Destiny’s descendant - the self-deprecating Mr Walden by Liz Rogers

Words flow freely with the 71-year-old Mal Walden. His “self-defecating” (yes, you’ve got to “rubbish yourself”) wit merges with a wealth of experience to create an enthralling discourse that bypasses his public persona and makes you feel at ease.

Many of us grew up with him. Many of us loved watching Mal’s Melbourne (Eyewitness News’ human interest story segment). Either way, he’s a British-born Frankston lad who somehow wandered into our living rooms most nights via the gogglebox. Since retiring from Channel 10 in 2013 – he prefers the term ‘stepping down’ – Mal’s life hasn’t slowed. His memoir The News Man – 60 Years of Television was published by Brolga last year and he’s already writing his next book.

Retiring my ass! This ‘ginger’ son of English immigrants who landed in Coogee Ave, Frankston, in 1952 keeps his ears and eyes wide open, watching and waiting.  Fifty-three years is a long time to be in an industry that can make or break you, but this journalist, writer and newsreader has survived “by being open to opportunity and in the right place at the right time. I believe life is pre-destined”.

The young Mal Walden won a ‘secret sound’ radio competition when he was 15. Heading into the station to collect his prize, he was hit with a “bombshell”.

“I’d been tinkering with crystal and valve set radios for years. I picked up the wrong signal, entered this competition and won. I knew then and there what I wanted to do. Radio, then television. I’ve been hired, fired, promoted and demoted. It’s been a roller-coaster.

“My parents were the original boat people,” he continues. “Dad was the chief salesman for Polaroid and was on In Melbourne Tonight (Graham Kennedy) and the Happy Hammond children’s television show. Contacts. He inquired about how I might get into radio.” We agree on how important it is to develop a firm network and the absence of discussion re what migrants leave behind. “I can’t imagine not seeing my family,” he says.  He and his wife, Pauline, have just welcomed their first grandson and Mal has already privately published a couple of kids’ books for him.

“When we first arrived in Frankston my parents thought it was a one-horse town. They were the original pioneers. I have fond memories of being a Scout in the ‘50s and lining up at Davey St (Frankston) Primary School swearing allegiance to the flag; drinking a curdled half-pint of milk. We used to have bonfire nights in the square that used to be where the cinemas are now.” His younger sister still lives in Frankston.

Mal penned The News Man from his 53 diaries compiled over his life in media. “Sometimes I wouldn’t listen to the stories when reading the news if they were too distressing. Turn the headset off.” It was hard when his friend Brian Naylor and wife died in the Black Saturday fires, and when Greg Shackleton (Balibo Five) was murdered.

“We pre-recorded the bulletin reporting on the Seven helicopter crash in 1982. Many journalists self-medicated back then. It’s only now we are seeing post-traumatic stress disorder. Some of the journos who were first on the scene were exposed to brutal situations.” He also covered Cyclone Tracy in 1974 (pictured).

This longest-serving newsman on Australian television takes nothing for granted. Yes, he’s been stalked. Yes, he’s been spat on, and yes, there have been messages left under his front door.
“Stories get told before we know if they are true or not now,” he muses. I agree. News can sometimes seem more like a surreal social media ‘hoedown’ these days.

But not in Mr Walden’s time. He was and still is the real down to earth ‘Frankston boy’ deal.
Destiny aside.

She’s our Delvene Delaney by Andrea Kellett

Nikki Osborne relaxes on the deck of her stunning McCrae home overlooking Port Phillip Bay. It’s a far cry from the film set in Brisbane where the actor spent eight weeks filming the television series Hoges: The Paul Hogan Story.

Nikki is a mother of two, an actor, a comedian, a Peninsula resident and one of the lead characters in the Channel 7 mini-series that debuted on Sunday, February 12, and concludes on Sunday, February 19, at 8.30pm. She plays Delvine Delaney, the beauty pageant winner who found fame on Australian television in the 1970s, became a cast member of The Paul Hogan Show and later a co-presenter on the quiz show Sale of the Century.

It’s a dream role for Nikki, who bears a remarkable likeness to Delvine. “When I heard about the role I just went ‘please’,” she says. “I love Delvine. I’ve been nicknamed Delvine in comedy shows I’ve worked on in the past. She and I had pretty similar careers, working in comedy and television.”

Hoges: The Paul Hogan Story tells the story of Paul Hogan - the almost accidental supernova of raw comedic talent who exploded on to Australia’s entertainment scene and then the world. He was a Sydney Harbour Bridge rigger with five kids who entered a TV talent contest, became a household name and an Oscar-nominated star.

Embraced by Australians as ‘Hoges’, he is joined on his journey by lifelong friend, producer and sidekick John ‘Strop’ Cornell. Together they make Australians laugh then proud as one of the most successful tourism campaigns in history sells Aussie hospitality to the world. This, along with the success of Crocodile Dundee, cements Hogan’s legacy. Hoges: The Paul Hogan Story explores the factors that shaped this success, his family life, his two great loves, divorce and his struggle with life in the public eye.

Nikki’s career includes a role in Oscar-winning director Peter Bogdanovich’s US telemovie The Mystery of Natalie Wood and appearances in award-winning television dramas such as Rush and the Bryce Courtenay mini-series Jessica. It is in comedy, however, that she really made her presence felt. Her improvisational talents were uncovered when she hosted the live interactive game show Quizmania. Mick Molloy invited Nikki into the cast of his comedy series The Nation and numerous guest spots on panel shows, breakfast radio and pilots followed.

Nikki battled a gruelling round of auditions to secure the role of Delvine then spent eight weeks away from her family during filming. Her boys Will, 8, and Teddy, 4, have interesting thoughts on Mum’s latest television role. “Will’s little girlfriends at school are far more into what Mummy does that he is!” she laughs. “And Teddy is worried I’m going to get stuck in the TV!”

Nikki and her husband moved from Hampton to the “Ninch” seven years ago. “My husband wanted land and I wanted water so we travelled south until we found something that had both,” she says. As for juggling parenthood, a Peninsula lifestyle and a soaring career, Nikki is pretty relaxed. “Having an apartment in town would be a good crash pad but once you’ve had a taste of the ‘Ninch’ you don’t go back,” she laughs.

Hoges: The Paul Hogan Story concludes on Sunday, February 19, at 8.30pm on Channel 7.

 

Study while you sleep

Researchers at Monash University are calling for volunteers to take part in a study into a new treatment for insomnia.

The study is the first to involve the bed partner in treatment and is based on a program developed by experts in Australia and the US.  An estimated 35 per cent of Australian adults have difficulty falling and/or staying asleep, and insomnia is linked to lower quality of life, physical health problems, depression and other serious mental health problems, and increased risk of accidents.

If you and your partner would like to take part in the study, email [email protected] or phone 9905 5912.

 

MONASH UNIVERSITY
A: 264 Ferntree Gully Rd, Notting Hill
T: 9905 5912

Strong interest in new retirement units

The Peninsula Lifestyle Retirement Village is buzzing with excitement as work on Stage 2 of the village proceeds at pace.

Interest in the new Flinders designs has been strong, and much of that is due to the attached garages with internal access that the new units will feature.  Each of the 19 units will also have a separate laundry/powder room with a separate second toilet, a central bathroom with access to both bedrooms, and a landscaped rear garden.

The first part of Stage 2 is scheduled to be completed in May and the second part in September.  Stage 3, which will include 15 units also with attached garages, is expected to be completed about March next year.

Meanwhile, the village’s activities co-ordinator has been keeping residents entertained with plenty of fun pastimes in the clubhouse (pictured), as well as special luncheons and barbecues that all have enjoyed.

The Peninsula Lifestyle Retirement Village is a friendly new concept in retirement living, boasting high-quality bespoke residential villas set inside a secure, gated community. Peninsula Lifestyle retirement villas deliver a unique quality of life and first-rate owner benefits.

Inspired by some of Australia’s most celebrated, heritage-listed retirement properties, Peninsula Lifestyle Retirement Village is designed to be both beautiful and practical. With gardens and walking paths arranged around the well-appointed clubhouse, its pedestrian-friendly village layout connects residents to friends and neighbours, and to the village’s social hub. It certainly is retirement living at its best.

PENINSULA LIFESTYLE RETIREMENT VILLAGE
A: 46 Baxter-Tooradin Rd, Baxter
T: 1800 794 838
W: peninsulalifestyleretirementvillage.com.au
E: [email protected]

Help for at-risk workers

Employees suffering an injury, illness or disability will have access to a program that will help them stay in work.

Campbell Page is a Frankston-based not-for-profit organisation that secures long-term employment for the most disadvantaged, and Job in Jeopardy is a free program funded by the Federal Government for those at risk of losing their job through injury, illness or a disability.

Campbell Page staff will work with the employer and employee to keep the person at work and return them to being a productive employee.  This will help relieve the frustration of an underperforming employee and allow the employer to focus on business while the worker is helped to get back to being a valued member of the team.

There are recognised cost savings in retaining current employees rather than having to hire new replacements, and less downtime while a new employee learns the job and the company.  Assistance and support as well as workplace modifications and equipment that may be required by the employee is provided free through the program, and Campbell Page will provide a work support consultant to provide one-on-one support to the employee to work out what support will be required.

For details, phone Campbell Page on 9293 7570.

Discover a hidden delight

The Craft and Co Farm is the sister company of The Craft and Co in Collingwood.  

The Craft & Co Farm is a 16ha vineyard, café, and cellar door farm site located in Bangholme, just minutes from Frankston near Patterson River. They grow grapes and hops for their wines and craft beers, and plan to grow vegetables and herbs for their kitchens.   

Drop in and check out some of the sensational new wines and gourmet Christmas gift packs on offer, and indulge in a delicious $20 lunch special (Thursdays and Fridays only; valid until February 28). Opening hours are 8am-5pm Thursday-Sunday.

THE CRAFT AND CO FARM

A: 170 Riverend Rd, Bangholme
T: 9773 4880
W: thecraftandco.com.au/the-farm/

On top of the world

Stunning views and a contemporary menu combine to make Mr. Frank’s one of Frankston’s most iconic cafes.

Mr. Frank’s Café is situated on the upper level of the South East Water building, and its floor-to-ceiling windows offer panoramic views over Kananook Creek and across Port Phillip Bay. This water’s-edge setting helps give the café a relaxed ambience, making it the perfect place to meet for business or just get together with family and friends.

The comprehensive menu ranges from sweet and savoury pastries, sandwiches and rolls – including a delicious pulled pork, slaw, cheese and mayo combination – through to more substantial meals, such as pumpkin soup and arancini.

There is also a large variety of cakes, including gluten-free options, to enjoy with your rich, full-bodied Monte coffee or one of the stunning range of black, green and herbal teas. Catering is also available.
Mr. Frank’s Cafe is open Monday to Friday from 7am-4pm.

MR. FRANK’S CAFÉ
A: South East Water building (upper level), 101 Wells St, Frankston
T: 9783 9764

Keeper Club a hit with kids

Kids aged 7-14 have been invited to get up close to some of our most iconic animals at Moonlit Sanctuary during the summer holidays.

The sanctuary’s Keeper Club runs for three weeks from January 9 from 10am-4pm and includes interactions with dingoes, pythons and other animals, food preparation and feeding, animal enrichment activities and native animal care.  The children learn about the animals, their conservation and the environment.

The cost is $65 a day, or $175 for three days, and with places limited to a maximum of 16 children a day, bookings are essential.

Moonlit Sanctuary is a 10ha ark for endangered species.  It’s open daily from 10am-5pm, and you can meet more than 400 native animals, enjoy keeper presentations and feed a kangaroo or pet a koala.  By night you can take a lantern-lit tour to see feather-tail gliders, nightjars, quolls, owls and bettongs.

MOONLIT SANCTUARY
A: 550 Tyabb-Tooradin Rd, Pearcedale
T: 5978 7935
W: moonlitsanctuary.com.au

Outdoor movie magic

If you’re stuck for a fabulous party idea this summer, why not have an outdoor movie night in your own backyard?  Backyard Barbie Cinema comes to you with everything you need: a 3m inflatable screen, projector, speakers, DVD player and popcorn machine.  All you need to do is pick the movie.

BACKYARD BARBIE CINEMA
M: 0448 988 108
W: backyardbarbiecinema.com.au

Iluka Retreat has it all

Iluka is a stunning 14.5ha property providing a range of private camping sites for small groups as well as a glamping camp and a safari tent village.  The glamping tents are styled for couples or families, or you can book a high tea or a birthday gathering.  There are terraces, lake views and bushland camp areas, and accompanying the campsites is a fully equipped camp kitchen with fridges, cook tops and barbecue.  There are also bathrooms with hot showers.

The picturesque property has wetlands, bird hides, a lake and rolling hills and can be booked for corporate groups, weddings and small events.  The lodges, which can accommodate groups of up to 36 and 60 people, include dining rooms and common areas, recreation rooms with open fires, separate bathrooms, disabled facilities, and on-site parking.

The lake is perfect for swimming, stand up paddle boarding and canoeing, which can be hired. Iluka also has a range of discovery walks and an obstacle course.  Iluka is just a 15-minute walk from Shoreham beach and neighbours Pier 10 Winery, and Ashcombe Maze and Lavender Gardens.

ILUKA RETREAT & CAMP
T: 5984 0888
W: Ilukaretreat.com

Saddle up for summer fun

Summer school holidays are here again, and that means many of us will be looking for ways to keep the kids entertained.  So why not get them out in the fresh air doing something they might not have tried before – horse-riding.

Set on 80 gorgeous hectares at Cape Schanck, Ace-Hi is a western-themed adventure park that offers a range of trail rides for all ages and all levels of experience - even if you’ve never ridden a horse before.  For children aged seven and over there are scenic trail rides for beginners and intermediates, bush’n’beach rides for intermediates and forest rides for the more experienced rider.  And for youngsters aged six and under there are delightful pony rides.

The rides are available every day except Christmas Day, including from noon on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

ACE-HI
A: 810 Boneo Rd, Cape Schanck
T: 5988 6262
W: ace-hi.com.au

Fishing lines a lifeline

Glenn Cooper has always been a “mad fisherman” – it was the one thing his otherwise dysfunctional family did together.  Whenever he found himself in a dark place, it brought him relief – and now he’s sharing its benefits with others.


For the past two years, Glenn, his mate Brian Rowley and a group of about 25 volunteers who make up That’s The Thing About Fishing have spent most days sharing their passion for fishing with kids and adults doing it tough.  During school holidays they run clinics for families at no cost.  All the gear has either been donated or bought through Glenn’s disability pension, with only the occasional small grant along the way, but the changes Glenn has seen in people’s lives have made the “long, hard slog” in getting this far worth it.


Before arriving in Frankston in 1985, Glenn’s life was one of family violence, institutions, alcohol and crime.  He found comfort in the church, got married and worked in high management jobs before turning to security work, but in 2006 he was attacked by three drunks and ended up with a severely broken ankle that nine operations couldn’t put right. 


Glenn “lived on nothing” for six months awaiting a disability pension.  His only relief came when his carer dropped him off at Frankston pier, where he’d sit in his wheelchair and fish.  Later he founded Oz Fish TV and hosted a fishing show on RPP FM called That’s The Thing About Fishing With Guru Glenn (he earned the nickname after once catching 33 snapper off Mornington pier).   


“I said to Brian one day, ‘Hey listen, why don’t we do a kids’ fishing clinic?’.  So we did on Frankston pier, but wind was up, it was a shocking day and we had two kids turn up – and one of them was Brian’s son.”


TTTAF has come a long way from that modest beginning.  To date this year it has held almost 300 clinics for more than 3500 people from such organisations as Connecting Skills, HeadSpace, Mental Illness Fellowship, Mentis Assist, Neami Frankston, the Bunjilwarra Koori Youth Alcohol and Drug Healing Service, and disability groups around Melbourne and as far as Gippsland.  Autistic children have shown significant behavioural improvements; men battling depression are getting their lives back on track.


“We’re not saying fishing is the be-all and end-all, but it opens up social skills,” Glenn said.  “Fishing completely changes their lives, one life at a time.”


For more information, go to www.facebook.com/TTTAF

Dumplings to die for

Several years ago, Amanda and Hayden Thatcher were sitting in a gyoza bar in Tokyo enjoying the Japanese dumplings over a couple of sakes when it occurred to them there could be a market for the dumplings back home.

Having “basically roughed out the concept on a napkin”, the pair returned to Australia, found a warehouse in Seaford and turned it into Mushiki Dumplings.  Four years on they employ six people and supply gyoza to outlets throughout Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula and regional Victoria as well as NSW, South Australia and Queensland.

“We both have a foodie background – I’m a food technologist and Hayden’s a chef – so we had a good idea of what was on the market and we knew there was a gap for fresh gyoza,” Amanda said.

“We started off doing a couple of markets, making the gyoza and taking them to markets, cooking them and selling them.  Luckily enough one of our customers worked at a retail store and said ‘Your product’s really good; do you have packs?’ We quickly got some together, came back and presented them to her and she took them all immediately.”

The dumplings come in six flavours, including duck and plum, free-range pork and prawn, free-range chicken and shiitake, and vegetable and tofu; the ingredients are all Australian, the meat is ethically sourced and no MSG, colours or flavours are added. 

MUSHIKI DUMPLINGS
A: 4 Govan St, Seaford
T:
0402 538 881
W: mushiki.com.au

Book your summer fun

The summer holidays present the perfect opportunity for everyone to catch up on some reading after the distractions of work and school, and Frankston’s libraries have a series of programs to engage and entertain readers of all ages.

The Summer Reading Club is inviting young readers to unleash their imaginations and discover heroes, villains, sidekicks and more during Be The Hero. Be The Villain (now until January 31).  As well as lots of online and in-library activities, author and illustrator Craig Smith will be the guest for the finale in January.

Continuing with the Heroes and Villains theme, the libraries’ summer holiday program from January 9-25 will include storytime sessions, craft activities, a puppet show, active games, and more.  Bookings are essential from December 19.

And you’ll be able to explore the magical world of book illustration during the Story Island exhibition at Frankston Library from December 20-February 4.  The free exhibition is ideal for children up to 8 and features a selection of beautiful illustrations reproduced from the Scholastic Dromkeen Children’s Literature Collection at State Library Victoria.

Meanwhile, older readers are invited to take the Top 50 Staff Picks for Summer challenge.  Library staff have chosen their top 50 reads, and your challenge is to read as many of their picks as you can between now and January 31 then enter a competition for a chance to win fantastic prizes.   During the challenge, author Fiona Wood will be speaking at Frankston Library.

For more details on any program, contact your library at Frankston (60 Playne St; 9784 1020), Carrum Downs (203 Lyrebird Drive; 8773 9539) or Seaford (1/6R Broughton St; 9784 1048) and happy reading!