Life’s expression painted through music By Liz Rogers


More than 300,000 migrants came to the Bonegilla Migrant Camp, which opened its gates in 1947 in northeastern Victoria. Frankston North jazz musician and artist Hermann Schwaiger was one of them. He was 13 when he arrived in Bonegilla with his family, who had sailed by ship from post-war Germany to a far-off world where mess huts with unlined timber frames and toilet blocks must have looked particularly strange, like ugly wooden time capsules baking beneath the Albury/Wodonga sun. No more Eastern Alps; no more medieval and baroque buildings. So, this was home. 

Hermann explains. “We loved our time at Bonegilla  — all exotic, such as big gum trees, hot weather and licence-free fishing under the age of 16. We were only there for a month and then moved to Maribyrnong, then Ascot Vale and eventually to Kinglake. We — I have three brothers and a sister — lost our old house in the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009. We lost people too. I used to work in my grandfather’s music shop, which was on the German side of the border only 4km from Salzburg in a town called Freilassing. He made accordions, which he exported across the world, and he also played in the Edelweiss Trio. My mother studied opera singing in Salzburg and my father wanted to be a classical pianist but the war came along. I’ve probably been playing jazz for around 40 years. The music was always there.” 

The Bonegilla camp ceased operation in 1971, but Hermann has never stopped creating. He has played with the best of them since taking up double bass in the ‘70s after coming out of the Fine Arts Department at RMIT when he formed the Hermann Schwaiger Quintet. Then there was the Chris McNulty Quintet playing double bass, the year he spent playing with pianist Paul Grabowsky and acclaimed drummer and percussionist David Jones, and jazzing it up with the likes of Vince Jones, Jane Clifton and Wilbur Wilde and touring with the Cathay Pacific Band in Hong Kong. In between came painting workshops at Kinglake and Somerville. He continues.

“I began painting about 20 years ago. I use acrylics to paint Melbourne streetscapes and the people in them. I suppose it’s about documenting life as it is now and being representational. I just like doing it. I’ve shown my work in the Derinya Art & Craft Exhibition, Camberwell Art Show, Flinders Art Show and have just been in the 40th annual Mount Eliza Art Show.”

Life has taken many melodic twists and turns for this music and art expressionist who is looking forward to a future filled with more of the same creation. From Salzburg to Frankston North, his double bass and paint brushes will continue to tell their stories of his deep connections with the world around him. Whether far away or just around the corner.

Frankly Speaking With Paddy Swayn by Yazmine Lomax

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By day, Paddy Swayn is the popular PE teacher at Moorooduc Primary School, but in the afternoons and on weekends you’ll find him on the footy field coaching the Pines Pythons to premiership victory. We caught up with the sports fanatic for a chat about the ups and downs of coaching and how it felt to snag a win in the MPNFL Division One Grand Final. 

How did coaching the Pines come about?

I played at the Pines when we won our last premiership 24 years ago. One of my teammates went on to coach at Rosebud Football Netball Club and he asked me to help out and see if I liked coaching. That was back in 2000 and now, 19 seasons later, I’m still doing it. After assistant coaching at Rosebud, I had numerous coaching roles with Somerville Football Club (2005-2007), Pines (2008-2009) and Frankston VFL (2010-2014) before returning to Pines in 2015. 

What’s the best part of being a football coach?

It would have to be the development of individual players, the growth of the side and club as we learn together, and seeing the joy on the supporters’ faces when we play. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say winning!

What are some challenges you face?

There are plenty of challenges that come with being a football coach but the No.1 is backing yourself. Time is another big one; fitting in family, work and friendships as well as coaching a local senior football side is really challenging. 

What’s the secret to being a premiership-winning coach?

Experience. It’s all about making mistakes, learning from them, and then getting things right next time. Also asking questions. I’d never coached a grand final before so I rang other coaches and spoke to them. When the winning point was kicked I felt all the losses, all the setbacks and all the heartaches released in one emotion. It wasn’t the sense of relief that many coaches talk about; it was pure joy knowing we’d achieved something pretty special. 

Why do you love where you live and how does it inspire your work?

We’re spoilt for choices of things to do here. We have beaches, wineries, golf courses, sporting facilities, restaurants, schools … it’s endless. And the people here are pretty relaxed. I wouldn’t live anywhere else.

Laing family the track stars of Carrum


A legacy of horse racing pedigree is tied closely to Carrum and Keast Park, where training continues today on Port Phillip Bay’s shoreline. 

While the Carrum Cowboys is now the name of the over-35s football side, in the ‘60s it was a name tag given by the police to a group of young horse riders for riding too fast. It was also during this time that Canberra St featured a wooden corral, hosting rodeos with steers and bulls and producing national champions.

Robbie Laing’s family arrived in Carrum in 1927 and built a formidable reputation as horse trainers, their horses setting sprint records at Moonee Valley and Flemington. Robbie’s horse Perfect Bliss, ridden by Brendan Clements, won the One Thousand Guineas in Group 1 on Caulfield Cup Day in 1984. 

“We used to do our track work at Mordialloc’s Epsom Racecourse and beach training at Carrum — a trot and canter, followed by a swim,” Robbie says. “We could virtually put new legs on horses, and by working them in the salt water the horses used to come sound and win races. I'd work them from Patterson River, under the Seaford pier and down to Frankston. I used to ride from Valletta St, up the highway and down to the beach. There’d be cars, trucks, then me on a horse,” he laughs.

Players from the Carrum Football Club’s former premiership sides recently became co-owners of Stars of Carrum, a colt sired by Gai Waterhouse’s Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente. Robbie has been charged with training the three-year-old, which Ben Melham rode to victory in the Vase on Cox Plate Day and to second place in the Victoria Derby on November 3.


Reusable bags make a welcome return


Blossoming with every bag they sew, the passionate team behind Boomerang Bags Frankston continues to promote alternatives to single-use plastic bags. In just one year of operating as a separate branch after moving on from another group, they’ve sewn, sold and given away a remarkable 2000 reusable bags. 

The bags are created from donated fabrics including doona covers and pillow cases, and from material the group finds in op shops. With help from the Boomerang Bags head office, this amazing group of friends has slowly but surely been distributing them. 

Mara Requilman and her team generously use their own money to buy the branded Boomerang Bag labels and organise fundraisers to generate much-needed support. Unselfishly using their spare time to source fabric and materials, sew the bags and promote the unique masterpieces has become a satisfying pastime for the conscientious ladies. 

You can buy Boomerang Bags from Frankston markets, shops and cafes, including MicMacs Oriental Grocer and Eeny Meeny Café. Visit the Facebook group Boomerang Bags Frankston to source your next bag for $3 to $5. Donations of materials and fabrics are always required, as are more avid sewers.

“We aren’t about a hierarchy — we have no committee and we’re not in it for the glory. We’ve got some unreal people involved. We have turned this group into a little community,” said Mara. “We’re just people who have decided to help prevent single-use plastic bags in the community. Please support local, support Frankston and support the environment.” 

Find out more at

From plastics to pristine is Beach Patrol’s goal

Peter Talbot, from 3199 Frankston Beach Patrol, speaks to Kate Sears in the lead-up to Mission 100, the group’s joint clean-up with Positively Frankston on Saturday, November 17, at 9.30am at Frankston Pier. 

What is 3199 Beach Patrol all about and how did it start?


3199 Frankston Beach Patrol is all about removing litter from our beaches, raising awareness of the growing problem pertaining to litter and marine debris with a view to reducing the amount that ends up in our oceans, thus helping to save marine life which is adversely affected by the litter.  We keep the beach clean for beach-goers helping to keep the beach safe for all of us. 3199 Frankston Beach Patrol involves other community groups and individuals.  We do this by hosting beach clean groups, providing education about litter issues with schools and local businesses as well as sporting groups. 3199 Frankston Beach Patrol started in March 2015, after council were looking for someone to help set up a beach patrol group here in Frankston. We launched in March of 2015 with John Billing as founding group manager.

What’s the main cause of beach litter?

There are a number of causes, but certainly single-use plastics such as bags, straws, bottles and cigarette butts are the main problem. The majority of litter is washed down kerbside stormwater and subsequently ends up in our bay. Another contributor to this is people not closing their council bin lids properly, meaning the litter gets blown out.

What type of litter data do you collect after each beach clean-up?

Primarily, 3199FBP collect data relating to the weight and type of litter collected, mainly recyclables versus non-recyclables. This helps to show how much litter that could have been recycled is not. In addition to that, however, we also collect more specific data for such organisations as Port Phillip Eco Centre and the Tangaroa Blue Foundation which is particular to items by classification, such as plastic bottles, plastic straws, cigarette butts, coffee cups and ‘nurdles’ used in plastic manufacturing.

When do you hold your beach clean-ups and how can people get involved?

Beach cleans occur twice a month, on the third Saturday and the following Wednesday throughout the year, helping to further keep our lovely piece of paradise clean. Our beach patrollers also conduct mini cleans, individually or in groups throughout the week. For more info, go to FrankstonBeachPatrol’s Facebook page 

What’s a way that we can change plastic use at home, at work or at school so it doesn’t make its way to the beach?

Simple things like using a Keep Cup, don’t buy bottled water but instead use a refillable bottle, get yourself a stainless-steel straw, and you can even get reusable cutlery to take with you. Also, support food vendors that don’t serve food in plastic containers — many now have biodegradable items made from sustainable materials. Many of these in the local area are listed under and 

Anything else you’d like to add?

3199FBP is great way for the community to get together and spend some time at the beach with like-minded people who care about our city. Frankston Beach Patrol will continue our beach clean volunteer work into the future and involving the community.

Discover global culinary delights

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Journeys Rediscovered is the culmination of Kirsty Thomas-Thoeun’s 21 years in the travel industry and her passion for Asia, Africa and India. Developing wonderful contacts with hotels and local operators and a passion for all things culinary allows Journeys Rediscovered to create immersive culinary small-group journeys to some of the world’s most exotic destinations.

Journeys Rediscovered takes you behind the scenes and offers authentic insider access to the local culture through its food. Imagine exploring the culinary delights of Morocco, including Sufi dinners, tour souks with culinary experts and cooking lessons with Chef Tarik. Travel to Japan and enjoy a street food safari and izakaya in Osaka, taste Hiroshima’s favourite dish — okonomiyaki. Visit whiskey and sake distilleries, take afternoon tea with a maiko, and enjoy Japanese cooking classes and markets.

In northern India, tour Delhi, Lucknow, Agra, Jaipur, Deogarh, Udaipur, Hyderabad and Mumbai, stay in grand hotels and palaces, and visit Asia’s largest spice market accompanied by a chef. India has such varied cuisines that Journeys Rediscovered also offers a culinary journey of southern India where you’ll learn Chettinad, Maratha and Hyderabadi cuisines. 

Visit Sri Lanka, one of Journeys Rediscovered’s favourite destinations, and enjoy a leopard safari at Leopard Trails in Wilpattu before travelling to the northernmost city of Jaffna to enjoy crab curry and Palmyra toddy shots. Cook with a fourth-generation resident of Galle’s Dutch fort and enjoy tea-infused delicacies at Ceylon Tea Trails.

Journeys Rediscovered has immersive culinary small-group journeys to destinations including India, Sri Lanka, Japan, Myanmar and Morocco. Visit for details of these and more destinations to come. What are you waiting for?


T: 0477 002 235 


E: [email protected]

FB: journeysrediscovered

INSTA: journeysrediscovered

Bodgy Creek scores a win in Rosebud By Liz Rogers

September 17 saw Rosebud Cinemas swing open its doors to three cast members of the ‘feel good think more’ movie The Merger, and people were excited. Lovers of authentic Aussie stories dropped by to say hi and support Australian movie-making at its best with the down-to-earth flick that brings love, grief, assimilation and small-town politics to the big screen.

Punters didn’t want to miss the chance to quiz the movie’s writer and actor Damian Callinan, who plays Troy Carrington, and his co-actors Michelle Brasier (Gretchen) and Sahil Saluja (Suresh). Here’s some of what they asked.

Where does the story come from and is there a book?

Damian: There’s everything except a book! I’ve been doing The Merger as a one-man show playing all the characters for years after being commissioned to write a show that subtly tackled the issues of racism in regional communities by Arts Victoria and VicHealth in 2009. I also do the Bodgy Creek Football Club podcast.

Do you have a football background?

Damian: Just a bit. I played footy until I was about 30 in country Queensland. We used to travel 350km for a game. I’ve also played in Japan on a five-storey building where the footy kept going over the edge because the barrier wasn’t high enough.

Is the movie going to be released overseas?

Damian: Well, not sure. It’s tricky when you’re competing with big-budget movies that get released everywhere. We are what’s called a low-budget film with limited release. It’s a wait-and-see thing.

Is social media used much to promote movies?

Damian, Michelle: Sure is. Some movies have millions of dollars to spend on social media campaigns. We had $100,000. You can see the difference.

What was it like working on the film?

Michelle: It was life-changing, and everyone was so easy to get along with. It’s such an important Aussie story.

Sahil: I had gone back to India to try to do some Bollywood after feeling like nothing was happening for me. It was great to be part of this when I returned to Australia. 

It’s a fantastic movie. It reminds me of The Castle.

Michelle: Well, people really relate and connect to great storytelling.

Damian: It’s set in an Aussie town where people live everyday lives with family and friends, and it’s a comedy even though there are some very heartfelt moments too. Lots of people have told me they’ve laughed and cried — like when Sayyid (Fayssal Bazzi) is waiting at the bus stop for his wife and child to arrive after not seeing them for years. Composer David Bridie worked with Kurdish asylum seeker and musician Farhad Bandesh, who’s been detained on Manus Island, to compose music for this moment. That’s special. 

Get along to see The Merger at Sorrento and Rosebud Cinemas before it’s too late.


VIKKI PETRAITIS IN CONVERSATION Casual chats with Peninsula people by Yazmine Lomax


Former Seaford resident Vikki Petraitis is the author of over a dozen true-crime stories, including The Frankston Murders. More than two decades after the release of her debut novel, she’s still as passionate as ever about tales of justice and human perseverance.


Where did your interest in crime writing begin?

It came from being in Year 7 and finding Agatha Christie’s Sparkling Cyanide, plucking that off the shelf and then reading every single Agatha Christie book. When I was 18 or 19 I bought a book called Inside The Mind Of A Murderess, about Myra Hindley, and once you read true crime the ‘body in the library with the 12 suspects’ just doesn’t cut it. The heart of it is that it’s about real people.


August was the 25th anniversary of the Frankston Murders. How do you feel this event still affects the community today?

When I did the talk for the 20th anniversary, I had an hour-long book signing line where everyone who came forward had a story and a connection to it. About 150 people showed up to the memorial this year and all of them had a story. Everyone was so moved to see Baby Jake there — he was 12 days old when his mother was murdered — and everyone just hugged him. When you take three women out of a close-knit community, years and years later so many people are still going to feel that connection.


Why do you love this area and how does it inspire your work?

I lived in Seaford when the Frankston Murders happened and there’s a connection that will never be broken. If anything shows the strength of this community it’s the way they’ve embraced Baby Jake and turned up to give Brian and Carmel Russel a hug. As a writer, that’s what you want to connect with. 


Snapper and summer keep flotilla busy

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Patterson River is a mecca for snapper fishing and is home to one of the state’s busiest flotillas, Coast Guard Carrum, which performs more than 100 rescues annually. With many keen anglers heading to Carrum this month for the snapper season, this marks the beginning of the flotilla’s busiest period, with three-quarters of its rescues carried out between now and the end of summer. 

Deputy flotilla commander Deanne Semmens advises boaties to make sure their vessels are serviced, the fuel they’re using is fresh and that they’ve checked their batteries. “Always check the weather, wear a life jacket and make sure that the bungs are in,” Deanne says. “We’ve seen boats taking on water, becoming serious incidents.”

If you’re able-bodied and over 18, you can join the crew and learn radio operations, first aid, and search and rescue operations, all while taking in the sights of Port Phillip Bay from the flotilla’s $400,000 Stabicraft cruiser. “It’s like driving a Lamborghini on the water among lots of action,” says deputy squadron commodore Matt Semmens. “We have made life-long friends, and qualifications received are nationally recognised.”

From wild rescues retrieving patients from the water to attending to stranded boats, the crew certainly at times experiences an adrenaline rush. Camaraderie is a core value, highlighted in the group’s popular Patterson River fun run, helping to support its running costs. Operating for more than 50 years, the flotilla welcomes new members who can participate in training later this year. To come on board, email [email protected]


Don’t skimp on bicycle safety


While cheaper bikes from department stores might seem like a great way to save money, they often end up costing you more than from specialist bicycle shop.

Most bikes come partially assembled, but there are many items that require a skilled and experienced bicycle mechanic with the correct tools and knowledge to complete the build properly and give you a bike that is safe to ride. This is especially important when you consider your life or that of a family member is in the hands of the person who assembles the bike, particularly with items such as steering and brakes. An incorrectly fitted or over-tensioned handlebar or brake assembly could result in failure at a time when it is most needed, such as having to swerve or stop to avoid an accident. Similarly, poorly adjusted items such as gears or brake pads can lead to premature and unnecessary wear, resulting in additional costs to rectify.

“You wouldn’t go to a department store to get your brakes or your transmission serviced on your car by the person who stocks the shelves, so why would you trust your child’s or even your own safety on a bicycle to the same person?” said Peninsula Star Cycles manager John Billing. “Bicycles are our sole business. We build every bike to the same high standard we would expect ourselves.”

With Christmas just around the corner, many parents will be looking to find a bike for their children. Peninsula Star Cycles has built a reputation over its 72-year history for quality, professionally built bicycles and offers 12 months after-sales service with every new bike.


A: 48 Playne St, Frankston

T: 9783 2266

FB: PeninsulaStarCycles

INSTA: peninsulastarcycles

TWITTER: CyclePeninsula


Project’s on hand when you’re ready for change

It’s never easy to make significant change, and even harder without guidance and encouragement. Whether it is changing unhealthy habits or becoming more mindful, it takes time, commitment and, most importantly, support.


This is why the Women’s Spirit Project has been developed — to support women from the Frankston area who are doing it tough and are ready for change. The program is free for all participants. And support begins with the very first step — filling out the application form.

“We get it,” said Project founder Jodie Belyea. “Filling in forms can be daunting, but we don’t want this to stop women from applying, so we are here to help. Just ask!”

Successful applicants will participate in weekly exercise sessions and workshops covering a wide range of topics, including communication skills, goal-setting and mental health. They will finish the 16-week program with a four-day trek through the Mornington Peninsula. Each participant will have a ‘buddy’ who will be there for extra support during the course and on the trek.

“The activities and support are intended to encourage women to move safely out of their comfort zone and to find the confidence and courage they need to write a new chapter in their life,” Jodie said. “Many of us involved in this project have experienced challenges too, so we understand how hard it can be to make changes. We are now in a position where we can use our experience and our learning to help others.”

For more information or to apply for the program, visit or email [email protected]. You can also find the Women’s Spirit Project on Facebook.


Birth Tree project continues to grow


Every year, Rotary Peninsula 2.0 plants a tree to commemorate the births of children in our community. The Birth Tree project in Montague Park, Kars St, is now in its fourth year and all money received from registrations this year will go to the Frankston Hospital Special Care Nursery.

Children’s names are placed on a plaque at the base of the tree of the year of their birth, ready for the annual unveiling ceremony, which next year takes place on Sunday, March 17. During a full day of family fun, children will be given a certificate and their own tree to take home and plant.

Rotary Peninsula 2.0 saw a need also for families that may have missed out registering in previous years for the Birth Tree and has worked with Frankston City councillor Steve Toms to establish the Birth Tree Family Garden. This garden it is creating next to the Birth Trees will enable families to register all members of their families and their names will be placed on a plaque with the year of their birth.  

Registrations for the 2018 Birth Tree and The Family Garden are $50 each with a reduction of $5 each for any additional family members registered for the Family Garden plaque. All registrations close on January 31 next year. For more information or to register, visit

Sanctuary provides space for children to thrive


Next year promises to be an exciting time for our youngsters with the opening of Frankston House Sanctuary of Early Learning. Frankston House will be a 78-place boutique centre with a government-registered kindergarten, and it is committed to providing a home-like environment where each individual child can thrive.

Frankston House is a family owned and operated long day care provider and currently runs Mt Eliza House Sanctuary of Early Learning at 41 Baden Powell Place, Mount Eliza. It believes that all children have the right to grow and learn in their own way and at their own pace, allowing them to gently unfold to reach their full potential.

With natural outdoor play spaces and four inviting rooms, the children will spend their days exploring their world, creating positive friendships and developing empathy and respect. Frankston House’s curriculum reinforces connections with nature and encourages self-reliance, problem solving and creativity.

Frankston House’s learning environments are provided to assist young ones to become curious, confident and caring decision-makers. Frankston House highly values family input and works collaboratively within its team and the community to provide best practice and continual improvement.

Frankston House Sanctuary of Early Learning is expected to open in early January. To stay informed on progress, go to, and for further information, email [email protected]


A: 1-3 Vera St, Frankston South

T: 9783 1117



Frankly Speaking With Irene Crusca By Yazmine Lomax

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While Hampton East artist Irene Crusca specialises in painting portraits of others, the woman behind the easel is just as fascinating as her subjects.

Where did your love for creating art begin?

It began as a child when I attempted to draw for the first time and my creative parents both encouraged me to do so. My main love quickly became depicting people and I somehow seemed to capture people’s character or spirit.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

My strongest influences are drawn from my Sicilian background, especially my parents, their love of music, and their garden. The villages in Syracuse are rich with community and culture and helped me to fully comprehend the displacement of my migrant parents. This greatly influences my compositions as I incorporate the idea of a fractured identity in my works. I have also been influenced by artists such as Francisco Goya, Rembrandt van Rijn, Giorgio Morandi, Lucien Freud, Clarice Beckett, and Nusra Latif Qureshi — their honest, sad, and sometimes extremely dark portrayals of the human condition have given me permission to express myself in similar ways.

What does the day-to-day life of an artist look like?

Initially, my routine was based on a 9-to-5 model, but I realised that although you can paint all day, there are only a few hours when the best outcomes are realised. I may have only three or four quality painting hours in the day, usually in the morning when I’m recharged and have clarity and maximum energy.

Why do you love where you live and how does it inspire your work?

I’m very privileged to enjoy stability and peace in Australia, which enables inspiration, but my inspiration also derives from an inner place. My sense of place is one which includes my Italian background and so both my physical location and bicultural identity inspire me.


Proud Pinkies celebrate 50 years By Kate Sears


After the Pink Ladies at Frankston Hospital saw the article on their fundraising auxiliary and founder, Edna Vincent, in our July issue of Frankly Frankston Magazine, current president Pauline Ellerby called our office to speak to Edna’s great-granddaughter and writer of the article, Kate Sears. After stories were shared about Edna’s many quirks, we were invited to attend the 50th anniversary celebration of the Pink Ladies Auxiliary on Monday, August 27, at the Frankston Bowls Club.

The Pink Ladies Auxiliary is Peninsula Health’s longest running volunteer group since its inception in April 1968. And to commemorate, the bowls club was adorned with pink balloons and sparkling pink cupcakes. Past and present Pink Ladies — or ‘Pinkies’, as they call themselves — celebrated a successful 50 years with Peninsula Health staff and family members by their side; they also farewelled Pauline after 16 years as president and welcomed new president Carole Thwaites. 

It was a particularly emotional moment for Edna’s granddaughter Debbie Sears and for Kate to take in the profound effect that Edna ignited by starting the Pink Ladies. To see her legacy living on was astounding and they were ever so grateful to everyone for keeping Edna’s dream alive through their dedication, support and tireless efforts. The continued work by all Pinkies would have made her as proud as punch.

Frankston Hospital has been able to continually grow and provide a high standard of patient care to the community thanks to the Pinkies, who have raised a remarkable $9 million since day dot. The Frankston Hospital Pink Ladies Auxiliary has 68 members who focus on the running of the kiosk as their main source of income. If you are interested in volunteering at Peninsula Health, contact the volunteer team on 9784 2674 or email [email protected]