Nieve photo by David
I’ve lived in Port for six years. I go to Port Melbourne Primary school and I love it here!
Nieve photo by David
My most important connection in Port Melbourne is the Uniting Church. I’ve been a member of the congregation since 1988 and have worked part time as the Simply Living Project worker since 2007. The best part of that has been the development of the Simply Living Community Garden, which was built in 2008.
The three best things about the garden for me are: (i) meeting all the people who come to use it – whether they are coming to do gardening or cooking, using the community composting bays, picking herbs, just looking at what is growing or sitting in the shade or sunshine; (ii) working with children as they learn how to grow food plants and interact with the garden creatures; and (iii) the social cooking groups which are a fun way for people to cook with the produce that has been grown and share their knowledge and stories.
Photo taken by Michelle
By a freeway
Containers locked up
Waiting to be refilled
Waiting for another journey
Alone in this place
The fog rolls in
Go outside to feel it on my skin
Smell the moisture in the air
Hear the freeway hum
See the lights try to penetrate the mist
Its a weird sound
Part misty silence part urban hum
Cars lurking in the mist
Cant see very much now
Containers still waiting
Waiting for daylights return
Waiting for clarity
When I moved to Port Melbourne 14 yeas ago I moved into a share house in Raglan Street. Port was attractive as it was close to everything I could possibly need or want. My first impression of Port was there were two types of resident, the 'old timers' and the ‘newbies'. The newbies appeared to be a little more transient and would move on to other places as their jobs or personal circumstances demanded. There seems, however, to have been a proliferation of prams and parents. Nowadays, there are myriad meeting places. My gorgeous little daughter has opened up conversations with old timers, newbies and everyone in between. I meet people in the streets and almost anywhere there is a swing or a slide. I meet people at playgroups, for which the Trugo clubs are often used. It’s been a fabulous and welcome change and I think a large part of the reason for the change is that Port is a fabulous place to live and offers lots of opportunities for families to live a balanced life and many of the newbies who I assumed might move on have put down roots and are staying put.
Just outside the ‘Batman River’ (now Yarra River) in Port Phillip Bay, ‘the Beach’ an early settlement in 1839 was described as a sand ridge, which was to become its name with tea trees on its shores and a suitable place to graze sheep.
Father of Port Melbourne
A bit about ‘the Beach’: Very early to settle on this beach and promote the area was Wilbraham Frederick Evelyn Liardet (known as the ‘founder of Port Melbourne’) and his family. He built the original ‘Pier Hotel’ which has retained the same name. There was a problem with muddy tracks in those days, a better road was constructed by the Liardet family, and it was to become Bay St.
Goods & people began to move through settlement from the beginning and ‘Sandridge’ became a port and a township.
The gold rush announced in 1851, brought wealth and prosperity. Piers and jetties were improved in a rush. The Hobson Bay Railway Company rushed to build Australia’s first railway that ran from Flinders St to Port Melbourne Station—opened in 1854 with much fanfare.
Port Melbourne Station opened for goods & passengers.
Now, people from far and wide use the 109 tram at the Port Melbourne Station. Travellers from the cruise ships and the ‘Spirit of Tasmania’ pass through as well as locals from Beacons Cove and Port Melbourne water front precinct. It can be a busy place at times.
Leading Tai Chi on a huge cruise ship is an unusual connection with Port Melbourne! But that is how we got here. It’s our first visit and the ship will be here for just one day. We never expected to be met by good-natured Waterfront Welcomers. Nor did we ever think we would be invited to join a modern community blog. What a friendly introduction to Melbourne’s international gateway pier!
Piero and Claudio
Gosh – where don’t I come together with people in Port? Now that is! Several years ago as the stay- at-home parent of two small toddlers with all my family overseas and the majority of my closest friends interstate, I had the feeling that I didn’t feel ‘connected’, even though I knew I loved living in Port Melbourne.
Very separate to that feeling I responded to a mailbox drop from local residents’ group Port People who were seeking more hands to help keep the group going. I didn’t think I had much to offer the group but was grateful for their tireless efforts that saved the park we use, I figured at the very least I could help with letterbox drops during the day whilst pushing the boys in the pram. In the blink of an eye I was Minute Secretary!
The wonderful gem I uncovered was that Port Melbourne is filled with some of the most amazing, diverse, intelligent, funny, motivated, passionate and hardworking people I have met. My connection with Port People led me to the SHIP committee as a Resident Representative and I also became involved with the TwoSchoolsNow campaign. In that time my two toddlers became school aged children, attending the crowded but amazing Port Melbourne PS, and I picked up a tennis racquet for the first time in about 20 years – all of which connected me with more of the great Port community.
So where do I come together with people in Port? The school ‘gates’, local pubs & cafes (the best places for committee meetings!), the tennis courts, Garden City Reserve, community and childcare centres, Coles, Noisette … and over the fence or across the road.
Photo taken by Michelle
One of my favourite creatures is the endangered albatross. I am fortunate to observe and photograph them in the Southern Ocean every year with my work. Sadly a lot of seabirds ingest plastic rubbish, confusing it for food. It can get stuck inside their digestive system and kill them. Also, other sea creatures get entangled in monofilament fishing line or plastic packaging which can also lead to their death. I have therefore been in the habit of picking up litter wherever I see it and most frequently on the beach. Much to my delight, recently I discovered Beach Patrol 3207. There is a large group of like-minded people who plan to do something about litter on our little patch and they’re a great bunch of people so now I have yet another local meeting place, the beach and a new reason to meet there and a whole host of new names of neighbours to know. I hope to meet some of you there. It’s a great way to get to know your fellow residents, have some fun and help make Port even better.
Beach patrol 3207
An event that occurred on February 18 1951 caused a great degree of excitement in Gellibrand Road. The old Bass Strait ferry SS Nairana which had been moored off Williamstown, broke lose during a 70 mile an hour blow and run aground on the back beach of the Garden City Housing Estate.
All the locals soon heard about it and gathered to' have a look see'. One local character walked past our place with his axe to salvage the ship. That, he said was maritime rules. He was hopeful, but soon found out that there were crowds of people there before him. The staunch little ship stood proudly upright although the 'old salts said that it would list in time' But it didn't..
The old ferry was scrapped and I went down to the ship for a public sale. I was able to buy a small object to remember the occasion and to pass on to my children. Sad end for a ship, but we local residents always felt that it our ship.
Vale SS Nairana. The photos were taken with my box brownie in late 1951.
Rosalie Bray (nee Rosalie Thrupp)
the hum of summer
the hum of traffic
there is release
there is bliss
My link with Port Melbourne began in 1942, when my mother and I came to live in the Housing Commission Estate where there were 376 Housing Commission houses. Our address was 32 Gellibrand Road Garden City 3207. My mother lived there until six weeks before she died in 1971.
It was war time and I was 10 years old. We were very close to the Commonwealth Oil Refinery and the Port Melbourne shipping terminal, a dangerous area to live near during World War II.
At night the sky was alight with search lights and some nights we could hear guns ‘going off’ and Mum would say, “Something is happening out there tonight Rosalie”.
Our neighbours were wonderful. Most of the men were away fighting with the Defence Services, and a lot of the house wives were recruited by Man Power to work in the munitions’ factories. This was great for these women as, for the first time they had some money of their own in their pockets.
But, the funny thing was, most commodities were rationed so there were no goods to buy. So they could not buy much, unless it was on the black market.
Lots of happy memories of my life living at 32 Gellibrand Road. I still think of it as ‘my home’.
Rosalie Bray (nee Rosalie Thrupp)
When I came to live in Port Melbourne in 2001, I knew no one here but was determined to make the most of the new start.
In a window I saw a bright yellow poster saying “Too Old for Youth Clubs and Too Young for Elderly Citz” and I thought – “Yes, that’s me!” I attended the inaugural meeting at the Town Hall on a hot summer’s night and put my hand up to join the committee, although I’d never been on a committee before in my life!
It was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I made close friends with like-minded people who enjoy a good book, a good walk, a good wine, or just a good laugh. I took my turn leading things like everyone else did – each hosting according to their own interests or timely inclinations.
I don’t go to as many events now but I’m still involved and love to catch up with those original members. Some of them live very close by and have proved to be great friends.
So – to anyone new – try getting involved in PPLAC - Port Phillip‘s Life Activities Club. It really can be worthwhile and fulfilling.
The photo is of my PPLAC friend and neighbour Rosie with first tomatoes from self seeded tomato plants she gave me.
Sunday morning in Port Melbourne, take your dog for a walk or a swim at the dog beach, drop into café Di Lido for a coffee and puppychino and then watch the lifesavers pass on their wisdom to the young in our community. I feel safe.
This is Michael he runs the local Post Office as well as the little store. I met Michael when I first moved to Port Melbourne.
Michael is a dying breed (True Gentleman) Some days when I have a little time to spare while waiting for the bus, I pop in just to have a chat and you are always greeted with his good looking smile. Michael's favourite footy team is the Swans and any time they are in the finals you will see the shop and Michael decked out in Red and White.
"From time to time you meet someone who's integrity is such that you just want to pop in and say hi whenever you are in the area (and even when you aren't). Richard is one of those rare people. One day I dropped into his paint shop on Bay Street Port Melbourne, to investigate the luscious wall paper and paints that I had spied through the window. As an artist, I am always looking for new materials. We started chatting within a short time, I recognised a kindred spirit. Where else can you get exquisite paint but more than that, someone who genuinely seems glad to see you and says "Top of the Morning to ye". "
This little one has been a resident at my place for the past 2 months. Unlike his relatives he has no tail and seems to get picked on a lot.
Lets all applaud little Stumpy as he is a real battler. Much like many of the residents that grew up here in Port Melbourne according to my very sweet 80 year old neighbour who has lived here all her life.
Lucy (from London, visiting Australia for a year and hope to stay for another year). We met at my hubby's favourite Thai Restaurant. What attracts you in Port Melbourne? “When I first came here, the beach on this end, the city on that end, and we’re right in the middle. How good is that?” “It’s a brilliant idea! I’ll follow your blog”.
A handful of steps overlook the pier and provide access to the beach.
Water smoothes the hard edges and gives some moments of respite.
Attracted by the regular docking of the Spirit, it’s a place that represents freedom and something else.
Tourists have replaced immigrants but the tradition continues. The emotional hangover remains in the air.
Now the steps are shared with my 2-year-old.
Shells and driftwood mix with discarded cigarette butts and broken glass—they are precious artefacts to savour.
By Amanda Fisher
In Port Melbourne’s Lagoon Reserve residents annually don garden gloves and drop to their knees at a Neighbourhood Plant. Years ago I offered to promote this local working bee. With my own home-computer flyers, I letter-boxed surrounding units, body-corporates and homes. Another long-time friend of the park posted laminated A4 notices on strategic benches. We both mentioned it positively to dog-walkers, sportsmen and casual visitors, important stakeholders.
All seven plantings have been successful and satisfying – one Saturday morning each autumn enough people do come out, good-naturedly cooperate with Council staff, proving an old adage, ‘many hands make light work’.
These sessions add indigenous landscape, support wildlife, mitigate climate change and enhance park character, while also increasing local pride and safety.
Last year, Council recognized our event with a group photo in Divercity, a real boost! Now, we’re aboard S.H.I.P.’s PORTogether Project. I urge nearby residents to join with neighbours in beautifying Lagoon Reserve and building connections to Port Melbourne!