As is the moment we find ourselves in, the Gippslandia team fired up an online call, dialled in from our improvised personal offices and enjoyed a solid yack about this edition’s theme, ‘time’.
The first comment that leapt out, almost simultaneously from multiple screens, was that time is now a political term, and that that may not be conducive to establishing a flourishing region.
The next centred around the many moments we’ve been able to savour with family or the people we share a roof with. Admittedly, not all the observations were positive as the work/life balance has either collapsed or had to be dramatically reordered – especially for parents who’ve found themselves ‘teachers’ for the first time.
A frequent link accompanying time is space, and how to best utilise Gippsland’s location, or negate it, was raised often.
The following are our latest ideas or observations on how our region could become even better.
“...how to best utilise Gippsland’s location, or negate it...”
While a political term may be brief, gratefully, we’ve seen a renaissance in the design of government buildings in Gippsland. Architects are being employed, there’s community consultation, local companies are being utilised in construction, many of the facilities have a multitude of uses and the buildings appear to have longevity in mind.
Right now, we applaud it.
The Gippslandia team has family members who have been either temporary or permanent shift workers, and they saw how tough living in a parallel time zone could be.
Access to shops or services don’t line up with your stint away from work, and connecting with friends that have ‘normal’ 9–5 jobs can be near impossible. It’s not just blocking out daylight to get some midday shuteye that’s difficult; shift work can throw a spanner into many things that make humans healthy.
That’s why it’s so heartening to see the South Gippsland Shire Council embark on their new project – Shift: the work life balance. We look forward to the positive awareness and change it can bring.
It’s no secret that the arrival of pandemic-related lockdowns has led to an increase in online shopping for many people, but why does it have to take so long for so many things to reach us?
Could an improved sorting or logistics hub be developed in Gippsland?
Also, we hear of beautiful East Gippsland produce that goes out of the region to Melbourne, is processed, and then comes back to our shelves for local consumption.
Sure, there are efficiencies gained in this current model, but is it the only way to operate? Can we develop more local, even hyper-local, solutions that benefit both the businesses and consumers in our region?
While we’re chatting about sending goods around the joint, let’s improve our ability in shifting people too.
Since our inception, Gippslandia has been an advocate for enhanced rail travel, which includes both the speed that our trains choof-choof along, and the services that are provided on them. Given the frequency with which it’s mentioned to us in conversation, a well-equipped for work, very fast rail service would be a game-changer for many.
To flip that on its head, could there be an opportunity to create a new sea link between Melbourne-Gippsland-Sydney? We’re thinking it’d be a slow, yet luxurious journey that allows affluent retirees and tourists an opportunity to really enjoy a relatively untouched corner of Australia from a new angle.
Given the climate change impacts of air travel, or the rail line infrastructure required for a very fast train – are the high-seas a viable option?
Finally, we’ve noticed that Japan, Europe and even the States have been revisiting their service station designs, and are finding success in options that display a little less neon. Designs of larger, slower service stations, including better dining options featuring local farmer produce, nearby makers' wares for sale and even gardens, as well as petrol, are growing traction elsewhere. Visitors come to Gippsland to relax, why can’t the holiday kick-off on your way here?
Why can’t the holiday kick-off on your way here?
More Time Is Still Attractive
We chuckle, as one of Gippslandia’s co-founders, John Calabro, may well be one of the biggest advocates of moving to the region to cut your commute to work and gain some more time that is yours to enjoy.
If the chats we’ve enjoyed with many new readers are anything to go by, there are plenty of people that have moved to Gippsland recently who are loving the extra hours up their sleeves each week.
With extra time at home, and some seeking a limit on screen time, there’s been more opportunity to dabble in arts and crafts or further expand a beloved side hustle. Some people have been able to do both!
Stitched-Up Kits (stitchedupkits.com.au) is one such success story, with its team having roots in Gippsland, as well as engineering and fine arts. Stitched-Up Kits have been taking the embroidery world by storm.
Another upcoming business that’s caught our attention, but is a lot more flannel-ly, is Hugh Charles Clothing (hughcharles.com.au).
Launched as a young farming family’s response to three years of crippling drought, the brand is really hitting its stride. High-quality products and Instagram laughs make for a winning combination.