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Changes to biosphere as Gill stands down from board DAVID Cross has been appointed to the board of the Western Port Biosphere. Mr Cross has been chair of the Frankston High School council; chairs the Frankston Environmental Friends Network and convenes the Frankston Nature Conserve Reserve Guardians. “The strong background in governance that he brings, along with his broad networks across the Frankston community, will be of great value as the biosphere strengthens its role in seeking to balance conservation and development in the Western Port region”, biosphere board chair Duncan Malcolm said. The biosphere’s board includes former local government leaders, a farmer, senior public service staff, strategic planners and others with experience in not-for-profit organisations. Mr Malcolm said the mayor of Mornington Peninsula Shire, Cr David Gill has stood down from the board “to concentrate on performing his mayoral duties”. He will be replaced by Frankston lawyer, Cr Quinn McCormack. Executive officer Greg Hunt will represent the Western Port Biosphere at the forthcoming conference of Australian biospheres in Maryborough, Queensland. “Representatives of Australia’s nine biospheres will be in attendance. We plan to develop a stronger collaboration across the network and establish a more formal relationship with the Australian government. “After all, they endorsed our being granted a charter by the Paris-based organisation. In recognition of the work we do, UNESCO is sending an observer from Paris to this conference,” Mr Hunt said. Details about the Western Port Biosphere Foundation and its projects are at biosphere. and on the biosphere’s Facebook page.

Coolart protected ROOF repair works at Coolart Homestead, Somers will see it closed to visitors until May, although the gardens, wetlands and park will remain open. Coolart Homestead was bought by the state government in 1977 to preserve its historic buildings and significant wetlands. The homestead will get a galvanised steel inner roof, a slate outer roof, copper guttering, new flashings, valleys, sarking, timber boards, rafters and tiles. Parks Victoria says the work will stop moisture penetrating into walls causing dampness, and will allow repairs in the rooms on the first floor. “Coolart Wetlands and Homestead is a perfect example of where culture meets nature. The wetlands are home for more than 60 species of birds and provide a stunning setting for the historic homestead, creating a unique venue for a variety of community events,” chief ranger Kris Rowe said.

Snorkeller drowns A snorkeller who drowned off Mt Eliza on Sunday afternoon 10 March was collecting abalone. Police were called to Daveys Bay at 12.50pm after a friend found the 52-year-old Asian man, of Ivanhoe East, unresponsive in the water. Paramedics were called but he could not be revived. This is the second snorkelling death at Daveys Bay in a month. On Sunday 10 February another Asian man failed to return to shore. The crew of a police helicopter spotted his body on the sea floor just after 6pm. The latest death takes the number of drowning deaths in Victoria to 23 between DecemberMarch. Mornington police will prepare a report for the coroner.

Moonah from both sides A PICTURE-perfect Red Hill day set the scene for the announcement of the 2019 Montalto Sculpture Prize winner: Moonah by Kylie Stillman (above). Montalto owners, the Mitchell family, were joined by fellow judges, artists and guests at the event, Sunday 24 February. The $40,000 acquisitive award aims to encourage artistic pursuit in a public forum. Moonah is a free-standing stack of hand-cut fence palings. The imposing work maintains Stillman’s use of everyday materials and follows her use of books and papers to form the objects into which she carves. These often enigmatic “blocks” have a presence in themselves. In this case, the stack of panels forms a solid and impenetrable wall on

one side and, on the other, reveals the negative form of a coastal moonah tree – a dramatic tortured wind-formed silhouette typical of the area. As is Stillman’s style, the form is removed from the block allowing the resultant shadow lines and revealed textures to create the pretence of a tree which is not there at all. The absence of the tree and the scale of the block are not accidental: they are a lyrical prompt for the viewer to reconsider the origins of the matter we use to assemble our constructed world. This year’s judges were Montalto owner John Mitchell, architect Peter Williams, artist and educator Phillip Doggett-Williams, Ian Potter Museum director Kelly Gelatly, and McClelland Sculpture Park director Lisa Byrne.

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