Caring for the future

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Having worked in aged care for more than 25 years, Sam Gillick holds bountiful knowledge to pass on to her students at Nepean Industry Edge Training. After beginning her career as a carer, she moved to diversional therapy and now she’s the lifestyle co-ordinator at a nursing home. Sam reckons she has the best job in the house because no two days are the same. Currently, she dedicates her time to co-ordinating calendars and programs for her 121 residents — it’s all about engaging them to make sure their lifestyle care is attended to just as their medical care is. 

“It’s very rewarding to get close and personal with the residents and their families,” said Sam. “And as a teacher who is still working within the field, it means I can give my students real and up-to-date information. I like to get my students engaged early and inspired to improve the lives of elders.”

Teaching at NIET means Sam can contribute to creating the next generation of carers and make sure they’re at the high standard required in the industry. She teaches Certificate IV in Leisure and Health and Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing), and spends every Monday with her students while they learn the theoretical side before being assisted by NIET in finding a centre to take them on for their practical placement. 

 “To work well in this career you must have kindness and compassion — but you can’t teach that. Every day I go to work I see something sad, so I bring something positive to the residents every day. I have a chat with them, take them on an outing, or teach them new skills. It’s emotional work, but you’ve got to find a balance. If you love being around people and hearing their stories, then this is an extremely rewarding career for you.”

If you are interested in a career working in aged care, contact NIET on 97701633.



A: 405 Nepean Highway, Frankston

T: 9770 1633


FB: NIETraining

INSTA: niet_training

E: [email protected]

GUY MIRABELLA IN CONVERSATION Casual chats with Peninsula people

Photo by Natalie Nowotarski

Photo by Natalie Nowotarski

We all know you create deliciously aesthetic food, but tell our readers about your love affair with art.

It's not a love affair. Art is a direction, state of mind, a guide for better living. Art for me is an opportunity to move and challenge and make sense of something that I can hold on to.

When did you start your journey as an artist?

Oh, the ‘j’ word . . . I just can’t remember a time that I wasn't drawing or making things out of paper, wood or grass. Anything I could use to get it out of my head, down my arms, into my fingers and on to paper or dirt. I started drawing birds that were on my parents’ farm in Tyabb — rosellas, kookaburras, magpies and galahs. 

Which medium do you prefer?

Anything that allows me to free-fall with optimism, commitment, originality. I will use whatever it takes to make the mark, squiggle, colour or accident in order to live better.

Tell our readers about the art hanging in Shop Ate Cafe in Mount Eliza.

The art in Shop Ate is diverse. Images of landscapes, abstract expressionism, spoons, plates and whisks sticking out of walls. Things that are seductive. It has a quality that lives and a way of creating seduction with a slow, faded beauty. 

Where has your artwork landed? Have you had any exhibitions?

Up until now my art has been a very private thing, but as I move out of my early 60s and the life of a cafe owner, I will take a voyage and return to that magical time when I was six years old drawing birds.

And what about your book designing and illustration?

For a long time, book design and illustration gave me a better living than trying to live off one’s art. I married young at 22, had children and everything that goes with it. The books were a wonderful way of expressing ideas without losing myself in the process. The years as a book designer were some of the happiest and most rewarding.

Who has influenced your artistic expression?

My parents. How they shared their culture while I was growing up. They are Sicilian. I’ve also found great inspiration from the bush at the back of Tyabb and the Australian landscape. The people I meet every day and the sounds of living and the places I visit also have an influence.

Colour and visual vibrancy play a big part in your food presentation. Is that the same with your art?

Food and art are two very different forms of expression. I've never thought of my cooking as colourful or vibrant — I do it to feed people. Art is to feed me. It could be a black mark on a piece of stone but it's there for me, not you. I'm selfish with my art.

And finally, what’s next art-wise for Guy Mirabella?   

Good question. I don't know. As long as I'm living better, still discovering, still gazing and dreaming, I’m happy.

Dromana property nails another design award

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A Dromana house described as “an outstanding example of how thoughtful design can create a visually bold result” has been awarded Building Design of the Year at the 24th annual Building Design Awards in Melbourne. Moat’s Corner picked up the award just days after winning a Good Design Award in the Architectural Design category at the Good Design Awards in Sydney.

Designed by the Mornington-based Vibe Design Group, Moat’s Corner acts as a centrepiece within 2ha of manicured gardens on the 21ha Dromana property, and the judging panel was impressed by the “understated simplicity” of the design and its “innovative use of space and superior finishes”. Panel member Ingrid Hornung said: “Moat’s Corner is an outstanding example of how thoughtful design can create a visually bold result while crafting a functional home for a growing family. Its elevated structure and floor-to-ceiling windows offer exceptional views of the natural surrounds; it is a sleek and contemporary home, built to last.” 

Vibe Design Group lead designer Michael O'Sullivan said the house’s slimline roof, raised floor and entry on the west side offered a transparent and picturesque outlook of the pool and surrounding gardens from every angle. “The site’s gardens are close to 100 years old, so it was important our design embraced the views and brought these into the home,” Michael said. “The design for Moat’s Corner is all about bringing a sense of ease and effortlessness — that modernist ethos — which we believe can change how people live, and that's what we are all about.” 

The Building Design Awards, formerly known as the Building Designers Association of Victoria Building Design Awards, recognise excellence in residential and non-residential building design. For a full list of award-winners, visit 

To the lighthouse we go

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Each time I drive by McCrae Lighthouse, I’m reminded of a world where past generations braved the elements and realise that the romantic notion of writing a novel in isolation may not have anything to do with the day-to-day toil of lighthouse living. 

Lifelong Mornington Peninsula resident Catherine O’Byrne’s great-great-grandfather Wemyss Thomson was one of those people who tended to the bright light in the late 1800s in a quest to welcome home weary sailors and their battered vessels. Born in the Scottish fishing village of Wick and migrating to Australia aboard the clipper ship The Lightning in 1854, this was a man of seafaring measure.  

Catherine explains: “Wemyss was a fisherman and made model ships as a hobby. He came second place at the 1866 Melbourne Intercolonial Exhibition with a ship he built. Melbourne Museum still has the ship and certificate awarded to him, as stated in Janine Jackson’s book The Lighthouse Keepers of Gabo Island. He married Isabella Smith in 1874 in Williamstown and they had nine children: Mary, Isabella, Wemyss Jr and John, born in Williamstown, then Alfred, Charles, George, Ernest and Adam. Mary died when she was four, John at one year old, Charles at birth and Ernest when he was two. Wemyss was originally a gate keeper and dock labourer before joining the Victorian Lighthouse Service in 1880. Wemyss, Isabella and their children Isabella (Belle), Wemyss Jr and Alf were first stationed at Port Fairy where George was born. The water quality was pretty bad and that’s where they lost baby Charles. Ernest died at Queenscliff and they lost Adam, born at Queenscliff Lighthouse, years later. He was one of the first men off the boats at Gallipoli and died later on the Western Front in France.”

Life in the late 1800s was fraught with hardship, and living and working as a lighthouse keeper in Victoria must have been hard yakka with bells on. Although early lighthouse keepers were self-sufficient and grew fruit and vegies and looked after sheep and cattle, the lighthouse tender vessel only visited a handful of times throughout the year, so life could get pretty lonely and dangerous if things turned pear-shaped. Catherine continues: “Most stations had two to three keepers who were on a call roster of four hours on duty then eight hours off, and the lighthouse mechanism needed to be rewound every 30 to 90 minutes. There was food to grow and treacherous weather to contend with.”

Wemyss and his family moved from Port Fairy/Belfast Lighthouse to Cape Nelson, Gabo Island, then to Queenscliff, and eventually landed at McCrae Lighthouse in the late 1890s. With the family settling on the Mornington Peninsula, the sea has continued to flow through the generations that have followed. Catherine’s grandmother, Avis, took her grandchildren beachcombing along the back beaches and on night-time coastal bushwalking adventures. As a teenager growing up in Sorrento, Catherine explored the back beaches and the bush with her brother and sister, and upon returning from overseas she continued the tradition with her own two daughters. She now lives and runs her own business in Dromana.    

Writers have been fascinated with the iconic and metaphorical magic of the lighthouse. A wandering ship’s only guiding light. A cold-faced monolith growing from an island battling the elements high above the ocean’s fury. A perfect space for creation. What tough stuff Wemyss Thomson and his family must have been made of to finally land at the McCrae Lighthouse.

Romantic? Maybe not. But a heck of a story anyway. 


Peninsula boy brings puppets to world stage

Photo credit: David Scheinmann

Photo credit: David Scheinmann

Sonny Tilders makes puppets. Giant, emotive, moving and grooving puppets. The kind that take your breath away and leave you rocking on the edge of your seat with your heart in your throat. The kind that make you believe, grieve and feel euphoric. Puppets that, put simply, have a life of their own. 

Sonny explains: “I’ve always liked things that move, and I’ve spent the last 13 years creating stupidly large and complex puppets. I started my career as a graphic designer, which back in the ‘80s was a broad course and included model and print-making. I made props for television and did special effects and animatronics for film until I got called up about doing a live arena show and that was it. Humans have the innate desire to see life in things. That’s why we can pick up a sock and turn it into an animal, you know? I’m inherently interested in puppeteering and performance. How dancers use their bodies to move the puppets. A puppet like Kong can’t be operated without a team of people. There’s the obvious motors, hydraulics and mechanics, but they mean nothing without the performers.”

Yes, you read it right, people. Sonny Tilders, who grew up in Frankston, then Arthurs Seat and Mount Martha, is the creator of the magnificent Kong. King Kong. The live show world-wide touring sensation puppet. The one that snagged a coveted Tony Award. Sonny continues: “Yeah, the Tony Award was pretty special. I’m not a particularly good engineer but I’m driven by performance and how things work. I’m also pragmatic and like getting results. One thing I know is that the audience doesn’t fall in love with the machine. They connect with the emotion of the exterior and you’ve got to provide something tactile.”

For a small boy who went bird watching with his stepfather in Arthurs Seat and had a natural flair for 3D spatial design, Sonny has worked hard through the lean years to become an internationally acclaimed creator of puppets that absolutely rock. Think Walking With Dinosaurs, Jurassic World The Exhibition and Skull Island The Reign of Kong, just to mention a few. He’s also got 110 creatives now working with him in his Creature Technology company in Port Melbourne. 

He concludes: “I went to Mount Eliza Secondary and love bringing my two boys back to the Peninsula to visit Mum. There’s nothing like the smell of sea salt, banksias and tea-tree. I don’t know what else I’d do now. Puppets have become my life. We are working on an exciting international theme park project at the moment. Sometimes a new job may be a little daunting but it’s exhilarating work. If you’re not a little scared then I suppose it’s not very interesting, is it? I still pinch myself. I’m often the last one to leave work and as I walk through this huge studio with these insane creatures I still can’t believe it.”

You’d better believe it, Sonny. I’ve seen Kong in the flesh. Bravo! 


Seaweed, songs and surf

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After meeting in high school music class, four mates started jamming without much of an idea of a musical style. Having hints of jazz, rock, dirty tones and small amounts of reggae, Mornington Peninsula band Seaweed on Sticks are quickly discovering their own unique sound. Releasing their first single, Illusions, in 2019, they are focusing on releasing a lot more music by the end of the year. With all four mates enjoying a jam and bringing different music tastes to the table, they have their keen eyes set on future gigs and new recordings, as 19-year-old drummer and keyboard player Jamie Fay explains. 

Could you please tell us a little about the band members?

There are four members in Seaweed on Sticks: Flynn Shepherd, 18, on vocals and rhythm guitar; 19-year-old Zach Robinson on lead guitar; 18-year-old Mitch Randall on bass guitar; and me. 

So how and when was the band formed?

The band was formed by jamming in a high school music class. Everyone had a similar taste in music and could all play an instrument. We started out playing some pretty heavy metal music and quite quickly started to find our own sound. 

How did the name Seaweed on Sticks come about?

I was on the beach one day and I simply saw a pile of seaweed placed on top of a bunch of sticks that were shoved into the sand. Thus, Seaweed on Sticks!

We’re loving your new song, Illusions. Could you tell our readers a bit about it?

Illusions started out by Flynn having a few chords and lyrics in mind. We all started jamming and soon enough it had formed into a full song. Illusions is one of Seaweed’s slower songs, consisting of just a few chords, a flowy bass line and some simple drums. We were playing it at all of our gigs and then we decided to head into the studio to record it. It was then released in July and so far it’s had a really good reaction.

Where have the band performed, and which venue was the favourite?

We have played quite a few places. One of our main ones was Waterfront Festival in Frankston — we played that two years in a row with a pretty big crowd. Other than that it’s been just bars and events around Melbourne. After releasing all of our new music, we have a few gigs lined up for the next few months.

What’s the band’s style of music?

When people ask us this question, we always just say “indie rock”. But I guess there are hints of jazz with a reggae kind of feel to it. All the four members of the band bring different music types to the table, which is helping us to find our own sound pretty quickly.

What is the band’s five-year goal?

Seaweed’s goal over the next five years is to record and release heaps more music, play gigs and festivals and hopefully make a mark in the Australian music scene. All four members are super-keen on their music and love playing it. 

What does everyone do when they’re not playing music?

Everyone in the band pretty much works full-time. Flynn and Zach are concreters and spend a fair amount of time doing that. Mitch and I work in local surf shops and spend a fair amount of time surfing. We all regularly go to gigs around Melbourne and the surrounding suburbs, checking out and making friends with other bands. We all think it’s pretty important to watch heaps of live music because there’s heaps to learn from other bands.

Check out the band’s relaxed, quirky tunes on Instagram @seaweedonsticks 


Rob’s making all the right moves

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As you read this, Rob Licciardo of Licciardos Railway Bar and Grill fame will be in Lausanne, Switzerland. He will have just participated in the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Series on August 31 and we assume the competition was fierce.

Mornington Peninsula Magazine spoke with him just before he headed off to the home of Swiss cheese, lakes, cowbells and medieval quarters to find out a bit about his love of fitness, food and competing in triathlon. With more than 20 years of triathlon experience behind him, this much-loved Mount Eliza chef/restaurateur has always had extra energy to spare and doesn’t appear to be slowing down. Rob explains: “I’ve always been very active and weaved my exercise around my cooking. I’ve participated in four world titles and came sixth in my age group — 60-64 — in the Gold Coast Triathlon Series. I’ve also participated in multiple state triathlon titles. The triathlon course in Lausanne is a strength course. We’ll ride around Lake Geneva and there will be a few hills, unlike the Gold Coast which was predominantly flat. I won the Victorian qualifier to be part of the World Series. It’s very exciting. I’ll be in Switzerland for two weeks.”

For those of you who know nothing about triathlon, it’s basically an activity that combines swimming, cycling and running in the one event. Athletes in the Olympics swim 1500m, ride 40km and run 10km. Rob will be taking part in a 750m swim, 20km cycle and a 5km run. He continues: “I’ve usually finished within the top 15 in every race I’ve run. I don’t do anything special diet-wise while training. I love my roasts, steak sandwiches and carbohydrates. But I love salads too. When you are exercising a lot, you have to refuel. Balance is the key. Restaurant life is incredibly busy and keeps you on your toes. You are always moving. It’s an endurance test in itself. I run nearly every day and cycle three days a week as well. I just love to move.”

Rob started cooking at 17 when he began preparing breakfasts for his mates before they went surfing. He continues: “I was always surfing back then. I’d plonked an old house on farming land out the back of Bells Beach and that’s what we did.” He left Sandringham Technical School, did an apprenticeship in Geelong and has been the familiar face of one of the best eateries in Mount Eliza ever since. Licciardos has been serving up stellar food since 1988.   

Keep your eyes peeled for the October edition of Mount Eliza Village Magazine to see how Rob fared in his age group at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Series.


From bottle tops to prosthetic hands

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Did you know that bottle tops are fully recyclable? And did you know that even though they are recyclable, they are heading straight to landfill? Cripes!

As is so often the case, our children are leading the way with innovative and enthusiastic ideas to help save the planet and while doing so are making sure that others benefit along the way. A dedicated group of compassionate eco-warriors at Dromana Primary School are working hard at collecting plastic bottle tops, which will be used for creating prosthetic limbs for kids in need But how? Let’s ask Dromana Primary Science and Indigenous Studies specialist teacher Shanai Kellet.

“The Envision Hands project, as part of, creates bespoke aids out of bottle tops with 3D printers,” Shanai says. “Two of our students, Jack and Leroy Christie (pictured), had the idea of collecting plastic bottle tops at school and are encouraging everyone to bring them from home as well. They presented a PowerPoint at school assembly which outlined how we could make a difference to the environment and to children in under-serviced countries who needed prosthetic limbs. Five hundred bottle lids make one child’s prosthetic hand. They also calculated that the Dromana Primary School canteen sold approximately 500 plastic bottled items every two weeks.” Do the maths, people!

This is how the process works. Each class at Dromana Primary School has a box in their room and the environmental school captains and action squad collect the boxes which are full of plastic bottle tops. They are then transferred to a dump point. The closet one to Dromana is the Dromana Community House. Envision Hands then extrudes the high-density polyethylene to create functioning filament for 3D printers and then prints all the components to make up a hand. Brilliant.

This project is close to the hearts of Jack and Leroy. Leroy was born with clubfoot and wears a plastic brace and understands that sometimes you need a little help. Along with Billy Robertson, the two brothers head up the Dromana Primary School’s Envision team with the dream of making a real difference. One bottle top at a time. 

To find out more about Envision Hands, go to


Discover the magic of Point Nepean

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With its spectacular natural landscapes and fascinating historic buildings, Point Nepean National Park is a place that makes an immediate impression on anyone who visits. It is truly one of Victoria’s beautiful scenic attractions.

The park is located at the very tip of the Mornington Peninsula and has some of the most breathtaking panoramic views of the rugged Bass Strait coastline, The Rip and Port Phillip.

The entrance to Port Phillip was the most heavily fortified port of the British Empire and was known as the ‘Gibraltar of the South’. Visitors will enjoy discovering Point Nepean’s remarkable history through exploring Fort Nepean’s extensive network of forts, gun emplacements and tunnels. 

The Quarantine Station, established in 1852, is another ‘must do’.  Here visitors will find many historic buildings used for quarantine for nearly 130 years, including hospitals, a disinfecting complex, a morgue, cemetery and much more to explore.

To best plan your visit, head towards the Quarantine Station first. The Information Centre staff will direct you to linked walking trails, an all-weather shuttle bus service, self-guided and audio tour options, and the extensive network of tracks to cycle, with bike and tag-along attachments for children and helmets available for hire. 

Point Nepean National Park is located at the end of Point Nepean Rd, Portsea, and park entry is free. For more information, visit or call 13 19 63.

Record-breaking passenger ship powers into Melbourne


Many Australians would be completely unaware that a fleet of passenger ships operated on our coast until the middle of the last century. Seven Australian-owned companies, established in the later 19th century, provided these regular interstate services. 

The ships, built by British shipyards to the order of each company, always offered a standard of comfort comparable with the world’s best. Until the end of the 1950s, Australians often chose the comfort of a sea passage for interstate travel rather than using the railways. With the coming of the airliner, however, the once-busy coastal liner services soon lost their popularity. 

Apart from sail, all but a few Australian ships were powered by steam engines before 1929, but that year two new liners powered by diesel engines arrived from the UK. The Manunda (Adelaide Steamship Company) was first in May, followed four months later by the Westralia (Huddart Parker Ltd). At that time the public took a close interest in new passenger vessels and the newspapers carried reports on their progress from the announcement of the contract, through the building of the ship to the voyage out to Australia.

Ninety years ago this month Melburnians were excited at the arrival of the m.v. Westralia. She had set a record of 30 days for the passage from Greenock to Melbourne. An article in the Melbourne Argus on September 20, 1929, under the heading “Luxurious Accommodation” informed readers that she had been “designed to ensure comfort and service for passengers”. The Melbourne Herald, on the previous day, provided details of the lounges and dining room, including the furniture styles, upholstery and curtains. Her cabins provided accommodation for 360 first-class passengers and for 90 in third class. At that time, having 38 bathrooms available for first-class passengers was a feature. 

With the coming of World War II she was commissioned into the RAN as HMAS Westralia and served both as an armed merchant cruiser and an infantry landing ship. In 1951 she was returned to her owners but was sold in 1959 with the decline of the coastal passenger trade. 

By Maurie Hutchinson

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.

A tail about Ted - PENINSULA PETS


Please meet Theodore Laurence Harold Milne. He’s a labradoodle with a personality as big as his name. His human family chose the name after an extensive voting process, but luckily he’s scored Ted for short. And what a teddy bear he is!

He’s gearing up for his first birthday on Thursday, November 21, and why shouldn’t he? It’s going to be a big one. Ted, as he’s affectionately known, hasn’t requested a special birthday treat because all food to him is simply fantastic. He will actually eat anything, whether it’s cat food, dog food or human food. Currently, his favourite pastime is to escape across the road where he visits the tradies working on a house by scaling the fence like the escape artist that he is. Not only does he make friends with the tradies, but he also sniffs out the remnants of their takeaway food, like sauce packets and wrappers, to snack on the crumbs before bringing the rubbish back to his family and proceeding to distribute it to all of his family members. Sharing is caring, right?

His mum, Dr Fiona Milne, dotes on him despite the cheeky boy destroying cushions when he’s left to his own devices. This caramel bundle of cuteness adores playing tug of war with his brother Stanley, a spoodle, who joins him playing in their large backyard. The pair are social butterflies, and true blue beach boys. He’ll even take on any dog, big or small, to play a game, but he knows to retreat if it’s more than he can handle. This energetic puppy also likes to hang out with his feline friend, Mrs Tabitha Twitchit, but honestly, she only tolerates him. Oh, sibling love! 

“Once at the beach, Ted went into the water,” said Fiona. “He then crumbed himself in the sand and ran over to a mother and daughter sitting on their towel sunbaking. Then Ted jumped on the towel and shook himself, covering the pair in sand. But they still loved meeting him.” 

Master Ted’s skills include sitting on command and putting out his paw — whether you asked for it or not. You see, he’s learnt that when he’s asked to put up his paw he gets a reward, so now he just pre-empts his tasty treat. His fur is super-soft and doesn’t shed. Unlike other labradoodles, his fur isn’t too curly but he requires lots of baths because he’s always getting dirty during his escape missions, and upon returning he likes to leap on the bed with his dirty paws. He thinks he’s the master, you see.

“Everyone asks me what breed he is,” said Fiona. “I think it’s the lack of curly fur. He came from a breeder in New South Wales — yes, he’s had a plane trip. Ted’s mum was a 31kg labrador while his father was a 3kg toy poodle that we think looked like a 1970s adult film star with his perm-like fur.”

Paw over the cuteness of Master Ted on his official Instagram @mastertedthelabradoodle


Bayside’s newest town centre is already making waves

Photos by Emma Cross, courtesy of Figurehead

Photos by Emma Cross, courtesy of Figurehead

Residents and visitors alike have been keeping a keen eye on Martha Cove as the Mornington Peninsula’s prestigious bayside marina community is brought to life by the Balmain Group. The first stage of development within Marina Village Martha Cove is now complete, with residents moving into their new homes in The Moorings. 

Sitting directly on the waterfront, The Moorings is aptly named. It comprises 43 two, three and four-bedroom apartments, with the ground floor apartments providing direct access to the waterfront boardwalk via private landscaped courtyards. The waterfront ground floor retail space at the south end of The Moorings is known as Martha’s Table and is set to open early this spring. It’s got a little bit of everything, including a restaurant, bar, grocery and cellar. 

The Moorings was designed by town architect Karl Fender, of Fender Katsalidis, and takes cues from its surrounds, bringing together modern architecture, well-proportioned layouts and beautifully crafted homes. There’s no doubt that the design sets a new benchmark in waterfront living. Karl describes it as “a habitat of modern lifestyle inspired by the spirit of the Mornington Peninsula”.

The Balmain Group has stated that one of its priorities for the project was to work with a tier-one design team in order to deliver a market-leading town centre that would set a new standard for Martha Cove. The group’s head of asset management, Murry Offord, says: “As our first project within the town centre, The Moorings is an iconic building in terms of design and what it means for the evolution of the area. The completion of Marina Plaza and The Moorings has delivered what we set out to achieve — creating a community and lifestyle that will be the envy of the Mornington Peninsula.”

The Marina Village Martha Cove project also includes Marina Martha Cove and Boatyard Martha Cove. Marina Martha Cove provides a boutique location for mariners with 99-year berth leases available and the berths themselves ranging from 10m-30m for both mono and multi-hulled vessels. Boatyard Martha Cove incorporates the most comprehensive range of quality marine services for boat owners, including a full-service boatyard and dry-stack facility which is now complete and available for booking. 

“We’re extremely proud of the precedent that The Moorings sets for the town centre,” Murry says. “It really is a haven for boat owners. There aren’t many places where you can live in an architecturally designed apartment and tie your boat up in your frontyard. We’re proud to see the town centre become a reality. It is a project that combines the best of contemporary place-making and the aesthetics of the Peninsula. We look forward to opening Martha’s Table and launching our next residential projects later this year.”

Moon stars in September sky

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On September 6 we will see a waxing moon and Jupiter close together in the sky. A waxing moon is one that is getting larger each night. Then, on September 8-9, Saturn will be close to the moon. September 13 sees an apogee full moon, which is when the moon is at its most distant point from Earth. The moon’s distance from Earth varies throughout its monthly orbit because the moon’s orbit isn’t perfectly circular. Every month, the moon’s eccentric orbit carries it to apogee and then to perigee — the moon’s closest point to Earth — roughly two weeks later. So on September 28 we will see a perigee moon.

On September 29 we will see Mercury close to Spica, which is the brightest star in the southern constellation Virgo and the 16th brightest star in the sky. It is a blue subgiant star located at a distance of 262 light-years from Earth. Spica is really a close binary star system and is one of the nearest massive binary stars to the solar system. Then on September 30 the crescent moon appears close to Spica and Mercury, with Venus shining below them in the evening sky.

On Friday, September 6, the Mornington Peninsula Astronomical Society will be holding its monthly public stargazing night at the MPAS Observatory at The Briars in Mount Martha, starting at 8pm. Hear an inspiring multimedia talk and Q&A, even hold a meteorite, before moving outside to view the moon, stars, planets, clusters and galaxies through a wide array of telescopes supplied by the society and members. These nights are family friendly, and even the littlies get a thrill from looking through a telescope. Bookings are preferred, so for more information visit the society’s website at

NERIDA LANGCAKE, Mornington Peninsula Astronomical Society

Aladdin flies in with a twist

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Mt Eliza Community Pantomime presents Aladdin by James Barry. This traditional English pantomime sees Aladdin embark on a magical journey to find a lamp that will change his life for ever. This is Aladdin with a twist, so you can expect jokes, slapstick comedy, and magic. 

Aladdin has just met the girl of his dreams, yet the problem is she’s a princess so he might get his head chopped off in his journey for love. Fortunately, his uncle Abanazer can provide him with the riches he needs to marry his newfound love — or can he? 

This performance is produced and supported by the Village Church in Mount Eliza. It’s a ‘boy-meets-girl’ story with good defeating evil and an inept police officer on the hunt for a knicker nicker. This silly romp about a knicker thief includes singing, dancing, audience participation and a grotesque pantomime dame.

You can catch the performance on Thursday, September 26, at 7pm and on Friday, September 27, at 11am and 3pm at Mount Eliza Community Hall, Canadian Bay Rd. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for children or $50 for a family of two adults and two children. Book at

Awards for our lifesavers

Ruby Lines-Perrier, second from left, with co-winner Samuel Dripps, from Jan Juc Surf Life Saving Club, membership and leadership development director Angela Malan, and Mike Martin.

Ruby Lines-Perrier, second from left, with co-winner Samuel Dripps, from Jan Juc Surf Life Saving Club, membership and leadership development director Angela Malan, and Mike Martin.

Mornington Peninsula lifesavers have been honoured at Life Saving Victoria’s annual Awards of Excellence. Ruby Lines-Perrier, from Mount Martha Life Saving Club, was the joint winner of the Mike Martin AM Champion Junior Lifesaver Award, which recognises the valuable contribution youth members make to the lifesaving movement both within their clubs and their communities. Ruby joined the Mount Martha club at six and now teaches water safety in its Nippers program. 

Norman Farmer, from Frankston Life Saving Club, was presented with life membership of Life Saving Victoria — the highest service recognition award for outstanding contribution to lifesaving at a state level. Norman is also a member of the Mordialloc Life Saving Club and is currently the vice-president of the International Life Saving Federation. A past director of Life Saving Victoria, Norman received the Emergency Services Medal in 2005 and continues to contribute to the lifesaving movement at a state, national and international level. 

Gunnamatta Surf Life Saving Club won the Patrol Service Efficiency and Standards Program Award in recognition of the operational excellence demonstrated through its patrol service inspections.

The awards were held at Albert Park on July 27.

Creative cross-cultural exchange in McCrae

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Now this is something clever and extremely special. Mornington Peninsula Magazine moseyed along to the launch of the Cross-Cultural Education Experience program at McCrae Homestead in late July and the atmosphere was enthusiastically electric. A traditional smoking ceremony overseen by Bunurong Land Council representatives Dan Turnbull and John Winch began the proceedings, along with a description of what it might have been like for Indigenous people high up on Wonga (the Indigenous name for Arthurs Seat) watching the settlers’ ships roll in. The didgeridoo played while members of the gathering walked through the cleansing smoke that smelt like Country — full of eucalypt and cherry ballart — with a willum (traditional Bunurong dwelling) created by Living Culture courtesy of a Creative Community Grant provided by the Mornington Peninsula Shire in the background.

There was much conversation and degustation of Indigenous foods after the speeches inside the history-laden homestead, which included an introduction to the program by National Trust chief executive Simon Ambrose. There was also a short Q&A with Grade 3 Rosebud Primary students Phoebe Wilson-Armstrong and Lennox Longhurst, who had taken part in the pilot program. 

The National Trust of Australia (Victoria), in partnership with the Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation, has developed this forward-thinking program to introduce the similarities and differences between local Indigenous communities and the early colonial settlers. Built in 1844, the homestead is one of the oldest homes in Victoria and Georgiana McCrae, who had six children, recorded the sharing of skills and resources between her family and the traditional land owners, the Bunurong people. 

Eighteen months in the making, the Bunurong component of the Cross-Cultural Education Experience, which is targeted at primary school children, is led by Taungurung woman and Indigenous educator Samantha Trist. She explains: “I love sharing my culture with children. We follow Bunjil’s lore, search for animal tracks and bush foods using traditional Indigenous methods. We also explore the importance of storytelling and ceremony, and the kids also learn traditional Bunurong dance moves. You know that Bunurong people used to bring a gum leaf when they came to visit. I’ve created a wooden gum leaf to show the children out of respect to the eucalypt.”

What a wonderful way for our kids to explore the Mornington Peninsula’s Indigenous and first settlement history. Smart thinking. Let’s see more of it. The Cross-Cultural Education Experience is available for primary school bookings at


Kerry’s seachange plays out in real time

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If you’ve never heard of Kerry Armstrong, then I reckon you’ve never watched the box. Never pressed the remote button to surf from channel to channel to happen upon her energetic svelte form, wide smile and intense stare coming at you at a rate of knots. This authentic Australian actor and two-time Australian Film Institute Award winner has got the acting goods. At 61 she’s still delivering stellar performances with creative grunt and is as much in love with her craft as she was when she began her career. 

We are chatting over the phone on borrowed time. She’s in between everything to do with SeaChange, in which she has revised her role of Heather Jelly with passion, and there’s plenty to be done. So why is Mornington Peninsula Magazine chatting with her — apart from the fact that she’s had an amazing career? She’s a Peninsula resident to boot. 

Kerry explains: “I’ve been living on the Peninsula for a few years now but kept a very low profile. I’d been coming down for years before settling. I used to go camping with the Robinsons (the family of former husband and Australian Crawl guitarist Brad Robinson) at the Point Leo camping ground and I’ve always been a surfer. My three boys and I love the water. I love everything about the region and have met some great people. And Clarissa, who rescues the possums — she’s amazing! I’m thrilled to be playing Heather again and to be working with John Howard and Sigrid Thornton. They are such fine actors. Heather Jelly’s low in confidence but has a heart of gold. I based her on a Chauncey Gardiner Being There-type character, and she’s a bit frozen in time. She hasn’t changed much 20 years on, but Pearl Bay has. It’s more multicultural, for one thing.”

Kerry is as smart as a whip and no-fuss too. When I ask her if she gets recognised as a “personality” around town, she replies: “I’m not a personality. I’m an actress. I hate all that stuff that goes on. Acting is a job.” And it’s a job that has taken her across the ocean and back again to land on Western Port Bay. She moved to the States in 1981, where she did a wide variety of stage work and a stint on Dynasty before returning to Australia and getting down to the business of appearing in multiple Australian series, including Police Rescue, Prisoner, Skyways and Bed of Roses. There were more films too. She also won an AFI Award for her leading role in the film Lantana (2001) and was named Best Actress for SeaChange the same year. She’s one of only two Australian actors to do it.

But back to the Peninsula. She continues: “I started sailing when I lived on boats in America on Long Island, and I’ve always loved sailing at Merricks and Mornington yacht clubs. I’m currently training for the Sydney to Hobart yacht race so am spending lots of time on the water. I’ve always been pretty active riding bikes, playing tennis — anything that keeps me moving.”

And with that she’s on the move again and off to another commitment. Having made the seachange herself to the Mornington Peninsula, she’s all set to bring the best of Pearl Bay into our lounge rooms once again. With class.

SeaChange airs on Tuesdays at 8.45pm on Channel 9.


Taungurung woman shares culture through art

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Samantha Trist likes to make and create. Born in Box Hill Hospital, brought up in Bulleen and now living on the Mornington Peninsula, this proud Taungurung women of the Warring Illum Bulok clan who cherished holidays with her Indigenous grandmother Elsie in Yea as a kid, loves to express herself through art made from the heart. She explains: “It’s about having ‘me’ time, really. I’ve got two children, one with special needs, and I work full-time, but somehow I make time to do it. You should see my kitchen table — there’s reeds, feathers, salt and pepper shakers and my husband’s newspaper and Rose’s speech exercises all over it. It’s chaos, but somehow things are produced. I always loved doing art at school and did it as an elective at university. 

“I became a member of Baluk Arts about three years ago and have entered pieces in a couple of exhibitions with them. I’m currently working on five pieces, which will be part of an international touring exhibition. Baluk Arts asked me to be a part of it because of its subject matter. It’s a moth exhibition and the Taungurung people have a strong affiliation with the bogong moth. I love drawing them. As soon as I found out about the exhibition I was so excited. They are drawn in black and white and of course I added my own personal touch — the burning part of the design. I love to burn. It’s a technique I enjoy using.” 

Samantha is one busy artist and loves to share her Indigenous culture. She draws, shows people how to make reed necklaces and emu feather skirts, and teaches Indigenous dance to young girls in Somerville and is busy rehearsing for Tanderrum, which will be performed at the opening of the Melbourne International Arts Festival on Wednesday, October 2. Five Indigenous clans of the Eastern Kulin Nation, including the Boonwurrung, Wurundjeri, Taungurung, Wadawarung and Dja Dja Wurung, will be coming together in celebration of culture and Country. 

She continues: “Every artistic venture is about sharing my Indigenous culture. I’ve been involved in the making of three possum cloaks for Taungurung — one for a funeral, a woman’s cloak and one for the last Commonwealth Games. I used the burning on possum skin technique and painting with ochre. I also love working with bark and wood, anything that represents my connection to Country.”

And connected to Country, culture and Indigenous spirit this innovative artist is. See her work at Baluk Arts and at the McCrae Homestead, where she is an Indigenous educator as part of the Cross Cultural Heritage Experience. Enjoy.

The Moth Migration Project is at Oak Hill Gallery in Mornington.


Cafe creates jobs hope for Peninsula youngsters

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Frankie’s Café has served up another round of success stories with eight students graduating from its Café Creations program last month. The Frankston South café began hosting Café Creations courses at its youth training centre in October 2018, and since then 42 students have taken part.

The pre-accreditation course was designed to help people aged 15-24 learn hospitality and workplace skills to enhance their employability and re-engage with the community.

Frankston City Mayor Michael O’Reilly congratulated the students on their graduation. “Frankie’s Café is a vibrant space which provides real-life training for young people undertaking hospitality courses and is another great café for Frankston South locals to enjoy,” Cr O’Reilly said.

The Café Creations program aims to assist young people who are not employed or engaged in education or training. Participants gain their Responsible Service of Alcohol Certificate and Food Handlers Certificate as well as invaluable work experience in a café environment, support in finding future employment and help to maintain employment. The program also gives them training in interview techniques and writing resumes and cover letters. It’s supported by La Barista in Carrum Downs and Sustainable Building Concepts in Seaford.

Empathy, opinion and dedication to dignity

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Deborah Maxwell-Wright is a modern woman. With almost half a century of nursing behind her, an incredibly close family with three daughters and soon-to-be-six grandchildren, this strong independent Mount Eliza resident has lived a life of caring for others and has loved every moment of it. She’s been there at the end of patients’ lives and supported their families through thick and thin. She’s bandaged footy players in outback Queensland while mozzies munched her legs and has paced the wards of Sydney’s Prince of Wales Hospital when psychological support for sex-change patients was practically non-existent.

She’s also fractured and crushed her fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth vertebrae.

She explains: “That was in 2001. I fell down a concrete staircase at work but was back on the job within six weeks. I was 16 years old when I became a nurse. It was a real calling back then for me and most of the girls who went into it had a passion for it. I always had empathy and compassion as a child and I loved to organise things. I grew up in Strathmore, went to St Columba’s College in Essendon and did my nursing training at the Sacred Heart Hospital built by the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart — now called the John Fawkner Private Hospital — in Coburg. You did your preliminary training for six weeks in a classroom and then you were thrown straight into the hospital and had to learn very quickly. I felt lucky to get my training in hospital. You were put in charge at the end of your third year and had to sink or swim. We were moved from ward to ward and got all kinds of experience.”

Deborah doesn’t mix words. She’s been incredibly vocal about the government’s reduction of nurse-to-patient ratios and has been walked off her job and sacked because of her protests. She continues: “It’s appalling, really. I spent the last 12 years of my nursing career in aged care. This is the time of someone’s life when they should be treated with dignity and kindness. How can one nurse look after eight or nine patients properly? People at the end of their life deserve the very best care, not the worst care. Aged care is a very hard job for nurses, physically and mentally. They get to know their patients well and then one day they have to come to work and those people they have built relationships with are no longer there.”

With 49 years of nursing under her belt, Deborah is now looking forward to spending more time with her family and friends, but she’s got plenty of fond memories and community-minded projects to keep her occupied. “I’ve been privileged to be a nurse and be part of so many people’s lives. I moved to the Peninsula in 1977 and have worked in surgical theatres and wards from St Vincent’s Hospital to the old Queen Victoria Hospital, Preston Hospital, Frankston Hospital and Peninsula Private. I remember this one young woman in oncology and being with her family by her side whilst she was dying, including her children. She was at the end of her life and we played the song Brown Eyed Girl. What an honour. Nursing has given me so much. I’ve just taken my long-service leave and travelled to Italy, Budapest and Croatia, which was lovely, but I think I’ll be needing to do something else soon.”

And her advice for nurses just starting out? “Just focus on one patient at a time. Try to be a good and caring nurse. I know I have done my best to be the best nurse I can be. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s been a wonderfully rewarding career for me.”

Now that’s what I call modern. 


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