I have lived here now for fifteen years, and each year am more thankful for my good fortune to live in such a great suburb, where the city and the sea are close companions. These two photos taken within minutes of each other a demonstrate the beauty and diversity of life in wonderful Port Melbourne. The glorious colours of a May sunset overlooking the fabulous renovated Princes Pier, and the moonrise over Station Pier busy loading the Spirit of Tasmania ferry say more than words can express.
Walking into the Chapel Café on Bay Street is like stepping back in time – not in the trendy ‘retro’ sense, nor the ‘well-heeled antique’ or ‘Country Vogue’ sense of the past. Rather, it is the warm and genuine attitude of the owner Vinny who is blessed with a photographic memory with which he remembers both one’s name and one’s coffee order after the first meeting. Conversations, snatched between coffees, are full of a depth of presence and interest rarely seen in the fast-paced life dictated by modern living. Vinny remembers what we spoke about yesterday and last week. We have covered a myriad of topics from ecology, art, design, society and culture, his treasured customers both human and canine, his deep appreciation the Port Melbourne community, and his passion for a business that immerses him in the hubbub of coffee orders, brunches, lunches and afternoon teas, 7 days a week. I always walk out of his café imbued with a feeling of optimism and a sense of being part of something bigger than my own little world, which is a gift when one works alone.
The hum of the freeway draws me in. The mighty bridge to the west stands so strong. The memory of lives lost when it collapsed. The memory of lives lost to despair. The railway line travels through but goes nowhere. Never built to last. Or did it make way for a new football stadium and suburb? The Yarra River assisting our consumption, being carried on alluring ships in tidy containers. Webb Dock close by, surviving development of new towers. Industry still hanging in there. Solitude still not disturbed by people. Hope for the landscape to remain the same. Industrial in feeling, sound and experience. It is a special feeling. A place of memory. A place to be alone. A place to be preserved.
Dugga welcomed me with a firm and confident handshake and that sums up his character. I found this local celebrity through this project — his pictures and stories have appeared regularly in national media.
He is the fourth generation of the Beazley family who landed at Fisherman’s Bend around 140 years ago. His great grandmother came as a domestic (servant). She fell in love with Grey, got married and lived in a small fishing village, where the Sandridge Life Saving Club is now located. His grandmother was raised in Fisherman’s Bend and started her family with a man who worked in the Port Melbourne Council. Dugga’s grandfather had three boys and two girls who all became fishermen. Dugga was born at 104 Bay Street and moved to Rouse Street when he was 14. He left school at 13 and learnt fishing from his father. Romance started on the beach when he met his wife Frances.
Dugga is now 75. He is father of two daughters, Melissa and Karen and a son David, who sadly passed away in 2013. He is still passionate about his fishing and would like to keep fishing as long as he can.
The Sk-8-er Twins likes to have fun at the Graham St Skate Park in Port Melbourne. They gain benefits by exercising and catching up with friends.
Peter has been the Principal of Port Melbourne Primary School since 2001.
"When I think of Port, I think of Station Pier. My early memories of Port include waving good-bye to relatives sailing from Station Pier on ships like the Arcadia, and watching from the Centenary Bridge as steam engines shunted trains in the marshalling yards between the pier and Graham St. Years later, I used to take my own children to watch the cruise liners as they sailed from Station Pier. In 2002, I took a group of my Port Melbourne PS students to the pier to sing at a welcome function for the crew of the Tampa, shortly after it had rescued over 400 refugees from a sinking ship.
I also think of Murphy Reserve, where I first enjoyed Port Melbourne hospitality back in the 70's (I remember crawling around the Woodruff Oval in the early hours of a Sunday morning looking for my car keys), and where I still umpire the Port Colts juniors."
Photo by Michelle
The Spider- brothers like to climb the web and ride on the flying fox at their favourite place- The Dragon Park, as it is affectionately nicknamed amongst the Port Melbourne locals. It is at Garden City Reserve.
I like to be close to the shores of Port Melbourne
Where I can feel the gamut of textures from the wind smother me in kisses and tango with my weight
With the infinite view of blue my ideas can come to no limit
The silence in contrast to city, lets me experience the tempest of functionality and organisation that occurs underneath an appealingly still body
Photo by Michelle
Charles is an owner builder.
We have lived in Port Melbourne for 12 years. My connection is with friends and family of my kids. The conversation these days usually heads towards the topic of renovations, which is what I am doing at home, now. One of my favorite places would be Little Rose. It is a cute little cafe on a quiet side street, at the back of the Rose. The food is nice and the kids like it.
Photo by Michelle
“My 2 favourite places is where I work - the Port Phillip Specialist School and the South Port UnitingCare Kindergarten because it enables children to learn in a supportive, happy and safe environment.”
Simone Photo by Michelle
Tony and his wife are from China. They now live and work in Port Melbourne for over 3 years.
They serve Chinese food at ‘Shi Shi’ shop for the local people.
Tony says, ‘I like to listen to the radio and rest at Edwards Park.’
Veronica just turned 90!
“My grandfather came to Port Melbourne by ship in the 1800. He followed the crowd to Geelong for the Gold Mine.
My favourite place is my home and I connect mainly in my neighbourhood. We help each other when we can, if we grow something in our garden, we will share it.”
Photo by Michelle
Elise has been working for 18 years at the Port Phillip specialist school, which integrates special needs children into the main stream at South Port Uniting Kindergarten. On weekend Elise enjoys to catching up with friends at the Cricketers Arms Hotel in Cruikshank St.
Melanie has been a volunteer on the reception desk at South Port Day Links for 2 years. She assists with enquiries with services, and takes transport bookings from those that are frail, elderly or disabled to help stay connected to the community as well as maintain their independence with some support to lessen the social isolation felt with age and/or physical limitation.
Melanie enjoys Port Melbourne for its close proximity to where she lives and the way in which the area brings people together, whether as a local or non-local resident, in work or recreation. She has easy community access and likes having the beach close by.
It is great to see The London Hotel beaming with the old world charm of ‘Port’.
I do wonder how The London has survived not being swallowed up progress.
I met Sophie just over 13 months ago. Sophie's connection to Port Melbourne is me. Each one of us has different challenges during our life time, sometimes we can sort it out ourselves and sometimes we need a little help. This is where Sophie comes in. Not only is she an outstanding Psychologist, she is also one of the loveliest persons I have had the privilege to meet.
Assel does not live In Port Melbourne, but she is connected to it, in so many ways.
She says, "My daughter goes to South Port Uniting Kindergarten and my youngest one will be going there next year, as well. Most of my friends live in Port Melbourne, we often catch up for a breakfast, dinner or just cup of coffee in or around Bay St. My favourite spot for a coffee is Balderdesh, where I get best filter coffee. Thomas Dux and Brewsters are my favourite grocery shops. Every day I take my kids to play areas in Port Melbourne. I shop for my kids' clothes at Bucket and Spades, Junior Republic, Polka Dot and Three Four Knock On a Door. When I get time I like to pamper myself at Om Skin- I love the crew there."
Transformation, from a jetty, to a sculpture, to a landmark. Do we disregard the past or preserve it, in a modern or converted format. Here at PRINCES PIER, is where the first immigrants arrived to develop Victoria’s future-worth preserving. In this photo the future is coming at us from afar, bypassing us by the decisions we make today.
The Share and Care Tappers started at the Town Hall and now meet on a Wednesday at the Fisherman's Bend Community Centre.
Michelle Photo by Helena