Our Hopes for the Future of Morwell exhibition on show at Mid Valley

The ‘Our hopes for the future of Morwell’ exhibition features 28 photographs of community groups and members holding objects that symbolise their hopes for the future of Morwell.

The community’s hopes and dreams for Morwell will be showcased at a photography exhibition at Switchback Gallery, Federation University, Gippsland Campus from 14-24 November.

The exhibition, titled ‘Our hopes for the future of Morwell’, is a project developed by the Hazelwood Health Study, in collaboration with Morwell Neighbourhood House and Gippsland Centre for Art and Design at Federation University.

It will feature 28 photographs of community groups and members holding objects that symbolise their hopes for the future of Morwell.

Hazelwood Health Study research associate Dr Sue Whyte said the exhibition followed extensive consultation with local groups about ways to strengthen community wellbeing and recovery post-Hazelwood mine fire and power station closure.

“This exhibition evolved from research into recovery from the Hazelwood mine fire. We listened and clearly heard that people wanted to do something positive about Morwell and to be a part of the conversations about the future,” Dr Whyte said.

“We came up with the idea of people thinking about what their future hopes for Morwell were and coming up with a symbol to feature in a photo to be included in a community exhibition.”

The photographs, taken by Clive Hutchison, will also feature an accompanying caption written by each participating group describing what the object represents.

“As Clint Eastwood put it, ‘sometimes if you want to see a change for the better, you have to take things into your own hands’. This sentiment is at the heart of the image making,” Mr Hutchison said.

The free exhibition will be open to the community for two weeks from 14 November including Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 November. The gallery is open from 10am to 4.30pm. The exhibition is then expected to travel to other locations in the local community and more broadly.

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The Hazelwood Health Study has completed heart and blood vessel health assessments in Morwell, testing more than 330 people.

Testing finished on April 30th and marked the end of the first phase of the study’s clinical assessments.

“Thank you to all the residents who took part in the assessments. The staff have appreciated your support and the time you committed to the testing,” Hazelwood Health Study Clinical Stream Coordinator Brigitte Borg said.

“The Morwell residents who participated in the testing will be invited to undergo the same assessments on two further occasions; once in 2020 and again three years from then.”

Ms Borg said the repeated assessments will help researchers look for changes in heart and blood vessel health over time in residents who lived in Morwell during the 2014 Hazelwood mine fire.

However, those who participated this time will be under no obligation to participate in the future.

As part of the assessment process, letters were sent to participants’ nominated GPs if their tests revealed anything unusual, such has high blood pressure.

Local GP, Dr Ian Webb, thanked the study for sending the reports that he said has helped with the ongoing treatment of his patients.

“The letters were very informative and encouraged further discussion between doctor and patient,” Dr Webb said.

“While we were aware of existing conditions in a number of instances, some of the assessments identified issues requiring further follow up with the patient.

“I appreciate the study’s work in ensuring anything out of the ordinary health-wise during the assessments was brought to our attention.”

Health assessments were also undertaken in the comparison community of Sale. Researchers will now begin analysing the data from these assessments, as well as the respiratory health assessments which finished earlier in the year, and expect to release findings associated with the testing later this year. For more information about the Hazelwood Health Study, visit www.hazelwoodhealthstudy.org.au

This research was funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.

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The Adult Survey is a large survey of all adults on the Electoral Roll and who lived in Morwell at the time of the mine fire. This is the final Hazelwood Health Study stream to roll out, mainly because it is the largest and most complex part. Eligible residents will start receiving information about the survey from early May.

Participation involves answering a one-off questionnaire about your health and wellbeing, where you were during the mine fire and the type of house you live in, and giving the researchers permission to access further health information from hospital, ambulance and cancer databases.

Results from the Adult Survey may identify any health impacts in adults exposed to the mine fire event and how widely these impacts were felt in the region. Central to this work will be the comparison between two local communities – Morwell which was most exposed to the smoke and Sale which was minimally exposed. The findings will then be generalised to the other communities in the Latrobe Valley and beyond which were impacted by the smoke event.

Rather than approaching all eligible adults in both communities at once, we will divide Morwell and Sale into smaller areas which we will approach over a 6 month period.

To reimburse participants for their time, invited adults who complete the survey will receive a $20 ‘Latrobe City’ or ‘Shop in Sale’ gift voucher.

The success of the study depends on as many people as possible completing the Adult Survey whether older or younger, well or unwell. The higher the participation rate, the better the outcome for the two communities, the Latrobe Valley and the wider region. In addition to identifying any impacts from the smoke event, the study will provide new information about long-term or chronic health conditions of the local communities which will provide the evidence base for health policy and planning.

So keep an eye out for information about the study in your mailbox and get involved. The Hazelwood Health Study team will be at community events over the next 6 months to explain the Adult Survey as well as providing information in the local media and here on our website.

Further information about the Adult Survey is available here and a copy of the Information Sheet for eligible residents is can be downloaded by clicking here.

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The HHS Annual Community Briefing was held at the Morwell Bowling Club 29 November 2016.

Members of the Community were invited to meet the study team, enjoy a supper while team members gave an overview and update on the study.

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The Hazelwood Health Study is calling on the community to take part in a photography exhibition that shares their hopes for the future of Morwell.
The ‘Our hopes for the future of Morwell’ exhibition will feature images of Morwell community members and groups holding a symbol that represents their hopes for the township.
The Monash University-led study is inviting the community to have their photo taken with their symbol at Morwell Neighbourhood House on Thursday 24 August from 10am to 12pm. The photographic images will then be exhibited at Switchback Gallery, Churchill in November. The project is a collaboration between the health study, Morwell Neighbourhood House and Gippsland Centre for Art and Design (Federation University).

photo credit: clive hutchison

Hazelwood Health Study completes an investigation of the impacts of the Hazelwood mine fire on a specialist school which relocated during the smoke event

The Hazelwood Health Study has completed an investigation of the impacts of the 2014 Hazelwood mine fire on wellbeing, educational outcomes, and teaching practices for students and staff at a specialist school which relocated during the smoke event.

“We would like to thank all teachers and administrative staff who gave their time to describe their experiences of the smoke event,” Monash University researcher Dr Emily Berger said.

Dr Berger said that analysis of the interviews with students suggested that the smoke event had adversely impacted on student wellbeing, including increased feelings of anxiety and frustration, difficulty adjusting to the relocation environment, a reduced sense of safety, as well as increased levels of stress at home.

“Having to cope with these challenges likely contributed to the drop in both attendance and schoolwork completion reported during this time.”

School staff also experienced anxiety and frustration around the event, particularly in relation to having concerns for themselves and their families at the same time as working hard to look after their students.

“Relocation of the school imposed extra duties upon staff, reduced their access to teaching resources, and increased the time spent dealing with student concerns. The smoke event affected teachers at the school on both a professional, and personal, level.”

On a positive note, Dr Berger said that relocating the school during the event had reduced exposure to smoke for students and teachers, and that the school had been proactive in its response by taking the opportunity to engage students in a variety of outdoor activities away from the smoke.

“The school’s use of a trauma-informed approach to teaching provided considerable insights into how best to support students during future emergency events, particularly those requiring an extended relocation period.”

For more information about the Hazelwood Health Study, visit www.hazelwoodhealthstudy.org.au

This report is being published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma. A copy of the pre-print version of this article is available at www.hazelwoodhealthstudy.org.au/publications

This research was funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.

Morwell and Sale community markets

Gorgeous weather for the recent Morwell 50 Mile Farmers Market and Sale Sunday Charity Variety Market. We had a great time talking to people about the study and answered lots of questions. Remember if you have any questions about the study you can take a look at our FAQs page, Adult Survey FAQs, contact us through this website – or come and chat to us at the next community event. Look forward to meeting you.

Susan Denny speaking to a man seated on a mobility scooterSusan Denny speaking to a man about Hazelwood flyer they are both holdingSusan Denny speaking to a woman at the Sale Sunday Charity Variety market

Hazelwood Health Study meet and greet

Get in touch with Hazelwood Health Study Communications and Engagement Adviser Shaun Mallia If you would like to know more about the study.

Latrobe Valley residents will have the opportunity to learn about the Hazelwood Health Study at a series of community meet and greets.

The Monash University-led study was formed following the 2014 Hazelwood mine fire to identify potential health outcomes for people who may have been exposed to smoke from the fire.

The study’s Communications and Engagement Adviser, Shaun Mallia, will be based at multiple Morwell locations during the next few weeks and available to speak with members of the community about the study.

On Thursday 22 March, Shaun will be based at the Latrobe Health Assembly office at Suite 1/256 Commercial Road, Morwell.

On Thursday 29 March, he will be based at Morwell Neighbourhood House at 48 Beattie Crescent, Morwell.

On Thursday 5 April, you can chat with Shaun at the ReActivate Latrobe Valley office at 226 Commercial Road, Morwell.

He will be available from 9am to 5pm and interested residents can make an appointment by phoning 0438 152 751 or 5122 7382 – or just drop in for a casual chat. Alternatively, residents should feel free to call Shaun at any time to chat about the study.