Saturday, January 29, 2011

GOWEST Midsumma Festival

The Midsumma Festival is an annual series of arts and cultural events which celebrate the pride and diversity of Victoria's lesbian, gay and allied communities. It is spread over 3 weeks from mid-January to February in more than 70 venues throughout Melbourne. Held since 1988, the Festival is identified globally as one of the top five gay and lesbian arts and cultural celebrations, along with New York, San Francisco, Vancouver and Sydney. It is rated a Major Event by Tourism Victoria and the City of Melbourne (Ref 1).

For the second year, the Hobsons Bay City Council is an official Local Government Partner with the Midsumma Festival. It is hosting GOWEST as part of the Midsumma Festival 2011 from 16th January to 6th February. GOWEST is so called because it collectively brings local organisations and artists supporting and representing the GLBTIQ (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer) communities in Melbourne's West. Click here to view the GOWEST activities in Hobson Bay.

The GOWEST Contemporary Art Exhibition is held at the Louis Joel Gallery from Friday 28th January to Sunday 13th February, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. It features works from Sharon Lam, Sue Manski, Michael O'Hanlon, Victoria Saray, Michelle Thompson and Ri Van Veen, some of which are shown below.

GoWest 04GoWest 02GoWest 03
GoWest ReceptionGoWest 01GoWest Singing

This exhibition was launched by Councillor Tony Briffa, Deputy Mayor of Hobsons Bay City on 28th January - a night of drinks, songs and lots of people. I had to leave soon for lack of breathing space!

GoWest A

I noticed the Rainbow Flag at the reception. I first saw this flag in San Francisco where gay residents like to display this flag outside their house as a symbol of their pride.

The Rainbow Flag was developed by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker in 1978, where each colour represents an aspect of gay and lesbian life:
  • Pink - sexuality
  • Red -life
  • Orange - healing
  • Yellow - sun
  • Green - nature
  • Blue - art
  • Indigo - harmony
  • Violet - spirit

Friday, January 28, 2011

Australia Day 2011

I would say that Australia Day is the next most significant annual public event in Altona after the Bayside Festival. The Hobsons Bay City Council and Altona Village Traders Association have organized a series of activities in Logan Reserve, starting from noon.

Logan Reserve A

By the time we arrived at 2.30 p.m., many people had already congregated at Logan Reserve. Patriotism was evidently displayed by the omnipresent Australian flags, which were used to drape stuff ranging from poles, chairs, cart to human bodies.

Australia Flag - Pull CartSummer Sounds - Angeline Aaron 02
Australia Flag - Summer Sounds 2Australia Flag - Dog

We headed straight to the State Emergency Services (SES) marquee where there was a sausage sizzle in which the proceeds would go to help the flood victims in Queensland and Victoria.

SES Sausage Sizzle 2Beach Market

The Altona Beach Market was shifted from the usual Tuesday to Australia Day, the day after. There were over 60 stalls offering art, craft, food, fresh produce, clothing and jewellery along Pier Street and in Weaver Reserve.

Summer Sounds 05Horse Carriage  Altona Homestead

The Altona Homestead was open from 10 am to 5 pm. It had invited Dr Fay Woodhouse, author of the Altona Yacht Club History book, to discuss writing local history. On sale were historical publications from the Williamstown Historical Society as well as hundreds of rare postcards from the world’s great museums and art galleries all for $1 each.

Horse Carriage  Library 1Horse Carriage 1

Our daughter was excited by the free Cobb & Co and Cinderella coach rides, sponsored by Bendigo bank. After all, it is not a common sight to see horse coaches plying the streets of Altona.

Children workshop A

There were a lot of children activities, including kite making, sand art, bottle sand art, caricature, face painting and jumping castles.

Jumping Castle Linda 1Logan Reserve 2
Tent 2Logan Reserve 3

The adults were entertaining themselves through picnics, kite flying, listening to concert and dancing. Some had even pitched fully-furnished, self-contained tents in Logan Reserve.

The Hobsons Bay City Council holds a series of free open-air concerts, called Summer Sounds concerts, in Altona, Williamstown and Laverton every Summer. The first 2011 Summer Sounds concert was on 16th January. The third concert was scheduled on Australia Day. The local duo, G and T played from 2 to 3 p.m. This was followed by the performance of Steve Purcell 's Pearly Shells Orchestra, featuring a modern twist on a classic sound. The above video and the photos below capture the mood at the concert.

Summer Sounds 07Summer Sounds 03
Summer Sounds 01Summer Sounds 06

The Australia Day celebrations culminated in a firework display at 9.15 p.m. By the time we reached Altona Beach, the Pier and the pedestrian path besides the Esplanade were already filled with spectators. I could not help in drawing parallel to the Penguin Parade scene in Phillip Island, where everyone was watching intently towards the sea, in earnest anticipation of a great spectacle.

Firework - Spectacle 2Twilight Beach 2

As dusk fell and the sky dimmed, a firework was shot into the night sky and exploded into an extravaganza of colours, drawing loud applause from the spectators. Happy Birthday Australia!

Firework in Altona, Australia Day 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hobsons Bay Freecycle

I recently came to know of a Freecycle group in Hobsons Bay, started by Bill McPherson, an Altona/Seaholme resident. This is probably a nascent group, with about 70 members. There is a considerable number of Freecycle groups in Melbourne, with Melbourne Freecycle (MFC) being the largest and Werribee Freecycle (WFC) also being a major group. Click here to see what Freecycle groups are available in Victoria.

The Freecycle Network (TFN) was founded in 2003 by Deron Beal in Tucson, Arizona of the United States. At that time, Deron was working with RISE, a small nonprofit organization that provides recycling services to downtown businesses. Rather than seeing perfectly good items being discarded, the team at RISE often found themselves calling or driving around to see if various local nonprofit organizations could use these items. Deron came up with an easier way by setting up an email list that allowed members to give and receive items. The Freecycle concept has since spread to over 85 countries comprising 4,909 groups with 8,103,367 members around the world, as of Jan 2011 (Ref 1).

The mission statement of TFN is "To build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources and eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community". Through promoting unconditional gift economics, the TFN helps to instill generosity, strengthen local community bonds, keep reusable items out of landfills and promote environmental sustainability.

Each local group is moderated by local volunteers. TFN groups originally operated through Yahoo Groups mailing list but this has now moved to a centralized, custom site using TFN's own MyFreecycle software. Groups approved by TFN are listed at the official website, can use the name and logo, and are subject to its rules.

To join a local group, you will need to register as a member. Then you can start posting items to offer and "Wanted" requests to the group. Members will receive emails posted to the group. If you are interested in any particular item being offered, contact the offerer directly through email.

Friday, January 21, 2011

SideBySide Donation Appeal for Flood Victims

The Migrant Hub is organizing a donation drive to help flood victims and wildlife in Queensland and Victoria. If you wish to donate spare new or near-new items, listed in the brochure below, please drop off your donations at Migrant Hub, 240 Hoppers Lane, Werribee between 10 am to 4 pm. The collected items will be shipped to the victims, tentatively on 7 Feb 2011.

Just a note about the brochure below: Migrant Hub is located in Werribee so it has targetted the donation appeal to the Wyndham communities and has not amended its brochure to cover a wider area. Any donation will be greatly welcomed, regardless of where it comes from.


The nearest train station to Migrant Hubs is Hoppers Crossing Station.

It will be more convenient to travel to Migrant by car if you are donating a lot of items.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Changes in Werribee & Williamstown Train Services

Altona Train Station A

The Age has revealed in a news article today the following changes in Metro's new train timetable to be launched in May:

  • During off-peak and some peak hours, trains will run from Frankston on the south-eastern end of Melburne to Werribee/Williamstown on the western end and vice-versa, via Flinders Street and Southern Cross stations, bypassing the City Loop.

  • Train frequency through Altona and to Williamstown will be reduced to one train every 22 minutes.

  • During off-peak, Altona passengers will have to change trains at Newport while Williamstown passengers will no longer need to change trains at Newport.

  • Off-peak services on the Werribee line will be halved and no longer run through the City Loop. They will terminate in Frankston.

  • Sandringham line trains will run more frequently at peak hours to every 8 minutes.

  • Glen Waverley line services will run direct to Flinders Street Station until noon, instead of through the City Loop, but with increased frequency.

Altona residents are the greatest losers in this timetable reorganization as they receive a double blow - a cut in train services and frequency as well as the need to change trains at Newport or Laverton. The increased duration of waiting and travel may be in reality greater than what you can see from timetabling changes for the following reasons:

  • Altona passengers may miss the connecting trains at Newport or Laverton.

  • The only 1 or 2 trains that are servicing the Altona Loop stations may be redeployed to other parts of the train network if train breakdowns occur since these trains service only a few stations.

  • By the time Altona passengers get to Newport Station, they will have to compete with the Newport passengers for seats.

  • Altona passengers heading to or returning from a City Loop Station will have to change for connecting trains twice, at Newport Station and at either North Melbourne or Southern Cross Station during off-peak hours.

  • If there is a delay or breakdown in train services on the Frankston line or the lines that share the same tracks (Pakenham/Cranbourne/Sandringham), the delay/cancellation will flow on to the western lines as trains running towards Werribee/Williamstown come from Frankston.

For the above reasons, I will prefer the status quo and I am hoping that the proposed changes which adversely affect Altona residents will not go ahead.

Kulcher Club

One day while chatting with Walter Villagonzalo, the President of Migrant Hub, I told him my wife lacks the opportunities to practise speaking English, as her native language is not English and she is now staying at home to take care of the kids so she could not meet more people. He said "Why not attend our Kulcher Club?"

Kulcher Club is very similiar to Toastmaster Club - basically a club for members to improve their public speaking skills. Walter has been with the Toastmaster Club for a long time and had started a Toastmaster Club in Footscray for the Filipino community about 7-8 years ago. Realizing that a major difficulty faced by migrants is the proficiency in spoken English. he established the Kulcher Club at Migrant Hub, adapting the format from the Toastmaster Club. "Kulcher" is the pronunciation for the word "Culture", for this Club embraces multiculturalism.

We attended the first Kulcher Club Meeting for 2011 last night. It started at 7 p.m. and ended at around 8.30 p.m. I will now describe its format though this may not be perfectly accurate or complete as I was preoccupied with pacifying my baby boy and hence, did not pay much attention to the proceedings.

Each meeting is chaired by a person (called the Toastmaster of the Day or Evening in Toastmaster Clubs; I am not sure what this role is called in this Club). The Meeting comprises several parts:

1. Elevator Speeches - so called because they are short 4-6 minutes speeches that you will normally engage in with other people while inside an elevator. You could be introducing yourself or talking about something that you encounter during the day.

2. Table Topics - this is chaired by the Table Topics Master who will select a theme/topic not known beforehand and randomly pick a person to give an impromptu response to his question. The Queensland Flood was the central topic for last night. His first question is on how you are affected by the Queensland flood. The second question is about what you did to help. I did not expect I was called for the third question which is about rebuilding after the flood.

3. Prepared Speeches - where usually 3-5 members give prepared presentations before the group. Daryl, the only lady shown in the photo below, gave a speech about conscience - the struggle between knowing what is wrong but beneficial to oneself and actually taking the step to carry out the right deed, against one's inner temptations. Vic, the man besides her, talked about his mobile banking profession with NAB. The third speaker David was absent so Nora Simkin, the manager of the Migrant Hub Cafe, was asked to stand in. I only managed to listen to her first and last sentence, when she closed her speech by thanking God. This is because my son was quite unsettled so I had to take him out for a walk. But I guess she may be talking about the 3 foster children that were brought under her care, perhaps? (I will probably need to change the names of the speakers for I really could not recall their names.)

Kulcher Club 1

4. Education - in which the speaker presents an educational aspect. As Kulcher Club did not prepare a presenter for this session, I was asked to talk about my Altona Blog instead.

5. Evaluations - in a Toastmaster Club with more attendees, there is an Evaluation Master who will coordinate an Evaluator for each prepared speech and for the table topics speeches. As there are not many people last night, there is only one evaluator for all the speeches. The Evaluator will acquire skills in appraising positively (Praise-Improve-Praise or Commend-Recommend-Commend) so that the person being evaluated will be motivated to make improvements rather than losing confidence.

6. Feedback - is elicited from the visitors (my wife and I) on how they feel about the Meeting.

7. Closing the Meeting - in which the chairperson asks for volunteers to fill in the various roles for the next meeting.

In addition to the Chairperson, Table Topics Master, Prepared Speech Master and Speakers, Educational Speaker, Evaluation Master and Evaluators that I have mentioned, other possible roles may include the following:
  • Invocator - who gives an inspirational opener.
  • Wordmaster/Lexicologist - who presents a "word of the day" to help members increase their vocabulary, with the intention that members use this word in their presentations.
  • Round Robin Master - this is a variation to the usual Table Topics, in which each person takes turn to speak on a common topic.
  • Listener - who asks questions after the presentations to make sure everyone was listening.
  • Grammarian - who notes mispronunciations, grammar mistakes, word repetition and positive uses of language.
  • Ah-Counters - who keeps track of audible pauses such as "ah," "er," "um," etc.
  • Timer - who keeps track of how much time is taken for each presentation and has a buzz to give warnings that the designated time has been exceeded. Also gives a breakdown report at the end of the Meeting on how much time is spent on each session.
  • Award Presenter - who presents awards at the end of the Meeting.
  • General/Master Evaluator - who evaluates the entire Meeting.

You will probably be interested in knowing what are the differences between Kulcher Club and a typical Toastmaster Club. First, you will need to pay an annual membership fee for Toastmaster Club while this is free for Kulcher Club. There is a donation box, where you can contribute towards the dinner and refreshments prepared by Nora. Arrive at the venue earlier than 7 p.m. if you want to take your dinner at a leisurely pace before the Meeting.

The second notable difference is that the Kulcher Club provides a much more casual and relaxed environment. Some Toastmaster Clubs have a serious setting in which formal attire is expected of the participants and this could be intimidating to some people who are lacking confidence in public speaking. Due to space limitations, Kulcher Club members sit around a long table. The classroom or lecture theatre seating arrangement is the most common in Toastmaster Club meetings. However in some clubs, the presenter stands in the centre of a space enclosed in four corners by the audience. He will have to turn around during the presentation to make sure he is not neglecting any audience not facing him. I feel this is the most challenging and "scary" of all settings as you really feel "exposed" with audience watching you from all directions.

Toastmaster International was founded in 1924 and has grown to over 12,800 member clubs in 113 countries, currently serving over 260,000 members (Ref 1). It has developed a very comprehensive set of programs and materials, that guide members progressively from one level of difficulty to another. The members follow a manual which specifies the requirements to be fulfilled for the speech at each level of difficulty. Apart from communication and public speaking, it also provides leadership training. Toastmaster International hosts many competitions at the area, division, national and international level. In contrast, Kulcher Club is much less competitive. I doubt Toastmaster competitions are opened to non-members. Hence, Kulcher Club members will have very limited options if they wish to participate in competitions.

I guess Kulcher Club will appeal to those who need a relaxed and supportive environment to help them build the confidence in public speaking. It also provides an avenue for multicultural social interactions.

Kulcher Club Meetings are held fortnightly on Wednesdays from 7 to 8.30 p.m. at the Migrant Hub which is located at 240 Hoppers Lane, Werribee, opposite Werribee Mercy Hospital and besides Sistems Golf Park. The next meeting will be on 2nd February. All visitors are welcome. For any enquiry, you can email Walter Villagonzalo at

Monday, January 17, 2011

Real-Time Transport Updates

Transport in Victoria is often affected by extreme weather conditions such as the recent heavy rains and flash floodings, high summer temperatures, bush fires, strong winds and hails as well as accidents and problems in the train system.

Real-time updates provided by VicRoads, Metro Train and Yarra Tram are thus handy for checking road traffic conditions and disruptions to rail and tram services. VicRoads has a very cool "Latest Travel & Road Website". VicRoads and Yarra Tram each has a WAP site for providing real-time information to mobile users while Metro sends updates via SMS. All three have a Twitter account but Yarra Tram has not tweeted anything yet.

VicRoads Mobile TrafficVicRoads Tweets

TramTracker MobileMetro Tweets

You can plan your journey via the Journey Planner provided by Metlink or Viclink.

Metlink also has an application for iPhone and other mobiles. The iPhone application which allows you to use the Journey Planner is not embeddable so I am showing iTransit, an alternative on iPhone with limited functionalities. For both the embedded iTransit and Mobile Metlink, click somewhere within its table cell and use your browser's Back button to return to the previous page.

Journey Planner is based on scheduled timetables. I am hoping this service will eventually be upgraded to a real-time system, incorporating "to-the-minutes" changes in train, trams and bus services, using GPS technology.

Mobile MetlinkiTransit

Google Maps Directions is a useful tool to obtain suggested driving routes from one address to another, the travel distance and time required. Clicking "View Larger Map" on the search result, followed by "Traffic" on the larger map allows you to view colour-coded real-time traffic conditions on the roads.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Armchair Driving along the Esplanade

Last September, I was searching for an application that can animate Google Street View from one street location to another but was not able to find any from the web. Now it is available from TripGeo.

Google Street View Car
Photo of the Google Street View Car from The Age

Sit back, relax and enjoy a simulated, armchair drive along the Esplanade from the eastern end at Seaholme to the western end of Altona. These scenes are what were recorded by the video camera of the Google Street View Car, as shown above. Click the Play button to begin.

Now, let us turn back the car to embark on the reverse journey. To do this, click the Reset button, then click "reverse". You can change the start and end address, the mode of travel (Driving, Walking and Bicycle), the animation options to alter the travelling speed and whether to avoid highways and toll roads. When you are satisfied, click the "Get Directions" button.

This tool will be very useful for someone planning to drive on a new roue and wants to familiarize with the landmarks beforehand so as not to miss the destination or turning points.

There are at least two websites showing interesting street views submitted by users, placed under different categories:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Queensland Flood Relief Appeal

Two years ago, many Victorian towns were ravaged by bush fires. Queensland is now inundated by floods of biblical proportions and Brisbane faces its worst flood since 1893, with up to 40,000 properties at risk of being affected (Ref 1).

The faster and most effective way to help is to make a cash donation via this link on the Queensland Government's Premier's Flood Relief Appeal Site.

Embedded below is a chronological map of the affected areas.

View the larger map from Brisbane Times

User-generated real-time updates on the Queensland flood from Twitter are shown below.

Altona Laverton Historical Society Calendar 2011

The Altona Laverton Historical Society has produced a calendar for 2011. It has a sleek, neat and clean design. It comprises a pack of 14 cards, one card per month plus the front and back cover, which slot compactly into a transparent CD case. Each card features an old photograph of Altona, including the JJ Hammonds Flight in 1911. To use the calendar, put the current month as the first card of the pack. By flipping the CD case cover over as shown in the photo below, the CD case is converted to a stand for the calendar.

ALHS Calendar in CDALHS Calendar in CD opened

When the last card December 2011 is used, do not throw this calendar away as it serves as a very good souvenir and stores very compactly with your other CDs. This calendar is designed by Carol Winfield, the Vice-President of the Altona Laverton Historical Society (ALHS). It is available for purchase at $15 from the Altona Homestead, which is open every Saturdays 10am-12 noon, Tuesdays 11am-2pm and first Sunday of each month.

The embedded flash file at the bottom shows a preview of this calendar. It may take a very long time to load this file so I will advise that you go and do some other stuff (e.g. read your emails, news, etc) and come back 5 minutes later. Refresh this page if the connection times out. The effects are well worth the wait.

Move your mouse cursor to the bottom or top corner of each calendar page, hold your mouse button (do not release or click) and drag the mouse to turn the page, as you will with a real book. You can turn the pages forth and back and at any angle you wish. This flash file gives a rather realistic simulation of turning pages so you can see the effects of how the pages curl or roll when you flip them. Note that the cover is hard while the pages are soft. You can also flip the pages by clicking the corner of each page but the turning effect will be less realistic than if you hold and drag the mouse. This flash file comes with a song - you can mute it by clicking the Music button at the bottom.

There are other applications that produce even more realistic simulations or enable you to tear off pages but I was not able to embed files for those applications. Enjoy!

View the original larger version where you can see a wider frame and more of the car.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Movies by the Bay

When my father-in-law was here 2 years ago, he contrasted Altona with his hometown in China and was not used to seeing so few people out in the streets. He was hence surprised to see so many people flocked to the beach whenever the temperature rose, a phenomenon he humorously drew analogy to the omnipresent flies that tagged people during summer. He commented that there are more "flies" in Williamstown Beach compared to Altona Beach.

A few of my colleagues are disappointed with the relatively cooler summer this year as they would prefer the temperatures to go beyond 30 degrees Celsius. However, I do not think that air temperatures of 30-40 degrees Celsius are comfortable but I do agree that such temperatures will be necessary for seawater to be sufficiently warm for swimming and there are not so many chances in a year.

Last Friday was a very hot day, with the temperature going up to 36-37 degrees Celsius. Our family decided to go to the beach at 7.30 pm when the temperature started to subside. The beach and Logan Reserve were packed with people. It was very lucky that we were able to find a parking lot quickly.

The time edged closer to 9 p.m. The twilight sun had grown to an expanded, rounded, red lolly and eventually dropped into the seawater in the far horizon, emitting its last rays. We decided to stay behind for the open-air movie screening of Toy Story 3 at Logan Reserve. A lot of people had already congregated at the Reserve, choosing their favorite spots and fully-equipped with picnic chairs, mats, rugs and tidbits.

5-6 kids climbed the monstrous Moreton Bay Fig Tree near the rotunda and straddled the long, horizontal branch one after another. This reminded me of scenes from Tarzan and the Jungle Book.

Unfortunately, I had forgotten to bring my camera. I could only take pictures with my very low resolution mobile phone. There is another movie night on Sunday 23rd January at Logan Reserve. I hope to be able to replace the photos below with better ones.

SunsetChildren on Tree
ProjectionToy Story 3a

I feel that open-air movie screenings are fantastic avenues for families and communities to enjoy an activity together. Though the experience may not be as comfortable as watching DVDs from your couch at home, nothing beats the ambience!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Transition Hobsons Bay

Transition Towns (or Transition Initiatives, as they are now called in order to include cities and other entities such as villages, universities and islands) are environmental and social movements that are being created to encourage communities to move towards sustainable practices of living and working. The initial imperative of the founders of the movement is to "transition" away from fossil fuel dependence (especially oil) and pollution generation (especially greenhouse gasses). A primary goal is to change behaviours and attitudes through enjoyable social activities and to enlighten ourselves of a better future that is cleaner, healthier, cheaper, happier, less stressful and more fulfilling.

Transition Hobsons Bay (THB) was formed in February 2010 by 4 initiating members: Kate, Wendy, Colin and Wayne. By December 2010, it has 62 members, including all the initiators.

Tour to Laverton Community Gardens - 15 May 2010
Tour to Laverton Community Gardens - 15 May 2010. From left to right: Wendy, Val (from the Gardens), Ann (proponent of community gardens for Avondale Heights), Jo & Kate

The Transition Model advocates local responses to local issues. The model recommends creating working groups to address these issues. The role of the initiating group is to raise community awareness, facilitate setting up subgroups and provide initial guidance through communication. THB will hopefully move into this stage in 2011. The whole process is at the grassroot, where everyone's contribution is welcomed and valued.

Initiatives and events that THB had organized and facilitated in 2010 include a sustainable food brochure for Hobsons Bay, an ongoing food swap meet, an energy workshop, a worm farm demonstration, a jam making workshop, a preserving/bottling workshop, a computer recycling initiative and several community dinners. 2011 should see more food swaps, energy workshops and other initiatives in transport, public art, visioning, placemaking, gardening and sustainability skill acquisition. Click here to see what THB has planned for 2011.

Acknowledgement: Thanks to Jason Ashwell from THB for providing the information.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Summer by the Sea 2011

Summer by the Sea is an annual festival organized by Coast Action/Coastcare program of the Department of Sustainability and Environment every January. It promotes coastal care and conservation by providing an opportunity to discover and appreciate the natural wonders of Victoria’s coastal and marine environments. Now in its 17th year, it runs from 3rd to 23rd January, with 300 free activities held in 80 locations along the Victorian coast.

Activities include guided walks and rockpool rambles, learning about marine and coastal creatures, bird watching, kayak and boat tours, snorkelling safaris, fishing, geology adventures, dogs' breakfasts and photography lessons. Participants can also meet the Maremma dogs which guard the Little Penguins, try volunteering with Coastcare for a day and have a hands-on with marine monitoring.

Visit the Festival's website, download the 2011 coloured program brochure, access its Facebook Page or check its event locations on Google Maps. The embedded map below shows the event locations in Melbourne's western suburbs. You will need to zoom in to separate the icons and scroll around in order to read the individual details.

View Summer by the Sea in a larger map

Listed below are the various activities in Melbourne's West. Refer to the 2011 program for activities in other parts of Melbourne and Victoria.

  • Dog’s Breakfast - Free Breakfast for Dogs and Owners!
    Sat 8 January 8:30am - 10:30am
    Meet at P.A. Burns Reserve, Altona Road, Seaholme
    Melways 55 B9
  • Walk on the Wild Side - Altona Seashell Safari
    Thurs 13 January 11:30 - 12:15pm
    Bookings essential 9654 0670
    Altona Pier Melways 54 H12
  • Coastal Creatures - Meet live snakes and lizards
    Thurs 20 January 10am - 3:30pm
    Friday 21 January 10am - 3:30pm
    Meet at Altona Library, corner of Queen St & Sargood St. Melways 54 G11

Altona North

  • Coastal Creatures - Meet live snakes and lizards
    Mon 17 January 10am - 3:30pm
    Tues 18 January 10am - 3:30pm
    Wed 19 10am - 3:30pm
    Meet at Altona North Library, Corner Millers & McArthurs Road. Melways 55 A2

Altona Meadows

  • Minibeast Safari - Waterwatch Melbourne
    Mon 10 January 9:30am - 10:30am
    Tuesday 11 January 9:30am - 10:30am
    Monday 17 January 9:30am - 10:30am
    Tuesday 18 January 9:30am - 10:30am
    Bookings essential 9932 1000, ask for the Hobsons Bay City Council Ranger Meet in the car park at the end of Andrew Park Dr, Altona Meadows Melways 208 K2


  • Fishy Business
    Sat 22 January 8:15am - 10:30am
    Bookings essential 0438 036 325 / 9932 1000 – Ask for the Hobsons Bay City Council Ranger.
    Meet at Greenwich Reserve and the Warmies boat ramp Melways 56 B5
    BYO Fishing gear

Point Cook
  • Rockpool Ramble - with a Parks Victoria Ranger
    Mon 10 January 2pm - 2:45pm
    Thurs 20 January 10am - 10:45am
    Bookings essential 0419 553 012 / 9393 9255
    Meet at Point Cook Marine Sanctuary. Follow the signs to Point Cook Coastal Park and proceed along Homestead Rd Meet at Point Cook Homestead car park / Café. Melways 199 J2
  • Birdwatching
    Wed 12 January 8:15am - 10:30am
    Thurs 13 January 9am - 11:15am
    Fri 14 January 9:15am - 11:30am
    Wed 19 January 8:15am - 10:30am
    Bookings essential 9932 1000 – Ask for the Hobsons Bay City Council Ranger.
    Meet at the Point Cook Tower car park. Follow the signs to Point Cook Coastal Park and proceed along Homestead Rd. Melways 199 J2

  • Coastal Discovery - Sea Search Marine Monitoring
    Fri 14 January 2:30pm - 6pm
    Bookings essential 9695 9017
    Meet at the Point Cook Tower car park. Follow the signs to Point Cook Coastal Park and proceed along Homestead Rd. Melways 199 J2
    No thongs Remember to Slip Slop Slap BYO snorkel gear

Werribee South
  • Walk on the Wild Side - Seashell Safari
    Thurs 13 January 2:00pm - 2:45pm
    Booking essential 9534 0413 / 0409 138 565
    Meet at Werribee River Pier, Grahams Reserve off Diggers Rd. Melways 209 E10

  • Marine Sanctuary Safari - Beach Photography
    Wed 12 January 10:30am - 11:30am
    Friday 21 January 10:30am - 11:30am
    Booking essential 0419 553 012 / 9393 9255
    Meet at Jawbone Marine Sanctuary, Mullins Court. Melways 55 J10
    BYO camera
  • Marine Sanctuary Snorkel Safari – Jawbone Marine Sanctuary
    Thurs 13 January 9:30am - 11:30am
    Booking essential 0419 553 012 / 9393 9255
    Meet at Jawbone Marine Sanctuary, Mullins Crt. Melways 55 J10
    Must be a competent swimmer and experienced at snorkelling, age 14 +, BYO snorkel gear
  • Walk on the Wild Side - Seashell Safari
    Thurs 13 January 10:00am - 10:45am
    Booking essential 9534 0413 / 0409 138 565
    Meet at the Timeball Tower, Point Gellibrand Melways 56 F10
  • Dog’s Breakfast - Free Breakfast for Dogs and Owners!
    Sat 15 January 8:30am - 10:30am
    Meet at Mullins Court. Melways 55 J10
  • Coastkids - Coastal Art for Youngsters
    Tues 11 January 11am - 12:30pm
    Wed 19 January 11am - 12:30pm
    Bookings essential 0419 553 012 / 9393 9255
    Meet at the Parks Victoria Office Williamstown, 82 Nelson Place. Melways 56 E 10 Ideal for children up to 10 years of age

Monday, January 3, 2011

Louis Joel Visitor Information Centre

Jill Bolston, the Manager of Louis Joel Arts & Community Centre said she would send me some background information regarding this new initiative. Since she had gone on holiday leave, I would make up a story for the time being and amend this post accordingly when I receive a response from her upon her return from vacation.

The Louis Joel Arts & Community Centre has been in hibernation mode over the last 5 summers during which it closes its operations. Instead of leaving the venue and facilities unused, someone or a group of persons has a great idea! From 18 December 2010 to 22 January 2011, it will be opened from Thursday to Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The foyer will serve as a Visitor Information Centre with the Art Gallery transformed into a shop selling art and craft to visitors. A disability toilet and restroom will be available. Visitors will be able to obtain tour brochures and pamphlets on Altona and the Hobsons Bay area - these include a A4-sized flyer on my Altona Blog and Hobsons Bay Community Forum as well as listing places of attractions in Altona!

Brochures 2Brochures 1

This Visitor Centre has been in operation for over a week and yesterday Sat 1 Jan 2011 saw the largest number of visitors - about 90 persons. Most visitors are local residents but there are also visitors from the eastern side of Melbourne and international tourists as well. A local newspapers has agreed to a coverage of this initiative so I believe there will be more visitors with more promotion and awareness.

Louis Joel ShopPouches

About 30 persons have their art works on display and sale at the shop. They are either professional artists or are affiliated with the Centre. They pay a rental of $10 for the entire period, regardless of the amount of their exhibits as well as a 10% commission of their sales to the Centre. This initiative offers a valuable and affordable opportunity for artists in the area to exhibit and sell their works.

Display Cabinet 2Headdress
CardsKnitted Art

Here, I will mention a few artists who had participated in this initiative. Yarraville artist Julie Ughetti is renowned for her range of unique glass art jewellery pieces branded as Moretti, in which she creatively combines dichroic glass with other glass sourced from around the globe. Dichroic glass is glass containing multiple micro-layers of metal oxides. These metal elements are fused with other glass to create a highly dynamic interplay between vibrant colours and the reflection and transmission of light. Her jewellery is sold locally and exported to London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Japan and Venice.

Julie Ughetti - Pendant 1Julie Ughetti - Pendant 3
Julie Ughetti - Pendant 2Julie Ughetti - Cultured Pearls 2

Suzie Erickson from Williamstown is exhibiting her dangling knit dolls. She did a lot of crochet designs for Spotlight and had designed for magazines, including the IDEA magazine.

Dangling Knit Dolll by Suzie EricksonCrochet Hair Elastic

Sue Manski from Footscray is exhibiting her leather art works, including wristbands, bookmarks and little handbags.

Leather Wristbands & Bookmarks by Sue ManskiLeather bags by Sue Manski

Helenmary Burnside is a jeweller with specialty in semi-precious stones (shown in left photo below). She previously lived in Altona but has now moved to Bacchus Marsh.

Works by Helenmary Burnside 1Acrylic Cat Painting by Karin Zeller

Karin Zeller is an artist from Altona Meadows and is a member of the Hobsons Bay Art Society. She is exhibiting her acrylic paintings of cats (shown in right photo above).

Other paintings include those from the late Joan Craggs from Altona, who was instrumental in founding the Hobsons Bay Art Society. Her specialty is in watercolour paintings. Stefan Gevers is a professional exhibiting artist based in Newport. He is a teacher of Botanic Art as well as a teacher of bird and insect studies. His student, Janet Howie from Williamstown, is exhibiting her water colour paintings.

This initiative is an experimental project. Its continual implementation in the future is contingent on the demand, response and feedback.