Reading with dogs a success story by Kate Sears

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No child should be left behind in literacy. To make reading fun for children so they become confident, lifelong readers, Story Dogs visits primary schools and allows children to read to a dog and its handler in a private, non-judgmental setting.   As of last month, 1840 children Australia-wide have been helped by Story Dogs. There are 366 volunteer dog teams and 220 schools are involved.

The not-for-profit Story Dogs program provides well-trained dogs and their volunteer owners to assist students with their literacy skills and in many cases their emotional needs. There’s an amazing outcome when a child reads to a dog; the child’s literacy skills increase, their focus improves, and their confidence blooms. It’s the accepting, loving nature of dogs that gives the program its pure magic, helping the children open up, relax, try harder and have fun while reading. During the session the handler will often speak through the dog, saying such things as: “Spot doesn’t understand what’s happening on this page. Can you help him out?” Here the child becomes the teacher and their confidence soars.

Story Dogs was formed by Leah Sheldon and Janine Sigley in 2009, and the Melbourne branch was launched in 2014. Believing that learning to read is often less about intellectual limitation than overcoming fears is what gives Story Dogs its high success rate. The dogs are the perfect reading buddies because they promote relaxation and don’t judge, laugh or criticise, allowing the child to proceed at their own pace. It’s a program that creates a relaxed, fun space for children to practise their reading skills in a quiet area of the school grounds for 20 minutes of one-on-one time with the dog team and a book chosen to suit their reading level. When it comes to teaching children to read, there is growing evidence to suggest it can help to have kids read to a dog.

There are 12 volunteer dog teams within the Frankston and Mornington Peninsula area and they’re rapidly growing. Several schools have indicated that they would like multiple teams because they can see the benefits of the program reflected in their students’ confidence and progress.

For more information about volunteering and to sponsor one of the volunteer dog teams, visit storydogs.org.au

 

Artist showcases work at international festival

Tyabb artist Jeanne Rachelle White has been invited to take part in the international Art Naif Festiwal in Poland.

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Jeanne is one of more than 30 Australians chosen by naïve artists Wayne Elliott and Marie Jonsson-Harrison for the festival, which is on at the Wilson Shaft Gallery in Katowice until August 10. Australia is the featured country in this year’s festival, which is one of the largest celebrations of naïve art in the world.

“I am extremely proud to be representing Australia,” Jeanne said. “Naive art is not a formalised style of art; it’s actually non-traditional and non-academic. However, it beautifully expresses daily life and landscapes that are whimsical and holistic.”

Over the past 20 years, the former industrial city of Katowice has been transformed into an arts destination, and the annual Art Naif Festiwal attracts more than 300 self-taught art naïf, naïve art, outsider, raw, art brut and primitive artists from around the world. In 2017 the festival also drew 30,000 visitors, transforming the city into a hive of artistic fever.

Jeanne, whose work colourfully celebrates the Australian landscape and culture, follows a strong tradition of Australian naïve artists — Sam Byrne, Henri Bastin Lorna Chick, Ian Abdulla and others — who have created works that display their own personal interpretation of Australian life. This new wave of Australian naïve artists is now making its mark on an international level and informing the world of Australian landscape, culture, and story.

The 30 Australian artists taking part in Art Naif Festiwal create works that depict visual narratives of life in Australia. Several have painted maps of Australia that will be displayed in Poland as part of the festival.

For more, visit the festival website: artnaiffestiwal.pl/en/art-naif-festiwal-current-edition#main_country

Global travellers flock to Peninsula

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Every year around August, flocks of critically endangered eastern curlews arrive at the Australian coastline — including our own Mornington Peninsula — after a perilous 10,000km migration through 22 countries from their breeding grounds in the Arctic.

In his new book The Eastern Curlew - The Extraordinary Life of a Migratory Bird, award-winning nature writer Harry Saddler explores how these birds have impressed themselves on the cultures of the countries they pass through, the threat to their survival posed by development, and the remarkable ways in which the eastern curlew and humankind may be entwined.

“My favourite place to see eastern curlews — and one of my favourite places in general — is French Island,” Harry says. “I once saw a flock of 70 fly past the ferry jetty at Tankerton, and with luck you might see eastern curlews at Hastings Foreshore Reserve.”

French Island is a great place to see all sorts of migratory shorebirds but you don’t have to get on a boat to enjoy them: nearly the whole of Western Port is listed as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, which means that the east coast of the Mornington Peninsula has great places to see many of the other migratory shorebirds that spend summer with us before flying back to the Arctic.

“The best time to see shorebirds varies depending on the tide. So much of their life revolves around stacking on fat for their epic migratory flights, so when the tide is out they’ll be feeding on the little animals that live on mudflats,” Harry says. “Sometimes that’s in the middle of the day, sometimes the middle of the night.”

The sad fact is that habitat loss along their migration route means each year there are fewer and fewer migratory shorebirds such as eastern curlews to be seen. Already they’ve disappeared from many places where they used to be annual visitors. In 1903, William Gillies wrote a book called Nature Studies in Australia in which he described hearing an eastern curlew calling near Dromana, but if you look on either eBird or the Atlas of Living Australia — the two most commonly used citizen science portals for birdwatchers — the most recent record of eastern curlews from anywhere near Dromana is from all the way back in 1999.

“What I love most about the Mornington Peninsula is that it’s so close to my home in Melbourne, but it feels so far away,” Harry says. “I love to visit Stony Point, where on a sunny summer’s day Western Port is so blue and calm and peaceful. You can feel all the stress and noise of the city just falling off your shoulders as soon as you set eyes on the water. It’s very special.”

The Eastern Curlew - The Extraordinary Life of a Migratory Bird (Affirm Press; $29.99) is available now in bookstores and online, but for your chance to win a copy, keep an eye on our Facebook page @franklyfrankston 

 

Music-loving tradie builds a career on the side by Kate Sears

Although Josh Burr studied carpentry, works as subcontractor, and spends his weekends bartending in Mornington, his passion for music keeps his energy surging as he picks up a third gig, sharing his stellar voice and guitar sounds with Mornington Peninsula music-lovers.

“I taught myself how to play guitar,” said Josh. “I used to just sit down and sing along while trying to figure out the chords.” 

The Mount Martha resident is dedicated to writing at least one song a week. He regularly has after-work jams during which he’ll strum his guitar until he finds a decent chord progression, and then he improvises some lyrics until he finds a catchy line or ‘hook’, which he then proceeds to base the rest of the song around.

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And his career highlight to date? He got to perform on Fox FM’s World Famous Roof Top for Tradi-oke (tradies singing karaoke) with Fifi, Fev and Byron. Josh rocked up not knowing what to expect and had a great time bonding with like-minded music-loving tradies, and then Brendan Fevola showed up with some beers. After sinking a few beers to kill the nerves, Josh was on stage dancing — awfully, he admits — to George Michael’s Faith.

“I was having too much fun,” he said. “After leaving and visiting a pub I got a call from Fox FM to say that they’d like me back at the station by 8am. I planned to spend the night in my car but the carpark was locked. I had nowhere to sleep. So, long story short, I bar-hopped and had one of the craziest nights I’ve ever had before returning to the station sleep-deprived and a bit hungover.” Oh, and he won the Tradie-oke, picking up $5000 and a drill set to, you know, pursue his other gig.

Already snowed under with commitments, he’s taking it a step further and working with Whitehorse Lane producers on his first studio recording. There will be five tracks on the album, and three will feature his lyrics and vocals. Josh plans to release an EP towards the end of the year too. While there’s a lot of hard work to be done in the meantime, he’s so keen to see the results of all of his efforts.

His acoustic cover of How to Save a Life by The Fray gave us chills. Josh told us that he loves performing it because The Fray have a certain tonality to their vocals that he enjoys imitating. You’ve just got to experience it for yourself. And if you’re a music-lover you’ll agree that live music is like nothing else. “I think that when you play live you get to put more raw emotion behind the songs you play, plus there is nothing like a crowd singing along or dancing to what you are playing,” said Josh. “I just love performing, especially to supportive people.”

You can catch him at Gods Kitchen in Mornington or Nature Bar Café in Frankston. Follow Josh and melt when you hear his vocals on Instagram at @joshuajamesburr

Precious Indigenous artefacts open a window on Portsea’s past By Liz Rogers

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There was once a carnation farm near London Bridge on the Mornington Peninsula, and on that farm beneath the ancient earth was an Indigenous archaeological site of noteworthy quality.

Helen Begg was an exceptional woman. She and her husband Kenneth got involved in the carnation-growing business in the early 1960s on their Portsea property, which encapsulated the Portsea Lagoon, and while preparing the land for planting she came across something very special: a midden and occupation site.

Helen was fascinated, so much so that for a further 15 years she continued to dig and find precious remnants of an Indigenous people who once gathered by the waterhole at Portsea Lagoon to eat and connect. Stone tools, shell middens, stone axes, hammer stones and ground stones were revealed, and Helen meticulously labelled each one and stored them downstairs in the home that is now occupied by her 80-something son Michael and his wife Judy.

There were 30 or so boxes full of living Indigenous history stored by the time Helen passed. Aboriginal Victoria specialists in bone and wood came to view the collection and identified a small percentage of objects that weren’t from Bunurong country, which made sense because Helen was a spirited traveller too. They are still only halfway through analysing the collection, which has been handed back to the Bunurong people, who are the rightful owners. The Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation is working with Parks Victoria to set up a cultural centre at Point Nepean where the collection could be housed.

If you hold any Indigenous collections, please contact the Bunurong Land Council in Frankston on 9770 1273. The Aboriginal Heritage Council has appointed the Bunurong council as the peak body for gathering these incredibly important compendiums.

 

 

Author’s right at home in Balnarring By Kate Sears

Influenced by his father’s bedtime storytelling and the isolation of farm life, Garry Disher decided at a young age that he wanted to become a writer. He has now written more than 50 books and gone on to become one of Australia’s best-known authors.

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Garry resides near Balnarring, choosing to return to the country life after growing up on a farm in South Australia. “I like the rural lifestyle,” he says. “I like living on a dirt road away from built-up urban areas. The Mornington Peninsula gives me this with its beautiful varied landscape, and I’m always a short drive from a vineyard, a beach or the shops.  If I need to go up to the city, I take the train from Frankston.”

Garry gained a Bachelor’s Degree from Adelaide University and proceeded to work and travel. After returning home, he hit the books again and completed his Masters in Australian History at Monash University in Melbourne. He was also awarded a creative writing fellowship to Stanford University in California and taught creative writing in Melbourne for many years before becoming a full-time writer in 1988.

Often drawing inspiration for his crime thrillers from newspapers, Garry says: “I think writers are alert to everything around them — something someone says, something they see, something they read in the newspaper. Sometimes you have to wait for several of these ideas to come together.”

Garry will be at Frankston City Library on Saturday, July 28, at 1pm as part of the Author Talks series. He credits meet-the-author sessions, workshops and festivals for assisting his career development. “The smaller festivals and talks are my preference because you can really engage with the audience and experience a friendlier atmosphere.”

You can check out Garry’s extensive list of works at garrydisher.com

On the road to a waste-free world By Yazmine Lomax

 Photo courtesy of Gavin Green and Hardie Grant Publishing

Photo courtesy of Gavin Green and Hardie Grant Publishing

After watching an eco-documentary that exposed the amount of rubbish we generate day to day, Erin Rhoads decided to make some changes. Five years later and the author, blogger, speaker and activist makes her own cosmetics, can fit all her waste in a jar, and recently brought her waste-free message to Frankston at the Waste Wise Living: A World Environment Day event.

 Why should people care about leading a waste-free life?

We can sometimes forget plastic, most of it being single-use, won't break down for hundreds of years. It's contributing to our ever-expanding landfill sites or worse — getting into our environment.  Over 250 species of marine life have known to have ingested or become entangled in plastic. With Frankston and the Peninsula right next to the bay, our wasteful choices can have a direct contribution to this problem. Reducing our reliance on plastic can prevent litter from our streets, parks, rivers and beaches, reduce our exposure to harmful chemicals, result in a healthier life and even save money.

What are some simple steps to begin the journey towards zero waste?

Food scraps make up a bulk of what the garbage trucks collect each week. Our household bins are roughly 40-50 per cent full of food scraps. We can change this by making simple swaps, like cooking with our food scraps (think stocks, jams, chutneys), getting savvy when we do our weekly shops, composting or starting a worm farm, and supporting local farmers.

If services like bulk food stores aren't available locally, how can readers find alternatives or campaign for change?

See if you can buy larger quantities of items. Choose packaging materials that have a better recycling rate like paper, cardboard and metal. Pull out the Tupperware and ask your local deli, fishmonger or butcher to use your containers rather than the plastic bag and paper option. Look into borrowing and sharing items with family, friends, tool libraries, toy libraries and clothing swaps.

 

See more at therogueginger.com/

Who’s a pretty parrot? By Liz Rogers

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Walking through Frankstonite Brooke Todd’s living room, you may think you’re hearing voices. Squawky voices. Voices that just keep repeating themselves. And you’d be right.

Brooke lives with two talkative feathered friends who love nothing better than to chat and wave, wave and chat. Her nine-month-old blue-fronted Amazon parrot Luna wolf-whistles, asks “What ya doing?”, waves and turns around on command and could live until she is 80. Her 10-year-old medium-size conure parrot Tookie has green cheeks, waves and turns around, bobbing her head up and down when the music starts pumping. Dancing is just her thing.

Brooke loves animals and especially birds. She used to have six cockatiels and has had various budgies. She also has two horses, one of which she saved from the knackery.   

“Luna is a one-person bird and gets a bit funny when other people are near me. Both of them mainly eat fruits and vegetables and need lots of stimulation because they are incredibly smart birds. I’ve got their cages set up inside while it’s cold, but they fly around while I’m home. I keep them flighted; don’t clip their wings. They are flight-trained instead and come to me when I call them,” she explains.

“They spend lots of time outside in the warmer months. You’ve got to watch out for lice and worms and make sure they are kept busy. They absorb everything, just like a baby. Both Luna and Tookie love playing with their toys,” she continues.

There are about 30 species of Amazon parrots, while conures belong to a diverse group of long-tailed parrots. Either way, Brooke swears that the entertainment they deliver is A1 for quirky companionship — and it seems she’s right.

Who’s a pretty parrot? Luna and Tookie are. Just ask Brooke!

No question’s too hard for home-grown comic

Kate Sears speaks to Daniel Burt about growing up in Frankston, his comedy career and what it’s like writing for television shows such as the ABC’s Hard Quiz and CBS’s Late Show with David Letterman. 

What’s your education and experience?

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I graduated from Frankston High School, thankfully just before the advent of social media. I don't want to romanticise the past but I long for the days of getting bullied face to face. 

While studying Media and Communications at Melbourne University I performed stand-up and hosted community TV and radio, and quickly got work writing TV comedy and have never looked back, mainly due to chronic neck issues. Early on I was writing for The Glass House and The Einstein Factor on ABC-TV, and lived in New York as intern in the writing department of the Late Show with David Letterman. I was Europe-based entertainment correspondent for The Age, a founding writer of The Project, The Weekly and senior writer for Hard Quiz — among many other gigs the memory of which I've deliberately repressed.

Where are you living?

After returning from Paris I now live in Prahran, taking in the sights and sounds and unfortunate smells of Chapel St — although page 102 of the Melway is my spiritual home, and also my real home if for some reason I need to go back to live with my parents in Frankston.

Could you tell us a little about your stand-up comedy show A Trip Down Memory Laneway?

Melbourne is the love of my life. And like any romance I'm obsessed with its history and spend too much time stalking people from its past. It's easy to overlook that Melbourne is a town full of hidden intrigue with oddballs and crazy incidents around every stencil-graffitied and urine-soaked corner. The show is a unique, comedic and nostalgic celebration of the city we love.

What was it like being a senior writer for Hard Quiz?

It's deeply rewarding to get a sense of the breadth of intelligence and passion across the country, and it's an honour to work with Tom Gleeson and such committed and gifted writers. With the variety of special subjects it's easy to get lost down rabbit holes, investigating the intricacies of Rolex watches or the history of the Freemasons. What other gig allows you to indulge in such disparate curiosities? Unfortunately, I now know more about The Goonies than I ever thought necessary.

What do you love about Frankston?

I like its remoteness from but accessibility to the city, and our proximity to the water — even if the definition of 'water' is stretched a bit at Kananook Creek.

How was the Comedy Festival?

I was very lucky to be doing a show about the history of Melbourne inside Tasma Terrace, a hidden room in a pop-up venue with a secret bar inside the National Trust. The only way the show could have been more Melbourne is if Sydney tried to steal it. I do talk a little bit about Frankston in the show, and people enjoy the fact that the station's three-letter code is FKN. Just say that out loud. Even our abbreviation is trolling us.

 

Patto’s paddling powerhouse

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A paddling powerhouse is springing to life on the banks of Patterson River. Patterson Lakes Canoe Club has evolved over time since its formation in 1966 and ‘made a splash’ recently with a series of successes. 

Arriving as just a beginner 18 months ago for a ‘come and try’ session, Max Nikolic, 12, progressed quickly with the support of coach Steve Vegh. This culminated in victory at this year’s Victorian Championships in the doubles event with partner Bradley Buissink, also 12. Max also placed second in the singles event.

Training four times a week and having fun too, the duo went on to compete at the National Championships in Adelaide, placing first together in the doubles and Max placing eighth in the singles.

Mr Vegh is full of praise for the pair. “They are both very talented young guys dedicated to training each week and it was a big boost for our juniors,” he said.

At the same event, paracanoeist Dean Garo won the 12km marathon event. It’s not the club’s first success in paracanoeing, having coached members on to the international and Olympic stage, with a very notable silver medal won at Rio in 2016 by Amanda Reynolds. 

“We have been coaching members with disabilities for years, helping to build their confidence and improve their co-ordination,” says Mr Vegh.

He puts their success down to the club’s prime location on Patterson River, an on-site gym, and coaching staff focused on refining technique. “It has to be a structured training regimen where you are constantly pushing your body.”

From juniors to seniors, the club caters to different capabilities and interests, which even includes dragon boating for breast cancer survivors. “We can get you to an Olympic level and equally cater to someone just looking to enjoy paddling recreationally.”

CAMERON HOWE

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Crab-grabbing Crystal and the dancing seahorses By Kate Sears

 Crystal preying on the spider crabs.

Crystal preying on the spider crabs.

Jules Casey is at it again. Actually, to be perfectly honest, she freedives nearly every day so she never really stops to take a breath. If you missed our story on Jules in our last issue, this freediver takes amazing underwater footage with her GoPro Hero 6 after taking just one breath of air. This month she let us in on three remarkable species that are gracing Blairgowrie pier at this time of year.

Spider crabs have just finished gathering at the pier to moult, shedding their hard outer shell, and divers got to experience the phenomenon over seven to 10 days in the shallows. “We thought it had finished, then we were pleasantly surprised to discover a second group appear but out much deeper,” said Jules. “It was unusual to have two groups, and the second was bigger than the first. It’s hard to estimate but there would have been anywhere between 5000 and 10,000 spider crabs.”

 Female sea horse transferring eggs to her male partner. 

Female sea horse transferring eggs to her male partner. 

Now, meet Crystal. She is an extremely rare albino smooth ray. Jules captured wonderful footage of her eating spider crabs as they began moulting, sucking them up and munching on them the moment they shed their shell. This footage was passed on by her content manager, Storyful, and it made its way to National Geographic. Her dive buddy noticed Crystal while they were watching the spider crabs three years ago. She’s a shy creature who only appears at this time of year, and Jules was able to spend 30 minutes with her. At first Crystal wasn’t sure how to handle this lady with her camera watching her eat, and would swim away. But when she realised Jules wasn’t pursuing her, Crystal’s inquisitive nature — and, presumably, her appetite — got the better of her and she’d come swimming back. “She became so chilled out and relaxed,” said Jules. “She was extremely timid at the start.”

Now, we females all know and adore the baby-carrying male seahorse because he’s the most considerate partner out there, right? But did you know that the ‘love dance’ is rarely caught on camera? Jules has captured the moment not once but twice, when the male puffs out his belly to show the female that he’s the most suitable carrier of her eggs. His colouring then changes as they dance around each other. This has been photographed before, but the transfer of eggs to the male is much harder to find and capture. “I watched the seahorses for 20 minutes; my camera battery even went dead in the end but I got it,” said Jules. “When they pass the eggs they rise to the surface slowly. The male will carry the eggs to term, which is normally about three to four weeks.

Jules has recently also witnessed cuttlefish mating, Port Jackson sharks swimming near the pier, and the biggest stingrays she’s ever seen. But that’s a story for another day in the octopus’s garden under the sea.

 

See what a difference service makes

Are you missing old-fashioned friendly service? At Vince La Rocca Professional Eyecare, customer care never goes out of fashion. Andrea La Rocca explains.

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“Our passion is to personally assist with all your eyecare needs, aiming to achieve optimum vision via spectacles, sunglasses or contact lenses.  We will hold your hand throughout the whole process, from your eye examination to collection of your new eyewear.  Allow us to personally assist you in selecting the perfect frame to suit your image, lifestyle and budget. We will always give our honest opinion and want you to be excited about your choice.

“We take great pleasure in offering collections exclusive to independent optometrists, providing a point of difference from the High St labels.  Van Staveren is a local family business based in Carrum Downs and their signature range offers a vast array of colours and styles.

“Frames designed by optometrists are not only unique but always fit like a glove as they understand each individual face has its own complexities.  We proudly stock three such stunning stylish ranges which are produced from the finest quality acetates and metals in beautiful colours.

“Every single frame on display has been hand-selected, ensuring we always stock a broad choice of styles and colours.  If you are seeking a particular shape and colour which we don’t have in stock, then we will endeavour to source it for you.

“Allow us to make you look fabulous!”

VINCE LA ROCCA PROFESSIONAL EYECARE

A: 34 Wells St, Frankston

T: 9783 9920

W: vincelarocca.com.au

FB: Vince La Rocca Professional Eyecare

 

Monash Peninsula leads the way in health and research outcomes

At its Peninsula campus, Monash University continues to immerse itself in the local community, working with industry partners and enhancing educational opportunity in the region. Monash experienced strong student growth this year and looks forward to this continuing in 2019 with the completion of its innovative new student accommodation.

Monash University’s leadership in paramedicine isn’t just in its education and training delivery, but also through its strong partnerships. This year Monash teamed up with the Australian and New Zealand College of Paramedicine to host the Paramedicine Research Symposium on July 5-6, bringing together guest speakers from around the world, including academics, clinicians and students. For more information please visit anzcp.org.au/prs18/

Professor Terry Haines is Head of the new School of Primary and Allied Health Care for Monash University. Terry and his team will be advancing an innovative research agenda to become Australia’s leading centre of allied health care, education and research, establishing two new centres: the Monash Addiction Research Centre and the Rehabilitation, Ageing and Independent Living Research Centre. Each will leverage Monash’s partnerships with a range of healthcare services and care providers in the south-eastern region. 

Industry partnerships play an important role at Monash. Monash students are fortunate to benefit from more than half a million hours of placement training each year. These placements are made possible through Monash’s longstanding partnerships with local industry and government, channelling talent back into the community. 

 

Peninsula Leisure wins two prestigious Aquatics & Recreation Victoria Awards

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The Pines Forest Aquatic Centre has won the Facility Management Award (Seasonal) at the recent Aquatics & Recreation Victoria Awards, with Tabitha Cauchy from Peninsula Aquatic Recreation Centre (PARC) awarded Swim Teacher of the Year.

It’s the second year in a row PARC has taken out the Swim Teacher of the Year category at the state’s prestigious award ceremony, and the first time the Pines has been recognised at state level for the facility’s outstanding engagement with the community and introduction of innovative new programs and events for patrons throughout the summer season.

The Pines opened its season early in November 2017, and encouraged members and visitors to re-engage with its facility by introducing aqua aerobics, upgrading the change rooms with accessible facilities, and offering regular free family events and fun weekend activities (i.e. additional inflatables). 

Peninsula Leisure CEO Tim Gledhill said the industry recognition is great reward for Frankston City Council, the hard-working Pines staff and the local community who warmly embrace the facility every summer.

“We are thrilled to be recognised as industry leaders by ARV. At the Pines we are focused on delivering exceptional experiences and achieved outstanding results last summer, with the introduction of new events, including Free Family Fridays and Sunday Fun Days, in addition to reducing entry fees by 25% to ensure the facility is accessible for all,” Tim said.

The Pines Operations Manager Marc Mackellin said the team focuses on maintaining a high level of service to allow all members of the community an opportunity to engage with each other, improve their health and fitness and remain connected to their local community.

“We will continue to strive to be a place of acceptance, inclusion and enjoyment, particularly for those in our community that require the greatest assistance. Our total attendance has grown by 18% and casual attendance grew a further 8% last season, totaling 56% growth in two years,” Marc said.

PARC has won the state Swim Teacher of the Year award three times over the past four years.

“Our vision is to ensure that every child in Frankston City can swim by the time they reach high school so we pride ourselves on employing highly skilled and passionate swim teachers,” Tim said. “I congratulate our very own Victorian Swim Teacher of the Year Tabitha Cauchy on her state honour and for her tireless work towards assisting PARC achieve this important goal.

“Tabitha is a great asset to our team, and she goes above and beyond to assist her students and colleagues. She connects and engages with everyone she meets. She is calm, adaptable, very modest and so likeable — a true quiet achiever!”

The Pines will reopen on November 1. For more information on the Pines please visit pinesfrankston.com.au and for PARC please visit parcfrankston.com.au

Life stories a gift from the heart

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There could hardly be a better 90th birthday present than the story of your life written by one of your children. That’s what lifelong Chelsea resident Reginald Musgrove received from his daughter Kaye — and it’s what his wife Joyce can look forward to when she turns 90 in April next year.

It all started about 10 years ago when Kaye typed up a “This is my life” book for her parents, but there were a few questions she needed their help with, such as: “What did it feel like to meet the love of your life?” and “How did it feel to become a father, grandfather and great-grandfather?”  Kaye felt the answers to such questions were vital if she was to ‘preserve’ their lives for her family and their community.

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The result was Always a Gentleman – A memoir of my dad Reginald Musgrove, which tells the story of a family man who has lived in the Chelsea area his whole life. His sole job was as a butcher, starting work in Chelsea after leaving school at 13 and then commencing his own business at Station St, Carrum, which continued for more than 44 years.

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Reginald was the 10th of 15 children, all of whom went to Chelsea Primary School and lived and worked in the Chelsea area. As a butcher he loved meeting many local families and even taught many new wives how to cook. Reginald met Joyce more than 70 years ago when he asked his best mate to swap dates, and they’ve been together ever since. Their great-grandchildren Kayla, Ella, Will, Chloe and Frederick (pictured) visit them often.

Anyone who wants to contribute to Kaye’s memoirs of Joyce, Always a Lady, or would like to purchase a copy of Always a Gentleman for $15 can contact her at kayemus@hotmail.com or 0412 181 588.

The talk we all must have by Kate Sears

Eight years ago, filmmaker David M. Raynor was spending Christmas Day with his sister, a school counsellor, when she received a phone call: one of her students was in intensive care after attempting suicide, and eight others were on suicide watch.

That was the catalyst for We Need To Talk, David’s screenplay and movie designed to raise awareness of teenage mental health and suicide.  Last month, Bad Hat Film Publishing launched a book adaptation of the film — a collaboration between David and Balnarring author Sally-Anne Ward.

 Sally-Anne Ward and   David M. Raynor sign copies of Sally-Anne’s book We Need To Talk, which is based on David’s screenplay and movie. Photo: Fi Byrne

Sally-Anne Ward and David M. Raynor sign copies of Sally-Anne’s book We Need To Talk, which is based on David’s screenplay and movie. Photo: Fi Byrne

“We thought a book was something solid that could be kept and re-read,” Sally-Anne said. “Books are sometimes like friends that you chance upon and didn't know you needed until they appeared. This is what we hope will happen with this book.”

The novel We Need To Talk is aimed at young adults — specifically, years 10 to 12. In it we meet Bree, a typical teenager who appears to have it all together. Shockingly, it turns out she’s the victim of relentless bullying, face to face and on social media. The taunts send her spiralling into depression, and she takes her own life. Sally-Anne then explores the ripple effect that Bree’s suicide creates. Her family and friends become the main characters, and she watches them from her place in the spirit world.

“We have handled the topic with delicacy, utmost respect and with love,” Sally-Anne said. “Our motto for We Need To Talk is ‘We need to love and take care of each other, share our love and care with those around us’. I believe and have learnt that sometimes you just need someone to be kind to you at the right time, and that kindness in itself has the ability to turn a life around.”

Sally-Anne took a year to write We Need To Talk, carefully choosing every word for clarity and understanding for the intended age group — she spent six hours rewriting one paragraph alone until she was completely happy with it — and spoke to those affected by suicide and mental illness. “I noticed along the way that everyone spoke from love, whether they were a suicide attempt survivor or a family member or friend of someone who has mental illness. At the core of every story was love — that was quite an ‘aha’ moment because society paints suicide and mental health issues with negativity, which I feel comes from misunderstanding.

“We want readers of the book to keep the thought in their minds that no matter how bad or dark life can be at times, we want them to remember to hold on, choose to stay, that nothing would be the same if they didn't exist, that life does and will change, but most importantly to always choose to stay in life. Even when it feels like they're holding on by a thread, staying is worth it.”

We Need To Talk is available from Amazon, or visit badhatfilms.com.au/publishing/

FOOTNOTE: Parts of this novel are confronting, so both Sally-Anne and David urge any reader who might be upset to reach out for support. Phone Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyondblue on 1300 224 636, Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

 

Dennis prepares for a cold night’s sleep by Kate Sears

With nothing but a sleeping bag and a cardboard box, Frankston City chief executive Dennis Hovenden will be sleeping rough on Thursday, June 21, in a bid to raise $5000 as part of the annual Vinnies CEO Sleepout.

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St Vincent de Paul hopes to raise more than $6.4million nationally to provide support, housing and food for Australia’s homeless, while the Victorian arm of the charity has set a target of $800,000. Mr Hovenden said Vinnies’ services were needed now more than ever.

“In the last financial year, Vinnies volunteers helped over 318,000 Victorians in their homes or dedicated assistance centres, so the time for our generosity is now. The charity has experienced an average 40 per cent rise in demand for welfare support over the past three years. In some parts of the state, the increase on services has been as high as 68 per cent.”

Mr Hovenden will be accompanied by 200 CEOs, community leaders and executives at the Melbourne sleepout. “This is just one night for us. Vinnies has over 12,000 volunteers across Victoria who visit people in their place of need every day.”

There were 546 people homeless in Frankston City in 2016, according to Census statistics. This is the 16th highest estimate of homeless persons in Victoria. Therefore, every dollar counts. “For just $55, you can help St Vincent de Paul to feed a family for a day,” Mr Hovenden said. “Please support this important cause and my small effort to help others who are less fortunate.”

Every donation, no matter how small, will make a difference. To contribute or to find out more about Mr Hovenden’s fundraising efforts, please visit ceosleepout.org.au/fundraisers/dennishovenden/ 

Sam sets sail with Shanty single

Mount Martha muso Sam O'Connell has just released a new single, his first since 2016’s debut EP Down The Line. Shanty is inspired by the golden age of piracy and the 21-year-old says it’s his favourite song to date: “I’ve been working really hard on this track and I’m beyond excited for its release.”

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Sam’s had a guitar in his hand since he was seven and hasn’t stopped learning and mastering his craft. At 18 he played his first show in Mornington, and the “amazing” response to his set of covers inspired him to play at every opportunity around the Peninsula.

In early 2015 Sam entered his first original song, I’m Not Okay, in the Melbourne Music Bank competition, in which he finished runner-up from hundreds of entries. Buoyed by his success, Sam later that year teamed up with Fresh Entertainment’s Chris Hoffmann and started work on Down The Line. The EP featured five original songs —  Getaway, I’m Not Okay, Familiar Strangers, Should Have Got Her Name and the title track — and has racked up thousands of plays on Spotify, Google Play Music and iTunes. It has sold more than 500 copies and been played on multiple radio stations from the Peninsula’s own RPPFM to New York’s WNYR.

After playing hundreds of shows all over Australia since the beginning of his career, Sam is continuing to perform regularly across Melbourne and the Peninsula and has gained a solid fan base. With his raw and beautiful storytelling vocals, his incredibly intricate and delicate guitar work and his uplifting percussion, Sam is the whole package.

You can follow Sam on Facebook and Instagram at samoconnellmusic  and find his music at open.spotify.com/artist/2KTWhtf5Tnv7Yr4rDjB6MC, itunes.apple.com/au/album/down-the-line-ep/1133599299, and triplejunearthed.com/artist/sam-oconnell

 

Leave your loneliness at home

Feeling lonely? Isolated? Longing to get out of the house but you don’t have your own transport? Peninsula Social Club just might be able to help.

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Peninsula Social Club is an initiative of Peninsula Transport Assist, a volunteer-led community transport service with more than 70 volunteers who drive their own cars or PTA mini-buses to help people with their transport needs. The club’s mission is to provide affordable and accessible transport options for Frankston and Mornington Peninsula residents and end social isolation and loneliness.

According to the Australian Census, one in four Australians live alone, and that’s a major risk factor towards being lonely. Research tells us that loneliness and social isolation is as harmful to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and it’s even worse for us than obesity and physical inactivity. Poor health, bereavement, retirement, or becoming a carer can increase our risk of loneliness and isolation.

Getting out of the house on a regular basis, meeting new friends over lunch or going on a social outing is much more important than we realise.

So don’t sit home alone — call 5971 5210 and chat with one of Peninsula Social Club’s friendly Social Connectors, or email socialclub@peninsulatransportassist.org to find out more. And if you’d like to be a volunteer, the club would love to hear from you. Get details at peninsulatransportassist.org/PSC