A Self-Guided Walking Tour

One of the many joys for delegates attending an international convention is exploring the host city and what it has to offer. This is especially true for our international brothers & sisters who are no doubt looking forward to their different tours which will showcase Melbourne and its surrounding areas.

What about delegates who are visiting from interstate or those new to Melbourne?

To help all delegates explore Melbourne’s CBD, a self-guided walking tour has been prepared. The self guided tour will show important sites in Melbourne’s long theocratic history. As an example, Melbourne was the location of the first Australasian Branch, just the third branch of the organisation at the time. Follow the tour to see the locations of these Branch offices, convention locations and more.

The self-guided walking tour is approximately 5km long and will take around 2 hours to complete.

We hope you enjoy this self-guided tour, taking in the sites and sounds of the city while discovering why Melbourne has a special place in the history of God’s people in Australia.

The Stadium Spring-Clean!

Eighteen hundred brothers and sisters excitedly converged on Marvel Stadium yesterday to clean. They ‘rolled up their sleeves’ and worked hard to make the stadium as presentable as possible.

The stadium has been transformed – from a concert and sporting venue – into a suitable place to praise Jehovah God! It is prepared in readiness for the opening day of the Melbourne International ‘Love Never Fails’! Convention.

Your Seat Has Been Prepared For You

Many families delighted in working together at the stadium. Jobs done by the volunteers included cleaning and repairs on the stadium’s 55,000 seats. There were 35 in the team of expert window cleaners – unsurprisingly mostly regular pioneers! Floors were swept and scrubbed, and tabletops cleaned and ready for coffee and conversation!

Screens & Speakers

Extra speakers and screens will be strategically placed around the stadium so that all eyes and ears can see and hear what Jehovah ‘has prepared for those who love him.’ – 1 Cor. 2:9.

We are ‘ready and waiting’ to meet you on Friday at Marvel Stadium!

Prohibited Items & Security Arrangements at Marvel Stadium

Our yearly conventions are wonderful opportunities to enjoy spiritual association and instruction along with our brothers and sisters.

Given the larger nature of an International Convention, we would like to remind all delegates from Australia and overseas of the security arrangements & requirements at Marvel Stadium.

Every time we enter the stadium, all bags will be checked by security staff. If a bag cannot fit under a seat, it will likely be rejected. For this reason, we encourage you to only bring into the stadium what is necessary.

Avoid very large bags, coolers and eskies. Prams, walkers, seats for the elderly and infirm, along with wheelchairs are exceptions to this requirement, and can be parked in designated areas within the venue.

Please note that prohibited items also include cans and glass containers, but thermoses are permitted.

To allow for the additional time it may take to enter the stadium as people and bags are checked, gates will open at 7:30 AM for all delegates.

Of course, large events such as our international conventions can also attract unwanted attention from those who oppose our beliefs. Even so, we are mindful of the Scriptural direction to be “peaceable with all men.” (Romans 12:18) Our focus is toward the positive and encouraging opportunity that international conventions afford us!

Public Transport & Parking

Public Transport to Marvel Stadium

Public Transport to Marvel Stadium is easy to use and practical.

Melbourne has an electronic ticketing system called myki. Each delegate travelling on public transport will have to purchase a myki card online or at over 800 retail outlets, 7-Eleven, or myki machine around Melbourne.

The cost for the myki card is $6 ($3 for concession, senior or child) and is refundable through PTV at the end of the convention. After you purchase a myki card it will need to be ‘topped up’ (meaning you will need to add credit to the card either online or at an outlet).

You need to touch the myki card on the myki reader (when boarding the train, tram or bus) and touch off (as you leave). This ensures that you have a valid ticket and pay the correct fare for your journey. An exception to this is if you’re travelling on a tram within the free tram zone in the city. Click here to download a map of the free tram zone.

For more information visit http://ptv.vic.gov.au/tickets/myki/

Trams: Tram numbers 30, 48, 70 or 86 will drop you off right outside the stadium.

Trains: Trains will deliver thousands of others to Southern Cross Station which is just a 4 minute walk to Marvel Stadium.

For help with planning your journey via Public Transport, you can download the free Public Transport Victoria App found in the Apple App Store or Google Play, or go to www.ptv.vic.gov.au and then to the “Journey Planner”.


Transport to Marvel Stadium by Congregation Bus

Specific details regarding these arrangements will be forwarded to the congregations that indicated, via the transport survey, they are planning to use a bus service to get to the convention; the Parking Department will be in contact once the details have been finalised.


Walking From Southern Cross Station to Marvel Stadium

It takes on average less than 4 minutes to walk from Southern Cross Station to Marvel Stadium. Delegates arriving by train or bus will need to find their way to the “Bourke Street Footbridge” (map below) by following the signs and the directions of the station attendants in fluoro-yellow vests. From there, International Convention attendants along the footbridge will direct you to the gates of Marvel Stadium.

If an elderly or infirm delegate takes a tram/train/bus to Southern Cross Station, how can they get to the stadium?

For many, the 4 minute walk may be too difficult. Out of love for you dear brothers and sisters, a wheelchair transport service will be available.

After coming out of the lift from Southern Cross Station onto the Bourke Street Pedestrian Footbridge, the International Convention Committee has arranged for a team of brothers with wheelchairs to transport elderly and infirm delegates to Level 1 (gate 2 only), where seating for these ones is easily accessible.

Please keep in mind that this is a courtesy service to get you to the stadium and back. The wheelchairs will not be for personal use. If you require a wheelchair during the day, you are free to bring your own to the convention.


CAR PARKING

Can I park my car at Marvel Stadium?

Car parking will be limited at the venue, especially on the Friday. Most of the 2500 parking spaces at Marvel Stadium are reserved for city workers and tenants of the Docklands area. Since the car park is operated by Marvel Stadium, they will charge $18-$49 per car entry on Friday and a flat rate of $30 per car entry on Saturday and Sunday.

Where else can I park my car nearby?

There are many other car parking options; however, there is no better way to get to the convention than travelling by public transport. Other parking is available nearby Marvel Stadium enabling a short walk or tram ride to get you back to the venue. For a list of nearby car parks, click on the link below.

If I have a council-issued Disabled Parking Pass where can I park?

An arrangement has been put in place to allow some parking on site for such ones. As this is limited, only those who have already registered for disabled parking with the Congregation Secretary will be able to park here.

An Infirm Parking sign to display on your car’s dashboard will be emailed through to your congregation secretary. Please ensure the Infirm Parking sign is clearly displayed on the front left area of your car dashboard.

Prior to the convention, it is very important that you pre-book the Parking Tickets that you require. The Marvel website link is https://parking.marvelstadium.com.au/

Since the car park is operated by Marvel Stadium, they will charge $18-$49 per car entry on Friday and a flat rate of $30 per car entry on Saturday and Sunday.

Can I drop-off an elderly or infirm brother or sister?

A drop-off area for the Elderly and Infirm will be set up in Car Park Entry A which can be accessed from Bourke St or Car Park Entry E which can be accessed from Wurundjeri Way. You will have fifteen minutes to exit the carpark to avoid being charged.

Welcome Signs & Gift-Bag Preparations

We have been hearing all about the exciting preparations being put into sign & gift-making for our dear international delegates that will be arriving within the next 2 weeks!

Here are some photos which show how much effort, love & fun you’re putting into these beautiful creations. The delegates are sure to feel very loved as soon as they arrive here in Melbourne.

Thank you to everyone for sending in their photos! See you at the convention!


Behind The Scenes – Chapter 14

The Safety Department

In imitation of Jehovah, we have a high respect for life. Ensuring the health & safety of our fellow brothers and sisters when attending any theocratic event is a primary concern.

Therefore, well over one year ago, three brothers were assigned to oversee the Safety department. Since then, over 120 volunteers have been selected to assist in caring for the safety of all delegates attending the 2019 Love Never Fails International Convention in Melbourne.

These diligent and observant volunteers will be keeping a close eye out for any potential hazards and immediately alert appropriate departments should action be required. The willingness of these faithful volunteers to sacrifice their time and energies is much appreciated. It is truly an expression of love.

What can we do to assist the Safety team? Please be sure to inform one of the Attendants if you spot anything that is, or may become a danger. As the expression goes: “if you see something, say something!” In this way all of us can have a share in ensuring our convention remains a safe environment for all in attendance.

Driving on Melbourne Roads

Driving in Melbourne can be a daunting task for regional and interstate visitors. Many have never had the experience of sharing the road with a major tram network.

To assist you in understanding the rules that apply regarding driving with trams, you may wish to view the following videos:

Performing a Hook Turn

Passing Or Overtaking Trams

We look forward to seeing you in Melbourne for the 2019 Love Never Fails International Convention!

Behind The Scenes – Chapter 13

The Baptism Department

In early August of 2018 we received a call asking if we would like to care for the baptism at the International Convention in Melbourne during the month of November 2019.  Despite not knowing what would be involved, except that, like every other Department, we had a huge task on our hands, we all appreciatively accepted our new assignment.

Although it was still many months away, preparation began in earnest behind the scenes.

The mammoth task was divided into two main areas which were assigned to 8 key men:

  • Front of House: this included obtaining baptism pools, organising photography & release forms, moving candidates from seating areas to change rooms, assigning attendants, baptisers and assistant towel holders
  • Back of House: this took in the change rooms, attendants, change room assistants, spare towels & t-shirts, ensuring no candidates get lost on their journey to the pools, and caring for the clothes of 500 candidates while they’re being baptised!

A Few Hiccups

The 10 pools that were used for the baptism at the 2014 International Convention had mostly found new homes. Due to the cost in transporting them back to Melbourne, it was decided to have new pools fabricated locally.

We considered using 2-3 large swimming pools, which would have saved dedicated funds. However, Marvel Stadium informed us that, not only would they need to undertake costly underpinning of the playing surface so as to protect the structure, they also wouldn’t be able to heat the pools! We couldn’t have our candidates getting baptised in the temperatures Melbourne seems to produce, like a possible 10 degrees or up to 40 degrees!

Large pools were no longer an option, and when we looked at fabricating small pools similar to those used in 2014 using local construction companies, the costs were also proving prohibitive. So it was back to the drawing board…

Jehovah Provides

Thankfully, a boiler maker in a local congregation very generously offered to do whatever he could to help. When we asked the question, “How would you feel about fabricating the pools?” His response was, “It would be my absolute privilege!” — a modern-day Oholiab! Full of the spirit, he went to work and our expected expenses were cut dramatically. We really felt Jehovah behind this project.

Although baptism is only an hour or so of the convention, it has proved to be like an ice-berg — so much going on under the surface that it’s difficult to quantify in a report like this.

In anticipation of hundreds of baptism candidates, all needing to be baptised in just over an hour, organisation is key. We need to get candidates from their seats to the change rooms, changed, baptised, photographed, then back to the change rooms and then their seats. So it has to be done as quickly and efficiently as possible. With sisters changing in one section of the stadium and brothers in another, over 200 pop-up change tents plus additional change areas are required. And attendants are needed every step of the way. So many volunteers were needed that we sourced them from interstate as well.


A large wall, while it may be immense in size, is still constructed one brick at a time. Indeed this International Convention has proved to be a huge wall! But with each person working in our department representing a brick, we really feel that Jehovah has blessed us with spiritual brothers and very capable men. The end product, seen by the audience, is a wonderfully constructed ‘wall’, all to the glory of our Great God, Jehovah!

Behind The Scenes – Chapter 12

The Audio Video Department

Introduction

Of the many wonderful aspects to experience and enjoy at an International Convention, the ‘Love Never Fails’ program will undoubtedly be a highlight.

The Audio Video team has the fine privilege of ensuring that this vital spiritual food is delivered in a way that the 50,000 delegates can fully benefit.

To that end, the department has a singular focus – that ‘every word, of every session’, from the opening welcome to the final comments, are broadcast in an intelligible and natural way. We literally, ‘hang off every word’!

Department Structure

The AV department comprises an overseer, four assistant overseers, keymen and 130 volunteers. The AV overseer works under the direction of the program overseer and works closely with the convention chairman.  

The whole AV team is committed to achieve good-quality audio and video transmission throughout all the seating areas. This includes all language conventions throughout the venue; English, Auslan, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese.

In addition, arrangements are being made for volunteers in administration and department areas to have access to sound and vision.

This task poses some significant challenges!  Much of the behind the scenes activity to date involves extensive planning and decision making to address those challenges. Here are just a few!

The Challenges of High-Quality Sound and Vision

Venue Layout

Unlike many performance events, our convention is ‘in the round’.

This means getting audio to every seat in the house through 360º, and to the multiple stadium levels. The extensive use of media, a convention feature, also requires that delegates have visibility of screens and monitors.

A sophisticated 3D sound and vision model has been used to develop a proposed system and determine how it will perform.  This takes into account a multitude of factors that impact the quality of the sound, i.e. heat, humidity and reflection from hard surfaces, to name a few.

The aim for the 2019 convention is to have the source of sound, as close to the audience and as far away from the talker, as possible. This is made simpler given there is no seating on the arena. You will notice 23 arrays of speakers known as ‘ground stacks’ distributed around the arena as well as speaker arrays hung from the roof to achieve this balance.

The detailed planning for this design has been underway for a number of months and a final proposal chosen.  AV along with Local Broadcasting has been working with Norwest, one of Australia’s leading suppliers of audio for the ‘live events industry’, to achieve this outcome.

For those technically minded…

  • 172 L-Acoustics high quality speaker cabinets will be used for the ground stacks and flown arrays
  • DiGiCo SD7 digital mixing console, front of house in the main arena
  • Two Marvel stadium arena screens complemented by 4, 10 metre x 5metre LED screens, flown above the stage
  • In addition, the program can be viewed on most of the 1300 monitors situated throughout the venue

Roads, Rigging and Turf Protection

An important AV task, is setting up for the convention, often referred to as ‘bump in – bump out’.

Basically, ‘Bump in and Bump out’, are the set times agreed upon with the Venue, Contractors and the Convention Committee, for the set up and pack down of the event.

Detailed production schedules are currently being developed. The AV team plays a pivotal role in coordinating the bump in, bump out process given much of the setup involves AV equipment. We will be working closely with the convention Production Liaison team and the Installation department in finalising these schedules.

The schedules are time sensitive, particularly the rigging and the closure of the retractable roof.  Installation of equipment requires building temporary roadways and paths and the use of a 20-tonne boom lift. Turf protection will be placed under staging, speaker arrays and the baptism area, all designed to minimise grass damage.

AV will work closely with a team of about 40 external contractors during the setup. A sound engineer, communications engineer, and lighting manager will be onsite throughout the convention.

As well as the main arena, plans for each of the language conventions have been finalised ready to implement during convention week. This includes room layout and seating as well as AV. 

Additional Functions

There are many and varied assignments that that are the responsibility of AV.

These include:

  • Front of house, Audio Video desk for each language convention
  • Stage and Platform management
  • Makeup for speakers
  • Streaming to the Hobart convention
  • Transmitting the programs through FM broadcast
  • Technical support and communications desk for all language conventions
  • Provisioning and management of radio communications for all departments
  • Inventory and logistics management
  • Contractor support

Much has already been accomplished and has been possible with the extensive support from the Branch office. This includes detailed Audio Video setup guidelines and policy documents for all the language conventions.


The AV team are delighted to have such a dignified and important role in contributing to the 2019 Melbourne International Convention and look forward to enjoying it with eager anticipation!

Convention Reminders

Watch the following video which was featured as part of Local Needs during the week of October 7th for some helpful reminders when attending our upcoming Convention!