Browsing: Interviews

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…

Little did she know as she grew up, but it was probably inevitable that Alexandra Dellaportas’s artistic eye would see creative possibilities when learning about her wider family’s history. Talking with her grandfather while visiting Greece and learning about Greek mythology have led directly to her third dance production, Ariadne. Unlike the easy familial linking of the Mornington Peninsula-based director and choreographer to Greece, the story of the mythical Ariadne involves corrosive family relationships and her eventual escape from these bonds through a labyrinth built to hold the half man half bull Minotaur for her father King Minos. Dellaportas’s version…

FIVE years after her husband was murdered in front of her in a drug-fuelled attack, Bridget O’Toole has been awarded The Royal Humane Society of Australasia’s 2017 Clarke Gold Medal. The Clarke Medal is the society’s highest award for the most outstanding case of bravery considered during the year. The Clarke Gold Medal was presented by The Right Honourable the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Councillor Sally Capp at Melbourne Town Hall on 23 August. Mrs O’Toole was attacked by Gavin Perry, 27, after the parolee entered their High Street Hastings jewellery store in July 2013. Brandishing a 20cm carving knife,…

THE spirit of the Mornington Peninsula green wedge has been captured by the brushstrokes of 100 artists in the inaugural Green Wedge Paint Out. From these works, two have been chosen for major prizes: Winning artist Chris Pubela won a $500 bursary for her work Natural Beauty, an oil on canvas portraying the open spaces around Bittern reservoir. A $250 bursary encouragement award went to William Goodwin for his oil on canvas Green Wedge 1. The mayor, Cr Bryan Payne, thanked the artists saying the Paint Out had been one of the major highlights of the shire’s Thin Edge of…

CELEBRATIONS come and go with regularity, most often marked by years. And this has become the norm for members of a mothers’ group in Mt Martha celebrating their decade-long friendship. Although not related, the 11 families have kept pace with each other, watching their children progress through various stages of growth and schooling. Some have moved away, but the bonds remain. The families were brought together when the mothers joined a group organised through Mornington Peninsula Shire’s maternal and child health centre at the Bentons Square Community Centre, Mornington. “The mother’s group started 10 years ago and is still going…

By Barry Morris CHILDREN are concerned about climate change and the impact it will have on their lives, says author, illustrator and artist Terry Denton. Denton, a celebrity in the world of children’s literature, lives in Mornington and has a block of land at Mt Martha backing on to Balcombe Estuary reserves. He spends much his time on talking tours and listening to children in Australia and New Zealand. The curly mop-haired artist, who works in tandem with author Andy Griffiths on the treehouse series of books as well as writing his own books, has agreed to be patron of…

CHANGING schools can have a detrimental effect on a student’s mental health and academic performance. Exploring the effects of “school transition on student wellbeing” formed the basis of a talk given by Toorak College, Mt Eliza principal, Kristy Kendall, to 750 educators from 22 countries in the United States. Mrs Kendall said it had been an honour to be one of the few Australians invited to speak at the Global Forum on Girls’ Education in Washington DC. “I passionately believe in girls’ education and the power of building resilience, self-esteem and self-confidence in the next generation of leaders,” Mrs Kendall…

MT ELIZA boxing trainer and fitness coach Ron Smith certainly “carries the reminders of ev’ry glove that laid him down …” as the song says. But the 74-year-old is much more than just a former amateur boxing champion: he was also a jockey, ultra-marathon runner, high rise construction site manager, government safety inspector and, more recently, a personal trainer with a strong local following. He is now an author with his autobiography The Boxer on sale at Petersen’s Bookstore, Hastings. Ron and his wife Sharyn run the Centre for Lifelong Health & Fitness and Mt Eliza Boxing Centre, in Kunyung…

TYABB artist Jeanne Rachelle White has been invited to exhibit at the International Naive Art Festival in Katowice, Poland, next month. She is one of 30 Australian artists exhibiting works at the long-running festival which this year has Australia as the country in focus. The festival brings together about 300 self-taught naïve artists from around the world whose works were viewed by 30,000 visitors last year. The former industrial city has transformed over the past 20 years into an arts destination with one of the world’s largest international festivals of naïve art. Festival organisers praise White’s work for “colourfully celebrating…

A YEAR of intense training paid off earlier this month when Michael Cole and Laura Skvor cooked their way into the final of the Bocuse d’Or, billed as “the most prestigious gastronomic competition in the world”. Cole, head chef and Skvor commis chef at the Flinders Hotel, were members of the Australian team which came fourth out of 11 countries in the Asia Pacific division of Bocuse d’Or in China. Skvor won Best Commis Chef (food preparation and basic cooking under the supervision of a head chef) in the Asia Pacific division. The final of the Bocuse d’Or is being…

LONG-TIME Mornington resident Su-Rose McIntyre lost her only child when he was 26 almost a decade ago, after he suffered a long period of mental illness. Now the bereaved mother and qualified grief counsellor is a newly published author of a grief self-help book: The Grief Kaleidoscope: Metaphors for Grief. “Deep grief was a new experience for me as I tried to ride the grief waves as they came rolling in,” she said last week. “I became interested in learning more about what I was going through and the grief process itself.” After gaining a Masters in Counselling university degree…

WRITER and actor Kate Mulvany has written a play based on a book that takes its readers out of this world. Mulvany attributes the award-winning Masquerade by Kit Williams with helping her recover from a bout of childhood sickness. “Within a few words my mind exploded, my imagination went crazy be-cause I was on that adventure with Jack on his way across the universe, and I think that book helped me get better,” Mulvany says. “I always kept the book Masquerade by my side, my entire life. Then a few years ago I decided I wanted to turn that book…

RON Gilbert was a bit of a joker. He saw the bright side of things. He wasn’t afraid to poke fun at society’s sacred cows and was irreverent to the end. Mr Gilbert, 94, died on 28 October last year, just on eight years after posing for photographs at Mornington cemetery next to a headstone that bore his name. “I’ve got one foot in a grave,” he said at the time, with a twinkle in his eye. He now has two. Mr Gilbert was practical and gave a stonemason instructions to include his name on a headstone that was being…

WHEN Maria Peters looks back on a 30-year career at Chisholm TAFE Institute she says it is the camaraderie between staff she will miss most of all in retirement. The CEO decided last year to step down at Chisholm Institute on 31 December and hand over the chief executive officer reins of the vocational education college’s campuses to successor Dr Richard Ede. “I know I’ll miss the people and I’ll miss the intellectual stimulation but I’m just looking to have some time to re-energise and I’ll always have my eye on Chisholm and I’m sure it’ll go on to bigger…

A FORMER bush walker turned bush poet will have her poetry preserved in print in a project that proves it is never too late to have written work published. Mary Lyons, 87, a former Mt Martha resident and keen walker in the Peninsula Bushwalking Club in the 1980s and 1990s is now mostly confined to a wheelchair at Somercare in Somerville but her love of life living amongst nature is vividly described in her poetry. She worked as a tobacco picker, hop picker and dairy hand. Husband Norm passed on after 54 years of marriage. Family friend Kev Cooper, whose…

JEWELLERY artist Katrina Newman, of McCrae, has returned from a Canadian Wilderness Artists Residency saying it was “an experience like no other”. “I was surrounded by creative people and the voyage on the Yukon River was inspiring,” she said. “I felt I had found my place and came to feel at home among 11 Canadian artists as we explored the Yukon Territory in a canoe.” Arriving at Whitehorse, capital of the northwest Yukon territory, Newman met up with her trip coordinator, guides, and other artists in the group of two men and 10 women. They spent a week preparing for…

AUTHOR Fran Henke realised the need for a book outlining the latest expert advice for polio survivors after attending a conference in Sydney last year. “Experts from around the world were speaking on the main areas of concern for us and I wanted to get that new information to the often isolated people who need it most,” Mrs Henke said. “The exchange of ideas on management for polio survivors in the second round of the fight with the polio virus has proved vital in the absence of wide understanding of post-polio syndrome in the medical profession.” Mrs Henke, of Hastings,…

By Tony Nicholl THE Mornington Peninsula has many retirees with a story or even a book, and Eric Brewer is one of those. A few months ago he moved to Rosebud from Benalla, which had been his home for a good part of his life. Brewer now thinks the retirement in Rosebud is utopia redolent of A B Facey’s bestseller A Fortunate Life, especially in view of the fact that he has made his luck without expectation or entitlement. Brewer has lived in many places and always conducted a life well lived on account of having had a sound childhood…

A MT MARTHA doctor has for 30 years been able to combine her twin loves: scuba diving and medicine. In that time, Dr Vanessa Haller has made more than 2500 dives in idyllic locations while photographing marine life – including large sharks – and contributing to the knowledge of the South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society. It’s a perfect fit for a diving doctor: the society studies, promotes and communicates with members on all aspects of underwater and hyperbaric medicine, holds scientific conferences at exotic South Pacific locations and fosters fellowship and friendship among members. What could be more exciting than…

ROSEBUD’S Mark Krieger has spent three years working on his latest book: High Spain Drifter, based around cycling in Europe. In the story, the keen cyclist sets off on another of his fascinating journeys – this time around Spain and Portugal’s Iberian Peninsula with Roz and daughter Emma in tow. The former teacher taught English and History at Mornington Secondary College for 22 years from 1992, after arriving in Rosebud the year before. “Of our five children, four have followed in our footsteps. Each has taught or is currently teaching on the Mornington Peninsula,” Krieger said. “Cycling-wise, I have spent…

KATHRYN Whatmore knows all about the pressures felt by the wives and girlfriends of professionals cricketers – especially when their partners are on tour. “There’s a lot more expected of cricketers these days as they are full time and there is so much travel involved,” the wife of former Test cricketer and now international coach Dav (Davenell) Whatmore, said on Monday from their home in Bittern. “There are many more competitions now; people don’t realise how difficult it is for wives to have their men so far from home and away from their young families.” Players are required to arrive…

Howard Bull tells us about Mt Eliza’s own Reginald Ansett and how Channel Ten was born… NETWORK Ten is again creating its own news after announcing a big loss and its billionaire shareholders Lachlan Murdoch, Bruce Gordon and James Packer withdrawing support for a $250 million guaranteed loan. Ten Network Holdings went into voluntary administration mid-June, which would have dismayed its creator, the Mt Eliza resident and leading businessman Sir Reginald Ansett of Ansett Airlines fame. Previous financial difficulties included going into receivership in 1989, which ended when Westpac bought the station and later sold it to a consortium headed…

WATCHING as a pair of lightweight, sharp-eyed swallows built a mud nest under the eaves of a house in Seaford has, decades later, led to Geoffrey Maslen writing two books warning of the dangers facing “angels of the air” in Australia and overseas. Editor and author Maslen was inspired by the swallows. “They were the trigger for my interest in birds,” he said on Thursday. After years of writing books and articles for newspapers and magazines, three years ago the former lecturer in education decided it was time to “write the bird book – something more important than articles for…

A LAWYER working in Frankston and on the Mornington Peninsula has been recognised as one of the best in the legal business in Victoria. Canda Glanville, of Maurice Blackburn lawyers, who specialises in helping road trauma victims was named Victoria’s Suburban Lawyer of the Year by the Law Institute of Victoria last month. Ms Glanville, a principal and office manager at the legal firm’s Frankston office since its 2010 opening, who sometimes also works at the firm’s Rosebud office, said the award is “very exciting and quite a surprise”. The 38-year-old lawyer, a member of the Mornington Peninsula Lawyers Association,…

WHILE many people plan a huge party when they reach the milestone age of 60, it’s not something Somerville grandmother Margaret Caffyn contemplated. She had a calling to walk solo the 800 kilometre Camino trail in Spain. So what makes a successful career woman pack it all up and walk alone on one of the most historical pilgrim paths in the world? At first it was to find herself after all those years being “everyone’s someone” – mother, wife, daughter, friend and employee. “I felt I had lost myself,” Caffyn said. However, the more she delved into the journey, the…

A LIFE-CHANGING visit to Borneo to help rear endangered orangutans came about after a Somerville woman was asked to “do something for yourself”. Medical scientist Leonie Butler, of Somerville, said she had experienced the full “wife-mum-career thing” when her own mother suggested she take some time off and do something she really wanted to do. That led Ms Butler to spend most of March enriching the lives of captive orangutans and sun bears at the world renowned Samboja Lestari rescue centre in East Kalimantan. The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation is a 2000 hectare restored rainforest orangutan sanctuary created to provide…

IT’S been a life punctuated by parental and societal abandonment, cruelty and betrayal, near-death experiences and fragmented relationships, yet Mornington’s Klaas Kalma’s glass remains “half full”. Surprisingly, none of the obstacles have stopped the feisty survivor from living life to the full, and now, at 77, Kalma gives readers another glimpse into his fascinating life story in his second novel, Distant Echoes. Part auto-biographical, part fiction, the book follows on from his 2011 novel, Creeping Shadows, to tell more of the life story of Jobe, a likeable larrikin born in war-torn Holland at the start of WWII, who then faces…

FOR Mt Martha resident, father of three and Melbourne firefighter Rob Newton, the path to becoming an author was anything but conventional. It started innocently a few years ago with a series of funny, lively and “embellished” letters about his life to his brother Chris, in Sweden. It soon spiralled into a whole lot more, as Chris and his friends became intrigued with the crazy made-up tales Rob was spinning and egged him on to send monthly “instalments”. “I was never very good at writing letters, so I just started making things up and the stories just grew and grew,”…

THE huge crane working above a large commercial site in Nepean Highway, Mornington, has been turning drivers’ heads for a few months. Ralph Mackie, of the Frankston-based construction company that bears his name, agrees towering 64-metre boom has “stirred up a lot of interest”. The machinery is at the heart of a construction project to build a $35 million, 92-bed nursing home. Once finished, the home will have underground parking on the 5000 square metre site. The first stage is scheduled for completion in 12 months. The second stage, for 35 more beds, will lift the total cost of the…

THE adage of getting knocked down and then getting straight back up again describes Karen Stevens, 46, of Rosebud, to a tee. Unfortunately, the knock part literally happened, not once but three times, until Ms Stevens said to herself “enough is enough” and moved out. The penny had dropped; she realised the cycle of domestic violence would be repeated if she stayed around. “I didn’t want to pass that pattern onto my children,” she said. Across the Mornington Peninsula hundreds of domestic violence victims are struggling to get their lives back on track. “I know because I was one of…