal. If you think your mental health is pretty good, why not aim to make it even better? Maybe you can start meditating, or journaling, or getting more sleep, or volunteering, or spending more time off your gadgets, practicing being mindful? There are a whole range of things that you can do to work on your mental health and I’m going to help by showing you a fe things that have helped me in more detail.  My first 6 blog posts this year will be a series on some of the things you can do to change your mindset and improve your mental health to help you achieve your one big goal for this year and hopefully start living your best life.

So follow along on my blog posts and I’ll give you some tips on what to do. As always if you think you might be seriously depressed then please do get help, see your doctor, call Lifeline, do something. It may be that you do need medical assistance. Meantime, why not start trying some of these things and see what happens?

As always I’d love to hear your feedback and any thoughts on what helps you with your mindset.

Thanks for reading.



8 Tips to get through Christmas if it’s not the happiest time for you

I bloody love Christmas, love it. Love the cooking, the decorations, the songs, the eating, the man in the red suit, all of it, just love it. But, it wasn’t always this way, there was a time when Christmas for me was quite miserable and dull and I know Christmas can be a funny stressful time for lot’s of people.

Christmas is meant to be all about families coming together, sharing food, gifts and happy moments, you know, it’s just like the pictures in the Country Style or Women’s Day magazine right? Or all those gorgeous social media shots of celebs having ‘so much fun’! Well, for some people it is like that, but for lot’s of people it can be a really sad, stressful, anxious time. Perhaps a loved one is missing, you can’t stand your mother- in- law,  your husbands family are just really boring or maybe you are alone.  Maybe it’s even a scary time for you – I’ve read that the rates of domestic violence sky rocket at Christmas time as families who are forced to spend the day together end up in brawls over the dinner table.

I remember a time when Christmas wasn’t all that fun for me. The first Christmas after Dad died was pretty horrible. Not only were we all missing Dad terribly but my Auntie had been diagnosed with cancer so everyone was pretty miserable.

Christmas’s became very quiet and pretty dull after Dad died and I missed (and still miss actually) the big Warne Christmas’s with Dad’s side of the family, with 40 odd people for Christmas lunch on the verandah at my Grandparents house in the Mallee. We stopped having Christmas with them after Dad died because it was too hard for Mum.

So for some years Christmas was really quite a sad time. It wasn’t until Tim and I started having Christmas’s together and then having kids that I rediscovered my love for Christmas and now it’s my favourite time of the year.

So how is Christmas for you? If you are someone who doesn’t look forward to Christmas and it’s not a happy time, I get it. Is there an Auntie, a sister, a brother in law, a mother-in-law that you dread having to spend the day with? Is it your first Christmas without a loved one? Are you anxious just at the thought of it? Are you struggling with anxiety or depression and you are dreading a day with so many people around and having to “pretend” everything is OK? It’s OK, you are not alone and I’ve got some tips to help you get through the day and ease the stress.

  1. Be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up because you can’t stand your sister/mother/brother-in-law. We all struggle with different relationships in our life and that’s OK. Forgive yourself and accept that we can’t love everyone, all we can do is be as kind as possible and be polite and just get through the day.
  2. Make a plan and give yourself space. If you get anxious at the thought of seeing certain people, then have a plan for the day, tell your partner about it and then break the day/festive period up. Be honest with yourself about what you can cope with. Don’t force yourself to spend 3 nights in a home with your sister-in-law if she shits you to tears. Give yourself a break and just go for lunch or book in to some accomodation close by, but don’t stay there. Only plan to have one meal with them and then organise something with a friend for the other part of the day so you don’t have to spend too much time together. You are far better to do this than to force yourself in to a situation that makes you and probably everyone else around you feel uncomfortable.
  3. Take some time to remember the ones that aren’t there. If it’s your first Christmas without a loved one as it is for us this year without Tim’s Dad, then try to do something different, even go somewhere new. Do something that reminds you of them and acknowledge them and that you’re all missing them and then have a toast to them. Accept that it will be sad without them and let yourself be sad but don’t let it ruin your whole Christmas, think about the good times and be grateful for them.
  4.  If you’re hosting, don’t go overboard. This is probably a case of me really needing to listen to my own advice too!  I just love it all so much and I definitely do have a tendency to go overboard!  Delegation is key. People love to help, it makes them feel useful, so get people involved as much as possible!  It really should be about the family time and the fun not just about the food!
  5. Plan some activities to keep people busy. If you know that there are certain “complex” relationships in your family, not necessarily with you, but maybe your sisters don’t get along or your sister-in-law can’t cope with her mother-in-law then it’s good to be conscious of this and help them out as much as you can. Give people jobs, or plan an outing to the pool, or maybe a tennis match or some boulle after lunch.
  6. Be happy! As much as you can try to be the one that lifts the mood and stays upbeat. We all have the ability to spread the love and the good stuff and help others to have fun too. If we can be happy and up beat then it’s infectious. Think about how you are putting your energy out there on Christmas Day. Are you adding to the fun or bringing people down? If you notice some tension between someone then try to divert the conversation and avoid seating them next to each other!
  7. Be grateful and focus on the positives. It’s very easy to focus on the negatives and what we don’t like about other people or what we don’t like about Christmas or what makes us sad or what we haven’t got but focusing on what we have got, what we are grateful for and what the positive things about our family or life are is really, really powerful and can change our entire outlook. When you wake up on Christmas morning, (if you have time before the kids are running around the house with their Santa sacks) spend 3-5 minutes thinking of 5 things you are grateful for. Even do it Christmas Eve before you go to bed. This is actually something you can try daily and I’ll write a blog about it soon! You would be amazed at the power of feeling grateful. Everyone, no matter what situation they are in can find things to be grateful for.
  8. Take Action! Lastly but most importantly if you are feeling really depressed or suffering with a mental illness or severe anxiety or if you know someone else that isn’t coping  then please do something about it and go and see your Dr or make a call to Lifeline or PANDA and get some help or encourage them to get some help. It’s really important, especially at this time of year.

Well,  good luck for your Christmas Day. I hope it’s fun and lovely and just like the picture in the Country Style Mag, but if it’s not that’s OK. Just do your best to get through it, be kind and try to make it as much fun as possible!

Have you got any tips for getting through Christmas that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them!



What Happened in Cohuna Last Week?

This blog post is dedicated to the events that happened in Cohuna at the Hospital last week. I think it’s an issue that everyone needs to understand. Small rural communities are fighting for medical services every day. Tim is on our Local Health Medical Trust in Barham and they have lost two great Doctors this year because of changes higher up and a complete disregard for our community. Last weeks events in Cohuna were no different.  I thought I’d outline what happened last week in Cohuna as far as I understand it and I hope it helps you to understand the difficulties we have in rural communities in securing and maintaining health services. It’s not because of people here in the communities who work tirelessly, it comes from people higher up making il-infomred decisions and something needs to change.

Last week on Monday the 13th of November, for no apparent reason and all of a sudden Dr Barker and the Cohuna hospital staff were told by the administration of Echuca Regional Health, who manage Cohuna Hospital that the decision had been made to bypass all obstetrics services from Cohuna hospital effective immediately. After some negotiation Dr Barker managed to negotiate to keep services open until the Friday at which time the management would visit again to discuss the bypass.

Dr Barker took some time over the course of Monday and Tuesday to investigate what was going on and was unable to find any clear answers as to why this had happened and why so suddenly. The only thing they told him was that he was the sole GP doing obstetrics and so must be tired but they had never discussed this with him.  They also said that Safer Care Victoria had said there were safety concerns. Dr Barker contacted Prof Euan Wallace the head of Safe Care Victoria and he said there were no safety issues being discussed at Cohuna Hospital.

Tuesday night a message went out to community via social media of what was happening and by 11am the next morning there were over 250 people as well as media gathered in the Cohuna Park to hear from Dr Barker. It was pretty incredible. The Primary School turned up with gorgeous little banners, which brought a tear to my eye and I am sure many others and the whole community showed how much they value their hospital and it’s staff. I spoke about how much I love the hospital and the fact that it was pretty terrifying not knowing where we would deliver our babies now, especially seeing as though I’d already had one on the side of the road and it was frightening! This decision had myself and 40 or so other women left with no idea what we were meant to do if we went in to labour. We weren’t booked in to other hospitals, we hadn’t met other doctors and nobody from Echuca Regional Health had contacted us. What were we to do?  I felt it was completely insulting and a complete disregard for the women in our community. I was worried not so much for myself but for all the first time mothers or for those with mental health issues. What if some of the women due to give birth had prenatal depression? How would this effect them?

That night the events were reported on the news and on social media and as well as radio, still with no clear explanation as to what was going on.

For the next few days we were in limbo, not knowing what we should do.

On Friday meetings were scheduled with the Echuca Hospital Administration including the CEO Michael Delahunty and the Director of Medical Services, Dr Howlett and the GPs and hospital staff. Once again the community gathered around in peaceful protest to show their support for the hospital. Following the meetings Dr Barker came out to make a statement and confirmed that the hospital had been placed on bypass for all obstetrics with no real reason given, other than that they felt it was too much for Dr Barker by himself and it was unsafe. So the Doctors had decided that if they were unsafe to complete obstetrics services then they were unsafe to complete all the other far more risky services they complete at the hospital on a daily basis and so they went on strike effective immediately and placed all services on bypass.

News of this once again quickly spread via social media and the community were very upset, but fully supportive of the Doctors decision.

Luckily, this only lasted for 4 hours when we were notified that all hospital services were back up and running, including obstetrics.

So for now, we have a good result, but I fear this is not the end of it and I really question what on earth is going on?  There’s a few things that I really think need further scrutiny and answers.

  • Echuca Regional Health have still given no real justifiable reason as why all this happened and why the sudden decision which placed so many women at greater risk ws made. I feel like it was a complete lack of respect for our community and I can not understand the actions that were taken.
  • I spoke to the Chairman of the Echuca Regional health board last week who is also our newly elected Mayor in the Murray River Shire and he had no idea of what was happening and was not aware of the decision made by the executive management of Echuca Regional Health for Cohuna Hospital which I think is quite strange and really not acceptable.
  • Echuca Regional Health put out a Facebook post on Wednesday the 15th of November which stated that Cohuna District Hospital were urgently seeking an experienced GP obstetrician, which is very strange as the hospital don’t even employ the doctors in Cohuna, Ochre Health do.
  • Another statement on Facebook on Wednesday the 15th by Echuca Regional Health also said that “the departure of a GP obstetrician had left Cohuna with what is, in effect a single GP practitioner maternity service” which Dr Barker says is also incorrect as there had been a GP obstetrician Dr Mina Younan who recently left but he was only accredited for obstetrics under Dr Barker’s supervision. So, Dr Barker had actually been the sole GP practitioner for 15 years. So it makes no sense to all of a sudden decide he was unsafe or too tired, particularly without even talking to him about it.
  • The decision to put the obstetrics on bypass was not taken to the whole board of Cohuna Hospital. Only the Chairperson signed off on it, which is also very strange.

Dr Barker has written an extensive letter to the Ministers and in it he states that we have witnessed a planned, organised, and institutional oppression of rural women and a blatant attack on their safety. I totally agree with this and I am really appalled at what has gone on.

I think last weeks events showed what a small rural community can do when they are under threat and that we will not stand for that sort of treatment. We have a perfectly good, safe, operating hospital which is cherished and highly valued in this community and we will fight for it.

I’m so proud to be part of this community and I’d like to say a big thank you to Dr Barker and all the other Doctors and medical staff in Cohuna for your brilliant display of leadership in the face of such an insulting display by Echuca Regional Health last week. Our community has shown that when people stand up and fight for what they believe in great things can be achieved. This community will not let you take our hospital away and there are some serious questions that still need answers.

I would encourage anyone in our community to write letters to the Health Minister and ask for more answers. We can’t let this go as it will happen again.

Thanks for reading.





When will my avocado tree have fruit?

When will my avocado tree produce fruit? 

“I’ve got an avocado tree in the backyard and it still hasn’t produced any fruit. It’s 5 years old now and it looks good but it just doesn’t have any avocados. When can I expect to get fruit from the tree?”

I get asked this question so often and I always feel bad as I know you have been patiently waiting and anticipating the first fruit and I have to answer and say that it’s pretty unlikely that the tree will ever have any fruit.

All our trees come from grafted seedlings, which means a tree that produces well has been grafted on to a rootstock tree which is the base so that you can be guaranteed to get a good producing tree.

It takes about 4-5 years for an avo tree to start producing fruit anyway so it’s certainly not a short term thing even with a proper seedling.

So if you really want to grow your own tree at home, the best thing to do is go to a local garden centre and buy a grafted seedling. People also often say “do I need to have two trees to get fruit, and the answer is no, but if you have two trees you will increase your chances of getting more fruit.

The reason for this is that avocado trees actually have male and female flowers on the same plant. Lots of peopel think that you have to have two trees, a male and a female but this is not the case as a single tree can have both male and femal flowers – how cool is that?! The tree’s flowers can open up as male one day then close that night and open up as a female the next day! The only condition is we need nice warm nights for this to happen – 3 nights over 10C in fact, otherwise the female flowers don’t open. Aren’t trees amazing!

So while it might be fun to grow you own plant form seed inside for a while and watch it grow, it’s not going to be the answer to your avocado spending wows. If you really want to grow some avos, head to the nursery and buy a seedling. It is fun to grow you own plant from seed though in a jar on the window ledge and the kids will love it but just don’t expect it to save you from having to buy avos in the future – just keep buying them from us ;).

I’d love to hear if you’ve had any success growing avocados from seed or if you are still waiting!







Contributing to your community

This week we have had two awesome events in our community that were organised solely by volunteers and were for the community. It really got me thinking about the importance of community events, belonging, and contributing to our communities and the effect this has on our wellbeing.

I have always been really passionate about community and making a contribution and I love being involved and volunteering. I think this comes from my awesome Grandparents and also my Dad. They were great contributors and really involved in community and set an excellent example for me. My Nen, Gwen Heinz even got an OAM for community service. So, I guess I’ve always been a contributor and get involved with things because I like to be part of something. I like to contribute and I get real joy out of being involved in organising things with other people and in working to create good outcomes for our community. Turns out this is actually really good for your wellbeing!

I’ve written before about how much I love our community and why I think community is so important, but involvement in community is also important for individuals and being involved with community is really good for your individual wellbeing.

There is so much to be gained from sharing experiences with others and from a sense of belonging and also from contributing.

According to Maslow, “humans need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance among their social groups, regardless whether these groups are large or small. For example, some large social groups may include clubs, co-workers, religious groups, professional organizations, sports teams, and gangs. Some examples of small social connections include family members, intimate partners, mentors, colleagues, and confidants. Humans need to love and be loved – both sexually and non-sexually – by others.[2] Many people become susceptible to lonelinesssocial anxiety, and clinical depression in the absence of this love or belonging element. This need for belonging may overcome the physiological and security needs, depending on the strength of the peer pressure.”

Mind Health Connect also say Connecting with family and friends, volunteering, taking up a hobby or joining a group can help to reduce loneliness. Maintaining wellbeing has a positive effect on your ability to cope with everyday stresses. Feeling part of a community, and developing relationships, can contribute to improved health and wellbeing.

Last Friday we had a fashion parade where a group of local shops got together to showcase their goods and all the funds raised went to cervical cancer and last Saturday was the 10th annual “Red Carpet Evening” which is the major fundraiser for our Local Health Medical Trust which is responsible for our fantastic medical services in Barham.

Both these events were organised completely by volunteers and were all about doing good stuff in our community. I know it’s so much work for the volunteers but I bet they get a real buzz out of being involved with pulling off such great events and afterwards feel a real sense of achievement. I know myself with the volunteer stuff I’ve done, it just makes you feel good. It’s great to be part of something and to give something back.

So what are you part of? Are you involved in any community groups or organising committees? Small towns particularly always need volunteers, it’s what keeps them going. Getting involved in your community is not only good for the community but also for you! One of the first things we do when we are feeling a bit down is isolate ourselves so if that’s you then maybe force yourself to get out and surround yourself with people. Try volunteering with a local group that interests you or get a long and support a local event. You might be amazed how much it will help you as well as others!

I’d love to hear what groups your involved in or own personal experience of contributing and how it may have helped you too!