Blog Archive

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Car of the Week-VW Kombi Van

Spotted this iconic vehicle on the way home from Canberra yesterday.
I had one of these once.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Braidwood and Majors Creek-NSW

We have over Easter visited Canberra,Majors Creek and Braidwood for a wedding,
Canberra stopping with rellies, Majors Creek attending a wedding,Braidwood, sightseeing.

Braidwood is a quaint historical Gold mining town about halfway from Canberra to the East coast of Australia.
 Majors Creek is 15 minutes East of Braidwood and also has a Gold mining history.

Here are some pics of our journey.

While in Majors Creek we stayed in an old historical hotel.

Braidwood is a place I would recommend to visit while staying in Canberra.
On the way there is another historical town called Bungendore and also you could visit the Majors Creek area.
There is another post on this blog showing the restored Bungendore Railway Station.

Grey Heron,Majors Creek


Majors Creek Hotel

Majors Creek Hotel

Braidwood Masonic Lodge

Braidwood Anglican Church





Braidwood Cemetry

Braidwood Anglican Church

Inside Braidwood Anglican Church


Thursday, March 24, 2016

From the Wayside Chapel by Graham Long

Dear Inner Circle,

As a young man, I liked to think I was pretty bright. In my mid-twenties my head was awash with Freud, Ellis, Berne and the like. I wanted to serve people well but in the process I ran a solo commentary on how the world worked. I look back in horror and embarrassment at my pretentious twenty-something self. Knowledge comes through books but wisdom comes through pain.

In the little town of Waikerie, South Australia, I ran a visiting service for a government department whose primary responsibility was child protection. The office I used had no receptionist and no telephone; just a sign on the door to say that I’d be there on Fridays. No one had thought of mobile phones in those days. I started each visit with a full waiting room and I’d work until everyone had gone. They were often long days with no way for me to make enquiries for people or ask for help when my way got difficult.

One day a woman walked in with her daughter who I imagine might have been four or five years old. I will never lose the image of the little girl’s face. Her facial expression was akin to a snarling dog and yet she said nothing. I’m not sure she could talk. She seemed to be hiding a hand and so I gently pulled her arm up so that I could see her hand. Her little fingers were badly burned and blistered. The pattern of the burns suggested to me immediately that the burns were caused by a hotplate. The sore hand had received no medical treatment and had swollen to become as large as my hand. “How did this happen?” I asked the mother. She replied, “She tells lies”. I felt sick. Nothing I had ever learned was any good to me. I had no phone and no one to ask for advice. Under all my fundamentalist Christian formation was a question that gnawed at me for years. Where was God when that little kid’s hand was being held on the hotplate?

A couple of months later, I helped another mother with seven kids run away from the domestic violence of her drunken husband. The family lived on a part of the Murray River that was miles away from anyone or anything. On the day of escape, two of the children were unexpectedly with their father and so we escaped with Mum and five kids. When the husband returned, he was so incensed that his wife would leave him that he took his five-year-old daughter, put her in a weighted bag and lowed her into the river. The child died. My soul numbed for years until I could bare to ask myself where God might have been when that little girl was being lowered into the river.

It took me years to be able to ask my question let alone move toward an answer. Today, I know where God was when the little girl was mercilessly lowed into the Murray River. God was, “in the bag”.

Easter makes no sense except to reveal that there is no God-forsaken place where God isn’t. There is no person who is too far gone. The is no hole you can fall into where there is not goodness and hope at the bottom.

That is my Easter message for this year. When you are bewildered by Christians who observe this season and seem to honour what looks like an act of unspeakable brutality, understand that they know; God is in the bag.

Thank you for putting up with my odd religious message and thank you for being part of this inner circle,


Rev Graham Long AM
Pastor and CEO
The Wayside Chapel
Kings Cross


Monday, March 21, 2016

Some more Random Photos-Riverland

Here are a few pics from my recent weekend trip to Renmark in South Australia's Riverland.

Little Eagle

Pied Butcherbird


Golden Oldie

Watching Owl.

Patterns on Gum Tree

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Programmed to Fail? by Geoff Thompson

Frank Hunting on the left and Harold Long, my 2 pastors in my formative Christian years

Some years ago, when I was about 20,I am now nearly 70, I had what amounted to be a "nervous breakdown".
That was the terminology used then.
They would say in today's terminology probably depression or an acute anxiety state.
Either way I was a mess.
This was something that happened very suddenly, out of the blue and was very frightening.
I didn't know what was happening or why although I was suspicious as to the why.
I thought it was because of "sin" but I didn't believe I had "sinned" as such.
I was not a Bible believing Christian although I had been to Church or Sunday School in my pre teen years.
I rebelled when I was about 13 and did not want to go anymore.
Well I had very severe physical symptons but not that someone watching me could have known about.
I was working in  a good job at the time, was doing well in sport and hoping to go on to bigger and better things in the sporting world.
I had a girlfriend.
I had everything going for me but I was a total mess.
I had several Doctor's appointments and after tests my Doctor concluded that I had a Psychological problem and he would make an appointment for me to see a Psychiatrist .
An appointment was made but my Dad strongly counselled against keeping the appointment.
He said if you start on that "merry go round" you'll never get off it" or words to that effect.
I tried to live life normally in spite of the symptoms but everything was caving in.
I talked to people close to me and all were supportive but had no answers.
I went to Church one night but came out feeling worse that when I went in.
No one else knew about my problem.
I tried reading self help books and used various mind games to overcome my symptoms.
My condition was there with me all day until I went to sleep and the first thing that greeted me on waking up.
My sporting prowess and working effectiveness were diminishing rapidly.
I was shifted out of the job I was doing as I was becoming totally non effective.
Over a period of some 3 years I started to function reasonably ok again.
 By using all sorts of positive thinking ruses.
Eventually we got married.
We spent the first 6 months of our marriage in Darwin where I at least gained back a lot of my sporting prowess.
Work was another question.
I was making a mess of that.
I started attending Church in Darwin with my wife.
I did not become a Christian but was enjoying the company of Christians and was hearing some good preaching.
I started marvelling at the wonderful scenery of the Northern Territory and God used this to draw me closer to Him.
I started capturing the beauty of nature on film for the first time.
We returned to Adelaide after what was effectively a 6 month working honey moon.
I promised my wife I would go to Church with her in Adelaide but would not get "hooked in."
After 3 years of sitting in a pew listening to the Word of God being expounded I ran out of reasons not to make a big leap of faith and become a Christian.

I did.

I was a new person.

Everything seemed new and fresh and exciting.

It was.

For a while.

I became a youth  leader at Church.

We started our family.

Then at the age of about 33 I had a sudden relapse and return of my symptoms from when I was 20.

I knew what caused it , what triggered it off, but did not know how to handle it.

I have since learnt a lot about "emotional triggers".

I went to our associate Pastor, Frank Hunting, for counselling.
He sat me down and just asked me in effect to start at the beginning.
He asked if he could take a few notes.
I told him a fair bit of my life story thus far.
I had walked into this counselling session still with debillitating symptoms.
After a while he said "ok, that's enough" and then told me some things that I found staggering.

He explained as he went why he had drawn these conclusions.

He told me I was suffering from feelings of Insecurity,Inferiority and Rejection.

He told me in effect I had been "programmed" to fail.

I had shared with him my various failures along the way amongst other things.

He then said  "I don't want you to pray about this, I will pray for you."

This staggered me a bit.

He then showed me a passage in the Bible and he said he wanted me to take this passage and move forward in the strength and power of that statement.

Just rest in that teaching and continually refer back to it.

You might read it and think that's not world shattering but in effect it was for me.

I walked out of that meeting completely free of symptoms.

The passage is from Ephesians.

Ephesians 1:6New King James Version (NKJV)

"6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved."

I was loved and accepted by God  because of His Grace.

It was nothing I had to earn.

There was the antidote for all I was believing about myself and life had programmed me to believe.

I have had a further "breakdown" a few years back now and I think loosely connected somehow to my previous life experiences.

I did see a couple of Pyschiatrists then but I was confident I would return to normal.

I did not have more than one visit with each of them.

One of them told me he didn't think I needed ongoing help as I had a good grasp of what to do and why I was in the predicament.

I did return to normal as I put back into practice the things I have learned along the way.

Frank Hunting has long passed on to his Saviour.

I have posted much of his teachings and recordings on my blogs and youtube channel.

His sermon on Inner peace or inner freedom  I would recommend.

I don't have all the answers to any problems that you might have as you read this but I know Jesus does.

I don't say that glibly.

This testimony just skims the surface of the topics mentioned.

I hope this is helpful to any who may read it.

Maybe you have had a life of failure.

Even programmed to fail.

Below is a link to a youtube video by Max Lucado.

He is a Christian Teacher and Author.

His message is one that ties in with this one.

That God can bring us out of wherever me might be.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Hakluyt Society

I was in a bookshop last week and came across a set of 12 volumes of bound books by Richard Hakluyt on Voyages of Discovery.
They were selling for $750 and though I was temped I found they were available to read free online.
Richard Hakluyt was an amazing individual and there is a whole society founded in his honour.

I started reading one of the volumes online and came across a remarkable story about one John Fox.
Below is a link to a modern telling of his tale which is nowhere as near as dramatic as the telling in Hakluyt's Voyages.


Its a wonder it has not been made into a movie if a swashbuckling tale is your thing.

Here below is the online reading from the original link starting at page 9.

The marvels of the internet to be able to track down things you have never heard of.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Finally pulled the plug!

In 1975 I started photographing weddings.

I was 29 at the time.

My Dad, Glen Thompson, who was my first trainer and Inspiration in photography. The safari suit was my standard wedding photography uniform in the 1970's. This was in the Dandenongs in Victoria.

Now this last weekend I assisted a young friend in a wedding shoot and at the end of the day and into the night I suffered some terrible cramps.
(See Summer's facebook photography site below.)

I decided that now almost 70 it is time to declare my innings closed on officially shooting weddings.

I have been averaging about one a year over the last five years.

I have been thoroughly enjoying over the last 10 years the transition from film photography to digital and marvel at the cameras now being produced at a rapid rate.
I will probably in future still take some shots at weddings where I am a guest but apart from that maybe only when I am Uncle Geoff.
It has been a fantastic journey and I have made many wonderful friends in the photography industry and also been able to mentor and train some young photographers along the way.
On this blog and my other blogs I have posted some of my training in wedding photography tips from my course I developed some years ago.
If you are an aspiring Wedding Photographer you may find a lot of help there.
See my other blogs on photography.
 A lot of this training is also posted on this blog.

Thanks to all who have helped me along the way.
Especially my lovely wife.

From last weekend. A beautiful wedding.

Below is a link to an earlier post anticipating this day.

Ps. Since posting this have now been asked to photograph guys getting ready only at 2 consecutive weddings. This is something I can handle. Probably the "easiest" part of wedding photography.

PPS. Now in October 2016 I am recovering from heart surgery. It's a good thing I pulled the plug when I did.
I could have died on a wedding shoot!
Seriously as you get older listen to those telling you you need to lose weight and have a healthy diet.
Have regular checkups although in my case usual medical check ups did not reveal seriously blocked arteries.
Don't wait to get older but do the right things early on.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Wanderers into 2016 NTFL Grand Final

I watched the Wanderers live on youtube last night as they convincingly beat Southern Districts in Darwin.

They will play off in the Grand final in 2 weeks time.

Below is the link to watch a replay of last night's game.

I played for the Wanderers in 1970/71 season.

Go the Eagles!

Ps. Unfortunately the Wanderers lost to St Marys by 2 points in the grandfinal.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Never ending argument. Creation V Evolution by Geoff Thompson

Giant termite mound. Northern Territory. A masterpiece of design.

The title is a bit misleading because the argument for us all ends just after we pass from this life to the next.

Then we will be very much aware of our Creator.

Much is written in Science journals and Christian apologists books about this subject.

From both camps it is a fascinating study and occasionally people change camps depending on persuasive argument and when moving to the Christian position I believe the Holy Spirit plays a part in that.

Faith v Science are really two different disciplines.

Science is based on examining this world,fossils,dna, geography etc.

Faith is based on the Bible.

I believe there is knowledge in the Bible that has also been uncovered by science.

Scientific knowledge usually begins with a Hypothesis and scientists then search for physical evidence to back it up.

A generally agreed paradigm is what transpires if evidence is good and overwhelming and very demonstrable.

The Law of Gravity is a generally universally agreed Paradigm.

Christians should have no problem with that bit of science.

Evolutionists come with those who have different theories as to how evolution works.

Non Christian scientists usually are working on an overall paradigm that evolution happened somehow but they can differ on the mechanics of it.

Christians who feel their faith being threatened by scientific discovery usually read as much as they can to make sure they are in the right camp.

Much has been written to help that cause and many Christian organisations exist to this end.

For the Christian it really comes down to whether they believe the Bible or not.

A passage where you could end the whole angst about this subject is the first 3 verses of Hebrews 11.

In particular verse 3.

Hebrews 11:1Now faith is a well-grounded assurance of that for which we hope, and a conviction of the reality of things which we do not see.
Hebrews 11:2For by it the saints of old won God's approval.
Hebrews 11:3Through faith we understand that the worlds came into being, and still exist, at the command of God, so that what is seen does not owe its existence to that which is visible.   (Weymouth Translation)

"What is seen does not owe its existence to that which is visible"

That means the cause of it all is not of a material nature but spiritual.

In another post on this blog about counselling my mentor and former Pastor Frank Hunting pointed out something quiet profound and important about counselling and psychology.

It is in a similar vein to that just quoted from Hebrews 11:3.

(Note:There is no agreed paradigm on psychology)

"However, counselling such as is everywhere being offered to people in need or in crisis has, no matter how good and wise it may be , an inbuilt weakness. It is humanistically based. It is the study of man by man. It is man trying to help man. This follows the advice given by Alexander Pope: “Know then  thyself, presume not God to scan. The proper study of man is man.” The proper study of man is man ,and that confines us to all the limitations and inadequacies of human beings. And this is not good enough."

This idea of Pope's also violates the position of Hebrews 11:3

Psychology needs to look to the creator, not the created.

So does the science of origins.

When we want to trouble shoot an appliance we go the manufacturer's manual.

My opinion is that scientific discovery can certainly verify the possibility of the existence of the creator but never prove there is a creator.

Proof comes through faith and faith comes by hearing the word of God.

Nor can science disprove there is a creator God.

If we want to understand our existence and the world around us we should look to our manufacturer.

I hope if you are reading this you can get my drift.

If you do then you need to ask yourself how reliable is the Bible?

Is it really the word of God?

The evidence for this when studied objectively is overwhelming.

From the Wayside Chapel by Graham Long

Dear Inner Circle,

I’ve never done this before but below is a note I sent to all staff this week. Several people suggested that this note would be a helpful insight for you, our inner circle. I hope this note provides insight into Wayside and how we deal with extraordinary pressure but also maybe this could be helpful for any family or any organisation that likewise might be living through hard times.

So here it is… and…

Thanks for being part of our inner circle,


To the whole Wayside team,

Our way has been torrid lately. I was whinging a bit about my workload to Mon the other day and she told me about how someone had just projectile vomited on her. It put my whinge into perspective.

You’ll wonder if our way could get any more difficult after losing two people last week but I bring you more bad news today. Tammy died this morning. Some of you will know that Tammy, being transgender, was brutally bashed on two occasions before her death. I’m told her death is not directly the result of the bashings but what a dreadful week was the last week of her life. I know I’ve just delivered a deep wound to the hearts of many of you whose hearts were already heavy.

This week, more than ever, we need to show kindness to one another. We need to allow more room for wobbles than we might normally allow. Many of us are grieving. There is a massive blessing for us who do this work, and if we’re doing it right, there is a massive heartache too. Especially to Una’s team in the Community Services Centre but also to Mon’s team in the Aboriginal Project and all those with whom I’ve shared tears recently, thank you for your lack of professional distance and thank you for your abundance of professional love. You inspire us and your tears set off a chain reaction of love in the rest of us. You each build my faith more than if Jesus were to suddenly appear before me. Actually, in watching you work, embracing the tough stuff, engaging in fun and pain, in celebrating small wins and in shedding tears for our losses, Jesus does suddenly appear for me and I am reborn and filled with awe.

Be on the alert for one another. Remember that multiple tragedies can have a cumulative effect. I urge each manager to do something with your team that gives room to focus on that which is fun and that which is beautiful. The fun and the beauty are always with us so we don’t have to invent it, just make room for it.

Remember too that it was never our task to fix anyone. Our task is to be alongside and when such a meeting takes place, people will fix themselves. It is right that we should feel pain. It is not however the pain of failure. The sessions we have when tears flow are our finest hour. Many want to judge Sallie, Tammy, Paul and the many others I could name, but when many choose to judge, we do not. We knew these people and we loved them. For some, the only tears shed for their sake came from our Chapel and your offices. That makes Wayside a special place on this earth.

What shall we do? Are there better days ahead? Yes, yes, yes. Amazing days are just ahead. What shall we do? I suggest every one of us hug Una and thank her for the job she does for the world and for the rest of us. I suggest we hug Mon and thank her for the job she does for the world and for the rest of us. I suggest we find everyone on both these teams and give them a hug and thank them for all they do to make this world a better place. We should thank them for being affected and vulnerable and responsive. I’m not forgetting Day to Day Living nor our Youth team nor our Bondi team. All of our programs is where the human rubber meets the road and this is a good moment for all of us to express our thanks to every person in every one of our programs.

Wayside isn’t a monoculture that we project onto the world. We are not an explosive device that is aimed at the world. We are a group who knows that ‘meeting’ rather than ‘fixing’ is the way to a better world. It means we actually risk a fair bit. We are prepared to lose ourselves to some extent in order to be part of a community with no ‘us and them’.

I wouldn’t work anywhere else in the world for any amount of money. Thank you and look after each other this week.


Rev Graham Long AM
Pastor and CEO
The Wayside Chapel
Kings Cross