Browsing: Interviews

ON a cold, wet night in Mount Eliza two years ago, Kalinda Nheu died when the driver of the yellow utility in which she was a passenger lost control, crossed the median strip, and skidded into the path of an approaching Ford Territory. The impact of the collision killed the 19-year-old and the male driver of the ute instantly, while the driver of the Ford was seriously injured. Somerville Highway Patrol police last week shared a video of the consequences of the tragic collision on Nepean Highway, opposite Mount Eliza Way. The video was part of Operation Nexus held over…

PEOPLE from various faiths around the world held symbolic actions to “sound the alarm” for the climate – including the Uniting Churches at Dromana and Rosebud. The two churches rang their bells at 11am, Thursday 11 March, as part of a global multi-faith Day of Action in which about 100 faith communities called for more ambitious action on climate change. The lead local organisation is the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change, which is part of GreenFaith International. The Day of Action centred on the “Sacred People, Sacred Earth” statement signed by religious leaders, including the former Archbishop of Canterbury,…

HASTINGS author and artist Fran Henke has a chapter in the new Australian anthology Growing Up Disabled in Australia. The 320-page paperback has been published by Melbourne publisher Morry Schwartz’s Black Inc and is the fifth in a series of “Growing Up…” titles. Released in early February, it has already been reprinted after attracting wide-spread interest and praise including for its editor Carly Findlay OAM, a Melbourne writer and disability activist who has a rare genetic disorder that affects her skin and hair. Mrs Henke is an activist too – for polio survivors who in later life experience post-polio syndrome…

THE arts in all its various forms is acknowledged as being one of the hardest hit industries as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. But the lockdown and fluid restrictions have not deterred Mount Eliza-based filmmaker Riley Sugars from embarking on a new project. Although not yet fully financed (hopes are pinned on GoFundMe), Sugars is  planning a March shoot around various Melbourne locations. Cast and crew are already signed up for the feature which has also been mentioned by industry websites Film Ink and Film Magazine. Sugars says the “black comedy” Hatchback, co-written by Chloe Graham, “could best be…

THE tragic death of former AFL player, coach and commentator Danny Frawley brought home to many the need to educate the community on successful concussion management. The St Kilda star – who was last month honoured with the naming of a $16 million community wellbeing hub at the club’s Moorabbin headquarters – suffered from a brain condition that may have been linked to repeat concussions. He was diagnosed with CTE, a degenerative condition thought to be linked to concussions and brain trauma, which resulted in fatal consequences. It’s thought an understanding of this condition, especially among sportspeople, may help reduce…

MARG D’Arcy has a burning passion that cannot be extinguished. Decades since she first worked in a refuge for women and children escaping family violence, Marg is no less passionate about advocating for a society free from violence. Having moved to the Peninsula last year following the passing of her husband, Marg has quickly developed a strong local connection. “I love the Peninsula. It gives me the open space I crave – perfect for establishing my garden, reading and taking long walks along the beach with my dog, not to mention discovering the region’s wineries! I have also become a…

CONSERVATION has always been of interest to Belinda Eden, but never more so than since moving to Balnarring two years ago. “We came here from Melbourne because Balnarring is a beautiful coastal town with a certain charm and character,” Ms Eden said. “It’s a special place and should be protected so that it does not become overdeveloped, or lose the habitat that is home to many species of precious wildlife, including koalas. “I think when we moved here, I felt a real responsibility to get involved and make it a priority to be informed about environmental issues. My passion has…

SOON after the Europeans arrived, they began to colonise territory that was already occupied and providing a living for its long time inhabitants. The original populations were overlooked as the fast-reproducing, more powerful hordes took over the lush valleys and fast-developing agricultural areas. But a growing number of enthusiasts are now coming to the plight of the originals, providing safety and shelter from the spreading hordes. The narrative of invasion and a struggle for survival might sound familiar, but it is one few people know about: the takeover of Australia by European bees. Introduced for their manufacturing and pollinating skills,…

KAREN Alija says horses can help people learn about themselves in much the same way that they have helped shape her new outlook on business during the coronavirus pandemic. Ms Alija, director of Gunnamatta Trail Rides, said lessons learned from horses’ survival instincts enabled her to accept the changes caused by COVID-19 and bring the family business back on track. The business virtually shut down in March but has since developed a new outlook on the way things are done. Ms Alija said businesses needed to become more resilient and flexible. “This is not an easy task, and pivot strategies…

SCIENTISTS play a crucial role at ExxonMobil Australia which is celebrating National Science Week. The company is keen to inspire future generations to think about maths and science as a career pathway. Since 2009, ExxonMobil Australia, through its subsidiaries Mobil and Esso, has inspired a new generation of engineers and scientists through its Bright Future grants program. Western Port Secondary College principal Chris Quinn said the school had used Bright Future grants to buy technology and equipment for senior biology lessons in which students learned how to analyse DNA. “Earlier this term our Year 12 biology students conducted Gel electrophoresis…

THE southern Mornington Peninsula could play host to an annual festival based around giant spider crab’s if a Rye dive shop proprietor’s dreams come true. The festival would celebrate the annual migration of the crustaceans as they gather in their thousands off Rye and Blairgowrie beaches to shed their skins. The crabs’ arrival from May to June triggers a rush by drivers, sightseers and fishers who scoop them from the water by the bucket load. While divers film under Rye pier, rays and sharks feast on the crabs made suddenly vulnerable through the shedding of their skins. Lloyd Borrett, owner…

By Danielle Collis AS experts are calling for federal government action plan to strengthen Australia’s weak environment laws, Mornington Peninsula residents Lorinda Hartley and Theresa Jenson have formed a new climate action group. Mornington Peninsula Australian Conservation Foundation founder Theresa Jenson said the condition of the environment is concerning for the peninsula community. “A lot of governments are trying very hard to deal with the environment, it’s just about trying to get our voice across too,” Ms Jenson said. The group is part of the Australian Conservation Foundation, a nationwide network which aims to protect Australia’s environment. Co-founder Lorina Hartley…

GRATITUDE for the dedication of frontline medical staff has prompted a Mornington Peninsula group to spring into action. Hearing that nurses at Rosebud Hospital needed more scrubs, volunteers from Mt Martha’s Boomerang Bags group decided to do something about it. So far, they have made 30 set of scrubs in an array of colourful patterns. News spread and the group was recently asked to make scrubs for Frankston Hospital nurses as well. Coordinator Robyn Ruhl said the job was a challenge for the group’s 10 members. “We normally make fabric shopping bags to reduce people’s use of plastic bags and…

A MOUNT Martha woman living and volunteering in Cambodia over the past year will represent the Australian Youth Voice at the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York. Then, after returning from New York, she will head to Austria to complete an internship with the Australian Embassy and Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Vienna. The New York conference, originally to be held this month (March), was last week postponed until July because of the caronavirus outbreak. Travel has become a constant factor in the life of Hannah Callow, who wants to use her Global…

IT was 11 or 12 years ago that Ron Farnill was told he could expect to live “about another two and a half years”. Not one to give up on enjoying life so easily, Farnill decided to “paint, instead of spending time cutting grass or fixing up the house”. While still painting daily, he’s also spending time choosing 100 or so paintings for his upcoming exhibition, Sky, sea, sail and other things (93 years in the making). The exhibition at Oak Hill Gallery, Mornington is also a lead-in to his 93rd birthday. “People have talked about the need for me…

WHILE most Mornington Secondary College students are packing their bags and preparing to head back to school, one of them will be noticeably absent. Fifteen-year-old Mia Pollock, right, will be in Bali. But, far from being in holiday mode, she will be competing in the 2020 Australian Supermodel of the Year competition. “I have been modelling seriously for about a year and a half,” Mia said before heading off. “The organisers of the competition reached out to me through Instagram and encouraged me to apply. After going through the heats, I have made it into the finals.” The supermodel of…

A MORNINGTON Peninsula teacher who trained in Brisbane with former US Vice President Al Gore as part of the Climate Reality Project spoke to members of Berg Mt Martha earlier this month. Sharon Rogers said Mr Gore posed three questions on climate change and the future. The first was: Do we have to change? “We are spewing 110 million tonnes of man-made global warming pollution into the thin shell of the atmosphere every 24 hours as if it were an open sewer,” Ms Rogers said. “This trapped heat is leading to stronger storms and more extreme floods. The many associated…

By Patricia MacLeod IT’S easy to let the grass grow under your feet, but Mt Martha residents are being encouraged to nip weed infestations in the bud. Environmental groups BERG MM and Sunshine Reserve Conservation and Fireguard Group recently held the annual Weedbusters stall at the Mt Martha shops to provide information on the damage caused by and offer advice on combating infestations. BERG MM volunteer Sue Betheras said it was an opportunity to raise awareness of weeds “growing furiously at this time of year”. “People stop to look at the display of common weeds and ask questions. Volunteers give…

THE man behind Mana Youth Project says it “seeks to build bridges over our past regrets and challenges, instead of building walls around us that prohibit personal growth in every aspect of our lives”. Rick Boland, of Rosebud, says his service focuses 12 to 25 year olds at risk of becoming disengaged with life and who see mostly negatives in their school and home environments. Through chat sessions, school and family involvement he aims to reinforce in disillusioned young people a positive approach to their lives and how they see themselves and others. The name Mana comes from the Polynesian…

ADMITTING he “didn’t have a clue” about garden care or even being a franchisee didn’t deter Hastings resident Richard Harrison from taking up the first Jim’s Mowing franchise in the UK in 2005. For Harrison, the goal was to make enough money to pay for his and his former wife’s European holiday. “I thought, how hard can it be?” the recently published author said. Looking back all these years later he has written a light-hearted memoir, The Export Gardener, about a clumsy optimist who travels to England and decides that affluent Sevenoaks in Kent is the ideal place to launch…

CHARLES Wilcox credits the sea with providing inspiration for all his art, whether it be painted or sculpted. Picture: Tory Wilcox IT is fair to say that to some extent the finished works by artist Charles Wilcox are predetermined by events that happened many years before and well beyond his knowledge or control. A painter and sculptor, Wilcox is an avid collector of driftwood and a fan of old advertisements, in newspapers and on billboards. He attributes some of his “sculptural creativity” to his engineering studies. His approach to painting to his art studies throughout his schooling and, later, graphic…

Harm is the enemy: James Hearn with his book World Peace. Picture: Yanni A FORMER soldier who is devoted to promoting world peace says our real enemies are not guns or wars – but the physical and emotional harm we do to others simply because we have not been taught to eradicate it from our nature in childhood. Ninety-three-year-old Baxter man James Hearn says the research he conducted for his book World Peace identified the “harmful side of human nature” as mankind’s “one and only foe”. “I believe getting rid of the harm we do to others is our only…

Picture: Yanni By Barry Morris Two men are waging war against Indian myna birds, sometimes called flying rats and cane toads of the sky, which they say are a scourge on the Australian landscape. Peter Wiltshire, senior ranger at Darebin Parklands where he has spent 33 years, and Michael Mann, a volunteer and a member of the parkland’s friends group, are dedicated to spreading the message of the harm the bird is causing. They have spent years trying to rid Darebin Parklands of the Indian myna which drove the eastern rosella from the urban park. Mr Mann now lives at…

Three makes four: Author Fran Henke feels the need to further explore the characters’ lives in her just completed novel trilogy, A Fair Wind. Picture: Supplied Author Fran Henke is about to publish the final chapters in her novel trilogy, A Fair Wind. However, the historical narrative so far has proved so absorbing that “I can see a fourth – I want to know what happens to the child of this third story”. If she writes another book in the Wind series – making it a quartet – Henke will have authored 23 books. But all that research into the…

AN app to help people with disabilities find accessible venues for their needs has been tested in Mornington and Frankston. The program, called Data for Inclusion, is a database of local businesses that displays how accessible they are for people with disabilities. The program is led by Debbie Roberts, who said she was called into action through her personal experience. “I was inspired to do what I’m doing because of my brother with MS,” Ms Roberts said. “I wanted to make it easy for people to go out and know what to expect. There are lots of apps out there…

LIFE as a bank teller was not Rondelle Douglas’s dream. She loved to draw as a child. When events took a challenging turn (divorce) the mother of three decided to return to Victoria and rediscover those drawing skills. “I was always intrigued by illustrations for stories and articles in magazines,” Ms Douglas, now living at Dromana, said. “So, in 2011, I enrolled at Chisholm Frankston for a Diploma of Visual Arts, Illustration”. This involved working in a variety of mediums, learning how to work to a brief. Rondelle began to appreciate how Illustration course staff helped students develop their own…

PSYCHOLOGIST Vanessa Thiele has chosen to use a dog as the main character of a book aimed at fostering children’s “social and emotional intelligence, work ethic and grit”. Thiele says these are “mindset skills that are of particular interest to parents and teachers”. The man vehicle for these character traits is Biggles, a Jack Russell. In real life Biggles “worked” on farms for 15 years alongside Thiel’s husband Tim and his brother. “Tim worked all over the Mornington Peninsula and had lots of clients, many of who would remember Biggles,” Thiele, who practices in Hastings, says. “I was inspired to…

A CRIB Point woman whose now-adult son was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) at age seven has written a book about her experiences. “We had many years of behavioural issues that left me wondering what I was doing wrong as a parent,” Elsie Bourke said. “I was often told he was ‘just naughty’, but knew in my heart that this wasn’t true and there had to be an underlying issue. “With the diagnosis, I made it my mission to find out all I could about ADHD and began to keep my own notebook of what worked and what…

MELBOURNE’S Spring Racing Carnival means more to Lorraine Reeves than thundering hooves and two dollar place bets. The Mt Martha fashion designer is gearing up for her first Fashions on the Field contest at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day after being named as a top 10 finalist in the Emerging Designer Award category. Ms Reeves says she wanted to be a designer since she was a teenager but didn’t have the opportunity to study fashion when she finished school. “However, I have been a dressmaker my whole life and, even without formal study and being mostly self-taught, I have made…

IT may have taken 50 years, but Rye grandmother Wendy Burgis has finally achieved her most treasured birthday wish: to jump out of a light plane. “It was great,” she said, recalling the daredevil jump onto the St Kilda foreshore recently. “I’ve wanted to do it for a long time and when my daughter Kate asked me what I wanted for my 80th birthday I told them.” Ms Burgis said her extended family watched from far below as she and a skydiving instructor leapt clear of the light plane at 15,000 feet and floated gently down. “Never could I say…