Speakers

Dave Beggs

After growing up on a merino stud not far north of Caramut, Dave Beggs graduated as a vet from the University of Melbourne in 1990 and worked briefly in Smithton, Tasmania, before moving to Warrnambool in 1992.  

After working as a mixed-practice vet for about 20 years, during which time he completed a Master degree in dairy medicine and production, he stepped back from general veterinary practice to take up an interest in research, academia and animal welfare.  

He is now a senior lecturer in cattle medicine at the Melbourne Veterinary school.  

Dave has completed a PhD in animal welfare of dairy cows.  

He has authored more than 25 peer reviewed research papers and presented at about 20 conferences.  

Dave is the author of WelfareCheck – a program used by cattle vets to develop animal welfare plans for farmers, he sits on the Victorian Government Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, and he has recently been appointed as a Fellow of the Australian Veterinary Association and editor-in-chief of the Australian Veterinary Journal.  

He is very excited to answer the important question, “Do cows think grass tastes good?”

Alecia Bellgrove

Alecia Bellgrove is a Senior Lecturer in Marine Biology and Ecology in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences and Centre for Integrative Ecology at Deakin University Warrnambool Campus and teaches into the Bachelor of Environmental Science (Marine Biology).

She heads the DeakinSeaweed Research Group, which focuses on research to inform the development of a sustainable seaweed industry for southeastern Australia, and conservation of natural seaweed ecosystems, whilst increasing public awareness and guardianship of the amazing and gorgeous seaweed flora we have in our region.  

Alecia is a mother of two young boys and a self-confessed foodie, who is passionate about feeding her family delicious and nutritious food that is ethically and sustainably produced.  

Her experience of living and working in Japan for 3 years as a postdoctoral researcher lead her into the wonderful world of seaweed cuisine.

The intersection of her lived personal experiences, passions for great nutritious food and the environment, and her expertise in seaweed biology and ecology have converged to direct her research program in sustainable nutrition solutions through the use of Australian seaweeds.  

And what better place than to do this research than on the nutrient-rich, cold waters of south-west Victoria and the Great Southern Reef!

Paul Watkins

Paul Watkins is probably best described as a cross between Harry Potter and Bear Grylls.

Starting out as a local pharmacist, he has spent time as a builder, property developer, entrepreneur, public speaker and trail runner. 

He has climbed, trekked and adventured in Tanzania, Argentina, Alaska, the Arctic, Antarctica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, India, Jordan and Nepal to name a few.

He has also managed to race in some of Australia and the world’s toughest ultra-marathons - including being one of only six  people to ever finish and win the 614km 6633 Arctic Ultra.

His training for these expeditions also led him to become an avid student of the nuanced art of endurance training and a regular speaker on the topics of mental toughness, emotional resilience and personal discipline.

Paul describes himself as the only forklift driving, ultra-racing Pharmacist who has an MBA but is also handy with an ice-axe.

He now divides his time between being a pharmacist, climbing mountains, public speaking, corporate workshops, running ultra-marathons as well as being a husband and father to two young boys.

Tom Richardson and Kylie Thulborn

TOM RICHARDSON

Tom Richardson is your newest oldest friend and will leave you feeling as fulfilled as your most inspired coffee date. A multi-award winning singer/songwriter, international touring artist turned chaotic choir director, Tom has performed in over 15 different countries with his passport showing memories of musical collaborations with Native American poets, Indian Kirtan masters, Fijian highland village choirs and indigenous Australian icons. 

Appreciating the liberation in exploration and privilege of forging relationships with listeners and cultures around the world, Tom’s own and wider work is reflected in musical arrangements better categorised by emotion and experience, rather than genre or labels.

Tom is extremely passionate, through his work he ensures universal access to music is attainable for minority groups, his unwavering belief is that we are all much more alike than we are different.

KYLIE THULBORN

Equal parts enthusiasm, compassion and fireworks, Kylie Thulborn lives a selfless life empowering others through self advocacy and creative activism.

Mother-of-four, yogi, biophilliac and logistics queen are just a few adjectives used to describe Kylie, who for over 20 years has been committed to facilitating access and equality for those that share the lived experience of disability across South West  Victoria.

Whether speaking to suits in metropolitan political offices or pulling on a wetsuit before diving in the Southern Ocean, Kylie’s life’s work has elevated the conversation around equalising the lived experience of disability in regional areas. 

Kylie’s imprint can be found embedded in projects such as Bungy Jumping, Lawyers and Love,  the Speak Up Space, Rights / Lights / Sound, Advocacy / Inclusion / Community - Power of Partnerships Forum, the All Abilities Advocacy South West Network in addition to the Find Your Voice Choir. 

These projects with roots planted deeply in human rights have reinforced the essential nature of creative activism when raising community consciousness and empowering those individuals often left isolated and disempowered by disability.

TOGETHER

Life long friends and proven formidable team, Tom and Kylie have facilitated a number of inclusive projects across South West Victoria and beyond. Internationally, Tom and Kylie have collaborated to develop and deliver adaptive surfing and skating opportunities for people who share the lived experience of disability. 

Tom and Kylie have worked in partnership nurturing their shared capacity for creative community activism via internships with the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation,  Life Rolls On (USA), JAWS and Ocean Healing Group International Adaptive Surfing Program in Mal Pais (Costa Rica).

Above all, Tom and Kylie live the shared belief that if we are all able to look at each other through the same lense, the world would change for the better immediately. 

John Sherwood

John joined Warrnambool Institute of Advanced Education as a Lecturer in 1979, moving to Warrnambool from Sydney with his family.

Following formation of an expanded Deakin University in 1990, he was promoted to Associate Professor, a position which was made Honorary on his retirement in 2010.

John has strong environmental research interests and is actively involved in environmental management through his memberships of the Victorian Marine and Coastal Council.

Previously he has served on the  Board of Glenelg-Hopkins CMA, the Western Coastal Board, Victoria’s National Parks Advisory Council and, Victoria’s Fisheries Co-management Council.

He has also served as National President of the Australian Marine Sciences Association.

His work has been recognised by Warrnambool City Council (Australia Day Awards 1988, 2017), Glenelg-Hopkins CMA (Individual in Business Award 2005) and the Victorian Coastal Council (Lifetime Achievement Award 2005).