Actor, writer fronts Oration

4 July 2013

AN accomplished actor and writer with family connections to Beechworth will be the master of ceremonies at the 2103 Kerferd Oration on Sunday 28 July.

Adam Zwar is best known for co-creating the award-winning Australian comedy series Lowdown and Wilfred. Lowdown recently played to critical acclaim on the BBC, and the US version of Wilfred is about to begin its third season on the FX network, starring Elijah Wood.

The Chair of the Kerferd Oration Committee Ms Joan Simms said Adam is the son of Beechworth resident Desmond Zwar, who is an acclaimed author and former journalist.

“The oration this year focusses on youth and to have Adam as our MC is a real coup. He is well known and liked by young people, especially as the creator of Wilfred,” Ms Simms said. The Principal Commissioner for the Commission for Children and Young People, Mr Bernie Geary OAM, will deliver the oration in Beechworth later this month on Young people: a resource we need.

“Adam is also creator of the popular Agony series — Agony Uncles, Agony Aunts and The Agony of Life, which screened on the ABC. He has won two AACTA Awards, for Lowdown and Agony Aunts, two AFI Awards for Wilfred — Best Actor in a Comedy and Best Screenplay on television, and two Australian Writers’ Guild Awards for Best Comedy, Lowdown I and Lowdown II.”

Adam’s acting credits include Howzat, Rake, Rush, The Wedding Party, Tangle, SeaChange, MDA, Blue Heelers, Stingers, The Wedge and Underbelly. His writing credits include Wilfred I and II, Lowdown I and II, Agony Aunts and Uncles, The Agony of Life, Rats and Cats, both seasons of The Wedge on Channel 10, and from 2006 to 2010 Adam was head writer on the AFI Awards.

“Adam will talk about his experience in film and television, about breaking into the industry and never giving up. His determination will no doubt resonate with everyone and complement Bernie Geary’s oration on Young people: a resource we need,” Ms Simms said.

Adam’s father Desmond is an author and a veteran reporter who worked for the Border Mail in Albury, The Herald (now Herald Sun) in Melbourne, and as features editor of the London Daily Mail for 11 years. “Desmond is most famous for his books about imprisoned Nazi leader Rudolf Hess and The Queen, Rupert and Me — a reporter’s extraordinary life, about his time in England as a journalist. And there is also the family connection to the historic Beechworth tannery,” Ms Simms said.

The Kerferd Oration is a free community event and will be held at Baarmutha Park Function Centre in Beechworth at 11am on Sunday 28 July.

Panel to focus on young people

2 July 2013

WELL-known Beechworth social entrepreneur and community leader Matt Pfahlert will host a discussion panel on the topic of young people before this year’s Kerferd Oration.

Matt will facilitate the discussion on issues affecting young people in Indigo Shire in the context of the saying “It takes a whole community to raise a child” and asks how do we fare in Indigo? Panel members are Indigo Shire Council’s General Manager Sustainable Communities Mark Florence, Principal of Rutherglen High School Phil Rogers and President of Beechworth, District Chamber of Commerce and Industry Darren Carr as well as Chris Pianto representing young people.

The Principal Commissioner for the Commission for Children and Young People, Mr Bernie Geary OAM, will deliver the oration in Beechworth later this month on Young people: A Resource We Need. Mr Geary’s oration will link with a research project in Beechworth investigating how young people make a life for themselves after school and their need to make meaningful connections in their community.

Chair of the Kerferd Oration Committee Ms Joan Simms said Matt Pfahlert is well-placed to facilitate the lead-in event. “Matt is recognised as a social entrepreneur and community leader across Australia. In 1993 at age 24, Matt founded the Typo Station youth project (now called Evolve) where he was CEO for 11 years. Using outdoor wilderness experiences, this project focussed on life skills and personal growth for young people falling out of the school system. Evolve now employs over 30 full time staff and is currently expanding nationally,” Ms Simms said.

“Matt has received a number of awards including the Sir Weary Dunlop ‘Young Australian of the Year’ Extraordinary Achievement Award, 1996; Rotary International — Paul Harris Fellow, 2003 and Leadership Victoria — (Fellows) Community Leader of the Year, 2004. Matt now operates his own business, Social Enterprise Unlimited, which helps develop commercially successful businesses designed to solve social and environmental issues.”

Ms Simms said the lead-in event and the Kerferd Oration would provide a greater understanding of the issues young people face today as they make that transition from school to community and workforce. It is being held on Thursday 18 July at the Beechworth Neighbourhood Centre from 6pm to 7.30pm, followed by a free dinner. For catering purposes please contact Ms Simms on 0409 206 079, 03 5728 2747 or email

The Kerferd Oration is at 11am on Sunday 28 July at Baarmutha Park Function Centre in Beechworth. It is a free community event.