Lindenderry makes your dream day come true

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You’ve waited so long for your special day, and however you’ve dreamed it, Lindenderry is here to ensure it’s delivered as seamlessly and elegantly as you imagined.

Set in the very heart of Red Hill on 13 stunning hectares of gardens and vines, Lindenderry’s one-of-a-kind luxury boutique hotel is ideally positioned to soak up the spectacular Mornington Peninsula: pure-sand beaches, soul-enriching nature, artisan produce and mere minutes from the region’s most revered cool climate wineries.

Whether it’s an intimate celebration or grand affair, few who visit forget the sense of wonder as they turn down Lindenderry’s driveway — an hour’s drive from Melbourne yet an entire world away. Discover endless idyllic spaces, warm authentic hospitality, award-winning wines you’ll want to savour and bespoke seasonal menus that will linger in your mind.  

Reimagined by awarded design studio Hecker Guthrie, Lindenderry’s breathtaking new interiors include 40 elegant guest rooms, open spaces that invite the outside in, and a heated indoor pool, accompanied by unforgettable farm-to-table dining and a five-star Halliday-rated cellar door.

Visit or contact Lindenderry’s experienced planners on 5989 2933 for more information.



A: 142 Arthurs Seat Rd, Red Hill 

T: 5989 2933

E: [email protected]

High-flying fun with strings attached


A dancing array of kites will colour Rosebud’s skyline on March 10 for the 16th annual Rosebud Kite Festival. The free family-friendly event features hundreds of giant and novelty kites taking flight alongside families enjoying their own kite-flying excitement. This much-loved wind-powered festival features the latest designs and displays from international kite-flying professionals. From soaring whales, penguins and crabs to flying dragons, there’s fun to be had identifying each of the maxi kites. And the Australian-themed delta kites and animated designer kites wow the crowds as well. 

Rosebud Chamber of Commerce and Kite Festival spokeswoman Lisa Phillips says: “The kite festival has become a much-loved tradition for so many families. No matter your age, no matter your ability, everyone can fly a kite. It’s good old-fashioned fun, and the art of kite flying continues to be celebrated across the world.”   

Event founder Alison Doherty added: “This year we welcome back internationally acclaimed duo Craig and Debbie Hansen, from New Zealand. Craig is a member of the world-famous show kite company the Peter Lynn Flying Group, which manufactures the world’s largest kites and holds several Guinness Book of World Records.”

Set on the beautiful Rosebud foreshore, the festival features kite-making workshops as well as stalls to purchase your own kites. Food trucks, live music, roving entertainment, carnival rides and interactive SES and CFA displays all add to the relaxed vibe of the event. For a full festival program, go to or on Facebook @rosebudbythebay 

What our independence means to you

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Nepean Optical Rosebud is a local business, independently owned and operated since 1990, because we care about you and your eyes.  We chose to be independent because we believe your interests are best served when our only duty of care is to you.  

Clinical Freedom — We spend as much time with you as we need to deliver an extensive consultation and prescribe quality eyewear solutions that are tailored to you. 

Eyewear Excellence — We are committed to innovative eye care through continuous education, access to state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment and advanced optical solutions.

Personalised Care — Our patient-first philosophy and clinical independence ensures that you receive continuity of care and every decision we make is about achieving the right personal outcome for you.

Michael Mether, pictured, became an optometrist because he genuinely cares about people and wants to help you experience healthy vision over a lifetime. We believe you benefit from our ability to put your health and vision at the centre of all we do.


A: 1043 Point Nepean Rd, Rosebud

T: 5986 5845  


FB: nepeanopticalrosebud

INSTA: nepeanoptical

Tessa is terrific By Kate Sears


From dancing — or rather jumping around — at three years old to jumping countries pursuing her dance career, Tessa Fox is making her way to the top. At 26 her performance CV is show-stopping. 

Her four overseas contracts with cruise ship company NCL have taken her to Europe and the Mediterranean, China and Japan, with the last contract situated in Scandinavia and Russia, with a little bit of Mexico, the Caribbean and New Orleans included towards the end of the trip. Her stint last year saw her perform in Rock of Ages for eight months on board the Norwegian Breakaway, which is one of NCL’s largest ships. While playing Constance in the hilarious and naughty musical, Tessa’s highlight was definitely the fact that some of her cast members had been in the show on Broadway and the West End. Given this, it was amazing to be in a show of such a high standard.  

“I have been to countless amazing countries because of my job and I can’t wait to keep going to more,” Tessa says. “Cruise ships are a little bit addictive because you get to travel the world while being paid to do what you love — perform. There are definitely a lot more places in the world I have to tick off my list, so I’ll be back on the seas this year and for many more to come, I’m sure.”

Having always adored theatre, Tessa says this is probably where her love of performing stems from. Seeing musicals in the city with her family was always a highlight, so much so that when she was in her teens she started thinking seriously about pursuing it as a career. The year after she graduated from Toorak College, she began a full-time dance course at Spectrum Dance and then completed a two-year Musical Theatre Diploma at Patrick Studios Australia. 

Recently, this foxy dancer was in the cast of Legends in Concert at Crown Melbourne. It’s a show from Vegas that features tributes to Michael Jackson, Tina Turner and Stevie Wonder. Tessa found it rewarding to perform on home ground for once because this time her friends and family could actually come and watch her perform.

“The majority of the band and tribute artists are from America. However, they hire Melbourne-based dancers for the Melbourne season. It was such a fun show to be a part of and such a great experience. I loved performing with such an amazingly talented cast to such great, great music.”

And what keeps her moving? “The feeling when you are on stage, it’s pretty awesome! And the amazing experiences it has allowed me to have all around the world.” 

While being back on the Mornington Peninsula for now, Tessa has her sights set on embracing the laid-back vibe that she loves so much. It will include indulging in great food while embracing amazing views with a glass of Peninsula wine in hand.

This “live in the now” person can only assume that she will continue performing and receiving travelling contracts for as long as she can. But who knows? Free-spirited Tessa thinks that you might even spot her in a new area that is the complete opposite to her current industry. Her repertoire of experience includes working as a magician’s assistant, an aerialist, and an actor in the musical called Wine Lovers as a singer/actor. Yep, Tessa’s terrific.  

Get the dance bug by following Tessa on Instagram @tessafox

Mates making a difference By Liz Rogers


You wouldn’t read about it. Two friends since primary school. Local lads about town applying to drive on dirt roads and raise funds for Cancer Council in the Shitbox Rally and not being accepted. Applying again the next year and not being accepted. Applying the third and fourth time . . . you get the drill. 

You’ve got to give these two long-term mates an ‘A’ for effort because on the fifth time — finally — they’re in! So why so hard to become part of a daring adventure packed with teams of two driving cars worth $1000 across some of Australia’s most challenging roads? Because as Shitbox Rally founder James Freeman puts it: “You’re not the only one with cancer in the family.” James lost both his parents to cancer within 12 months. Everyone has some cancer story to tell. 

Here’s a snapshot of Jonathan ‘JP’ Pritchard and Simon Vercoe’s journey and the joy they are experiencing being part of this amazing community fundraiser that has raised $16,646,368 for Cancer Council overall.  

JP, from Jetty Road Brewery, lost both his parents to cancer. His beloved mum passed away 22 years ago and, as we agree while nodding over caffeine and conversation, it’s something you never get over. You learn to adjust. He explains: “My mum, Rita, passed away in my arms. She was in her late 50s. I still miss her every day and long to hear her voice. I suppose she was one of the lucky ones because she went quickly, whereas Dad (John) had a more drawn-out battle. I reckon he was broken-hearted. Simon’s dad, Peter, was robbed. He was young and died suddenly from lung cancer. His mum, Cheryl, now has pancreatic cancer and is fighting it.” 

Horse trainer and seller of equine accessories Simon continues: “Mum had this huge operation about four years ago called the Whipple procedure, which has given her some more time, but Dad went quickly. I was watching the Discovery Channel, which was covering Shitbox Rally, about six years ago and called JP and said ‘We’ve got to do this’, but it’s taken a while to get there. We did a car rally together years ago in a sports car and really enjoyed the team experience. It will be fun being out in the middle of nowhere and meeting people with similar stories.”

Shitbox Rally is not a race. It is eight days of driving cars that aren’t worth the petrol pumped through their engines from Melbourne to Townsville via Birdsville. There are food villages, triage for cars, friends made for life and plenty of stories exchanged. One thing’s for sure, each person has a different way of handling this pervasive disease. Simon talks: “Dad was in the wine industry. He was always larger than life and had a wake, which was held in Lygon St in Carlton while he was still alive. The day was full of family and friends and there were speeches made. He also went through a bucket list.” 

JP continues: “It’s different for everyone. Part of the participation in Shitbox Rally is you have to raise a minimum of $5000 dollars, but most teams raise well above that. Raising the money is the hard part. We bought our Nissan Bluebird straight away when we entered the first time and finally we get to drive it. It’s going to be epic. We can’t wait.” 

“At least the airconditioner works,” concludes Simon.

JP and Simon will be heading off on the journey of a lifetime for their parents and all cancer sufferers on October 19 and will be away until October 25. The rally target is set at $2million-plus this time round. If you’d like to get them to where they are going and donate to Cancer Council, log on to 

Come on, help make a difference, and yes, you would read about it — in Mornington Peninsula Magazine

Rose goes giddy-up By Liz Rogers


Rose Pearson likes to ride. Race-ride. At just 164cm, this pocket rocket who grew up in Norwich, England, had ponies as a child and went on to ride racehorses at 16. She’s been living in Mornington for the past eight years and has been racing for the past three and a half. She explains: “Racing in the UK is seasonal. Lots of jockeys go away on working holidays. I came to Australia and stayed. I had to wait to race until I received my permanent visa. I’m just lucky that I came at a time when female jockeys were on the rise. These days, in some races, seven out of 10 of the racers are women. The girls are on the increase. Everyone is so supportive here. There’s a great comradeship between male and female jockeys. We help each other out.”

Rose’s day starts early. She’s up and doing track work by 4am or 5am six days a week with trainer David Brideoak. Three of those mornings she may be training elsewhere before hitting David’s track.  Once a week she drives two-and-a-half hours towards Bendigo and trains at Sutton Grange. There’s no track work on Sundays. “Most days I’m finished training by 10am, and if there aren’t any races scheduled I have the rest of the day off. But if I’m racing, I get notified two days before and I may have to travel anywhere! I may have to go all over the state or across the border into Albury. Or down to Tassie. My manager books the races for me. I love the unpredictability of it. It’s never boring.”

With all that training, Rose keeps in top physical condition. She’s careful about what she eats, goes to the gym, walks her dog and if she needs to drop a couple of kilos before a race, she has a sweat bath/sauna. She continues: “Being a race-rider is a young person’s sport. I’m 28 so will need to change my direction. I think I’ll go into training.”

Whatever she decides, this jockey’s love of horses will see her racing towards her future. Giddy-up, Rose, and ride high.

Cruise ship Queen Elizabeth to be based in Melbourne


While most cruise ships are white, a few companies choose to be different. Among these are the ships of the Cunard Line, which retain the traditional colours of the British Royal Mail Steamers of the past. Cunard Line is now just one of the nine cruise ship lines that form the huge Carnival Corporation group, but as well as its colour scheme its ships keep some of the ways of the old British company.

During February and March this year, the Port of Melbourne will be visited four times by the Queen Elizabeth, but from December 2019 to March 2020 the ship will be based in Melbourne, operating six round-trip cruises during that time. 

This is the third Cunard ship to bear the name. The first was launched in 1938 to be the running mate of the first Queen Mary on the high status North Atlantic run. In 1967 Cunard launched the Queen Elizabeth 2 — usually referred to as the QE2 — to replace those two older ships on the North Atlantic, but with the popularity of air travel she soon became a cruise ship. 

Cunard now operates three ships as cruise liners: the Queen Mary 2, the Queen Victoria and the Queen Elizabeth. The first two ships with the name Queen Elizabeth were built in Scotland, but the current ship was built in Italy by Fincantieri at Monfalcone, near Trieste. Similar in design to a number of other cruise ships, including the Queen Victoria, her interior recreates some of the atmosphere of her 1930s namesake with many Art Deco touches. Launched in 2010, with a length of 294m she has accommodation for up to 2092 passengers. This passenger capacity puts her in the middle of the range among cruise ships.

The earlier ‘Queens’ were all powered by steam turbines, though the QE2 had hers replaced by diesel-electric in 1986-87. The current ship has a diesel-electric power plant and Azipods, which are propeller units that can be rotated to provide thrust in any direction, allowing the ship to be pushed sideways when mooring and departing.


President, Peninsula Ship Society

T: Maurie Hutchinson 9787 5780

E: [email protected]

The Peninsula Ship Society meets at Hastings Yacht Club on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 10am. Visitors always welcome. 

Half-pint heartbreakers will steal the show By Kate Sears

Photos by Clare Van Der Wolde, of Champion Shot Photography

Photos by Clare Van Der Wolde, of Champion Shot Photography

These guys are adorable. There’s no argument here. They are breaking hearts all over the Mornington Peninsula. 

Seleena, a teacher at Padua College, has acreage and about 40 kids — the goat variety, that is. She began with two miniature goats 12 years ago when they were purchased for the school’s agriculture and horticulture studies. Seleena would take the pair home on the weekends and the rest is history — it’s now a fully-fledged stud called Riverstone Miniature Goats. 

The heritage of her favourite miniature goats comes from a bloodline in the US that is considered half-Nigerian. In fact, this breed has only been in Australia for four years. Her pride and joy is currently Riverstone Heart Breaker. This little cutie is the Best in Show winner from the 2018 Red Hill Show. She is a total sweetie and has already won a few titles. Her twin sister is Riverstone Heart Throb, and their mother is Riverstone Queen of Hearts and is an Australian champion. Not only do the names describe these adorable goats, using a similar theme enables Seleena to keep track of the bloodline. 

“She’s a real sweetie. The judges love her. She’s what the judges are looking for — a sound structure with a friendly outgoing temperament,” said Seleena. 

Seleena is a judge too, and her goal is to breed well conformed goats. This means that they have a correct structure, are sound for the job and have good udder composition for milk production and breeding. Nigerian goats are generally used for their milk, which is high in butterfat. Given this, you can drink the milk and use it to make cheese and soap.

Her goats are joined on the farm by her sheep and german short-haired pointers, which look like giants next to the female miniature goats that are about 40-50cm. Miniature goats can grow to a maximum height of 57cm (to the shoulder) for a female, while the males grow up to 60cm. By comparison, they are a third to a half the size of a standard dairy goat and are growing in popularity for hobby farms because they are low-maintenance pets. Funnily, they do require shelter because as soon as there is the smallest drop of rain they bolt for shelter. Apples, carrots, sultanas, Weet-Bix and even banana peels are favourite treats of these doe-eyed beauties. They make perfect pets because of their loving and playful nature and love of children. 

Visit the 2019 Red Hill Show on Saturday, March 9, to pat these darlings at the goat show, which is run by Seleena’s Padua students. 

Press ‘Play’ By Kate Sears

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As our regular readers would know, our funky square-shaped magazine launched 13 years ago. We’ve progressed from being a quarterly magazine known as Mornington Life to the monthly magazine you’re reading right now. We’ve grown to become the Peninsula’s most popular glossy magazine. With our hip siblings Mt Eliza Village Magazine and Eat.Drink Mornington Peninsula, we have the Mornington Peninsula covered. 

Always on the edge of innovation, the team at Mornington Peninsula Magazine has decided to extend their presence from print and online to video as well. We’re excited to launch this add-on to your print advertising campaign and can’t wait for you to see our launch video, which will provide a sneak peek of what you can expect. Our launch video will be posted on our social media channels and uploaded to our website for all to view. 

“The process will be streamlined and stress-free,” said publisher Lisa Walton. “Our dedicated sales representative will come out and run through how you can add video to your campaign. Our professional videographer, Ricky Capo, will then visit your place of business to capture the essence of your business through editing and cinematography. He even has a drone for spectacular aerial shots.” 

Video marketing can improve your business, and the stats are there for all to see — with 76 per cent of marketers saying that video had helped them increase sales and traffic. Combining video with print ads will also boost customer engagement. It’s also stated that videos in email marketing lead to a 200-300 per cent increase in clickthrough rates. Overall, videos build trust, reveal personality, captivate the audience, promote branding, show the experience and ultimately drive sales. 

In addition to your print campaign advertising costs, we will continue to offer our $100 social media package (blasting out your business on our website, Instagram and Facebook); however, we are excited to combine this with our new video package, which costs $400 and includes the social media package. Your short video will be planned, filmed and edited by Ricky, who won’t make the final cut until you’re 100 per cent satisfied. 

So if you want to take your marketing to the next level, book a three-month campaign with an editorial and video package.  The video will be embedded into your editorial on our website, with more than 10,000 unique views a month, and you will be given the link to use or share.  The video can also go on social media or your own website or in emails.  Your video will be embedded into our online magazine, read by more than 16,000 people each month.  

“We are a family business and look after our clients as if they are part of our family, so we’ll look after you every step of the way,” said Lisa. 

We are in print, online and now in video. Call us today!

Magical Meredith By Kate Sears

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Although Meredith Gaston turned down a university offer to study law, she knows for certain that she’s taken the right path in life. And with just one glance at her artwork you’d have to agree. Her chosen path is colourful and includes being an internationally acclaimed artist, best-selling author, inspirational wellness coach and speaker. Her lavishly illustrated books are available in various languages, her vibrant original artworks are exhibited internationally, and her watercolours on Italian linen and limited edition prints are lovingly collected.

After publishing her first book at 22, she’s now been self-employed for 14 years and her team has grown from one to three. She never thought in her wildest dreams that she’d have sell-out books, let alone have them translated and sold all over the world. She’s travelled and lived overseas. And the same goes for her artwork, which has been exhibited locally and abroad from a young age. Meredith majored in Art History and Theory, and Gender and Cultural Studies at The University of Sydney. She hit the books again and studied to become an integrative nutrition health coach, which sees her frequently featuring in the media and public sphere discussing well-being and creativity in daily life. Speaking to mothers, schools and corporate groups is a real privilege for Meredith because she gets to share her very significant message about self-care and self-love. Her work has also provided her a chance to raise $1.5million for Breast Cancer Network Australia.

Meredith’s designs are whimsical, vibrant and fluid. Since she was a child, her style has always had the same essence to it: uplifting representations of the world. Instead, her signature designs portray the joy of living while evoking youthful tones throughout her prints, books, and candles. This passionate wellness advocate resides in Mount Eliza and is celebrating the release of her seventh book, The Art of Kindness — Caring for Ourselves, Each Other and Our Earth. “I see the world in a whimsical and lovely way,” Meredith says. “My work flows with vibrant colours and unfussy lines that express the joy of living. Children and grown-ups alike love the rainbow palette I draw from . . . I believe we are all young at heart.”

Surrounded by drawing implements and a variety of materials, Meredith’s childhood was heavily influenced by her architect father, who encouraged her to experiment with new materials that he’d bring back from his overseas travels. From the initial drawings, scribbles and journal entries that she made in his home office, her style has grown over the years. Now there’s a greater sense of ease and comfort within her work. It’s her absolute passion. In fact, Meredith will scribble on anything.

Motifs seen in her dreamy work vary from plants, fruits, animals and flowers to human beings. Her palette is nature, her inspiration is sourced from such human qualities as love, care, and imagination, and the incredible tones of the ocean and petals establish her colour choices. “I use the palette that nature offers us. I admire it. I prefer being outside and looking at how we are connected to each other and nature.”

Her description of her studio is art itself. She explains that the breezy indoor studio brings the outside inside with the surrounding windows opening right up to the flourishing garden and nearby woodland area in Mount Eliza. A refreshing breeze wafts in as the natural light beams on to her desk under the window. Winter sees her creating in front of an open fire, while in summer the rafters supporting hanging plants offer a tropical feel as the breeze catches the floating curtains. Clients visiting for wellness coaching sessions feel at home in the cosy corner as they take a seat on her pieces of sentimental furniture that she’s inherited from her grandparents. Her natural and environmentally friendly boutique giftware collection of hand-poured candles matches her down-to-earth studio. It’s no wonder that her past and present homes have featured in Country Style, In Style and FLOW magazine.

Tending to go with the flow, there’s no specific five-year plan in Meredith’s mind except for her desire to always have a book on the go. Continuing to build her Love Meredith brand, which was launched last year, is also high on the agenda. There’s more beautiful natural products inspired by nature and embellished with her sophisticated signature style and inspirational words in the works. 

“The books come to me. I never feel stressed about it. I am in flow with my work. The ideas just drop in. My words and pictures combine to tell a story.”

Visit her website via to discover more about what she has to offer for tending to your inner world, or browse her carefully curated Instagram @meredithgaston 

View some of Meredith Gaston’s artwork at Manyung Gallery Group.

Love Portsea in an instant By Liz Rogers

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Jay Bruno and Leah Johnsen are moving house. Even though it’s just from Elwood to Brighton, it’s not happening in an instant. The chaos that ensues with packing boxes, organising removalists — we get cut off mid-phone call because it’s the moving guys on the other line letting them know they are on their way — and fitting work around the event can get to the best of us. Leah, 28, has just returned from a modelling gig in Mildura, while Jay, her partner in life and on Channel 7’s Instant Hotel, has been left holding the proverbial baby. Personal trainer and drummer Jay, 31, begins: “Leah hassles me to get engaged every day.” Leah interjects: “You are about to be so single! We will get a fur baby soon though. Something ugly. The uglier the better. A boston terrier.” 

It was more than a year ago when these two filmed the second season of Instant Hotel, launched on February 11 this year. Leah had seen the casting call advertised through Facebook, and the pull of a free holiday and being part of a show where travel was the main game was a no-brainer. She continues: “We were so slack filling out the application form. You had to send in a video. Give them an idea of who we were, our backgrounds and why we wanted to be on the show. It was straightforward  because we’ve both been in front of the camera before. I’ve been modelling since I was 18. I was part of Australia’s Next Top Model, and Jay has been performing for ever.”

“I’m a performer at heart,” says Jay. “I’ve been playing the drums since I was three years old, been in bands. My grandparents had a holiday house on the Mornington Peninsula while I was growing up. We spent all summer there and I loved it. Our Portsea Instant Hotel is a friend’s beach house. We wanted to future-proof our life and they were looking to rent out the house, which was the perfect fit. It’s in the ideal position. Close by to the Portsea pub, the beaches and golf courses.”

“I love the wineries and visit the Portsea Polo every year. You can always get a great coffee on the Peninsula too,” says Leah. 

With hopes of building new careers in the world of home hoteling and television presenting, Jay and Leah are on their way to securing a bright future through a show that has enabled them to see parts of Australia they wouldn’t have necessarily visited. Leah’s favourite spot was Coober Pedy in South Australia while Jay’s heart lies with the Gold Coast. He continues: “I suppose it was the beaches that remined me of the coast here.” Leah joins in: “I like to go places I haven’t been before. The Outback was a completely new experience for me.”

Tune into the show to get a close-up and personal view of Portsea and see four teams battle it out for the title of best Instant Hotel. Host and judge Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen and judge Juliet Ashworth are set to have some ‘lively exchanges’ too.

Instant Hotel airs on Seven at 9pm on Mondays.

Lucy Lucy finds rhythm in art

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A salsa or jive — each flick of the spray can dances with the music’s beat as France’s Lucy Lucy transforms dull walls globally.  She is now in Frankston as part of the Big Picture Fest. 

Soon after moving to Melbourne in 2006 to complete a master degree in commerce, Lucy connected with street art group AWOL Crew, learning the art at age 21 in laneways.

Upon arriving back in Paris, she kept the “spirit alive”, exhibiting solo for the first time in 2008 before settling back in Melbourne in 2012. Since this time, she has exhibited in the US, Canada, UK, France, Thailand and Australia. “It has been a steady and unplanned journey,” she says. 

“I focused on what I want to tell to people through my paintings as they were viewed by more and more people. I was always trying to improve technically by expanding my practice to performance art, masks and garment making.”

Lucy’s self-described illustrative style reincarnates the soul of women in intricate detail, showing glimpses of different sides to femininity, from grace to beauty. 

With her headphones on, the music becomes the soundtrack to her art, providing direction to each story that is told. “Music is very important and I never paint without it. It really helps in the creative process. I dance a lot on my own in my studio in between paint strokes. I love it and only my cat can see me.”

Her career highlights have included two solo exhibitions at Melbourne’s Juddy Roller and Besser Space, where her arts mixed with performance in the form of attendees wearing masks. 

Incidentally, a wall containing art by AWOL Crew has been set aside for Lucy Lucy in the upcoming Big Picture Fest, which will see her translate the themes of dreamscapes and lucid dreaming into something mystical. 

“In French we say ‘carte blanche’; in other words, we have freedom to create. I am very excited to be involved in the Big Picture Festival. I really like the buzz it’s creating.”

Lucy Lucy is set to cast her spell on the festival within a hot line-up of artists between March 22-24. 


Life’s pretty good for Bad Mothers star By Liz Rogers

The new eight-part drama series Bad Mothers, currently screening on Channel 9, shows GP Sarah Pooley’s so-called ‘perfect life’ transforming into a world plagued by extra-marital affairs, murder and chaos. As she tries to navigate her spiralling out of control surrounds, she finds an unlikely sisterhood and support system from a group of school mums who call themselves the Bad Mothers Club. This ripper Aussie drama from Filthy Productions and Jungle Entertainment looks at modern motherhood from five very different female perspectives and is full of fun, struggle, dirty deeds, and what it means to be a parent today juggling everything.

Enter Rosebud resident and Peninsula Film Festival director Steve Bastoni, who plays Tom Hicks, the husband of Danielle, one of the Bad Mothers. Solid and reliable, Tom is the station officer at a suburban fire station; he rescued Danielle from the top of a building and, as they say, the rest is history. Tom cherishes his happiness after losing his first wife to aggressive breast cancer. Steve explains:

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“We filmed some of the show in Mornington, Brighton and Williamstown. There’s shots of the Mornington Pier in the promo trailer, although I didn’t have any scenes on the Peninsula myself. I really enjoyed it. We filmed for a couple of months after I came off the Australian-Chinese movie The Whistleblower. I’ve just finished shooting Postcards and now I’m rehearsing for Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge, which will be on at the MTC. It’s great to be working so much. The years between 40 and 50 were a bit lean and I had to reinvent myself. That’s when I started the Peninsula School of Acting and the Peninsula Film Festival. Three of the cast from Bad Mothers — Tess Haubrich (Sarah Pooley), Michala Banas (Jesse McKinnon) and Don Hany (Kyle Evans) — were at the Peninsula Film Festival in Rosebud this year.”

Steve loves living on the Peninsula. He has a real soft spot for Sorrento back beach, where he learnt to surf as a kid, and loves being surrounded by water. He lives here with his wife and three children. “The set of Bad Mothers was just like being at home,” he laughs. “Being surrounded by a strong female cast. My six-year-old daughter is the boss of everything, after my wife. One thing I learnt on set was how important it was to be well-prepared, arrive early and always be first in the queue at lunch time!”

Smart thinking, Steve. Keep your eyes peeled for those bad mothers. 

Heart of the community for more than a century

For many Mornington residents and visitors, Alexandra Park is the ground at the top of Main St where people play footy, cricket and netball. Most Morningtonians drive past Alexandra Park on their way to sampling the delights of “the street”, or to it so they can drop off the kids for their weekend sport without a second thought of the history that permeates every sod, every blade of grass, every brick and every plank that make up the much-loved community space. 

For some residents lucky enough to have memories of the shire going back before World War II, a walk past Alexandra Park may evoke more than just memories of bristling local derbies or the crack of willow on leather. In the minds of these senior residents, there may be recollections of thundering hoofs, or the glint of axe heads as they are raised to meet the sunlight before crashing down to splinter wood. Or it may be memories of army pageantry and the pomp and ceremony of city bands that led processions from Main St to the park for a spot of afternoon tea and a recital.

While the very earliest history of Alexandra Park is sketchy, including its naming, records held by the Mornington and District Historical Society detail the purchase of the area now known as Alexandra Park in 1896 by the Mornington Shire as a freeholding. And for millennia previous it was part of the territory inhabited by the Bunurong people, part of the Kulin nation, whose descendants live among us today and whose interests are represented by the Boon Wurrung Foundation.

So while footy and cricket play a big part in the story of Alexandra Park, they are by no means the only sporting endeavours to have been staged on its fields over the decades. There were also woodchopping competitions in the 1950s and even boomerang and spear-throwing exhibitions by Aborigines.

As part of a Boxing Day carnival in 1934, nine camels from central Australia made up a picnic camel race meeting at Alexandra Park. As part of the same carnival, a tennis tournament on the grass of Alexandra Park was also well attended. Then there was the Mornington Athletics Carnival of 1945, where the Shire made provisions for up to 5000 spectators and prepared a world-class track with the feature race, the Mornington Gift, one of the richest and most prestigious foot races in the country at that time alongside the Stawell Gift.

But Alexandra Park hasn’t just been an arena for sports — it’s a venue that has held some of the biggest events and camps on the Peninsula. The regular gymkhanas are a good example. Gymkhanas were enormously popular on the Peninsula from the early to mid-1900s; they were essentially an event to celebrate horsemanship, although there were also motorcycle varieties as well. 

Alexandra Park was also the setting for some of the biggest camps on the Peninsula. On Boxing Day in 1931, about 280 men of the 24th Battalion representing Camberwell, Croydon and Surrey Hills set up camp for 10 days, engaging in activities such as inter-company cricket matches. The Alpha Social Club used Alexandra Park for Christmas holiday camps in the 1940s on more than one occasion, some of which were attended by 400 people or more, as did the Presbyterian Young Men’s Fellowship in the late 1920s and the Scouts on regular occasions.

All of which goes to show how valuable an asset Alexandra Park has been — and still is — to the local and wider community. Thanks should be given to the Mornington football and cricket clubs for the work they have done in maintaining and developing the area over more than a century. The Mornington Peninsula Shire should also be acknowledged for its investment and management of the area on behalf of its residents. 

At the end of the day, as history has shown, though people from far and wide have used the magnificent field and amenities of Alexandra Park for many and varied purposes, it will always remain a place for all the people of the Mornington Peninsula to enjoy.

Coffee chronicles make for a stirring read By Liz Rogers

Stuart Mitchell’s story is big. Yes, he’s just written a ripper coffee table book about the ins and outs of the world’s love affair with coffee and the punters who make it and guzzle it, but the backstory is the real rocket fuel.

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The saying goes that all roads lead to Rome. To the centre of things. But sometimes you get there in roundabout ways. Stuart comes from big ideas, big business and long hours of thinking on his feet. Having spent most of his working life in senior executive roles with NMCs travelling the world, he found himself floating out to sea five years ago when his world changed dramatically. He explains: “I lost it all. Every cent. My accountant had syphoned out everything from my account and then just disappeared. Just left me with nothing and went off overseas, never to be seen or heard of again. I simply went to the bank one day and found my accounts completely empty. I lost over $5million and had to start over again.”

Starting over is tough at any age, but being left with nothing after leading an incredibly successful business life financially takes its toll. He continues: “I was left feeling exhausted, incapable, and my confidence was shot. I thought, ‘What am I going to do now?’ We had to sell everything, and I was in no state of mind to return to work. So I started hanging out in coffee shops just to be around people and fill in time. I began people-watching and taking notes of all the funny things I heard and about people’s relationship with coffee. It was odd, really, ending up writing a book about coffee when I’m a ‘tea-totaller’. Yep. I don’t drink the stuff. But I found that gave me an outsider’s perspective that seemed to work. This is my first attempt at writing a book and publishing. It’s taken about a year from start to finish but I’m delighted with it. I’ve done absolutely everything, from content to sourcing pictures to design and publicity. It’s been a real learning curve but the process has given me something to focus on. A purpose.”

Who said a leopard couldn’t change its spots? This book, entitled Coffee People, is a humorous look at caffeine, coffee shops, hipster baristas, bludgers, wankers and what your choice of coffee drink says about you. But it is much more than that. It represents Stuart’s ability to resurface when the chips are down and find a new centre while offering a rollicking good read packed full of facts, history, tales (true and ‘imagined’), jokes and quotes about people and their java obsession. There are great pics as well. 

Grab a copy online at or at coffee and gift shops for your heart-starter-obsessed friends or family. You know they’ll love it. You will too.

All students are engaged in STEM at Peninsula Grammar

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Teacher and STEM integrator at Peninsula Grammar, Ms Shennae Searle, is currently completing her PhD, with her doctorate specifically focusing on how to engage girls in STEM.

Ms Searle noticed that really bright, brilliant girls were performing well in humanities and literacy, but it did not seem to transfer across to STEM. This observation has inspired her PhD studies.  

Ms Searle discovered that acceleration of student learning aligns closely with the skills espoused within science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) because they are open-ended, inquiry-based subjects that require the skills of problem-solving and critical thinking.

Shifting her focus to the acceleration of student learning through STEM, Ms Searle quickly noticed the disparity between how boys and girls approached the subject matter, identifying that girls were not engaging as readily as boys.  

“There are perceptions that STEM can be a male-dominated industry, yet inroads have been made, especially in the last five years, to propel our young women into the industry with confidence and a true sense of equity. This has been accomplished through greater exposure to, and rethinking of, school curriculum that aligns learning experiences with skills and professions that were once dominated by males.”

Ms Searle’s role at Peninsula Grammar includes writing curriculum that weaves STEM into everyday lessons for Prep through to Year 8, while teaching classes across Year 5 through to Year 10. Enhancing student engagement is a core priority for her in all she does.

In robotics classes, for example, students have opted to build butterflies and unicorns instead of more traditional models, which has helped engage even the most reluctant of pupils. In a bionic hand unit, experts from Interplast and Doctors Without Borders visited and students communicated with 3D printing volunteers from the e-NABLE Community about developing a working prosthetic for a child in need.

Peninsula Grammar has two dedicated ‘MakerSpaces’ fitted out with iPads, robotics tools, 3D printers, virtual reality headsets and more, where students of all ages undertake STEM projects. 

Chisholm student plates up with world’s best

If you thought the pressure in the MasterChef kitchen was intense, spare a thought for Chisholm student Laura Skvor. In January, she and Georgie Bass Café and Cooking School head chef Michael Cole represented Australia over two gruelling days of competition at the prestigious Bocuse d’Or in Lyon, France.

Photos by Sydney Low for Bocuse d'Or Academy Australia

Photos by Sydney Low for Bocuse d'Or Academy Australia

Described as the Olympics of cookery, the biennial competition takes place after selection events around the world. At the end of these, 24 of the most promising chefs in the world are chosen to represent their countries in the final, cooking in an open culinary theatre where fully equipped kitchens are lined up side by side before the judging panel, the media and an audience of 1000 people. Laura, as commis chef, and head chef Michael finished in a creditable 14th place.  

Laura, who graduated from Chisholm’s Rosebud campus in 2018 with a Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery, said she spent two years and thousands of hours preparing for the Bocuse d’Or, training daily in Chisholm’s Frankston kitchens where she and Michael could replicate the kitchen environment they would face in Lyon. “It’s been my full-time focus and I’ve had to juggle my studies at Chisholm and social life around it. This competition has catapulted me into the most prestigious gastronomy competition in the world.”

Laura is staying in France and hopes to find work in a three-hat kitchen, with her ultimate goal to one day have her own restaurant.

Chisholm Institute’s culinary teacher Michael Simmons, who taught Laura and mentored Team Australia at the Bocuse d’Or, said: “Laura has been an amazing commercial cookery student; her passion and her desire to learn more has made it a real pleasure to teach her. She has worked so hard to be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” 

Taking care of business By Liz Rogers

Lisa Walton ain’t no pushover. The publisher of Mornington Peninsula Magazine, Mt Eliza Village Magazine and Eat.Drink is tough, opinionated and sometimes thinks so fast that she forgets to remember that not everyone else in the room travels at the speed of light. 

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Publishing is in her blood and the indelible pages run deep. As a maths and science freak growing up in Rye, she thought she’d be a scientist. She began high school at 10 after winning a scholarship to Padua and her fascination with genealogy has stuck, but the teenage life beckoned and that included sneaking out at night to see Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, working at the Rosebud TAB from age 14 and eventually getting married to a surfer with whom she had two children. She explains.

“Look, the hormones just kicked in early. At 11 I was a 5’ 7”, blue-eyed blonde and had a 34-24-34 figure. After having two beautiful daughters, I left the Peninsula to travel around Australia with my husband, Chris, and the kids, but it only lasted six months. We ran into cyclones and it just didn’t work. I guess I was bored. We came back and I got a job selling ads with Peter Isaacson Publications. PI had 68 publications across Australia. Peter, along with Shane and Glenn from The Melbourne Times, had a six-week-old publication called The Emerald Hill and Sandridge Times, which was circulated around Port Melbourne and South Melbourne. It was 1980. We moved to Albert Park and Chris became a stay-at-home dad with our two girls while I was out learning from the ground up on the EH & ST. The publication was eight pages when I began and became a regular 36-48 pages in no time. I didn’t know what I was doing at first but I learnt fast.”

Lisa has always learnt fast and on her feet. She remembers asking how to do the layouts early on at The Melbourne Times. These were the days when staff had coffee stains dribbling down their shirts and cigarette ash floated over page proofs like grey puffy clouds ready to burst.  She continues. “This was when we were still cutting and pasting bromides, and here I was, this young single mum — Chris and I had separated by then — asking how to do the layouts. The answer was: ‘If you’re so smart, then you work it out!’” 

Lisa began Melissa Walton Advertising within her first two years in the industry.  She had contracts to run three weekly newspapers and a monthly and employed 15 staff from her Bay St Port Melbourne premises. She was not one to rest on her laurels. “I became one of the only female publishers in Australia; at 27 years of age I was certainly one of the youngest. Women were not perceived as being able to hold positions of power in the media industry back then and people thought I had slept my way to the top.  Ha!  I had already become a bit of a punk, spike-cut and brightly coloured hair and I wore an extreme wardrobe.  There was a shop in Albert Park in the ‘80s called Wild Rumours that dressed all the ‘in’ people about town. You know, musos, artists. I was wearing lots of leather and fur. I suppose it helped with how I projected myself in a male-dominated world.  It gave me an edge.”

Suburban (community) newspapers and magazines are at the heart of Lisa Walton’s mantra. After 13 years, Mornington Peninsula Magazine is the Peninsula’s longest-running and largest-circulating lifestyle magazine, and it has taken every bit of Lisa’s intelligence and forward-thinking initiative to keep it and its sister publications Eat.Drink and Mt Eliza Village Magazine at the top of the Peninsula publishing scene. “I’ve had to be successful. There was no option when I was bringing up my two girls solo and there is still no option. We have a family business. I came back to the Peninsula after publishing in North Queensland with my magazine Barfly in the ‘90s, but before resettling here I got a job at Metro News with my old mate from The Melbourne Times, Glenn Rohan.  Back in the 1980s I was the first person to produce a tabloid newspaper on an Apple Mac. I taught myself to do the layouts on the computer. I’ve always tried to produce publications that I would want to read. You know I started Mt Eliza Village Magazine at my kitchen table in 2006, and it was only supposed to be a one-off.”

Lisa’s success is based on her never-say-die, get-the-job-done grit. In her publishing life she’s been chairwoman of Australian Suburban Newspapers in Victoria and on many steering committees for the Australian Suburban Newspaper Association. Over the past 13 years her business plan has taken her clients to the next level — it has included an easy-to-navigate, content-rich website; Facebook and Instagram expansion to assist clients; and now video to complement existing editorial and advertising campaigns. Her two daughters, Bianca and Yandell, are now independently successful women in the arts, and her partner, Archie, and his daughter, Molly, are integral parts of the Mornington Peninsula Magazine business. 

The only way is up for this woman who describes herself as “not having thin skin”. Maybe so, but I think her success has more to do with a profound love of living on the Peninsula and telling the stories of a community from within. 

By Liz Rogers

Seasons of change at Yo-Ko Original

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The warmer summer months are coming to an end, and with the change of seasons we welcome beautiful new autumn stock at Yo-Ko Women’s Fashion Boutique.

Just landed in store is the eagerly anticipated Lincoln St brand — delivering style that will see your closet soar beyond the confines of 9-to-5. This Melbourne-based brand utilises smooth jersey and soft terry fleece fabrics, neutral pinks and basic colours in a wide range of trans-seasonal and timeless designs. Look to Lincoln St for a curated collection of loose-fitting ruffle sleeved dresses and relaxed tees alongside stylish leisure wear available in sizes 8-16

Our brand portfolio has increased significantly, now offering a selection of “curve conscious” garments by size-inclusive labels Hope & Harvest, Coral & Co, Meri by Design, PQ The Label, Faye Black, Revoque and Advocado.  Available in up to size 22, these brands offer something for every taste and occasion in a variety of fabrics and prints.

It’s summer sale time with many brands marked down at up to 30% off, including the Firefly and Phoebe & Rose labels in vibrant exotic prints and cotton fabrics, bottoms by Café Latte and basic camis by Deep Blue, just to name a few!

Stunningly printed maxi dresses, jumpsuits and culottes by Boho Australia are still aplenty and will continue to see us through to Easter. Also available all year round, we offer a selection of the amazingly comfortable Refuge Gelato Leg jeans plus numerous denim staples by Country Denim.

Yo-Ko boasts a vast selection of footwear from No! Shoes and Step on Air, and stunning and affordable jewellery and bags from Trio Rouge, Mikaia and No+El.

For gift-giving made easy, pick up a voucher in-store. Layby available. Follow us on Facebook & Instagram @yokooriginal


A: 10 Station St, Seaford

T: 9782 4442

Wonder woman at Woolumbi By Liz Rogers

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Woolumbi Farm managing director Sonya Neff became a butcher by default after her contract butcher could no longer do the work. The choice was to find someone else or build her own on-farm butcher’s shop. Not one to shy away from a challenge, Sonya learnt the art of butchery from a fourth-generation retired butcher who mentored her. She explains. 

“I didn’t want to shut my business down. Contract butchers are rare as hen’s teeth so I decided to give it a go. Woolumbi Farm breeds free-range ethically farmed pork and lamb and buys young steers, raising them until processing on the same principles. Everything is bred and butchered on site.”

Originally an accountant before living the farm life, Sonya now oversees every part of the business, working up to 80 hours a week while raising three teenagers. She’s up at 5am checking emails, social media, the animals, irrigation and water pumps, making phone calls and managing a crisis or two.  Then there’s the butchering and making of smallgoods, including bacon, kabana, frankfurters and gourmet sausages with no preservatives or fillers. Woolumbi Farm also holds a charcuterie course over winter in June, July and August. 

She continues. “Butchering on site hasn’t been cheap or easy with set-up costs and so on, but people love coming to the farm to buy their product.” 

They also know the product is farmed sustainably and ethically.



A: 233 Coolart Rd, Tyabb

M: 0417 523 173


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