Saturday, June 30, 2012

End of an era - Perce White Reserve

Tomorrow, 1st July, the Port of Melbourne Corporation assumes responsibility for the ongoing management of Perce White Reserve. Although owned by the Port, the City of Port Phillip has looked after it for a long time. The Reserve is that area of open space between Todd Road and the Webb Dock East path. Perce White Reserve is named after the several times mayor of Port Melbourne, still resident in the area, and a strong advocate for the Port community in relation to the Port. The Reserve contains regionally significant vegetation, especially salt grasses, reflecting the area's relationship to the mouth of the Yarra River - see images below. The PoMC has provided assurances that the important vegetation will continue to be managed with care but have not ruled out changes to the vegetation management plan commissioned by the City of Port Phillip. Perce White Reserve forms part of the landscape buffer proposed to surround the expanded Webb Dock.

Zoysia macrantha - the only occurrence of this grass between Cape Otway and Westernport

Carex pumila - a healthy population found on the foreshore
Distichlis distichophylla  - a strong presence at Perce White Reserve

Touch and go for the Borough

The final score of Port 18.16.124 to Sandringham 14.10.94 doesn't really tell the story of this rather disappointing game. Scores were almost level half way through the final quarter.
As I sat there, close enough to examine the detail of no 5's tattoo, to overhear Phil Cleary's commentary for the ABC, to watch Gary Ayre's changing expressions from metres away, it reinforced what Mark Fine from SEN had said at lunch - that membership of a local football club gives supporters fantastic value. As I looked across the ground towards the expanding city, I tried to imagine North Port Oval as the community heart of a new Fishermens Bend,

Friday, June 29, 2012

Final touches at Princes Pier

When Princes Pier opened there were no bins. Well, now there are - both recycling and rubbish. The final bit of protective balustrade is being put in place at the junction of the Pier with the Promenade. The Pier will feature in the Melbourne Open House programme over the weekend of 28 and 29 July - the first time places in our area have been part of this great weekend. The Pier is also becoming a popular subject for photographers who like to capture the mystery of all those piles - as in The Age last Sunday.
bins with a view

Thursday, June 28, 2012

One more step towards the Liardet Family and Children's Centre

The beginning of construction of the new Liardet Family and Children's Centre was marked at a formal gathering on site today. Andrea Coote MLC, Parliamentary Secretary for Family and Children's Services, along with Georgie Crozier represented the state government. John Lenders MLC represented the opposition. The commitment of local member Martin Foley to the project was acknowledged. The contribution and involvement of all three tiers of government was noted as a very positive feature of the project. The funding contributions of each are as follows: Federal $1.6m, State $1.2m [allocated by the previous state government] and Council $1.35m. All councillors were in attendance, pleased to see the project underway.
Ms Andrea Coote MLC

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Relief from the grey gloom

I love banksia trees in all their variety. Our locally indigenous Banksia integrifolia is my absolute favourite, but these 'Giant candle' banksias growing in the Bend are spectacular at this tme of year. Each bushy tree is covered in these tall bronzey gold spikes and the birds are having a ball. There are 173 species of this wonderful plant named after Sir Joseph Banks. More and more Banksia integrifolia have been planted as street trees in recent years. For more about banksias, click here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Port Phillip Council 2012/13 Budget adopted

Council adopted the budget tonight with some minor changes.
Capital projects in the budget for Port Melbourne include:
  • Liardet Street Family & Children's Service Centre: $1.35m
  • Northport Pavilion Redevelopment: $2.5m
  • Port Melbourne Neighbourhood House: $50k
  • Murphy Reserve masterplan: $50k for design of new soccer field
  • Lagoon Reserve: $50k for landscape planning
  • Port Melbourne Life Saving Club: $120k to improve the functionality of the building
  • Capital improvements to Beacon Cove promenade and carpark: $300k
  • Port Melbourne Developer Contributions Plan: $400k for streetscape improvements to Nott St south of Graham St
  • Pedestrian safety improvements [across Bay St at the Town Hall]: $10k
  • Replacement of fig trees in Beacon Cove: $45k

There are also, of course, city wide allocations for council basics such as roads, drains, footpaths, and street trees.
The minor changes include an allocation of $10k to enable the continuation of weekly meals at 482 Williamstown Road and $15k for additional resources to digitise historical newspapers to aid researchers.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Port Melbourne census data 2011

The population of Port Melbourne in 2011 was 14,521. In 2001, it was 10,373 and in 2006, 13,993. These figures confirm that Port Melbourne's growth is slowing.  The median age is 38. There are 834 children aged between 0 and 4. There are 1.3 motor vehicles per household. 2,155 people do some voluntary work. For more detailed analysis of Port Melbourne by many different measures, explore the Census website - search by Port Melbourne. [I got a bit confused by tenses in writing this, I know]

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday at Murphy's

Auskick, junior soccer, gardening and dog obedience training - all happening at Murphy's this morning. The trainers at Hobsons Bay Obedience Dog Club quietly bring about feats of obedience that are impressive to observe. A variety of fruit trees has been planted along the boundary at the western end of the Reserve.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Block

Not the Block of TV fame, but the Block at 482 Williamstown Road, Port Melbourne. This is where to look for stories of transformation. Through the collaborative work of the 24 tenants, community organisatons and Council, the outdoor space has been made over. A community garden has been created - each blue stone brought to the site and laid with care and precision - and planted with a range of edible and flowering plants. Furniture abandoned on nature strips has been restored for the gathering place. A barbeque to acknowledge and thank everyone and celebrate the achievements so far  was held today. Much more needs to be done to bring the accommodation itself up to a decent condition - its is terribly hot in summer and freezing in winter. But for today, everyone's spirits were lifted.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Winter Solstice

When people become aware of a planning application for the house next door, they are often most concerned about overshadowing. Rescode, in all planning schemes, gives guidance for assessing planning applications on a range of amenity matters. This planning guide says that it is the equinox, and not the winter solstice, that is the relevant consideration in any assessment. People often argue that it should be the winter solstice. But its not. Rescode at clause 55.04-5 states that secluded private open space should receive a minimum of 5 hours of sunlight between 9 am and 3 pm on 22 September. In exchange for this dull but important piece of planning information relevant to the winter solstice, I offer a deep winter picture.
roundabout at Bridge St and Esplanade East

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dogs and cats

All councils are required to have a Domestic Animal Management Plan under Section 68A of the Domestic Animals Act.  The City of Port Phillip has reviewed its Plan and the draft is out for your comment. The Plan is relevant to you whether you have a beloved pet or not. Dog poo, dog attacks (75 reported in 2011) and barking dogs (303 complaints in 2011) can affect anyone. There were 5873 dogs and 3001 cats registered in the City of Port Phillip in 2011/12. Follow this link to the Plan and to respond to these questions:  Do you think Port Phillip dog and cat owners embrace responsible animal ownership? What do you think it means to have effective control of your dog at an off leash park?
Peter, with Olympia, is concerned about the amount of dog poo not picked up at Lagoon Reserve

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Now as you may know, as far as I'm concerned 'life's better on a bike'. I know that view is not universally shared. The recent state government budget contained no funding for bike infrastructure. This sensible article by Jan Garrard gives the many reasons why governments should continue to invest in bike infrastructure. Its vastly cheaper, has a very positive benefit cost ratio, is good for public health, and takes less space. for example:  A single-occupant car requires 20 times more space than a cyclist as this great image shows. Melbourne has been growing cycling over several decades and had seemed to be at a point where ongoing investment in cycling was assured - but not so. A rally to Bring Back the Bike Budget will be taking place this Thursday morning the 21 June between 7.30 and 8.30 am on the steps of Parliament House. There are 1.1 million cyclists in Victoria and more would join them in safer infrastructure was provided.
no lycra here
Thursday 21 June
Wet as for today's bike rally. The undaunted ones.
from the steps of Parliament House looking down Bourke St

Monday, June 18, 2012

New Melbourne main sewer commissioned

The new Melbourne Main Sewer was formally commissioned today. I confirmed that means it is now fully operational. All that remains to be done is re-instatement works on the Railway Reserves and at Swallow St. The completion of the sewer triples the capacity of the 110 year old sewer it replaced. It is anticipated that it will serve our side of the city's growth for the next hundred years. As well as acknowledging the many people who brought this complex project to a successful completion, lets acknowledge the courageous and skilled workers who built the original sewer and tunnel under the Yarra River that served us from the 1890s to now. There are some great photographs here from the State Library's collection of that 'sub-aqueous tunnelling'.


Missed the armed hold up in Bay St on Saturday, missed Port Melbourne beating Coburg, missed The Block open for inspection because I was away this weekend. Can you fill me in with what happened in Port this weekend?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Get it right on bin night

A recent survey found that the internet is the first point of access for information on recycling. People shift from one suburb to another. Different councils accept different items for recycling.  A new website Get it right on bin night has been set up to enable people to access recycling information wherever they live in metro Melbourne and to extend their thinking about what is possible to recycle 'in every room' - more than you think.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Preview - Turville Reserve

It may be a dull late afternoon but I am excited about the transformation taking place at Turville Reserve. These works are about making it safer, clearer and easier for people walking to and from the Graham tram stop and vastly improving the spaces for young people to be active. The basketball and netball courts go in next.
Turville Reserve, Port Melbourne

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Golden feathers

There are many casaurina trees along the foreshore - and they are looking spectacular at the moment. 'Casuarina' is derived from the Malay “Kasuari” or “Cassowary” which refers to the likeness of the plant's thin drooping stems and leaves to the feathers of this great bird. I think a sight like this must have inspired this naming.
Allocasaurina verticillata, Sandridge foreshore

Monday, June 11, 2012

Council meeting Tuesday 12 June is at South Melbourne

I would like to bring to your attention two significant reports going to Council tomorrow night. Neither of them are Port Melbourne topics but they are relevant to the future of Port Melbourne and the City of Port Phillip as a whole. Council will consider two major strategic planning documents:
  • Montague Precinct Structure Plan - consultation draft
  • St Kilda Triangle vision - consultation draft
The Montague Precinct Structure Plan plans for the transformation of the area generally bounded by Boundary St and Fishermans Bend to the west, the Westgate Freeway to the north, City Road to the south, and the St Kilda Light Rail line/96 to the east,  into a new residential suburb capable of accommodating up to 25,000 people. It envisages a highly sustainable precinct supported by appropriate community and social infrastructure with higher growth towards the northern end. If you follow the links to open the document, there are maps to help get your bearings as well as the detail of principles, themes and objectives that will guide future planning for the area.
A great deal of councillor and officer time has gone into the careful preparation of the St Kilda Triangle vision document which is now placed before you for your consideration and feedback.


Melbourne Water/John Holland has departed Fennell Reserve. The re-instatement of the Reserve has already begun. Melbourne Water entered into a lease with Council for use of the Reserve in 2008. The landscape plan for the re-instatement of the Reserve can be accessed, along with the Council report, here.
Fennell Reserve, looking towards Ingles St

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sandridge - new public toilets are open

The Sandridge public toilet facility is now open. As you can see, the toilets are accessible. The facility has solar panels that will return power to the grid, LED lighting, and rainwater tanks [concealed] for toilet flushing. I think it sits well in the foreshore environment - do you agree?
viewed from centre median on the Boulevard

when viewed from the footpath you don't see the solar panels

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Football result away

Port Melbourne 13.7.85 - Geelong Cats 16.10.106. Casey Scorpions are now equal to Port at the top of the ladder.

Shades of green

The dullness of the day brought out the grey green of all elements on this corner.
cnr Heath and Bridge St, Port Melbourne

Friday, June 8, 2012

8 June - World Oceans Day

More Bay than Ocean for us in Port Melbourne. How precious it is to live by the sea! What is your favourite thing about our beach and bay?

Here are some contributions for World Oceans Day:
  • Whenever I visit the South Melbourne Market, I wish I had a sustainable seafood guide with me. Well - you can download the mini-guide here. There is also a canned tuna guide on this site.
  • Avoid single use plastic wherever and whenever you can and always use a refillable water bottle.  
  • Be one of the many people around the world who are tackling plastic pollution - locally join 3207 Beach Patrol,  be inspired by the Two Hands Project or Take 3 or the apt It Starts with Me.
  • Art that calls attention to plastic in the ocean. Have a look at this work, SOUP, by Mandy Barker. SOUP refers to plastic suspended in the sea. The images are arresting - beautiful at first glance but disturbing when you look more closely. 
  • Most important of all - love the Bay!
  • Cormorant, Lagoon Pier, Port Melbourne

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Port Capacity Project, 1

Representatives from the Port of Melbourne Corporation are available to speak with people about the Port Capacity Project throughout June.  The Port is intensifying and expanding Port operations at Webb Dock.  I recommend you attend one of the sessions to ask questions about the matters that concern or interest you. The first session is on Saturday 9 June, between 10 & 11.30 at the London Hotel - and there are several more opportunities. You can book directly on line. You can also comment via on line forums on noise, trucks and transport and buffers. It is a very significant project and it is important that Port Melbourne people take the opportunities offered to find out more about it. There is a link to the Port Capacity Project website in the links section of Port Focus.

Pedestrians crossing

VicRoads had people doing pedestrian counts at various points in Bay St today. I wonder what that means? 

As you know, VicRoads manages Bay St - an arterial road - whereas Council manages the local roads.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Restoration of the fountain at the World War 1 Memorial

You may remember that some work was done on the World War 1 Memorial in 2010 - but that work did not include the fountain.  In that sense, the restoration work was incomplete. The Memorial is a very important gathering place for Anzac and Remembrance Day commemoration. Conservation professionals are undertaking the plumbing rectification. This will involve coring the bowl and plinth, reconnecting the water supply and repointing the blue stone steps.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

World Environment Day

How are we and our environment going in Victoria? Dr Kate Auty, the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability, reports on Victoria's environment. Dr Auty has travelled far and wide and deeply around Victoria speaking with people about environmental issues. And what has that got to do with Port Focus?  Everything and something quite particular -  Kate Auty is a descendant of our inventive, imaginative and indomitable Liardets. Her findings are encapsulated in the the title of her recently released report Many Publics Participation Inventiveness and Change. The key messages from this report are reproduced below.
Dr Kate Auty responds to a question at today's Annual Sustainability Oration
  • 'there is an astonishing amount of inventive and intelligent environmental work being done in the community, often by volunteers, across generations, social and cultrueal backgrounds, geographies and sectors.
  • there are many publics, across the state deeply committed to environmental sustainability who recognise the need for change and who want to be part of that effort.
  • Those driving change are both planning carefully and acting spontaneneously and, while support is always welcome, they are not waiting for outside direction.
  • communities and individuals are driving change in places they know and care about, and they are collaborating extensively and building networks committed to sustainable efforts.
  • Much of the baseline local knowledge underpinning this commitement to change is of long standing, sometimes intergenerational, and it would be constructive if it was offered respect.
  • Meaningful, not token, participation in formal discusion about environmental issues and solutions is a basic requirement for inventiveness to thrive.
  • Support for, and the nurture of, networks builds community capability and individual and collective confidence, and this in turn promotes sustainable outcomes.
  • A partcipating community will be better able to deal with extreme events and calculate risk and respond, reducing reliance upon external intervention
  • Environmental reporting ... must be accessible and responsive to be useful and effective.'

Monday, June 4, 2012

Welcome to Bay St: Grey & Bliss

Well - it sure was grey today so perhaps it was a good day to bliss out inside. 

Wishing Grey & Bliss well in this prominent location on Bay St. The Tall Ship Cafe with its strange settlement mural had about a 20 year incarnation but what was this shop before that?

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Holy Trinity Church in Port Melbourne has been on the corner of Bay and Graham St since 1854 - though not always in the same building. Tonight the Church celebrated Trinity Sunday with a visit from Archbishop Philip Freier and the dedication of a new cross. Father Noel Whale tells the story of this cross:  'We had a vision to link the church with the history of Port Melbourne with a cross from the old timbers of Station or Princes Piers. With the guidance of the Port of Melbourne Corporation and the generosity of Waterway Constructions, the cross was fashioned from old planks of Station Pier by Trades Supervisor Boris Smrdel and his joiners Joe Ciangara, Louie Sparena and Foss Zardo. These men designed, made and ereced the cross as a gift to the parish and community.' The Church is open from Thursday to Sunday. I'm sure Father Noel would welcome you in to have a look.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Port vs Frankston - battle of the 'standalones'

Port won by 89 points this afternoon:  25.19.169 to Frankston 12.8.80. Port didn't go so well in the first quarter when the score was Port 2.10.22 to Frankston 4.3.27. This is the best my small camera could do for an action shot. For a great account of the game by Paul Amy, click here.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Enhancing the entrance to 216 Rouse St

Barbara Weir's artwork 'My Mother's Country' above the entrance to Tjngari apartments in Rouse St was judged the best contribution to Urban Art at this year's City of Port Phillip Design and Development Awards. It looks especially good in the late afternoon when the sun is on it. Now there is an opportunity to see her more recent work as part of an exhibition of recent paintings of artists from Utopia at the Dacou Galley at 35 Spring St in town - opening on 5 June.