Sunday, August 22, 2010

Demographics of Altona & Seaholme

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Population Forecasts of Altona

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Birds of Altona

The wetlands and foreshores of Altona are a haven for birds and birdwatching enthusiasts. According to, at least 90 bird species have been sighted in Altona in recent years. These are listed in alphabetical order at the end of this post.

Black swans (Cygnus atratusand) & their broods at Cherry Lake

Cherry Lake Sunset Black Swans 09

Cherry Lake Black Swans 04

Two Purple Swamphens (Porphyrio porphyrio) & Pelicans (in the distance) at Cherry Lake

Cherry Lake Swamp Hen 04

Seagulls near Altona Pier

Sea change
Photo by Elizabeth Donogue

Superb Fairywren (Malurus cyaneus) at Altona Coastal Park

Fairy Wren257
Photo by Liz Bamber

Royal Spoonbill (Platalea regia) at Laverton Creek

Royal Spoonbill 14-07-09
Photo by Adam Edmonds

Blue Winged Parrot (Neophema chrysostoma)

Blue Winged Parrot (Neophema chrysostoma)
Photo by colinmulv

Black Winged Stilts (Himantopus leucocephalus)

Black Winged Stilts
Photo by David Fulton

Australian Pelicans (Pelicanus conspicillatus) at Seaholme Beach

Australian Pelicans (Pelicanus conspicillatus)
Photo by Graham's Photo Show

White-fronted Chat (Epthianura albifrons) at Altona Coastal Park

White-fronted Chat (Epthianura albifrons)
Photo by Graham's Photo Show

Rufous Whistler (Pachycephala rufiventris) at Cherry Lake

Rufous Whistler (Pachycephala rufiventris)
Photo by Graham's Photo Show

Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybrida) at Laverton Creek Mouth

Whiskered Tern
Photo by Adam Edmonds

Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus) at Altona Coastal Park

Why people shouldn't litter: Reason 1
Photo by Graham's Photo Show

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) in flight

Little Egret 2 22-4-10
Photo by Adam Edmonds

Brown Falcon (Falco berigora) at Truganina Swamp

Brown Falcon
Photo by Adam Edmonds

White Faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae) at Laverton Creek Mouth

White Faced Heron 19-05-09
Photo by Adam Edmonds

The species sighted in Altona include Arctic Jaeger, Australasian Gannet, Australasian Grebe, Australasian Pipit, Australian Magpie, Australian Pelican, Australian Pied Oystercatcher, Australian Reed-Warbler, Australian White Ibis, Black Kite, Black Swan, Black-fronted Dotterel, Black-shouldered Kite, Black-winged Stilt, Blue Winged Parrot, Brown Falcon, Brown Goshawk, Chestnut Teal, Common Blackbird, Common Greenfinch, Common Greenshank, Common Myna, Common Starling, Common Tern, Crested Pigeon, Crested Tern, Dusky Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Eurasian Skylark, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, European Goldfinch, Fairy Wren, Flame Robin, Fluttering Shearwater, Galah, Golden-headed Cisticola, Great Cormorant, Great Egret, Grey Fantail, Grey Teal, Hardhead, Hoary-headed Grebe, House Sparrow, Little Black Cormorant, Little Egret, Little Grassbird, Little Pied Cormorant, Little Raven, Little Wattlebird, Magpie-lark, Masked Lapwing, Nankeen Kestrel, New Holland Honeyeater, Orange-bellied Parrot, Pacific Black Duck, Pacific Gull, Pied Cormorant, Purple Swamphen, Rainbow Lorikeet, Red Wattlebird, Red-browed Finch, Red-capped Plover, Rufous Whistler, Rock Dove, Royal Spoonbill, Silver Gull, Silvereye, Singing Honeyeater, Sooty Oystercatcher, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Spotless Crake, Spotted Dove, Spotted Pardalote, Straw-necked Ibis, Striated Fieldwren, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Superb Fairy-wren, Swamp Harrier, Welcome Swallow, Whiskered Tern, Whistling Kite, White-browed Scrubwren, White-faced Heron, White-fronted Chat, White-necked Heron, White-plumed Honeyeater, Willie Wagtail, Yellow Thornbill and Yellow-rumped Thornbill.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Videos on Kitesurfing in Altona

Ruben Lenten kitesurfing in Altona - Youtube Video posted by dadoppelganger

Videos on Fishing in Altona

Video 1 - Altona Squidding posted by 171rhino on YouTube

Video 2 - Kayak Fishing Altona posted by 171rhino on YouTube

Video 3 - Williamstown/Altona - Flathead Snapper Trevally - "Down Down" posted by 171rhino on YouTube

Seaholme, Altona North & Altona Meadows

Altona North and Altona Meadows are often confused with Altona. They are 3 distinctively different suburbs, have their own postcodes and each has its own library.
  • Altona North is the closest to Melbourne CBD, followed by Altona, then Altona Meadows.
  • Altona is well served by 3 train stations. Altona North has no nearby train station while only the northern boundary of Altona Meadows is within walking distance to Laverton Train Station.
  • Altona North and Altona Meadows has more throughput traffic than Altona. Millers Road in Altona North and Queen Street in Altona Meadows are quite busy roads. The main street in Altona, Civic Parade, has relatively lesser traffic.
  • Altona Meadows is the most populated, followed by Altona North, then Altona.
  • The average land lot size is larger in Altona and Altona North (600-700 square metres) than Altona Meadows (typically 400-500 square metres).
  • Altona Gate Shopping Centre is located in Altona North while Altona Meadows has the smaller Central Square Shopping Centre. Altona does not have a shopping complex and its main shopping precinct is Pier Street.
  • Only Altona is bayside. The Bayside Secondary College in Altona North is in fact not bayside.
  • Altona has more parks, nature areas and sports club compared to Altona North and Altona Meadows. However, the large Bayfit Leisure Centre is located in Altona North and Altona Sports Centre is located in Altona Meadows.

Seahome is a small enclave enclosed within the larger suburb of Altona. It is bounded by Millers Road on the west and Altona Coastal Park to the north. Both Altona and Seaholme share the same postcode 3018. Culturally, there is not much distinction between the two suburbs.

Altona has a lower median house price than Seaholme, presumably because it is a much larger suburb and hence, much more heterogenous, with a wider range of house types and some localities more preferred than others.

Seasonal Colours of Altona

There are trees and shrubs in Altona that flower in all four seasons, producing a myriad of colours in the parks, at road sides and in homes.


There are quite a number of flowering plums along Millers Rd, Chifley Ave and other parts of Altona, blossoming into inflorescences of pink and white flowers in Spring.

Peach Blossom 005

More to follow...

Heritage-listed Sites in Altona

The following sites in Altona are listed in the Heritage Council of Victoria:
  1. Altona Foreshore Precinct & Esplanade
  2. Altona Pier
  3. Norfolk Island Pines
  4. Cherry Lake
  5. Hobsons Bay Council Chambers (formerly Altona Civic Offices Council Chambers)
  6. Altona Homestead (formerly Laverton Homestead)
  7. Finnish Hall (formerly Red Robin Hosiery Factory)
  8. St Mary's Roman Catholic Church Complex
  9. Altona Baptist Church
  10. Altona Primary School No. 3923 Complex and Trees
  11. Altona Coastal Park (formerly Williamstown Racecourse) & Canary Island Palm Tree
  12. 'The Pines' Scout Camp
  13. Altona Road
  14. Truganina Explosives Reserves (formerly Altona Explosives Reserve)
  15. Truganina Explosives Reserve Tramway
  16. Truganina Explosives Keepers' Residence (formerly Magazine Complex) & Trees
  17. Seaholme Railway Station & Trees
  18. Solomit or Straw House Heritage Precinct
  19. Interwar House at 176 Civic Parade
  20. Californian Bungalow at 21 Rayner Street
Hobsons Bay City Council is not putting Julia Gillard's house forward for heritage listing, as reported in this newspaper article.

Suggested Itineraries for Touring Altona

Itinerary 1 - Altona Beach & Pier Street

  • Choose a Tuesday as the Altona Beach Market is held only every Tues from 9am-3pm
  • Stroll on Altona Pier and beach.
  • Beach activities - swimming, skiing, volleyball or just walk about in the sea water.
  • Recommended photo shoots: view from & under Altona Pier, Altona Beach, Norfolk Island Pines, Seaborn sculpture, mansions along the Esplanade, etc.
  • Visit the Altona Beach Market and shops along Pier St
  • Visit the Altona Homestead, which is open every Tues from 11am-2pm.
  • See the Pier Street Murals.
  • Visit the art gallery at Louis Joel Arts & Community Centre.
  • Lunch at one of the restaurants along Pier St or picnics at Logan Reserve. Have a relaxing time in this beautiful reserve.
  • After lunch, walk to Altona Train Station to take photos of the model train & art pieces.
  • Walk to the northern end of Pier St to Hobsons Bay Council Chambers
  • Pose for photos in front of the Chambers, Cannon, World War II Memorial, Flags, flower-bed roundabout. There are many sports facilities in this precinct.

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Itinerary 2 - Cherry Lake

  • Takes about 1-2 hours to walk around Cherry Lake. There are various good vantage points around the Lake offering superb sceneries, including a bird hide, various bridges, boadwalks, etc.
  • There is a large children's playground, a skatepark, barbeque facilities and toilets.
  • Have picnics on the nice lawns south of Cherry Lake or organize a barbeque outing there.
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Itinerary 3 - Eastern Foreshore

  • Depart your boat from the Altona Boat Ramp & Safe Boat Harbour for boating, yachting or fishing.
  • Lunch at Altona Sports Club
  • Embark on a trekking (3-4 hours) or cycling trip to Williamstown by following the Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail, passing by the Pines' Scout Camp, through Altona Coastal Park, seeing the Requiem for a Champion Sculpture & the lone palm tree, be amazed by carpets of pink Carpobrotus glaucescens flowers in late October, crossing the Lower Kororoit Creek and visiting the awesome Jawbone Flora & Fauna Reserve on the way.

Itinerary 4 - Truganina Coastal Parklands

  • Early morning trek/cycle from Apex Park at the western end of the Esplanade to Laverton Creek, passing by Truganina Explosives Reserve.
  • Cross the Laverton Creek Bridge to Truganina Park.
  • Climb the 100 Steps to Federation to reach the Time Beacon sculpture at the summit and take in sweeping panoramic views of Melbourne City, Port Phillip Bay and the adjoining Cheetham Wetlands.
  • On the return journey, have a lunch and a game of golf at the Kooringal Golf Course.

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Itinerary 5 - Altona Bayside Festival

  • Visit the Altona Bayside Festival, which is held over a weekend every March. The highlight is the Grand Parade on Sunday, which usually begins at around 11 am. The procession starts from the southern end of Pier Street and ends at Cherry Lake Reserve.
  • The best vantage point is the roundabout in front of Hobsons Bay Council Chambers, where Pier Street meets Civic Parade.

Attraction 1 - Altona Sea, Beach, Foreshore, Esplanade

Altona is only one of two swimmable beaches in Melbourne Western Suburb, the other being Williamstown Beach.

Altona Beach B

The Esplanade is the only road in Metropolitan Melbourne that runs so close to the beach and sea. There are many multi-million dollars houses and villas along the Esplanade, directly fronting the sea.

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A very long coastline hugs Altona. There is a very long drive from the western end at Maidstone St to the Altona Coastal Park at the eastern end. This is a very scenic drive and you can see the curve of the shoreline, the Pier, Melbourne CBD and mountain ranges in the distance, changing marine landscapes varying from sandy beach to rocky outcrops as well as many aquatic birds such as swans, ducks, gulls, pigeons ebbing up and down in the seas.

Seaholme Foreshore F

The coast is lined with the majestic-looking Norfolk Island Pines which are historically significant for their associations with the former Shires of Werribee and Altona and aesthetically significant as an important element of the cultural landscape character of the Altona foreshore precinct.

Norfolk Island Pines B

Recreational activities on Altona Beach include walking, cycling, fishing, swimming, kitesurfing, windsurfing, jet skiing and snorkeling. The Western Suburbs Triahlon Club hold triathlon Races that comprise a swim around the Altona Pier followed by a multi-loop bike ride and finishing with a run along the Esplanade.

Altona Sea is a favourite haunt for kitesurfers with their bright and colourful kites dotting the sky on a windy day.

Its all up from here!
Photo by Elizabeth Donoghue

There are plenty of picnic benches and chairs along the foreshore, allowing families to spend some great time together, lovers to share some intimate moments, joggers to take a rest or simply for people to watch the waves lapping against the shores, to enjoy the sunrise or sunset or to idle time away.

Altona Sunset A

Altona Beach is recently undergoing beach improvement works in which a 40 metre wide beach will be constructed from Romawi Street to Bayview Street, placing approximately 75,000 m³ of sand on the beach. The project will restore the width of the beach, minimise sand drift, improve the stormwater drains and water quality, enhance the recreational experience for visitors and make beach maintenance easier.

Altona Beach H

The Hobsons Bay City Council has recognized the importance and development potential of Altona Beach, Pier Street and the surrounding areas and has put together a detailed developmental blueprint titled the Altona Beach Activity Centre Urban Design Framework.

Attraction 2 - Altona Pier

This is a wooden bridge at the end of Pier Street that goes out into the sea.

Altona Pier B

You can often see people strolling on the pier, enjoying the sea breeze or fishing leisurely.

Lian @ Altona Pier 004

There’s splendid view from the Pier – Williamstown on the eastern side and Point Cook Coastal Park from the western side. The coastline appears to be a half-hemisphere from this viewpoint and the sea is a bending curve at the horizon, alluding to the roundness of our Earth.

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When the water is clear, you can see small fishes swimming in the sea below and so close to the sea floor.

At low tides, you can cross under the Pier from one side to the other and the underside view of the Pier with the white-coloured barnacles or coral-like marine forms growing around its stilts makes an exotic photo shoot.

Under The Boardwalk
Photo by Dariusz Szewczak

Just before the start of the Pier is a harmonious arrangement of five bronze marine creatures (Cuttlefish, Weedy Sea Dragon, Leatherjacket, Crab and Shell). This sculpture named Seaborn is made by Pauline Fraser to make a strong symbolic statement about the marine life in Port Phillip Bay. It represents the fragility of the natural environment and highlights the importance of respecting and caring for our bays.

Lian @ Altona Pier 001

A unique piece of architecture lies nearby - the Altona Beach Lifesaving Tower with an observation deck that resembles a capsized boat hull and provides views of both ends of the beach. A first aid room, public toilet and showering facilities are also available.

Altona Beach Lifesaving Tower A

Here is a Google Maps Street View of the Tower.

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The Altona Beach Lifesaving Tower and Altona Beach Pavilion are home to the Altona Life Saving Club and the Western Suburbs Triathlon Club. The Pavilion offers these clubs, change room facilities, storage rooms, offices, a kitchen, a hall and a kiosk selling gelato.

2008 Altona Bayside Festival Parade 039

Below is a Google Street View of Altona Pier.

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Attraction 3 - Cherry Lake

If you drive south along Millers Road towards Altona, you will eventually see a very large, beautiful lake on the right. This is Cherry Lake.

Cherry Lake 053

Cherry Lake, formally the Altona Swamp was named after Robert Cherry who was a local farmer and landowner in the late 1800’s. In the 1970’s the basin was created to help prevent Altona from flooding.

Cherry Lake H

This is a large lake with an island inside, has a 3.7 km shared walking and bicycle path that encircles the lake that will take about 1 and an half hour of walking time.

Cherry Lake 055

It is accessible by cars from the Millers Rd carpark as well as from the end of Fresno St from Civic Parade.

Cherry Lake 050

The lake and associated salt marsh vegetation provides habitat for pelicans, black swans, Purple Swamphens and the endangered Altona Skipper Butterfly.

Cherry Lake 017

Aquatic birds can be viewed from a bird hide at the north-western end, where tall sedge grasses abound which form a beautiful, flowing silky pattern when winds blow.

Cherry Lake 046

Recreational activities on the lake include boating, windsurfing, angling and remote-controlled model boat racing. The walk/cycling path is connected to the Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail.

Lian @ Cherry Lake 002

There is a big barbeque/picnic area near the Millers Road carpark, a children playground nearby, a skating park and a boardwalk that runs through the tall sedges. The undulating, well-manicured grassfields with majestic-looking trees on the southern shores of the Lake makes an idyllic, picturesque spot for picnics.

Cherry Lake 028

Improvement works are in store for Cherry Lake, with a Sensory Garden proposed on its southern side. This includes a network of themed garden areas with plants to stimulate the senses, concrete and crushed rock pathways, a maze built into the lawn, a viewing platform, seating and a shelter for visitors.

Cherry Lake 064

To the north of Cherry Lake, you can climb up a mound to take in a bird-eye view of the entire Lake from the summit. Wild bunches of large, purplish proteas-like flowers grow on the slopes of this mound.

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Cherry Lagoon A

Cherry Lake C

Cherry Lagoon C

The Altona Lions Club holds an outdoor market on the first Sunday of every month on the Miller Street frontage of the park, selling trash & treasure, toys, clothes, preserves, home-grown and home-made goods.

Cherry Lake Sunday Market 015

Below is a Google Street View of Cherry Lake.

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Attraction 4 - Altona Bayside Festival & the Grand Parade

The Altona Bayside Festival is held annually, over a weekend in March, to promote and celebrate Hobsons Bay and the western suburbs.

2008 Altona Bayside Festival Parade 002

Formerly known as 'Operation Recreation', the Bayside Festival began in March 1977 after the opening of Cherry Lake. It was initiated by a group of local residents who wanted to promote the recreational opportunities offered by sporting clubs, groups and service clubs within the City of Altona (now known as Hobsons Bay). The 30th anniversary was held in 2007.

2008 Altona Bayside Festival Parade 022

It enjoyed a brief period of heightened prominence in 2002 when it was featured on the Channel 9 travel program Postcards in a segment hosted by Geoff Cox.

Grand Parade 13

The activities are spread out from Logan Reserve, Pier Street, JK Grant Reserve and Cherry Lake. They include concerts, performances by professional entertainers, pet shows, antique car exhibition, a spaghetti eating competition, showcasing of artists’ works from the western suburbs at the Louis Joel Arts & Community Centre, children's workshops where they learn how to create handicrafts using recycled materials, bloke’s activities such as sports, gizmos and carpentry at the Finnish Hall, handmade exposition at the Senior Citizen’s Centre, roving buskers at Logan Reserve and multicultural food stalls and children rides at Grant Reserve.

Grand Parade 18

You could even hop on a free historic double-decker bus ride around Altona in which the bus driver will give commentary on the various places of interest in Altona.

The Altona Homestead and various sporting clubs hold their free Open House during the Bayside Festival. The Altona City Theatre plays a Children's Pantomine during the Festival.

The greatly anticipated Firework Display takes place over Cherry Lake on Saturday night, after the open-air night concert has ended.

The highlight of the Festival is the Sunday Grand Parade that extends from the beach end of Pier Street to Cherry Lake. The street parade is regularly interrupted by suburban passenger trains as they pass through nearby Altona station. Throughout the history of the festival, over eighty entries have participated in the promenade representing various sporting clubs, churches, schools, cultural groups, bands, service clubs and a host of recreational organisations. Apart from the sheer spirit and frolic of the entire event, there are prizes to be won based on four main criteria – effort, theme, originality and presentation of the charade. The 2010 theme is “Rhythm of the Jungle” The previous year theme is “Fantasy and Magic”.

Grand Parade 45

Attraction 5 - Australia Day Celebrations

Sand Storm Altona is a 5-days event held by Hobsons Bay City Council and Altona Village Traders Association to celebrate Australia Day in 2008. The activities include sand sculpture competition, Altona Life Saving Club carnival, free sausage sizzle, live music, Devonshire teas at the Altona Homestead, beach volley ball, sand art workshop, life saving displays, Western suburbs triathlon, beach market and outdoor movie screening.

sand sculptures

The Australia Day 2010 celebrations ended with a spectacular firework display over Altona Beach. The following video on Australia Day 2010 celebrations is produced by the Altona Village Traders Association which seeks to promote business and tourism body in the Hobsons Bay area, particularly Altona.

Attraction 6 - Altona Coastal Park

The Altona Coastal Park is a 70 hectares intertidal and salt marsh forming the eastern boundary of Altona.

Altona Coastal Park E

It provides habitats for a large biodiversity of flora and fauna, including the rare Orange-bellied Parrot, White Mangroves and many marine birds.

Altona Coastal Park A

The park is carpeted with large areas of pigface which blooms in late October, resulting in swathes of pink flowers – a phenomenal sight!

Pigface B

In Spring, certain parts of the Park become a meadow of yellow wildflowers.

Altona Coastal Park 030

It was formerly the site of the Williamstown Racecourse, where a lone date palm tree, rising out of the flat landscape and some ruins of the grandstand are reminders of its nineteenth century grandeur.

Williamstown Racecourse Grandstand
Photo by James Reid

A 4-metre sculpture called Requiem for a Champion, created by the artist Yvonne George, featuring a bronze Stint perched on top of a galloping horse, was installed as a historical marker to commemorate the location of this once third largest racecourse in Victoria, graced by Australian thoroughbred champions, including Phar Lap.

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Requiem of the Champion B

Requiem of the Champion A

The Lower Kororoit Creek meanders through the Altona Coastal Park and empties into Port Phillip Bay, adjacent to the Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve. The Jawbone Reserve consists of a sandy beach flanked by basalt rock outcrops. A wooden boardwalk enables visitors to approach the water, rockpools, yellow lichen and the saltmarsh-mangrove community. Huge colonies of aquatic birds flock to rocky outcrops located in the centre of a wetland lagoon.

Jawbone Reserve 021

Seagrasses, kelp forests, mussels, abalones and rock lobster can be found in the Jawbone Marine Sanctuary.

The Lower Kororoit Creek is interrupted in its course by a train bridge (Werribee train line) and a road that is submerged under water during high tides and hence, not usable by cars.

Lower Kororoit Creek Road Crossing

You can often see black swans bobbing up and down along this stretch of the Creek.

Swans on Lower Kororoit Creek

During low tides, the sea water retreats a very long distance from the shore, exposing the sea beds and temporarily creating islands in the sea, which are sand ridges at a much higher elevation than those closer to the shores.

Altona Coastal Park 012

This is a favourite time for dog owners to unleash their dogs there. These dogs will run free on the exposed sea beds and “islands”, chasing each other.

Video from atis1980

Below is a Google Street View of Altona Coastal Park.

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