the best place to live - City of Greater Geelong

the best place to live - City of Greater Geelong


best place to live.


A Fairfax Media Custom Publication

OCTOBER 2008 the best place to live 1



place to liveregion





Renee Jelowyi and

Maureen Billy sing

Deakin University’s

praises: page 4.

learn 10

Schools in the region

do things differently,

from a focus on the

environment to a new

psychology program

work 7

Expertise in research

and development

is creating job

opportunities in

emerging industries

live 9

Geelong combines

the benefits of living

in a big city with

the lifestyle of a

rural community

invest 4

A new medical school

will foster confidence

and bring further

investment to the

Geelong region

A Fairfax Media Custom Publication

the best place to live.

OCTOBER 2008 the best place to live 3

A Fairfax Media Custom Publication


School’s in for the

smart new Geelong 4

Fishing for

information 5

Ford taps Geelong’s

finest 7

Region in a class

of its own 9

A healthy crop of

students 10

Top marks for

innovation 11

Looking forward,

looking back 12

Program fills the

skills gap 13

Students discover the

port’s place in their

lives 13

Home to a lively

arts scene 15

New kid on

the blocks 17

Art thrives in

coastal haven 18

G21 group teaches

learning for life 19

This feature is proudly

supported by:

Barwon Health

Borough of Queenscliffe

Central Geelong Marketing

Chamber of Commerce

City of Greater Geelong

Colac Otway Shire

Committee for Geelong

Deakin University

G21 – Geelong Region Alliance

Geelong Otway Tourism

Golden Plains Shire

Gordon TAFE

GP Association of Geelong

Surf Coast Shire

Traffic Accident Commission

Target Australia

Shell Australia


Victorian Regional Channels


The region with



major employers


Bulla Dairy Foods, Colac

Area Health, CRFco, AKD

Softwoods, Fonterra, Colanda

Residential Services

apollo bay


• LOrne



barwon heads


Population growth (pa, %)



• •


Area (km 2 )

Unemployment rate (%)

Travel time to Melbourne (mins)

Median house price ($)

Residential building activity

(new dwelling approvals)

COLAC OTWAY 21,030 0.25 3,433 4.50 120 217,500 148



205,929 1.10 1,245 6.70 55 264,000 1,117

SURF COAST 22,802 1.64 1,553 3.60 75 392,500 338

GOLDEN PLAINS 17,077 1.01 2,704 3.90 55 211,250 152

QUEENSCLIFF 3,150 0.02 9 3.40 75 510,000 58



Barwon Health, Department

of Education, Ford Motor

Company, Aerospace Activities

at Avalon, Deakin University,

City of Greater Geelong


Rip Curl, Quiksilver, Surf Coast

Shire, Barwon Health, Hesse

Rural Health


Golden Plains Shire Council,

Bartter Steggles, Happy Hens,

Imerys Mines, Porters Plant

Hire, Bannockburn Residential

Aged Care

The Geelong region

is the fastest

growing region in

Victoria and home

to the best surf

beaches, gourmet

food producers and

wineries as well

as internationally

recognised major

events. With a

healthy and diverse

economy, low


great access to

services, worldclass

education and

fabulous lifestyle

choices within easy

reach of Melbourne,

the Geelong region

is fast becoming the

best place to live.

For more information on ‘The Best

Place to Live’, keep an eye out for

future supplements:

• Sunday 9 November 2008

• Sunday 22 February 2009

• Sunday 15 March 2009

More information can be found at:

(head to ‘The Best Place to Live’)


Marine Discovery Centre, The

Fort Queenscliff (Department

of Defence), Bellarine

Community Health Centre,

Beacon Big4 Holiday Resort,

Vue Grand Hotel, Peninsula

Searoad Transport


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the best place to live OCTOBER 2008

A Fairfax Media Custom Publication


in for the

smart new


As Geelong’s economy changes,

its education providers are

ensuring their courses keep pace

The last Dalgety woolstores

in Geelong sat unloved on

the Corio Bay waterfront

until the mid-1990s when

they were revitalised to become the

city campus of Deakin University.

A symbol of Geelong’s illustrious

wool heritage, the old brick

woolstores had come to represent

‘old’ Geelong.

But when Deakin opened its

Waterfront campus on the site in

1996, it sparked the revival of the

northern part of Geelong’s central

business district and signified the

arrival of ‘new’ Geelong – a city

still synonymous with manufacturing,

but for the modern age.

As the region’s economy

changes, its educational providers –

TAFEs and universities – continue

to meet with industry groups to

make sure the courses they are

offering match industry’s needs.

This has been the approach

since the Gordon Institute of TAFE

opened in 1887 as a mechanics institute

and night school for tradespeople

in response to the demands

of the industrial age. The Gordon’s

chief executive, Grant Sutherland,

says it is vital his institution works

closely with employers, peak bodies

and industry to identify the

skills required to keep the local

economy buoyant.

“The regional economy is in

transition,” Mr Sutherland says.

“A key part of our role is to make

sure people can be part of that

redevelopment from an education

and training point of view.”

Anne-Marie Ryan, executive

officer of the Smart Geelong

Region Lifelong Learning and

Employment Network, says

Geelong is well serviced with a

range of training organisations

across the education spectrum.

She says a priority for community

leaders is encouraging better

links between education providers

and industry. “We’ve unashamedly


said that … if we have an aspiration

[to be] a growing, smart economy,

then education and training

must do its work with economic

development. You can no longer

separate those things.”

Deakin University’s vicechancellor,

Professor Sally Walker,

also subscribes to this view. “We

try to make all our courses relevant

and responsive to the needs and

aspirations of students … and

also try to make courses relevant

for the job market, so if students

want to leave at the end of the

undergraduate course they can go

out and get a job.”

Deakin has two campuses in

Geelong: the Waterfront campus

and its original campus at Waurn

Ponds, which opened in 1977. The

Waterfront campus is Deakin’s

only campus where Design

(Architecture) or Construction

Management can be studied.

Other courses only available at

Deakin in Geelong are engineering,

occupational therapy and social

work. Health and medical

science education is gaining

prominence in Geelong as earlier

this year Victoria’s third medical

school opened at the Waurn

Ponds campus.

The university’s deputy vicechancellor

of research, Professor

David Stokes, says the medical

school will invigorate the region.

“What a medical school brings is

investment, it brings confidence to

the region,” he says. “This region

now is training its own doctors

and specialists for the future.

It’s also getting 60 to 70 extra

academic research staff who are

going to look at various aspects

of medicine; who will work on

infectious diseases and cancer.”

Professor Walker says that

since Deakin began it has worked

closely with industry on research.

“We have a number of industry

representatives who not only

Undergraduates Renee Jelowyi and Maureen Billy at Deakin University’s Waterfront campus.

A home away from home

From her home on Thursday

Island in the Torres Strait,

Maureen Billy was hardly spoilt

for local universities. So when she decided

to study social work, she looked

at courses Australia-wide.

“The full course was not offered

locally and I wanted to be able to remain

at home at that time,” Ms Billy

says. “I shopped around and found

that the Institute of Koorie Education

(IKE) unit at Deakin University

was the only one that could offer

me the whole degree externally, and

also offer me regular face-to-face

‘Our role is to make

sure people can

be part of that


work with us but are co-located

with us.” This is most evident at

the Geelong Technology Precinct

(GTP), on Deakin’s Waurn Ponds

campus. The GTP is evolving

into Australia’s version of Silicon

Valley, a process that started three

years ago.

“What we want is co-location

and collaboration and that’s the

Silicon Valley concept,” Professor

Walker says. “The GTP is a twohectare

building and we conduct

cutting-edge research there with

industry partners.”

contact with my teachers and fellow


Ms Billy now lives in Cairns and

travels to Deakin in Geelong (on

the land of the Wathaurong people)

for classes several times a year. She

is studying second and third-year

subjects in the four-year Bachelor of

Social Work. She studies with Indigenous

students from across Australia:

Nhulunbuy, Alice Springs, Broome,

Perth and Tasmania. “Some people

come from places I’ve never heard

of,” she says. “It’s great having the

Institute of Koorie Education because

In April, global consulting

and IT services company Satyam

announced it would set up a

software development and learning

centre at the GTP. It is expected to

create 2000 new jobs for the region

and, by co-locating with Deakin,

Satyam will have ready access to

the university’s research expertise.

The City of Greater Geelong’s

chief executive, Ms Kay Rundle,

says Satyam’s impending arrival

will be likely to attract other

information technology businesses

to the region. This in turn

will create more research and

employment opportunities.

“We have good health services

and good and affordable housing

in Geelong. We have theatre here

and Westfield has just completed

a $150 million upgrade,” she

says. “It’s a fabulous place to live,

work and study and has top-rate

educational institutions.”

The quality and innovation of

Global information company Satyam will be establishing a base in the Geelong region. Through a partnership with

Deakin University, this venture will provide job opportunities for 2000 graduates by 2016.

it allows us to access education.”

Ms Billy speaks glowingly of

her Deakin experience. “The online

resources are excellent, the course

material that Deakin University uses

is available online and there are

chat rooms that we can access. Full

credit goes out to the staff here at

the Institute of Koorie Education, the

teachers are amazing, very supportive;

I could not ask for better.”

In Geelong she stays at the Kitjarra

Residences, which are part of

the program. “It’s great. Meals are

provided there and we get well cared

the region’s education providers

doesn’t stop at the university

and TAFE. Earlier this year, two

local primary schools, Bellaire

Primary School and Torquay

Primary School, received high

commendations in the Excellence

in School Improvement category at

the National Awards for Quality

Schooling (story, page 12).

They have engaged with their

students and their communities,

and this is what makes Geelong

such an appealing destination for

students and their families.

Professor Walker says one of the

advantages of studying in Geelong

is becoming part of a community.

“It’s very welcoming, it’s easier to

get accommodation and the quality

of living here is just phenomenal

– with the sea and the beach it’s a

very nice lifestyle.”


the best place to live.

OCTOBER 2008 the best place to live 5

A Fairfax Media Custom Publication

for. A lot of students, including

myself, refer to it as a home away

from home.”

For first-year nursing student

Renee Jelowyi, Deakin at Geelong

virtually was home. Ms Jelowyi was

raised in St Albans Park, a southeastern

suburb of Geelong. She

chose to study at Deakin because of

its closeness to where she lived and

also because it offered nursing.

“I’ve always had a fascination

about the human body; ever since

I was a little girl I’ve been reading

health books and looking things

up,” Ms Jelowyi says. “Now I’m

studying nursing, I really love it.”

Ms Jelowyi says she most enjoys

the clinical placements that are

a compulsory part of her studies.

“They’re more hands-on; you get

to see things in the actual hospital

and put into perspective what

you’ve learnt.” Her first clinical

placement was for a week at St

John of God Hospital in Geelong. In

October she will have a two-week

clinical placement.

The placements are in addition to

the 12 hours of classes Ms Jelowyi

has on campus and the one subject

that is taught online.


Fishing for information

When anglers take out

their boats to fish in

the waters of Port

Phillip Bay and around

the surf coast, they’re not just

enjoying a day out on the sea,

they’re an important link in the

chain of information that helps

Victoria’s Marine & Freshwater

Fisheries Research Institute

(MAFFRI) gather vital information

about the health of the marine


Leading Australia and the

world in this research technique,

MAFFRI collaborates with the

fishing community to gather


“We’re monitoring the people

who monitor the fish,” explains

the institute’s program leader for

fisheries and aquaculture, Dr James


Anglers may be polled by

telephone, asked to keep a diary

or participate in boat ramp

surveys. The information they

provide helps build a picture of

fishing stocks and the health of

the marine environment. This

information is used by the institute

and the Victorian Marine Science

Consortium, a marine teaching and

research laboratory made up of

five Victorian tertiary institutions

plus CSIRO, the Victorian

Environment Protection Authority

and MAFFRI. The consortium

shares a building with MAFFRI at

Swan Bay.

“The community-aided research

is an inexpensive and effective

way of gathering information,”

Dr Andrews says. “It reinforces the

idea that the marine environment

is a common property that

we all share.”

Encouraging community

awareness of the fragility and

beauty of the marine environment

is also the role of the Marine

Discovery Centre (MDC), an

educational and eco-tourism

facility aimed at children from

early childhood to high school

as well as tertiary groups and the

general community.

Located next to MAFFRI at

Swan Bay and also operated by the

Department of Primary Industries,

‘We’re monitoring

the people

who monitor

the fish’

the MDC offers a hands-on marine

experience while also delivering

important messages about

conservation and sustainability.

Guided by staff, visitors can

handle starfish and hermit crabs

in the centre’s touch-tanks or

go on a Rocky Ramble (a beach

walk focused on discovering

and observing marine plants

and animals), or snorkelling and

canoeing trips.

VCE students participate in

science-focused programs that may

include including using the centre’s

two laboratories. The centre’s

activities are based on-site at

Queenscliff as well as on location

in nearby Barwon Heads, Point

Lonsdale and Ocean Grove.

“It’s all about engaging

people and interacting with

the environment,” the centre’s

education manager, Philip Armato,

says. “But we also want to send

the right messages about how to

do things the right way.”

A new program in development

will see the MDC offering family

fishing experiences over summer.

Depending on funding, Mr Armato

hopes the centre will be able to

offer families the opportunity to

go out on a boat and learn to fish,

including how to treat a fish that

has been caught and which fish to

keep and which fish to return to

the sea.

“It won’t be for die-hard

anglers,” Mr Armato says, “but

I think it will be a fun way to

bring families together while

learning more about the marine



In the Geelong region there are 22,059 primary school students, 18,704 secondary students, 7061 university students

and 5195 TAFE students. (Source: 2006 census)

the best place to live.

OCTOBER 2008 the best place to live 7

A Fairfax Media Custom Publication

Ford taps Geelong’s finest

A collaborative university research

culture and commitment to

problem solving is attracting the

best minds to Geelong

Making cars more fuel-efficient:

Deakin University PhD researcher

Mandy Herring.


hundred years ago, the first

production Model T Ford

was assembled in Detroit.

It was the world’s first lowpriced

car and, as such, introduced

motoring to the masses. A century

on, Deakin University students

have taken up the challenge to

design a modern-day equivalent of

the original “people’s car”.

Deakin was one of only five

universities worldwide asked by

the Ford Motor Company to take

part in its competition to create a

car that is inexpensive, innovative

and sustainable – and retails for

less than US$7000. It was only

fitting for a university that has

worked closely for decades with

Ford’s Geelong operation.

Deakin’s 21st century Model T,

code-named T2 (T squared) was

largely designed by postgraduate

students. The car runs on

compressed air and incorporates

lightweight materials such as

carbon fibre. It was delivered to

the US in early September.

For Deakin’s deputy vicechancellor

of research, Professor

David Stokes, the technologies

used and the innovations in the

car’s design are evidence of the

university’s expertise in lightweight

metals research and intelligent

systems. But its creation also

showcases the university’s culture

of research collaboration and

commitment to finding solutions.

“The car has all of the new

technology that you can imagine

in it: what drives it, what it runs

on, how it’s assembled … Whether

we win or not it’s an exemplar of

a partnership, a university and

a company working together,”

Professor Stokes says.

At Deakin’s Geelong campuses

there is a lot of such collaboration,

which makes it an attractive

destination for students wanting

to undertake PhD or Masters

degrees, particularly in the

fields of advanced materials,

biotechnology, nanotechnology

and intelligent systems.

Many of these research areas

have been brought together under

the Institute for Technology

Research and Innovation (ITRI)

at the university’s 376-hectare

Waurn Ponds campus. Partners

of the institute include car and

textile companies and the federal

Department of Defence.

Deakin has 373 postgraduate

students at its Geelong campuses,


and more than 80 are part of ITRI.

“There are tremendous opportunities

for students who are interested

in research for the future,

who want to make a contribution

to things like lighter cars, new

types of vehicles, new products

from the biotechnology industry

and the world of robots and virtual

reality,” Professor Stokes says.

“At Waurn Ponds we have people

who are helping to make the next

generation of aeroplanes.

“They won’t be made of

aluminium; they will be made of

carbon fibre, which is five times

stronger than steel. Others are

trying to make manufacturing processes

safer and more efficient. We

also have a team that is developing

a porous metal that resembles

and acts like bone for use in a new

generation of artificial hips.”

Many of the postgraduate

research opportunities lie in helping

to find solutions for already

identified problems, Professor

Stokes says. “Deakin has a ‘cooperation

with collaboration’ model

in which businesses have located

part of their R&D to the university

campus and are working with us to

improve their products.”

This is best illustrated at the

Geelong Technology Precinct

on the Waurn Ponds campus.

Its director, Mr John Paxton,

says the precinct focuses on

Deakin’s core research strengths

in biotechnology, nanotechnology,

prototyping and wine science.

Businesses with an interest in these

areas also have a presence in the

precinct as tenants.

Since opening in 2004 the

precinct has grown from 80 people

to about 250, about 100 of them

postgraduate students, many from

India and China. A major area of

research is future manufacturing

where scientists aim to use carbon

fibre and other technologies to

create lighter cars, planes and underground

mining equipment.

Earlier this year global consulting

and IT services company

Satyam announced it would set up

a software development and learning

centre at the GTP. By co-locating

with Deakin the company will

have ready access to the university’s

research expertise, Professor

Stokes says.


Designs on the car of the future

Depleting oil reserves and rising petrol costs are

adding urgency to the quest to make cars more

fuel-efficient. Part of the solution is to make cars

lighter so they use less energy, and that’s just what Deakin

PhD researcher Mandy Herring is working towards.

She is studying motor vehicle panels made from

carbon fibre composites at the Centre for Material and

Fibre Innovation at the Geelong Technology Precinct. The

strength and lightness of carbon fibre has the potential

to transform the way cars are made, a step-change as

significant as the invention of the assembly line.

“Carbon fibre composite body panels reduce the overall

mass of the car so it’s reducing vehicle weight, producing

better fuel economy and fewer emissions,” Ms Herring

says. She is specifically interested in how a new process,

called Quickstep, for the manufacture of advanced

composite components such as those reinforced with

carbon fibres compares with the traditional autoclaving


“At the moment carbon fibre panels are only

available on exotic vehicles such as Porsche, Ferrari

and Lamborghini because they are so expensive to

manufacture with autoclaving. To cure one panel can take

several hours but with Quickstep it might take minutes.”

Ms Herring is comparing the surface finish of body

panels produced using both methods.

When choosing an undergraduate degree, Ms Herring

was considering Melbourne and Deakin universities. She

chose Deakin because it is closer to home, and she has not

regretted the choice.

While still an engineering undergraduate, Ms Herring

needed to do a final-year project and chose one on

carbon fibre composite surface finishes that was available

through the Victorian Centre for Advanced Materials

Manufacturing. She enjoyed it so much she decided to

pursue a PhD in the same field. “I realised how much work

there was to do in that area, that I was doing cuttingedge

research at a very early stage in my career.” Just as

significantly, “I wouldn’t be able to do this research at any

other university in Australia.”

196,000 people were employed in the Greater Geelong region in July 2008, which was 12,800 more than in July 2007

and 52,200 (36.3%) more than in October 1999.

the best place to live.

OCTOBER 2008 the best place to live 9

A Fairfax Media Custom Publication

In a

class of its own

The vibrancy of renewal, the lifestyle and the

opportunities in the Geelong region are proving

powerful lures to teachers to relocate


Geelong posting has

given Melbourne-based

academic Christopher

Heathcote the chance to

create a new visual arts degree

program with a groundbreaking

environmental focus.

Dr Heathcote was lecturing

in art history at Melbourne

University’s Victorian College of

the Arts when the Gordon Institute

of TAFE recruited him four years

ago to run its newly accredited

degree program. He is developing a

specialisation in environmental arts

as part of a program that he says is

an Australian first.

While it was the professional

challenge of building something

from scratch and the Gordon

Institute’s reputation for good

staff that attracted Dr Heathcote

to the position in Geelong, he says

working in the region has delivered

other benefits that are somewhat

harder to define.

“There are all these intangible

things – it’s the culture of the area

and the people that you are dealing

with,” he says. “It may sound

crazy but it’s not as tense. Being in

Geelong is like having the benefits

of a city community and a rural

community at once.”


Dr Heathcote, who commutes

to Geelong from western

Melbourne, says he had never

anticipated his career leading

him to the region – where his

grandparents once farmed on what

is now a Deakin University site.

He says the Gordon Institute’s

recent progression, offering new

credentials and moving further into

higher education, comes against a

backdrop of change and expansion

in the Geelong region generally.

Renewal and opportunity are

themes that crop up often when

Department of Education and

Early Childhood Development

executive Mark Donehue starts

discussing the advantages of

teaching in the greater Geelong

‘Being in Geelong

is like having the

benefits of a city

community and a

rural community

at once’

area. Mr Donehue – the

department’s Barwon South

Western assistant regional director

– says the vibrant feeling of

development evident at Geelong’s

waterfront, with cranes at work

on construction projects, is also

present in the school system.

“Teachers would feel the same

thing happening – schools being

rebuilt or receiving upgrades

that support innovative teaching

practice and many opportunities

for teacher advancement,” he says.

He points to the Corio-Norlane

Education Regeneration Project

in Geelong as an example of

innovation in the region. “It’s

about rebuilding schools and tying

that in with a broader sense of

community and neighbourhood

renewal,” Mr Donehue says.

Geelong offer good support

networks, both formal and

informal, for teachers, he says.

There is also a culture of sharing

and combined professional

development between teachers,

schools and school networks,

as well as strong partnerships

with other education providers,

including the Gordon Institute of

TAFE and Deakin University.

Mr Donehue says there are

With 17,000 students and 24,000 enrolments annually, the Gordon Institute of TAFE

is Victoria’s largest regional TAFE.

Gordon Institute of TAFE

degree program coordinator

Dr Christopher Heathcote.

about 60 primary, 14 secondary

and three specialist schools in

the state system alone within the

area covered by the Borough of

Queenscliffe, the City of Greater

Geelong, Colac Otway Shire,

Golden Plains Shire and Surf Coast

Shire. They offer teachers a range

of lifestyle options – from city sites

to beachside towns, semi-rural to

rural areas.

Geelong itself is just a

50-minute drive from Melbourne

CBD and also boasts proximity

to the attractions of the Bellarine

Peninsula and Surf Coast,

Mr Donehue says.

Damian McKew moved to

Colac, a town of about 11,000

residents south-west of Geelong,

in mid-2005 to become principal

of Trinity College Colac, at the

relatively young age of 33. The

Catholic college’s recent growth

echoes the buoyancy of the greater

Geelong region, with enrolments

rising from 350 students five years

ago to 700 in 2009.

Mr McKew says teachers should

be aware of the opportunities

for career advancement that

regional schools offered. “If you’re

someone who sees yourself in a

more senior role, you might be

able to access that quicker than

in the city area, and certainly you

have better opportunity to take on

different sorts of leadership roles

in a country school when you are a

lot younger,” he says.

Mr McKew was previously

deputy principal of Catholic

Regional College, Sydenham,

and has also held leadership and

teaching roles at Presentation

College, Windsor, and St Bernard’s

College, Essendon.

He began his career at Nagel

College in Bairnsdale. “I grew

up on a wheat farm at St Arnaud

and having experienced a country

school as a graduate teacher, there

was probably a lure back to the

rural lifestyle,” he says.

The appeal of ditching

metropolitan Melbourne for the

country increased with the arrival

of Mr McKew’s first child, Samuel,

in 2003. He and wife Annalee

now also have a daughter, Grace,

aged three.

Mr McKew says one of the

greatest benefits of working in

a town such as Colac is getting

to know your community and

enjoying its support. “One of the

things you notice being principal

of the school (is) you lose your

anonymity very quickly, but it has

the advantages of a community

feel, the friendships that develop

and the general support of people

in the country,” he says.

The relaxed pace of country life

and the chance to say goodbye to

frustrating commutes were further

advantages, Mr McKew says.

Musician Wendy Galloway, who

received a Medal of the Order of

Australia (OAM) in 2007 for her

services to music and orchestral

organisations, describes a recent

renaissance that should enhance

the Geelong region’s appeal to

music teachers in particular.

“We have had a strong music

scene for a long time,” she says.

“George Logie-Smith – a legend

in music circles – was at Geelong

College and inspired a lot of people

in the 1950s and ’60s.

“The Melbourne Symphony

Orchestra has always done

concerts in Geelong and the

Geelong Association of Music and

Art has been going for a long time.

But since we have had Costa Hall

and the development of new halls

associated with some of the schools

and churches, there are now good

performance spaces available for

the many fine music groups to

present their programs.”

A number of prestigious

organisations have decided

to present concert series in

Geelong – in addition to the five

annual Melbourne Symphony

Orchestra concerts in the city, Mrs

Galloway says. The region boasts

strong choral, instrumental and

music theatre groups as well as

opportunities for young people

to compete, such as the Geelong

Advertiser Music Competition

(offering a $3000 prize for regional

youth in addition to a $10,000

national prize).



the best place to live OCTOBER 2008

A Fairfax Media Custom Publication

A healthy crop of students


and Caitlin with

classmates in

their vegetable

garden at

Surfside Primary

School, Ocean


Schools in the Geelong region do

things differently, from a closer

focus on the environment to a

new psychology program

Students don’t listen for

bells at Geelong’s Kardinia

International College.

Instead, they simply head

into class according to their individual

timetables. And fast-tracked

13-year-olds may be in the same

class as 17-year-olds.

It is a unique vertical curriculum,

admits principal John

Goodfellow. And obviously a

popular one: 1700 students are at

the kindergarten to year 12 college

and there’s a waiting list.

“We provide a caring environment

for both day and homestay

students,” Mr Goodfellow says.

“We’re preparing them to be leaders

and productive participants in

the 21st century.”

The college, which opened in

1996 and offers academic and

music scholarships, is just one of

the many schools available in the

Geelong region.

The family services development

officer at the City of Greater Geelong,

Mr Frank Giggins, says more

than 100 schools service the city,

suburbs, country and coastal towns

and fast-growing corridors. The

schools range from the prestigious

Geelong Grammar to small but innovative

state primary schools.

But they all share a common

factor: proximity to home for those


who choose to live in Geelong and

surrounding municipalities. Nearly

all schools also take advantage of

being close to the beach and bush

by incorporating the environment

into their activities and curriculum.

Mr Giggins says the City’s

Creating Communities for

Children Plan aims to provide

children with the best possible

start through participation in

community activities and access

to opportunities, resources and

services. As more people move to

the area for work or lifestyle, the

growing population and increasing

local birth rates have led to

more children needing childcare,

kindergarten and schools.

“And that has implications for

the provision of early childhood

services as well as primary and

secondary schools,” Mr Giggins

says. Some of the primary schools

are large – as many as 600 students

– while smaller ones are found in

country towns. “Finding the right

school is a critical factor for any

parent of a young child or teenager

and it influences where families

choose to live.”

One school that many families

believe is the right one is also the

best-known, Geelong Grammar

School, with 1500 students. While

alumni include Rupert Murdoch

Part of Geelong Grammar School’s $15 million Wellbeing Centre.

and Kerry Packer, runner Craig

Mottram and singer Missy

Higgins, it was the worldwide

photographs of a young Prince

Charles at Timbertop campus,

near Mansfield, that first brought

the school to the attention of the

principal, Stephen Meek. He joined

the school four years ago, drawn

by its tradition, its innovative

co-educational programs and “the

fact that it’s different to every other

school in Australia”.

“Co-educational schools help

boys and girls develop mutual

respect,” Mr Meek says. “And

we’re a school that looks outward

to the rest of the world; we’re

an Australian school with an

international flavour, which is very

important today as so many young

people will work overseas.”

There has been strong population growth in the Greater Geelong region – up 10.5 per cent

from 1999 (188,600) to 2008 (208,395).

He says an important new

development at the school is the

Positive Psychology program,

a relatively new branch of

psychology founded by Professor

Martin Seligman of the University

of Pennsylvania. Professor

Seligman and his team have

established a specific program for

Geelong Grammar in the past year.

Mr Meek says the school’s

$15 million Wellbeing Centre and

the Positive Psychology program

mean Geelong Grammar will be

the first school in the world taking

structured steps to enable students

to build self-reliance for better

emotional and physical health.

On a smaller but equally

committed scale, the principal of

Surfside Primary School in Ocean

Grove, Lyn Weeks, believes her

school’s strong environmental

focus makes it a healthy and

attractive option for many families.

With 280 students in 13 classes,

the school opened in 1992 and is

one of only 24 in Victoria to be

a Stephanie Alexander Kitchen

Garden School. The program aims

to develop healthier and happier

eating habits in a new generation

of Australians. “Years three to six

students grow, harvest, prepare

and share their own food and

parents have given very positive

feedback about the program

and the skills the children are

learning,” Mrs Weeks says.

Surfside children are also

involved in dune revegetation

at the local beach and creating

artwork at the school.

Another state primary school,

Corio West, with 370 students, is

also teaching children ways to a

healthy and positive life. Principal

Jan Rollinson says the school of

370 students is the first primary

school in Victoria to gain a ‘Kid’s

– Go For Your Life’ award. The

program encourages children to

eat “brain food” from home or the

healthy-choice canteen menu and

to “ride and stride” daily.

Ms Rollinson says there is a

philosophy of ‘Team Corio West’

to enthuse the children about the

school environment: “We aim to

make our school a great place to

be and we build on the strengths of

our terrific students.”


the best place to live.

OCTOBER 2008 the best place to live 11

A Fairfax Media Custom Publication

Top marks for


Pam Kinsman, principal of Torquay P-9 College,

with students celebrating the school’s ‘Bierr’

(corroboree) initiative.

Prep children writing

blogs and managing their

own timetables? It’s part

of daily life at Bellaire

Primary School in Highton. The

school’s “personalised learning”

philosophy involves students setting

their own goals, developing

self-assessment skills and becoming

independent learners.

Bellaire PS was highly commended

in the Excellence in

School Improvement category at

this year’s National Awards for

Quality Schooling. It was quite a

turnaround for the school of 530

students, according to principal

Jane Warren. “When I started

nearly three years ago, some students

were not engaged in learning,

meaning they might not be

prepared for secondary school,”

Ms Warren says. “We’ve worked

to find ways for them to become

responsible learners.”

A stronger team approach has

led to improvements in attitudes

and results, and students are

involved in regular conferences to

discuss their progress.

The school is divided into

prep, junior, middle and senior

learning units. The prep unit of

80 students, for instance, has its

own blog pages, where children

upload examples of their work and

record their reading and activities.

Students also email each other

through a school portal.

The awards also highly commended

Torquay Primary School

– now known as Torquay P-9 College

– for its commitment to cultural

understanding. Principal Pam

Kinsman says the school, which

will have 730 students after some

secondary students join next year,

has built an Aboriginal meeting

place and planted native gardens.

The weekly assembly also always

recognises the land’s traditional

owners, Ms Kinsman says.

“We actually have a particularly

low Indigenous student population

and we believe it’s important

for children to understand

Australia’s history,” she says.

“Our Bierr (Corroboree) initiative

strengthens links with the local

Indigenous community and shared

story-telling, drama, dance and art

means students appreciate cultural

differences and traditional knowledge

and skill.”

Bannockburn Family Services

Centre is also in the business of

inspiring children – infants, toddlers

and preschoolers. The twoyear-old

centre was built to service

the families that are swelling the

3500 population of Bannockburn,

in the Shire of Golden Plains between

Geelong and Ballarat.

The centre includes childcare

facilities, a kindergarten, maternal

and child health and consulting

rooms, and a meeting area. In

its first year, the centre won the

Victorian Government’s award for

‘Better access to child and family

support, health services and early

education’. The shire’s director of

community services, Lenny Jenner,

says the myriad services on offer

are the key to its success.

“Not long ago, we had a childcare

worker notice that something

wasn’t quite right with a child’s

gait,” Mr Jenner says. “She told

her supervisor, who spoke with

the mother and the on-site child

and maternal health nurse, who

organised a direct referral to a


“The different parts of the centre

worked together brilliantly and,

as it turned out, the child needed

medical assistance so early intervention

made a real difference.”

Importantly, the centre also

enables people to make friends,

he says. “A place like this provides

networking opportunities for families

who might move to the region

for lifestyle reasons but have few

connections or support.”


A new suburb rises


ver the next few years, the new suburb of

Armstrong Creek will emerge on the paddocks

south of Geelong. The suburb, only minutes

from the Geelong waterfront, will accommodate more

than 50,000 people. The City of Greater Geelong has

developed a masterplan for the growth area, which covers

2500 hectares. The aim is to encourage highly liveable

communities with a focus on accessible activity centres

that include retail, commercial and education facilities.

The suburb will also generate employment through the

creation of 22,000 jobs.

The City’s manager of planning strategy and economic

development, Terry Demeo, says the council proposes to

accommodate the majority of Geelong’s future urban

growth in this corridor, and the partnership with the

Victorian Government through the Geelong Planning

Working Group will see faster approvals and a liveable

community. “The corridor will set new benchmarks in

urban development, encouraging a full range of housing

options from family entry-level housing to higher-density

options, and ensure that critical services are in place when

communities need them,” Mr Demeo says.

Major property investors such as Villawood and The

Dennis Family Group are assembling land in the corridor

with the intention of developing the area as soon

as possible. A railway station was built three years ago

at Marshall, a short distance away. Another station is

proposed for Armstrong Creek, providing public transport

options for residents, particularly to and from Melbourne.

The City, with Victorian Government approval, is

working towards rezoning the corridor from farming to an

urban growth zone.


The TAC’s relocation is expected to generate more than 850 jobs and

$59 million a year in benefits for the Geelong region.


the best place to live OCTOBER 2008

A Fairfax Media Custom Publication





Geelong’s education providers are

equipping people with the skills to

take advantage of the city’s new

opportunities, while remaining true

to the region’s agricultural heritage

Emblazoned on the side

of the Construction and

Horticulture Facility at the

Gordon Institute of TAFE

is a giant ruler, graduated with the

guernsey numbers of the Geelong

footballers who had won the club’s

sixth Premiership 44 years earlier,

in 1963.

The 1960s in Geelong were not

only an exciting time for football

but also heralded the arrival of

Alcoa operations at Port Henry

and the establishment of Marcus

Oldham agricultural college. It

was a time when manufacturing

industries, particularly textiles and

automotive, were booming.

Then late last year, barely

six months after the Gordon’s

$9 million facility opened at its

East Geelong campus, Geelong

won its seventh Premiership. The

city’s resurgence in the AFL coincided

with a shift in the regional

economy that has seen a move

away from traditional manufacturing

and the arrival of new


This shift has been matched

by the training offered by educational

providers in the region.

The Gordon is developing courses

that give students the skills desired

by industry. Similarly, Marcus

Oldham College regularly reviews

its business management and

agribusiness courses to ensure they

remain relevant.

The Gordon’s chief executive,

Mr Grant Sutherland, says it is

vital his institution works closely

with employers, peak bodies and

industry to identify the skills

required to keep the local economy


“The regional economy is in

transition. A key part of our role is

to make sure people can be part of


that redevelopment from an education

and training point of view,”

Mr Sutherland says.

Biotechnology is one industry

that business groups in and around

Geelong are looking to nurture and

the Gordon is already responding.

“We are developing a new set of

programs around biotechnology,

a lab technician course at diploma

level and we’re looking also to

develop a specific biotechnology

course,” he says.

The Gordon opened in 1887.

From its origins as a mechanics

institute and a night school for

tradespeople, the institute has

broadened its scope to offer 220

courses in areas including Applied

Sciences, Manufacturing and Art,

Design and ICT.

In the Geelong region there are

several industries – manufacturing,

cooking, transport and logistics

and health – in which skill shortages

have been identified. The

Gordon offers courses in all these

areas. Several of its students have

learnt of the courses through the

Geelong Regional Vocational Education

Council (GRVEC).

Lynne Clarke, GRVEC’s executive

officer, says the council gives

the region’s 13 to 19-year-olds information

on which industries are

seeking skilled workers, as well as

advice on which educational pathways

they can follow – whether at

TAFE or university – to get work

‘A range of new

and different

skills will be

called for’


uality, location and cost. These were the three

major factors Matt Griffiths considered when

deciding on a course that would secure him a

career in graphic design.

Originally from Lorne, Mr Griffiths moved to the inner

Melbourne suburb of Kensington last year before starting

a Diploma of Graphic Arts at the Gordon Institute of TAFE

in Geelong.

As he nears the end of his course, he has been gaining

industry experience through placements, first with

an advertising agency and then at Glen Art Productions

in Williamstown, whose claymation will be familiar to

anyone who has seen the Cadbury chocolate ‘Wouldn’t It

Be Nice’ TV commercials.

“When I was at school I spoke to my art teacher

about where to study because I wanted to do graphics,”

Mr Griffiths says. “She said it didn’t matter if I studied at

uni or TAFE.” He looked at university and TAFE courses in

Melbourne and Geelong and decided on the Gordon.

“The course in Geelong looked really good and it only

in that industry. Ms Clarke says

GRVEC also helps secure industry

placements for students.

“We offer a number of programs

that give young people a

taste of the skills shortage areas in

this region,” she says.

One such program is the Alcoa

Future Leaders of Industry Manufacturing

Scholarship. The Geelong

region has a shortage of skilled

manufacturing workers and the

program aims to give Year 9 and

10 students the opportunity to experience

aspects of the local manufacturing

industries and find out

which courses at the Gordon or

Deakin University could help them

secure a career in that industry.

Mr Sutherland says as well as

responding to industry demand

for new skills, the Gordon is also

helping retrain local workers faced

with job losses. This has included

Ford engine and casting plant

workers who are building on their

existing skill base by studying new

welding techniques.

“The manufacturing economy

There are 77,455 people with qualifications living in the Geelong region.

(Source: 2006 census)

The Gordon Institute of TAFE’s Diploma of Graphic Design attracted Matt Griffiths from Melbourne.

TAFE ticks the right boxes

in this region is restructuring significantly,

and a range of new and

different skills will be called for,”

Mr Sutherland says. “Re-skilling

and transferring skills is going to

be vital for the future of the region,

and that’s a service the Gordon

can offer.”

Geelong’s proximity to farming

communities has also seen its

training providers offer certificate,

diploma or degree courses

in agriculture.

Marcus Oldham College, Australia’s

only independent agricultural

and equine college, opened

in Geelong in 1962. Its first course

offerings were in farm management,

a response to the growing

sophistication of farming operations.

Horse business management

was introduced in 1979 and 13

years later an agribusiness course

was established, again in response

to industry need.

Marcus Oldham’s principal,

Dr Simon Livingstone, says the

complexity of farming means managing

training is vital. “Farmers

takes 50 minutes by train from Melbourne to Geelong,” he

says. “A lot of my friends who live in Melbourne take an

hour or more to get to uni in Melbourne.

“TAFE courses are also a lot cheaper, from $600 a year,

compared with uni, where there’s HECS and you end up

paying thousands of dollars.”

Geelong also offers the convenience of being halfway

between Mr Griffiths’ home in Melbourne and his hometown

of Lorne. He plays footy with the Lorne Dolphins

reserves on weekends.

Mr Griffiths studies at the Gordon’s city campus in

central Geelong. Although he could drive he takes public

transport. “I take the train because it’s cheaper. It’s only

$6 return and the station is about a minute’s walk from

the campus.”

The Gordon’s Diploma of Graphic Arts is a two-year

full-time course, and Mr Griffiths is in his second year. In

the first year he had classes four days a week. This year

it’s three – a full day on Tuesdays and two half-days, on

Mondays and Fridays.

are operating in an environment

where they need to know about

finance, money, people, technology

and management,” he says.

“They need practical experience

and, ideally, a degree in farm or

business management.”

He says gloomy outlooks

for farming are not supported

by evidence. “We hear all this

doom and gloom about farming

but the world’s population is

increasing; who’s going to feed

that population into the future? It

will be farmers.

“There’s now a real opportunity

for people who want to make

a bit of a difference. For every

graduate in agriculture looking

for a job there are four or five job

offers there.”

a Gordon Institute of TAFE,

03 5225 0500,;

GRVEC, 03 5244 7304, info@,;

Marcus Oldham, 03 5243 3533,

the best place to live.

OCTOBER 2008 the best place to live 13

A Fairfax Media Custom Publication

Students discover the port’s place in their lives



the first wool being sent to England

from Geelong in 1841 to the different ships

and cargoes that enter the Port of Geelong

today, students from secondary schools in and

around Geelong are learning about the port’s

place in the region’s history.

Hundreds of Victorian students have now

taken part in an education program called ‘My

Port, My Place, My Geelong’, which gives them

insight into the port’s operations, its history and

why it is important to Geelong.

The program has been run since 2005 and is

delivered by the Victorian Regional Channels

Authority (VRCA) in conjunction with port users,

service providers such as road and rail, the City

of Geelong and the Victorian Government.

The VRCA, established in 2004, is the state

authority responsible for management of the

port waters for Geelong.

VRCA education officer Ms Amanda Stirrat

says about 1800 students have participated in

the program since it began. It is run twice a year

but may be expanded due to demand.

“The education program is helping students

understand how important the Port of Geelong

is to their community and highlights the many

great career opportunities – on land and at

sea – offered by the Port and companies using

it,” Ms Stirrat says. “The students receive a

multimedia presentation, interactive exercises

and a visit to the port, including an outing

on the Harbour Master’s launch, the George


The VRCA’s chief executive officer, Captain

Peter McGovern, says the launch trip is a

highlight for the students experiencing the

workings of the Geelong Port.

“More than a quarter of Victoria’s exports

are transported through the Port of Geelong,

and each year more than 500 ships carrying

12 million tonnes of cargo worth around $6

billion use the port,” Captain McGovern says.

“The Port of Geelong and the companies who

use it are major contributors to our community

and the economy; more than $2 billion to the

economy of the Geelong region and providing

almost 5000 jobs.”

As well as big operators such as Shell,

GrainCorp and Incitec Pivot, organisations such

as the Australian Marine Oil Spill Centre –

responsible for safeguarding the Australian coast

in the event of a major oil spill – are based at

the Port of Geelong.

Ms Stirrat says the education program has

been designed to fit the Victorian Essential

Learning Standards which set out what is

essential for Victorian students to achieve

from Prep to Year 10. “The program challenges

students,” she says. “It focuses on attitudes,

perceptions and, in the longer term, behaviours

that will encourage them to support an

economic and ecologically sustainable

Port of Geelong.

“It is quite empowering for the students

to understand the links between their local

environment and the rest of the world.

“They also learn to appreciate the importance

of science, engineering and technology in

operating the port, and get to explore new

career pathways.”

a My Port, My Place, My Geelong materials

and teacher resources can be previewed on

the Victorian Regional Channels Authority


via a link from its home page.

Program fills the skills gap

The fuel for

revitalising the

region is the

supply of skills

– and the Skills

Store helps to

meet the demand

Regional communities are

enjoying record investment,

population and

employment growth, but

it is becoming increasingly clear

that there is an emerging shortage

of skills and labour.

By reskilling and upskilling

the existing workforce and those

wanting to join the workforce

through education facilities such

as the Gordon Institute of TAFE, it

is hoped the skills shortfall can be

addressed before that progress is


When Bronwyn Aylmer decided

she wanted to upskill she was surprised

to learn through the Skills

Store Geelong that her 11 years’

experience with Sweeney Todd

Waste Disposal had already earned

her a Diploma of Business.

“I had completed a Certificate

IV in Asset Maintenance and

enjoyed it so I looked at the other

courses on offer through Gordon

Institute of TAFE,” Mrs Aylmer

said. “It was there that I found out

about the Skills Store Geelong.”


When opportunity knocked,

Bronwyn Aylmer upskilled and

advanced in her career.

Skills Stores, a Victorian Government

initiative, provide expert

advice on the opportunities and

options available through Victoria’s

vocational education and

training system.

For those who find themselves

out of work, or are looking for a

career change, advice on reskilling

or information on how hands-on

experience may equate to a formal

qualification is offered through the

free service.

“I was really surprised when

they told me that the 11 years of

experience I had working with

Sweeney Todd counted towards the

Diploma of Business Management

Frontline Management that I was

prepared to study,” Mrs Aylmer

says. “All I had to do was prepare

a folio of my experience with

Sweeney Todd and in the end I

didn’t have to attend any classes

or have any formal training at the

TAFE because my experience gave

me the formal qualification.

“It’s really good to think that I

The largest employer in the Geelong region is Barwon Health, with 3144 employees.

(Source: City of Greater Geelong)

have gained something more than

just experience out of my 11 years

with Sweeney Todd.”

Minister for Skills and Workforce

Participation Jacinta Allen

says the need for upskilling and

reskilling is now more necessary

than ever. “A skilled workforce is

vital for employment and economic

growth in provincial Victoria,”

Ms Allan says. “Attracting skilled

people to provincial Victoria needs

to be complemented by retraining

or improving the skills of the

existing population and identifying

emerging skills shortages.

“Not only does training through

institutions like Gordon Institute of

TAFE give people a better chance

of securing a higher-paying job,

it provides a real boost to confidence.

Having a skilled population

delivers positive results for the

community, business, industry and

the economy.”


the best place to live.

OCTOBER 2008 the best place to live 15

A Fairfax Media Custom Publication

Home to a lively arts scene

From Elvis to dancing cats,

COPACC’s busy program

is entertaining all ages

Performing arts teacher

Tanya Stewart knows

how important the arts

are to a child’s development,

so when an opportunity

came along to take her five-monthold

daughter to a performance of

Milly, Jack and the Dancing Cat at

the Colac Otways Performing Arts

and Cultural Centre (COPACC),

Ms Stewart didn’t hesitate.

“The arts are such an important

part of life, especially for young

people. It gives them an opportunity

to express themselves and

you can see the excitement and joy

it brings to them,” Ms Stewart,

37, says.

Since COPACC opened in 2001

it has hosted a busy annual program

of drama, physical theatre,

children’s theatre, fine and popular

music, dance and comedy. A local

hub for the arts, the centre has

quickly become an important place

for local artists and performers to

show their work and for travelling

companies to perform.

No longer obliged to go to Geelong

or Melbourne to see quality

theatre and music, locals now have

access to a diverse program of performances

and exhibitions aimed

at all ages and interests.

This year’s program includes 19

shows as well as six seniors’ Morning

Music shows and a school holiday

program offering opportunities


Above: Colac Otways Performing

Arts & Cultural Centre (COPACC)

embraces the skills, arts, beliefs,

traditions and aspirations of

the community, catering for

the performing arts, films

and exhibitions.

Right: Milly, Jack and the

Dancing Cat performing


for young people to learn about

the visual and performing arts

from creating puppets and stage

sets, to technical theatre skills,

contemporary dance, clowning and

circus skills.

Highlights of the 2008 season

have included a sold-out season of

The Gospel According to Elvis and

Menopause the Musical (sold out

six weeks prior to show) and sellout

shows of the children’s classic

Possum Magic. The COPACC

comedy season, which featured

the Melbourne Comedy Festival

Roadshow, has also been one of

the year’s highlights.

“It was terrific,” says Heather

Barker, 61, and a COPACC

subscriber. “It was more challenging

than traditional performing

arts but I was really pleased to see

people of my age and older in the


COPACC manager Karen

Patterson says wherever possible

the community is invited to make

connections with the professional

actors and musicians who play


“We’ve had master classes

for young musicians with pianist

Roger Woodward, workshops with

the Australian Army Band and

Melbourne musicians, and Australia

Pro Arte conductor Benjamin

Northey also took a handful of our

talented young musicians under his

wing for an afternoon,” she says.

The 20-strong COPACC Choir

recently took part in a gospel master

class with Trace Canini before

taking the stage as backing singers

in the sell-out performance of The

Gospel According to Elvis in April.

“Wherever possible we try to

extend people’s experience at the

theatre either by offering complimentary

workshops, post-show

In the past 12 months (2007–08 financial year), major events held in the Geelong region

have injected $30 million into the local economy.

discussions, and the chance to meet

the cast,” Ms Patterson says.

Colac resident and visual artist

and arts activist Lyn Richardson,

40, says: “COPACC gives local

people the opportunity to be

exposed to the arts that they

didn’t have before. It’s a really

great set-up.”


the best place to live.

OCTOBER 2008 the best place to live 17

A Fairfax Media Custom Publication

New kid on the blocks

Barwon Sports

Academy is

helping young

athletes reach

higher levels

in their sport

It might be the new kid on

the block but Barwon Sports

Academy is already achieving

considerable success and

rapid growth – great news for

promising athletes who are still

at school.

Barwon, one of six regional

sports academies in Victoria,

provides programs and pathways

for junior athletes to reach a high

level in their sport, whether in

state, national or international


The chief executive of Leisure

Networks, Jill Evans, who helped

set up the academy, says its aim

was to help young local athletes

who were travelling to the

Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS)

in Melbourne.

“We felt that it would be better

for them to train in Geelong

so they could stay at home and

remain connected to their own

sporting clubs,” Ms Evans says.

Based at Sports House,

with access to the sporting and

educational facilities of Skilled

Stadium, the academy also uses

Geelong’s other high-level training

facilities such as Kardinia

Pool and the baseball centre.

Although the academy’s main

focus is to develop elite performance,

it has a wider role in the

sporting community.

“We are a big enough regional

centre to offer something to

young athletes, particularly from

sports where infrastructure to

support them is not so strong,”

Ms Evans says. “There are really

good pathways for the mainstream

sports such as football,

netball, cricket and tennis so we

were looking at sports where

there wasn’t that clear pathway,

such as basketball and soccer.”

Since inducting its first athletes

in January 2008, the Barwon

Sports Academy has expanded

rapidly. It supports four sports –

athletics, swimming, basketball


and badminton – as well as a

number of individual scholarship

holders in water skiing, gymnastics,

ice hockey and karate.

From January 2009, four new

sports will be added – gymnastics,

soccer, netball and cricket.

With a couple of individuals from

triathlon and cycling also joining,

the numbers will be boosted to

about 100.

The academy’s chief executive,

Aaron Greaves, explains the benefits

for athletes of being part of

the academy. They still train with

their own coaches and sporting

Monique takes the hurdles

in her stride

Hurdler Monique Booth at training in Geelong.

clubs, and the academy provides

specialist coaching as well as

strength and conditioning training

through a partnership with

the Victorian Fitness Academy.

Athletes are also given uniforms

and training gear. A sports

medicine network, which includes

about 50 providers around

Geelong, offers consultations at

discounted rates.

Mr Greaves coordinates a program

of sports and personal development

with monthly sessions

on everything from nutrition

and flexibility training to resume

Living at Jan Juc on the Surf

Coast, 19-year-old hurdler

Monique Booth belongs to

the Geelong Athletics Club and

makes the 50-kilometre return trip

to Geelong for training six nights

a week. The start of the athletics

season this month means her

schedule will change, to training

five nights a week and competing on


Monique completed year 12 last

year and has taken a year off from

study. She is working in two jobs and

plans to go to university next year.

Her events are sprints (100 and

200 metres) and hurdles. In 2004,

Monique was national champion in

the 200-metre hurdles and second in

the 90-metre hurdles. In 2005, she

ran for Victoria in the Pacific School

Games. She has also competed

in winning sprint relay teams at

national championships.

Monique’s goals for next year

are to break 12 seconds for the

100 metres and to improve her

hurdle times.

She has been at the Barwon

Sports Academy since the start

of this year. She sees the benefits

as having access to the Geelong

Football Club gym and other facilities

around Geelong, and the discounted

physiotherapy services available

through the academy.

Athletes from different sports

attend the academy’s strength and

conditioning training together. They

benefit from meeting other athletes

and seeing how hard they work.

Next year Monique can look

forward to completing her Level 1

coaching qualification and Certificate

III and IV in fitness, with support

from the academy. With these

qualifications, she will be well placed

to visit schools and sporting clubs to

run programs for younger athletes.

writing and stress management.

“We recognise that all of the

kids here are working at a state

level and they are fantastic hurdlers,

basketballers or swimmers,

but we don’t just want to push

the sporting side; we are very

much about developing a holistic

approach and getting the whole

package,” he says.

Most of the scholarship holders

are aged between 14 and 18;

the youngest is gymnast Emily

Ramsay, 10.

For older students such as

Monique Booth, the academy

will help them gain coaching

qualifications and fitness certification

through the Victorian Fitness

Academy so that they can run

programs for the next generation

of athletes.

“We acknowledge that the

community really supports us and

we want to be seen to be giving

back to the community through

the next lot of kids,” Mr Greaves

says. “Through partnership arrangements,

local businesses and

the local community are putting

into the academy because they

are really seeing the benefits.

“It really helps us that we

maintain those strong relationships

and are seen to be giving

back and supporting the community.

We are the youngest

academy, but we have a great

talent pool.”

To be eligible to be part of

the academy, students must

satisfy minimum state-level

criteria – they must have made

a state squad or a state side,

have state ranking or have been

to national championships

representing Victoria.

Of the academy’s 51 athletes,

14 have competed this

year at world championships or

the Paralympics.

As well as the elite young

athletes who benefit from its

program, the academy also helps

other sports in the region. “We

have worked with golf and water

polo in the local region to provide

a junior structure and framework

– we work in a partnership with all

those sports,” Mr Greaves says.

Recently, the academy set up

a football development program

as a pathway for young Geelong

Football League players to develop

their skills or move to a higher

level. The eight-week pilot program

attracted 30 players from 10

GFL clubs.


Australia’s largest multisport festival, the Australian Masters Games, is coming to the Geelong region, 20 February – 1 March 2009.

For more information:


the best place to live OCTOBER 2008

A Fairfax Media Custom Publication

Artist Leigh Chiller draws

inspiration from his coastal

home and the nearby Otways

National Park.


From his studio window,

Leigh Chiller surveys the

horse paddocks of Connewarre,

beyond which the

surf is pounding. It is a peaceful

environment where this wellknown

landscape artist is preparing

for his latest exhibition.

After studying year 12 at the

Gordon Institute and completing

a Diploma in Art and Design

at Deakin University in 1983,

Mr Chiller lived in Melbourne for

a time, then in the rainforest of the

NSW north coast. But he regards

Geelong as an ideal place to live

and work.

“It’s less intense day-to-day

living because of the space,” he

says. “I like the light on the coast

more than in the city, but you’ve

got all the infrastructure you need

here and you are still only an hour

away from Melbourne.

“I know most people in the

Geelong art scene. It has always

been quite strong – quite individual

and quite high-standard.”

Mr Chiller credits the course

at Deakin with preparing him for

life as an artist. “It was perfect for

someone like me who wanted to be

The Geelong region is home to Australia’s fourth oldest Botanic Gardens, established in 1851 –

the Geelong Botanic Gardens.

Art thrives in coastal haven

an artist. I think it was unique in

the way it concentrated on the elite

level, the way we see and think and

higher-end ideas about art rather

than vocational issues,” he says.

Mr Chiller paints expressive

landscapes in oils and acrylics.

“I’m interested in light. Landscape

is a starting point to creating

pictures that are more uplifting

experiences for the viewer.”

Since completing the course at

Deakin he has exhibited regularly

and is represented by galleries in

Melbourne and Geelong.

“I have maintained a studio

wherever I’ve lived and there’s

probably only a couple of years

since 1983 that I haven’t had an

exhibition of some kind,” he says.

“Exhibiting regularly really helps

because it forces you to put the

work out there and that’s how you

learn whether what you are saying

is communicating at all.”

The director of Geelong’s

Metropolis Gallery, Robert

Avitabile, describes Mr Chiller

as one of the region’s foremost

contemporary artists.

Living and working close to the

coast at Connewarre, Mr Chiller

draws inspiration from his surroundings.

He is also drawn to

the bush landscape of the Otways,

which has had a major influence

on his work.

“I’m always thinking about it

and just looking. You try a lot of

things and you retain some of them

and drop off others.”

Although he mainly concentrates

on his own painting,

Mr Chiller has also conducted

workshops through the Geelong

Gallery on ‘plein air’ painting,

based on Eugene von Guerard’s

1856 View of Geelong. Plein air

painting is done outside, rather

than in a studio.

“You try and get people to see

what’s there and not be focused on

a preconceived idea of what a picture

should be. The thing’s moving,

there’s wind, the light’s changing,

painting’s not about a static view

any more,” he says.

a Leigh Chiller’s latest exhibition,

CHILLER: Landscape Figure

Revisited, is showing at

Metropolis Gallery, 64 Ryrie

Street, Geelong until 25 October.

the best place to live.

OCTOBER 2008 the best place to live 19

A Fairfax Media Custom Publication

G21 teaches learning for life

Geelong’s G21

Alliance of

educators is

challenging the

idea that learning

only takes place

in the classroom

Taking a yoga class or tinkering

with a car are great

ways to learn, although

they might not fall under

traditional definitions of education.

They are also accessible at any

time of life.

The Smart Geelong Region

Local Learning and Employment

Network (LLEN) is seeking to

change the culture of learning by

promoting the idea that learning is

no longer confined to high-school

classrooms, university or TAFE but

is a lifelong experience.

“It’s not just about academic

pathways,” says the network’s executive

officer, Anne-Marie Ryan.

The G21 Alliance, a collection

of independent organisations committed

to securing a sustainable

future for the Geelong region, has

established an education and training

‘pillar’ that aims to broaden

people’s understanding of learning.

One of its challenges is to counter

the common perception that

learning can only occur within the

walls of an institution and has to

be difficult, leading to a dismissal

of more informal learning opportunities,

such as a son working on a

car with his father on the weekend.

“The community doesn’t see

that as learning,” says Ms Ryan,

who is also the leader of the pillar.

“We’ve got to break that stuff


She says the aim of the pillar is

for everyone to continue learning

throughout life. “Learning is about

all sorts of things. It’s about enrolling

in a yoga class so you’re getting

the health and wellbeing messages,

or even going and working as a

volunteer so you’re learning a

whole lot of new things.”

In the G21 region, about one in

three people go to university from

high school while a similar number

go from school into TAFE or apprenticeships

and traineeships. The

rest go straight into the employment


Ms Ryan says that part of the


Central Geelong Marketing’s Emma Clark with colleague Jodii Pedersen: looking through the recently upgraded Westfield Geelong.

Back to school, and loving it


mma Clark never imagined studying beyond

year 12. “When I left school I was never, ever

going to study; I hated study, I was going to

go out and work and there was no way I was ever

going to set foot in a university,” she recalls.

But earlier this year the 38-year-old from

Torquay graduated from Deakin University with a

double degree in commerce and arts.

Ms Clark says the degree, which she completed

over six years with majors in marketing and public

relations, was instrumental in her obtaining a job

earlier this year as executive officer at Central

Geelong Marketing, the marketing subcommittee

of the City of Greater Geelong. “I wouldn’t have got

that without my degree ... I’m finding that what I’ve

G21 strategy iss about reconnecting

people who leave school to

enter the workforce with learning.

To that end, G21 is pushing for

the establishment of a Career and

Skills Development Centre, which

would provide a physical hub for

learning post-school.

“If we’re serious about lifelong

learning – which is really

just about multiple entry and exit

points into the system – then this

place needs to be front and centre,”

Ms Ryan says.

Such a centre would also help

those people who are looking at

finding a new career path as a

result of workplace change.

As well as expanding the definition

of learning, the Education and

learnt at uni is certainly helping me with what I’m

doing in the workplace now.”

Ms Clark worked in several retail and

administration roles since completing year 12 at

Toorak College in Mt Eliza in 1987, including a

cadetship with Myer and, more recently, positions

at the Australian Cricket Board and Geelong

Football Club. But she made the decision to return

to study to open up a greater range of career

opportunities. “I was just finding I couldn’t break

out of that admin [role] into the next step of

management. I really felt that to do that, I needed

to go and get a degree.”

Ms Clark, who was working full-time when she

made the decision, says it wasn’t an easy choice

Training Pillar also aims to bring

together members of the education,

training and employment sectors to

improve links between them.

One of the projects the pillar

has undertaken, in conjunction

with Deakin University and the

Smart Geelong Region LLEN, is

the introduction of a new teacher

education course. The Graduate

Diploma of Education (Applied

Learning) will train a new kind

of teacher, with a professional or

trade background, to bring their

skills and knowledge into the

classroom to provide a more direct

link between the education sector

and industry.

There is also a drive for better

integration of the education and

Industry standard facilities at its state-of-the-art campuses mean Gordon Institute

students receive real workplace experience.

training programs provided by the

many organisations in the Geelong

region, including Deakin University,

the Gordon Institute of TAFE

and Marcus Oldham College; as

well as adult and community education

providers such as Geelong

Adult Training and Education

(GATE), Colac Adult and Community

Education and the University

of the Third Age.

To that end GATE, which offers

courses ranging from Certificate II

level through to Advanced Diplomas

across a range of subjects as

well as adult community education

courses, recently announced

a merger with fellow training

provider Diversitat.

Leonie O’Neill, the outgoing

given the financial implications – a factor she and

her husband Nicholas had to consider again 18

months later when he also decided to return to

study (he will complete a commerce degree later

this year).

But Ms Clark says the sacrifice has been worth

it, adding that although marketing and PR-related

subjects have direct application to her job, she also

found herself enjoying other, more obscure subjects.

“It was actually really nice to do that; it taught me

a different way to think.”

Although Ms Clark initially thought this would

be the last time she returned to study, she says she

had so enjoyed the experience that a postgraduate

degree is not out of the question.

chief executive of GATE, says the

merger is changing the old system

of training providers being confined

to their own niche. She says

ongoing learning “opens people,

opens doors, opens lives”.

“I think when people continue

to learn, it supports them in so

many ways; not just intellectually,

it supports them socially as well,

because they’re creating new networks,

they’re meeting new people,

they’re interacting with people that

they wouldn’t have had to interact

with before.”


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