Author: Liz Bell

A LOW key birthday celebration was just the thing for 100-year-old May Hobson on Sunday, as she shared her special milestone, or so she thought. Ms Hobson, a resident at Mornington Bay Care Community aged care centre, was delighted to discover her birthday bash was slightly bigger that she expected, with her daughter Sue Pugsley secretly inviting a few former neighbours and past connections. Mrs Pugsley said her mother, whose husband Les passed away in 2016, did not want presents, so surprise guests who were part of her life over the years were the best thing. The Hobsons had two…

A RARE portrait of Josephine Bonaparte stolen from The Briars historic property at Mount Martha in 2014 is now back on public view. The tiny portrait was one of 10 priceless Napoleon Bonaparte artefacts stolen from The Briars Museum, but the only one recovered after it appeared recently on an online selling site. It was reinstated as a key piece in the Napoleon Bonaparte exhibition at the Mornington Peninsula Regional Art Gallery on Thursday. The miniature portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte’s wife Josephine was allegedly discovered online by a Sydney art dealer who bought it on eBay for $250 before realising…

CAPEL Sound residents who fear their suburb is being used as a dumping ground for community housing are demanding answers from the Mornington Peninsula Shire about the type of housing likely to be built. The residents have formed an action group and want the shire to spread community housing “evenly” around the shire. The shire has proposed affordable housing projects at four sites around the peninsula, with one being 11a Allambi Avenue, Capel Sound. Residents say they have been told “nothing” about the project, despite submissions closing more than two weeks ago. Spokesperson Jim Fleming said the group wanted to…

HUNDREDS of kangaroos trapped on a private property at Cape Schanck are being offered a chance to escape back to the neighbouring national park. The kangaroos have lived on the Cape Schanck property for years but were trapped late last year by high fencing that did allow them a way out. The kangaroos were also caught in a web of bureaucratic argument – which saw the issuing and later rescission of a licence to kill them – between the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Environment, Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, animal activists and the property’s manager Ken Neff. Mr Neff…

RED Hill artist Jennifer Riddle has that enviable skill of being able to capture the idiosyncrasies of each landscape, whether it’s the iconic rolling green scenes of the peninsula, or the ethereal but majestic vistas of Tasmania. Riddle, who has just been awarded the prestigious 2022 Glover Prize for landscape art, aims and succeeds to encapsulate the strength and vulnerability of the natural world in her work, and hopes people can “feel the spirit” of the environment when they view her work. Her winning Glover Prize entry, entitled ‘Wanderings of the Past and Now’, is a realistic and at the…

POLICE are investigating a boat fire at Blairgowrie Marina on 20 March that engulfed two boats and took six fire units to contain. The fire has raised concerns about emergency management at the marina and the safeguards for the protection of the sensitive marine environment. Sorrento and Rye brigades, supported by FRV and Queenscliff Coastguard, responded to several calls to 000 just after 7pm, with crews finding the boats fully alight on arrival. However, the layout of the Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron marina and access to the boats proved difficult for the emergency services. CFA Commander Sean Kerr said crews were…

ONE of ten priceless Napoleon Bonaparte artefacts stolen from The Briars Museum at Mount Martha in 2014 has been recovered, after it appeared on an online selling site. A rare miniature portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte’s wife Josephine was allegedly discovered online by a Sydney art dealer, who bought the portrait on eBay for $250 before realising it was one of the items stolen eight years ago. Speaking to the ABC on Thursday, Leigh Capel said he was stunned when he realised the portrait had been stolen. Mr Capel said he immediately contacted the Mornington Peninsula Gallery, which houses the rest…

CAPTION: Coach Marc Bressan revs up participants from the MPJFL Academy. Picture: Supplied COMMUNITY sport is about to make waves on the Mornington Peninsula again, with the Mornington Peninsula Junior Football League in the process of building its numbers and reconnecting with schools for a great season ahead. The league’s administrator, Ben Lawrence, said sport had taken a huge hit over the last few seasons, and the league was in a fight to keep participation rates at a steady number. It is about to roll out a project called the MPJFL School Network, which involves interacting with schools to promote…

LAST ditch efforts to save vacant state government-owned land at the gateway to Mount Eliza village for community use has failed, with the 2600 square-metre lot selling by expressions of interest on Friday. Mornington MP David Morris recently called on the state government to abandon the sale of the former road reserve at 1 Mount Eliza Way, and to retain the site in public ownership. He also urged residents to write to the transport minister and the treasurer objecting to the sale. Mr Morris said the sale had taken the community, as well as himself, by surprise, as he had…

THE first piece of art in a ‘Billboards’ tour of Victoria by Indigenous artists is being presented by Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery and on show at 2061 Frankston-Flinders Road, Hastings, until 8 May. Mixed-cultural, First Peoples multidisciplinary artist Lisa Waup, along with artists Amrita Hepi, and Steven Rhall, have been commissioned to create new works for ‘Billboards’ in regional Victoria in partnership galleries. The tour, commissioned by NETS Victoria, an Australia Council for the Arts initiative to create a national network of visual arts touring, aims to ensure contemporary art continues to reach audiences. For the first billboard, Waup’s work…

SUPPORTERS of the Mornington Peninsula’s green wedge sites are being urged to get their submissions to the c270morn planning amendment in before the cut-off date of 8 April. If the c270 amendment is successfully adopted, ten ‘special use zones’ on the peninsula, including part of the former Reg Ansett estate at 60-70 Kunyung Road, Mount Eliza, where Ryman Healthcare plans to build a retirement facility, could be legally reintegrated into the green wedge and given ongoing protection. The 8.9 hectare Moondah Estate has become a battleground for environmental advocates and symbolic of a larger community fight to protect the peninsula’s…

A GLOBAL research company says young Australians living in the Flinders electorate with type one diabetes (T1D) face an uncertain future due to “inequitable” access to life-saving technology. A survey by T1D research organisation JDRF Australia reveals that Australians living with T1D are being forced to choose between funding lifesaving diabetes management technology and financial security, with more than 80 per cent of those paying out-of-pocket having to make sacrifices to afford the $5000 annual cost. The organisation has used the opportunity to urge Flinders MP and Health Minister Greg Hunt to lobby the federal government to fund better access…

A VOLUNTEER coastal environment group is calling on urgent action to track down those responsible for killing trees along the McCrae foreshore. Volunteers from the McCrae Homestead Coastal Group have been documenting the destruction of Banksia and She-oak trees along 100 metres of the foreshore. Spokesperson Jenny Wharfe said the group was devastated at the “despicable” act of vandalism, with some of the trees poisoned and others torn from the ground or limbs broken off. “We have discovered significant and widespread evidence of tree vandalism, including drilling, poisoning, and breaking of branches and felling of mature She-Oaks and banksias adjacent…

JOSIE Jones is one of those genuinely humble people who inspire by their actions, but never expect anything in return. Which is why the recent Order of Australia Medal recipient and environmental reformer wins hearts and minds wherever she goes, with her rare mix of intelligence and determination, underscored with a gentle focus on love, nature, and the environment. Our conversation begins with a discussion about her dogs, her now-deceased 15-year-old Jack Russell, Cocolait, that would accompany Ms Jones on beach rubbish pick-up walks, and the dog’s daughter Honey, who is now always by her side. It’s obvious Ms Jones’…

TO raise much-needed money to support mental health, Mornington Peninsula cyclists with the Ride for Relief team left for Mallacoota yesterday to enjoy some pampering before the ride. The group will be enjoying a pre-opening dining and bathing experience at the soon to be open Metung Hot Springs, where they will be able to relax in geothermal waters and take on breathtaking views across the Gippsland Lakes. The riders are preparing to ride across Victoria as part of a fundraising mission, and hope to build on the success of past Ride for Relief events. This year’s ride will be a…

CAMPAIGNING is well and truly underway on the Mornington Peninsula, with Liberal’s Matthew Guy in Mornington again on Tuesday to announce a funding promise for Mount Eliza Secondary College. It comes just weeks after the Opposition leader made a similar announcement for Somers Primary School. Mr Guy was accompanied by Mornington candidate Chris Crewther on Tuesday to make a commitment of $2.5 million for the secondary school, following on from his earlier $3.2 million for the primary school. Mr Crewther said the commitment would deliver the construction of a requested new modular Senior Students’ Centre, a comprehensive School Master Plan…

TUERONG farmer Peter Moran has been called an angel many times in his life, and not just by his adoring wife Karen. The thoroughbred breeder and “accidental” pilot has spent more than a decade volunteering with Angel Flight to get patients to where they need to be for medical appointments all around Victoria. To date, he has made 179 flights, providing a ride for people who would otherwise be unable to get the medicine and the medical help they need, and a friendly face and warm chat to put his patients at ease. ‘Peter the pilot’, as the 69-year-old is…

A SOCIAL experiment started in the United Kingdom to connect people though a coffee and a chat has arrived on the Mornington Peninsula. The Chatty Cafe scheme, which is now operating throughout Australia, aims to get people talking to build to social skills and connections within the community, and help to reduce social isolation and loneliness. Volunteer Mornington Peninsula coordinator Jacky Howgate said the concept was just starting on the peninsula, but already a variety of venues had signed on to participate, and the team of volunteer “chatters” who host a table and help conversation along was growing. British founder…

THEY come in all shapes and sizes, but they all have the same goals of fitness, friendship and fun. Mornington Mermaids is a swimming group that started early last year, meeting at Fishermans Beach every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7am for an invigorating, cold water swim and after swim, cafe catch-up. Organiser Jacky Howgate says the daily dip is not about being fast or even a good swimmer, it’s about the benefits of aqua exercise, cold water and supporting each other. “Not everyone swims, some just float and enjoy the serenity,” she said. “I love each and every one…

CONTRACTORS hired by Mornington Peninsula Shire are struggling to keep up with demand to clear debris from last year’s storms. The shire’s infrastructure services manager Tom Haines-Sutherland said there were still thousands of clean-up jobs to be completed despite the shire having “committed every resource we have to the clean-up”. Mr Haines-Sutherland said there had many requests for help to clear debris and damage and the shire had brought in contractors to help, alongside the 12 crews already working on the clean-up. “We obviously couldn’t get to every job at once, so have had to prioritise the work based on…

MEDICAL practices on the Mornington Peninsula have been turning away new patients as they struggle with staff shortages and bureaucratic delays in recruiting overseas doctors. A Senate inquiry, sitting in Frankston, has heard how practices faced frustrating hurdles in getting the paperwork completed for overseas doctors recruited to work in many priority areas Australia, including the peninsula. This is despite an expected mass early retirement of doctors and nurses after two exhausting years of COVID. Balnarring Medical Centre’s new UK doctor, Dr Mo Mafunga, arrived in Australia on February 18 – after a 10-month process to confirm her qualifications, get…

THIS year’s Womin Djeka Balnarring Ngargee festival is shaping up to be one of the Mornington Peninsula’s finest celebrations of Indigenous culture and a family-friendly community event. The annual festival began five years ago to recognise and honour First Peoples cultures and involve the community in caring for and learning with country. The festival is presented by Balnarring Pre-School, joint winner in 2021 of the Narragunnawali Award which recognises outstanding reconciliation initiatives in schools and early learning centres. Committee member Kate Rennie said the day would feature a diversity of sounds and cultural experiences with singers, multiple First Nations musicians,…

THE end of lockdown has for many families not meant the end of the distress endured throughout restrictions and providing care in isolation. But a Mornington-based, not-for-profit disability support provider is reminding families that there is help for the challenges ahead. CEO of Biala Peninsula, David Greenwood, said the provider had more than 320 children under its care across the peninsula and wanted to stress the importance of therapy to help build on the positive strengths of the family unit, and “create a sense of rhythm and routine”. Biala family therapist Elsha Young said many families needing therapeutic support for…

WESTERN Port Men’s Shed is back in business in Bittern. After a long break due to COVID restrictions, president Colin Prowd said there was a need for a friendly, social outlet for men, where they could get involved in meaningful projects. Mr Prowd said some men were reluctant to get back out into the community after COVID, as were many in the community, and numbers were down at men’s sheds across the country. “We lost about eight members who have not come back after COVID restrictions ended, so we’d love to let men know that they are welcome to join…

A VOLUNTEER environmental group concerned about illegal parking at Mornington’s beach car parks is lobbying Mornington Peninsula Shire Council for more patrols and better enforcement. Mornington Environment Association has asked councillors for “immediate action” to counter environmental and safety issues around the demand for beachside car parking around the shire over summer. The shire has hired extra staff to enforce parking controls across the peninsula, with daily patrols of up to six officers during busy periods, hot days and weekends. Between 1 January and 28 February more than 5000 parking infringements were issued, with most vehicles being booked near beaches.…

THE new pedestrian lights on Bungower Road, Mornington, remain switched off almost one year since they were installed. The lights and associated works, paid for and managed by Mornington Peninsula Shire, are believed to have cost around $400,000 and were expected to ease the congestion issues on Bungower Road, near St. Macartan’s Primary School and Racecourse Road. Mornington resident and roads campaigner Ken McBride says the hold-up is unacceptable and blames the delay on a stalemate between the Department of Transport and the shire over who will pay to turn the lights on and synchronise them with the tourist railway…

ADVOCATES of protecting the Mornington Peninsula’s green wedge-zoned areas are calling on supporters to get submissions in before 8 April to protect 10 parcels of land from inappropriate development. Conservation policies for the peninsula’s green wedge areas were first introduced by the state government more than 40 years ago, with the zones now highly regarded for giving the peninsula its special character and sense of openness. Mornington Peninsula Shire Council is now seeking feedback on amendment C270morn, which intends to fix irregularities in the peninsula’s planning scheme and rezone 10 sites in Mornington, Mount Eliza, Mount Martha, Portsea and Shoreham.…

MOST children love to draw, but few eight-year-olds ever get enough recognition of their talents to draw an audience or begin a potential career from it. But an art exhibition with a difference is now being held at the Artisan’s Alley in Main Street, Mornington until the end of March, featuring the works of eight-year-old Stella Mars (pictured). Stella, according to mum Steph Mars, has been dedicated to fine tuning her craft ever since she was two. But it’s not just family who have recognised her aptitude and ability to create eye-catching canvases. With Stella having sold several of her…

GAMBLERS on the Mornington Peninsula are again losing big at the pokies, with spending going up compared to lockdown figures. In the two months of December 2021 and January 2022 data published by the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission showed spending on gaming machines in Mornington Peninsula Shire topped $15.3 million. In January punters on the peninsula spent $7.86m, compared to July, when they put $5.1m through the pokies. Some of the biggest spending between July 2021 and December 2021 was at the Rosebud Hotel ($3.24m), with Steeples in Mornington coming behind by a length at $2.7m. The figures…

SKYLA Lauch wants to use her platform as finalist in the Miss Galaxy Australia pageant to lift the profile of Indigenous women and inspire others to reach for the stars. The 22-year-old from Rosebud, who is representing the Mornington Peninsula in next month’s national finals, has been modelling since she was 12 and is focussing on becoming Miss Galaxy because it would offer her a chance to be a bigger voice for Indigenous people. “As an Indigenous woman my main goal is to inspire and encourage other Indigenous women to be proud and be who they want to be,” Ms…