Friday, October 29, 2010

Whittaker Walk

The life and times of Alan Whittaker will be commemorated in a walk through Port Melbourne, beginning near Beacon Vista [between Station and Princes Piers] on Sunday 7 November from 11 am.
Alan Whitaker, waterside worker and Gallipoli veteran, was shot by police during a bitter waterfront dispute in 1928.
To hear more of Whitaker's life and the Port Melbourne in which it was lived, join the walk and end up at the Port Melbourne Bowling Club afterwards.
Perce White, former mayor of Port Melbourne, and a veteran of the waterfront, addresses the crowd in 2009

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bay and Beach St

Since the 'For Sale' sign appeared on the former Morley's Coal Depot, people have been wondering [and worrying] about what its future might be.

It is a significant heritage property in the Port Phillip Planning Scheme with its own citation which reads:
'The former Morley's Coal Depot is of local significance. It is associated with the prominent early local citizen and first Chairman of Sandridge Borough Council William Morley.'
[source City of Port Phillip Heritage Review Citation No: 689]

This is of particular interest in this 150th year since Sandridge was proclaimed a municipality.
It is covered by Design and Development Overlay 1-1b which provides
  • Less than 5 m from any road boundary: Preferred maximum height 10.5 m [3 storeys], absolute maximum height 13.5 m [4 storeys]
  • 5 m or more from any road boundary: Preferred maximum height 13.5 m [4 storeys], absolute maximum height [4 storeys]

The outcome sought is 'An open view of sky exists when looking towards the Bay from Bay St at its northern intersection with Rouse St and new development is not visible above the roofline of any building fronting Bay St'

In other words, very strong planning controls apply to this site.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Response to 'Welcome to Bay St'

Many people have good memories of their first bike.

Reader Helen says: 'Do you know that there was always a bike shop opposite the Town Hall - the Malvern Star bike shop. This is where my father bought my first bike. I was in Grade 6 at Graham Street Primary School and the plan was that I would cycle to Middle Park Central School for years 7 and 8 prior to going to MacRob. I was so proud riding that bike home on my own after picking it up - it was red. I used to cycle to Middle Park right down Richardson Street, keeping the Carmelite Church as my guide'.

One resident, now in his seventies, is still riding the bike he got when he was eleven every day! Here is a portrait of that venerable bike.

Skillsfest: sharing skills for living in the inner city

Skillsfest is about skills that have been lost, skills to be re-discovered and skills to be shared.
There will be food growing advice for gardens of any size: window sill, balcony, courtyard or backyard. People will show how to make wicking gardens - those are gardens that optimise the use of water - and knitting - a rug will be knitted on the day. Also bike maintenance, composting, worms ...
Bring your friends - hopefully it will be a beautiful day like today.
Janet Hoare, coordinator of the Simply Living Garden, can barely be seen amongst the abundance that has been created in this place. Have a look at the post of September 29, 2008 to see what this area used to look like.

Skills Fest, Saturday November 6, 12 noon to 4 pm
Port Melbourne Uniting Church, cnr Bridge and Nott St

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Events in Port

I have added an 'Events in Port' section on the right hand panel of Port Focus. There is always something to do in Port.

Turville Place Reserve

The Council is planning on upgrading Turville Place Reserve - it sure needs it. This rather unloved and unlovely piece of open space next to the Graham St overpass is used mainly to get to the Graham tram stop.
Offer us your thoughts on what could be done to improve the area. The things that bother you give useful information about what you think needs to be done.
Council staff and me will be on site on Saturday 30 October between 10 and 12.30 or may be easier for you to provide feedback here
Before the overpass was built in the 1970s, there used to be a double set of constantly closing level crossing gates here to accommodate the heavy volume of passenger and freight traffic that used the line. Traffic used to get held up - sometimes all the way back to Bay St. The overpass was constructed in relation to the Westgate Bridge since Graham St provided direct access to it. Many shops and homes were demolished to make way for the overpass.
[adapted from Railway Rockeries: Tales of the Melbourne and Hobson's Bay Railway Reserves, Port Melbourne, Port Melbourne Historical and Preservation Society]

Sunday, October 24, 2010

From woe to go

The development at 161 and 163 Esplanade West is now complete and occupied. Port Focus has followed this site from planning application stage, through VCAT, to completion. [see post of 7/07/2008]
I thought I would track some of these projects and would be most interested to know your response to this completed development.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Some joy: bringing the birds back

I heard the twitter of superb blue wrens from the silver coastal saltbush near the town houses at the western end of Beacon Cove.
These small birds have weak powers of flight, and need to be able to retreat to cover easily. They are insectivorous and dart from their cover to feed.
The wrens are now found from Beacon Cove, through Perce White Reserve and the Webb Dock trail to Westgate Park.
Thanks to Bill Mackenzie for this photo of a male in full breeding plumage taken [I think] in Westgate Park.

Welcome to Bay St

I have been watching with interest the coming of the bike shop at 362 Bay St, opposite the Town Hall. It is now open.
These are no ordinary bicycles - and I think they warrant that more respectful designation. Each one is made by hand in England.
The children's tricycles are especially appealing.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Port Melbourne business wins Port Phillip award

Daisy Drycleaning in Rouse St won the Environmental Sustainability Impact Reduction Award at the Port Phillip Business Awards, and was a finalist in several categories. Click here to see all the category winners.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Port agenda items for Council on Monday 25 October

At this Council meeting at the St Kilda Town Hall starting at 6pm, these Port specific matters are on the agenda:
  • the Murphy's Reserve masterplan will be considered by Council prior to being put out for public consulation
  • the revision of the Garden City and Fishermen's Bend guidelines are being put forward for adoption by Council

You are most welcome to attend the meeting and make a submission to Council on these matters. Please refer to the full meeting papers at

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Foote St and the new secondary school

Foote St between Graham and Danks St is now closed to car traffic. Soon it will be landscaped. You will still be able to walk or cycle through it.
The change is to increase the space available around the new secondary school in Albert Park.
Such road closures have a long history. Bridport St used to run through Albert Park Primary School and a section of Stokes St was closed to make more space for the then Nott St Primary School - now the Port Phillip Special School.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Spring flowers from skinc

The St Kilda Indigenous Nursery, or Skinc, are holding their spring sale this Friday 22 and Saturday 23 October. They will be celebrating 15 years of growing locally indigenous plants that have been grown from seed and cuttings gathered locally.
Many plants are in flower now, and the staff have very extensive knowledge about how to go about growing the plants native to our area.
Skinc started out in St Kilda, before moving to the former Port Melbourne nursery at 525 Williamstown Road [between Raglan and Bridge]
Karen and Patrick propagating cuttings at Skinc

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Princes Pier 2

Exploring that Major Projects Princes Pier website, I came across this site which will follow the Princes Pier project with photos taken from above the site. They give a sense of the scale and scope of the Pier and the works. This is the site for you if you want to keep an eye on the unfolding of the Princes Pier restoration project.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Princes Pier

Major Projects Victoria have recently updated their website to reflect the work currently underway at Princes Pier. You can access the very interesting images and most recent news from here.
Major Projects Victoria are delivering the refurbishment of Princes Pier which includes restoring the concrete deck to 196m seaward of the Gatehouse, and refurbishing the 1934 Gatehouse.

This picture is taken on Sandridge Beach to the west of Princes Pier. The timber wall from east to west records the names of Port Melbourne's historic piers in chronological order from Liardet's jetty onwards. The wall, made from recovered pier timbers, also records the timbers from which the piers were made, and the engineers who designed them.

Well might he be called King of Lagoon Reserve

Yesterday, returning home in the rain, I met Peter Syrkiadis in his gumboots clearing the stormwater drain alongside Lagoon Reserve. Fallen leaves had blocked the drain so the stormwater could not get away. Once it had been cleared, it flowed like a stream.
Peter, often accompanied by his dog Olympia, picks up rubbish, sees the dogs have water, and looks out for the welfare of the Reserve and all its users.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Not only can he ride it - but he has ridden it round Australia

I was on my way home from Bicycle Victoria's Bike Futures Conference, when I bumped into Phil McDonald, Port resident, and his pennyfarthing in Bay St. Was it back to the future?
Phil rode this very cycle around Australia in 1988 raising over $100k for Rotary.
Phil organises amazing cycle rides in different parts of Australia. See for more

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

'It's great being a senior in Port Phillip'

With these words, the art exhibition that is part of Seniors' Week was opened today. It's been a hectic week with a tea dance, a luncheon, and the Community Ball tomorrow night. Click here for the full programme. Still ahead on Saturday is the U3A hosted Population Debate being held at Mary Kehoe Centre, 224 Danks St, Albert Park from 2.30 to 4.30. Bookings 9696 3495

This painting of a cake shop in Acland St was created a few years ago by the Emerald Hill Art Group. Each panel was painted by a different member of the group and then assembled into a single piece.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Police presence in Port

People sometimes ask me about the police and Port Melbourne. I have recently been made aware of this Victoria Police website which you can access here to see how we are faring in Port Phillip on crime. If the link doesn't take you straight there, go to 'My Place' and in the search box type in 3207. You will see that most crime in Port Phillip has decreased. The fact that we do not have a station does not make a difference to the level of policing support Port Melbourne receives, I am told.
This is the former Police Station in Port Melbourne which closed in .... can anyone help me out here?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Council meeting of 11 October 2010

At last night's Council meeting held in Port Melbourne, Council resolved to
  • enter into a new lease for the premises at 174 Nott St with Teifal Pty Ltd [which you may know as Decanters by the Bay] after following all the required notifications and advertising. Council is the freehold owner of the land.

Can anyone tell me how this particular parcel of land came to be in the Council's possession?

  • take the next step with the proposed skate park at Marina Reserve which is to seek Coastal Management Act consent for the adopted Marina Reserve masterplan

for agendas and meeting papers for this meeting, click here

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Clark/Poolman and Port Melbourne Primary

The raised crossings at Clark/Poolman were finished in time for the return to school for Term 4.
The raised crossings clearly give pedestrians priority.
It is hoped they will change the way motorists move through that intersection and support Port Melbourne Primary's work on promoting active transport.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Williamtown Road and Plummer St

Traffic volumes on Williamstown Rd have declined over the last 10 years.

Council's annual traffic survey site east of Page St shows
  • 1999: 23,000 vehicles per day [vpd], 2010: 17,300 vpd, a reduction of 6,500 vpd
  • of those vehicles, in 1999, 2,300 were trucks, and in 2010: 2,008 were trucks

It was anticipated in 2002 that Plummer St would carry in the order of 5,000 to 7,000 vpd. Surveys in February 2010 showed it was carrying 10,000 vpd. The Plummer St bypass is working. The survey shows that while there has been an increase in traffic overall, traffic volumes on Williamstown Rd have declined.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What we're up against in improving our parks

Recently 137 roses were planted in Edwards Park. The roses had been carefully selected and ordered from a rose nursery in Warnambool. The roses had been packed up and sent in damp paper for planting in the rose beds. Not long after they had been planted, they were pulled up and dumped in a pile in the park. Only about five are likely to survive replanting.
This is deeply discouraging for all who care about the park - the staff who look after it, the people who spend time in the park and those who pass through it every day.

Contributors in our community

Aunty Judith Jackson, or Aunty Jacko, as she is more widely known and Steve Pinnells were amongst Port Melbourne people recognised for their significant contribution in the community at our local Frances Penington awards. These awards acknowledge the contribution of people in community and public housing to the wider community.
Jacko, indigenous elder, provides outstanding leadership in everything she does, but most especially at our Rainbow Place, a regular gathering of our local indigenous community.
Steve is a stalwart at the Port Phillip EcoCentre, endlessly cooking for the many gatherings that take place there as well as cleaning up afterwards. He also volunteers at the Port Melbourne Neighbourhood House.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Status report on proposed Liardet St Family and Children's Centre

Lady Forster Kindergarten has appealed Council's decision to grant a permit for a family and children's centre to VCAT.
The appeal will be heard on 7, 8 and 9 February 2011.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Grand Final replay

Went out looking for evidence of footy fever in Port, and didn't find a lot.
Here are my slim pickings from different parts of Port.
Trying to be even handed in the spirit of last week's draw.