Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Two tone pub

Is there a new trend in pub painting? Not only the Rex, but the Beach [formerly the Bleak House Hotel] in Victoria Avenue have the ground and first floor painted different colours. 

Are there other examples around? I'm a matching person myself.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

'His chair is empty'

Mourn the passing of Mark Sheehan of Ozone Street. Deeply faithful to his wife Norma and his extended family. Growing up in the thirties, he saw the devastating effects of poverty and insecure housing, and it fired him up throughout his life. Mark loved politics but not politicians. Another bike rider almost to the end. [11 05 1928 to 22 08 2011]


picture thanks to Andrew McCutcheon
I heard author Jonathan Franzen talking about his 'helpless love' for birds on the radio. He described how he opened his ears and his heart to birds after being introduced to their presence in Central Park. With more vegetation in Port Melbourne, we are hearing and seeing more birds. None lift my spirits as much as the superb fairy wren for its plumage and its call. It can be heard at the western edge of Beacon Cove and through to the Webb Dock path. The wrens are insectivorous with weak powers of flight, and need to be able to retreat quickly into vegetation after venturing into the open.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The City of Port Phillip has changed the look and feel of its website. The councillors wanted the website to be easier to use, lively, and organised well for the questions people ask and the services they use. Check it out and see what you think at

Not happy!

The gutter outside the Exchange Hotel on Rouse St. With warmer weather, thoughts turn to the beach and bay. Yet only a block away from our beach, people are still failing to make that connection. The City of Port Phillip Footpath Trading Guidelines clearly state that 'Litter generated by footpath trading must not be swept into the gutter. It must be picked up and deposited within the permit holders own bins kept within the premises.' [1.8.4 p10.85] Besides, how can we make Rouse St attractive as a living environment when it is undermined in this way?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Walking through Garden City

Garden City resident Gavin Rowson led a large group of interested people on a walk through Garden City and back to the Trugo Club for a feast of photographs, plans and afternoon tea. It was a wonderful gathering of long standing and newer residents around a shared interest in the history of the Bank houses, the Fishermens Bend estate and Port Melbourne. Guidelines for maintaining and renovating these very special heritage places can be accessed from the City of Port Phillip's website here. Or if you would like a hard copy of the guidelines, just let me know.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Its a grand old flag

Port's chances of going undefeated through the season looked in doubt this afternoon at the end of the third quarter. However, they found reserves of energy and determination to win 14 11 95 to Box Hill Hawks 11 9 75. It was an anxious final quarter. Port is the first team since Williamstown in 1957 to go through a season undefeated.

Out and about in Port Melbourne

The ABC will cover the Port Melbourne vs Box Hill Hawks game from 1pm. If you've never been down to North Port Oval, what better time to come and support the team that hasn't dropped a game in any round of this year's competition. That is 17 wins in a row. The Port Melbourne Bowling Club season starts today. I will report back later.

Friday, August 26, 2011


The path on the northern side of Swallow St has been re-surfaced and re-opened to foot traffic. A much reduced Melbourne Water/John Holland compound remains near the tennis courts. It has taken me a while to appreciate the diary function of Port Focus which tells me the path was closed in July 2009. The path is an important connection between Garden City, Beacon Cove and Bay St. Did you know that the tennis courts used to be in Garden City Reserve - I believe where the Trugo green is now.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Out of character

I was a bit perplexed by the sudden arrival of these two palm trees between Beacon Cove and Sandridge Beach until it was explained to me that they are in storage while work is being done in Pier St to fix the drainage problems. Just take a look at the way the north wind was blowing today.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Reporting time

Tomorrow/Thursday, Council will meet to approve the Annual Financial Report and the draft Annual Report for the year ended 30 June 2011.* The range of factors bearing on the Council's end of year result are summarised in the reports to Council. Here is a selection of Port Phillip statistics from the Annual Report: The population was estimated at 97,249, 1,345 births were recorded, the Community Bus carried 30,677 passengers, there were 894,200 loans from the Port Phillip Library Service, [116,938 from Port Melbourne Library], 11,700 hard and green waste collections, 1,240 planning permits approved and 1,222 service requests made regarding abandoned vehicles. *The meeting wil be held in St Kilda at 5.30pm

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

No longer neglected

An avenue of trees now lines the walking and cycling path through Gill Reserve between Raglan and Ingles St. The bed in Walter Reserve was also thickly planted with grasses and other low growing indigenous plants. Thanks to Melbourne Water for providing the funding, the volunteers for planting and City of Port Phillip staff who made it happen.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Heading up to Hindmarsh

for the annual Landcare planting weekend. Please let me know how we go in the footy and at the planting day to be held in Gill Reserve as part of the restoration following the Melbourne Main Sewer works. The City of Port Phillip and the Shire of Hindmarsh seek opportunities to understand the issues affecting each council area. Hindmarsh includes the towns of Nhill, Dimboola, Jeparit and Rainbow.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

City of Port Phillip becomes responsible for future planning at Beacon Cove

Today the Minister for Planning, Matthew Guy, transferred responsibility for future planning of the commercial areas of Beacon Cove to the City of Port Phillip through the gazettal of Amendment C105. The Minister had been the responsible authority for planning in this area until now. The gazetted area includes the area generally known as Waterfront Place [including 1-11 Waterfront Place] and the restaurants. The explanatory report and map of the area can be accessed here.

Council meeting on Monday 22nd August

The Council is proposing to lease land at the Port Melbourne Depot at 477 Plummer St to Citywide Services, Council's open space contractor, for 5 years. The notice of intention to lease the land was notified on Port Focus on 23 June. The background and terms of the lease can be found here. It is also recommended that the Sustainable Transport Strategy, [including the walk and bike plans] and the Playspace Strategy be adopted. The meeting will be held at St Kilda from 6pm.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Port Phillip councillors receive $24,220 pa plus $2,178 super - rather than $40,000 as Nola Cormick writes in this edition of Melbourne Weekly [August 17, 2011]

Light effects

The low light through the rain accentuated the yellow of the wattle and the Park apartments. And then I saw the rainbow ... Did anyone else get a picture?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Finding opportunities to increase public open space

The Victorian Environment Assessment Council [VEAC] has published a report and made recommendations to the Minister for Environment and Climate Change on public open space in metropolitan Melbourne. The report strongly affirms the value communities place on public open space and the contribution it makes to Melbourne's liveability. The report points to the limited opportunities for inner city municipalities to add to their their open space. Over the years, Port Melbourne Council, and later Port Phillip Council, has increased open space by reclaiming road reserves. An example is this area of Edwards Park to the west of this pathway [which continues the alignment of Esplanade West] that has been added to the Park. On the Esplanade East side, road reserve has been added as well - note the difference between the wide section of Esplanade East between Bridge and McCormack compared to the section between McCormack and Liardet St. I recommend the VEAC report. Its very readable. I have a hard copy if anyone would like to borrow it. Just send me an email.

Monday is Council Day

Monday is spent in Council briefings. Formal Council meetings are held on the second, third and fourth Mondays of the month. That means that there is no Council meeting on the first, and on those rare occasions when it occurs, or fifth Monday. The second Monday [today] is the meeting of the Statutory Planning Committee. There are no Port Melbourne planning applications on the agenda.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Finely balanced

110 gymnasts over 3 sessions participated in today's Fishermens Bend Gymnastics Club competition. The hall was packed with supporters and a sausage sizzle and cake stall meant everyone was well looked after. It was great to see the Centre so alive with activity. The Club, which has operated at the Fishermens Bend Community Centre for over 20 years, is thriving. The hall is now too small to accommodate the number and range of programs offered by the Gymnastics Club.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

'Can we get a grand final like that?

'Port went from 3 goals ahead to just 5 points. Willie gets a free kick in defence. It's several minutes after the half hour in the last quarter. 2 kicks later the ball is sailing into the Williamstown inside fifty and the ABC flicks back to the studio for the 4pm program', writes a Port Focus correspondent. The final result was Port Melbourne 17 17 119 d Williamstown 16 18 114. Tweeters were not happy: 'Not happy - there was about 2 minutes to go', 'Can we get a grand final like that - better off asking the ABC if they'll show the whole thing', 'ABC makes an extraordinary decision to cut Williamstown-Port Melb game at 33 min mark of last term'. 'What what? ABC take VFL off the air at 32 minute mark in the 4th quarter with 5 points in it with Willi in the fwd line.'

Friday, August 12, 2011

Port vs Williamstown tomorrow away

Football commentators capture the mood: "September aside, it does not get any bigger than this. Williamstown and Port Melbourne. First versus second at Avalon Airport Oval." [source Sam Landsberger in the Herald Sun] Click here for more.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Shine a light on Port Melbourne

It will be interesting to find out what the census tells us about Port Melbourne's population in 2011 - but we won't know for about a year. The population of Port Melbourne in 1996 was 7,904 and in 2006 it was 13,103.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Spotted off Bridge St ... a BAC Bike

BAC Bikes [Born Again Cycles] recycles old bikes and trains people to do so: 'Give us your old bikes, help us to fix them. Get them out there for people who need them.' BAC Bikes is a community programme of South Port Uniting Care. If you are upgrading your bike, you might like to pass on your old one to BAC Bikes at 319 Dorcas St, South Melbourne 9690 1188.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Environmental regulation has a history

I read this item in the local paper: "Symex Holdings, located in Woodruff Street, was served with a pollution abatment notice for storing chemicals inapproriately, odour problems, having sub-standard spill procedures and noise problems. The company turns oil products into glycerine, searine and oleine, which are then used in toiletries, plastics, food and pharmaceuticals and is shipped to more than 40 countries." [source Amber Wilson Melbourne Weekly, August 10 2011] The odour from the site has been a feature of Port life for many, many years.
This reminded me of a bye-law I had come across at the Historical Society of the Municipal Council of Sandridge: 'Be it therefore ordered and directed by the Municipal Council of Sandridge that if at any time the trade or business of any person or persons being the owner or occupier of any candle house melting place or soap house or any slaughter house or any building or place for boiling offal or blood or for boiling burning or crushing bones or any manufactory building or place used for any trade business process or manufacture causing effluvia shall be carried on so as to be a nuisance or cause any effluvia injurious to he health of the inhabitants of the neighbourhoods such person or pesons shall forthwith after receiving written notices from the local inspector of nuisances use the best practicable means for abating such nuisances or preventing or counteracting such effluvia. Any person guilty of any breach or neglect of this by law shall forfeit and pay a penalty of sum not exceeding 20 pounds.'

Magnolias in Nott St

There is something about the composition of these houses in Nott St with their steeply pitched roofs and simple verandah decoration which I find very pleasing - enhanced by the magnolias.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Princes Pier

Councillors walked out on Princes Pier on Thursday at the invitation of Major Projects Victoria [MPV]. So much space! The forest of piles creates an amazing visual impression. We learned that the Gatehouse had to be carefully lowered as the concrete deck is now lower than it used to be. MPV have updated their website with some spectacular aerial photographs. They will be starting work on laying services to Princes Pier along Pier St this week, and starting work on the long standing drainage and flooding issues in Pier St. Click here to access the update.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Open air gallery closing

The Port Melbourne Primary students' paintings on the concrete barriers of the Melbourne Water/John Holland compound at Swallow/Ross/Byrne have been cleared away, along with the other infrastructure, to prepare for the re-instatement of the road and paths. I have enjoyed the colourful presence of these paintings while the Melbourne Main Sewer works have been underway. I have often reflected on the very urban themes of the paintings.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Shades of grey

HMAS Newcastle, HMAS Perth and HMAS Sirius are at Station Pier as part of the commemoration of 100 years since the formation of the Royal Australian Navy. Or, another beacon picture? The ships will be open to the public on Sunday from 10am to 2pm.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Port in the paper

Port - the place for a village?
'Professor Miles Lewis said many elements of Melbourne's history were "incredibly confusing, including the false rumours about the vollage site". Professor Lewis said a redrawn version of Batman's map indicated the famous description by Batman of a good "place for a village" referred to the south bank of the Yarra River, in what is now the Port Melbourne area.' [Jason Dowling Age, Wednesday 3 August 2011 p9]
'Port of Hastings is the future, but Webb Dock needs an upgrade now'
A piece by Mark Stone, [CEO of the Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry] re-asserting the Port of Melbourne's need for additional capacity in the short term since the Port of Hastings is at best 10 to 15 years off. [Mark Stone, Business Age Wednesday 3 August 2011 p15]

Warm weather

'The Melbourne temperature reached 20.2 degrees, the warmest August 2 since records began in 1855. ... The city's previously hottest August 2 was 19.5 degrees in 1873. [Age Wednesday 3 August 2011, p3] You can look at the temperature records back to 1855 at the Bureau of Meteorology's website here.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Extreme commitment to the marine environment

Jarad Kohlar and Clean Across Bass Strait have won the Pam Keating Environmental Sustainability Award at the Keep Australian Beautiful - Clean Beach Challenge awards. Congratulations! They paddled across Bass Strait. They picked up rubbish wherever they camped. 'The data will be entered into Sufrider's National Marine Debris database. The results will be used to educate the community and raise awareness of marine debris; trace and address the source of the debris in a non agressive, education based way; and to monitor the impact of marine debris on Australian locations.' The inspiring Jarad can be found down at the Sandridge Life Saving Club training others in kayaking.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sandridge project

Work has begun on the Sandridge Beach toilet - middway between the Sandridge Life Saving Club and the western end of Beacon Cove. The current approach to designing toilets is to place them in highly visible places with lots of passing traffic.