Meet the committee

We all know that it takes a village to raise a child and our Oasis Rainbow project is being nurtured, raised and carefully developed by a ‘village’ of wonderful volunteers from the Rainbow and District community. We’ve got teachers, domestic engineers, farmers, musicians, earth-movers, artists, footballers, golfers and business owners all keen to watch this Oasis baby grow and take on the world. Come and meet them. 

Peter Gosling

The committee’s El Presidento – Peter Gosling might the father of the two boys who play in The Lazy Farmer’s sons but he is no slouch when it comes to getting things done.

Walk around Rainbow and he can tell you a fascinating story or bit of history about just about every house in every street. He has lived here since 1965 but still helps his sons on the farm out of town at Nypo, on the north end of Lake Albacutya an internationally listed Ramsar wetland. The farm also abuts the Wyperfeld National Park and Peter has one word for the location –“beautiful”. “There is plenty of space and plenty of inspiration for music creation when you are living and working in a hostile farming environment. When is not on the farm working with his sons he is song writing, singing, playing guitar or working on a range of town committees and organisations. He loves seeing his farm being run by his sons and working with them.

Ron Ismay

Fourth generation Rainbow man and local hardware store owner/car enthusiast Ron Ismay is full of ideas and passion for his beloved community. He is involved in the arts, grants and primary hub committees as well as being a local councillor on Hindmarsh Shire.

Ron loves and epitomises the friendly can-do community and its easy going nature. He has watched this project move from a rough sketch to a reality and hopes to both improve Rainbow’s image and profile within and beyond the district. “I am most excited about what it will do for the town. Most small towns struggle to survive and this project has the potential to create a vibrant place to both be and visit. I am loving the enthusiasm that is generating with some of the community and artists alike.”

Lynn McKenzie

A resident for the past 25 years, Lynn farms 20 minutes from Rainbow and works at the hospital. She loves the people, the “great community” and the fantastic opportunities available in Rainbow.  After 18 years volunteering in the school community Lynn is now turning her efforts to the Oasis project. That won’t see an end to an active role also played in sports – football, netball, tennis and golf or her membership of the Kenmare fire brigade. She sees Oasis as a chance to give back to Rainbow and learn new skills and work with other great community members.

“I am loving the ideas everyone has and seeing people getting so excited about this.”

Lynn is looking forward to seeing the garden evolve and her future vision is for it to be a major drawcard for a steady flow of visitors to the town and the Hub.

Colleen Petschel

School teacher Colleen Petschel has been in rainbow 27 years and loves the community spirit, the “roll up your sleeves” country attitude and the kids who live here. “The youth of the town are so proud of where they live and get proactively involved in community projects,” she says.

When she is not at school, Colleen supports tennis, badminton, football and netball, helps manage the recreation reserve and is involved in Friends of the RSL. She was attracted to the Oasis project because it will preserve the old primary school site and develop this into a thriving community hub. “I am most excited about the artists coming to town, the music side of things and the primary hub development.”

Her vision for Rainbow is a thriving place that is the pride of the region that people want to visit and will tell others to do the same. “So far I am enjoying working with a diverse range of people, the community spirit and the growing pride in our town.”

 Belinda Eckermann

    Belinda Eckermann may have only been in Rainbow for 12 years but she works for it and its residents with the determination of a fifth generation local.“There is such a willingness for people to support each other in times of need, it's safe , it’s a relaxing and friendly atmosphere and the businesses offer most things you need which is special for a small town." The teacher, art gallery director, founder and curator – as well as practising artist – is a woman on the go. "I want to broaden the community’s perception of art. "Belinda is excited about the prospect of meeting and working with other artists and

.developing new avenues for future relationships in the arts

Mal Smith

Teacher Mal Smith has been in Rainbow “forever” and loves his music, footy and drama club.

It’s the community, the people and the tranquillity that has keeps him living there and right now he is sharing in the community’s excitement about something new and different which is the Oasis project.

The primary school refurbishment will provide an asset for the town and community which Mal hopes will help cement rainbow as a destination for artists and visitors.

Jan Edelston

Born and bred in the district, domestic engineer Jan Edelston has spent 22 years at Pella Pigick and 30 at Yaapeet. She’s a keen patchworker, scrapbooker and volunteer at the historic homestead Yurunga and has an equine bent in natural horsemanship. Her three main highlights of the district include the light, the environment and the people, especially family. She is excited about bringing the old primary school back to life and hopes it will become a useful learning, community and entertainment area. Jan’s end goal for Oasis is a vibrant and enthusiastic environment and she loves both the keenness and the progress achieved  since the project began.

Andrew Gosling

Farming is Andrew Gosling day job but he works pretty hard on his music and his golf. He has lived around Rainbow virtually all his life and loves the friendly people, the scrub that surrounds the farm and the fact there is NO hustle and bustle. Joining the Oasis committee sounded like a good idea at the time and he hopes to help create some more activity in the town, as well as an awesome garden at the school. His one word to describe the impact it will have is simply – “sledgehammer”.

It has been a pleasure watching people working together and to feel the excitement the project has generated around the town.


LlewSchilling is our resident gardener. He is the man who has found some palm trees for our low water garden and is a handy addition to the committee with his gardening passion and knowledge and his ability behind the wheel of earth-moving equipment. His name is Schilling but we reckon he is worth a $million to our project!

Dianne Dickson

After a long career in art and teaching Dianne Dickson has returned to Rainbow in recent years.

She is currently developing an artists’ residence which will complement the Oasis facilities and services being developed at our centre. In 2018 she will play a major role in our international dance project.

More Members to come...

Watch this space...

© 2017 The Oasis: Creativity on the Fringe of the Desert.

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The Small Town Transformations program is a Victorian Government initiative delivered by Regional Arts Victoria.