59 Gippsland Life winter

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ISSN 1838-8124 gippsland life winter $9.95 ISSUE #59 ISSN 1838-8124 POOWONG 150 YEARS Enjoy the celebration GIPPSLAND HERITAGE Coal Creek Korumburra Old Gippstown GIPPSLAND GOURMET Fine produce and eating out BOOTS ‘N’ ALL Making boots fashionable and practical
EDNEY'S LEONGATHA 1 Roughead Street, Leongatha, VIC 3953 Tel: 5662 2327 www.edneysnissan.com.au Dealer Licence MD LMCT 1500 Overseas model shown. Australian specifications and features may differ.

The penultimate issue to our milestone issue 60 is loaded with the usual features that are great reading for all and sundry.

Again, our writers have gone to great lengths to give us a variety of features to feast on and in this issue, there were four milestones in our region to promote.

Poowong, the heart of dairy country in Gippsland is celebrating 150 years, along with Old Gippstown in Moe chalked up 50 years, and adding to the milestones, Korumburra’s Coal Creek also reached 50. Also, if you think it ends there, think again, 125 years of service from the Korumburra CFA.

We had the pleasure of visiting the redevelopment of Bullock Island at Lakes Entrance, an industrial area has now been transformed into a café overlooking the lakes along with seating, and walking space that offers the tourist that bit more in East Gippsland.

Gippsland Gourmet shows what Gippsland is about when it comes to dining out, wineries, cafes, hotels, restaurants and we are showcasing this to you, the reader.

There is plenty in this edition, so make sure you pick up a copy of Gippsland Life 59 Winter, the perfect coffee table book magazine and while you are reading this we are working on the Big 60!

Happy Reading!

Doug Pell | Publisher








Korumburra Town photo feature

Milk runs through the heart of Poowong

MYLI – Korumburra Library

Old Gippstown celebrates 50th Anniversary

Poowong 150th Anniversary

Poowong through the ages

Seeing with Stars – Stephanie Johnson

South Gippsland Dental transforming lives one smile at a time

South Gippsland Shire – Coal Creek, then and now

South Gippsland Shire – Mirboo North Winterfest

60 South Gippsland Shire – Winter weekend in Korumburra







Taylor’s swift impact on golfers

The mighty Tambo River photo feature

Virtue Homes – Traralgon Display Village

WGCMA – Flowing towards a sustainable future

Wildlife Coast Cruises – Tales from the deep at Phillip Island

Winter Canine Corner – Our loveable best friends

4 gippsland life Winter ���� our winter front cover Boots ‘n’ All Merry People Feature: Pages 84 to 87 Cover photo by Julian Kelly supplied courtesy of Merry People
Welcome to Gippsland Life Winter issue 59! our advertisers 147 ALEX SCOTT AND STAFF - From the Mountains to the Sea 91 ARC OF ZEN – Cowes Workshop and Gallery 82 BJS INSURANCE BROKERS WONTHAGGI - Holiday Rentals Insurance 59 BURRA FOODS - Nurturing our Farmer Relationship 81 CARPET COURT PHILLIP ISLAND - Luxurious Softness 12 CPK MCLAREN MOTOR BODY - Gippsland’s Prestige Body Repair 82 CRAWFORD MARINE MORWELL - Boating Since 1964 146 CURTIS AUSTRALIA - Life’s Rewards 14-15 DAIKIN AIR CONDITIONING - The Finest Air Everywhere 88 DESTINATION PHILLIP ISLAND - Island Whale Festival 11 EDGEWATER TERRACES AT METUNG – The Perfect Getaway 3 EDNEY’S LEONGATHA – Nissan X-Trail N-Trek 10 ENCORE RETIREMENT LIVING - For Those 55 and Better 144 GIPPSLAND OUTDOOR MAGAZINE – Coming Soon in 2024 2 GJ GARDNER HOMES - Feel Understood 90 ISLAND SHOES - Cabello Comfort 135 JEFF BOURMAN MP Member for Eastern Victoria 71 KORUMBURRA MAKERS + COLLECTORS – a boutique indoor market 136 LAURIE COLLINS SCULPTURE & RED TREE GALLERY - Winter Exhibitions 136 MELALEUCA NURSERY - Indigenous & Native Plant Farm 90 MELBOURNE FURNISHING CO – Dream Piece 67 MYLI - Korumburra Library 13 NEWHAVEN COLLEGE - A Haven for Growth and Belonging 83 RENEE McLENNAN MTA TRAVEL – Escorted Travel 80 RIGBY HOMEMAKERS - Kinetic Move with the Times 120-121 SJD HOMES - We’ve got Gippsland Covered 123 SOUTH GIPPSLAND DENTAL – New Dento Facial Cosmetics Clinic 73 SOUTH GIPPSLAND SHIRE - Coal Creek Heritage + Culture 61 SOUTH GIPPSLAND SHIRE – Korumburra, Where life draws you in 77 SOUTH GIPPSLAND SHIRE - Mirboo North Winterfest 134 STONY CREEK GO-KARTS - Fun for all the family + Go Karts 122 SUPERNAL MAGAZINE AUSTRALIA – Free Bi-monthly Digital magazine 5 THE OLD SCHOOL @ GRAND RIDGE HOUSE – Luxury Rural Accommodation 148 VIRTUE HOMES - Building Excellence – Traralgon Display Village 129 WGCMA - Caring for Catchments 93 WILDLIFE COAST CRUISES - Winter at Phillip Island - Whale Cruises 7 WONTHAGGI LOTTO - Authorised Tattslotto and Newsagency special indexes 16-17 GIPPSLAND GOURMET - Local Treats, the taste of Gippsland! 94 THE MIDDLE OF EVERYWHERE our content 145 Alex Scott & Staff Leongatha 21st Birthday 138-139 Bass Coast Cycle Challenge 84-87 Boots ’n’ All – Merry People founder Dani Pearce’s story 68-70 Coal Creek 50th Birthday celebration 128 Curtis Australia – The evolving journey of jewellery design 89 Destination Phillip Island – Winter on Phillip Island 74-75 Discover The Old School – A luxurious hideaway 124-127 Fun in the Sun at Lakes Entrance | Bullock Island 46-49
Jai Newcombe Poowong Powerhouse 62-63
Korumburra Fire Brigade celebrating 125 years
Korumburra’s best kept secret 56-58
Winter #59 winter
The Old School @ Grand Ridge House www.grandridgehouse.com Surrounded by tranquil gardens, this restored and reimagined 1920s schoolhouse invites you into a world of timeless luxury and rural elegance. A romantic escape for couples, and a peaceful, cosy haven for solo travellers, The Old School is your private escape, with fireside bath, king bed, rain shower and so much more.
2650 Grand Ridge Road, Hallston, South Gippsland 3953 VIC
Photography by Nicky Cawood


Trading as Gippsland Life magazine ABN 81 144 063 089


PHONE 0404 301 333 EMAIL gippslandlifestyle@bigpond.com



WEB www.gippslandlifestyle.com

FACEBOOK facebook.com/gippslandlifemagazine

INSTAGRAM gippslandlifestyle


Chris West, Anita Butterworth & Ken Roberts


Paul Henderson – Curtis Australia

Stephanie Johnson – Seeing With Stars Astrology

Bill Baker – Old Gippsland Heritage Park Garry Knox – Poowong 150 years


Doug Pell, Ken Roberts & Maxine Sando


Maxine Sando - Sales Manager Doug Pell - Sales Consultant

EDITOR Doug Pell

SUB EDITOR Maree Bradshaw

CREATIVE media101 | Alex Smirnakos + Tilka




Through continual research, we seek and find new products and innovative manufacturing processes; implementing energy saving efficiencies, removing potential waste and harmful processes affecting the environment.

Southern Impact adheres to all current governing laws and regulations set down by the State and Federal Governments in relation to Environmental and Conservation Acts.

Southern Impact is active in ensuring all their disposable waste materials are disposed of in accordance to those laws. Regular audits are carried out on the companies they use to ensure they follow the strict guidelines set out by these laws.

Vegetable based low Volatile Organic Compounds and VOC free inks are used and all of their paper waste material is recycled. As a result, their factory and current printing processes are some of the most environmentally friendly on the market today.

Southern Impact (VIC) Pty Ltd www.southerncolour.com.au

Gippsland Life Magazine is published quarterly, usually available at the beginning of each season and distributed to selected newsagents and retail outlets within the Gippsland region and surrounding Melbourne regions and parts of Victoria.

Issues are also available to read online on desktop and mobile devices.

South Gippsland Publishing acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises their continuing connection to land, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultures, and to Elders past and present.

Southern Impact (VIC) Pty Ltd is environmentally conscious. They take action to minimise their waste and recycle their waste products; ethically and responsibly.

6 gippsland life Winter ����



Bairnsdale newsXpress 21 Bailey St

Bairnsdale Main Street Newsagency 212 Main Street

Briagolong Post Office & Newsagency 4 Avon Street

Bunyip IGA 2-6 Main Street

Cowes Newsagency Chapel Street

Drouin Newsagency 93 Princes Way

Fish Creek Discount Pharmacy Plus 25 Falls Road

Foster FoodWorks 37 Main Street

Heyfield IGA 18-22 George Street

Inverloch FoodWorks 10-12 Reilly Street

Korumburra Michael's Supa IGA 1 South Railway Cres

Leongatha Authorised Newsagency 30 Bair Street

Leongatha Michael's Supa IGA Cnr Church & Bruce Sts

Metung Village Store 62 Metung Road

Morwell Newsagency 174-176 Commercial Road

Neerim South IGA 147 Main Road

Noojee Little Red Duck Café 1 Bennett Street

Omeo Post Office 155 Day Avenue

Rhyll General Store 41 Lock Road

Rosedale Butchers 32 Prince Street

Sale Newsagency 308-310 Raymond Street

San Remo IGA 135 Marine Parade

San Remo Newsagency and LP0, 105 Marine Parade

Stratford IGA 67 Tyers Street

Swifts Creek General Store Great Alpine Road

Tarwin Lower IGA 45 River Drive

Trafalgar IGA 5 McCrorey Street

Trafalgar Newsagency 97 Princes Hwy

Traralgon News & Lotto 51-53 Franklin Street

Traralgon Seymour Street News 83 Seymour Street

Ventnor The Anchorage Caravan Park Ventnor Road

Venus Bay General Store 139 Jupiter Blvd

Warragul Newsagency & Officesmart 43 Victoria Street

Welshpool Supermarket 18 Main Street

Wonthaggi Newsagency 31 Murray Street

Yanakie General Store 3640 Meeniyan-Promontory Road


Fish Creek 2 Falls Road

Foster 94 Main Street

Inverloch 25 Williams Street

Johnsonville 1760 Princes Highway

Korumburra South 2-8 Commercial Street

Leongatha Westside 7 Anderson Street

Leongatha 95 Bair Street

Mirboo North 106 Ridgway

Newmerella 5327 Princes Highway

Rosedale Prince Street

Sale 344-350 Raglan Street

Toora 26 Foster Road

Wonthaggi 103-105 McKenzie Street

Yarram 325 Commercial Street


Maffra 102 Johnson Street

Paynesville 3-5 Wellington Street

Sale 177 York Street

Wonthaggi 160 Graham Street

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Gippsland Life Magazine is published quarterly. This magazine is distributed throughout Victoria. All photographs in this publication are copyright to Gippsland Life Magazine, and if any are used in other publications or used in a commercial sense, you are liable to prosecution. Permission to use any photos in the publication must be obtained by contacting South Gippsland Publishing Pty Ltd via email to: gippslandlifestyle@bigpond.com Disclaimer: © South Gippsland Publishing Pty Ltd 2024, All Rights Reserved, has the discretion to add or remove words or photos that are deemed unsuitable for the magazine. South Gippsland Publishing Pty Ltd is not responsible or liable for any inaccuracies, omissions, or use of information contained within these pages, offering no warranties, either expressed or implied with respect to any material contained within the pages. Material in this magazine cannot be published or reproduced without South Gippsland Publishing Pty Ltd's written consent. Failure to heed to this could result in prosecution. The opinions and views expressed within this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers. 31 Murray Street, Wonthaggi Vic 3995 Tel: 5672 1256 OPEN SIX DAYS A WEEK | CLOSED SUNDAY

Flowing towards a sustainable future…


Vic Catchments, the peak body for Victoria’s ten Catchment Management Authorities (CMA), is delighted to have won the Nature Positive category of the 35th National Banksia Sustainability Awards.

The Awards celebrate trailblazers in environmental and social sustainability, with winners across fourteen categories spanning travel, agriculture, conservation and more – all recognised as true champions of sustainability and social impact.

Cath Jenkins, Chair of Vic Catchments accepted the award at the gala event held in Melbourne. “Vic Catchments is thrilled and humbled to be winners of this highly competitive category and congratulate all the other finalists,” said Cath.

“For over 25 years CMAs have been at the forefront of working with communities and partners to deliver incredible results for catchments across Victoria. It's a delight that they have been recognised by such a prestigious organisation.”

“We are a relatively small, yet passionate team and deliver projects on behalf of the Australian and Victorian governments. Partnerships are one of our biggest strengths and we share this success with everyone –Traditional Owners, partner organisations, community and government.”

In 2023, across Victoria, CMAs:

■ Enhanced over 3,000 hectares of vegetation to create habitat for native species.

■ Improved practices over 9,000 hectares of agricultural land.

■ Issued 13,000 approvals and advice for works on waterways.

■ Installed 368 kilometres of fencing to protect rivers and wetlands.

■ Undertook 399,000 hectares of pest plant and animal control.

“We have achieved great outcomes for our natural environments, catchments, agricultural landscapes and communities in our 26 years, and we are only just getting started.”

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Agnes River and tributaries flow into world-renowned Corner Inlet Caring for catchments takes a village - Powlett River- Kugerunmome Partnerships project school and parnters Richie Allen, Project Delivery officer for West Gipplsnad CMA on the Flagship Agnes River

Changemakers for waterways…

There are ten CMAs across Victoria that have been working to care for catchments for over 26 years. Each is responsible for the integrated planning and coordination of land, water and biodiversity management in their region, and all are structured to maximise community involvement in decision making.

Across Victoria, the ten CMAs work hard with Traditional Owners, partners and the community to:

■ Improve the health of waterways and catchments.

■ Support sustainable agriculture and irrigation practices.

■ Provide technical flood advice and intelligence.

■ Undertake statutory functions for waterway and floodplain management and rural drainage.

■ Support integrated water management and enhanced recreation and amenity of urban waterways.

Partnerships are at the heart of CMAs. Works are driven by the importance of genuine collaboration with each other, Traditional Owners, community, government and stakeholders to improve the health of waterways while maintaining biodiversity across Victoria’s diverse landscapes.

The small yet passionate team works to coordinate and empower Victoria’s phenomenal Landcare networks and delivers projects on behalf of the Australian and Victorian governments.

Over 25 years, CMAs have restored and transformed statewide landscapes - such as Alpine peatlands, reconnected rivers, brought back threatened species, united communities and led brave initiatives to prepare for future challenges like climate change, saving threatened species and restoring wetlands.

These extensive regional programs employ local staff and contractors with significant flow-on economic benefits to their communities.


gippsland life Winter ���� 9
Azure Kingfishers are one of many species that rely on healthy waterways. CMAs coordinate Landcare networks across Victoria It's people like Libby Balderstone who help us to support sustainable agriculture and irrigation practices Members of the Hallston Regenerative Ag Group Above left: Corner Inlet landcare group are one of many partners who share in the success of Vic Catchments

CPK McLaren MotorBody is recognised as one of the State’s leading Automotive Repair Facilities, one of only 5 Regional Finalists over 3 years in the VACC Industry Awards Best Body Repairer, Passenger Vehicle Category.


technologies. Diagnostic, Fault discovery & Safety Restraint System equipment.

Environmentally friendly automotive


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Our comprehensive range of services from our dedicated after sales support team will ensure the long term durability and keep your Daikin running smoothly for many years to come.


Daikin's split system air conditioners are approved by the National Asthma Council Australia Sensitive Choice® program, and are the only split systems that carry the blue butterfly symbol

14 gippsland life Winter ����
gippsland life Winter ���� 15 THE BEST AIR ANYWHERE 1/60 Genista Street, San Remo 5678 5190 After hours commercial breakdown office@picra.com.au www.coastalrefrigandaircon.com.au COMMERICIAL & DOMESTIC REFRIGERATION & AIR CONDITIONING | REFRIGERANT TRADE AUTH NO: AU 51246 - PI 48651 Find the right split system for your home and visualise with AR technology


BERRYS CREEK GOURMET CHEESE www.berryscreekcheese.com

Pages 18-20


411 Mt Baw Baw Tourist Road, Noojee 3833

Phone: 5628 9514


Page 40



47 McCartin St, Leongatha 3953

Phone: 0447 728 547


Page 24-27


38 Victoria Road, Loch 3945

Phone: 0417 381 962


Page 23


90a Ridgway, Mirboo North 3871

Phone: 5668 1632


Page 32 LOCH & KEY 32 Victoria Road, Loch 3945

Phone: 5659 4236 www.lochnkey.com.au

Page 21


225-243 Thompson Ave, Cowes 3922

Phone: 5952 1004 www.pirsl.com.au

Page 29


414 Berrys Beach Road, Ventnor 3922

Phone: 8595 2155 www.phillipislandwinery.com.au

Page 34-37, 39


1/9 Beach Road, Rhyll 3923

Phone: 5900 0666 www.facebook.com/myseasidecafe

Page 30-32


2-4 Rimfire Drive, Hallam 3803

Phone: 9702 4262


Page 80

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Gippsland Gourmet
Get out
treat yourself to some amazing local food & produce


11-15 River Drive, Tarwin Lower 3956

Phone: 5663 5211

www.facebook.com/riverviewhotel Page 33


32 Prince Street, Rosedale 3847

Phone: 5199 2210

www.rosedalebutchers.com.au Page 95


Coffee – Tucker – Larder

117 Marine Parade, San Remo 3925

Instagram @saintjulessanremo Page 38


63-67 Commercial Street, Korumburra 3950

Instagram @thecoteriekorumburra Page 71


215 Gurdies-St Helier Rd, The Gurdies 3984

Phone: 5997 6208

www.thegurdieswinery.com.au Page 28


81 Commercial Street, Korumburra 3950

Phone: 5655 1024

www.korumburrahotel.com.au Page 41


1 Ranceby Road, Poowong 3988

Phone: 5659 2351

www.thepoowonghotel.com.au Page 45


161 Marine Parade, San Remo 3925

Phone: 5678 5205

www.thewesternport.com.au Page 38


1 Vista Place, Cape Woolamai 3925

Phone 5956 6836

www.thewoolitavern.com.au Page 22


63-67 Commercial Street, Korumburra 3950

Instagram @tsuko_japan Page 71


20 Cottmans Road, Fish Creek 3959

Phone: 5683 2441

www.waratahhills.com.au Page 20

Gourmet local gippsland life Winter ���� 17


One of South Gippsland’s success stories


Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese has been named Supreme Artisan Specialist Cheesemaker in the world, awarded Grand Champion in the Grand Dairy Awards and placed Bronze in the Wisconsin World Cheese Competition. Who is Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese?

Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese is truly one of South Gippsland’s homegrown success stories that has taken a lifetime to achieve. To understand Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese, we have to first take a dive into Australian dairy history.

In 1975, as a young man, Barry Charlton began his career in dairy, working for the Drouin Cooperative Butter Factory first bagging skim milk powder, then the casein and butter plants. He became interested in cheese when he was moved to the Cheddar room and obtained his certification and developed his skills in making Cheddar and Monterey cheese.

After eight years, he craved more varied cheesemaking opportunities and moved to Unilac in Warragul and later to Lemnos in Lang Lang where he continued to develop his skills in making Mozzarella, Ricotta, Fetta, Haloumi and other fresh cheese. From there, Barry moved to Jindi Cheese where he gained skills and knowledge in making Camembert, Brie and Triple Cream. Over the next 17 years, Barry mastered his skills and developed his creative techniques in a variety of cheese.

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In 1996, Barry was tasked with making a special experimental cheese for the Wisconsin Cheese Show in the USA. His white mould cheese went on to win two gold medals, firstly in 1996 and then in 2002. But it wasn’t until 2004 when Barry’s creation won Overall World Champion Cheese at this world show that Barry’s partner, Cheryl Hulls, realised Barry had not fulfilled his potential as a cheesemaker. Cheryl could see that the love and passion Barry once had for cheesemaking was declining as the challenges and demands of expansion of the business meant implementing industry-driven goals. It was no longer about the quality of the cheese but the quantity that mattered to the growing industry.

As a result, in 2007, with Cheryl’s vision and support and Barry’s skills and passion, they left the security of a stable job and ventured out, creating their own business, Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese. Holding true to their vision of making cheese out of love and respect for artisan cheese, they began as a small business. Cheryl remembers just hoping to be able to make enough money to pay the bills. They travelled all around Victoria working various markets and festivals, often accompanied by their young family. It was at this small factory in Poowong that Barry started mastering his skills in blue cheese. Then one day, in Adelaide, Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese won their first gold medal for their cheese. To this day, Barry will hold that medal and say,

“It meant so much to us; it was a very special moment.”

Over the next ten years, Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese would go on to win several awards for their cheese, consistently placing high in many of the state and national dairy competitions. Cheryl remembers those days where they worked seven days a week in mastering the art of artisan cheesemaking. Cheryl stated, “It was plain hard work, but we were dedicated to the technique of handmade cheese as well as the unique recipes created by Barry.”

For the past eight years, Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese has been producing cheese from a small factory in Fish Creek with a staff of 13 employees. Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese has taken every step in mastering the art of artisan cheese from the unique recipes and techniques developed by Barry and Cheryl, to sourcing the right milk to use, to finding dedicated people to have on the production floor and to creating lasting relationships with customers who market them. Cheryl stated, “You cannot have one without the other, these all must be in place in order to succeed at the end of every week.”

Successfully making artisan cheese was Barry and Cheryl’s hope and today Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese is known nationally and internationally as producing one of the best blue cheeses in the world. It is no surprise that Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese was voted “one of the top 5 cheeses to taste in your lifetime” by Vogue Magazine for their Riverine and Mossvale Blue cheeses. They have also been named Champion of Champions at the Royal Sydney Show for their Tarwin blue cheese. Placing Champion Cheese this year at Dairy Australia’s ‘Australian Grand Dairy Awards 2024’ for their Oak Blue means a lot to Barry and Cheryl,

“It is a real honour to be among the industry’s best and a real reward for the daily efforts of the team and the wholesalers who support us.”

When asked about the history-making award of being named Supreme Artisan Specialist Cheesemaker in the world 2023, Cheryl stated, “It was a very emotional moment for us. It recognised the life work of Barry Charlton as a cheesemaker and the daily efforts of our team.”

Barry Charlton and Cheryl Hulls have indeed achieved their dream of making artisan cheese and have invested their talent, skills and love in every wheel of cheese they produce at Berrys Creek Gourmet Cheese. For more information and details on their current stock and availability visit their website at www.berryscreekcheese.com

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20 gippsland life Winter ���� Waratah Hills Trading Hours Cellar Door – Friday – Sunday 11.00am – 5.00pm | Lunch 12.00pm – 3.00pm Bookings via vineyard@waratahhills.com.au or (03) 5683 2441 www.waratahhills.com.au  Cellar door wine tastings  Group bookings and functions  Indoor & Outdoor dining  Shop online www.waratahhills.com.au  Serving Award-winning local cheese from Berrys Creek AWARD WINNING WINES, CREATED FOR CELEBRATIONS Follow us on instagram @waratahhillsvineyard for upcoming events
Set right in the centre of Loch’s vibrant Victoria Road, it is the perfect place to enjoy lunch, dinner or just an afternoon drink. Gippsland Wines and local produce ~ Full table service Casual yet refined atmosphere ~ Offering a dining experience that meets expectations Gluten Free and Vegan diets catered for Bookings essential 5659 4236 or via opentable.com Modern Australian Dining, Full Bar & Local Wines Available 32 Victoria Road, Loch Vic 3945 ph: 5659 4236 em: admin@lochnkey.com.au Casual dining Thursday 4-9pm | Friday 12-10pm Saturday 12-10pm | Sunday 12-9pm

HIGH TEA - A Rustic Feast

Available 7 days 10am to 2pm – pre-book pre-paid - $66 per person Monday to Friday and $72 per person Saturday and Sunday

Olive at Loch – unique setting within the original Colonial Bank building circa 1890; featuring the original Loch Bakehouse at the rear offering an exclusive space for up to 22 people.

Olive at Loch is renowned for Loch Dark Ale pie. The home of quality baking and Love Tea - loose tea available by the pot! Brimming with home baked mouth-watering frittatas, pies, tarts, and wholesome fresh dishes, sourced locally, and will tempt any palate.

Quality homewares, kitchenware and gifts

gippsland life Winter ���� 23 38 Victoria Road, Loch 3945 Phone | 0417 381 962

The life of tireless

Brent Sinclair

24 gippsland life Winter ����
Food, fitness, feast &
On Us + Space 47 Leongatha
Brent Sinclair Catering +

It seems there aren’t enough hours in a day or enough days in a week to accomplish what the remarkable Brent Sinclair of Leongatha achieves in his everyday life but somehow he manages to fit it all in!

He is an inspiring young man with an attitude and drive that is difficult to match.

Brent grew up on his parent’s dairy farm at Stony Creek with his four brothers. It was there that he came to love good wholesome home cooked food. After leaving school this translated into training as an apprentice Chef at pubs around South Gippsland. When qualified he moved to Melbourne to work as in-house Chef for KPMG, an international professional services firm specialising in accounting and auditing. Not one to rest on his laurels though after working during the week in the city he would return home on the weekends and provide catering for locals. He fitted this in with a love of travel as he began to also explore far-flung destinations around the globe.

After five years away Brent returned to live in Leongatha. He bought a house and, setting up a full commercial kitchen in his shed, established “Brent Sinclair Catering”. His profile in the area already existed from his weekend work and so he built on this to become a highly successful business. Even the pandemic which put paid to his regular catering of weddings and events couldn’t hold him back as he began to produce take away meals that customers could collect from his home based enterprise.

It seems like he feeds off hard work because his next incarnation was to establish a unique multifunctional commercial venue called “Space 47” in a tired premises that previously housed a Pizza shop. It became a family affair with his parents buying the freehold and Brent leasing it from them.

His brother Joel Sinclair is a builder and completed the construction and another brother Hayden Sinclair is a concreter who also used his skills there. The building was gutted then the interior rebuilt from scratch.

Brent cleverly designed the space to contain an up to date commercial kitchen, café shop front (a selling point for his popular take away meals) and a multi purpose event space. This tastefully decorated room is large enough to host weddings and functions as well as being able to be divided into more intimate zones for smaller gatherings. It is licensed and has a full bar. As well as being available for hire, Brent and his crew hold their own events whenever possible such as a pop up Burger night or high teas.

At Space 47 they promise a superior culinary experience from an intimate gathering to a lavish banquet with changing weekly menus and specials. The delicious fare on offer is all prepared on the premises and of the highest quality from fancy to good old-fashioned country pies and sausage rolls. It really is a hidden gem, tucked away at the quiet end of Leongatha’s main street, just past K hub.

If this wasn’t enough to “have on your plate” Brent also operates “Feast On Us” a fully self-contained food truck that travels all around Gippsland to events, markets, special occasions and corporate functions. They cater for any one-off party or gathering and can prepare their menu to suit the particular needs of guests.

gippsland life Winter ���� 25

Brent Sinclair

The remarkable thing about Brent is his general demeanor and palpable love of life and what he does. His personal motto is “Live your life the way you want and enjoy every minute of it.” And he certainly does that.

His day starts early and he is at the gym next to his shop at 5.30 AM running a Spin class. Following this class he is into his kitchen prepping and cooking for the day ahead, this could be anything from preparing two course meals for the elderly at Dakers Centre in Leongatha, corporate morning teas or meals for an end of season do for a local footy club. The café is open Tuesday to Saturday with coffee, cakes, lunches and takeaway meals available.

Brent is really committed to his community. He employs 5 full time staff and 15 casuals and now has his first apprentice, Jett Clark who worked for him casually and then began the apprenticeship when he completed Secondary School.

It still hardly seems possible that Brent has time for his bountiful garden or for the exercise that he loves. He has completed several Spartan race challenges which feature running long distances and completing obstacles along the way. An amazing feat for anybody let alone such a busy person as Brent. He also recently participated in a coordinated challenge that required him to be on a strict diet and exercise regime for 20 weeks that saw him lose 20 kilograms and become lean and fit.

His love of travel has seen him tour through Europe, America, and Africa, enjoying soaking up the richness of the cultures he encountered.

The achievements of a young man such as Brent are an example to others of the value of hard work and commitment and achieving your dreams. He personifies what is needed in today’s society, a willingness to give things a go. Over and above this he is doing what he loves. He is a truly inspiring individual and an amazing force of nature, all carried off with a cheeky laugh and smile.

www.brentsinclaircatering.com.au | www.space47.com.au

26 gippsland life Winter ����

TRUCKING AROUND GIPPSLAND TO ALL YOUR EVENTS, WE CAN CATER ANY LOCATION. We are fully self-contained and can take care of everything including attendants.


gippsland life Winter ���� 27 Call Brent Sinclair on 0447 728 547 146 McCartin Street, Leongatha, Vic 3953 E: brent@brentsinclaircatering.com.au www.brentsinclaircatering.com.au When looking for a superior culinary experience from an intimate gathering to a lavish banquet choose Brent Sinclair Catering. Relax and have the Brent Sinclair Catering team handle all the details and tailor any menu to perfectly suit your event.
Please visit our Facebook
for weekly changing menus
We also offer catering for many other occasions including birthdays, weddings and engagements. You can find us at Markets around Gippsland and we can prepare our menu to suit your event. Contact us today on 0447 728 547 or brent@brentsinclaircatering.com.au

Located on the top of the hill at The Gurdies, our winery boasts breathtaking views of French Island and Western Port Bay. Our large Cellar Door with open fire place, huge patio and outdoor function area, caters for all your special occasions. Come and experience what The Gurdies Winery has to offer.

OPEN FRIDAY TO SUNDAY 11AM TO 5PM WE ARE OPEN FOR VICTORIAN SCHOOL & PUBLIC HOLIDAYS EXCEPT CHRISTMAS DAY 215 Gurdies-St Helier Rd, The Gurdies VIC 3984 Phone (03) 5997 6208 | Email info@thegurdieswinery.com.au | www.thegurdieswinery.com.au Take a Detour to The Gurdies Winery

A Sip Of Serenity

At My Seaside Café

In a peaceful corner of Phillip Island, My Seaside Café has become a beacon for island-goers searching for great coffee, food and wine served with a side of tranquillity and breathtaking views.

Over the past four years owners of the Rhyll cafe, husband and wife team Marco Schmidt and Ying Pan, have created a welcoming hub for locals and tourists who are searching for a quieter vibe than the bustling Cowes foreshore area.

“The views, the peace and quiet, no congestion, fresh air. We’re literally surrounded by water here at Rhyll. You’ve got a 180-degree view of water,” Marco explained.

Marco and Ying, who met 10 years who, didn’t set out to become caféowners. Marco had finished his building apprenticeship and was between jobs, and Ying was keen to learn how to make coffee. So, while she learnt the trade from the previous owners of My Seaside Café, Marco helped out in the kitchen.

“My parents have always been in hospitality my whole life. My wife wanted to learn how to make coffee and got introduced to a lady down here in Rhyll and started working here. And they couldn’t find someone to work in the kitchen so my wife got me in and said my husband can cook, so I started helping out a little here and there and then that became a bit more regular.

“And they wanted to sell the businesses and my wife and I just thought, ‘Why not?’ We didn’t really know what else to do at the time and thought it would be a good opportunity, so we decided to give it a go.”

The couple purchased the café in September 2019, just before Covid. While many small businesses were brought to their knees in the following years, the local community embraced the new owners and the café.

“It was a quiet spot for the local community to catch up and stay connected and it’s remained just as peaceful."

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“We don’t have the competition that they have in Cowes. And it was fairly quiet in the beginning when we first got here. But I don’t know if that was necessarily just because of Covid, I think it’s just Rhyll, it’s just a little bit offbeat. But a lot of people are starting to discover it now and it’s becoming busier.”

Rhyll is nestled in the northeast corner of Phillip Island, with a population of under 1000 people.

It’s famed as being a quaint fishing hamlet, with a village atmosphere. Wandering through the stunning landscapes and observing the plentiful wildlife is one of the biggest drawcards, as is experiencing the local food and wine. Visitors can also hire a boat and explore the bay.

Marco says he and Ying have injected their personality into My Seaside Café, including sourcing local products.

“Having to adapt to the changes over the Covid period, also available at the café is local produce from Phillip Island and surrounding areas and a selection of homemade cakes.”

My Seaside Café is open Thursday to Monday, 8am – 2.30pm, and is located on Beach Road, and is dog friendly.

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MARCO SCHMIDT & YING PAN Phillip Island | Rhyll

We’re known for Local Lamb & Aged Beef on the bone • Award winning Italian Sausages • Fresh Fish on Friday • Private Livestock Butchery • Spit Roast Catering for all occasions • Bulk Meat Packs.

Weoffer friendlyservice Value&Quality



OPEN: Monday to Friday 7.00am & 5.00pm Saturday 7.00am – 12.30pm

Craig Young’s Butchery 90a Ridgway, Mirboo North Vic 3871 | Tel: 5668 1632

My Seaside Café in Rhyll offers a sumptuous breakfast and lunch and along with their warm friendly service you can enjoy the beautiful views of Westernport Bay, either inside the spacious café or outside under cover.

So if you want to have a break or simply appreciate some time out to relax with a perfect coffee, a delicious bite to eat then head to My Seaside Café located on the esplanade at Rhyll – Phillip

1/9 Beach Road , Rhyll Vic 3923

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gippsland life Winter ���� 33 11-15 River Drive, Tarwin Lower Vic 3956 Phone: 5663 5211 riverviewhotel.au
OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK - 11AM TILL LATE • Lunch 12:00pm - 2:30pm | Dinner 5:.30pm - 8:30pm
Courtesty Bus available • Function room • Live music • Keep an eye out on our socials and website for events & more news

Plenty more to Say

Few people are more passionately immersed in the San Remo and Phillip Island community than Nick and Misha Say.

Words by Chris West | Photos by Doug Pell

The hospitality industry brought Nick and Misha Say together and continues to be the heartbeat of their enduring partnership in marriage and business.

Amongst their business enterprises, the hard-working couple operate The Westernport Hotel at San Remo and are partners in the ownership of Phillip Island Winery at Ventnor. Such a demanding workload would be enough to occupy most people’s time and attention, but Nick and Misha are also involved with a boutique collection of local Airbnb rental properties and are preparing to launch an additional new venture in San Remo.

“We’re about to open a new food store on the strip in San Remo which we’re calling Saint Jules. It’s located in the same premises where we used to operate the Porter Republic café for several years,” Misha reveals.

“Saint Jules will be a place for really good coffee, grab and go food, and beautiful pantry staples. We have sourced lots of nice little brands from Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula to stock, as well as some fabulous local produce. It’s a unique offering for this area and complements what we do at the pub and the winery.”

Nick and Misha came to San Remo in 2005 after acquiring The Westernport and soon fell in love with the area. Nick grew up on the Mornington Peninsula, whilst Misha hails from the King Valley region in north-east Victoria.

Their paths first crossed at the Geebung Polo Club in Hawthorn, which has since been renamed the Auburn Hotel. Nick was managing the pub when Misha became a staff member.

Nick had gained his grounding in hospitality working in the USA and UK in the late 1990s.

“I had actually studied Phys. Ed. at university here before going travelling overseas but when I came back in 1999 decided to remain in hospitality instead,” he explains.

After working at the prestigious Portsea Hotel for a couple of years as Assistant Manager, he left to join a pub group in Melbourne and started managing the Geebung Polo Club.

Meanwhile, Misha had also been travelling overseas for a couple of years after deferring her university studies in remedial therapy and was in Spain when she flew back for a girlfriend’s wedding. Coming home made her realise how much she missed Australia and she decided to stay.

“I was living in Hawthorn and in need of a job. The Geebung was the closest pub and Nick happened to be running it,” she recalls.

Misha was hired and the pair hit it off as colleagues. Their easy and harmonious working relationship soon blossomed into romance.

“Things with us happened pretty quickly. We were engaged and married within eighteen months,” Misha notes.

The couple had very clear plans as newlyweds. They wanted to operate their own pub and also to start a family.

“We began looking at venues within an hour and a half radius of Melbourne, places like Torquay and the Mornington Peninsula,” Misha remembers.

“We love our live music and community pubs. We wanted to be somewhere near the water in a nice little community, but places that tick all those boxes are not easy to find.”

The Westernport Hotel in San Remo, located on Marine Parade just metres from the water alongside the bridge to Phillip Island, became available for sale. It was the right fit and price for their budget. Neither Nick nor Misha knew much about the area but took the plunge and commenced their first business venture together 19 years ago.

“We lived at the pub at first when we came to Sanny, but soon moved to a house around the corner before later buying a farm up the top of Potters Hill Road which became our home for around fourteen years,” Misha says.

Within a year of their arrival in San Remo the couple’s first daughter, Evie, had been born, followed two years later by Willow.

Under Nick and Misha’s guidance for almost two decades, The Westernport has gone from strength to strength. The pub has a family friendly atmosphere which ensures a strong and loyal local following.

The Westernport’s menu is described as “good pub food done well” and caters to different dietary requirements. There is an indoor playground and amusement games to keep the kids entertained.

The pub also offers accommodation for visitors to the area, with several Queen-sized rooms available at a very affordable rate.

Nick says part of the stamp he and Misha have put on The Westernport has been developing the strength of the pub’s community focus and its live music offering.

“We have live music every Friday, Saturday and Sunday all year round, and try to make sure the three weekly sessions are different in their style,” he comments.

“Friday evenings are usually more laid-back acoustic, Saturday evenings will generally be local bands and touring acts, whilst Sunday afternoons might have a blues flavour.”

During their time at The Westernport, Nick and Misha have branched out into several other business ventures in partnership with family and friends.

The couple’s strategy has never been to put all their eggs in the one basket. They firstly joined forces with Misha’s sister Kyra and her husband Dan Leary in setting up the Porter Republic café.

“Ky and Dan have been a big part of nearly everything Nick and I have done,” Misha says.

“Dan is a builder and Ky is a back of house extraordinaire. They are involved with our accommodation offering called La Casa Collective, which is a small cluster of local Airbnb properties, and are also partners with us and another couple, Tim and Bec Newman, in Phillip Island Winery.”

Just prior to buying the winery six years ago, the three couples established what is now The Store in Ventnor, a gourmet café which at the time was called The Shed.

“The winery opportunity came about because one of the regular customers at The Store owned it and was selling. He liked what the girls were doing at The Store and saw some synergy there, so approached us,” Nick says.

“We were looking to do something more in the event space, so the six of us decided to take it on. We overlapped with the winery for a short time before selling The Store.”

Under previous owners Tim and Trish O’Brien the winery had accumulated a loyal following, and although the property was trading at the time of the sale, it lay in a dormant state from a fruit growing perspective.

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“We tried for the first twelve months to bring the vines back, but there ended up being no option other than to take a longer-term view and basically start again,” Nick explains.

In deciding the allocation of what fruit to plant, the Says and their partners opted for an even spread of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

“It made sense for us to showcase what the region is known for,” Nick says.

“We source fruit locally where we can for the remainder and are so fortunate in that all the local vineyards have been amazing with their support.”

Under the new vision and direction of Nick and Misha and their partners since taking over, Phillip Island Winery’s growing reputation has been built on three key brand pillars – The Food. The Wine. The Times.

The winery’s cellar door ‘The Yards’ is open daily, and its restaurant welcomes diners from Wednesday to Sunday. Customers can also shop online for a variety of excellent wines satisfying all tastes at www. phillipislandwinery.com.au at any time.

“Our weddings and events space is also super busy and booked into 2026,” Nick reveals.

“Looking ahead, the next phase for the winery will be to look at developing an accommodation offering.”

Despite the initial setback with having to start the time-consuming process of producing fruit from scratch, Nick says the winery is going extremely well and has exceeded their expectations overall.

“What makes it even more exciting is I think there’s still a lot of blue sky to come with the winery,” he remarks.

“Each of the partners bring very different skill sets to the table, which has worked well. It’s been very organic. We all just play to our strengths.”

Misha agrees.

“I think what we do really well is create spaces with everyone in mind, whether they be younger, older, and groups or individuals. We’ve managed to be very inclusive,” she suggests.

In launching their new food store venture, Nick and Misha have again teamed in partnership with Ky and Dan. For the past year, the premises on the strip at San Remo which are now home to Saint Jules had been temporarily utilised as an extension of Phillip Island Winery’s cellar door The Yards.

Nick & Misha Say

Misha says they are trying to position the food offering at Saint Jules so that it is not competing with existing local business.

“We’ve identified a gap to create a niche offering that suits the town as well as us,” she comments.

“I think with any of our projects the reason we do them is that they don’t yet exist down here. We’re not trying to replicate anything that’s already been done. The population in this area is exploding and there’s a lot more weekend locals coming down to their holiday houses. They want the same quality of hospitality experiences they’re accustomed to in Melbourne, so I believe there will be a strong appetite for what Saint Jules is going to offer, not only from visitors but from our locals as well.”

The Say family have also had a change of home, moving a short distance to a spacious rural property on the river at Bass eighteen months ago.

“We’re really enjoying it there. It’s so beautiful,” Misha states.

“We’ve renovated the house we’re living in on the farm, but there is another farmhouse and dairy with a lot of potential,” she adds.

With so much on their plate, Nick and Misha say no two days are ever the same.

“We’re really lucky that we have great teams of staff in all our businesses who are so passionate in what they do,” Nick states.

“The key is making sure we have the right people in the right spots,” he adds.

Misha says the combination of the loyalty of their staff, the cohesiveness in their teams and their ability to buy into her and Nick’s philosophies and values also makes their job easier in overseeing their different businesses.

“We are fortunate to have such a great network around us. Our families are amazing. My mum worked for Brown Brothers for years and is now working at the winery and pub. Both our daughters work in our businesses and are very active on the food and entertainment side of the pub,” she notes.

Within their busy schedule, Nick and Misha also find time to contribute to the wider community at every opportunity. From the moment they arrived in San Remo, a desire to be good neighbours has always been top of the their agenda.

“Nick won’t ever give himself enough credit, but he is so prolific in his contribution to the community,” Misha emphasises.

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Amongst many endeavours, Nick is involved in the local Traders Association and helped develop the TIDAL Seafood Festival, which is now in its fourth year. The 2024 event is scheduled across three days from 20th-22nd September.

“It’s a really good opportunity to showcase San Remo and ties in all the history of the town’s connection to the fishing industry,” he comments.

“The Festival Committee, headed up by Craig Edmonds from Jim’s Bait and Tackle, put in an incredible amount of work to make it a success.”

Nick is also the co-founder of the Handsome Men’s Club, a locally-based mental health initiative which started in 2019 over a beer with a mate.

“We try to organise a couple of lunches or social outings each year, which provide an opportunity for blokes to get together, touch base and check in for the benefit of their mental health. It’s growing each year and also provides an outlet to raise funds for different charities,” he explains.

Nick is also a local CFA volunteer and has shown his willingness to lend a hand in other kinds of emergency situations further afield, including a remarkable fundraising effort to assist people affected by the floods in South East Queensland and the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales in March 2022.

“When events like that occur, everyone wants to do something but often people don’t know how best to help,” he says.

“We reached out on our Phillip Island Winery and Westernport Hotel Facebook pages requesting donations of goods and money, and decided to take what we collected straight to the source.”

Nick and Misha were joined by two of their winery partners, Tim and Bec Newman, in driving two cars with trailer loads of goods up towards Lismore.

“We didn’t know what we were heading into, but the response was amazing,” Nick recalls.

“We delivered the goods and money to a community hall at Wardell about twenty-five minutes from Lismore, where a couple of young volunteers were coordinating the effort. We ended up helping out up there for two or three days.”

Reflecting on how wonderfully their life in San Remo has unfolded from both a professional and personal perspective, Nick says he and Misha didn’t expect that their move there would be a permanent one when they first arrived.

“We only had a two to five-year plan when we bought the pub,” he reveals.

“Mish and I had a house on the Peninsula at the time, but very quickly realised that everything we were looking for was down here. We absolutely love being part of such a great community.”

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gippsland life Winter ���� 41 Bar & Bistro | Functions | Beer garden | Takeaway & Delivery Online Ordering | Live Sports | Specialising in Dietary Requirements VotedNo.1 People’sHotelinVictoria AwardChoice


1874 - 2024

Held 19 - 21 April, 2024

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ANNIVERSARY ~ 1874 - 2024

We pride ourselves on our service, and hope once you've visited you'll return again and again. Finalists in the AHA State Awards for Excellence, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024.


• Indoor dining room area and outdoor dining tables • Fully stocked Bottleshop.

• Public Bar area, and accompanied by beer garden • A variety of beers on tap, including Guinness and Furphy

• Dogs are welcome outside and on lead • We also stock a range of Poowong Hotel merchandise, including T-shirts, Hoodies, Beanies, Stubby Holders and Stickers! Check out our facebook page for upcoming events, held regularly.

Opening Hours

Mondays and Tuesdays: From 2:30pm onwards | Wednesday to Sunday: From 11am until late. Meal Times ~ Lunch (Wednesday to Sunday): 12pm to 2:30pm ~ Dinner (Wednesday to Saturday): 5:30pm to 8:30pm

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Situated in the centre of beautiful Poowong in the South Gippsland region of Victoria, The Poowong Hotel is run by hosts, Fiona and Ben, who welcome all with comforting food, good drink and hearty conversation.
1 Ranceby Road, Poowong 3988 | Phone: 5659 2351 | www.thepoowonghotel.com.au www.facebook.com/poowonghotel


Newcombe Poowong Powerhouse

Hawthorn midfielder Jai Newcombe took an unconventional route on his rise from the Poowong Football Club to the top flight of the AFL.

Words by Chris West | Photos courtesy of the Hawthorn Football Club

Footballers are often bred tough in the country. Jai Newcombe is a perfect example – strong, robust and determined – but the 22-year-old is far more than a one-dimensional workhorse. He has quickly become a vital cog in the Hawks’ midfield engine room and a huge part of their future plans.

Newcombe burst onto the AFL scene in June 2021 when he was selected by Hawthorn with Pick 2 in the mid-season draft following a short but impressive stint with the club’s VFL affiliate Box Hill.

The following week he was thrust straight into the Hawthorn team to make his AFL debut against the Sydney Swans at the SCG and set tongues wagging by laying 14 tackles, the most ever recorded in the competition by a player in their first match, as the Hawks enjoyed an upset 38-point victory.

It had been an unusual pathway Newcombe had taken from the Ellinbank & District Football League with the Poowong Magpies to reach the top ranks of the AFL with Hawthorn, the club he had supported growing up.

“There were times from about sixteen to eighteen years of age when it seemed more unlikely than likely that I would make it,” he admits.

It wasn’t until Newcombe was close to turning twenty that he eventually succeeded in graduating to the AFL ranks with Hawthorn three years ago, becoming only the fourth player from the Poowong Football Club since its formation in 1889 to reach the sport’s highest level.

Newcombe’s earliest memory of football at Poowong is a vague recollection of seeing his father Clint play in the club’s last Senior premiership victory in 2003.

“I would have only been two years old when they won that Grand Final. There are photos of a few of us watching by the fence and although I was very young some slight memory of that day has stayed with me,” he comments.

Growing up in Poowong, Newcombe says life in the small South Gippsland country township was “pretty much sport the whole way” from a young age. His parents were both heavily involved at the local club, dad Clint playing football and mum Heather a netballer with the Poowong Magpies.

As a boy Newcombe loved to kick the football around in winter. Like every kid, he hoped to one day reach the big league. He also played cricket in summer and basketball all year round.

“I got involved with the Auskick footy program at Poowong when I was about five,” he recalls.

“Poowong didn’t have a junior club in those days, so I started my football nearby at Hallora when I was seven. I played for three years at Under 10 level and always played up in age group the whole way through until I finished there in the Under 14s and moved to Poowong for the Under 16s.”

Newcombe showed enough talent and maturity to be playing in the Seniors at Poowong while still at Under 18 level.

“Looking back, I think it certainly helped me competing against men and bigger bodies from a young age,” he suggests.

“I had the opportunity to play one game with my dad, as well as my uncle Peter van’t Hof and cousin Mitchell in the Reserves one year which was pretty cool.”

Newcombe acknowledges some of the leaders who welcomed him into the club and were influential in his progression and development as a footballer.

“Ted Attenborough was a big one. He and Russell McNally were my two main coaches there,” he remarks.

Attenborough has been involved at the club in many roles on and off the field for over fifty years and served as President from 2016 until vacating the post this year.

“Playing in the Senior team, Matt Cozzio was someone you could go to who was always willing to help, as was Jameel Knecht,” Newcombe continues.

“They were a couple of local guys in particular who had faith in the younger boys and backed them in and were always good to me.”

Staying relatively under the radar playing for Poowong, Newcombe was overlooked by Gippsland Power until selected for the squad in 2020, but the season was cancelled due to the COVID pandemic. He also nominated for the AFL draft but was not selected.

“It wasn’t ideal at the time but eventually ended up working out pretty well. Looking back, I probably didn’t have as much of a burning desire to make the AFL than many of the best footballers around my age. I was playing mainly for fun,” Newcombe concedes.

“Having missed out on the main boat with the draft and a lot of the normal pathways as a junior, I realised that I was going to have to take some slightly different steps to most if I were to get there. But I decided that if any opportunities presented, I would try to make the most of them.”

Fortunately, an ultimately career-defining opportunity did arise for Newcombe when he was invited to train with VFL club the Box Hill Hawks just prior to the pandemic hitting. He was invited back in November after the lockdowns lifted and showed enough in pre-season training to be signed by Box Hill for the club’s 2021 campaign under the eye of coach Sam Mitchell.

gippsland life Winter ���� 47

Newcombe Jai

At the time, Newcombe was undertaking an apprenticeship with Allchin Builders in Warragul, which meant long commutes and considerable sacrifices to be able to train and play at Box Hill. He continued to work but it was not long before he became a full-time professional footballer. Hawthorn was monitoring his progress closely, and he was soon to be plucked from relative obscurity and elevated onto their list.

“I only played about six or seven games with Box Hill before the 2021 mid-season draft when Hawthorn picked me. It all happened very quickly,” Newcombe recalls.

“I think I worked the day I got drafted and then didn’t go in the next day. That was the end of it as far as the building apprenticeship was concerned. My boss Leigh Allchin was very good about it. He’d always let me leave early for training and take some time off to play in pre-season games. He looked after me really well and I am very thankful to him.”

Watching proudly in the stands at the SCG when Newcombe made his AFL debut for Hawthorn against Sydney on 11th June 2021 were his parents and younger sister Macy.

Wearing the number 44 jumper made famous by champion onballer John Platten back in the 1980s and 90s, Newcombe instantly became a new favourite amongst Hawthorn fans who appreciated the energy and power the solidly-built 187 centimetre midfielder brought to the team.

In his second season in 2022, with his former mentor from Box Hill, Sam Mitchell, now in charge at Hawthorn after replacing Alastair Clarkson as coach, Newcombe gained an AFL Rising Star nomination and finished runner-up in the voting for Hawthorn’s Best & Fairest Award, the Peter Crimmins Medal. Proving he was no flash in the pan, he followed up with another stellar season in 2023, again finishing runner-up in the Crimmins Medal count.

Newcombe also had a number switch in 2023, being given the honour of wearing the club’s revered number 3 jumper previously worn by its greatest ever footballer, Leigh Matthews for much of his celebrated career with the Hawks during the 1970s and early to mid-80s.

“To get Leigh’s number was really special,” Newcombe says.

“There’s been a lot of great players wearing number 3 at the club. I grew up watching Jordan Lewis in that jumper and then Tom Mitchell had it, so it’s pretty cool to have that number on my back now. I’ve had the chance to chat with Johnny Platten a few times and know that he was a bit sad when I moved on from 44 to 3, but it’s pretty amazing and quite humbling really to have already had the opportunity to wear both numbers linked with such past greats of this footy club.”

Although now living in Melbourne, Newcombe returns home to Poowong as regularly as possible.

“I try to get back a couple of times a month,” he says.

“I’m pretty lucky that mum and dad come to most of my games, so I get to catch up with them virtually every week during the football season.”

Newcombe says nothing ever changes drastically in Poowong between each visit.

“Life is pretty relaxed there. It’s where I grew up for the first nineteen years of my life, so going home always feels normal for me.”

As a young boy, Newcombe would walk to the local primary school and later took the bus to attend high school in Drouin. Although they didn’t cross paths through their education, Newcombe’s girlfriend Georgia is also a country lass from Gippsland.

“We went to different schools but in the same area and ended up meeting through friends,” he reveals.

father Clint says the whole club is proud of his son’s achievements to date at Hawthorn.

“Jai’s progress in the AFL is followed closely by the locals here and always an interesting point of conversation around the place. I’m not sure everyone thought he was going to go as far as he has with his football, but he was able to hold his own at senior level in his junior years,” he comments.

“He’s still just your typical country kid at heart who loves his sport and spending time with his mates.”

Despite Hawthorn having faced a challenging start to the 2024 AFL season, Newcombe is looking forward to the prospect of what lays ahead in his career.

“There’s something pretty exciting building within our playing group. We are young but are developing, and there’s a lot of upside,” he states.

“You can see the potential. The back half of last season was really strong, and we’ve shown we can compete with top sides when we’re committed to what we’re trying to achieve. The future is definitely bright.”

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Speaking not only as a parent but also as the current Secretary of the Poowong Football and Netball Club Committee, Newcombe’s
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Through the ages Poowong


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Through the ages Poowong

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Milk runs through the heart of Poowong

If Heather Ewart from the ABC’s Back Roads program could bring her camera and production crew to Poowong for a good story, they would find a growing, cohesive, strongly rural ‘can do’ community in the heart of South Gippsland.

Poowong was founded on McDonalds Track, the main road of the day 150 years ago. Now, the town is flanked by the Princes Highway to the north and the South Gippsland Highway to the south. Farming has evolved from the family farm with its Jerseys, Ayrshires and Friesians, grey Fergy tractors, pigs, potatoes and onions… to bigger dairy farms, beef farms and smaller rural lifestyle holdings. Milk however, continues to run through the veins of Poowong.

Perched on a plateau of seriously productive soil, Poowong ‘milks cows’ like no other postcode. This agricultural success is the basis for a quiet self-confidence that has given the town assets to be proud of.

This is the Poowong story highlighting some of the people who work tirelessly behind the scenes for the betterment of the town.

Typical of the disappearing family farm is Keith and Heather Fort. They grew up in Melbourne, came to Poowong and prospered. They enjoyed the challenges of farming. They reared a family, they grew and they gave back. Keith, amongst many other things he and his late wife supported, did the gate and the bar for the footy club for 40 years.

Their son Peter has serviced the farming community all his working life. He now manages the local dairy company caring for 145 suppliers. Competition is keen for milk; his company is heavily involved and well connected to the broader Gippsland dairy community.

The Motton connection to Poowong dates back seven generations. Poowong has endured some serious setbacks during that time. Initial settlers were prone to accident, misadventure and setback... and the bushfires of the late 1800s were devastating. World wars have borrowed many of Poowong’s best, returning less in number than those borrowed. Covid was a mere blimp compared to the aforementioned.

Russell Motton was MC for the town’s 150th birthday celebrations. While some would consider picking up the microphone as adequate homework for the position of host, Russell and his equally qualified wife Glenys were forensically thorough in their preparation.

Who else could bring out (amongst other snippets) the full list of every truck, every driver, every registration plate that helped turn ‘the football ground’ from sausage shape into MCG proportions. Russell led the project and he is still amazed (20 years on) at the community and the broader communities support. At one stage 18 local tractors were spreading soil delivered by donated tip trucks seemingly from every business in South Gippsland.

Chris Lancey is typical of the new era of dairy farming. His family company runs Mt Lyall Dairies producing millions of litres of milk on some of the land originally farmed by soldier settlers.

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The soldier settlers grew old and dairying failed to attract the next generation. Rotary platforms have replaced walk-through dairies, refrigerated tankers have replaced milk cans and machinery and technology have superseded manual labour. This is the modern version of the dairy industry.

Newcomers to Poowong are Henrik and Robyn Dichmann and their Danish Bake and Smokehouse. They arrived permanently in Poowong three years ago but their arrival is many years in the making. Henrik’s countrymen settled the Poowong East/Triholm district many years previously. They were predominantly dairy farmers. The Danish celebrations required the flavours of the homeland… enter Danish Bake and their smoked meats and pastries. Henrik and Robyn liked what they saw.

The Poowong district has been well served by immigrants, the Danish, the British, the Europeans and now the New Zealanders have all added to local culture. Multi-culture in the cowshed.

Jim Forbes spruiks for Poowong. He came to Poowong in the seventies with an environmental science degree and a dairy farming ambition. He went one step further with his Mansfield Park Holstein Stud. He’s part farmer, part political animal, part choreographer and art director for Poowong’s endless volunteers in readiness for their birthday celebrations. He’s been on most of the town’s committees. Jim averages more than a decade on each. He’s a whirlwind.

Jim served as a South Gippsland Shire Councillor for 10 years. He preserves the strong connection Poowong has had with the Shire. Poowong has been well served by some very good elected representatives at Shire level. Jim had a tilt at Federal politics and once enjoyed a strong connection with former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser.

Jim mentions the school as a time honoured town asset, reels off names like Blackmore, Solly, Coxon and others who gave the school (and the town) both education and stability. He nudges me to also include the abattoirs in any story about Poowong.

The abattoirs are an economic and practical asset to the town. The current owners arrived 20 years ago and have operated successfully since.

Their workforce numbers more than 150 and they deal with up to 500 animals a day. The animals, like the workforce, are sourced mainly from Gippsland but when circumstances dictate it’s common to see consignments of cattle from interstate.

Noel and Laurie Gregg freely admit that the farming community with their financial muscle and community spirit have been the foundation for many a project. Noel’s eyes light up when he describes farmers with machinery, their knowledge of the town and their ability to think big. He and the farmers, relish a challenge. The swimming pool and the basketball stadium stand testament to past community efforts.

The local Lions club has consumed Noel’s later life. He credits Ray Douglas, Rex Motton and Alan Roberts with the establishment of the Strzelecki Lions. He takes care to point out that Strzelecki Lions embrace the areas of Poowong, Loch, Nyora and Athlone. A strategic move to serve more, not less.

The Lions run the annual Dairy Expo attracting the broader Gippsland dairy farmer. They run the monthly Loch market providing social opportunity and generating many dollars for community projects. The Lions supported the medical journey of one of their member’s grandsons. Strez Lions are modest but proud of their input into the community.

Noel’s wife, Laurie is equally committed to the spirit of the community. She remembers, as a newlywed and being totally foreign to milking cows, the time her husband had a farm accident.

“All the neighbours rallied round, I will never forget their assistance,” Laurie said.

Laurie has written books on aspects of Poowong history, enjoys the journey of the community vegetable garden and joins in with 30 others each Wednesday morning at the town’s ‘pop up’ coffee shop. Rev. Gavin Sharpe coined the name Mya Mya Café (meaning shelter). The lure of coffee invites all age groups from all sectors for a cuppa, warm acceptance and friendship at very reasonable rates.

The Mya Mya Café is a Poowong version (a forerunner to) the worldwide Chatty Café phenomenon.

Heather Gregg is another of Poowong’s history buffs. Heather has written many books and been a constant on many of Poowong’s committees.

Just like the Attenborough’s, the Watsons, the Folletts, the Mandemakers, Loughridge, Miller, McKay, Notman, Cecil, Halliday and Hancock. Names synonymous with Poowong.

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Milk runs through the heart of Poowong

Not all projects in Poowong are macro. The footballers and netballers do the town proud on a weekly basis. The Garden club sponsored the community garden and uncovered the CEO of Community Gardens Australia in the process. Mass plantings of marigolds put colour in Poowong’s main street. The Beverly garden with its farmyard of perfectly behaved animals attracts plenty of attention. The Beverlys mention the potato fundraisers that underpinned many of the bigger town projects years ago.

Initiatives like Cows Create Careers and Gut Health awareness, the movie Kenny with its toilet humour, the packhorse and other sculptures and a change of name for an historic laneway add diversity and depth to the Poowong story.

Slaughterhouse Lane is now Gardner Lane, ‘politically perfect’ and renamed presumably to successfully delay the animal’s knowledge of destination for another minute or two. Maybe not.

One of the nicest rural subtleties is having John in the Post Office being on a first name basis with all 400 of his post office clients. A new 100-lot subdivision on the edge of town will ‘add to his mailing list’. This expected influx provides both opportunity and optimism for Poowong’s continued measured growth.

Poowong’s coat of arms might announce ‘familia, terra, communitas’ – the Latin equivalent of Family, Farm and Community.

It’s an evolving success story, 150 years down the track.

Poowong has many great community minded families and individuals. Space prevents including them all.

The new Poowong History book and other Poowong publications are available from the Poowong Post Office, or Jenny 0407 675 685, or poowong@live.com

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Melbourne on the South Gippsland Highway. The town is located amongst the picturesque rolling foothills of the Strzelecki Ranges.

The town was a significant black coal mining centre in the late 1800s, but as that industry declined, Korumburra turned to dairying due to its rich soils and reliable rainfall, allowing cattle to graze on fertile, green pastures all year round. Burra Foods operate a large factory in Korumburra, producing a diverse range of dairy products.

The shopping sector chiefly runs along the wide boulevard of Commercial Street, which offers restaurants, cafes, bars and a hotel where you can stop for your favourite drink and delicious meal. More shops extend along adjoining Bridge Street and Mine Road, while the local supermarket is accessed via South Railway Crescent.

There are several parks and reserves located within the town. Off Bridge Street is Korumburra Botanic Park where visitors can enjoy pleasant areas of lawn in a semi-bush environment with a large variety of trees. Olsen's Walk follows the banks of Coalition Creek through the park and across several footbridges. Coleman Park, in Queen Street, has a playground, outdoor pool and shady picnic areas.

One of Korumburra's main attractions is Coal Creek Historical Park and Museum, where you can step back in time at this historic village and park, which recreates everyday life in South Gippsland during the pioneering days of 1870s to 1920s.

Korumburra is the starting point of the Great Southern Rail Trail. This 87 kilometre walking, cycling and horse riding trail extends south-east to Port Welshpool, passing through a number of small towns, which offer callers refreshments and attractions such as wineries, galleries and antique shops.

Korumburra is centrally located to a number of attractions in the area including the picturesque Strzelecki Ranges and also Wilsons Promontory National Park which is 75 kilometres away via Leongatha and Meeniyan. A drive north along the road to Warragul passes the Korumburra Golf Course, set within the picturesque rolling hills.

Burra Brewing Co
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Step into the heritage hub of South Gippsland, that is Korumburra. As the winter haze blankets the region, Korumburra shifts gears from a summer sanctuary to a winter wonderland. From cosy cafes and eclectic shopping to crisp walking tracks and trails, here is your guide to a wonderful winter weekend in Korumburra.

You’ll find comfort and warmth from your pick of one of Korumburra’s inviting eateries. Let the earthy aroma of freshly brewed coffee thaw you out as you indulge in a hearty meal or a freshly baked sweet treat. While you eat and drink your way through the town, be sure to make a pit stop at one of the well-established brew houses or wineries. Here you’ll taste the craft of South Gippsland’s passionate growers and makers, who are responsible for the region’s blooming drink scene.

Be aware, the chill in the air does not discourage Korumburra’s vibrant community spirit from getting out in full force. In fact, the winter brings locals and visitors together at markets and events. The cooler season is celebrated with live music, local cuisine and a whole lot of fun. You’ll feel the warmth of the community throughout your stay in Korumburra.

Korumburra is conveniently located within easy driving distance from Melbourne, making it an ideal winter escape for city dwellers seeking a change of scenery. Places to stay range from cosy bed and breakfasts to country-side cottages, providing the perfect retreat after a day of exploring. If you’re seeking a romantic getaway or a family adventure, Korumburra promises a winter getaway filled with character and charm.

A significant drawn card of Korumburra, is its breathtaking natural landscape. Lace up your sneakers and immerse yourself in the crisp country air as you embark on one of the many walking tracks and trails that weave in and around the town. Alternatively, hop in the car to enjoy the Arawata Scenic drive. The pleasant 25-minute drive, journeys between the townships of Korumburra and Leongatha.

Stop at Lancey’s Lookout and enjoy a bite to eat from the comfort of your car as you enjoy the panoramic views over the local reservoirs or pack a picnic and spend a leisurely day at one of the nearby parks or reserves.

Shop local and pick up unique souvenirs by exploring Korumburra’s eclectic mix of shops and boutiques. From handmade crafts and artisanal goods to vintage finds and antiques, there’s something for everyone to discover. Take home a piece of Korumburra’s charm as a memento of your visit or as a thoughtful gift for a special friend or family member.

On days when the weather is less than favourable, Korumburra offers plenty of indoor attractions to keep you entertained. Explore the town’s museums, galleries, and heritage site, where you can learn about the area’s rich history and cultural heritage. From interactive exhibits to hands-on activities, there’s something for visitors of all ages to enjoy, making it the perfect way to spend a winter day in Korumburra.

Embrace the magic of winter in Korumburra, where every moment is an opportunity to discover beauty, warmth, and wonder in the heart of regional Victoria.


 Enjoy the Coal Creek Farmers Market Held the second Saturday of every month from 8.00am to 12.30pm.

 Embark on a self-guided drinks trail.

 Check out the main shopping strip.

 Visit Coal Creek Community Park and Museum.


 Embark on a scenic drive exploring the near-by villages on the Bena-Poowong-Loch Loop.

 Enjoy a short yet picturesque walk at the Leongatha Wetlands (10-minute drive).

 Unleash your inner artist at one of the nearby pottery studios.

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62 gippsland life Winter ���� Celebrating 125 years of 21st of April, 2024
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Kept Secret

Korumburra’s Public Park is a hidden gem, it is located behind the main shopping precinct of the town and features a large variety of trees, many named and labelled, along with the Paradise Falls.

Follow the road in from the gates and you will find a small car park, there are picnic tables and shelters throughout the park and is a great venue for families, group events and people who like to take a leisurely stroll. You can even take your dog for a walk provided the dog is on a leash.

The deciduous trees are most impressive with magnificent oaks, cedars, and elms dispersed between equally impressive native eucalypts.

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Unveiled in November of last year, Myli’s Korumburra Library, designed by the renowned Francis-Jones Carpenter Studio, has become a cherished space for residents of all ages.

Affectionately dubbed as ‘The Library in the Trees’ within the Korumburra Community Hub, this multipurpose building not only houses the library but also serves as a hub for various community services.

The Korumburra Library offers a blend of contemporary design and functionality. Its striking architecture, featuring large windows and a balcony, creates an inviting atmosphere conducive to both quiet study and communal activities. Upon entering, visitors are greeted by an extensive collection of books curated to cater to diverse interests, ensuring there's something for everyone. But the library doesn't stop at just books. It embraces technology with open arms, offering amenities such as free Wi-Fi, video game consoles, and public computers.

As a member of Myli, you've got more than just physical books at your fingertips. Access e- books and e-audiobooks for on-the-go reading and listening pleasure. Stay updated with digital newspapers and magazines, perfect for catching up on the latest news and trends. And when it's movie night, stream your favourite films and documentaries from the comfort of your own home. Plus, keep the kids entertained and educated with our online children's activities. With these digital perks, your library membership opens up a whole new world of entertainment and learning opportunities!

The Korumburra Library caters to the diverse age groups within the community by hosting a wide array of events and activities. From Story Time and Baby Rhyme Time sessions for children, to school holiday events, the Books and Snacks Youth Book Group, and monthly movie screenings suitable for adults, there is always something exciting happening within its walls.

For those seeking a quiet space for study or work, the library provides designated areas equipped with public computers. Patrons can check out books via the self-loan kiosks or be assisted at the desk by one of our friendly team. Tea and coffee facilities add to the inviting atmosphere, encouraging patrons to relax with a warm cuppa.

Open Monday to Friday from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm and Saturdays from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, the Korumburra Library is more than just a place to borrow books; it is a vibrant hub for the community to connect, belong and learn.

For more information about the Korumburra Library and its services, visit myli.org.au or call 1800 44 6954.

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Korumburra Library A Community Hub for Learning

and Connection

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68 gippsland life Winter ���� COAL CREEK COMMUNITY PARK & MUSEUM
21 APRIL 2024
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Coming soon to the stunning building at 63-67 Commercial Street, Korumburra!

The Coterie Korumburra – comprising:

The Coterie – Café & Wine Bar | Tsuko Japan – Japanese Café | Ocean & Stone – Interior Décor

Opening at the end of May – just in time to warm yourself by the fire for winter!

Check our insta pages for updates @thecoteriekorumburra | @__oceanandstone | @tsuko_japan


Korumburra Makers & Collectors is a beautiful community space – a boutique indoor market that is home to the work of over 50 talented, eclectic and vibrant individuals.

Proudly boasting an incredible selection of art, crafts, jewellery, vintage, antiques, collectables and pre loved fashion.

Open 7 days a week 10am to 4pm ph | 0455 287 127 55 Commercial Street Korumburra


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In March of this year, Coal Creek Community Park and Museum proudly marked its 50th year of preserving the heritage and history of South Gippsland. Since its inception in 1972, the museum has served as a living tribute to the 19th century and the origins of the region. Through immersive exhibits, interactive experiences, and authentic heritage buildings, Coal Creek continues to educate and inspire visitors of all ages, offering a glimpse into the past while celebrating the present.

To commemorate this significant milestone, Coal Creek hosted A Birthday in the Park, inviting the community to celebrate the rich and expansive timeline of the Park. From historical demonstrations, and historical dress ups to live music and family-friendly activities, the event captured the essence of Coal Creek, honouring the past, celebrating the present and igniting community spirit. Visitors were treated to a nostalgic journey through time, with highlights including demonstrations from a blacksmith, wheelwright, bootmaker and spinner, and traditional games such as croquet.

Coal Creek Farmers Market

Every month, locals and visitors alike flock to Coal Creek to experience its renowned farmers market, a celebration of locally sourced produce, artisanal crafts, and warm community connection.

As you meander through the market, you are greeted by the welcoming sights and sounds of stall holders setting up and eager to showcase their goods. From freshly baked bread, locally grown fruit and vegetables, to enticing fragrance of handmade candles and soaps, the Coal Creek farmers market offers a little something for everyone.

South Gippsland plays host to many markets, emphasising sustainability and support for local farmers and artisans. Farm-fresh eggs and handcrafted pottery tells a story of passion, inherit skill and a deep connection to the land.

In addition to the bustling market, visitors to Coal Creek can also explore the regions rich history through guided tours of the historical Park. Heritage displays and exhibitions fill the auditorium and volunteers occupy the heritage buildings like the old general store and, spinning rooms and blacksmith workshop.

Coal Creeks peaceful scenery can also be enjoyed in the park or by the grassed area near the lake where you indulge in a picnic lunch or local market snack.

The market operates on the second Saturday of each month with guided free tours happening at 11.00am and 2.00pm.

So, whether you're seeking local produce, a history buff, or simply seeking an enriching cultural experience, make sure to include Coal Creek on your South Gippsland itinerary. Coal Creek invites you to become part of its story.

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Discover The Old School

A Luxurious Hideaway in South Gippsland

Nestled amidst the enchanting foothills of Hallston, along the idyllic Grand Ridge Road, lies a hidden gem that is perfect for all those seeking an escape from the ordinary. Discover The Old School, where old-world charm meets modern elegance, offering discerning travellers a sanctuary of tranquillity and luxury.

Entering through the gates of The Old School, you are transported to a world of timeless romance and sophistication. Surrounded by deciduous and native gardens, with local wildlife including king parrots, kookaburras and koalas, this meticulously restored 1920s schoolhouse epitomises sophistication and comfort.

Perfect for couples seeking a romantic winter experience or solo travellers yearning for a peaceful haven, The Old School offers a range of indulgent experiences that elevate your stay. Imagine sinking into a bath right by a crackling wood fireplace, feeling the warm embrace of a copper rain shower or losing yourself in a vinyl melody.

With heaps of amenities including an outdoor fire pit, all the main streaming services (Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime), super-fast complimentary Wifi, complimentary breakfast and snacks, and a fully equipped kitchen for culinary delights, every moment at The Old School will be one to remember.

But it's not just the allure of the estate that makes The Old School an idyllic destination. Venture beyond, and you'll discover the charm of nearby villages such as Mirboo North, Loch, Meeniyan and Leongatha, where local culture, food, cafes and markets await. Just a short thirty minute drive away, the stunning shores of Inverloch beckon, offering the perfect backdrop for a day of surfing or relaxation on the beach.

For those with a taste for adventure, the surrounding area offers an array of bush trails and walking tracks, including the famed Great Southern Rail Trail walking track, Mirboo North’s Lyrebird Walk, and the fern-covered Mount Worth State Park trails.

And no visit to South Gippsland would be complete without a journey to the world-famous Wilsons Promontory National Park, where rugged coastline and untouched wilderness promise to captivate the most experienced travellers.

Whether you're seeking solace in the cosy embrace of warmth in winter, or basking in the vibrant sunshine hues of summer, The Old School provides a retreat for all the seasons. Guests enjoy their own private cottage, complete with a beautiful courtyard, private terrace with outdoor seating, and a fire pit - perfect for sharing stories under the stars.

So, why choose The Old School for your next holiday? Because there, amidst the rolling hills of the Strzelecki Ranges, you'll discover more than just your average Airbnb - you'll experience an escape that stays with you long after you've returned home.


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Winter is a warmly welcomed season in South Gippsland, especially in the picturesque town of Mirboo North. As the chill of the season harnesses both the day and night, anticipation fills the air as the annual winter celebration nears. Mirboo North’s Winterfest is a marvel of magical winter wonder. From warmly lit lanterns, scrumptious street food, makers markets, along with fire and ice activities, the Festival has everyone out of hibernation and relishing the atmospheric spectacle that is the Mirboo North Winterfest.

What originated as the Mirboo North Arty Gras, Winterfest became the reimagined, post-Covid celebration you see today. The beating heart of Arty Gras has been retained by locals through the loud and joyful street parade, which continues to boast a vibrant community spirit.

The first ever Winterfest in 2022 saw over 4,000 people flock to the street of Mirboo North on an icy winter’s night to experience a vibrant celebration of community. Moving the event to the middle of the year, the organisers wanted to celebrate brightness and warmth that South Gippslanders forge to navigate the cold dark winter. As night fell and the temperatures dropped, the illuminating glow of the Winterfest cast a sense of enchantment over attendees.

It was a true winter experience. Tastebuds were tantalised with the flavours of the season. The delectable selection of winter warmers ranged from hearty European cuisine to indulgent hot chocolates and mulled wines. The festival atmosphere was also heightened with demonstrations and activities which included live ice sculpting, drum and dance workshops, fire twirlers and live music.

The 2024 Mirboo North Winterfest is guaranteed to delight visitors of all ages. At the heart of this event is the spectacular Ridgway Lantern Parade. Live music, drumming workshops, great food and an artisan market ensures that there’s something for everyone to enjoy as you create cherished memories with friends and family this winter.

So what are you waiting for? Join in the seasonal festivities as Mirboo North comes alive with the spirit of winter. Winterfest is a grand celebration that captures the magic and wonder of the season.

Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor from afar, Mirboo North’s Winterfest promises a magical experience filled with warmth, laughter, and community spirit. Mark it in your calendars, rug up in your cosiest attire and prepare to embrace the magic of winter in this charming town nestled amidst the beauty of South Gippsland.

Save the date! Winterfest will be taking place Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 August 2024. www.mirboonorthwinterfest.com.au

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2 - 8 Broadway Boulevard Traralgon NOW OPEN 7 DAYS 12PM - 5PM [ WEDNESDAYS 12PM - 8PM ] NEW DISPLAY VILLAGE NOW OPEN
gippsland life Winter ���� 79 WINNER 2022 WINNER 2021 Photography by Open2ViewGippsland 03 5176 5997 | info@virtuehomes.com.au | www.virtuehomes.com.au NEW DISPLAY HOME LOCATIONS NOW OPEN 7 DAYS 12PM -5PM | WEDNESDAYS 12PM - 8PM
80 gippsland lifestyle spring ���� 7 Wholesale & Retail Enquiries Welcome Email: service@redimilk.com.au www.facebook.com/redimilk Get Redi! – Redi Milk is delivering to South Gippsland Keep your eye out for Redi Milk’s range now hitting the shelves  Fresh Milk Products  Plant Based Products Including: Almond Milk, Soy Milk, Oat Milk & Hemp Milk  Cold Pressed Juices  Kombucha  Smallgoods  Eggs  Butter  Yoghurts  Cheese  Biogradeable Sugar Cane Straws  Sparkling drinks Your Lounge Your Way 24 Inverloch Road, Wonthaggi Rigby
82 gippsland life Winter ���� 71-77 Chickerell Street, Morwell 3840 P: 5134 6522 E: info@crawfordmarine.com.au www.crawfordmarine.com.au BOATING SINCE 1964 MEMBER Crawford Marine Boating since 1964


‘n’ All

Merry People founder Dani Pearce’s business success is a story of perseverance and belief, with its origins sown on farmland near Leongatha.
Words by Chris West | Photos Courtesy of Merry People

In a flash of inspiration on her way to attend a music festival in her early 20s, a thought entered Dani Pearce’s mind that would ultimately change her life.

“I remember thinking that there wasn’t any sort of gumboot other than those appropriate for wearing on a farm or in the garden. One that was fashionable and would talk to me as a customer. It dawned on me that maybe I had identified a gap in the market, and although it didn’t go any further than just a thought at that time, I really did hope in that moment that someone one day would have the same idea and create a great gumboot,” she recalls.

Dani knew a thing or two about the humble traditional gumboot, having grown up on a farm at Nerrena, a rural locality six kilometres south-east of Leongatha. But as bright as her idea was, she allowed it to quickly fade to a distant memory until unexpectedly resurfacing several years later.

“In my late twenties I was working in banking in Melbourne and doing all the sensible things like saving money and looking to buy a house but felt neither truly happy nor fulfilled in my job. I just wanted something more,” she reflects.

“Coincidentally, I was also needing gumboots again at that time in my life, often having to walk through rain and wet in the Docklands to work. I thought back to that earlier memory of mine about the need for funky, fashionable gumboots. I couldn’t find any I liked anywhere, so thought I’d have a go at doing a business plan and seeing if I could bring this product in my mind to life.”

And succeed she did, with a little guidance and assistance from some selected friends along the way, but mostly through her own determination. Unable to find an Australian manufacturer willing to produce her design in small quantities, Dani started communicating with factories in China in the hope of a more positive response.

Much to the bemusement of her puzzled parents who questioned why she would wish to step out of her comfort zone and look beyond the security of her banking career, Dani took a risk and used her savings to bankroll a trip to China in 2013.

Dealing with Chinese manufacturers posed a number of complexities including language barrier problems, which she ultimately overcame. Dani’s determination paid dividends and eventually resulted in having a sample boot produced that she was happy with. Mission accomplished.

“I had gone to China thinking if it doesn’t work out at least I’ve given it a shot,” she says.

“Upon my return home, I took the sample boot to different retailers around Melbourne, mostly small independent boutiques, introduced myself and asked if they’d stock it. Most said no but enough said yes for me to decide to give it a crack.”

Dani established Merry People at the beginning of 2014. The first order for her fledgling business was a consignment of 4,000 boots in four colours –1,000 of each in navy, maroon/rust, green, and bone white.

“It took me quite a long while to move all those boots,” she remembers.

“I would pack my car and go to various markets in Melbourne and regional Victoria. The city didn’t work well, but I did best at markets on the Mornington Peninsula and down the Surf Coast around Torquay and Lorne.”

Dani also started to gradually expand her network of retail stockists as her unique, colourful boots gained popularity and renown.

From those modest beginnings, Merry People has grown from its inception to become an established business success with international reach. Today the company employees a team of 20 staff members from its base in Abbottsford and has third party warehouses in the UK and USA.


“We’re still growing and continue to create quality products that our customers like,” Dani states.

“We are able to stand on the reputation of our brand and never go on sale,” she adds.

It’s hard to argue against Merry People’s belief that it has developed the world’s best and most stylish ankle boots. Manufactured with handcrafted natural rubber, their boots are 100% waterproof and extremely durable. Inbuilt arch support ensures optimal comfort, as does the soft neoprene lining.

Merry People’s product range caters to adults and kids, offering a selection of styles in a kaleidoscope of colours.

The company’s best-selling Bobbi Boots are ankle boots that are described as the perfect everyday lifestyle gumboot.

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Bobbi Kids gumboots are also available for the little ones. Other popular style alternatives are the Tully Ankle Boots with chunky heels, or the Billie Clog which is a comfortable slip-on alternative to the Bobbi. There are also tall gumboots made to mid-calf and knee-high.

Merry People also has a range of useful accessories including socks, umbrellas, rain hat and a boot care kit.

Customers can shop online via the company’s website (www.merrypeople. com) or in person at various retail outlets throughout Australia, with the majority located in Victoria, and two on the North Island of New Zealand. Online customers have the opportunity to access the availability of free standard shipping and returns within Australia and New Zealand.

In Gippsland, retail shoppers are able to appreciate the quality of Merry People’s products first-hand at Mika & Max boutique in Meeniyan and both Mooka stores in Inverloch and Warragul.

“Mika & Max has been a loyal supporter of mine since the early days, and I formed a connection with Mooka around five years ago after meeting the owners while exhibiting at Farm World at Lardner Park,” Dani says.

Beyond the permanent product range, Merry People has at times offered customers exclusive items including a current collaboration with iconic New Zealand designer Karen Walker on a limited-edition Tully Boot and matching rain jacket.

This year, Dani has also extended Merry People’s established partnership with the Mother’s Day Classic fun run/walk event at step further to create a limited-edition coral pink Bobbi Boot, with 20% of the proceeds of every sale donated to help fund life-saving breast and ovarian cancer research.

The Mother’s Day Classic initiative is typical of Dani’s philanthropic spirit.

“It's incredibly important to me to support organisations or events that make a difference and to give back to the local communities that have helped us to grow,” she emphasises.

Amongst many other community-focused events that Merry People has recently supported are the popular NYE on the Hill music and camping festival held near Loch, and the Inverloch Sounds of Summer festival.

“When I started the business, my motivation was to do something that would give me genuine happiness and fulfilment in life. It’s never been about money,” Dani says.

“Sustainability is also a big part of my desire to a merrier world for everyone. From the outset, I wanted to do business in a way that would impact positively on our people, customers, and suppliers, but also on the earth that our boots are made to explore. Making the business more sustainable, including using more recycled materials and tracking the origin of raw materials to make sure everything is being done in accordance with our standards, is a major focus for me personally and our leadership team.”

Dani has also built her business success around the core values of Authenticity, Kindness, Adventure and Happiness. These values reflect the kind of qualities instilled in her by her parents as a young girl.

“Growing up on

a farm has undoubtedly stood me in good stead in business,” she states.

“After school there were always chores to help my parents with on the farm, even if it was pouring down rain. At the time I thought it was unfair that my school friends got to go home and watch cartoons. Now that I have kids myself, I am grateful for the hard lessons I learned which have helped me as an adult, firstly in work, and then in starting my own business. My upbringing has given me grit and resilience. I don’t stop until the work is done.”

Dani has also inherited her parents’ worldly spirit.

“As well as being a third-generation farmer, my dad was also in a local band called The Electrons that mainly played at pubs and weddings around Gippsland,” she reveals.

“He would go travelling with his musical friends and met mum, who is from India, when they both happened to be in Singapore at the same time. Afterwards he visited her again in India a few times. They got married over there and mum came to Australia to make their home together on the farm in 1982, but their earlier travel adventures have no doubt instilled the same sense in me of wanting to see the world.”

Despite having lived in Melbourne since heading to the city to finish her VCE at a boarding school, Dani has maintained her close ties to Gippsland.

“I have a very strong connection to the area and go home regularly. My three siblings still live around Leongatha and a lot of my friends have moved back there. I’m still good friends with a lot of the girls I grew up with,” she notes.

“Once I get on the South Gippsland Highway, it always feels like I’m going home. I appreciate the more relaxed and slower pace.”

Although Leongatha was home, the town of Inverloch also holds some very special personal significance for Dani. Her husband, Nick proposed to her beside the edge of the coastline at Eagles Nest and afterwards organised a surprise celebration at Dirty Three Wines. The couple also got married at Inverloch’s glamping grounds in 2022.

“I think ours was the last ever wedding held at the glamping grounds,” Dani observes.

“We also spend a couple of weeks in Inverloch every summer renting a house with Nick’s family and always catch up with my family and friends. This year we did it at Easter as well.”

Nick and Dani share the same admirable commitment to pursuing altruistic endeavours within the framework of their professional lives. He was the Co-Founder of Melbourne-based social enterprise HoMie, a notfor-profit streetwear clothing label supporting young people affected by homelessness or hardship.

The couple now have two young children – son Jack, who turns three in July and new baby Georgia, who is only four months old. Dani has been on maternity leave for Georgia’s birth but is currently preparing to return to work firstly on a part time basis before resuming full time at the helm of Merry People later this year.

Reflecting on her first decade in business, if Dani was to nominate a turning point which led to Merry People taking the leap from modest startup to a more professional, thriving concern it would be her decision to undertake a business accelerator program around 2018, which included receiving funding and mentorship.

Learning e-commerce added a further string to Dani’s bow, enabling the entrepreneurial girl from Gippsland to showcase her boots to a global market and help achieve her aim of bringing colour and joy to the world.

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What is so special about being on Phillip Island during winter? Witnessing the arrival of humpback and southern right whales into our coastal waters.

Time to rug up and explore the Phillip Island and Bass Coast Whale Discovery Trail across the southern coast where you can spot a whale and embrace this incredible coastline.

The whale season commences early June to September in this region exciting locals and visitors alike. Whale watching trips commence the 4 June to early August with local operator Wildlife Coast Cruises.

If you prefer to stay on land, explore the Phillip Island and Bass Coast Whale Discovery Trail, featuring some of the finest whale lookouts in the region from Phillip Island to Inverloch. Head out with your binoculars to search for these majestic creatures.

The Island Whale Festival will be held from the 5-7 July with the hub situated in the Berninneit centre in Cowes. Local community and visitors alike have the opportunity to engage in a range of activities that will not only entertain but also allow and encourage an appreciation of the wildlife and habitats of the region.

The weekend is set to feature various events, including talks, live music, whale spotting, whale cruises, Ocean Film Festival screening, pop up art show, craft activities and more! Stay up to date with the latest announcements and program bookings at islandwhales.com.au or on Facebook @islandwhales

For inspiration on cosy winter stays, dining and things to do see visitphillipisland.com.au

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90 gippsland life Winter ���� 134 - 138 Thompson Avenue, Cowes 3922 | Phone: 03 5952 2515 Follow us on Facebook @islandshoesphillipisland island shoes COWES PHILLIP ISLAND Great European Brands Exceptional Quality & Brilliant Customer Service

A few members of the collective A.R.C. (ARTISAN REVIVAL COLLECTIVE) OF ZEN

An amazing workshop and gallery in Cowes, Victoria, showcasing the art of blacksmiths, knifemakers, and a variety of mixed media artists.

Artwork along with handcrafted and handforged giftwares made by Artisan Revival Collective – artisans/makers near and afar - are for sale at ZEN, located at the rear of Pyramid Rock Gallery in the old Collectable Antiques building 150B Thompson Avenue, Cowes, Phillip Island.

Blacksmithing and bladesmithing workshops – book for a full day workshop including lunch – for up to 3 people

OPEN TUESDAY TO SATURDAY 10.30AM TO 5PM AND SUNDAY 10.30AM TO 4PM ALL ENQUIRIES: artisanrevivalcollective@gmail.com  or phone Dara on 0458 232 086 www.facebook.com/groups/1537952380351203 www.instagram.com/arc_of_zen

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Tales from the Deep at Phillip Island

Be Captivated by Whale Season

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Every year, between May and October, there is a great migration of whales from Antarctica to the warmer waters off NSW and Queensland for breeding. One of their favourite stops on their journey is Phillip Island, where they gather for short stays along the Island’s sheltered bays and the surrounding open sea. Humpback and Southern Right whales are the most common species that visit the area, but the occasional pod of Orcas also pass through while foraging.

Humpbacks are the easiest to spot because they spend more time on the surface than any other whale. The species gets its name from a visible hump that appears when the whale arches its back to dive. Individuals are identified from distinct markings on the underside of their tail flukes. They also have a white underside, long flippers (pectoral fins), a small dorsal fin and a rounded blow. Humpbacks are known for their spectacular breaching behaviour and the males of the species sing long complex songs.

Southern rights, on the other hand, are mostly black, lack a dorsal fin, have rounded flippers and a v-shaped blow. During the intensive whaling period of the 1800’s, they were called the ‘right whale’ to catch because of their meat and high oil content, hence their name. Since then, their numbers are slowly recovering. Their slow-moving behaviour makes them easy to spot, and they often approach boats because they are characteristically curious and playful.

Reaching lengths of up to 18 meters, both whales are giants easily spotted from the shore. Cape Woolamai, the Nobbies, and Pyramid Rock are the best location on Phillip Island for whale spotting, but nothing beats seeing them up close from the water. Wildlife Coast Cruises runs daily boat tours that let your experience up close and personal encounter with these amazing cetaceans.

Wildlife Coast Cruises runs two tours throughout the season – the Winter Whale Cruise which looks to circumnavigates Phillip Island, visiting Seal Rocks, and the Dolphin & Whale Cruise that travels along the southern coast of the Island. Both cruises venture out to whale hotspots, with expert skippers sharing fascinating commentary and tips for spotting these magnificent creatures.

These tours are advanced eco certified and promote conservation and appreciation of these magnificent creatures. Marine educators and citizen science volunteers are onboard to share their knowledge and contribute to vital whale research.

During the season there is also the annual Winter Whale Festival where Phillip Island comes alive. This community event brings together locals and visitors for a fun-filled celebration of the whales' migration. Enjoy a range of activities that showcase the amazing wildlife and natural wonders of Phillip Island and the Bass Coast.

So, if you’re looking to experience whales in your backyard make your way down to Phillip Island for an incredible experience.

For more information Wildlife Coast Cruises at 1300 763 739 or visit their informative website www.wildlifecoastcruises.com.au

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Local Family Owned Country Butcher

Local Family Owned Country Butcher

Three generations of Vaux Family owned and operated business since 1977.

• Meeniyan Pantry & Cellar

Smallgoods 82 Whitelaw Street, Meeniyan

• Craig Young’s Butchery Smallgoods 90a Ridgway Mirboo North

• Evans BP Mirboo North

• Evans BP Rosedale

• Rosedale IGA + Liquor

• BP Traralgon East

• Cheffields

• Baw Baw Food Hub

• Gibsons

• Evans BP Wonthaggi

Smallgoods 126 Ridgway Mirboo North

Smallgoods & Fresh Meat 79 Prince Street, Rosedale

Smallgoods & Fresh Meat 19 Prince Street, Rosedale

Smallgoods & Fresh Meat 333 Princes Hwy Cnr Rocla Rd, Traralgon

Smallgoods 24 Masterson Court, Warragul

Smallgoods 156-158 Queen Street, Warragul

Smallgoods 9 Falls Road, Fish Creek

Smallgoods 103-105 McKenzie Street, Wonthaggi

• Evans BP Leongatha Westside Smallgoods 7 Anderson Street, Leongatha

• Evans BP Korumburra

Smallgoods 2-8 Commercial Street, Korumburra

Call now for your Meat & Smallgoods needs or call us to conveniently place your order www.rosedalebutchers.com.au Follow us 32 Prince Street, Rosedale 3847 Ph 5199 2210
Can’t make it to Rosedale Butchers? Why not drop into one of our Gippsland Stockists:

Highlights of the 2024 ANZAC Weekend Air Show at West Sale Air Base April 27-28

You could not have asked for better weather, two glorious days of sunshine and blue skies added to the excitement of the second held ANZAC Weekend Air Show in The Middle of Everywhere. There were massive crowds in attendance on both days, remarkable aerial skills on show by the stunt pilots, and of course, the crème de la crème of our very own RAAF Roulettes who never cease to amaze with their flying skills.

Air Shows always create a buzz of excitement and this was evident with the many air show fans that were there clamouring for seating behind the fences to gain the best view of not only planes, but stunt driving as well.

If you haven’t been to an Air Show before you do not know what you are missing, this is one for the calendar, make sure you mark it down, there is plenty to see and do, but most of all don’t forget your camera.

See you at the next ANZAC Weekend Air Show in The Middle Of Everywhere.

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Photos by Doug Pell Photography

RAAF Roulettes



It’s a long way from New Plymouth on the North Island of New Zealand to the small Gippsland town of Stratford and it has taken Gavin Roberts many unexpected turns in his life to get there.

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Gavin’s journey is a classic example that you can have a plan and direction but they will sometimes be affected by forces beyond your control. After a fantastic childhood growing up on the coast, helping out his builder dad in the school holidays and always playing around creating things with his hands, he went on to study Architectural Drawing at University in Wellington. His graduation coincided with a downturn in the building industry and there were no opportunities for employment in his chosen field. He found himself working at a picture framer in Auckland.

This was a fortunate twist as his employers allowed him and his fellow workmates full use of the equipment and leftover materials. He was able to indulge in his true desire of creating artwork. Eventually, his work caught the eye of a client and he had a solo exhibition at a high end gallery in the city.

A former fellow student gave Gavin a lead about work at a glass hardware supplier and this became a huge catalyst for his future. He used his technical skills to design components for frameless glass doors, something new and uncommon in this part of the world at the time. Gavin skillfully completed the brief to such a point that he was no longer needed but he used the skills he gained to move into the world of construction, designing for the glass industry that he had helped revolutionize.

Newly married to his Microbiologist wife Anna, they decided to move to Melbourne. It was a place Anna knew, they could work as soon as they arrived and the frameless glass niche market was unfilled at that time.

Undaunted, Gavin set off, his self made brochure in hand, to approach prospective clients in the high end Toorak/South Yarra areas. Slowly, one job after another, working with architects, developers and clients who had seen this “new” technique overseas but it hadn’t been available before, he built up a business from scratch.

Gavin’s natural rapport, down to earth approach, hard work and innate business acumen had him running his company that expanded over a decade to employ 20 staff. It had become a thriving and profitable business. In that time he and Anna had two sons, Zac and Blake, and they had also searched for a quiet and affordable weekend getaway place to enjoy time away from their busy city lives. This search had led them by chance to Loch Sport in 1999, at that time it was “undiscovered” and blocks were very affordable.

After 13 years successfully running his business, Gavin realised that he had veered away from his initial love of creating, despite maintaining a continued membership of the Association of Sculptors of Victoria. He and Anna decided to test the water to see if they could sell their business. It was just the right time and they had several interested parties competing for the company. With the business sold they wanted to move to a place within an hour’s travel distance from their holiday house at Loch Sport, but also on a train accessible route from Melbourne, so that their boys could have future options.

fit for them.

Gavin’s aim was to concentrate more on his love of sculpture and creating, but that would have to wait as another project reared its creative head. It just happened that the Stratford Courthouse Theatre, run by local Eye to Eye theatre company, was up for sale. Anna knew her husband would need a project and so soon they had become the proud owners. A refurbishment of the building took two years and then they had to reinvent themselves as owners of a small theatre/arthouse cinema and gallery space.

Yet again Gavin dove into this new project wholeheartedly and as well became involved with many community groups such as Stratford community group, Avon Landcare and the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. The art gallery arm was useful to showcase his continued sculpture and artwork and work of other local artists. Another hectic decade passed with a complete immersion into community and family life before coming up for air. In conjunction with the beginnings of the covid era they decided it was time for a change and so they leased out the Stratford Courthouse theatre space to the local community to continue.

It is difficult to understand how a creative mind and body such as Gavin can fit so much into a life. Following the transition from running the theatre, Gavin, in establishing a workshop, has refurbished a forgotten gem in Stratford - the Circa 1850s stables for the local policeman. The almost derelict building was in danger of collapse and demolition before Gavin took on the task of saving it. With help from locals it has become a community space and his workshop. The space holds workshops with interested and inspired artisans gathering there weekly to share and practise their works.

Along his multifaceted life journey Gavin stumbled onto the then relatively forgotten niche world of spoon carving. He began this as something he could do while the family took an extended trip interstate and he soon became hooked. As he developed his carving skills he soon found that others were interested in his carvings of spoons and other items and so now he has become a “guru” of sorts and conducts workshops and classes for others in the art of spoon carving and more. This is just another aspect of his sculpting life and journey.

After his many different pathways Gavin was finally able to concentrate on his ongoing passion for sculpture. He had continued to create work and slowly build a profile in this field but now he could really begin to expand his ideas. His talent extends to creating delicate fine small works and in contrast huge outdoor pieces ideal for public spaces.

His work has continued to develop and he travels to exhibit his pieces, large and small, in Melbourne, across the state and interstate. He has completed commissions for private and public institutions.

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Stratford ticked all the boxes and they soon found they had sold up, both company and city house, and in 2008 became new tree changers to the small community that was a perfect Gavin Roberts

Gavin Roberts

His unique work has been recognized by both the public and his peers and his entry in this year’s Melbourne International Flower and Garden show won first prize in the highly competitive Estate sculpture field. The large oversized metal fabricated Protea he created was an outstanding and eye-catching entry and a well-deserved winner. He was recently included as feature sculptor on the Association of Sculptors website.

In another coup Gavin’s entry into the 2024 Bermagui Sculpture exhibition “Siren” won the people’s choice award. This commanding large work featured a woman, hair blowing; looking out to sea perched on a hilltop. This win led him to be an invited sculptor to the “Sculpture for Clyde” in Batemans Bay late this year. His work and presence in this field will continue to grow.

It is astounding to list the achievements of a man like Gavin and yet you feel like he has only just begun to scratch the surface on what he is capable of. His easy going and gregarious manner has an infectious edge that attracts others to whatever he is doing. He has the ability to see opportunity where there seems to be none and to create opportunities for himself and those around him. He is very generous with his time, knowledge and skills and has found a place where the stars align and he has become a much loved and integral part of the local artistic community.

The amazing aspect of a person like Gavin Roberts is that he makes it all look so easy but this belies the hard graft, determination and dedication that it takes to do what he does. He is an inspiration to others and is the kind of man who can get things done. His journey continues…

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Three Men & A Pub. Saving The Rosedale Hotel

On a Sunday arvo in November 2022, after 14 beers, 3 mates from Rosedale, a boilermaker, a plumber and logging company owner tossed around the mad idea that they should buy the old pub in their town. It had been closed for about nine years and since then the only other Pub in town had also closed. They reckoned the community needed a place they could get together. It was left up to Cam (the plumber) to go and check out the sign on the front door of the old Rosedale Hotel that had a number to call.

Cam got back to Mark (Digger) Power (The Boilermaker) and Ricky Leeson (Logging Boss) the next day with the news.

“They’ve accepted


offer!” “*#$& that got real all of a sudden!” was the response. So after that they did their due diligence… Nah, no they didn’t, they just went for it! What could go wrong?

Built in 1858 the pub was a very important stopping off point on the route from Port Albert to the goldfields of Walhalla. It had an unusual layout with stable (now gone), kitchen and staff quarters and the hotel all sited around a courtyard facing the street. These were usually hidden out the back of establishments. In 1930 the single storey building was updated and a second storey was added.

An interesting aspect of the story is that Ricky’s parents Garry and Vicki owned the pub from 1984 to 1996. They were responsible for a major upgrade by adding the bistro on the back while maintaining the original building at the front.

They were both very keen to see Ricky again be a part of this historic venture and also to rescue the building after years of neglect. As well as backing the project financially, Garry has been responsible, along with local Emma Gooding, for negotiating with Heritage Victoria to obtain the best outcome for the building and the community. Together they all feel a sense of pride in playing a role in the ongoing history of this significant piece of Rosedale’s history.

When the trio took possession of the hotel the building was in a bad state with a leaking roof that caused damage all the way to the cellar. This could’ve been fixed in a day, as Cam did. They knew there were a lot of things that needed to be repaired, but they just decided they would face everything as it came up and work their way through whatever they struck. The town and surrounding community were very supportive and encouraged them to go for it.

The pub was a time capsule from a decade before and earlier. All the dining tables were still set ready for meals and upstairs in the accommodation the beds were all made up in the mauve painted bedrooms ready for guests. They stripped it all back, had a garage sale in the carpark and gave away what remained. The most pressing tasks like new roofing and other repairs to make the building safe were tackled first, then they continued on. With no grand plan but to fix it up, they did jobs as they went and working together it sort of worked out. It was fortunate that the guys were so well connected in town being locals, and with their jobs, they mostly used local tradies and their own expertise. It became a team effort with a group of people alongside the three main blokes.

The tired beer garden was made over to become a community gathering point, a relaxing place to wind down. They gave Ricky a hard time about the uneven pavers he laid down there as a 10 year old!

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These knockabout tradies have infused the refurbishment with a modern style but without the la di dah overthought out tweeness of a designer edge. The fire pit they added in the middle has become a real hit. It all just works, really well.

The back bar dining area had some larger windows added and that was going to be it, but when they found out there was going to be a thirteen week delay in getting their liquor licence they decided to finish it off properly. Digger made all the new tables and Ricky’s mum Vicki was a great resource for the colour schemes and decor. The final result was a modern and comfortable area with plenty of seating and opening out to the refurbished garden. Called ‘The Back Bar’, it was an immediate success when this area was opened on 1st November 2023. The response and support from so many people really buoyed the team along.

Initially they relied on visiting food trucks to provide tucker but in February they opened ‘The Grand Food-Bah’ a temporary kitchen serving Lunch and Dinner until they have their permanent kitchen sorted. It has been a raging success with them doing around 700 serves a week.

Those in the know will recognise the ‘Grand Food-Bah’ reference; it comes from the Flintstones where the Grand Poo Bah was the head of the Water Buffalo Lodge of which Fred and Barney were members. When there was no pub in town some older guys would gather at a mate’s old back shed and have a drink together and the new pub owners laughingly referred to them as the Water Buffalos. The company the three mates set up is called The Water Buffalos and this name could be used in some future part of the refurbishment.

Since opening the Back Bar and Garden they’ve had regular live music and celebrations, often having the entire space booked out. What they have achieved so far would be success enough alone, but the original bar of this heritage listed building still awaits total refurbishment. It seems a huge and daunting task but the guys are just taking it in their stride and getting on with it.

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Three Men & A Pub. Saving The Rosedale Hotel

They estimate in a few months the front renovation will be sorted and open for business.

The three men epitomize a typical Aussie understated shoulder shrug attitude of just getting in and doing the job. Underneath this laconic attitude though is a serious commitment and desire to do the right thing, by the building and their community. They really want to have it done properly, to have the building preserved and to have it functioning in the right way for everybody.

You get the feeling that these jokers are having the best time, flying by the seat of their pants most of the time, giving it a crack and having a hell of a laugh along the way. It really brings a smile to your face to see and experience their enthusiasm.

It is refreshing and inspiring to have three hombres buck the norms of the corporate world and just get in and do a project with no spread sheets or projections and to really make a go of it!

They have already made a success of their crazy Sunday arvo plan and you can see that it will far exceed anything they could ever have dreamt about. It’s pure Aussie larrikinism at its best. The refurbishments already have a modern feel and with the future planned restoration of the original 1858 building will make it an even more exciting venue, a place that locals and visitors can really be proud of!

The boys have done an amazing job so far and the final result will be well worth waiting for!

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Snapshots of


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Stobies Ritchies IGA Port of Maffra Maffra Community Sports Club Photography by Doug Pell
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The Maffra Shed Maffra Library Maffco Brewery Maffra Info Centre Historic Sugar Beet building former Metropolitan Hotel Clock Tower Cambrai Accommodation




325 Commercial Road, Yarram, Vic 3971

Tel: 5182 6019 | Email: yarram@evanspetroleum.com.au


2 Falls Road, Fish Creek, Vic 3959

Tel: 5683 2521

Email: fishcreek@evanspetroleum.com.au


94 Main Street, Foster, Vic 3960

Tel: 5682 2008

Email: foster@evanspetroleum.com.au


25 Williams Street, Inverloch, Vic 3996

Tel: 5674 1442

Email: inverloch@evanspetroleum.com.au


1760 Princes Highway, Johnsonville, Vic 3902

Tel: 5156 4102 Workshop: 5156 4233

Email: johnsonville@evanspetroleum.com.au


South Gippsland Highway, Korumburra, Vic 3950

Tel: 5655 1668

Email: korumburra@evanspetroleum.com.au


95 Bair Street, Leongatha, Vic 3953

Tel: 5662 2440

Email: leongatha@evanspetroleum.com.au


7 Anderson Street, Leongatha, Vic 3953

Tel: 5662 2834

Email: westside@evanspetroleum.com.au


106 Ridgway, Mirboo North, Vic 3871

Tel: 5668 2377

Email: mirboo@evanspetroleum.com.au


5327 Princes Highway, Newmerella, Vic 3886

Tel: 5154 1601

Email: newmerella@evanspetroleum.com.au


65-79 Prince Street, Rosedale Vic 3847

Tel: 5667 2951

Email: Rosedale@evanspetroleum.com.au


344 Raglan Street, Sale, Vic 3850

Tel: 5143 1030

Email: sale@evanspetroleum.com.au


26 Foster Road, Toora, Vic 3962

Tel: 5686 2324

Email: toora@evanspetroleum.com.au


23-29 Shakespeare Street, Traralgon, Vic 3844

Tel: 5174 1138

Email: Tim@evanspetroleum.com.au


103-105 McKenzie Street, Wonthaggi, Vic 3995

Tel: 5672 3988

Email: wonthaggi@evanspetroleum.com.au


325 Commercial Road, Yarram, Vic 3971

Tel: 5182 6019

Email: yarram@evanspetroleum.com.au


22 Hughes Street, Leongatha Vic 3953

Tel: 5662 2217

Web: www.evanspetroleum.com.au

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South Gippsland Dental Clinic Transforming Lives One Smile At A Time

For most people, regular visits to the dentist are a routine part of life, but for patients at South Gippsland Dental Clinic, it’s an important journey to reclaim their health and confidence, guided by experts in the dentistry field.

The South Gippsland Dental Clinic has been part of the South Gippsland landscape since the early 1960s when it was established by the late Dr Frank Turner.

In 2012, the South Gippsland Dental Team was joined by now-CEO, Dr Dean Kim, who specialises in cosmetic dentistry, and is passionate about the link between quality of life and mouth health.

“Our fundamental business at South Gippsland Dental is to improve the quality of life for people through what we do,” Dr Kim explained. “So, it’s very important for us to do things at a very high quality level and be proud that we do things to these high standards in an ethical way. My vision for the clinic is to do things in the optimal way to improve the quality of life of the people we see and work with.”

Having worked as a dental and maxillofacial house surgeon in a public hospital, as well as private practices in New Zealand before joining South Gippsland Dental Clinic, Dr Kim is highly skilled in treating complex aesthetic and functional rehabilitation of the mouth.

“We do very comprehensive and state-of-the-art dentistry. South Gippsland Dental is unique in a way, because it targets the population of consumers who appreciate high end, optimal health services. Not just standard drill and fill type of dentistry.

“But what we do is help those who are in a severely deteriorated condition. We call it dental rehabilitation. It’s almost like making someone walk again. For people who really have a deteriorated oral condition that gives them difficulty eating, chewing and smiling, the quality of life can be greatly affected.

“Helping them to regain their function and also a beautiful smile so they can be confident and do the very basics of living – eating and talking. It’s very fundamental and something we take for granted, just like being able to walk. It’s so easy and normal.

“But sometimes, unfortunately these things deteriorate. And for some people, they have had neglect or didn’t have the opportunities given to them, now they’re in a situation where they can’t eat or speak or smile with any confidence. So, these are the things we do really, really well at South Gippsland Dental.”

South Gippsland Dental Clinic offers a wide range of services, using cutting-edge technology. This includes dental implants, with the Clinic leading the way for full mouth implant bridges in Gippsland.

The computer-guided dentistry offered at South Gippsland Dental Clinic provides a revolutionary way to treat a myriad of dental conditions, with the Leongatha clinic one of the few in Australia to be able to offer the technology on-site.

“We do dental implants using 3D technology, things like 3D CGD (computer guided dentistry) software, 3D printing, we’re at the forefront of the technology. Being able to deliver treatments that are world-class, precise, safe and quick.”

South Gippsland Dental Clinic also offers braces and orthodontics as well as Invisalign and cosmetic dentistry.

From teeth whitening to complete smile makeovers, Dr Kim says the work undertaken by his team at South Gippsland Dental Clinic is life-changing.

“Changing people’s lives through improving their health, appearance and smile is something we do frequently and is very rewarding. It really changes the person’s confidence and the whole appearance of the face.”

With a team of more than 25 professionals, Dr Kim says a huge amount of time and effort is spent keeping the team up to date with the latest developments in treatment and technology in the field.

“To do anything well we have to have the right vision, good environment, highly-valued, well trained and empowered staff as our vision statement states.

“So as part of our training process, we not only handle training on site but we go to schools and clinics and we invite people to conduct seminars. We do it fairly frequently, every quarter to make sure we’re all up to date with legislation, technology and how we run things. We’re very big on education.”

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Testament to South Gippsland Dental Clinic’s long history in the South Gippsland community is the core customer base, which includes generations of families.

“We have lots of loyal and long-standing customers, patients and also their family members. We also have lots of clients coming from distances as well – from two and three hours away, to visit us for treatments.”

New patients start their journey by undertaking the clinic’s unique comprehensive dental examination process. You’ll have a private consultation with a dentist so you can outline your wishes and concerns, before having a comprehensive examination of your mouth using the clinic’s state-of- theart diagnostic equipment.

The team will then assess all of the information, before your second appointment, which is a complementary consultation to thoroughly examine your treatment options, so you can make an informed decision moving forward, to start transforming your smile, and possibly your life. www.sgdental.com.au

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South Gippsland Dental Clinic | leongatha

Under partly cloudy skies on Saturday 13th April 2024, a steady stream of people of all ages visited Old Gippstown Moe to celebrate over 50 years of continuous operation.

There was all day musical entertainment, as well as traditional trade demonstrations on display for everyone to enjoy and participation in olden days’ activities. Period costumes worn by volunteers of the park and the general public participation added to the olden days’ theme celebrations of the historic buildings and collections. Free rides on the 1938 Fire Truck and Clydesdale horse cart around the park were popular with children and patrons on the day.

The Old Gippstown Tearooms, the Moe Lions Devonshire teas in the old Narracan Hall, the Moe Rotary sausage sizzle and soft drinks sold in the old Cobb and Co. Inn provided meals and refreshments and a chance to rest weary legs after trekking the Park grounds. Musical performances during the day included “Latrobe Community Concert Band,” “O’Dowd School of Singing” and “Kelly & Tim” held in the old Rotunda with seating nearby in a lovely garden setting.

Some of the activities and demonstrations located in the buildings and grounds throughout the Park included “butter churning”, “dressmaking”, “photo stage”, “whip cracking and farrier”, “paper making”, “blacksmith”, “wheelwright”, “Lolly shop”, “old movies”, “camera house display”, “spinners and weavers”, “old engine and auto club display”, “photographic display and video” “woodworking”, “old fashioned games”, “kids colouring” and “walking tours”.


Whilst the planning for a folk museum was initiated in the 1960s by a group of local people, it was not until 1973 that the vision was realised and formally opened by the Premier of Victoria, Sir Rupert Hamer under management by the then Moe City Council. In 1990, the City of Moe passed administration of Old Gippstown over to the Victorian State Government (currently the Victorian Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action) with a voluntary Committee of Management overseeing the operation of the park.

The official ceremony was MC’d by Bill Baker, Secretary Gippstown Reserve Committee of Management and included responses from Mr. Martin Cameron, MP Member for Morwell, Mr. Darren Howe Mayor of the Latrobe City Council, Ms Libby Scott, Chair Gippstown Reserve Committee of Management and Ms Kellie Simpson, Manager of Old Gippstown. All speakers recognised the significance of the heritage buildings and collections and Old Gippstown’s role in the community.

Libby Scott stated that, “Old Gippstown is now on track with our financial management and budget spending. We have enthusiastic management working together with us with many exciting projects and new initiatives being planned. We now look forward to a happy and hopefully profitable future ahead, with concentration on the maintenance, preservation, and presentation of our heritage assets (our core aim) and continuing to make Old Gippstown a community and educational hub, and a tourist destination for all to enjoy. We are also home to local community and service groups."

"In a State where there was once many more heritage parks, it is now one of only a few remaining parks of its type in Victoria. We are fortunate to be located at the Gateway to the Latrobe region and en route to further Gippsland destinations, and close enough to Melbourne for day trips.”

The community is the beating heart of Old Gippstown through the continuing support of volunteers, residents, local businesses, and service clubs.

Today, Old Gippstown is a vibrant community venue with the prime purpose of conserving, preserving, and presenting its heritage assets for current and future generations to experience. The Committee work tirelessly to manage, improve, maintain, and control the Gippstown Reserve and are finalising a strategic vision to build a foundation for Old Gippstown to become a major tourism and educational destination as well as a community venue.

A successful celebration recognising Old Gippstown’s past, present, and exciting future aspirations and acknowledging all of the people who have been associated with Old Gippstown over the past 50 years. Gippstown Reserve Committee of Management Inc.


Fun in the Sun

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at Lakes Entrance

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Fun in the Sun at Lakes Entrance

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Bullock Island

The East Gippsland Shire has successfully undertaken the Bullock Island redevelopment. This is a great achievement and adds another bow to the tourism section of Lakes Entrance.

Bullock Island has always been regarded as an industrious commercial fishing location, and still is, but a large section that was factually wasteland has been opened up to the public and is becoming a popular destination for locals and tourists.

There is now a new café, which has magnificent views of the lakes and the township – Off The Wharf Café offers a great range of fish and chips eaten inside their spacious café or you can choose to sit outside on a nice day and enjoy the constant stream of commercial and private boats motoring along the channel.

You will often see the dredger ‘Tommy Norton’ in and out of the entrance, along with the tourism boats from Lonsdale Eco Tours and Peels Tourism.

There is a number of birdlife – pelicans, swans and even ducks enjoying the channel and the lakes.

There are over 100 car parking spaces on the Island and limited car parking spaces behind the café, seating, picnic facilities, footpaths and viewing bridge. You can even still throw a fishing line into the water.

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The evolving journey of jewellery design

A creative spark

Jewellery designs often begin with a thought - maybe a moment of inspiration while out walking, or a quick note scribbled on a notepad for later reference.

It’s these simple moments that often inspire designers in every sphere, but they’re especially useful in precious jewellery.

A design can be inspired by almost anythingfrom something remarkable in nature, or even a small detail on a building. It’s how these thoughts evolve into jewellery that provides an insight into how Bairnsdale based jewellers Curtis Australia think.

It starts with a sketch

Jewellery collections at Curtis Australia often evoke nature and its unique beauty. A visit to their website or showroom rewards you with some remarkable jewellery, from the Floriale Collection inspired by the petals of Australian native hibiscus, to the freeform and flowing style of the Beach Collection. All these ideas start with a sketch - a simple drawing evolves into something more considered, before prototypes are meticulously and patiently hand crafted. From there, individual pieces are hand crafted using a combination of traditional skills and leading edge technique, often taking hundreds of hours to realise a dream.

Inspiration evolves into ideas

from an idea or observation a sketch emerges then a final design

Design ideas can be inspired by something seen. In this unique white gold ring, open scrollwork encircles sapphires and diamonds.

The fluid and rhythmic scrolling patterns allow the gems to be securely embraced in a flowing, freeform design that accommodates the different sizes of precious gems. This ring is ideal as it sits low on the finger, while the rub over settings hold the gems securely, showing them off to best advantage.

Jewellery inspired by life itself

This pendant design led to another idea - this time for a very special opal ring. The Life Collection is another Curtis exclusive and represents the importance of life. Interwoven forms in yellow and white gold are reflective of life itself, the relationships we form through life's journey. The stunning opal ring seen here builds on the life motif, weaving it into the open work white gold shoulders of the ring. A stunning white solid opal is further enhanced by a row of brilliant diamonds encircling the unique gem.

Experience and advice

Curtis Australia hand craft their designs from their purpose built studio and showroom - the ideal place to discuss any aspect of your jewellery, from a simple repair to a more complex redesign or a sensitive restoration.

Visiting their showroom ensures a warm welcome and you’ll see much to enjoy.

Inspired by nature - realised by jewellers

The experienced team, led by Master Jeweller Glenn Curtis are always on hand to help. Offering a wide selection of ready to wear pieces that might well suit you perfectly to specially designed custom pieces, you’ll be reassured by the fact that all their jewellery is created on site, nothing ever leaves their care.

Dress rings are among the most versatile of jewellery - they come in a wide choice of designs and styles and quickly become memories that you wear. Celebrating an anniversary, a special moment or treasured relationship, there are lots of events that inspire.

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www.curtisaustralia.com 129 Macleod Street, Bairnsdale . . . .inspiration comes from everywhere email: replyto@curtisaustralia.com
A breathtaking diamond ring from the Beach Collection The Life Pendant led to other thoughts including this stunning opal ring Pink sapphire encircled by brilliant diamonds This yellow gold ring is part of the Floriale Collection Tsavorite and diamonds meet in a special design White gold and lapis lazuli combine

Taylor’s swift impact on golfers

The satisfaction of helping people improve their game drives Leongatha Golf Club professional Melissa Taylor.

Having only been recruited to Leongatha Golf Club as teaching professional last October, Melissa Taylor has already seen significant improvement in the many golfers from the South Gippsland region she has instructed, from experienced players to those new to the game.

Understanding that every player is different, Melissa has leveraged her surname to create a range of programs under the banner of Taylored To You Golf Coaching.

“The biggest buzz I get out of teaching is definitely seeing improvement from my students and the enjoyment that brings,” she says.

“That applies across the board from men and women to juniors, and beginners to experienced players. Improvement has many layers to it. I consider myself a people person so really enjoy interacting and the joy that comes with improving someone’s game. To see their happiness when they walk away from a lesson is very rewarding and provides a tremendous sense of satisfaction.”

Melissa has developed her coaching style through a combination of her personal experiences and earlier influences picked up from her own longtime former instructor Rhys Granger in Melbourne.

“Rhys is very good at explaining things and helped me to understand my golf game,” she states.

“In my own time as an instructor, I’ve been able to learn how to find out what works for some people and what doesn’t. Some people are visual learners, whereas some prefer the auditory method. I need to be able to distinguish which of my students respond to explanations and those who like to be told what to do. A big part of my coaching philosophy is to preserve each player’s uniqueness while also exploring other areas of the game that they may not have considered to a sufficient degree such as routine, practice and mindset.”

Melissa is available for tuition at Leongatha Golf Club on Sundays and Mondays only. Being the sole PGA certified professional golf coach in the South Gippsland region, her services are in keen demand. Her teaching is built around a foundation of enjoyment and gaining a strong grasp of the basic fundamentals of the game.

In addition to offering individual lessons to all golfers, Melissa has established specialised group clinics for women and junior players.

These include the South Gippsland and Bass Coast Women’s Only Golf Development Program and she also runs classes for children aged 7 to 12 years old through the MyGolf initiative, which is Australia’s national junior program promoting participation endorsed by Golf Australia and the PGA of Australia.

The affordably-priced women’s group clinics offer great value for money and move through three key phases – discovering the basics of golf including learning the fundamentals of putting, chipping and full swings over a six-week block, before progressing to developing technique over a further six weeks and then lastly experiencing course play.

Junior clinics are held on Sundays (except school holiday times) for boys and girls.

“With the juniors, I also like to simplify everything as much as possible and focus on fun,” Melissa states.

“We rotate between putting, chipping and full swing, and I encourage the kids to utilise other motor skills we use in everyday life that can be applied to golf.”

For all her lessons, equipment can be provided for any participants who don’t yet have their own golf clubs whether they are right or left-handed. Melissa’s students respond positively to her enthusiasm and interest in developing their playing ability at all levels. Golf is not an easy game to teach, nor to master, but it’s a challenge that she relishes.

“With a sport like tennis you only have one racquet, but with golf we have fourteen clubs in the bag and each is designed to do something different, so there’s a lot for a new player to absorb,” Melissa observes.

“I try not to over complicate my lessons and keep everything simple at the start. In my view, it is really important to have that emphasis on beginning with the fundamentals so that all the correct building blocks are in place as we progress.”

Melissa says that many of the women participating in her group clinics are picking up a golf club for the first time.

“There’s so much for new players to learn about golf, not just the playing aspects but the etiquette as well,” she notes.

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Melissa Taylor

Melissa is a passionate advocate of women’s participation in golf, and being a young female herself has often had to break through barriers and defy outdated stereotypes in building her career to where it is today.

“Some of the more experienced golfers I encounter in my teaching have doubts at first that a thirty-year-old female can help them improve their game, but I tend to find that quickly turns around when I gain their trust and they start seeing the results from my methods,” she comments.

Melissa possesses great determination and from a very early age has demonstrated the capacity and strength to overcome obstacles in her way.

At 18 months old she was diagnosed with Dermatomyositis, a lifethreatening disease which results in muscle weakness.

“The illness required me to undergo a lot of physiotherapy and when I was three years old I received some plastic golf clubs for Christmas. That was the beginning of my golf journey,” she explains.

“My dad was only an occasional player at that point, but when I started getting into golf, he got more into it as well. We would go to the driving range at Maroondah Golf Park which was close to our home in Mooroolbark in Melbourne’s outer east.”

Young Melissa quickly demonstrated a natural flair and talent for golf. Thankfully, she went into remission from her Dermatomyositis at the age of six, and by eight had progressed from hitting balls on the driving range to be out playing on the fairways at the nearest course, Chirnside Park Country Club.

“I had to play as an invited guest for two years because neither boys or girls were allowed to join as junior members until they turned ten in those days,” she recalls.

“I would go out and play golf with the juniors, but I was never allowed to win anything in those first two years even though I technically did win them. Fortunately, things have changed for the better in regard to welcoming young kids into golf over the past couple of decades.”

Melissa joined the club as a junior member at ten and honed her skills through Chirnside Park’s cadet program. She was playing weekly and at times beating the boys of a similar age.

“When I started playing with the women members, I was much younger than them all by a long way. The ladies at the club were so lovely and some of them became affectionately known as my golf nanas,” she laughs.

While growing up playing golf as a junior, Melissa’s ambition was to eventually go overseas and play. Then suddenly, at around fifteen or sixteen she fell out of love with the game for a period and stopped playing until she was twenty.

“When I came back to golf I reached a clear decision that I wanted to pursue a professional career in the game,” she recalls.

Her pathway was to commence a three-year PGA traineeship in 2016 which she undertook at Eastwood Golf Club in Kilsyth where she had already been working for a year.

“At that point I was still thinking I could play tournaments for a living, but the traineeship route offered the security and stability of a paid job within the game,” she explains.

Whilst working at Eastwood, Melissa met her future husband Zak Ginevra who was also doing his own PGA traineeship at the club. He is now Golf Operations Manager at Victoria Golf Club in Melbourne.

When Melissa started her traineeship, she fell in love with coaching, which then relegated the idea of playing tournaments to the back seat.

“I continued playing in pro ams and occasional WPGA events over several years without ever going on tour and travelling around Australia for it. Instead, I chose to build my career around being an instructor,” she says.

Melissa remained at Eastwood until the end of 2021. Less than 18 months later she had become a first-time mum, following the birth of her and Zak’s baby daughter Grace in February last year.

“Motherhood is both the most challenging and best thing I’ve ever done. I’m loving it but it’s changed my whole outlook on life,” she remarks.

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“Grace is very smart and it’s so exciting to see her learning new things. Zak and I are in awe of her. There’s probably no escaping that golf is in her genes and already my dad got her clubs for her first birthday.”

Having been on maternity leave, Melissa was keen to return to work on a part-time basis when the opportunity at Leongatha Golf Club as the contract teaching professional came to her attention.

“I was looking for a position where I could combine individual lessons with a focus on women’s development. One of Leongatha’s priorities was a desire for a functioning women’s program with a defined pathway, so this aligned perfectly for me,” she observes.

“As part of my application I outlined the type of program I would offer and the club liked it. Everything just fell into place nicely and it all happened pretty quickly.”

Melissa was also impressed by Leongatha Golf Club having women occupying its two main leadership roles – Colleen Touzel as President and Kate Rowe as General Manager.

“It was certainly another big tick for me,” she says.

“I wanted to come and work with a golf club that is really moving in the right direction and making headway in the space of women’s golf, not just in playing, but off the course as well. Having a female President and General Manager showed how forward thinking the club is. It’s been wonderful to come here. Everyone has been friendly and welcoming to me and the whole place has a very relaxed feel.”

Melissa also offers club fitting services but the vast majority of her time at Leongatha Golf Club is devoted to her coaching.

“The energy at the group clinics is great. Everyone feeds of each other, and we enjoy celebrating our successes along the way,” she comments.

“I also love working with my individual clients as well. It’s a different type of experience being one to one, but always just as rewarding to see them lowering their scores or helping more advanced players with shaping their shots.”

Melissa is very active on social media, including targeted Facebook marketing to help advertise her coaching services. She works closely with the members of the Leongatha Golf Club, however, it is not a requirement to be a member to receive tuition from her. Everyone is welcome. Bookings for lessons are managed through her website at ttygolfcoaching.com.au. Individual lessons are available for a duration of 30 minutes or an hour.

“The one-hour lessons have the advantage of enabling me to devote more time to the client,” Melissa says.

“Private tuition allows us to set goals together and assess the student’s strengths and weaknesses. I also like to gauge each golfer’s level of physical capability and understand their history of injuries so that we can work within those parameters.”

In addition to the outside practice range, Leongatha Golf Club is also equipped with an indoor training facility that Melissa is able to utilise when necessary.

After all her lessons, Melissa sends students an email with video footage of their swing and advice about things to work on until she sees them next.

“There are also many well-informed golf instruction videos available on YouTube. I recommend some of them to my students, provided the content is relevant to them. Watching the wrong sort of video could potentially lead to practising something that hinders their game,” she cautions.

Melissa donates 5% of her coaching profits to the Royal Children’s Hospital each month as a heartfelt display of gratitude for the treatment provided to her during her battle with Dermatomyositis.

“It’s something that is very important to me,” she emphasises.

“The RCH was a huge part of my early childhood, and I am so thankful for the care and support of their staff, especially my specialist Dr. Roger Allen. If it wasn’t for them and my family who fought for me, I wouldn’t be here today doing what I love.”

Melissa Taylor with baby Grace & husband Zak Ginevra

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134 gippsland life Winter ���� ■ Hire Karts ■ BYO Kart Membership (Day/Yearly Rate) ■ Corporate Days ■ Group Bookings ■ Birthday Parties & Functions ■ Driver Education ■ Phoenix Kart Agents ■ Kart Sales & Spares ■ Café Please check website for dates and times. PH : 5664 7272 EM: info@stonycreekgokarts.com.au For more information visit stonycreekgokarts.com.au Please Note: When Stony Creek Racing Club is holding a race meeting the venue will be closed. During the winter period the venue is closed mid week unless prior booking is made. Stony Creek Go-Karts is now well and truly one of the highlights of South Gippsland. EVENT DAY – RETRO KARTING AUSTRALIA F100 Please check our facebook for updates Some changes are in place to keep you healthy and safe. 1. Bookings are essential. Please call to book your time.  2. There is a maximum of 12 karts only. 3. A 50% deposit is needed to secure your booking. 4. If you are sick, please stay at home. 5. Karts and Helmets will be disinfected between groups.
gippsland life Winter ���� 135 Jeff Bourman is your local MP for the Eastern Victoria electorate in the Victorian Parliament’s Legislative Council Jeff Bourman MP Member for Eastern Victoria Unit 1, 9 Napier Street Warragul Vic 3820 Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party Victoria (03) 5623 2999 Jeff.Bourman@parliament.vic.gov.au Jeff fights for regional jobs, promoting regional and rural lifestyle Jeff is your voice in the Upper House of the Victorian Parliament Authorised by Jeff Bourman, Unit 1, 9 Napier Street Warragul, Funded by Parliamentary Budget
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EXHIBITIONS Set in Jindivick’s rolling green hills discover an acre of recycled metal sculptures and browse the gallery space hosting the work of contemporary artists and Laurie’s small stories sculptures. Call in anytime, no cost and see the studio (amongst the metal chaos!) 420 Main Jindivick Road, Jindivick VIC 3818 P: 5628 5224 | E: info@lauriecollins.com.au www.lauriecollins.com.au WINTER EXHIBITIONS 2024 For more info visit www.redtreegallery.com.au Thanks Laurie - Good on ya JULY INGRID THOMAS June 27 to July 24 Watercolour, pastel and acrylic environs of Gippsland AUGUST ROSS JACKA July 25 to August 28 Egg tempera medium variation JUNE JESSIE MCLENNAN May 30 to June 26 Paintings DJP PHOTOGRAPHY Em | gippslandlifestyle@bigpond.com Mb | 0404 301 333 For all your photographic requirements, ring or email Doug, no job is too small. Out in the Wild with

with Stephanie Johnson YOUR STARS WINTER 2024

21 March – 19 April

The focus is on your mind. It’s time to make a decision or at least to seek clear information to help you make up your mind. You are aware that choices need to be made. These can range from small everyday choices to make more complex ones. You may simply be making consumer choices, or more personal ones. Your personal finances are somewhat precarious prompting more careful consideration than your usual direct and swift approach. As Winter progresses, your attention turns to home, family and creative pursuits. Decisions made or delayed at the start of the season influence the rest of Winter.

20 April – 20 May

Your personal finances flourish boosting your self-esteem and appreciation of the positives in your personal life. It’s likely that a key woman is influencing your coffers and improving your sense of security. Doors open that boost your ability to earn more money and appreciation. You need only be wary of either spending your bonus, or of being greedy and asking for more. An attitude of gratitude is what is required this month. The energetic planet Mars moves into your Zodiac Sign on June 9 where it stays until July 21. This gives you an energy boost, and augurs well for sports and exercise.

21 May – 20 June

It’s all systems go for Geminis. The positive planet Jupiter has moved into your Zodiac Sign supercharging your personal growth and way forward. Abundance is your theme. Doors open and you need only choose which ones to go through. Herein lies one possible challenge. As a Gemini choice is not always your friend as you try to say ‘yes’ to everything. Overcommitment is something to be avoided. Pause for a moment and listen to your heart. Then choose a path that lights your way. The planet of action, Mars enters your Zodiac Sign on July 21 and stays all season adding extra zest.

21 June – 22 July

Your intuition and psychic abilities are heightened this month. As a result, you may feel more vulnerable than usual. Like your symbol the crab, you may need sometime to lay low and assess your options. You are likely drawn to the ocean, perhaps sitting on the beach and facing seaward. You may also enjoy a picnic on the beach. This soothes your soul and gives a chance to tune into your psychic gifts. As the Sun moves into your Zodiac Sign on June 21, you are ready to act, ready to celebrate your birthday and other happy occasions with family.

23 July – 22 Aug

As a Leo, you value friends, especially loyal ones. This month you seek the company of friends who can share lively conversations and adventure. It is also possible that a significant event prompts you to offer the hand of friendship to someone needing support. Your warm heart is soothing. June also sees you focus on associations, joining supportive groups and leaving unsupportive ones. As the season progresses your focus turns to a creative project, particularly as Mercury and Venus enter your Zodiac Sign on July 2 and 12, respectively. Leo season begins on July 22 prompting you to seek sunshine where you can.

23 Aug – 22 Sep

As a Virgo, you value your reputation. June sees you making inroads to boosting your esteem in a professional community. You may prefer to be demure, taking a back seat, but it’s time to be recognised for your achievements. People in positions of authority can reward your efforts. If not, then you are likely to seek alternate employment. Your role as a parent or mentor is also highlighted as a younger person seeks counsel or protection. Your mind sharpens on July 26 as your ruling planet Mercury enters your Zodiac Sign. And your finances improve as Venus is in Virgo from August 5.

23 Sep – 22 Oct

You are often found to be pleasing others, making sure that life runs on an even keel. This month you indulge in your own dreams, to escape your duties, if only in your imagination. It’s time to consider your own aspirations. You may feel like escaping to a remote location, or retreating to your study. The idea is to imagine how you could expand your horizons and create a vision for your future. At the very end of Winter, on August 29, the goddess planet Venus moves into your Zodiac Sign lending your good luck as you implement your visions.

23 Oct – 21 Nov

Psychology is the study of mind and behaviour. And this is your focus in June. Something or someone is triggering our need to dive deeper than every day matters. The cycles of life, and synchronicity continue to capture your thoughts. You may see links where others don’t. If you have questions or have reached a fork in the road then you can ask for signs, and watch out for meaningful symbols. As the season progresses you start to see the bigger picture so that by the end of Winter you are well on your way towards your true north.

22 Nov – 21 Dec

Your connections with a personal or business partner are changing, enabling you to grow and expand your horizons. Rewards are likely to come your way as you make choices regarding primary partnerships. You are able to speak your mind, and perhaps also speak up on behalf of others. Communications with siblings and neighbours are also highlighted. You need to avoid confrontations that can quickly escalate. As the season progresses your joint resources become the focus, perhaps as the result of a joint decision to travel, or expand on investments. You are ready to flee to a sunnier climate.

22 Dec – 19 Jan

A stubborn refusal to listen to others is likely to backfire this month. Rather, June is your month to concentrate on a project that requires mind power. Everyday duties are also highlighted. So, your working life and household responsibilities are likely to be full on. The good news is that you are healthy and well able to incorporate a few pleasurable pastimes into your busy schedule. A round of golf, or a hiking expedition could appeal. As the season progresses, you share happy times with a personal or business partner, making the most of your joint resources and assets.

20 Jan – 18 Feb

Your personal transformation continues and you are ready for more fun and creativity. Monetary considerations may limit your choices. Nevertheless, you can use your ingenuity to take steps towards a future that excites your passion. It’s time to focus on your zone of genius. Create a vision that inspires you, and then map out practical steps. Believe in yourself, knowing that you have the resources. Confidence is the key to attraction and manifesting. July sees you nurturing yourself and others, incorporating your ideas into daily life. Then August sees you gaining help from key relationships.

19 Feb – 20 March

Home and family are the theme. It’s time to transform your home into a whimsical wonderland. Water features, crystals and soft colours could all be featured as you focus on your haven. Whether you live alone or share your household, you need a home that reflects your sensitive nature, and is a source of comfort. It’s time to unleash your imagination and create some magic on your home front. During the Winter season you are likely to spend more time with children, or on a creative project. Make sure that your work/life balance is healthy as the season draws to an end.

Stephanie Johnson (BA/J) is an international consulting astrologer running her own Seeing With Stars business for personal and business clients. Stephanie also heads up Esoteric Technologies, the company that produces astrology software for professional astrologers around the world. She was one of the original creators of the world-renowned Solar Fire for Windows and continues to co-create apps for the iPhone, iPad and macOS. Stephanie lives and works on the Mornington Peninsula, and writes horoscopes for her own business, as well as local bespoke magazines. She is also the author of numerous astrology reports which are used across the globe. You can follow Stephanie @seeingwithstars on Instagram | Twitter | www.seeingwithstars.net

gippsland life Winter ���� 137
138 gippsland life Winter ����

Highlights of the 2023 Bass Coast Cycle Challenge.

Bass Coast Cycle Challenge is one of the most spectacular rides in Victoria which sees cyclists of all levels. Follow basscoastcyclechallenge.com for upcoming events in Spring.

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TheMighty Tambo River

The Gunaikurnai community welcomes you to the Tambo River.

This site is within the territory of the Tatungalung, one of the five clans of the Gunaikurnai nation.

In the past, camps were once common along the silt jetty at the north end at the mouth of the Tambo River. The Gippsland Lakes and rivers provided many food resources. On a low-lying area to the west of Swan Reach was an important river camp for our people.

This river truly embodies laid back, easy going Australian culture. It ambles slowly through dense forest which opens out into a lush, green valley. The river makes its way through bucolic landscape surrounding historic Bruthen, then peacefully flows into the idyllic waterside village of Metung.

The Gunaikurnai people have always been connected to their land and are the rightful people who speak for this Country. The parks and reserves in this area are cultural landscapes which are part of our living culture. We respectfully acknowledge the tradition and knowledge of our elders and ancestors.

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gippsland life Winter ���� 141 tambo river
142 gippsland life Winter ����
Duke Odin George Bailey Diesel Guapo Elvis & Ginger Mini Charlie gippsland life Do you want to place a photo of your dog in Canine Corner ? It's easy, just email us your pic and their name at gippslandlifestyle@bigpond.com
corner canine Winter
gippsland life Winter ���� 143 ...just pawfect
Donny Emmy Jack, Bolo Freddie, Lenni, Maverick, Georgie, Donny & Maycie Macie Georgie
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Billy & Benjie "Security Dogs" Maverick AngelSydneydog
Leongatha (03) 5662 0922 Leongatha – 41 Bair Street (03) 5662 0922
Kerry Zuidema (Licensed Estate Agent) – Emily Hillberg (Licensed Estate Agent) – Kathy Clark (Administration) Andrew Newton (Branch Manager), Dan Huther (Licensed Estate Agent), Tony Giles (Sales Agent)
Happy 21st Birthday to Alex Scott & Staff Leongatha
Dane Perczyk (Livestock Manager), Jayson Filomeno (Property Manager), Kaleb Jans (Livestock Representative)

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