Peninsula Essence November 2023

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PENINSULA Living & Visiting on the Mornington Peninsula


Their own passion for local markets is what drew Somers couple Joel and Vanessa Johnson to start Emu Plains Market in Balnarring in 2012, and its now equally popular younger sister, Little Beauty Market in Frankston.

Starting Conversation • Sock It To ‘Em • Social Butterflies • Slay, Sammy J! Personal Touch • Blind Vision • Madame Tiger • A Tragic Year For The Bartrams

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Leading 10. Starting Conversation



Since 22-year-old Ben Hocking tragically took his own life seven years ago, his sisters have thrown themselves into supporting others struggling by starting the conversation that 'It’s Okay, Not to Be Okay’.

16. Sock It to ‘Em Young Citizen of the Year, Josh Berry, wants every one of the twenty-three thousand homeless people in Victoria to have two pairs of socks. And he's almost there.

20. Social Butterflies



The Mornington Peninsula Masters Swimming Club was started by Rob Wilson, a passionate individual who wanted to provide an opportunity for like-minded people to come together to enjoy the sport they love.

24. To Market, To Market Their own passion for local markets is what drew Somers couple Joel and Vanessa Johnson to start Emu Plains Market in Balnarring in 2012 and its now equally popular younger sister, Little Beauty Market in Frankston.

Arts 30. Slay, Sammy J! Mornington Peninsula-ite Sammy J chats about his youth on the peninsula and his rise, via law school, to becoming writer, comedian, singer, composer, and breakfast presenter on ABC Radio.



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34. Personal Touch Crib Point artist, Alexandra Shay, believes in the power of the personal touch. She makes beautifully-designed, hand-drawn, handcrafted stationery products and even offers a love note service.

Eat and Drink Writers: Andrea Louise Thomas, Joe Novella, Muriel Cooper Photography: Yanni, Gary Sissons Creative: Sam Loverso, Dannielle Espagne Publisher: Melissa McCullough Advertising: Andy Jukes, 0431 950 685, Phone: (03) 5974 9000

All material is copyright, and may not be reproduced without the express permission of Mornington Peninsula News Group, or the original copyright holder in the case of contributions. Copyright of contributed material rests with the contributor. Disclaimer: The authors and publisher do not assume any liability to any party for any loss, damage or disruption caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident or any other cause. This publication is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians. The reader should regularly consult a physician in matters relating to health and particularly with respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention. Peninsula Essence is produced monthly. 30,000 copies (mix of home delivery and bulk dropped at an extensive network of outlets across the peninsula).

Registered address: 63 Watt Road, Mornington Vic. 3931 W: FB: @peninsulaessence Insta:@peninsulaessence

PEFC Certified This product is from sustainably managed forests and controlled sources.

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38. Blind Vision 'Made with little vision' is proudly on display as the slogan on the side of the Blind Coffee van, and its vision-impaired barista Dion Cole says his sense of humour is part of who he is.

44. Madame Tiger Born from a passion for healthy food and obsessively tinkering around with recipes involving weird and wonderful ingredients, Madame Tiger was founded by Mornington Peninsula mum Laura Hindson.

Focus On 68. Focus on Mount Martha

History 72. A Tragic Year For the Bartrams On Frankston’s Avenue of Honour, brass plates commemorate the four Bartram boys, three of which were killed during their service in World War I.

Every Month ISSUE 91 Cover image by Gary Sissons

November 2023

6. Peninsula Styles 8. What's On 43. Recipe 50. The Lowdown 70. Crossword

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What's on?




Get ready for a day of racing, fashion, entertainment, and family fun at the Mornington Racecourse's Peninsula Cup! The event is family-friendly, with free rides for kids. Indulge in a diverse selection of food options from our lineup of gourmet food trucks and quench your thirst with a range of beverages available throughout the event

Immerse yourself in this once-ina-lifetime concert film experience with a breathtaking, cinematic view of the history-making Taylor Swift tour. BYO blankets and snuggle up, you're in for a treat! Shel's Diner is open for all sorts of yummy treats with Dine-In/ Takeaway or 'Click & Collect' or order from your phone with 'Delivery to car' option.



More than just a market the Emu Plains Market brings together the community for a monthly festivallike feat of art, food, design and culture set within the picturesque Emu Plains Reserve on Coolart road, Balnarring. 9am to 2.00pm. Parking $5.00 per car

Set within the picturesque grounds of Beauty Park in Frankston, browse & chat with local artisans, feast on delicious food & explore local beer, wine and gourmet producers. Relax on the lush green lawns and soak up some amazing tunes by local musos.










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November 2023


The brother and sister electropop/punk rockers are constantly bickering about creative direction of their highly anticipated 5th album. They agree to perform separately as solo albums, but after months of searching for their own session musicians, it became clear that (literally) nobody else would agree to play with them.


Be entertained by an outstanding lineup of RETRO 80s DJs, MCs, and the sensational 'Big Party Band', who will bring the best of the 80s music to life. Then sing along to the BIGGEST 80s MassKaraoke Party. 80’s dress code is vital for this event!




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STARTING conversation By Liz Bell Photos Gary Sissons & Supplied


INCE 22-year-old Ben Hocking tragically took his own life seven years ago, his sisters have thrown themselves into supporting others struggling with inner turmoil; and the loved ones and friends left behind by suicide.

We will continue to advocate, educate and work to keep people safe until we achieve our vision of an Australia free of suicide

As the Hocking family knows only too well, the deep and unforgiving feeling of emptiness that accompanies suicide of a loved one is relentless, leaving people with unanswerable questions in the murky quagmire of guilt, sadness and anger.

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One of Ben’s sisters, social worker Georgia Hocking, explains that by starting the conversation that 'It’s Okay, Not to Be Okay’, and reaching out to people experiencing difficulties, the sisters are on a three-part mission to reduce the stigma of depression and suicide, encourage people to seek support, and provide a lifeline for anyone needing help. The girls, who grew up in Somerville, know that suicide has a devastating and long-term impact on families, friends and whole communities, but they also believe that through targeted continued page 12...

November 2023

Sisters Georgia, Maddi and Hayleigh Hocking

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counselling¸ advocacy and education their shared vision for a suicide-free Australia is reachable. “We will continue to advocate, educate and work to keep people safe until we achieve our vision of an Australia free of suicide,” Georgia said. “Because really we are all walking around with a story or feeling that not many or no one else knows about and we can all get involved by helping normalise conversations about mental health.” According to Lifeline, each year more than one million Australians reach out to the organisation for support. Shockingly, 8.6 Australians die every day by suicide. That’s more than double the road toll. In addition, an unknown number of Australians attempt suicide every year, with some estimates suggesting this figure may be more than 65,000.

people bereaved by suicide, running social media campaigns through all platforms that increase mental health literacy¸ and raising awareness about the support available,” Georgia said. The charity also funds counselling for those who need help but may not be able to afford to access it.

They encourage people to wear the message, There were ‘It’s Okay, Not to Be Okay’ emblazoned on their no signs, no fund-raising merchandise to reduce stigma, start warnings and conversations and normalise seeking support for no way we mental health. From personal experience, the sisters know it is could have normal for loved ones and friends to constantly known ask themselves if they could have done more, if

“One of our aims is to create change in mental health¸ grief and suicide prevention, and we do that by running community events where people come together, by providing grief packs for

they should have ‘seen’ it. “These are normal reactions and it’s okay to have these questions, but it’s important that people can get the counselling that will help them deal with the trauma,” Georgia said. “My sisters and I went to counselling continued page 14...

Ben Hocking

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November 2023

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because we all felt a level of guilt that we needed help to deal with¸ and as a professional in the field I really felt I should have seen a sign, or should have been able to do something. But that’s not what happens in real life.” The Hocking sisters found help with the Jesuit Services which support people dealing with grief from suicide, offering crucial strategies and support for the healing journey. But the question of why remains for many families who have no answers. Ben was 22 years old, employed and from a close¸ loving family. He was always happy. Or so it seemed. “There were no signs, no warnings and no way we could have known,” Georgia says. “Part of what we do at ‘It’s Okay, Not to Be Okay’ is to tell stories, people’s stories, our own stories, get people to share because talking about it really can help in ways that are quite surprising. We can all get involved by helping normalise the conversations about mental health.”

‘It’s Okay, Not to Be Okay’ is a small, grassroots organisation that is already making a big difference to people. “We get online messages from people all over the world, so we know we are making a difference,” Georgia said. “If we can help one person in this world, then that is enough, and we have done our job. We don’t want any other family to wake up each morning to the living, breathing hell that our family faces daily.” Through participating in community events, like the annual Walk for Suicide Prevention event which was held in September in Mornington, Georgia Hocking and her sisters Maddi and Hayleigh continue to spread the message that ‘It’s Okay Not to Be Okay’.

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SOCK IT TO 'em By Muriel Cooper Photos Yanni


osh Berry, the founder of 2 Pairs Each had an early education in altruism. Home-schooled as a kid, Josh travelled with his parents, volunteering in countries like Mozambique, South Africa and Cambodia. Josh says, “It really broadened my understanding and opened my eyes.” Josh’s mum, Jane Berry, reports that, even then, Josh gravitated towards the kids who were struggling or different.

It really broadened my understanding and opened my eyes

Josh was eight or nine when he saw homeless people in Flinders Street and wanted to do something to help them. “I came home, had a look around and thought, 'What’s the biggest need?' I thought that socks were the biggest need. A house would be the first, but it's hard to get houses. After that, warm clothing. But one thing the public doesn’t give when they donate clothes is their socks, so I thought, 'Why don’t I get brand new socks for them.'” Josh discovered there were twenty-three thousand homeless people in Victoria at the time, but he doubled that because every time they washed their socks, they needed another pair to put on – hence 2 Pairs Each. His goal was forty-two thousand pairs of socks, which he rounded off to fifty thousand. So far, Josh has raised forty-two thousand pairs of socks. Josh is turning eighteen at Christmas and fervently hopes to reach the fifty thousand by then. You can donate the socks or money (all the money goes to socks). Josh says, “We usually buy them on sale so we get more bang for our buck.” Funnily enough, Josh doesn’t wear socks very often, preferring to go sockless. “Once I was interviewed, and my socks had holes in them, and the journalist said, ‘You need socks,’” he says, laughing. “When I put on a nice pair of socks, it makes me feel warm. Socks are the things that wear out quickest, especially if you don’t have good quality shoes. Also, in winter, even if they don’t have any shoes, they need socks because the concrete is freezing.” When awarded Young Citizen of the Year by the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, Josh said, “It was quite a surprise. I didn’t realise I’d been nominated. When they called me up, I was quite shocked and amazed.” The Berry family are staunch volunteers in the community, and Josh’s sister, Sarah, was given the same award some years ago for her work sending a container load of books to Cambodia. continued next page...

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Josh has met many of the homeless that he has helped. He says, “There was a professor who couldn’t pay his rent, so he was evicted and ended up on the street. The stories shocked me. Why aren’t we doing more about it? They’re very thankful for the socks because they can stay warm. We go to different organisations that know the local area and where the homeless people are. The Royal District

Nursing Service used to be the health support for the homeless on the Peninsula, and often they would buy things out of their pocket, so we would supply them with socks.” It’s a common criticism of young people today that they lack empathy, but Josh doesn’t agree. He says, “Some young people lack empathy, perhaps because it’s not modelled to them by their parents or schools might not be teaching it, but there are other young people who have heaps of empathy and like to help other people and some of them give out socks for us. Because we are Christians, we were brought up to respect others. It’s been ingrained in us to help other people.” Aside from 2 Pairs Each, Josh has been busy volunteering for Sailability, which takes disabled and disadvantaged people out in small sailing boats; he has been a member of the Junior CFA for a couple of years, especially during the Good Friday Appeal, and he collects money for the local RSL through Air Force Cadets. The Cadets training includes outdoor activities, as well as teaching service knowledge, leadership, Air Force history, the theory of engines and flight and drones, which they learn to fly. It is even possible to learn to fly a plane. Josh hopes to join the Air Force.

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However, he intends to serve on the ground, although the Biggles books were an early inspiration. He hopes to keep on helping others through the peacekeeping, humanitarian and disaster relief efforts of our defence forces. Josh saw a lot of defence force members helping out when he volunteered during the relief efforts for the Lismore floods. Josh and mum Jane went off their own bat. Josh helped sort out the food, and Jane, a former nurse, helped with the medical equipment. As a busy volunteer, how does he manage his time? “I plan it out. Air Force Cadets helped me to think ahead.” What does Josh get out of his volunteering? “Just feeling good and joyful inside.” If you’d like to donate new socks or money to Josh’s campaign, look on Facebook at 2 Pairs Each or their website.

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SOCIAL butterflies By Joe Novella Photos Gary Sissons


he Mornington Peninsula Masters Swimming Club (MPMSC), aka the Seadragons, like so many great community initiatives, was started by a passionate individual who wanted to provide an opportunity for like-minded people to come together to enjoy the sport they love. In Rob Wilson’s case, (President of the MPMSC), that sport was Masters swimming.

Masters’ swimmers are swimmers over the age of 18, who may or may not be into swimming fast, but are definitely into getting fit, and enjoying every minute of it. Masters swimming can be a competitive outlet for some, but for the majority there is a strong focus on fun, fitness and friendship, and being the best you can be. “My wife and I moved to the Mornington Peninsula late in 2018 for a sea/tree change,” said Rob. “As a Masters swimmer and coach for over ten years, I went looking for a squad of adult swimmers to join, but there was an absence of a Masters club in the southern Mornington Peninsula area, so I saw a gap that needed to be filled.”

Today, the MPMSC is one of the biggest Masters swimming clubs in the state, boasting close to 90 members and continuing to grow. The club has both sides of the Peninsula covered, retaining its original training pools at Pelican Park, Hastings and Crib Point and adding YAWA Aquatic Centre in Rosebud. The new YAWA Aquatic Centre has certainly been a factor in that growth but it’s not the only factor. “The social side is a big part of the Seadragons’ growth as a club, I believe,” said Rob. “For our club we offer adult swimmers a community to join. A community of swimmers (and some non-swimmers) that love life in and around the water, whether that is a pool or the ocean, or having a chat over a cup of coffee. “To see the club members chatting in the water, on pool deck or chatting over coffee brings a smile to my face. In addition to these we have a Social sub-committee that organises social events. These have included, dinners, movie nights, walks and a day at the Hot Springs, and there are always discussions about the next social event. We also have chat groups, in which swimmers often organise to catch up in small groups.”

The social side is a big part of the Seadragons’ growth as a club...

Over time, Rob found a group of about four to six Masters swimmers he could regularly train with and together with this group, in 2020, an interim committee was formed with plans on incorporating as an association and affiliating as a Masters swimming club. And then Covid hit. But the group was determined and continued meeting via Zoom and in September of 2020, the Mornington Peninsula Masters Swimming Club was born.

The MPMSC originally used Pelican Park in Hastings and the Crib Point Outdoor Pool as its home base and at the time numbered less than 10 members. In 2021, with the help of Belgravia Leisure and the Mornington Peninsula Shire, the club moved its home base to the newly-opened YAWA aquatic centre. The move paid off with the new facilities attracting new members to the club, including another group of Masters swimmers from McCrae that were previously unknown to Rob – the Aquaholics, pushing the membership numbers rapidly to above 40.

The MPMSC members range from 18 to 86 years of age and come from all walks of life and backgrounds. “We have swimmers that, when they start can barely make one lap,” said Rob, “up to Australian champions, and some that have represented us on the world stage.” Coaching is also a big part of the MPMSC. “We have a pool (pardon the pun) of five volunteer coaches,” said Rob, “that run six sessions a week across the three pools. Our coaches run sessions that cater for swimmers of all levels and adapt for the swimmer’s individual needs, fitness levels and allowing for any injuries.” Rob describes a typical session as usually 90 minutes in duration where the swimmer turns up at the start of a session, pays a session fee, gets ready and then hops in the water to do the warm-up set. After warm-up, the swimmers stop as a group for notices about club activities and then get onto the main program. continued page 22...

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The main program includes some drills that help with the development of a swimming stroke. At the end of the program, there is a cool down and then swimmers hop out and get ready for a coffee or head home. Swimmers can swim as often or as little as they like - one session a month, or four sessions a week, it is entirely up to the swimmer. Coaches regularly have conversations with each swimmer about their form but also about what they are capable of doing, how much rest they need, how long they should stay in the water. There is no pressure to perform, it is all about slow, steady improvement in a social setting. For those who do like the thrill of competition, there is plenty on offer at MPMSC. There are interclub comps (where individual clubs host competitions for other clubs), state championships, national championships and world championships.

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The club also hosts internal time trials and once a year have an open water intraclub event, just for club members. MPMSC also has options for those who can’t swim but want to learn. Just recently, the club partnered with Masters Swimming Australia, AUSTSWIM, Allianz and the Yawa Aquatic Centre on an 8-week pilot program for adults that have never swum before. So, if you’re looking for a sport to help you regain your fitness and improve your mental health in a supportive environment where fun and friendship is the focus then Masters swimming may be for you. All you need to do is call or email the MPMSC New Members Officer for more details on how to get involved.

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TO MARKET, to market By Andrea Louise Thomas Photos Gary Sissons & Supplied


omers’ couple, Joel and Vanessa Johnson are the dynamic duo behind Untold Events. They run the hugely popular Emu Plains Market in Balnarring and its now equally popular younger sister, Little Beauty Market in Frankston. If that weren’t enough, their one-of-a kind Main Street, Mornington shop, Albert and Daphne - a collection of curious goods, is a long-time local favourite.

Vanessa and Joel also dreamed up Stringybark Cinema on the grounds of Emu Plains Market, Unseen Cinema in George Pentland Botanic Gardens, Frankston and the Australia Day Foreshore Festival in Hastings. As events go, these two have the Midas touch. That said, they have earned their stellar reputation. Good thoughts, good deeds and hard work are the keys to their success. The genius is in careful curation. They find the very best vendors with a firm focus on local and handmade.

continued page 26...

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We have to think about the visitor experience. That’s the most important thing

Amazingly, neither Joel nor Vanessa studied for careers in events management or retail. Joel got a Bachelor of Physiotherapy at Melbourne University. Vanessa received a Bachelor of Arts at RMIT in Communication (Advertising). He became a physio and ran his own business, she worked for real estate agencies and property development companies in marketing. Running events and markets came later as a part-time enterprise that blossomed into full-time work.

“We couldn’t do it without each other. We have complimentary skills. Ness is great at the creative side. I’m good at administration and operations because I ran my own physio business. The markets are a great jointly run venture,” Joel says. Vanessa has a fabulous eye for beautiful things and wonderful people. She finds great artisans for the market stalls and brilliant products for Albert and Daphne. Positive feedback from customers is their sweetest reward. “We have to think about the visitor experience. That’s the most important thing,” Joel says. Clearly, they are getting that right. And it’s not just the customers who are happy. The vendors love the markets too. Spots in Emu Plains and Little Beauty are highly sought after.

“People are keen to support local and handmade,” Vanessa says. In fact, it was their own passion for local markets that drew the couple to start Emu Plains. The original market at that site was run by Hastings Western Port Rotary for many years. When Rotary were looking to move out of the market, Vanessa and Joel threw their hat into the ring and rebranded it as Emu Plains in 2012. It was such a success they launched Little Beauty six years later. Albert and Daphne also opened in 2018. Vanessa’s marketing background proved very helpful. Not only that, but when Vanessa and Joel’s children were in kinder, she volunteered to run the Somers Winter Market at Coolart Wetlands. While it was an enormous amount of work, it was also a lot of fun. She loved the impressive crafting skills of Mums and wanted to give them a platform. Running that market built invaluable skills for the ones to follow. One of Vanessa’s superpowers is stallholder selection. For Emu Plains and Little Beauty, she vets the applicants meticulously looking at a variety of factors. She takes quite a lot of time with this. “It’s about the feeling and ethos – how we’d get along. Also, I have to research what a stallholder makes and how it will fit in. I have to pick and choose so carefully,” Vanessa says. continued page 28...

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Vanessa and Joel Johnson November 2023


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“A market is such a different shopping experience to being at a mall. Our markets are set in really beautiful environments. There might be a musician playing in the background. Customers get to talk to the people who are making the products and hear their passion for what they do. People feel good supporting the stallholders,” Joel says. Vanessa and Joel have also found that people are happy to pay more for something that is handmade and high quality. Customers would rather buy something that will last longer and perform better.

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Many visitors come back time and time again. They know the vendors and many vendors know their regular customers. There is great camaraderie amongst visitors and stallholders alike. Craft markets attract an interesting cross-section of people. Buying or selling, markets are a fun and fascinating experience.

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SLAY, SammyJ By Muriel Cooper Photos Supplied


ou might not know Samuel Jonathan McMillan, born and bred on the Mornington Peninsula, but you probably know Sammy J, writer, comedian, singer, composer, and breakfast presenter on ABC Radio. Sammy was born at the Mornington Bush Nursing Hospital, now The Bays, and lived in Mount Eliza. “Fifteen years later, I was working at Fossey’s Mornington, so I didn’t go very far in fifteen years – just up the road. I think it’s a pharmacy now. The top of Main Street was very much my neck of the woods.” Why Sammy J? “It was just a nickname back in high school in about year seven. I think everyone was scrambling to get Hotmail addresses at the time, and so Sammy J seemed like a fun, silly nickname to give myself. I think I had one of the early Sammy J addresses, but then I let it lapse – stupidly,” he laughs. “It was a nickname that became a stage name. It stuck around longer than intended.”

Growing up in Mount Eliza and Frankston in the eighties and nineties was, as he says, “Marvellous. It was a very small-town feeling. I can't count the number of times I walked over that bridge across the Nepean Highway from Mount Eliza Primary School to be picked up by my mum, who taught at Toorak College just around the corner, or I’d walk to my grandma’s house just off Old Mornington Road. I spent a lot of time walking. You wouldn’t think twice about walking five kilometres to a friend’s house because that’s how I got around. I think that was good for me because it left a lot of space for reflection, and nature was in your face, which was a beautiful thing.” Sammy showed early comedy inclinations at school. “From primary school, I was the class clown. I’ve been back there to tell my story because it was my first experience of Show Biz. I really credit my teachers in High School at The Peninsula School” (now Peninsula Grammar). “My drama and English teachers saw some potential in me and gave me that confidence. continued page 32...

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It was a nickname that became a stage name. It stuck around longer than intended

Photo: Darcy Hodgson

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Often as the weird, odd, creative kid in any school environment, you find yourself slightly on the outer and not easily fitting in to social groups. Creativity was my escape, and by Year 12, comedy was the natural path for me to follow. One of Sammy’s favourite places on the Peninsula is Daveys Bay in Mount Eliza. He met his wife, Hannah, at a United Nations Youth Association school camp where, as he says, “Nerds would gather together. It was the middle of 1999, I was in year 10, and it was my first introduction to the city. I met this girl called Hannah – who I fell in love with after a week – and tried to impress her for two years. She came down on the train to visit me a year later, and I put together my dream date of showing off the Peninsula to her. We were on foot – we laugh about that to this day – and I walked her to the quarry at the bottom of Two Bays Road, and then we walked to Daveys Bay and sat on the pier there, and I think we ended up at Frankston Foreshore. The quarry and Daveys Bay still hold a special place in my heart.” The Melbourne University Law Review has launched some of the biggest names in comedy, including Sammy’s. While in Year 12, he discovered its reputation, and it lured him to study law. “Even at law school, I was the one trying to make my fellow students laugh.” He gave up his legal studies after his third Comedy Review but says the two - comedy and law - both have language in common and also try to see things from a different perspective. Sammy’s comedy is reflective now. “In my younger days, it was much more ‘punk’, trying to shock people, but everyone goes on their own journey. I’ve always loved language and music. Even back at school, I was trying to write poems and bring my own perspective to things, but I feel like it’s only in the last few years that my ambition has matched my ability.” After three years of breakfast radio on ABC Melbourne, Sammy says he’s “Very much in the rhythm. You have to manage your time and be very disciplined with your sleep hours, but it is a lifestyle, and I’m incredibly grateful because I had the job during Covid. It’s been a wild ride. I’m more confident now than I’ve ever been, and I’m enjoying it more than ever because I feel more relaxed, and I’m being myself rather than a version of myself now, and that’s really fulfilling.” In one of his songs from the Melbourne Comedy Festival, Sammy recalls re-winding cassette tapes with a pencil. What does he think young people today will remember doing in the future?

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“I’m always thinking about this because our concept of phones and technology now will all change, and I’m sure people in the future will have the equivalent of Apple or Google glasses – wearable technology will be the norm rather than a novelty. In seventy years, they’ll probably be singing about putting petrol into cars and laughing about traffic because everyone will be in flying vehicles by then. “On Friday Nights when I’d go down to Video Ezy in Mount Eliza, I would have seven dollars to get two weekly releases, and I would spend as much time picking out the movie as I would watching it because I'd have to get it right. Now you can just pick and choose and stop something after five minutes. There was something precious about the analogue lifestyle. I don’t think it was better or worse – it was a slower pace." Does Sammy still have family on the peninsula? “Yes, very much. My mum, stepdad, father, stepmother, aunt, sister, nephew and most of my school friends, many of whom came up to the city like so many do, and then returned to the peninsula lifestyle because it’s a great place to live. I stay in the city for work and family reasons, but I’m deeply connected, and every time I drive down or catch the train, there’s that beautiful sense of coming home. My girls spend a lot of time down there with grandparents, so we live in the best of both worlds.”

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Aerial views of Point Nepean / Dromana - Sammy in the back seat as part of Milly Formby round-Australia microlight trip November 2023

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PERSONAL touch By Andrea Louise Thomas Photos Gary Sissons


rib Point artist, Alexandra Shay, believes in the power of the personal touch. In fact, she’s made an art of it. Her stationery business, This On Paper, centres on the love expressed by thoughtful gift-giving, artfully presented. Alexandra makes beautifully-designed, handdrawn, handcrafted stationery products. She even offers a love note service.

The expression ‘it’s the thought that counts’ is front and centre in her thinking. In a time of hasty electronic communication and last-minute gift giving, making the effort to handwrite a card and wrap something in a slow, thoughtful way really impacts both the sender and the receiver. She feels it builds a closer connection.

Art is in her blood. Born in Argentina, Alexandra came to Australia with her parents and three older brothers when she was just a toddler. Both her parents are professional artists. Her mother is a painter/ceramicist and her father, a woodworker. They had a regular stall at the iconic Sunday Market in Southbank, Melbourne. Alexandra and her brothers would explore the city while their parents worked. The kids loved that until it was time to pack up. When Alexandra had her own daughter, she returned to art. “I just wanted to get back to me. Being an artist is my identity. After I had my daughter, I started This On Paper. I’d always had a dream of making stationery. A friend once asked me what I would want if I could do anything in the world. I said I would design my own wrapping paper and stationery,” she says. And here she is.

I have kept every card that’s ever been given to me. A handwritten Everything Alexandra makes is created card is a lovely Knowing that she wanted to create while consciously. She uses 100% post-consumer consciously using recycled paper without recycled paper printed in Australia. With the snapshot in plastic packaging was her starting point. environment in mind, her products are plastic She went online to learn how to digitize her time ... free. Instead, she hand-ties each card or bundle with eco-friendly string.

Alexandra has been drawing, painting and making since childhood. She’s always loved working with paper in particular. She studied Visual Arts in VCE, but didn’t initially choose to become an artist. She went to TAFE in Frankston to study a different kind of art, floristry. She worked in that field for many years and has only recently started working as a full-time artist.

art and how to make repeating patterns. Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator help bring her designs to life. Her father, who retired from woodworking, is now a die maker. He custom makes the die cuts for the gift tags and scalloped shapes in Alexandra’s cards. It took three years to master everything while wrangling a baby and holding down her floristry job. Alexandra launched This On Paper early this year, selling her work first online and then at local markets. continued next page ...

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Her cards are also carried at Flower Girls and Co. on Main Street in Mornington.

I love that it’s something you use in your everyday life, but it can be beautiful too

It’s clear from her work where her inspiration comes from: flowers, nature and colour. Having grown up locally, the Mornington Peninsula landscape and the quiet moments spent in it influence her craft. She starts her designs by drawing in grey lead pencil, following with fineliner pen. Then she digitizes the drawings, edits and colours them and turns her designs into repeating patterns.

While stationery is a very niche market, it was a natural choice for Alexandra. “I just love paper: always have. I love that it’s something you use in your everyday life, but it can be beautiful too. I love wrapping because I love gift giving. Putting that time into handwrapping a gift and writing a card with all the beautiful things you feel about a person is really personal and special,” she says. “I have kept every card that’s ever been given to me. A handwritten card is a lovely snapshot in time – something I want to remember. I also love notebooks. I’ve always had journals.

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Every time there is a significant moment in my life, I make a drawing of it,” she says. The beautiful handmade journals in her stationery line are perfect for capturing timely moments.

If coming up with catchy messages doesn’t come easily, Alexandra has some wonderful heartfelt wording on a selection of her cards. However she always leaves the inside blank to inspire individual thinking. In her love note service, Alexandra handwrites the love letter provided by a customer onto one of her cards. Then she mails it in the good old-fashioned post for that perfect personal touch.

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Eat & Drink

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BLIND vision By Muriel Cooper Photos Gary Sissons


ade with little vision’ is proudly on display as the slogan on the side of the Blind Coffee van, and its vision-impaired barista Dion Cole says his sense of humour is part of who he is.

Dion originally got the idea for Blind Beans Coffee because, as he says, “I had too many bad coffees. They say Melbourne is the coffee capital of Australia; I got sick of too many coffee-flavoured milks.” Dion now calls the Peninsula home. “There’s a real community about it,” he says. Dion did a barista course a few years ago and then, a year ago, he did a second one as a refresher, then bought the coffee van with his own funds. He tallied up the costs – coffee, plus petrol for the generator, plus milk – then thought, 'The best way is to go headfirst straight into a coffee gig.' The coffee van is standard, but Dion has equipment that helps, such as talking scales when doing the weight in grams for each coffee. He has created a routine with his support workers and tries to get everything put back the way it was at the start of the shift so that things flow a lot easier. Good lighting and small aids like the talking scales help. “I have lovely support workers standing beside me who tell me, ‘OK, two centimetres, one centimetre, nearly there.’ My support workers are the backbone because, without them, I can’t do business.” When he started, Dion didn’t expect it to be easy and knew there would be a few challenges. “I’m a bit of an introvert,” he said, “so trying to get the work was difficult for me; to face these challenges that I would normally avoid. My initial support worker was a real go-getter. She would run into places and say, ‘I’m going to go in here and see if we can get you some work.’ The local tennis club said they’d have me, and then it slowly became word of mouth as well, thanks to social media, which has coffee van pages. You’ve got to be persistent and check regularly, then jump on board quickly with your request to take that job.” continued next page ...

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Now Dion is doing very nicely. “People comment on my coffee, usually positive. I’ve only ever had two negatives. One because it was taking too long so now, thanks to my support worker Carly Dillon, we’ve printed off the Blind Beans story. This is a big laminated card which we sit on the table so, while customers are waiting, they can understand why they might have to wait a little longer.” Dion uses a medium-strength bean to make his coffee and takes his coffee van to the footie and to markets. His sense of humour is even on the van door; it says, ‘Don’t worry, I’m the passenger.’ Dion is driven by his support worker, Carly. The footie is Dion’s favourite, “Because it’s go, go, go – I love that rush – it fuels me and inspires me.

My support workers are the backbone because, without them, I can’t do business

Dion started primary school wearing glasses. Then, in 1995, he went back to his home country of New Zealand for his mother’s wedding, where people noticed him bumping and tripping into chairs and tables. Dion’s father insisted he have his eyes tested, and Dion was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP).

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Eleven years ago, Dion’s sister was hospitalised with the same eye condition and discovered she had an extremely rare metabolic condition, analpha-methyl acyl-CoA racemase deficiency, or AMACR. Dion was tested and discovered he had the same condition, a side-effect of which is RP. He and his sister were the first two people in Australasia to be diagnosed with AMACR, a degenerative condition. Dion has come to terms with and adapted to his blindness.

What motivates him to work? “Making people happy and putting a smile on their faces, and I know that having a coffee first thing in the morning is bliss. I can’t function well and come eleven o’clock I’ll have a throbbing headache because I need my coffee. It’s not because we’re addicted or anything,” he laughs. “Not at all.” When he’s out, Dion will buy an extra strong skinny latte. “That way, I’m covering the bases of a milky coffee. That’s my favourite. continued page 42 ...

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I’ve learned to make the Piccolo, a short black, a long black, and I had one person ask for a Melbourne Magic – a long black with just a splash of milk on top. It sounds like a Macchiato, but there is a difference. What it is, who knows? Let the mystery stay out there.” How did Dion overcome his introversion and be able to deal with the public? He says, “I've always wanted to deal with people, but one of my biggest fears is public speaking; I can’t do it. But talking one-on-one with customers or if there are just three or four, I don’t mind.” The coffee van business has become very competitive, but Dion laughs. “There are a lot of coffee van owners out there, but they’re not all blind.” Dion is always on the lookout for more gigs. If you’d like Blind Coffee to be at your event, or if you’d like to sponsor Dion and have your logo on his van, you can contact him on the number below

Insta @blind_beans_melbourne

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METHOD Moisten the top edge of the glass, then twist the glass around in the cinnamon/sugar mix to ensure the entire rim is coated. Fill the glass with ice and then add the apple juice. Fill up the glass with Vinada® Tinteling Tempranillo Rosé. Add a squeeze of lemon, garnish with a cinnamon stick and mint sprigs.

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MADAME tiger

Photos Gary Sissons


orn from a passion for healthy food and obsessively tinkering around with recipes involving weird and wonderful ingredients, Madame Tiger was founded by Mornington Peninsula mum Laura Hindson. The plantbased milk that is environmentally friendly, allergen-free, has the vitamins and minerals to rival cows' milk and tastes great in coffee.

Laura was first introduced to tiger nuts through her partner Yacouba’s Malian-born father, and quickly realised tiger nuts would be the ideal ingredient for a plant-based milk. Madame Tiger Barista Tiger Nut Milk is the perfect low-climate footprint milk to add to a coffee, as tiger nuts only need rainwater to grow. Madame Tiger has measured their climate impact via the global tool, Carbon Cloud, and can confirm that their milk is seriously sustainable. Sometimes called earth almonds, tiger nuts are not actually nuts; they are nutrient-dense little root vegetables or tubers which are also a safe option for people with allergies to nuts, gluten, dairy, or soy because they are allergen-free. Inheriting their name from the stripes on the tubers' exterior, tiger nuts are the size of a chickpea but wrinkly with a chewy texture and sweet nutty flavour similar to coconut. Madame Tiger's Original Tiger Nut Milk provides the same amount of protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals as full cream cows' milk, making it a suitable dairy substitute for children under the age of two. continued next page ...

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It started out by us watching a documentary entitled Developed in her home kitchen, Laura's Tiger Nut, the approach to the recipe was one of a home cook rather than a technical product developer, Homeland of the avoiding ingredients like gums, industrial seed Wholehearted oils, emulsifiers and e-numbers and opting for high-quality more natural ingredients like Women Australian extra virgin olive oil and locally grown and sustainably produced faba bean protein. Madame Tiger has set up a local manufacturing facility to produce their tiger nut milk in the South-eastern suburbs of Melbourne, affectionately named by their kids, 'The Tiger Factory'. Laura recalls, “Our very first stockist was Tully’s and there was something pretty special about stopping in to grab some bits and

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pieces to cook with on a Saturday afternoon and strolling down the fruit and plant-based milk aisle and seeing Madame Tiger front and centre. We’ve also had so much support from some fabulous local coffee spots like Corner Counter, Horribly Healthy, Prodigal Coffee Roasters, Mr Jacksons, A Good Little Thing, Laneway Espresso, Flat Blk and so many more.” Laura appreciates the love the brand is getting from the local community. “I love living in an area where businesses are keen to keep it local and support one another. I recently met with Sam Keck from Commonfolk last week and they’ll soon be serving tiger lattes; he was super pumped to have a local plant-based milk

business with a similar business ethos to theirs.” Madame Tiger also makes regular appearances at the markets on the Peninsula, two of their favourites being Emu Plains and Red Hill. Madame Tiger ethically sources the tiger nuts from a female-led farming collective in Burkina Faso, Mousso Faso. Laura explains: "It started out by us watching a documentary entitled "Tiger Nut, the Homeland of the Wholehearted Women", which was featured at the African Film Festival in Auckland, New Zealand. I got in touch with the filmmaker and started talking about all things tiger nuts and fair trade. It turned out his wife was involved in a charity supporting the female farming collective, Mousso Faso, and together we shared a fierce passion and determination to see these

women and their families succeed. Madame Tiger has purchased Mousso Faso's entire harvest from 2020-2023." The tiger nut milk coffee order, coined 'Tiger Latte' is the new coffee order among the oat latte or almond latte drinkers at cafes around Melbourne, on the Mornington Peninsula, in South Australia, popping up in coffee vans on the Sunshine Coast, and now available at specialist retailers across Australia.

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MEET THE TEAM AT PENINSULA ORTHODONTICS Dr. Alan Tran is a specialist Orthodontist committed to providing the highest quality orthodontic care and treatment for adults and children alike. After completing his undergraduate studies, Alan completed his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at the University of Melbourne, before working as a general dentist in both public and private clinics. He then undertook specialist Orthodontic training at the University of Melbourne to obtain his Doctor of Clinical Dentistry. Prior to joining Peninsula Orthodontics, Alan was working in a group practice in Melbourne. Alan is a member of the Australian Society of Orthodontists, American Association of Orthodontists, World Federation of Orthodontists, and Australian Dental Association. He has also achieved certification with the Australian Orthodontic Board. Alan takes pride in building rapport with his patients and makes visiting the orthodontist a wonderful experience. He is focused on delivering the very best possible care and strives for perfection with every one of his patients. Alan is relishing the prospect of working alongside the team at Peninsula Orthodontics to provide a high level to both new and existing patients across the Mornington Peninsula. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife Gloria and pug Herbert, reading, Pilates, exploring new cafes and restaurants, and watching the Essendon Football Club. To book an appointment to see Alan, please call our reception team at Peninsula Orthodontics .

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MOUNT MARTHA SEA WOLVES TO HOWL ON STAGE Local theatre director Carole Patullo brings the Mount Martha Sea Wolves’ powerful stories to the stage.




Mornington Peninsula resident and theatre maker Carole Patullo was first introduced to the Sea Wolves when four members of the feisty cold water swimming pack turned up to one of her performances and "spontaneously howled". Carole is now creating a theatre piece, Sea Wolves Howl, based on their “life-affirming” stories. Carole has known of the Sea Wolves since Covid times, through her artist friend Jennifer Fletcher, a founding member of the Sea Wolves. An intergenerational group of up to 60 Peninsula based women and non-binary people, they came together out of loneliness and a need for human contact after the harsh Melbourne lockdowns. For some members, the support of this group is what got them through challenging times. You will find the Sea Wolves on Mount Martha beach every morning at 8am. They enter the sea, join hands, howl like wolves, and plunge into the freezing water. It is a transformative ritual that takes place 365 days a year.


The ritual and the healing powers of water and the transformative effect it has will inform the basis of this invigorating theatrical work. Carole has co-produced and performed in a story sharing and performance project called ‘Story People’ since 2015. The performance will weave together text, song and movement, and will be brought to the stage by local actors and musicians. Carole says "the work will reimagine local stories with humour and poignancy,” Sea Wolves Howl has been commissioned by the Flinders Fringe Festival and generously supported by the Mornington Peninsula Shire through the Performing Arts Development Grants program. It will premiere at the second annual Flinders Fringe Festival in February 2024. Tickets may be purchased via the website. Director Carole Patullo



Thursday 22 February 7:30pm Friday 23 February 7:30pm (Gala) Saturday 24 February 4:00pm (Matinee) Saturday 24 February 7:30pm Flinders Civic Hall 56 Cook Street Flinders Tickets $35, $25 concession, Gala $85 (includes refreshments) Generously funded through the Mornington Peninsula Shire Performing Arts Development Grants Program

Photos by Noa Smith Fletcher

November 2023

Design by The Nun of the Ninch @nunoftheninch

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CELEBRATING 7 YEARS: A FRESH ERA FOR CANDLE LOVERS Nestled in the heart of the Mornington Peninsula, Red Hill Candle Co. is celebrating a milestone - 7 years of bringing beautiful fragrances into your home. This anniversary signifies not just time passed but an elevated transformation. Fresh branding and packaging draws inspiration from the Peninsula's natural beauty, bringing a touch of modern charm to every design. From humble beginnings pouring candles at home, to now operating out of their Dromana factory and store, Red Hill Candle Co. continues to grow with a loyal customer base Australia wide. “We’ve had an incredible few years since moving into the Dromana Habitat area including winning multiple awards, being featured on Sunrise and Postcards to offering sell out candle making workshops.” Founder, Ebony Flett. The team has been working hard to introduce carefully curated gift packs, designed for those who appreciate quality and elegance. Visit their flagship Dromana store or shop online and find your perfect fragrance in time for Christmas.

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REBECCA ABBEY COLOUR AND FLOW Frankston based artist Rebecca Abbeys creative journey began as personal catharsis, grieving the passing of her dad during lockdown, trying to make sense of things. What unravelled was an inward spiritual journey resulting in therapeutic creative exchanges and underpinned by her passion for and multidisciplinary studies in colour, vibrant healing energy infused artworks. Rebecca says, “Most of my works have come about from my healing journey over the past few years, and of recent times have become an even more colourful expression of my personal growth, renewal, connections, and expansion, as well as interaction and engagement with my Frankston art group, and local creative and spiritual communities. I now infuse my works with healing energy through reiki and sound bowls, and take them along to meditation classes which I facilitate in Frankston and Seaford.”

Photo: Winter Solstice (detail) 2022, Mixed Media on Canvas framed in Flooded Gum

Rebecca’s first solo exhibition, Colour and Flow, is a spirited love letter to her Frankston community, an engaging expression of renewal, expansion, and transformation. The exhibition opening event is November 23rd and will be on display until Feb 3, 2024. W:

FOR EVERY SKIN & BEAUTY NEED Located at the top end of High Street in Hastings, a beautiful, private boutique salon awaits. Lillian Mac Skin & Beauty has a mission to provide remarkable treatments and ensure a memorable service to every one of their valued clients. Patient, accommodating staff provide impeccable, knowledgeable services to meet every need and their extensive range of beauty treatments cater to every whim. As soon as you walk through the door a quiet and beautiful space encourages you to wind down and take a moment for yourself. The luxurious treatment rooms cradle your mind and spirit taking you to a place of total tranquillity. We dare you to try not to fall asleep during one of your sessions!

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NOMINATIONS OPEN FOR WILD WOMEN IN BUSINESS MORNINGTON PENINSULA AND FRANKSTON AWARDS Lauren Wild created the brilliantly named Wild Women in Business after becoming a successful business owner and discovering the importance of having a supportive community of businesswomen around her.

on March 1, 2024. With 13 awards across various categories that recognise excellence, innovation, trailblazing and emerging businesses, the event is a true celebration of the achievements of businesswomen.

But though Wild’s success story is impressive, it wasn’t always easy. As any entrepreneur knows, the day-to-day reality of running a business involves plenty of challenges and first times. The young business owner found herself turning to family and friends for support, yet realised what she really craved was a community of like-minded women navigating the same territory.

“It’s all about empowering women in business,” says Wild. The Wild Women in Business Mornington Peninsula and Frankston Awards is also an opportunity for women business owners to gather together and network. Wild’s view is that having more resources — including contacts — helps us unlock our true potential and thrive in the competitive world of business.

“My loved ones were great, but it was no substitute for connecting with other businesswomen who were in the same boat,” says Wild. “I couldn’t find what I was looking for, so I created it myself.”

“Growth is inspired by connecting with a diverse range of minds,” explains Wild. “Networking with others opens up a new world of possibilities, and paves the way for future generations to become groundbreaking business owners.”

This is the origin story of Wild Women in Business. Wild’s organisation — which she originally operated alongside her real estate business, now sold and rebranded Belle Property, Mornington/Mount Eliza. Lauren sold for a substantial seven-figure sum in just seven years, but remains a minor shareholder. This strategic move will grant Lauren the opportunity to dedicate her time to serving her real estate clients and, more importantly, to realise her dream of establishing the WWIB Community which — brings together local businesswomen and gives them a space to collaborate and inspire one another.

Award submissions are now open, and anyone can nominate themselves or an inspiring woman in business.

Sometimes, Wild Women in Business is just about business owners keeping each other accountable and pushing each other further. Lauren is dedicated to establishing a Healthy Founders Club, as she firmly believes that a business is a direct reflection of its founder. She is convinced that by nurturing healthy founders, we can effectively pave the way for the emergence of more prosperous and thriving businesses. “What I’d really like to do is break the mould of isolated business operations,” says Wild. “I believe deeply in the power of collective thinking, and that real progress comes from collaboration.” Now, Wild Women in Business is preparing to celebrate International Womens Day by hosting their Mornington Peninsula and Frankston awards night at Mornington Racecourse

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The award categories include: Best Brand Development, which recognises consistent brand evolution, innovation and growth; Innovator of the Year, for businesses that have found innovative ways of working or created something unique; and Business Transformation, which celebrates organisations with brilliantly executed strategic development. And then there’s Best Community Engagement, to highlight businesses that have created initiatives to engage and inspire the local community; Best Sustainable Product or Service, for environmentally conscious products, processes or practices; and Young Entrepreneur of the Year — which acknowledges leaders under 35 who have inspired business growth through new ideas. Ultimately, the Wild Women in Business Mornington Peninsula and Frankston Awards is an event to champion the rise of businesswomen and establish a supportive community. It’s a chance to pause, reflect and congratulate yourself or fellow business owners. “Being a businesswoman is about navigating new systems, testing ideas, challenging the norm and learning to do things by yourself,” says Wild. “But when you have the right community, resources and connections, it's a whole lot easier.”


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HAVE YOUR POOL READY FOR SUMMER With EL Nino on its way to Australia, now is the time to get your swimming pool and spa ready for your family’s enjoyment. Don’t leave it till the last minute to turn on your solar system only to discover you have a sprinkler system on your roof rather than a solar collector. Take advantage of our warm weather and extend your swimming season by investing in an Aspire pool solar heating system. Solar collector is the most cost effective and sustainable way to heat any pool or spa.

Whether it be a commercial or domestic pool, the Aspire award winning rigid pool solar panel can be custom installed to maximise the roof space available. Located at our modern manufacturing facility on the Mornington Peninsula the Aspire pool solar panel is the only 100% Australian made single piece injection over moulded rigid solar panel on the market. Build from high impact, high UV polypropylene resin, these panels are tough enough to resist cockatoo attack and hail damage.

HOW IT WORKS. A rigid pool solar panel works in conjunction with a low energy water pump and a solar controller. The controller monitors the panel temperature on the roof and the pool water temperature. When the panels heat up from the free rays of the sun the controller activates the pump and circulates the hot water from the roof and back into the pool. It’s that simple. SUSTAINABLE PRODUCT. With soaring electricity prices and the phasing out of gas supply to new homes there has never been a better time to invest into a more affordable and sustainable way to heating your swimming pool.


Saves money by using the free natural rays of the sun.

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Custom build sizes to maximise roof space.

Patented one piece injection over moulded polypropylene construction.

Pool industry recognised and certified.

After 20 plus years of useful life the solar panels can be 100% recycled.


Factory 6/1879 Frankston-Flinders Rd, Hastings

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Voted by SPASA, National GOLD winner the most Voted by SPASA, national GOLDfor winner Sustainable Productproduct of the Year 2023. for most sustainable of the year 2023

T H E T I M E I S N OW . . .


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& lots of fun for doggie play time



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you’ll love christmas shopp ing at this store!

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VISIT US ONLINE OR IN STORE Open Thursday - Sunday from 11am

1, 4-6 Thomson Tce, Dromana

Stock up for gifting season SHOP Candles, room sprays, diffusers, melts, local gift packs & more EXPERIENCE Candle making workshops, car diffuser making & private events

Gift vouchers available

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ARTHURS SEAT EAGLE Take your gift giving to new heights this Christmas! An Arthurs Seat Eagle gift card will send you soaring over the sights of Port Phillip Bay.

RED HILL CANDLE CO. Scent-sational gift vouchers! Can be used for purchases in store and online or for a Scent Lab creative workshop session.

FRANKSTON ARTS CENTRE A gift voucher to the Frankston Arts Centre is valid for three years and the lucky person in your life will enjoy experiencing the thrill of live entertainment that awaits them in 2024.

FLINDERS HOTEL A gift voucher that can be used to enjoy various offerings from this iconic hotel.

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Give them a Flinders experience this

Stay & Dine Package - $295 for two people Give the ultimate indulgence, an all-inclusive luxury Peninsula getaway. Overnight stay for two at Quarters. 4.5 star accommodation with room upgrade, wifi and late checkout till 12pm

Dinner for two at The Deck Bar & Bistro. Breakfast for two. Available Sun - Fri

Gin High Tea for two - $178 for two people Give an indulgent afternoon tea for two at Zigis Bar. Four savoury treats, three decadent sweets and scones, served with your choice of two premium gins and one gin cocktail. Our premium gin collection includes your choice of over 55 Victorian distilled gins. Satutrdays 12 - 3pm

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Eat, Drink & be Merry - $100 or $150 value Give a leisurely lunch or delicious dinner with a voucher for The Deck Bar & Bistro. Contemporary, casual dining in a relaxed indoor and outdoor setting. The Deck boasts a menu and wine selection with something to suit every taste.

Focus On


Mount Martha Coffee Safari

Mount Martha is a seaside town on the Mornington Peninsula 60 kilometres south-east of Melbourne's central business district. It has an area of 17.2 square kilometres. The population according to the 2021 census is 19,846. While Mount Martha offers only a small commercial centre in Lochiel Avenue, it is an ideal destination for those visitors seeking a scenic and less commercial holiday location where the surrounding bushland meets the coast. Safe swimming beaches with wide sandy stretches exist just north and south of the commercial centre, lined with rows of colourful bathing boxes. However, much of the coast around Mount Martha typically consists of rocky cliffs with bushland above which offer a number of walking tracks and scenic viewing spots. A worthwhile drive is along the Esplanade - a coastal road linking Mount Martha with Mornington in the north and Safety Beach in the south. This hilly and winding road hugs the steep coastline, with views down to the bay on one side, while exclusive homes perched high above the coast feature on the other side. Other attractions in Mount Martha include Balcombe Creek, which swells into a wide body of water near the coast and is surrounded by a boardwalk and is home to a rich selection bird life. Of interest to nature lovers is Mount Martha Park which consists of 53 hectares of native bushland and walking trails surrounding the 160 metre peak of Mount Martha, offering panoramic views of the bay and towards Arthurs Seat. Celebrity sightings in Mt Martha include Megan Gale and partner Shaun Hampson. The median house price to buy is $1,625,500 and to rent is $750 per week.

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The Briars Park is a historic property in Mount Martha that includes the graceful Briars Homestead which was built in stages commencing in 1848 and is open for public tours. The park also includes a visitor’s centre, vineyard, nursery, restaurant, and a large wildlife reserve featuring wetlands and bird observation hides. There are number of walking trails through the wetlands, woodlands and pastures. Mount Martha’s highest point bears the area's name and reaches 160 metres (520 ft). The peak was named after Martha Lonsdale, the wife of the colonist William Lonsdale. It marks the start of the Selwyn Fault, a geological formation which runs to the eastern Dandenong Ranges. From the 1990's to the present the Mount Martha area has experienced significant population growth in the south with the Martha Cove marina development as well as to the east towards the Moorooduc Highway. Mount Martha Surf Lifesaving Club holds the popular annual Mount Martha Australia Day Swim, the "MMAD Swim". Golfers play at the course of the Mount Martha Golf Club on Forest Drive. Mount Martha is also home to public tennis courts, four football ovals and numerous grass reserves. Peninsula Link and the Mornington Peninsula Freeway are both major arterial routes to both Mount Martha and the Mornington Peninsula, from Melbourne via the EastLink tollway.

Freshly brewed coffee is a must-have for weekends. Here are a few places to check out when you're in this beautiful part of the world.*


88 CRAIGIE ROAD Spacious indoor and outdoor relaxed seating with grass areas for kids to run around, pooches on lead are also welcome . Serving Coffee Mio and offering all day breakfast and lunch and Friday night for antipasto and pizza. Try our house speciality breakfast tower to sample a selection.

Via Battisti

26 LOCHIEL AVENUE A small bright café on the main shopping strip with inside and alfresco dining. The baristas make coffee in front of the bifold windows.


18 LOCHIEL AVENUE Great place to recaffeinate and order your choice of delicious homemade pies, pasties & sausage rolls, deli rolls with fresh tasty fillings and amazing cakes. Vegetarian options. Variety of freshly baked breads available daily.

Higher Ground 5/5 HOWEY ROAD

Tucked in behind the shops, this cafe is known for its amazing coffee, sweet treats, offering indoor and outdoor seating and friendly service. *Note: Please check with businesses for trading information.

What to do Drawn in by a relaxed, village vibe, browse the many welcoming boutique shops and enjoy a coffee or a cocktail at one of the sumptuous, eclectic cafes and eateries. Grab an ice-cream and walk across the street for a stroll along the family-friendly stretches of shoreline decorated with the iconic, colourful bathing boxes, or go for a swim in the pristine, inviting waters on a summer day. Wander through the Balcombe Estuary along the boardwalk with audio trail or one of the many cliff top walking tracks with scenic viewing spots. Photos Yanni

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Puzzle Corner ACROSS 1. Promontory 5. ... went up the hill (4,3,4) 11. Spell of hot weather (4,4) 15. I am, ... are 16. Meadow (poetic) 17. Confederacy 19. Lolls 21. Formerly Ceylon, Sri ... 23. Very well-off 25. Half-diameters 27. Electrical pressure 28. Rumba-like dance 30. Had to repay 31. Hold in high estimation 32. Common 33. Carnival 34. Preschool play area 35. Nuisance emailer 36. Roman dress 38. Wound crust 40. Compassionate 42. Historical ages 44. Interrupting cough 45. Potters' ovens 46. Terrible tsar 48. Painting supports 49. Portent 50. Congers 51. Moistens (meat) 52. Equitable 53. Brazil's neighbour 54. Ooze 55. Satisfactory 56. Law-abiding 58. Small letters (5,4) 59. Wobble (on brink) 61. Lustre 63. Actor, ... Danson 64. Chinese callisthenics, t'ai ... 65. Capri & Wight 67. Hoisting machine 69. Unsuitable 71. Wall graph 73. Diva, ... donna 74. Keen for action, ... to go 76. Midday sleep 78. Mounds 80. Figure (out) 82. Misfortunes 83. Coronation insignia 85. Feigned 89. Dictators 91. Winter or spring 93. Compete 94. Affection 96. Choux pastries, chocolate ...

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98. Period before, ... of 99. Forensic ID check, ... test (1,1,1) 100. Willingly accept (new theory) 102. Substantial 103. Rowing championships 104. Absorbs (5,2) 105. Drilling platform 106. Broadcasting frequency (1,1,1) 107. Mosquito & bee 108. Side building 110. Deciduous tree 112. Strangely alluring 114. Firearm report 117. Unoccupied 120. Sneeze sound (1-6) 123. Curved-bill bird 125. Begin voyage, set ... 127. Paltry 128. Stockings 131. Marina craft 133. Pacifies 134. Rationale 135. Archfiend 136. Approval (3-2) 137. Out of style 140. Marriage vow (1,2) 141. Pair 142. Old Testament prophet 145. Famous gift, ... Horse 147. TV charity appeals 148. Felonies 150. Classic portrait, ... Lisa 151. Obsolete VCR format 152. Three-piece combo 153. Rip 154. Neater 156. Chamber 158. District 160. More plentiful 162. Territory 163. Anorak 164. The N of NB 165. Babbles 166. Noticed 167. Skim swiftly 168. Cipher 170. Heavy-duty farm vehicle 172. Buried Italian city 173. WWII fascist 174. Confused assortment 177. Doorbell trigger 179. As a gamble, on ... 180. Acute anxiety 182. Flight staff 183. Established practice 185. Scratches out 187. Solid ground, ... firma

November 2023

188. At an angle 189. Misplacing 191. Untrue statement 192. Compass direction (1,1,1) 193. Authorised 194. Rumpled 195. Sets of documents

DOWN 1. Assist (4,3) 2. Fashionable, ... mode (1,2) 3. Attention 4. Changed fabric colour 5. Romeo's lover 6. Want badly 7. Cinema gangway 8. Welsh poet, ... Thomas 9. Intimate (thoughts) 10. S American animals 11. Damage 12. Allocation 13. Include 14. On end 18. British anthem, ... Queen (3,4,3) 20. Renounce 22. Suffer (over) 24. Fight instigators 26. Long-haired hunting dogs (5,7) 29. In ABC order 37. Headlong surge 38. Burn slowly 39. Overeating 40. Patellas 41. Analyses 43. Oxygenate (water) 44. Snowy peaks 47. Back of neck 57. Contactable (2,4) 60. One or the other 62. Scraping by, ... out a living 66. Gain knowledge 68. Slaying 69. 12th of foot 70. Ocean's flow 72. Artistically (pleasing) 73. Interest rate units 75. Quizzes 77. Cake layer 79. Temporary debarments 81. CD brand (1,1,1) 84. Showy flowers 85. Smiled mockingly 86. Retaliates for 87. Spiritualists

88. Towered over 90. Stifling 92. Once more 95. Intended 97. Keyboard operator's complaint (1,1,1) 101. Gent 109. No trouble 111. Carry 113. Kick out 115. Moves closer to 116. Shout 118. Charged atoms 119. Panache 121. Hard-earned cash 122. Stops 124. Furnaces 126. Organisations 129. Gym garments 130. Commercial traveller 131. Veils 132. Cap & coat rack (3,5) 138. Single-celled organism 139. Numerical records 143. Isolates 144. Shirked 146. Cain's biblical brother 149. Tomato variety 155. Information banks 157. Alfresco (4-3) 159. Tennis bat 161. Shipboard emergency floats (4,5) 165. Socially refined 169. Confines 171. Betrayed, ... on 172. Sulked 175. Livestock sheds 176. Hymn, Amazing ... 177. Overalls, bib & ... 178. Diagonal weave 181. Cover with gold 184. Discontinued (project) 186. South African political party (1,1,1) 190. I have (1'2)

See page 77 for solution

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Above: The original Avenue of Honour in Frankston Below Right: The Avenue of Honour in Frankston as it is today

A tragic year for the Bartrams By Peter McCullough


n her book “Echoes from the Front”, Val Latimer tells how as early as 1917 a committee was formed to honour all those from the Frankston District who served in World War One. This was to take the form of an Avenue of Honour along Melbourne Road, now the Nepean Highway. Trees were planted and brass plates were fixed to posts in front of each tree. By 1957 work was underway for the construction of a new six lane highway: the trees were removed and the plates placed in storage. Of the original 216 name plates when the Avenue was established, only 153 were still in existence when the removal took place. It was 1997 before the new Avenue of Honour was established, with memorial gardens placed along the centre strip of the Nepean Highway. The new memorial, however, contained 228 names and there were many other “locals” who were not listed; Mrs Latimer’s research found 50 from Frankston and local areas whose families did not respond to the call for names to be included when the Avenue was being planned. On the other hand the legitimacy of some of the names submitted could be questioned. Were they really volunteers from the Frankston

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district? Several lived elsewhere but played football for Frankston, while some, such as Montague Romeo, lived in Hastings but worked in Frankston. And that brings us to the Bartram family: all four Bartram boys enlisted and three were killed. Their brass plates are a feature of Frankston’s Avenue of Honour.

The Bartrams The Bartram boys were born in Richmond, sons of George Andrew and Isabella (nee Shands). All four enlisted in Melbourne, presumably at the Town Hall. Isabella died in August, 1915 aged 57 and in October the following year George and two of his daughters were residing at a new address: “Clare”, in Gould Street, Frankston. So, although technically they were not Frankston citizens, when the call went out for nominations for the Avenue of Honour, the names of the four boys were submitted by the family. As the heading indicates, 1917 was a horror year for the Bartram family as three of the boys were killed and the surviving brother was invalided home with spinal meningitis. This is the story of the sons of George and Isabella Bartram: Bartram, Arnold Roy (Private). Service No. 2304: Arnold was 21, single, a shipping clerk, and living at home (9 Hull Street, Richmond) when he enlisted on 6th June, 1916. An earlier attempt to enlist had been unsuccessful on the grounds of “chest”; in the early years the army required a chest measurement of 34 inches at least. Private Bartram embarked with his brother, Cyril, at Melbourne on HMAT A67 Orsova on 1st August, 1916 with the 58th Battalion 4th Reinforcements, arriving at Portsmouth on 14th September. On 6th December he left Folkestone for France to reinforce the 60th Battalion where he was taken on strength on 5th January. On 12th May, 1917 Private Bartram was recommended for special recognition: “At Bullecourt on the evening of 12th May, Private Arnold Roy Bartram displayed conspicuous courage and devotion to duty. Rendered valuable assistance in carrying in

continued next page...

Right: Private Arnold Roy Bartram Below: HMAT A67 Orsova

continued next page...

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wounded from No Man’s Land when under very shellfire, without the least regard to his own safety. This deserves special recognition.” The recommendation was not gazetted. On 13th May, 1917 Private Bartram, still only 21, died from a gunshot wound to the abdomen. From reports he was getting into a shell hole at Bullecourt to help a wounded man when he was shot by a sniper and died the next day. He was buried at Grevillers British Cemetery 1½ miles west of Bapaume.

Above Left: A letter from Corporal Nicholls verifying the death of Private Arnold Roy Bartram Above: Grevillers British Cemetery, the final resting place of Private Arnold Roy Bartram

In due course the report in the Mornington Standard was withdrawn and the family accepted that Arnold had been killed at Bullecourt.

On 26th May 1917 the family death notice appeared in the Argus and concluded with the inscription: “Fearless minds climb soonest unto crowns.” However, as sometimes happened in these tragic times, a mistake occurred involving Private Bartram which, for a time, would have given his family false hopes. A report in the Mornington Standard on 3rd November, 1917 stated: “It has been officially reported through the Red Cross Bureau that Private Arnold R. Bartram, “Clare”, Gould Street, Frankston (late Manager of Wine, Spirit and Tobacco Department, Mutual Store) is a POW in Germany. He was previously reported died of wounds at 29th Casualty Clearing Station on 13th May, 1917.” This report appeared shortly after the death of brother Reginald and two death notices which appeared in the Argus, only days apart, illustrate the confusion which existed. Late in October Cyril, by now back in Melbourne, inserted this notice:

Later his sister, Ethel Muriel Bartram of “Clare”, Gould Street, Frankston wrote in the Roll of Honour particulars that her brother had been a private in the Yarra Borderers Citizen Forces for three years before enlisting. Among his duties was being a Permanent Guard at the Domain.

BARTRAM – In proud and loving memory of my brother, Reg.,killed in action 4th October, and of Arn., killed at Bullecourt, and Ray, killed at Messines. “Three very gallant gentlemen.”

By 1922 Arnold’s father had received his medals, plus the Memorial Scroll and Memorial Plaque.

On 3rd November, the same day as the report in the Mornington Standard, the following notice was placed by “devoted sisters” Ethel and Clarice: BARTRAM – A token of love in the memory of our dear brother, Cpl. Reginald Percy who was killed in action on 4th October, 1917, brother of Raymond Everard (killed in action 7th June, 1917) and Arnold Roy (prisoner of war). Nobody knows how much we miss them; How much of love, and life, and joy Has passed on with our darling boys. At night in a beautiful dream they will come And visit us all at the old dear home; Unknown to their loved ones they will stand by our side, And whisper the words “Death cannot divide.”

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In March, 1918 the family received Arnold’s effects which arrived on the Marathon: “ identity disc, religious medallion, stylo pen, pipe (damaged), razor, 2 badges, 6 coins, compass on wrist strap, chevron, testament, 2 wallets, photo, cards, lock of hair, charm.” Two of Arnold’s sisters, Ethel Muriel and Clarice Edna, were named as joint beneficiaries of his will. Be that as it may his father, George, was granted a pension of one pound a fortnight as from 26th July, 1917. This was increased to two pounds a fortnight as from 1st September, 1917.

Bartram, Cyril George (Private). Service No. 2126: Cyril was the “lucky” brother – that is if you can call being invalided home with spinal meningitis as being “lucky.” Born in Richmond, Cyril gave his father George as his next–of– kin when he enlisted on 1st May, 1916. At some point over the next few months he married Eliza MacGregor Murray and was living with his new wife in Gillies Street, Fairfield when he embarked. Cyril was 26 and a manager at the time of his enlistment. As mentioned earlier, Cyril and Arnold embarked on HMAT A67 Orsova on 1st August, 1916 with the 58th Battalion 4th Reinforcements, disembarking at Plymouth on 14th September. Cyril’s health had deteriorated during the voyage and he was admitted to the military hospital at Devonport on his arrival.

By January, 1917 Cyril was “dangerously ill” with influenza. During convalescence he developed spinal meningitis and left for Australia on the Demosthenes on 27th July, 1917. After arriving home on 24th August, Cyril was discharged from the AIF on 26th October, 1917. Cyril was not eligible for the 1914-15 Star Medal, nor the Victory Medal as he did not serve in a theatre of war. However he was sent the British War Medal but this was returned in May of 1923; perhaps it had been sent to the wrong address? On 17th July, 1924 it was again despatched – this time to Gillies Street, Fairfield. Cyril must have recovered reasonably well from his illness for he was elected to the Sandringham Council and became mayor in 1928. Cyril and his wife had no children but adopted the three sons of Reginald who was killed in October, 1917: Ernest George (born 1906), Reginald Arthur (1908), and William Blockley (1910). The youngest of these boys died in 1925 aged 15. Cyril’s wife, Eliza, died in 1942 aged 51 but Cyril lived until January, 1947 when he died at Caulfield, aged 57. continued next page...

Above: Private Cyril George Bartram.





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In March, 1916 Ray blotted his copybook for his record states: “Crime: Pilfering goods at Abu-Sueur Railway Station of 30.3.16. Award: Awarded 14 days detention by CO 46th Battalion AIF at Serapeum 4.4.16. Forfeiture of 14 days pay.” By 8th June Ray had joined the BEF in France. In July, 1916 the 46th Battalion occupied the Front Line at Sailly-le-Sec and the following month participated in the Battle of Pozieres. In October Raymond was admitted to hospital on several occasions with “septic hands.” His earlier misdemeanour notwithstanding, he was promoted to Corporal in December, 1916, and then to Sergeant on 18th February, 1917. At the time of his death on 7th June, 1917 Sergeant Bartram was leading a party carrying rations to the front line on the first morning of the Messines advance. A shell exploded killing him and six others. Eye witnesses reported that he was buried at Gooseberry Farm nearby. Later his remains were re-interred at Messines Ridge British Cemetery six miles south of Ypres, Belgium. On 6th April 1918 the Mornington Standard reported on the 7th Presentation to Frankston Volunteers: “In handing medals to Mr. Bartram, Dr. Plowman made feeling reference to the fact that of Mr. Bartram’s four boys who had volunteered, three had made the supreme sacrifice, and one had been invalided home totally unfit for further service. He (Dr. Plowman) extended heartfelt sympathy to Mr. Bartram in his great sorrow, but felt sure he would take comfort from the fact that his sons had died a glorious death, fighting nobly for Australia, and for our security and honour.” If the death notices printed here are any guide, not all members of the family shared Dr. Plowman’s euphoria. The same deep sadness was reflected in the noticed placed in the Argus on 4th July, 1917: Above: Sergeant Raymond Everard Bartram Opposite page: Pozieres, France. View of the very strong concrete redoubt known as “Gibraltar”

Bartram, Raymond Everard (Sergeant). Service No. 2682: Also born in Richmond and living at home with his parents in Hull Street, Ray, as he was generally known, was the first brother to enlist – on 3rd July, 1915. He had attempted to enlist earlier but had been rejected because of dental problems. He was 21, single and a machinist. On 15th September 1915 he embarked at Melbourne on SS Makarini as part of the 8th Reinforcements of the 14th Battalion. In October, 1915 Ray was admitted to hospital in Heliopolis “dangerously ill” with appendicitis. Two months later he was again back in hospital in Luxor, again with appendicitis. In January, 1916 he was taken on strength with the 46th Battalion and was again hospitalized in Egypt with “pains in the groin.”

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BARTRAM – Killed in action on 7th May. Sergt. Raymond Everard, second youngest dearly loved son of George and the late Isabella Bartram, and brother of Reg. and Cyril (both on active service) and Arnold (died of wounds) and Evelyn, Ethel and Clarice, – aged 23 years. Our dear boys, crowned by the glimmer of glittering steel, but dimmed by the weight of tears. Duty nobly done. Ray Bartram obviously travelled light for in early 1918 the package of personal effects arrived via the Ulysses: “disc, photos, small book.” In August, 1918 the names of the three Bartram brothers were listed among those who were killed and the family was presented with certificates by the Shire of Frankston. In his will Ray left his estate to sisters Ethel and Clarice, brother Arnold (who pre-deceased him) and Miss Esther Macdonald of 5 Milton Street, South Preston; quite possibly a sweetheart left behind. Between 1921 and 1923 his father, George, received Ray’s medals, his Memorial Scroll and Memorial Plaque. George died in 1923 aged 65.

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personal effects were despatched on the Barunga on 20th June, 1918 they were addressed to Mrs. L. Bartram, 3 Florence Street, Moreland. This was in spite of the fact that the aunt, Mrs. Dingey, had written requesting that any effects be sent to the sons at her address. The effects consisted of : “disc, belt, photo case, letters, note book, cards, book of views, badges, testament.” As it turned out there was no dispute as to the destination of the effects as the Barunga was lost at sea. However the war pension records show that “Lucie” (Lucy) of Mont Park Asylum was granted two pounds a fortnight as from 23rd December, 1917. The address of her sons was recorded as “Melbourne Orphan Asylum” and two of them were granted pensions: Ernest George 20 shillings a fortnight and Reginald Arthur 15 shillings a fortnight. Presumably the third son was considered too young to draw a pension! As it turned out, Lucy lived until well into her ‘80’s, dying at the Ararat Asylum in 1964. In his will Reg. left his estate to be held in trust for his three sons until they reached the age of 21. Although the boys were subsequently adopted by Cyril and his wife, the will appointed as guardians his sister (Evelyn Constance Dingey) and her husband (William Dingey) who were permitted access to the capital for each son for “his maintenance, education or advancement in life.”

Above: Lance Corporal Reginald Percy Bartram.

Bartram, Reginald Percy. (Lance/Corporal) Service No. 6955: Again, born in Richmond, Reginald was 34, a compositor, married with three sons and living in Florence Street, Moreland. He had married Lucy Mary Boughton in 1905. Known as Reg., he was the last of the Bartram boys to enlist, joining up on the 25th August, 1916. Embarking at Melbourne on HMAT A20 Hororata on 23rd November, 1916 with the 8th Battalion 23rd Reinforcements, Private Bartram arrived in Plymouth on 29th January, 1917. Reg. Bartram’s life was not without complications for, during the journey to England, he fired off a letter to Base Records: At Sea 6.12.1916 From No. 6955 Corp. R.P. Bartram 23/8 Reinforcements. To C.O. Base Records, Melbourne. Drawing attention to the fact that the name of Mrs. Lucy M. Bartram has been placed on my attestation papers as my next–of–kin and her address as 3 Florence Street, Moreland. As my wife has been mentally afflicted for the last seven years, and is an inmate of Mont Park Asylum for the insane, it would be manifestly absurd to forward any communication to her regarding anything that might happen to me. 3 Florence Street, Moreland is the address I gave when enlisting, for I was living there at the time. Should I be killed or meet with an injury, I would be obliged if you would forward the information to my sister, Mrs. W. Dingey, Union Street, Kew. R.P. Barton Corporal No. 6955. Subsequently his war records were amended to indicate that his war medals were to be sent to his son at the Kew address. This information notwithstanding, when Lance/ Corporal Bartram’s

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Lance/Corporal Bartram was killed in action on 4th October, 1917. From reports to the Red Cross, he was making an advance at the time of his death, having just gone over the top at Passchendaele Ridge. One eyewitness said that he saw a burial party, drawn from the 40th Battalion, burying him later that day. It was in the open, near a German pillbox, and about 1½ miles from Passchendaele Ridge. Lance/Corporal Bartram’s remains were never found and his name is on the memorial panel 127 at the Ypres Memorial (Menin Gate) in Belgium. With the large number of casualties it was possibly inevitable that the occasional error would occur. This happened to the last of the Bartram brothers to be listed as KIA and drew a blunt response from brother Cyril who was still convalescing and no doubt inclined to be a bit testy: “Clare”, Frankston. 16.11.17. Base Records, Melbourne. I notice in Casualty List No. 352, as published in the “Herald”, “Age”, and “Argus” you have inserted my brother’s name: 6955 A/ Corporal R.P. Bartram as A/Corporal R.P. Bartman. In view of the sacrifices our family has made, surely we are entitled to expect your reports to be accurate. I will thank you to publish a correction. Yours faithfully, C. Bartram. From Base Records came a chastened reply: 5th December, 1917. Dear Sir, In reply to your communication of 16th instant, with reference to the name of your brother, the late No. 6955, Acting Corporal R.P. Bartram, 37th Battalion having been incorrectly spelt in Casualty List 352, I have to state the error which is regretted and which escaped the detection of the checkers during a particularly busy period, is being corrected by a corrigendum attached to Casualty List 371. Yours faithfully, Officer Base Records, Major. To Mr. C. Bartram, “Clare”, Frankston, V.

Acknowledgement: Much of my information has come from “Echoes from the Past” by Val Latimer who has willingly helped to clarify some of the details. Copies of her book can be obtained for $25 from the Mornington Peninsula Family History Society which is located in the Recreation Centre in Tower Hill Road, Frankston. Alternatively, a copy can be posted out if a cheque for $38 is sent to the MPFHS, Post Office Box 4235, Frankston 3199. The phone number for the Society is 9783 7058. Right: A letter from Reginald Bartram to Base Records explaining his wife’s mental state Below: The Menin Gate at Ypres

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1. Arnold Roy: KIA, 13 May 1917. 2. Raymond Everard: KIA, 7th June 1917. 3. Reginald Percy: KIA, 4th October 1917.

The Western Front - where the Bartrams rest 1. BULLECOURT – Arnold Roy Bartram, KIA 13th May, 1917. BULLECOURT was the scene of two costly battles for the AIF, the first beginning in the bitterly cold dawn of 11th April, 1917 when, after a night lying in the snow, Australians of the 4th Division were ordered to attack the main German defensive position, the Hindenberg Line. They were supposed to be backed up by British tanks and military, but neither of these eventuated.

Above: A tank after coming to grief at Bullecourt Below: Resting in the trench at Bullecourt

Although tanks had been used in the Battle of the Somme six months earlier, they were relatively untested. However the “mastermind” of the First Battle of Bullecourt (General Hubert Gough) was excited when promised 12 tanks to help break down the German wire and clear a path for the infantry. Only four of the tanks made it to their positions – the others had either broken down, got lost or become stuck in the mud. In fact the situation provided sufficient material for a Monty Python comedy sketch. At one point a tank lumbered up to the Australian line, turned, and began firing its machine gun at them. After a chorus of shouts from the Australians a hatch opened in the side of the tank, and the head of a British officer appeared, asking which troops they were, and could they please re-direct him to the German lines! Duly instructed, the tank set off only to be destroyed by a shell minutes later. When the Australians did advance, they were cut off by German artillery and machine guns. After ten hours a withdrawal was ordered, and the surviving Australians had to fight their way back to their original positions. The two brigades involved – the 4th and

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the 12th – had lost 3,300 men between them, including 1,170 men taken prisoner. This was the largest number of Australians captured during a single engagement in the war, and was exceeded only when Singapore fell in 1942. The battle was later used by the British staff as a model of failed planning. The Second Battle of Bullecourt, from 3rd – 17th May, was somewhat better planned. The 2nd Division was to take the German positions in the village of Bullecourt and they succeeded using 96 Vickers machine guns and the tried and tested artillery creeping barrage; an offer of tank support was pointedly declined! Even with better planning, the attack cost the three Australian Divisions (1st, 2nd and 5th) another 7,000 casualties. And the gain? Less than a mile. The Germans suffered similar casualties. The second attack proved that the Hindenberg Line was not impregnable, as the Germans had tried to make out. One very important lesson was learned though. Whenever the Germans lost ground they counter–attacked, This resulted in heavy German casualties – men they could ill-afford to lose. Therefore, whenever the Allies took German positions, they planned for a counter–attack and set up machine gun posts accordingly and gave artillery units the required intelligence they needed. (Footnote: One of those captured on 11th April, 1917 in the First Battle of Bullecourt was Lance/Corporal Reginald Norman Coates (Serial No. 757). A member of 14th Battalion, he was wounded (“metallic fragments in the arm”) and, after a stay in hospital, he saw out the war in Soltau POW camp, being repatriated to England on 26th December, 1918. Reg. Coates was the grandfather of an old school friend – Bill Ford – and I was fortunate enough to be able to chat to him in his later years. Time never diminished his dislike of the tank. – Peter McCullough.) 2. MESSINES RIDGE – Raymond Everard Bartram, KIA 7th June, 1917. THE Battle of Messines, fought on 7th June, 1917, was the first large–scale operation involving Australian troops in Belgium. The primary objective was the strategically important Wytschaete– Messines Ridge, the high ground south of Ypres. The Germans used this ridge as a salient into the British lines, building their defence along its ten mile length. Messines was an important success for the British army leading up to the Third Battle of Ypres, culminating in the Battle of Passchendaele several months later. For years Australian, British and Canadian miners had engaged in subterranean warfare digging an intricate tunnel system under the enemy’s front line. These tunnels were packed with massive charges of explosives designed to obliterate enemy defences. More than 1,000,000 pounds of high explosive were packed into underground chambers along a seven mile front. The main Australian effort was at Hill 60 and their work was made famous in a book by Will Davies “Beneath Hill 60” and a feature film of the same name. The Hill 60 mine created a crater 60 feet deep and 260 feet wide. At 3.10am on 7th June 1917, nineteen powerful mines exploded under the German trenches along the Wytschaete–Messines Ridge. The ground erupted into pillars of fire and earth, instantly obliterating the thousands of German troops above. The German survivors were largely stunned and demoralized due to the great concussion of the blasts, the heavy artillery barrage, and the heavy machine gun fire that now poured upon them. Many German prisoners were taken during this phase Some 10,000 men were killed in the explosion alone and British

Above: The 1st Australian Tunnelling Company at Messines Ridge.

troops 400 yards away were blown off their feet. Londoners, including Lloyd George in Downing Street, heard the blast which shook all of southern England. As well as the casualties, the scale of the mine explosions both neutralized the enemy’s guns and disrupted their planned counter–attack. Heavily supported by great volumes of artillery fire, the British troops surged forward to capture the enemy positions. The 3rd Australian Division under Major-General John Monash, entering battle for the first time, was anxious to prove itself worthy of the reputation of the other divisions. The veteran divisions were dismissive of the 3rd and derided their late entry into the war by calling its men “the neutrals.” The 3rd Division had a point to prove. It made a very successful attack, alongside the NZ Division, just south of the Messines village. The other Australian division involved, the 4th, made a follow-up attack later in the day. Although some fighting continued, the result was virtually decided by the end of the first evening with the ridge being taken and enemy counter–attacks repulsed. The village of Messines was captured and pill boxes were isolated and destroyed. It is generally agreed that the Battle of Messines was the most successful local operation of the war, certainly on the Western Front. This success notwithstanding Allied casualties amounted to 13,500 with 6,800 of them being Australians. Footnote: There were a total of 21 mines which meant that two mines were undetonated on 7th June, 1917. The details of their precise location were mislaid by the British following the war, to the discomfort of local townspeople. A thunderstorm in 1955 detonated one of the mines with the only casualty being a dead cow. The other mine remained undetected until 2004 when the Daily Telegraph carried a report: “50,000 Pound WW1 Bomb Found Under Belgian Farm.”Modern technology had eventually located the last mine. The farmer was unconcerned: “It’s been there all that time, why should it blow up now?” 3. PASSCHENDAELE (THE THIRD BATTLE OF YPRES)Reginald Percy Bartram. KIA 4th Oct. 1917 THE Battle of Passchendaele was the final chapter in the saga that was the Third Battle Of Ypres, a monumental effort to drive the Germans from the high ground of the Ypres Salient. Passchendaele was meticulously planned and relied on limited infantry advances supported by creeping artillery barrages that would force the Germans from their strongholds overlooking Ypres. Australian November 2023

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troops had played important roles in earlier advances during Third Ypres, attacking at Menin Road and Polygon Wood in September, and Broodseinde Ridge in early October. As mentioned previously, they had been instrumental in sweeping the Germans from one of their strongest defensive positions at Messines Ridge in June, clearing the way for the Third Battle of Ypres to begin. On 4th October the Australian 1st, 2nd and 3rd Divisions had advanced up Broodseinde Ridge and captured key German positions on the slopes below the village of Passchendaele. The attack had been a triumph, catching the Germans completely off guard and forcing them to fall back on a wide front. Although the attack cost the Australians more than 6,500 men, it is considered one of their finest victories of the war. Now it was time to tackle Passchendaele itself. The grim conditions notwithstanding, the Australians never lost their sense of humour. On the morning of 4th October a small group captured a German pill box where they found two crates of carrier pigeons. These were intended to keep German commanders informed of progress in the battle; instead a number of them were used to transport messages from the Australians of an obscene and personal nature, particularly pertaining to the Kaiser. The remaining pigeons were plucked and stewed. At noon on 4th October the weather changed: rain began to fall which by 8th October had become torrential. The battlefield, pummelled by years of shellfire, became a sea of mud. Unfortunately the British commander-in-chief, Field Marshall Sir Douglas Haig, was not to be deterred. In a war characterized by incompetent decision making, Haig’s call to attack Passchendaele was a standout. The first advance on 9th October which involved the 2nd Division was not a success and illustrates the great problem of Passchendaele. The previous attacks during the Third Battle of Ypres relied on fresh troops advancing under the cover of accurate artillery fire. At Passchendaele both advantages were absent. The troops were exhausted from the slog through the mud to reach the front line and

the artillery became bogged and could not reach its proper positions to support the advance. The quagmire was so deep that field guns needed timber platforms laid on a bed of fascines and road metal. Even then they started to sink after firing a few shells, and soon red flags marked positions where guns had sunk altogether. One soldier told how the march to the front line, which would normally take 1 to 1½ hours, took 11 ½ hours through thigh–deep mud. The second stage of the advance, the attack on Passchendaele itself, was launched on 12th October and involved the 3rd and 4th Divisions alongside the NZ Division. The troops came under fire from the outset, the limited cover from the weak artillery barrage proving totally ineffective. The advancing troops were struggling in the mud and soon became disoriented and lost touch with the barrage. The situation was hopeless. The Australians had only taken a few of their objectives and were being decimated by German fire. In the face of mounting casualties the Australians withdrew. The decision to attack had been ludicrous, the attack itself a disaster. The two Australian divisions had lost more than 4,200 men between them. It was estimated that whereas “ground gained” at Messines cost one man per yard, the cost at Passchendaele was 35 men per yard. One stretcher–bearer described the journey to the Regimental Aid Post as a “terrible undertaking: the distance to be covered was less than 1,000 yards but it took six men, four, five, even six hours to do the trip.” Many of the wounded were drowned in the mud and water. The Australians were relieved by the Canadian Corps, which spent the next two weeks slogging up the same ridge in the same atrocious conditions with Australians supporting their flanks. Eventually the Canadians captured Passchendaele. Even though it was a “victory” in the sense that the village was eventually taken, the British troops were so weakened by the attack that they were left dangerously exposed to a German counter–attack. The Germans exploited this in March, 1918. During their Spring Offensive they swept down the ridge and recaptured Passchendaele .

Left: The mud made life difficult for everybody at Passchendaele. Stretcher bearers struggle through.

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