Arnica Montana Newsletter - September 2004

Welcome to the latest newsletter from Arnica Montana!

I am heading back to the UK on September 6th to practice, teach and catch up with family and friends before returning to Oz mid October, in time for the

Kalamunda Zigzag Community Arts Festival of which I'm Treasurer.

The Arts have always been an important part of my life, and I've met another crowd of enthusiastic community minded people here in WA. Our Festival, which has been running for 20 years, is on October 30th and is usually packed with 15-20,000 people attending on average. It involves the whole Hills community outside Perth from the young to the elderly - this year we even have "Grans on Gofers"in the Parade through the town - the Aussie equivalent of those elderly terrorists in George St Hove East Sussex UK, who mow down any pedestrian in sight since the street was pedestrianised, affecting not to have seen them!

The Festival has grown from a small arts and crafts fair to a nationally recognised community cultural development event.

We have a big noisy parade and the streets are lined with families and local people. It makes its way to Stirk Park,where the Festival features amateur and professional artists, buskers,street theatre,entertainment, free workshops,art and craft stalls, food stalls and displays.

Well worth attending and a good day out! It is well known as the best Community Arts Festival in Australia, full of energy and variety. See

Also performing at the Zig Zag Festival is Akappella Munda, the acapella choir I sing with every Saturday in Kalamunda. This is a group of singers dedicated to enjoying themselves. We sing as unaccompanied voices with a repertoire spanning the traditional, some modern, and quite a bit of what gets called World Music. We are always looking for new singers. See

As a Brighton (UK) resident of some 27 years I am very familiar with our Festival which grew in a similar way and now rivals the Edinburgh festival- also now lasting a full 3 weeks. Again it is the energy of the local community proud of their town who have made it so successful. To be part of any community however big or small, rewarding in itself, is in my opinion a great privilege. Brighton itself now has a great new website to which my eldest daughter Helen a photographer's interactive and full of interest. Make sure you have a look!

My younger daughter, Rosie, a film and video maker specialising in comedy, is shortly launching her new website demonstrating her work. She has just done a pilot for Channel 4 and been interviewed for the Sketch Show which is also broadcast here in Australia. She is in the top 50 for the BBC Talent Comedy Lab- results due in September.

My son Tom, drummer with The Eighties Matchbox B-Line disaster, designated by NME as a psycho punk rock band in the tradition of Iggy Pop, has been busy too.

2 more singles released and straight into (and out of!) the Top 30 UK with an album due in September, has played Glastonbury Reading and Leeds Festivals as well as gigging touring and appearing on Channel 4 with the band.

Placebo recently asked for them as their support band at a major concert this month. Their interactive website is where you too can be deafened and maddened by their offbeat brand of (very)loud music! They are played on Triple J (Perth's answer to Radio 1 UK ) regularly much to the delight of my 6 nieces and nephews who live at the other end of the road-their street cred at school has been greatly enhanced by being Tom's cousins!

Voluntary Homeopathic drop in clinics for the homeless

The 2 weekly clinics I have been holding in North and South Perth for the drug and alcohol dependent have been well attended, and a range of complaints treated. These have been running for the last 18 months. I have students sitting in with me as I am very keen for them to see serious pathology treated Homeopathically at first hand. They have become as fond of the patients as I have, and are a great help.

In some cases treatment has resulted in patients wanting to really take control of their lives, handing over their prescriptions to their chemists for regulation, and deciding to come off their medication and take control of their lives with the cooperation of their GP's.

One of these wanted to have Homeopathic classes set up so that they could understand and help themselves better, and another has decided to train to be a social worker and in the future to help others who had fallen into the same destructive way of life as himself.

My experience after almost 40 years in Professional Health care, is that those who have suffered are the best people to advise, and really make a difference to those in similar circumstances. There is nearly always a history of abuse, neglect, and violence from an early age with poor or ineffectual parenting Escape into the world of drugs and alcohol is often perceived to be the only way to deal with these problems.

The Blue Light campaign -

Streetsmart - an urban handbook for the school leaver. This directory is very comprehensive and covers all areas relevant to young people in a clear concise format. It is distributed free throughout Australia. Contents include chapters on:

Sexual health, Money, Driving, Legal stuff, Moving out, Leaving school, Healthy body (including drug issues), Healthy mind, Eating disorders, Protecting yourself.

It has clear descriptions of all the problems that may occur and where to get the appropriate help. The average parent would not have this information, so it is in an invaluable resource.

Arnica Montana supports the Australian police in their "Blue Light "campaign by advertising in the directory and through our voluntary clinics for young people who find themselves in need of help, often living on the streets, or in very unsatisfactory accommodation with very little money and no adult support or guidance. It deserves some notice here.

In 1984 Blue Light started in Western Australia after a group of forward thinking police officers decided they needed to provide activities for the young people of the town of Albany. Over 1000 young people attended the first Blue Light Dance event. Today approximately 60,000 young people attend many Blue Light events held in towns all over WA. Today the campaign remains a very worthwhile local community based proactive crime prevention initiative.

Local communities continue to be involved in the establishment of viable long and short term community programs/events that provide entertainment and recreation for young people ,especially those at risk of anti social behaviour and those who are disadvantaged.

On a less earnest note I am delighted to at last be back on a horse after a gap of 18 months due to a chronic back problem now resolving. The horses my 11 year old niece and I ride are  the polocrosse ponies whose owners (the National Polocrosse Intermediate Women's Champions for Australia 2004-see website testimonials section) rigorously tested the Arnica Montana range of products giving them a very thorough workout indeed in their matches!

We ride in Jarrahdale in the most beautiful surroundings about an hour from Perth in the forest where tall eucalyptus trees full of kookaburras and parrots and other small birds live. We consider ourselves very lucky to be able to have this wonderful experience. It is particularly moving for me as I started riding when I was 11, and to introduce Christina to this at the same age is a great joy.

With very best wishes to you all

Kate Diamantopoulo