Friday, August 31, 2012

Whiff of spring

The first of September is Wattle Day and also said to be the first day of spring.  The original inhabitants of our region had a much more sensitive understanding of seasonality. Aunty Carolyn Briggs, indigenous elder of the Yalukit Willam of the Boon Wurrung people, in opening an event at the City of Port Phillip, explained that Boon Wurrung means 'to speak the country, speak the land, speak the place.' That's why it's good to get to know the indigenous plants of our place.  To get an appreciation of Melbourne's seasons, you might like to refer to this seasonal calendar  compiled by distinguished Dr Beth Gott from Monash University.
Happy Wattle Day to you!
photo thanks to Lyn Allison
Saturday 1 September
Went in search of wattle on this glorious spring day.

Esplanade West, Lagoon Oval

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Shades of crane - Port Capacity Project, 2

The Port of Melbourne Corporation has awarded two contracts for civil and maritime design services for the expansion of Webb Dock. The scope includes the buffer and the road/s. Here is their media release for further detail.
The Port continues in discussion with us about amenity matters such as light, noise, visual impact and traffic.
Have you had a look at the suite of crane colour possibilities?  I know that some people prefer a naval kind of grey, but my preference is for the strong primary colours I associate with the Port. What colour crane would you prefer to see as you look towards Webb Dock? A palette of possibilities is offered for your consideration and comment - access them here.
towards Webb Dock

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Lagoon Reserve from every angle

Lagoon Reserve - dog park, soccer field, front yard, cricket pitch, back yard, urban bushland and habitat. People use the Reserve differently, but everyone I speak to is fierce in their love of the Reserve. The Council is inviting nominations for a reference group to guide future planning for the park that takes into account all perspectives. Click here to get to the nomination form which must be submitted by 10 September. To get a picture of what Lagoon Reserve looked like in 1931 with not a tree in sight - click here.
Do you access Lagoon Reserve from Liardet St?
Might you access Lagoon Reserve from the corner of Esplanade West and Graham St?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Views and vandals

Several banksia integrifolia have been planted on Port Melbourne beach - between the Port Life Saving Club and Pickles St. A beautifully maturing banksia had been felled by tree vandals some months ago as the picture below shows. Do I need to say that trees secure the beach, provide habitat for birds, pleasure to people and remind us of the landscape of earlier times.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The 27th

27 Nott St - a business remaining among several apartment developments
The 27th October is the date for the election of the Port Phillip Council - two months away today. It is the day you will  get to choose your preferred candidate to represent Port Melbourne for the Sandridge Ward. It's a good time to ensure that you are on the voters roll. You can access the Victorian Electoral Commission website here and I will add it to the links section. It will be an attendance election but with provision for pre-polling and postal voting. All councils in Victoria are up for election.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


After many months, or perhaps it's years, the scaffolding has been removed and the heritage remains of two buildings have been revealed. With Waterside and 101 Bay St nearing completion, work is beginning on the restoration of the Army and Navy Hotel and what remains of the W J Carr building. W J Carr were printers, and/or stationers - exercise books, that sort of thing, according to informants Max and Jim. Click here to see a picture of W J Carr when it [looks like] it was still in business.

One point!

I was surprised the other day to be called too footy focus-ed by a reader. However. North Ballarat defeated Port Melbourne by 1 point yesterday. Casey Scorpions finished the season on top of the ladder. Port Melbourne will play the Geelong Cats at North Port Oval on Sunday 2 September.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Morris Reserve

Today we spoke with people about Morris Reserve - that fragment of open space between the Graham St overpass and the tennis courts. People who walk through the area regularly - on the way to the tram stop or to Bay St - had very consistent views on what could be improved. The strongest comments were around stabilising the embankment of the overpass. Erosion from the bank leads to mud on the footpath - puddles and mud may be fun for some children but not for adults. People who use that path to make their way home from the tram at night would like the path to be better lit. There seemed to be a preference for introducing more natural materials into the area and the play equipment since people observed that the plastic equipment deteriorated over time. One person suggested that adult exercise equipment, such as that on the foreshore in Middle Park, would complement the tennis club. The tree, which defines the Reserve, should be well protected and perhaps made more of a feature. The recently completed works at Turville Reserve and improvements to the underpass were positively received though the challenges of the underpass area were noted. If you would like to contribute your thoughts, please go to

Friday, August 24, 2012

On the Council agenda for Tuesday 28 August

On Tuesday, Council will consider
  • a report regarding the covenants that apply to the land at 1 - 7 Waterfront Place
  • its submission to the Department of Human Services Social Housing Reforms
If you are interested in Waterfront Place, I recommend that you read the report in full, rather than my attempting to summarise it here. It gives the background, explains the issues and recommends a course of action.
The reports are available from the meeting and agendas page of Council's website. The Council meeting is at 6 pm in St Kilda. The final vision for the St Kilda Triangle will also be presented.
At this evening's meeting, Council unanimously supported the motion before it - that Council:
  • Declines Mirvac Victoria Pty Ltd's invitation to become arbiter of the covenants on 1 - 7 Waterfront Place
  • Notes the progress of the Port Melbourne Waterfront Urban Design Framework and the intention that this work will inform suitable planning controls for 1 - 7 Waterfront Place to guide the redevelopment of the site

Lighting the way

The pathways are open and the lights have been installed at Turville Reserve. The paths lead directly to the Graham tram stop - the busiest stop in Port Melbourne. Making it safer and easier to get to public transport has been a key objective of the works at Turville Reserve. Lights will also be installed along the pathway under the overpass.

Sunday 27 August
I was so happy this afternoon to see the netball and basket ball courts in use, and some boys enjoying the bike track. And yesterday I met a man with his children who had  enjoyed the bike track when he was young .

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Amazing that such severe and unusual weather should have occurred in Storm Safe Awareness Week. A good reminder to be prepared for stormy weather and to have the SES details handy. I missed the hail in Port Melbourne - were you around?
SES: 132500

On another note, it's sad to see the London closed again.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The roots that bind

The Council is proposing to fence areas of the dunes on Port Melbourne beach to clarify access points onto the beach, and to protect the dune grasses. The grasses, some of which are regionally significant, hold sand on the beach, absorb and buffer storm surges and protect the beach wall. The improved access is for the Port Melbourne Life Saving Club. For more information and to view the areas proposed to be fenced, please click here. The proposal is open for comments to 31 August.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

On the beach

Weekend weather threw up a very thick trail of seaweed along the beach. The seaweed was deeply intermingled with very old plastic disintegrating into fragments and a few very aged and brown plastic bottles.
seaweed at Sandridge

Monday, August 20, 2012

Getting ready for cricket

The area at the north-east corner of North Port Oval is being prepared for cricket nets. The nets at Murphy's Reserve needed to be relocated to make space for the new baseball pitch.

The former headquarters of Kitchens in the background, Yarra's Edge in the far background

Friday, August 17, 2012

Tree planting

Vigorous trees have replaced those that had died in Rouse St [east]. Very harsh conditions prevail in Rouse St - with wind and shadow.
I am heading off to the north west of the state this morning for the 15th Annual Project Hindmarsh tree planting weekend organised by the Hindmarsh Landcare Network.  Project Hindmarsh began with the aim of creating a biolink between the Big and the Little Deserts. Since then, its work has extended onto many landcarer farms. You can read the whole story and visit the Wimmera and the planting sites by going to the Hindmarsh Landcare Network website.

the trees are spaced 5 m apart

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Notes from Tuesday's council meeting

Last night Council heard submissions on the Montague Structure Plan. We will now consider the submissions and whether any changes to the Structure Plan should be made in response. The Council decided to keep moving with the Structure Plan even though the area is now covered by the Capital City Zone. The Council's planning provides more detailed guidance on a preferred approach to developing the area.
When I'm at North Port Oval, and when I'm not preoccupied with what's happening on the ground, I look across and ponder the future of Montague.


Spotted this gym equipment being lifted through the upstairs window in the former Morley's coal depot. Perhaps this is a sign that the gym will open soon as the banner has been suggesting for some time. Actually, after checking back on Port Focus, I see that the building was only leased in February of this year. There is still no clarity on the future use of the other significant heritage building on Bay St, the former Naval Drill Hall, when Circus Oz goes.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Planning for Fishermans Bend, 2

In case you missed it, here is a link to Kate Shaw's opinion piece in today's Age on the implications of  Minister Guy's recent announcement of the capital city zone for Fishermans Bend.

Big day tomorrow for the Two Schools Now campaign

At 1 pm on Wednesday, representatives of the Two Schools Now campaign will present their petition on the steps of State Parliament to Andrea Coote and Martin Foley. The two schools refer to the need for a primary and secondary school in the south/port Melbourne area. Although the campaign is driven by parents worried about the future schooling of their children, it is relevant for our whole community.

Bernadene Voss and friend are glad to put energy into
supporting Two Schools Now

Monday, August 13, 2012

How about this for a Port Focus-ed comment?

'I am, was, and always will be, a Port boy.' So said Costas Kilias, guest speaker at the Port Melbourne Football Club lunch on Saturday. Costas is a barrister and actor - the movie The Castle being one of his claims to fame. He grew up in Albert St, attended Graham St (now Port Melbourne Primary) and Albert Park Secondary College.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Olympics - more!

Port Melbourne Yacht Club use their prominent location to congratulate the sailors who have done so well in the Olympics. But have the Olympics won a medal for its sustainability performance? Consider all the dimensions of this huge event - travel, energy, waste and food. The authors of the Olympics sustainability strategy use a set of indicators to assess the sustainability performance of the Olympics.

three on Friday 10 August

five on Sunday 12 August
eight on Monday 13 August
sign in the week of 13 September

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Port by 3 points

At three quarter time Port trailed Box Hill  Hawks by 3 points. A very unhappy Gary Ayres was unusually angry when he spoke with the team at three quarter time. Or as Paul Amy* put it: 'Wow. Gary Ayres has given the Port players a fair old serve.  Reckons they're at a crossroad and that the time for talking is over'. Daniel Paproth described it as 'an epic spray.' Somehow they summoned the drive to win in a nail biting final quarter. Port 11.8.74 to Box Hill 10.11.71

Friday, August 10, 2012

Home game tomorrow

Port Melbourne Football Club play the Box Hill Hawks in Round 20 at North Port Oval tomorrow at 2 pm. After round 19, the Casey Scorpions are at the top of the ladder with 48 points followed by Port Melbourne and Geelong Cats - both with 44 points.

The beach

The beach between Station Pier and Port Melbourne Yacht Club at 8 am this morning - showing the extent of the stormwater that had come out of the Melbourne Water drain after the previous night's rain.
At the talk I mentioned attending recently on the SEARCH climate history project, this verse from someone's journal was quoted which sums up how I'm feeling after getting wet several time in the past few days: 'Rain, rain, oft times a blessing, sometimes a bane'.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


It was a day to take cover in Port Melbourne.
Hoping these new shelters around the Woodruff Oval at J L Murphy Reserve provide some protection from the south westerly winds.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


121 Liardet St, also known as Kyme Place, was formally opened today. The importance of secure, dry, warm housing was brought home on a day that could not have been more wet, cold and miserable. Twenty seven people are now well housed close to shops, community facilities and transport.
Happy John
John Dawes has a very long standing involvement with the City of Voices - a performance group based at the Port Melbourne Neighbourhood House

Looking out from the communal area to Liardet St

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Life at 40

How's it been going with the recently introduced 40 kph zone in local streets around Bay St? There are a few anomalies. VicRoads did not support the 40 kph for Station St, or for Liardet St [between Pickles and Bay St]. Bay St, a VicRoads rather than a Council managed road, remains the stand out anomaly with a speed limit of 60 kph. 
Council will keep on advocating for 40 kph in Bay St as applies in Clarendon, Fitzroy and Carlisle Sts.
Some people have questioned the rationale for introducing the 40 kph zones. Road safety authorities agree that 'for pedestrians, small differences in travelling speed can mean the difference between life and death. If you collide with a pedestrian, death or serious injury is likely even at relatively low speeds. Although a pedestrian who is hit by a car travelling at 60 km/h has little chance of survival, if the car were travelling at 50 km/h the chance of the pedestrian surviving would be 60 per cent. [VicRoads speeding and safety] Chances of survival improve when the speed is lowered further.
Since the Council wants to support a conducive environment for walking, lowered speeds make sense.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Port Phillip Council election on Saturday 27 October

Today, Jason Dowling wrote an Opinion piece in the Age  - 'How to make your council vote count'. The positive in a generally negative article lies in alerting people to the Council elections coming up on October 27. Dowling reminds readers of the significant influence Councils have on places - through planning, parks, and a wide range of services. He suggests that research on candidates is well worth doing.
As advised to Port Melbourne residents recently, I will not be contesting the Sandridge ward at the Port Phillip Council election. Thank you for the generous messages people have sent in response to that letter.
Over coming weeks, there will be more discussion on Port Focus about the Sandridge ward and the Port Phillip Council election.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Spiny surprise off Sandridge

The beach was pretty clean and the water clear on Saturday for 3207 Beach Patrol's clean up. The water was clear enough to see this anenome in the shallows off Sandridge Beach.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Station Pier

HMAS Tobruk is at Outer East, Station Pier until Monday. There is also some work underway on Station Pier - perhaps in preparation for the cruise ship season?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Hottest, coldest, wettest, dryest ...

How often might you have said that this is the coldest winter in many years? Is it? A fascinating project* is underway to build a picture of South East Australia's climate before formal weather records started around 1910. Using newspapers, journals of early settlers and paleoclimatic records - such as tree ring records - researchers are building a picture of the variations of climate from the earliest days of settlement until reliable weather records began.  The researchers have used Trove to trawl through newspapers for information. So how was the weather in Melbourne in August 1862? Well - the Argus for 2 August 1862, p7 gives a very detailed analysis of the temperature for the month of June of that year and the relationship of the weather to the mortality for that period.
*SEARCH: South East Australia Recent Climate History

Thursday, August 2, 2012

3207 Beach Patrol clean up on Saturday

The good people of 3207 Beach Patrol will get together for a group clean on Saturday from 9 am at First Point Beach - next to Princes Pier. Coffee or hot chocolate after. Here are some foreshore pictures from Dili in East Timor - familiar yet different. Discarded plastic bottle familiarity and people rather than mechanical cleaning the difference.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A decisive move on car dooring

From tomorrow the penalty for opening a car door into the path of a cyclist will more than double, reflecting the risk to riders that this offence poses.
'Rule 269(3) of the Victorian Road Safety Road Rules 2009, states that it is an offence to cause a hazard to a person or a vehicle by opening a door, leaving a door of a vehicle open or getting out of a vehicle. The on-the-spot fine for this offence will increase from $141 (one penalty unit) to $352 (2.5 penalty units) and the maximum court penalty from $423 (three penalty units) to $1,408 (ten penalty units).' More on safely sharing the road from the VicRoads website here. To prompt that awareness, free 'look for bike' stickers from VicRoads are available at the Assist desk at the Port Melbourne Town Hall. Do you think the increased penalty and the stickers will help address the problem?