Your Weekend in Colac and district

Celebrating railway’s centenary

Tony Grogan at the Crowes buffer stop on the Old Beechy Rail Trail.

IT has been 100 years since the first train arrived at the Crowes railway stop.

The stop south-west of Lavers Hill was pivotal in the development of Otways’ timber and agriculture industries until the 1950s.

But the terminus lay lost in overgrown forest late last century.

“The original railway was open from Colac to Beech Forest in 1902 and in 1911 it was extended along the ridge from Beech Forest to Crowes – that was the only access that settlers had to civilisation in Colac,” Old Beechy Rail Trail Management Committee president Tony Grogan said.

Mr Grogan said the government commissioned the narrow-gauge railway in an effort to expand the timber industry.

“It also provided an avenue for settlers in the Otways to become producers rather than just settlers,” he said.

The Crowes end of the line closed in the 1950s when roads to the southern areas of the Otways became more common and the train’s use was void.

The Crowes buffer stop lay dormant in the bush after the line’s closure until a railway enthusiast rediscovered it in 1988.

The Puffing Billy Preservation Society and the Otway Scenic Circle Association oversaw the stop’s restoration in 1994.

Otway Scenic Circle Association’s Cyril Marriner said the stop’s return “brought it back to life, brought back the rail and brought back the rail stop”.

Railway enthusiasts will gather at nearby Lavers Hill this weekend to commemorate the railway’s centenary.

The two-day celebrations will begin from 4pm on Saturday at the Lavers Hill Hall and will include historical photo displays, short films, a ceremony to record the centenary and the cutting of a centenary cake.

Colac’s Lady Gaga will surprise friends and family

COLAC mum Lisa Brien says her family and friends will be shocked when they see her perform as Lady Gaga.

Lisa Brien will perform as Lady Gaga for a home crowd tomorrow when the Lady Gaga and Rihanna tribute show visits Colac.

Mrs Brien travels around the country as part of a Lady Gaga and Rihanna tribute show and the show will visit Colac tomorrow.

Nestled in the crowd to see Mrs Brien transform into the American superstar will be her husband Sam, parents, cousins, friends and former colleagues.

“I usually perform better in front of people I know so I’m really looking forward to it,” Mrs Brien said.

“It’s always good to see when people actually come to see you, it makes you perform better,” she said.

Mrs Brien said a new costume would be an added extra for the home crowd, who she said could also look forward to her live performances of Lady Gaga’s hits.

“They can expect to hear all of her older hits like Bad Romance, they can expect to hear a piano piece, Speechless, I’ll be playing a solo piece, and then the new one, Born This Way, and Judas,” she said.

Tomorrow night’s show is on at the Straight Shooters at 9pm.

Forrest is firing up for a mid-winter festival

THE Forrest and district community will ignore the freezing temperatures and celebrate winter tomorrow.

Forrest MidWinter Fire Festival will combine fire twirling, food, entertainment and fun.

Forrest Neighbourhood House co-ordinator Gillian Brew said an annual Forrest MidWinter Fire Festival would combine fire twirling, food, entertainment and fun.

She said the festival was a “cosy family event created to bring some warmth and fun to the depths of winter in the picturesque Otways’ hamlet of Forrest”.

“In its fourth year, the festival is renowned for creating a magical atmosphere, welcoming participants to engage and be a part of the event with creative family activities, a mystical lantern parade, fire sculptures and the grand finale fire performance filled with fire twirlers and breathers and even the odd dragon,” she said.

Forrest and district residents have also been involved lantern-making workshops with professional performers from FireWorks Dance in preparation for the event.

Ms Brew said the festival from 12 noon to 9pm at Forrest Public Hall would also include a traditional solstice ceremony of “lighting of the tree of life”.

The event is a fundraiser for the neighbourhood house and Forrest Primary School.

Pancakes and purchases will help Colac’s Sea Scouts

THE Second Colac Sea Scout auction on Sunday will act as a major fundraiser for the troop.

The day will begin with an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast from 7am, before a 1pm auction hosted by Charles Stewart.

Colac Second Sea Scouts leader Kathy Niblett-Graham said she expected “many and varied” auction items, including household goods and appliances.

Other activities at Colac Showgrounds will include a jumping castle, a trackless train and fairy floss.

Ms Niblett Graham said anyone who wanted to donate auction items could call Richard Barnhart on 5235 0351.

Film and talk will provide insight into refugees

A FREE film screening will give Colac district people an insight into the lives of refugees.

Geroge Mathoat will share his story of life as a refugee.

The documentary film Lost Boys of Sudan will screen at Colac Otway Performing Arts and Cultural Centre tomorrow to mark World Refugee Day.

The film follows two Sudanese refugees on their journey from their war-torn home to their new lives in the United States.

Safe from danger and hunger, the two boys slowly adjust to American life.

Colac’s George Mathoat, who came to Australia as a Sudanese refugee, will share his story with the audience after the film.

Mr Mathoat was separated from his family when war broke out in Southern Sudan, and he fled alone to refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya.

He found his family almost two decades after he separated from them with the help of Red Cross.

The film begins at COPACC at 1.30pm.

Hangover returns with more headaches

by Tassia Georgakis

THE wolf pack is back and has arrived in Colac.

The Hangover Part II has opened at Colac Cinemas.

The Hangover Part II premiered in Colac yesterday at Colac Cinemas.

The movie tells the story of Stu (Ed Helms) who is getting married in Thailand.

He asks Doug (Justin Bartha), Phill (Bradley Cooper), and his soon-to-be brother-in-law Teddy (Mason Lee) and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) to join him.

After a quiet night on the beach he starts to regret sending out the invitations.

They wake up to find Teddy missing, a monkey with a severed finger, Alan’s head shaved and Stu with a tattoo on his face.

The wolf pack retrace their night in Bangkok through strip clubs, tattoo parlours and cocaine-dealing monkeys as they try to find Teddy before the wedding.

The Hangover Part II is screening for a limited time at the Colac Cinemas, so be sure to get your tickets.


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