Remember the name Kitty Reeves By Liz Rogers

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Lorraine Reeves does fashion. At 50 years old, this dedicated student of embellishment, embroidery, detail and texture has come a long way from the young girl sewing outfits for her Barbie in a small South Gippsland town.

Things were different then when she began dressmaking at eight or nine years old. All the other girls wanted to get a job and get married after they finished school, but not Lorraine. She dreamt of becoming an interior designer, and then of making and creating couture, although she didn’t know it was called that then. Chanel. Dior. Balenciaga. Valentino. Ah! These were things worth dreaming about! High school happened and her interest in fashion developed, but support and like-minded fashion enthusiasts were hard to find. Time moved quickly and yes, she did get married, worked in retail — ladies’, men’s and kids’ fashion — and continued to make outfits for herself and friends and family. She also did a TAFE course in pattern-making when she was 26. She explains.

“People would ring me up when they wanted a wedding dress or something special. That’s what it was like in a small town. Everyone knew I could sew. I went back to school as a mature-age student to get more knowledge of the design process. It was also super-stimulating to be surrounded by other creatives who were interested in fashion. I’d never had that before.”

Lorraine has just completed her Advanced Fashion Design - Bachelor of Fashion Technology course at the Melbourne School of Fashion. Getting up at 6am, driving to Seaford from Mount Martha and arriving home about 8pm. “I only had to do the fashion component of the course because I had so much previous experience, but the workload was big. It’s a three-year degree. I couldn’t have completed it without my husband, Andrew. He’s been fantastic. I was the oldest in the class but found my life experience gave me more focus. I really wanted to be there. I stopped working part-time in my final year so I could really concentrate.”

Which was a smart move because she got selected to show a student capsule collection last September at Fashion Week. She continues. “My collection was called Rendition and was inspired by the classics. I love working on one-off garments. They were timeless pieces that were heavily embellished. Tassels separated and sewn together, reworked. I love morphing fabric into something else. It showed on the student runway. My label is called Kitty Reeves.”

Entering the world of fashion at any age can be challenging, but that doesn’t seem to bother this Mornington Peninsula designer. She’s just getting set to be part of Fashions on the Field at Flemington Racecourse after supplying a look book and being chosen as one of the 10 finalists. “All the fashion institutes were invited and I got chosen. We have to design the complete look. Choose accessories, shoes. Unconventional racewear. That’s what I’d call mine. A model named Gabby Kellie will wear my outfit. It has to be ready by November 6. I’d better get to it.”

Yes, you’d better, Lorraine. Life takes twists and turns but one thing’s for sure — it’s never too late to do what you love. Is it?

 

Sail away on a river of dreams

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Have you dreamt of exploring the delights of Southern France?  Lauren, one of the dedicated travel advisers at Peninsula Travel, has recently returned from an enchanting eight-day Rhone river cruise itinerary with APT.

The Rhone Treasures itinerary commences in the picturesque city of Arles, famed for inspiring the paintings of Van Gogh.  Wander the charming winding laneways, explore the medieval hilltop village of Les Baux-de-Provence and take in spectacular views from the fortress.

The Provencal town of Avignon is renowned for ecclesiastical architecture and it doesn’t disappoint.  Standing proudly in the heart of the city, the World Heritage-listed Palais des Papes Palace is a must-see.  An excursion to Pont Du Gard, the Roman aqueduct constructed from three tiers of archway bridgework, allows time to appreciate this beautifully preserved UNESCO World Heritage site.

Days can be spent leisurely absorbing the luxury on board, or you can continue to be immersed in the gifts Southern France has to offer.  Visit a truffle farm and taste the delicacy in Viviers, followed by a steam train ride through the Ardeche Mountains of Tournan.  Chatillon sur Chalaronne is a quaint town and the place to tick off the ‘must-do’ French experience — dine on frogs’ legs and snails.

Saving the best for last, Lyon is the final stop on this journey and it doesn’t take long to see why it is fondly referred to as France’s ‘second city’.  Bicycles are readily available for passengers to use and this is the perfect city to pedal through, absorbing the sights before saying ‘au revoir’ to Southern France.

APT is a popular choice for travellers desiring life-enriching and unique cruise experiences.  Luxury is delivered throughout, down to the smallest detail.  Lauren was impressed to discover that meals are crafted to showcase the cuisine of the local region and are matched with superb wines — a perfect way to finish each spectacular day of the Rhone Treasures itinerary.

River cruising is a perfect way to travel if you want to experience highlights of a destination and leave the hard work to the experts.  Arrive, unpack and enjoy — the rest is taken care of.

PENINSULA TRAVEL

A: 9 Bay Rd, Mount Martha

T: 5974 3911

W: peninsulatravel.com.au

 

Take the whole family on a journey of discovery

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Journeys Rediscovered is the culmination of Kirsty Thomas-Thoeun’s 21 years in the travel industry and her passion for the exotic destinations of Asia, Africa and India. Developing wonderful contacts with hotels and local operators allows Journeys Rediscovered to create unique experiences and immersive itineraries for small groups and individuals alike.

Kirsty loves creating itineraries for families and says travelling with children allows for greater interaction with locals.  “India is an amazing destination; of course, we all hear stories of travellers getting ‘Delhi belly’, and this may make some hesitant to travel there with children. However, I believe it is such a fascinating and rewarding holiday experience for families with children aged eight and above.

“My 10-year-old daughter Aimee recently accompanied me to India. We explored Delhi and Rajasthan before heading to Varanasi, the spiritual heart of India. We took a side trip to a new upcoming beach destination, the Andaman Islands, and finally the romantic old British cities of Calcutta (now Kolkata) and Madras (Chennai).

“Before our trip, some were surprised I would take a child to Varanasi, but it was a favourite of both Aimee and I, along with Kolkata. The crowds, chaos and frenetic pace of locals coming down to the Ganges was a little daunting for Aimee for the first couple minutes but she held both my hand and that of our guide and quickly appreciated Varanasi as much as I did. We had a private blessing at an old Nepali temple before sailing on the Ganges to Dashashwamedh Ghat to witness the colour and sounds of drums, bells and chanting of prayers. This ceremony is mesmerising, and ends with the release of hundreds of lamps on to the water of the Ganges.”

Journeys Rediscovered has chosen itineraries that are perfect for families. There are some wonderful hotels in India that parents or grandparents will love and that go out of their way to make sure their younger guests enjoy their stay too. Journeys Rediscovered would love to plan an immersive holiday for your family to India or other stunning destinations such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan or Sri Lanka. What are you waiting for?

JOURNEYS REDISCOVERED

T: 0477 002 235

W: journeysrediscovered.com.au

E: [email protected]

FB: journeysrediscovered

INSTA: journeysrediscovered

Love of land and learning By Liz Rogers

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Now this is something special. Just off Bentons Rd in Century Drive, Mount Martha, is a 2ha property that looks like it’s out of an authentic Aussie-made fairytale. Mud-brick house, wetlands, peacocks, chickens and their rooster, possums, bats and dogs. Then there’s a dinosaur table, skateboard ramp, tool shed, vegie garden and fruit trees. And don’t forget the gorgeous guinea pigs, worm farm, sheep and an outdoor pizza oven too. What? Please explain?

Tony O’Connor loves nothing more than to wander around his neck of the woods to check what’s going on with the native flora and fauna. Graduating with an agricultural science degree from La Trobe University, then gaining a Diploma of Education and Master’s in quality systems management, this coast to country carer of the land teaches a school-based apprenticeship in parks and gardens in Frankston part-time and used to teach at Mornington Secondary College. He’s also building a guest house on his property, but it is his junior Landcare group, part of the Balcombe and Moorooduc Landcare group, that really satisfies his soul. He explains. 

“Lots of home-school parents and their kids rock up on Fridays to experience a range of activities. There are also kids who find it easier to learn by doing rather than by sitting down in a classroom and reading a book.  Sometimes we go on walkabout and explore whatever we find along the way, or make fossils by pressing things into clay or grow vegetables. Then there’s the worms, the soil, composting and farming. The animals are always a hit too. But it’s not just about admiring the creatures and landscape. It’s about real education. Someone has to be responsible and it’s us. Giving kids knowledge is better than anything money can buy. Giving them a voice gets them connected to and invested in nature.”

There are more than 5000 groups across Australia involved in the Landcare movement. Tony’s not-for-profit eco experience on his own home turf is all about generations coming together and working in co-operation to look after our landscapes and waterways. A $30 annual family fee is all you need to pay to join the group, which gets your kids learning about the environment from the ground up on Fridays with Tony. 

“We have to pass on this knowledge to kids so they know how to look after the land and environment properly. I have different experts in their fields helping on Fridays to do just that. They are all volunteers. Whether it’s helping to build possum, bat and bird boxes, or building huts in the wetlands, or teaching different handcrafts, we all have the same aim in mind.”

As part of his passion for caring for the land and environment, Tony has also started the Balcombe Creek Habitat Project, which encourages school and kinder groups to come to his property and learn how to create homes for wildlife. He goes on. “I started this around three years ago. Each kinder or school sets up a campsite and creates homes for local wildlife like lizards, bats and frogs, or how to make a wombat habitat. They are incredibly enthusiastic.” And so is Tony. This down-to-earth eco warrior wants walking trails linking rural property to rural property across the Peninsula with the aim of sharing specific skillsets along the way. Impossible?

Never say never.


Bodgy Creek scores a win in Rosebud By Liz Rogers

September 17 saw Rosebud Cinemas swing open its doors to three cast members of the ‘feel good think more’ movie The Merger, and people were excited. Lovers of authentic Aussie stories dropped by to say hi and support Australian movie-making at its best with the down-to-earth flick that brings love, grief, assimilation and small-town politics to the big screen.

Punters didn’t want to miss the chance to quiz the movie’s writer and actor Damian Callinan, who plays Troy Carrington, and his co-actors Michelle Brasier (Gretchen) and Sahil Saluja (Suresh). Here’s some of what they asked.

Where does the story come from and is there a book? 

Damian: There’s everything except a book! I’ve been doing The Merger as a one-man show playing all the characters for years after being commissioned to write a show that subtly tackled the issues of racism in regional communities by Arts Victoria and VicHealth in 2009. I also do the Bodgy Creek Football Club podcast. 

Do you have a football background?

Just a bit. I played footy until I was about 30 in country Queensland. We used to travel 350km for a game. I’ve also played in Japan on a five-storey building where the footy kept going over the edge because the barrier wasn’t high enough. 

Is the movie going to be released overseas?

Damian: Well, not sure. It’s tricky when you’re competing with big-budget movies that get released everywhere. We are what’s called a low-budget film with limited release. It’s a wait-and-see thing.

Is social media used much to promote movies?

Damian, Michelle: Sure is. Some movies have millions of dollars to spend on social media campaigns. We had $100,000. You can see the difference. 

What was it like working on the film?

Michelle: It was life-changing, and everyone was so easy to get along with. It’s such an important Aussie story. 

Sahil: I had gone back to India to try to do some Bollywood after feeling like nothing was happening for me. It was great to be part of this when I returned to Australia.  

It’s a fantastic movie. It reminds me of The Castle. 

Michelle: Well, people really relate and connect to great storytelling.

Damian: It’s set in an Aussie town where people live everyday lives with family and friends, and it’s a comedy even though there are some very heartfelt moments too. Lots of people have told me they’ve laughed and cried — like when Sayyid (Fayssal Bazzi) is waiting at the bus stop for his wife and child to arrive after not seeing them for years. Composer David Bridie worked with Kurdish asylum seeker and musician Farhad Bandesh, who’s been detained on Manus Island, to compose music for this moment. That’s special.  

Get along to see The Merger at Sorrento and Rosebud Cinemas before it’s too late.


Embrace this fundraiser, OK?

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If you want to see one of 2016’s most inspiring documentaries while creating awareness surrounding suicide through the R U OK campaign, support Marlene Hoff’s R U OK? Day fundraiser in Rosebud.

Marlene, the owner of 100 Mile Foodie, is planning a special screening of Embrace at Peninsula Cinema Rosebud on Wednesday, October 17, at 7pm. To do so, she needs to sell 65 tickets by October 5; they cost $47, with $25 from every ticket going to suicide prevention charity R U OK? A maximum of 100 tickets will be sold, which would raise $2500. 

“I will aim to do one of these fundraising events at the cinema with canapés and wine every three months so we can support R U OK? with $10,000 each year to help this amazing organisation help those most at risk in our community avoid taking that ultimate cry for help,” Marlene said.

Embrace follows body image activist Taryn Brumfitt as she travels the world to explore the issue of body loathing; her unconventional ‘before-and-after’ photo posted on Facebook was seen by more than 100 million people and triggered an international media frenzy.

Anyone who is able to donate bubbles, wine, beer, cider or ingredients to make canapés for the fundraiser, or supply items for a raffle, should email Marlene on [email protected]; tickets for the fundraiser are available at fan-force.com/screenings/embrace-peninsula-cinema-rosebud  

“Your support last year was amazing,” Marlene said. “Please support it once again because the Mornington Peninsula region really needs it.”


Chilli’s the spice of family life By Liz Rogers

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Cuteness alert! Chilli’s bound to get hearts thumping and tails wagging with just one longing for a play look. As a pivotal member of the Marsh family, who own and operate Dromana’s Rock & Redgum Garden Supplies, this gorgeous French bulldog spends the day entertaining clients and getting up to mischief. 

Tracey explains. “The customers love her. She’s a real person dog and demands interaction whether it’s with clients or their four-legged companions. She’s my shadow and comes with me on the school run to drop off our sons Finn and Joel, and then it’s into work. We waited for 18 months to get her from a breeder near Echuca and now I can’t imagine life without her. She’s got a beautiful red coat and the cheekiest expressions. Our regulars always ask after her and we’ve had people come back with their children to meet her.”

As the pic suggests, butter wouldn’t melt in the mouth of this adorable canine. Yes, she likes to nibble shoes and run around the rock yard so fast you’ll get exhausted just watching her, but she also helps out with a day’s work. Tracey continues. “It was hilarious, really. The guys were measuring up some rock the other day for a client and she held the end of the tape measure in her mouth and put her paw up on the rock as if summing up the situation. She’s here six days a week and has become a real conversation piece.”

Whether it’s saying g’day to clients, playing hide and seek, or snoozing on her bed in the Rock & Redgum office, Chilli has spiced up everyone’s life. “French bulldogs are known for breathing conditions like snoring and grunting so we had her nostrils widened, which is pretty common. She probably needs a bit of training too, but we think she’s absolutely perfect just the way she is,” says Tracey.

Drop by Rock & Redgum if you’re in the vicinity to see why. 


Monthly singing room with Marty Williams  By Liz Rogers

When we heard that Marty Williams from Cousin Leonard fame was getting a monthly singing group together in Balnarring, we thought you’d like to hear about it too.

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Known for creating the Peninsula Songriders Sessions, which happen monthly at the Westernport Yacht Club, Marty has been mulling over getting a group of like-minded songbirds together for a while, and now’s the time to drop by mid-week to the St Marks Church Hall in Balnarring for a bit of vocal release.

He explains. “I just love singing, and a few of my friends said they’d like to have a go at a singing group. We had 20 people turn up on the first singing room session in August. It’s not a performance-driven thing; it’s just for the sake of it and about opening your mouth and singing. You don’t have to be an expert. You can be any age. I just pull out my guitar as a reference point and you follow the words on screen. We cover two songs per night plus there’s tea, coffee and biscuits on offer. It’s just about getting together with like-minded people who love to use their voice.”

Happening from 7.30-9pm on a Wednesday each month, the next singing room takes place on October 17 and then on November 14. If you’re in the mood to croon and don’t mind throwing caution to the wind, go along — just $10 will get you in. Contact Marty on [email protected] and follow him on Facebook @martywilliamsmusic or @peninsulasongriders for all musical updates.

Sweet.

THE SINGING ROOM

A: St Marks Church Hall, Balnarring Rd, Balnarring.

All welcome.

Indigenous poetry in motion By Liz Rogers

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Something very special is happening from October 7-14 in Somers. Indigenous poet and 2017 Windham-Campbell Literary Prize (Poetry) winner Ali Cobby Eckermann is mentoring three Indigenous poets at Kalang Retreat. This is exciting not only because of the quality of the work by this Yankunytjatjara woman born on Kaurna land in South Australia, but because it draws a line in the sand as far as showcasing contemporary Indigenous poetry as a force to be admired and learnt from.    

We chat about how poetry helped her healing as one of the Stolen Generation, how she takes solace in the brevity of the work, which leaves less room for debate, and how poetry allows her to focus on emotional strength through immediacy of delivery. She explains. “I always wanted to write but didn’t start until I went to the desert to reconnect with my Aboriginal family, who has a strong line of singers, dancers and creative people. It took me a long time to find them and it was only when I returned to country about 20 years ago that poetry helped me find sense in a world that was moving fast. I had visited Kalang Retreat a while ago as an individual artist and was excited when (owner/operator) Michelle suggested these workshops. I am looking forward to being a mentor to pass on knowledge and skills.” 

Ali had two mentors in the desert and says they were invaluable. She also says that the number of Indigenous poets has grown over the past 10 years. “Maybe that’s because we have more access to the spoken word, or perhaps it is that when people feel oppressed they respond in creative ways. We are all joined by a cultural conscience.”  

Ali is the first Indigenous writer to attend the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa and is the first to receive the Windham-Campbell Literary Prize from Yale University. This prize covers four categories including fiction, non-fiction, poetry and drama and substantial prizemoney comes with it. Ali intends to spend the next 12 months hunkered down writing her first prose novel after having written numerous poetry collections, verse novels and a memoir.

Joining her at Kalang Retreat will be writer and poet Ryan Prehn, a Melbourne-based descendant of the Worimi mob in NSW; poet, actor and singer-songwriter Monica Karo, a Gunai/Kurnai and Gunditjmara descendant; and Emily Munro-Harrison, a Wiradjuri woman who grew up on Kulin Country in Narrm and undertook a creative writing summer school intensive at Columbia University in New York. 

The Collective Spirit seven-day First Nations Creative Development Residency will culminate in First Nations Poetry Reading at Whistlewood Gallery in Shoreham on October 13 from 5-6pm. Collective Spirit is supported by a State Government Creative VicArts grant.  

This is not to be missed. 

Contact Whistlewood on 5989 8282 to find out more about First Nations Poetry Reading or book at firstnationpoetry.eventbrite.com.au 

For information about the Collective Spirit Creative Development Residency at Kalang Retreat, contact Michelle Leber on 0419 312 843.


Skaters make their mark at nationals By Kate Sears

When we spoke to Bernadine Geary after her return from last month’s National Artistic Roller Skating Championships, she was beyond proud of the six Sk8house skaters who competed.

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Sk8house co-owners Kevin and Bernadine, competing as a couple as they have been doing for six years, took out the national gold medal for Masters Compulsory Dance Pairs among a very tough seasoned field of couples. This year was their second national title following their 2016 win, having just missed out in 2017 after they placed second. Coached by Candace, the husband and wife team have perfected their performance.

“We love dancing together. It’s a great chance to bond. We make sure we dance together in time and focus on our precision as a couple,” said Bernadine. “You’re judged on the technical merit as well as the flow of your movements. Winning the gold medal twice has been a huge achievement for us.”

Brittany Hammond, the daughter of Sk8house’s other co-owner, Vanessa Hammond, competed for the first time in the seniors international level, finishing in a very creditable sixth place.  Brittany has a long history of competing at national and international level in NZ and the US.  The other Sk8house skaters who competed were Bethany Johnson and Carissa Domrow, who placed second in their divisions, and Keischa Thorn, who placed 16th in hers.  All in all, it was an outstanding effort by the six skaters.

“Kevin started as a young boy, where he would freeskate alone or with his sister. He was the British champion but stopped for 20 years before taking it up again after a kids’ skating party,” said Bernadine. “He’s improved his fitness and he hasn’t looked back since. Then we bought the rink and our kids and myself caught the skating bug. It’s helped my co-ordination so much; I used to call myself Calamity Jane!”

Yasmin is following in her dad’s footsteps and has previously won national titles two years in a row in the freeskating category; she collected a silver medal at the Oceania competition in 2016 and was fourth in the Pan Pacific titles earlier that year.  She now competitively speed skates with her brother, Harry, who has been competing since he was six years old as well as at national and Oceania competitions for the past few years, winning gold and silver.

Visit Sk8house in Carrum Downs to see what all of the fuss is about.

 

Meet the three Es By Liz Rogers

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Somerville Egg Farm has three new family members and they couldn’t be cuter or quirkier. Eddy No Toes, Esmeralda and Eugenie the emus have been on the farm for about three months since being rescued from an elderly couple in Gisborne who couldn’t look after them anymore. Linda Napolitano loves her new ‘odd’ additions. “They are beautiful animals. The females make this drumming noise while the male remains silent. They are very curious and don’t think anything of coming up to you to see what’s going on. Of course, food is a huge motivator. They’ll peck at anything but mainly eat the feed we give the chooks. It’s hilarious when the chickens are pecking around their feet and legs. They look like they’re walking on hot coals. They are pretty wacky.”

Eddy No Toes (he doesn’t have any talons), Esmeralda and Eugenie have slotted in nicely to farm life. There’s the shelter in the middle of the paddock that they never use — preferring to get some shut-eye somewhere on the perimeter or near a tree — and the bizarre attraction to blonde-haired people. Linda continues. “They’re not aggressive at all but seem to prefer blondes. They go up to them in search of food — and yes, they do peck, but it doesn’t hurt.”

Searching through the scrub for anything they can find is a big pastime, a bit of kicking and the occasional run. There is plenty of space at Somerville Egg Farm for getting some exercise. “We walk around the perimeter every day to check the fences to keep the chooks safe from foxes and are finding emu feathers on the ground. I’ve given them to a pottery artist who has singed them and placed them into pots so we’ll have something to remind us of them for ever. I just love them.”

If you’d like to meet some of Australia’s largest native birds that are related to the ostrich, drop by Somerville Egg Farm in Moorooduc to meet the three Es.  

Egg-ceptional!

 

Fair call, Paul By Liz Rogers

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ABC News Breakfast sports presenter, journalist, writer and documentary maker Paul Kennedy is a strapping Seaford sort. This father of three footy fanatical boys (12, 10 and 6) loves the Bayside life surrounded by his extended family, including his parents, two sisters, a brother and all their children hunkered down in the same seaside suburb. Life is sweet for this easy to speak with lover of local and international sport, even though dragging himself out of bed at 3.30am to be in town for his morning television gig has weariness written all over it. He explains. “We’re coming up to our 10-year anniversary of News Breakfast in early November and, well, I’m in my 40s now and feeling the fatigue, but I love the show. It gives me the time to do more kicking of the footy with the kids and be with (wife) Kim.”

Then there’s the footy coaching. “I’m currently coaching the under-12s Carrum Patterson Lakes Juniors. My oldest son plays for them. I’ve also coached within the school system and various junior leagues across the Peninsula, including Mornington and Frankston. Short assignments work best for me now to fit in with the workload and family commitments. I need some more time to write books and make more documentaries.”

I’ve just finished reading the blurb for Fifteen Young Men, written by Paul and published by Random House Australia (2016), when we chat. Paul recaps the maritime tragedy of the sinking of the Process off the coast of the Peninsula in 1892 in this grief-gouging yet uplifting story. Fifteen young men died on their return from Mordialloc after playing footy. The event brought the Mornington Football Club to its knees for decades. “I’ve written four books and am keen to do more investigative journalism; get to the core of a story. The sinking of the Process changed the face of that community. It was devasting.”

His documentaries, Undeniable (Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse) and Called Out, will be followed by another. “That’s what my long service leave will be for, as well as heading to the beach, park or pool with the kids. I’m deeply interested in pursuing human stories.” After all, that’s what sport is about — human connection, compassion, persistence, failure and triumph. Just life. 

Watch this space for more riveting reads and reporting from a man who’s covered the Rio Olympics and Commonwealth Games and recently said on radio that Frankston offers up more NBA players than anywhere else in Australia. “What I really meant was that Frankston has some outstanding basketball talent, including Dave Anderson and Ryan Broekhoff. There’s a lot of great home-grown talent across all sports on the Peninsula.”

Fair call, Paul. Fair call. Check him out supporting inclusive, safe and fair sport @ playbytherules on Facebook too. 

Music-loving tradie builds a career on the side by Kate Sears

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Although Josh Burr studied carpentry, works as a subcontractor, and spends his weekends bartending in Mornington, his passion for music keeps his energy surging as he picks up a third gig, sharing his stellar voice and guitar sounds with Mornington Peninsula music-lovers.

“I taught myself how to play guitar,” said Josh. “I used to just sit down and sing along while trying to figure out the chords.” 

The Mount Martha resident is dedicated to writing at least one song a week. He regularly has after-work jams during which he’ll strum his guitar until he finds a decent chord progression, and then he improvises some lyrics until he finds a catchy line or ‘hook’, which he then proceeds to base the rest of the song around.

And his career highlight to date? He got to perform on Fox FM’s World Famous Roof Top for Tradi-oke (tradies singing karaoke) with Fifi, Fev and Byron. Josh rocked up not knowing what to expect and had a great time bonding with like-minded music-loving tradies, and then Brendan Fevola showed up with some beers. After sinking a few beers to kill the nerves, Josh was on stage dancing — awfully, he admits — to George Michael’s Faith.

“I was having too much fun,” he said. “After leaving and visiting a pub I got a call from Fox FM to say that they’d like me back at the station by 8am. I planned to spend the night in my car but the carpark was locked. I had nowhere to sleep. So, long story short, I bar-hopped and had one of the craziest nights I’ve ever had before returning to the station sleep-deprived and a bit hungover.” Oh, and he won the Tradie-oke, picking up $5000 and a drill set to, you know, pursue his other gig.

Already snowed under with commitments, he’s taking it a step further and working with Whitehorse Lane producers on his first studio recording. There will be five tracks on the album, and three will feature his lyrics and vocals. Josh plans to release an EP towards the end of the year too. While there’s a lot of hard work to be done in the meantime, he’s so keen to see the results of all of his efforts.

His acoustic cover of How to Save a Life by The Fray gave us chills. Josh told us that he loves performing it because The Fray have a certain tonality to their vocals that he enjoys imitating. You’ve just got to experience it for yourself. And if you’re a music-lover you’ll agree that live music is like nothing else. “I think that when you play live you get to put more raw emotion behind the songs you play, plus there is nothing like a crowd singing along or dancing to what you are playing,” said Josh. “I just love performing, especially to supportive people.”

You can catch him at Gods Kitchen in Mornington or Nature Bar Café in Frankston. Follow Josh and melt when you hear his vocals on Instagram at @joshuajamesburr

New clubhouse has groups riding high

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Mornington community groups have a new space to convene with the opening of The Mornington Clubhouse at Mornington Racecourse. The clubhouse was paid for by the Committee of Management for the Mornington Racecourse, Racing Victoria, and the MRC Foundation, with Racing Victoria donating $50,000 in unallocated prize money from the 2016 Ladbrokes Stakes, won by Winx. 

The clubhouse was designed and built for community groups that need a space to meet, train or practise, with ample outdoor space, including a flat track to the east, a kitchenette, AV, airconditioning and toilets. While not built specifically for equine-related activity, the clubhouse was designed with one specific community group in mind — the Mornington branch of Riding for the Disabled Association, which for almost 30 years has been using the members’ carpark for its twice-weekly program taking people with a disability or in a wheelchair for rides in horse-led carriages.

MRC Foundation chairwoman Patricia Faulkner said the clubhouse was a welcome upgrade for RDA Mornington. “Organisations such as RDA are exactly why we created the MRC Foundation,” Ms Faulkner said. “Here is a local charity group providing a fantastic service to members of our community, and they are doing so with the healing and physical education powers of horses.”

Racing Victoria chief executive Giles Thompson said he was pleased to see the $50,000 donation being used for The Mornington Clubhouse. “The new clubhouse is a fantastic facility and will make a huge difference to local community groups, especially the Mornington branch of RDA, who do so much to enrich the lives of people with disabilities,” Mr Thompson said. “At Racing Victoria our vision is ‘Racing For All’, and there is no better example of that than RDA, so we were only too happy to make a significant donation to this extremely worthy cause.”      

Tony Hancy, the chairman of the Committee of Management for the Mornington Racecourse, invited more groups to make use of the clubhouse. “The racecourse is a key part of the Mornington community, and as a committee we are dedicated to working for the betterment of our local area,” Mr Hancy said. “One way we can do that is by opening up the racecourse to the wider community so that more may benefit from our state-of-the-art facilities and expertise.”

Community groups or small organisations wanting to use the clubhouse should phone Mornington Racecourse on 5975 3310.

 

Where the spirit lies By Liz Rogers

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Frank Walker’s voice on the radio is distinctive, angular and alive with a ‘wake up and take notice’ tone. In real time, it’s quiet and reflective with a tinge of self-deprecating humour and an undeniable grit that has guaranteed his family’s financial and serendipitous success. We meet in Mount Martha, where the National Tiles founder and his “glue of the family” wife Rhonda are renovating their gloriously positioned house. All of their six adult daughters plus their kids (12 in total) have houses in the area. Kate (KWD) and Amy (another bespoke interior designer) live there permanently.

“You could throw a stone on the rooves of each other’s houses, I reckon. We all descend on Mount Martha for the holidays. We’ve been coming here for the past 15 years, had weddings in the garden, big dinners around the table. We think of Mount Martha as our spiritual home in every sense. I still catch my breath when I come down Coolangatta Rd and see the bay. Over the last six years since our only son (Nick) has taken over as CEO of National Tiles, Rhonda and I have had the freedom to move around. We originally had a house on the Bellarine Peninsula, then my sister bought in Mount Martha and that started the family’s migration.”

For anyone who lives in Mount Martha, there’s nothing quite like South Beach and the connection the village across the road from it brings. Frank continues. “It’s a delight to walk down to the shops and chat with the traders. We’re a tight family. We like being together and this is the perfect place to do it.”

But things haven’t always been ideal for this family man who started out in his grandfather’s plaster and ceramic tiles business. “I was the black sheep of the family and went out on my own at 25. It was hard. We had three little kids and Rhonda was about eight months pregnant. We were living in the flat above the shop in Pakington St, Geelong West, which the landlord had given to us for free. We are both born-and-bred Geelong people. Rhonda would bring the kids down the stairs, load up the Ford Cortina with tiles and do deliveries. I threw away a $25,000-a-year job in the family business to go it alone. I’d been washing trucks for five bucks each since I was 11 years old. I’ve always been entrepreneurial. I’m no oil painting, Liz. It’s a bloody miracle she’s stayed with me; she’s an absolute bottler.”

Frank says luck, persistence and judgement all play a part in success. He used to get up at 4am just to get ahead of the game because he’s a “slow thinker”. He’s currently working with the Family Peace Foundation he and Rhonda founded in 2015, which deals with the impact of family violence. “We aim to make real social change in this area, and will. It’s time to put back into the community.”

And feed the spirit Mount Martha-style.

 

Playing the ball comes naturally to Bridie By Liz Rogers

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Bridie Kennedy loves to move. Growing up in Safety Beach, she was always bouncing or throwing a ball, running or riding high on a horse. The 2km jog to the beach from her family home she shares with her parents and three siblings is a breeze, and she’s never been shy of keeping her eye on the prize and working hard to attain it. Basketball was her first love, but all that changed at 16 when she was introduced to the nitty gritty one for all and all for one game of football and jumped right in bare legged and booted up.

She explains. “A friend took me along to a football match and that was it. I was representing the Mornington Breakers in basketball then, but I just sort of fell in love with footy straight away. I had to make a choice because the skill set is so different. I still find it a bit awkward kicking the ball, but I’m getting better.” She sure is. This long and lean swimming lesson teacher and Australian Catholic University student got drafted into the AFLW just two years after commencing playing. There must be something in the water at Safety Beach.

She continues. “I began playing youth league footy at Dromana Football Club when the girls’ league had just started. I played with the Dandenong Stingrays and then went on to VFL playing for Cranbourne. I was one of the taller players at 175cm at first, so they put me in the ruck, but they’ve all caught up with me. I’m on the backline now. I got picked up by Carlton at the end of last year. There was a 2km time trial and a beep test I underwent with 40 other girls from across Australia and I came first. I got to choose which state I wanted to play in and Carlton snapped me up. I was a Collingwood supporter!”

We both laugh at the irony.

Bridie’s rise to football fame happened fast. She finished her Padua College Year 12 exams last October, started pre-season training the following month and then played four out of the eight games in the women’s season. “I got thrown in the deep end, but it was so exciting. The team meetings, before the game meditations, ice baths, recovery sessions and being at Carlton three times a week training with the girls. I hope to finish my teaching degree and continue to play footy.”

Bring it on, Bridie. Sky’s the limit.

 

Rocking The Block from Somerville to St Kilda By Liz Rogers

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For those of you who don’t know, Channel Nine’s The Block has hit the small screen yet again and this time around we have a local girl getting down and dusty. Season 14 sees Somerville born and bred former pro netballer Bianca Chatfield and her teammate Carla Dziwoki (another former netballing pro) hit St Kilda’s Gatwick Hotel in a quest for makeover perfection, and these two girls aren’t going down without a fight. Must be the champion sportswomen in them, or the fact that die-hard ‘Block Head’ Bianca was determined to be part of the much-loved show she had watched for years.

“I was gutted that we didn’t make it last year. I used to drive past incognito checking out what was going on and I slipped through on the media night (Bianca now works in sports media and leadership) taking mental notes. There were 45,000 entries this year with only five teams of two being successful. You sign up for three and a half months of living and breathing The Block. You can’t do anything else. It’s like life on steroids, but what an experience! I’ve wanted to be on the show since retiring from netball.”

Bianca began playing netball on the Peninsula when she was 11 and went on to become one of the youngest netballers to represent Australia. She was the vice-captain of the Australian gold medal Commonwealth Games team in 2014, but she grew up in Somerville with her two sisters surrounded by building and renovating. “Dad was and still is a builder on the Peninsula and it was not unusual to spend holidays on a building site learning by osmosis — that’s why I did the project managing and Carla did more of the shopping and styling. I renovated my apartment in town too, but there was still lots to learn. We had a great team of tradies helping us.

“When we first rocked up, the other contestants thought ‘Oh, here’s two girls, this will be a breeze’. But they didn’t realise that our netballing careers were based on problem-solving and endurance. It was hard work, but to see the apartment transform was so satisfying. The other contestants were great too. We’ve made long-lasting friendships.”

Bianca and Carla have been watching the show unfold with the rest of us. “It’s been fascinating seeing what they’ve kept in and what the other teams were going through at the same time. Every Saturday night before the Sunday reveal was an all-nighter trying to get everything finished. We were up every morning between 5am and 6am. Once we had to rip up floors and start again, but it was all worth it.”

Would she renovate one more time? “Yes; there’s so much satisfaction in it. I love beginning and completing new projects, but I still take time to get back home (her family is in Somers now), pull out the paddle board and check in with the dolphins. I’ll always be a water baby.” And a successful one at that.

 

Fitting reward for Mornington business By Kate Sears

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Be Fit Food has become a household name across Australia after appearing on the television show Shark Tank in 2017, which resulted in a $300,000 investment and an overnight increase in sales of 1500 per cent. Selling out for six weeks in advance within two hours of the show airing sent the team into shock. Now this Mornington-based business is making headlines again after being named the 2018 Telstra Victorian Business of the Year.

“We were nominated six months ago and were one of 10,000 submissions. The top 25 were invited to the finals awards night so going to the awards didn’t even sink in,” founder Kate Save told Mornington Peninsula Magazine. “We were up against a lot of big companies so we honestly went into the night looking forward to having a good time. Then we took out our category, the Small & Succeeding Award, which we didn’t expect. I thought to myself, ‘This is the epitome of success’. We remained hopeful for the overall category. My heart skipped a beat when they called our name. I didn’t jump up as I thought I’d imagined it.”

Be Fit Food was founded by Kate, a dietitian, exercise physiologist and diabetes educator, and Geoffrey Draper, a bariatric surgeon, as a food-based tool that could remedy chronic disease and enhance long-term health. Convinced there was a better way to help their weight loss clients than referring them to the usual bars and shakes diets, Geoffrey and Kate decided to set people up for long-term success with scientifically formulated home-delivered meals that contain no added sugar, are low in salt and include plenty of vegetables. The meals strike the right balance of macro and micronutrients for effective treatment of chronic illnesses, and promote weight loss.

It’s been two and a half years since Geoffrey and Kate purchased their first kitchen for $1. It was a fish and chip shop they then transformed, and the company sold its stock predominately online yet found customers would pound on the door demanding food, and the chefs then requested a shop front be formed. It was quickly outgrown due to their phenomenal success. After Shark Tank they were thrown in the deep end with such demand requiring a huge jump in staff from five to 63 in as little as four weeks. They couldn’t have ever predicted this huge response. It’s a true testament to the success of their tasty healthy meals and dietitian support.

“We take the guesswork out of healthy eating by providing Australians with scientifically formulated meals for improving overall health and well-being,” Kate said. “The main goal is to educate Australia that food is medicine and to change our clients’ health. Weight loss is just an added bonus.”

Real food is the answer, and with her busy schedule Kate loves that her family enjoys eating her Be Fit Food meals too. “My kids love the lasagne and the meatballs,” she said.

Keep your fingers crossed for our Peninsula superstars when the National Telstra Awards take place in Melbourne on Thursday, September 20. Join Kate and her team for their 10th Diabetes Walk on Sunday, October 21, in Mount Martha, starting in the carpark behind the shops (where the playground is located). All the money goes towards supporting research into juvenile diabetes.

“The win has finally sunk in and the best bit is that it’s given us a chance to get in front with creditability,” said Kate. “We’ve received greater respect since the awards from other health professionals and the greater public.”