Monthly Archives: March 2016

Party launches Rip Curl Pro

Surfing fans mingled with past and present surfing stars at the launch party for the Rip Curl Pro in Torquay. The party was held at Peppers The Sands Resort last Wednesday and was hosted by the Surf Coast Shire and Surfing Victoria’s Surfers In Suits group. Rip Curl marketing chair Neil Ridgway was the MC at the event, and interviewed WSL surfer Nikki van Dijk, 2016 Rip Curl Pro wildcard entrant Tim Stevenson, and WSL head judge Richie Porta. There was also an introduction by Surf Coast Shire councillor Eve Fisher. A notable guest at the party was Gail Couper, who has won the annual surfing competition at Bells Beach a record 10 times.

Exhibition to ease possums’ plight

Bellarine artist Moyra Le Blanc Smith’s paintings express her passion for the country and coast she calls home.
At her first solo exhibition, to be held at Eagles Nest Gallery throughout April, Le Blanc Smith is giving back to the environment that inspires her by donating a portion of sales to the Friends of the Leadbeater’s Possum as part of Possum Awareness Week from March 28-April 3.
The exhibition is titled Inspired by Nature and will feature paintings of forests, flowers, the outback, gum trees and the sea.
For some time now, Le Blanc Smith has been searching for a way to make a difference to how the country is cared for and to leave a better environment for future generations.
Leadbeater’s possums live in Victoria’s Mountain Ash forests and were thought to be extinct until it’s rediscovery in 1961 near Marysville.
Now they are on the critically endangered list due to loss of habitat from clear-fell logging and bushfires, with 45 per cent of their protected habitat decimated in the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.
Upon hearing of the leadbeater’s possum’s plight, she knew that this was a cause that needed her support.
“I thought, ‘why not use the art to make a difference to the survival of this creature and along with it, the other animals and plants which will be nurtured in the process?’” she said.
Inspired by Nature will be at Eagles Nest Gallery in Aireys Inlet throughout April, with the official opening on April 2 from 3-5pm.
Le Blanc Smith will be at the opening and will also donate 20 per cent of all sales from the exhibition to Friends of the Leadbeater’s Possum.
For more information, visit


Award-winning traditional fibre artist Bronwyn Razem is leading a series of workshops in Jan Juc in the lead up to this year’s Connecting to Country Aboriginal Arts Festival.
In response to the Christmas Day bushfires, which devastated areas of Wye River and Separation Creek, Connecting to Country has shifted its focus to biodiversity.
Artworks created in the workshops are symbolic of the native wildlife that has been affected by the fires, and will be placed in the bush during the festival’s annual Culturally Guided Walk from Point Addis to Bells Beach.
The Bush Toys will be installed along ARTS FESTIVAL the Ironbark Basin track and will form the ForLorn(e) Wildlife Bush Art Trail on Saturday May 21 as well as featuring at the festival’s Arts Gathering on Sunday May 22.
The workshops have been made possible through a Regional Arts Victoria Quick Response Grant and donations from Surf Coast Arts, Anglesea Baptist Church and the Surf Coast Shire.
The first of the Bush Toys workshops was held on March 11, with many Anglesea Aged Care residents quick to jump on the opportunity to engage with the project after experiencing the Ash Wednesday fires.
More Bush Toys workshops are scheduled for April 8, April 29 and May 13.
Cost is $25 and includes morning/ afternoon and a light lunch.
To book, head to Connecting to Country will be held from May 19-22 with event details to be released in coming weeks.


Deans Marsh Festival was held on Easter Sunday with more than 3,000 people enjoying the family day out and showing their support for this year’s event theme, “Growing our Community”. The musical line-up was a highlight and included The Bash Big Band, Sarah Carroll, The Bookshop, Treehouse Uke Band, Noah Fagan, The Night Walkers, Patrick Shawcross, Chloe Miller, Rob Phillips, Tyler Lunn, Brendan Brown and The Rubber Band.
A huge range of activities was also on offer with dog races, the annual Dog Jump, a sheaf and high ball toss and the main TO GROW event – the Deans Marsh Gift.
“Visitors could enjoy the day while their children played in the kids area and everyone could assist in ‘Growing our Community’ by planting herbs and flowers grown especially for the day,” event organiser Ruth Hamilton said.
“Thank you to Winchelsea Bendigo Bank for their sponsorship of the growth project.
“This year’s dog parade was judged by special guests mayor Rose Hodge and Derryn Hinch and Cr Hodge was even lucky enough to have Derryn to sign an old scrabble book he wrote in the 70s – priceless!”
“A huge thank you to all our sponsors and we hope that next year will be bigger and better – so get it in your calendar!”
Follow the festival on Facebook at for details on next year’s event.


Sourced from Huntington Estate’s “Block 9” vineyard, which was planted in the early 70s, this is affordable Mudgee magic and best suits a roast lamb with its dark colour, big black currant/plum flavours alongside an edge of savoury/cedary tannins that have been softened by the extended maturation time in bottle before release. It’s traditional, varietal, and mediumbodied with good structure, and the fine tannins are very much a hallmark. The 2009 vintage was an exceptional year for reds in Mudgee, with a perfect balance of warm days and cool nights ensuring rich colour, vibrancy and power in the wines, and it shows in this entry level wine that certainly over delivers for the price.


AS WE head deeper into autumn with a noticeable chill in the air, it’s nice to pour a glass of red with dinner that’s a little deeper in colour, flavour and intensity.
Such wines are plentiful of course from big regions like the Barossa or McLaren Vale, but every now and then it’s interesting to try wines from lesser known regions and Mudgee in New South Wales certainly fits the bill in this case.
With a vinous history dating back to 1858, Mudgee as a wine-producing region is certainly well ingrained in the wine vernacular, producing distinctive wines – most notably red, however, in recent times the quality of Semillon and Riesling coming out of this region has been lauded.
But at the heart of its winemaking pedigree, Mudgee is rich, ripe, red wine country to its core – and Cabernet Sauvignon is its apex variety due to the reliability of the summers that produce hot days and cool nights that slow the ripening process to allow the grapes to produce reds with a great intensity of colour and flavour, displaying plenty of depth and varietal character alongside a distinct earthiness from the rich volcanic soils.
The name Mudgee is derived from the Wiradjuri term moothi meaning “nest in the hills” or “mou-gee” meaning “contented”, which is an incredibly apt description for the soft gentle nature of the countryside around Mudgee, which is surrounded by an outer rim of hills that create the “nest” vibe.
In 1851, the population of Mudgee was 200. However, the population exploded as the discovery of gold in nearby Hargraves led to a gold rush. No gold was found in Mudgee itself, however, the township prospered as a centre for the local goldfields and grew rapidly as a result.
Of note to historians reading, one gold miner attracted to the district was Niels Peter Larsen who married Louisa Albury in Mudgee in 1866. They changed their name to Lawson, and created a family with one of their children being leading Australian poet Henry Lawson. But getting back to wine, I recently came across a winery from this region with a very traditional view and approach – Huntington Estate. It was established in 1969 by a young Sydney lawyer in Bob Roberts, who was part of the “Bulletin Place” crowd that was influential in transforming the Australian wine industry. Its members included James Halliday and the late Len Evans. Bob’s vision was Cabernet Sauvignon grown in Mudgee. Unlike other members of his wine group, though, Bob decided that Mudgee presented a better climate for his favoured wine styles – classic reds from French regions such as Bordeaux and the Rhone Valley.
He established Huntington Estate on the site of a rundown orchard and so began turning his dreams into reality and Huntington Estate into being synonymous with Cabernet Sauvignon. These days, winemaker Tim Stevens carries the torch for Bob’s vision, also believing in the variety and the traditional approach to the winemaking and in keeping with their winemaking philosophy, the Cabernet Sauvignon is released with a number of years of bottle maturation. “The Huntington Estate red wines are made for longevity,” Stevens said.
“I am a firm believer that the true test of wine is age. This is one of the principles of our winemaking at Huntington Estate; it is an enduring challenge to keep this tradition and improve on it.”


Talk about city rivalry – the classic case of Melbourne vs Sydney has nothing on the clash between Geelong and Vancouver in the weather stakes.
Thank goodness that for the eight days our Canadian friend had to “endure” day after day of absolutely perfect weather just recently.
We’d been boasting about it belligerently, reminiscing how when we were in their neck of the woods it just rained, and rained and rained!
Not one single drop of rain – whew! But soon I know I’ll be reaching for the hot chocolates again as we cruise into the cooler days of autumn. And what better to enjoy with my steaming cup of hot chocolate in the afternoon – than a brownie!
Now, aforementioned Canadian buddy is my match in the “clip and keep” recipes department, so I think it appropriate in her wake as chief in-house dishwasher while she was our guest (and sometime dancer to our up-beat world music!) that I should delve into my folder of clipped recipes for a brownie recipe that you can bake in the microwave oven.
I figure this could be handy during the school holidays as you may just be at the coast or in the high country in rental digs, or indeed just giving the caravan one last airing in the backyard before storage after Easter.
It’s a curious term, brownie – devised by a chef at a leading hotel in Chicago to meet a customer’s request for a small piece of cake, easily eaten from a boxed lunch repast at a fair for ladies.
The earliest recipe appeared in a book in 1904, but a revised recipe of 1907 added an extra egg and more chocolate – known as the Bangor Brownie – possibly because they were made from a lady in Bangor, Maine.
Brownies are a cross between a cake and (I have to use the term here) cookie – as they are dense, rich, fudgy, cake-like but with a crispy crust.
I’ve added my own variation here by chopping a cherry-ripe log confection into the batter, and some walnuts – it’s a nice surprise to bite into the cherrycoconut chunks!
So – no need to preheat the microwave here – simply grease a 20cm square ovenproof dish and line with baking paper.
Cream 125gm butter together with 1 ½ cups brown sugar. Add two teaspoons vanilla essence and three eggs: mix well. Melt 200gm good quality chocolate in a bowl 2-3 mins on setting 500 watts/ medium/50 per cent. Stir into butter mix. Fold in ¼ cup plain flour, pinch of salt, 150gm walnuts (cherry confection optional). Spread mixture into dish – place on a rack and cook 10 mins 500W/Med/50 per cent.
Carefully remove from oven and scatter 100gm each chopped milk and dark chocolate bits and 100gm walnuts over brownie and cook a further 5-6 mins at same heat setting.
Allow to cool in dish – preferably overnight – can be served warm with ice-cream or a chocolate sauce for a total overload of reaching for the chocolate!
With Easter just over and still yearning for more things chocolatey, I dipped back into my aforementioned clipped recipes and remembered how yummy this chocolate tart is, one that I’ve not made for years, and how I thought it curious that salt is added into the filling.
The salt further enhances the flavour explosion of chocolate! You may be surprised to learn that just a smidge of blue cheese can also add wham to a chocolatebased filling.


Every now and then something I learn totally pulls the rug out from underneath me.
I feel like sometimes my focus is so inward, what’s going on inside the body, its physiology and biochemistry.
Yes we look at diet and nutrition, stress and lifestyle factors, but perhaps what we don’t look at enough is the effect the environment has on our bodies.
Or more specifically, what we as a human race are doing to our environment that is then negatively affecting our bodies.
I recently watched a program that took an incredibly detailed look at the effect of micro plastics on our oceans and marine life.
We talk about the wonderful benefit of eating fish and seafood, rich with omega 3, fatty acids, zinc and minerals, not to mention a great protein source.
What we are not being told about is the potentially toxic secret harboured in the tissue and digestive tracts of our marine animals.
Some of you may have seen media coverage of late discussing the toxic effects of micro plastics, or specifically, micro beads in our waterways.
Micro beads are those lovely beads of plastic we find in everyday exfoliating cosmetic items such as showers gels and facial exfoliators.
These micro beads are ending up washing down the drain and polluting our waterways and marine eco systems, ending up in the gut and blood streams of our fish, mussels and a host of other marine animals.
Studies conducted over many years and research compiled over decades is painting a very grim picture of the damage these micro plastics are inflicting.
Micro plastics are not only from our cosmetics, but astoundingly from the very clothes we wear on our backs.
Synthetic materials such as acrylic, nylon and polyester fibres are finding their ways into the tissues of our fish and are being seen to cause cell death, liver tumours and decreasing fertility and reproduction.
Plastics and synthetic materials contain toxins that are hormone disrupting, as I discussed a few weeks ago when we looked at the “greenwashing” that happens in every day cosmetics.
You see, toxins are fat loving and water hating, they are detoxified by our liver and stored in our fatty tissue.
Guess where our excess hormones are GROUND stored? You guessed it, our fatty tissue.
Not only are the fibres themselves toxic, so too are the flame retardants and chemicals they are sprayed with.
Every time you wash those clothes, you wash around 2,000 fibres per item of synthetic clothing into our waterways.
Filtration systems are designed to collect large piece of plastics, but have little hope collecting micro plastics.
What on earth are we doing to our planet? What can you do?
Do not buy exfoliating products that use micro beads, these are in the process of being banned in Australia.
Choose defoliators that use natural materials such as almond that are not environmentally toxic.
Try and wear clothing made from natural materials such as wool and cotton, with natural dyes.
Respect our environment and everything she has given us. She is not our dumping ground, she is the giver of life.


INTO STYLE Sleek, chic, and sophisticated, the Clifton Springs Golf Club has had a stunning makeover. But even with a fresh look, chef and menu, the club remains the welcoming local for its loyal customers. Modern and elegant with warm textiles and luxurious touches, the club is almost unrecognisable from its past incarnation.
The large-scale renovations were carried out in the venue’s bistro, bar, foyer and bathrooms, with all areas now significantly more spacious, attractive and user-friendly.
General manager Danny Zernich said the main and most important difference, however, is in each customer’s experience.
“We wanted to create a space that was inviting, relaxing and comfortable for our local customers, and visitors, as well as a stunning venue that’s suitable for weddings and functions.
“It’s really freshened up, making it a much more inviting place to visit and we thought carefully about how people would enjoy spending their time here. “The bar is now much, much larger, allowing drinks to be served more quickly so people no longer have to line up and wait.
“We also opened up the venue t view across Corio Bay and very cle You Yangs; now you see the water a walk in the door.”
Mr Zernich said the refurbishment w completed by locals, for locals.
“Our demographic study found 85 per cent of our clientele is local – and very local, living quite close to the club.
“Our policy throughout the reno was to use local builders and trad as a way to put back into the communit supports us.
“We also source as much local pr in our kitchen as possible. The Bell bounty of incredible produce so w that as much as we can.”
The club’s menu has also been r now presenting home style meals with an elegant twist.
Chef Leanne Jones has designe to be comforting, fresh and stylish with options for grazing, a multi-course dining e casual meal.
Club favourites remain, alongside ne including delicious starters, inspir tempting desserts.
“Leanne has a club mentality with a fiv star background so she is the perf the us, we’re thrilled to have her on boar Mr Zernich said.
“I see dining two ways – you can g ‘feed’ or you can go out for a ‘meal both with restaurant-quality meal deals available all day, every day.
“It’s now somewhere you can ta out for the night, for a family celebr for an easy option when you just don cooking at home.”
Guests can order from the full bistr time they visit, and the club also off specials including $10 and $12 me friendly staff for details.
Clifton Springs Golf Club is at 9 Water Drive, Clifton Springs, open se from 11.30am-8pm.
For more information, or to mak visit or phone 5251 3391.

Beach party to get a boat on the bay

A family fun day is coming to Torquay, set to raise money for the protection and monitoring of local marine sanctuaries and wildlife.
The Victorian Marine Animal Defence (VMAD) Geelong Chapter’s Boat on the Bay Beach Fundraiser will be held at Torquay Surf Life Saving Club on Saturday April 2 from midday.
Musicians and celebrity guest speakers will be at the event along with children’s entertainment, Harley Davidson tours, food and market stalls, live auctions and raffles, a jumping castle and much more.
Some performers include Audemia, Sisters Doll (as seen on Australia’s Got Talent) and Famous Will.
VMAD works with Fisheries, Parks and Wildlife and Port Authority to patrol local waters, bearing witness to overfishing, marine sanctuary incursions and the deliberate navigation of crafts too close to marine wildlife.
The aim of the event is to raise enough money to operate a new patrol boat.
“It is up to all of us to ensure the conservation of our natural environment, as to have future generations enjoy the wonders that nature provides and concentrating on our local bay and environment is something the entire community should be behind,” VMAD Bellarine leader and co-ordinator Rachel Calleja said.
VMAD organise regular educational talks at yacht, sailing, angling, fishing clubs as well as dive, tackle and surf shops all around our bay, the Gippsland Lakes and along the Victorian coast to bring this outreach campaign to the public.
Entry to the fundraiser is $10 for adults and a gold coin donation for children.
Donations for raffle and auction items are being sought now. Anyone who would like to donate is invited to contact Rachel at
For more information on VMAD and the Boat on the Bay Beach Fundraiser, head to