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HSP Ballarat- Humanitarian Settlement Program Providers- Not a Halal Snack pack!

Lately, I’ve noticed an absolute EXPLOSION in interest in the phrase “HSP Ballarat”

Traffic on the Bunnyscrum website has reached unprecedented levels for a relatively cult food sensation following, and while I do like to think that Ballarat has the BEST Halal Snack packs in VIC, that even beat some famous Melbourne institutions of late night greasy goodness, I think people might just be looking for something entirely, totally different, and honestly, a lot less frivolous than a late night feed.

HSP can also stand for Humanitarian Settlement Program, It’s administered by the Australian government Department of Social Services, or DSS.


What is a Humanitarian Settlement Program?

When new refugee migrants first arrive in Australia, they encounter one of the most challenging and difficult periods in their lives, where they have little to no financial resources, often limited English language skills, or knowledge of the culture, laws and customs of their new adopted home, Australia.

They need to navigate their way though a bewildering maze of hoops to jump through in order to become integrated and productive in their new environment, much of which everyday, established Australians see as commonplace, and take for granted; starting with successfully accessing financial support, finding a place to live, educating themselves, and finding a job. On top of this, they still bear the scars and trauma of atrocities and hardships that may have occurred in their country of origin, and in many cases, along the journey toward Australia.

Such new migrant arrivals benefit greatly from assistance and support delivered by organizations  who assist their initial transition.

Ballarat first became a region of settlement as part of a pilot program involving immigrants from the African nation of Togolese ; which had mixed success came under heavy criticism for poor planning initially, mainly through a paper written by an academic

However, anecdotal commentary from some participants at the time indicated extremely positive outcomes, gratefulness generally for having escaped the horrors and hardships of life in refugee camps.

More information about the role of organizations who assist refugee migrants can be found in the below paper:


The DSS website lists the following organizations as service providers:

These providers hold the contract for servicing the area of Regional Victoria, which encompasses the settlement areas of

  • Mildura;
  • Shepparton;
  • Geelong;
  • Wodonga
Ballarat Community Health
12 Libourne Street
Lucas VIC 3350
Bendigo Community Health
171 Hargreaves St
Bendigo VIC 3550
FK Services t/a Redback Settlement Services
4/111 Lewis Rd
Knoxfield VIC 3180
Geelong Ethnic Communities Council t/a Diversitat
Head Office-
153 Pakington St, Geelong West, 3218
25-41 Arunga Ave
Norlane VIC 3214
Kildonan Uniting Care
219-225 Wyndham St,
Shepparton VIC 3630
177 Beechworth Rd
Wodonga VIC 3690
Mallee Family Care
229 Beveridge Street
Swan Hill VIC 3585
Sunraysia Mallee Ethnic Communities Council
38-40 Madden Avenue Mildura VIC 3500
For the full list of Humanitarian Settlement providers, please see the link to the DSS site.





Wooden Train Set Ebay review- Jack N Jill 95 piece 4 metre

WP_20170625_15_10_21_ProWooden train sets are a classic children’s toy that generations of kids have been playing with probably since the start of the industrial revolution when the train first appeared.

Most of us have have great memories of a wood train set- the smooth wood, satisfying weight, colourful accessories and fun times with friends and family members, either at home as owners, or at school or playgroup. (Possibly with jealousy mixed in if it was at the kid next doors!)

They are durable, timeless  and for some reason capture the imagination of girls and boys almost alike (And are probably the cause of many scraps between siblings in the playroom over who gets to play first)

They cop a beating- a teacher friend said the set in her class toybox was worn, overloved but as old as the school she worked in- over 30 years!

Unfortunately, for some strange reason, these wooden train set toys often do not get handed down from parent to son, or daughter.

They are big, bulky, heavy and rarely survive a house move or spring declutter and garage sale.. either that, or being the prized toybox asset they are, got given away to some odious snotty nosed younger cousin whose favourite words were “I want it NOW” by your mum or dad many moons ago just to get them and your aunt out of your house with minimal tantrums and kick marks on the newly painted walls one weekend.

Anyway, since our family train set was long gone, we were on a mission to buy a new one… for our kid… I swear.. (Ok, I freely admit I enjoyed playing with this thing way more than an adult should ever speak about!)

WP_20170625_15_10_48_ProEbay Australia is your first go-to for obtaining bargain toys like wooden train sets in australia

This Jack N Jill 95 piece beechwood train set on ebay was pretty reasonably priced, and not too small, not too big.

(no kid wants an embarrassingly small train set.. or adult either.. you do want to play with it too, right?..so we bought two 🙂

I envisage our child setting up the double set all the way down the hallway and having a lot of fun

Looking at the box, I was rather surprised at how small the package was… was there really that much stuff in there?

It had a fairly hefty weight of a few kilos about it though..WP_20170625_15_10_55_Pro

Upon opening it up though, literally every crevice of that little box was stuffed choccers with track, accessories and vehicles, all carefully individually wrapped in tissue paper and placed in logical groups in sealed bags.

The bridges and mountains required some minor assembly- a couple screws to hold them together and onto specialised pieces of track.

Just don’t expect to get them all back in the box… its literally impossible!

Box contents of Jack N Jill 95 piece set.

  • Around 3-4 meters of track (26 pieces!)
  • Two full  4 car trains with locomotives
    • Goods/cargo train with nifty turning grain/ore carts
    • Passenger train
  • 2X bridges
  • 1X level crossing
  • Mountain scenery with elevated tunnel paths
  • 6X vehicles, including emergency services
  • 26X blocks that make a full town
    • Houses
    • Churches
    • Fire Station
    • Bank
    • Hospital
    • Police station
  • 12 blocks Bushes /shrub scenery
  • 5 roadside/trackside signs.
  • 5 telegraph poles
  • 6X wooden people blocks in bright colours.

Anyway, now the box was open, and the pieces were out, I decided to “test” the set and build it up.

Basically because we didn’t have space on the top of the low bookshelf we have in the playroom to do the standard suggested layout that is printed on the box, I decided to do my own track design.. and was very pleasantly surprised that when all the pieces were arranged carefully, the track extended more than 2.6 metres, including a substantial loop-back and turning circle at the end, so the total usable track length is probably approaching a whopping 4 metres!

The big picture below was taken from the “golden gate” style bridge approaching the far right of the “playspace”.

The first pic in this article was taken from the other side, looking from the turning circle, over the mountain tunnel module, back towards the golden gate in the distance.

Anyway, its a great quality set, and I had heaps of fun with it, so our child certainly will this Christmas with the double set!!! Very highly recommended!

Last note is compatibility with other similar sets (or grandpas!)

From reading elsewhere, the tracks and trains are standard sized, and should be more or less compatible with Brio, Thomas the tank, IKEA and Imaginarium sets.

Track dimensions measurements for wooden train set:

  •  ~40mm wide on the outside,
  • ~20mm raised central channel between the tracks
  • ~6mm embedded track width, ~4mm deep
  • ~17mm Joiner peg length from end of track to end of join circle
  • ~11mm Joiner peg circular diameter
  • ~5mm Joiner peg shaft width







ABS document smears Tigers supporters as NO voters in Australian marriage survey Plebiscite

#marriageequality #voteyes #voteno #skyisnotfalling #humanrights #gotigers #AFL #football #aussierules

I was reading though the ABS results and documentation this morning, and was shocked to find that a coding rules document on the ABS website related to the Australian Gay marriage survey smeared tigers supporters as NO voters.

This raises some serious questions about the motivations of the ABS team that wrote this!!


Either way, I found this little clip quite amusing!

Realistically though, this document just points out this vote is still valid… regardless of which football or sports team you are affiliated with.. or if you just like tigers in particular.

Check out the document on the ABS website!


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