Williamstown was alive last weekend as local performers took to the streets and entertained onlookers with some groovin’ tunes and pop-up antics.
Talented school students and artists from across Melbourne’s West took part in the Busk A Move project as part of Art in public Places and wowed onlookers with their amazing talents.
One performer Monica Weightman said she enjoyed busking as it offered a sense of freedom and spontaneity.
Singing and playing acoustic guitar, Monica said the festival was a great way to engender community spirit.
“I love busking and have been a busker at different times over the years. It has a wonderful sense of spontaneity and freedom about it,” she said.
“I think it’s a great idea to have this busker festival because it gives us all a strong sense of community and belonging on a grassroots level.” 119221 Picture: JOE MASTROIANNI
DOMESTIC violence should be called for what it is, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said last week – “violence against women and families”.
Violence against women and children was in the spotlight following the fatal stabbing of mother of four Fiona Warzywoda in Sunshine on Wednesday 16 April.
Over 600 people from across the Western Suburbs and beyond gathered in Sunshine last week to remember the slain Melton West woman and stand against violence towards women and children.
Roads were blocked off as the community rallied together on the corner of Devonshire and Hampshire Roads last Tuesday evening, a week after Ms Warzywoda was allegedly stabbed to death there by her de-facto husband.
Residents, witnesses, police, politicians and the family and friends of Ms Warzywoda and other victims of domestic violence gathered to honour innocent lives lost and send the message that this could not keep happening.
“It’s not just the justice system which failed Fiona and her children and her family, I think’s it’s all of us,” Mr Shorten said.
“Domestic violence has a lot of different moving parts. It’s not just a women’s issue, but it’s a men’s issue,” he said.
“We need a cultural change, we need a resource change, but also the other thing is domestic violence is a national issue, it’s not just a state issue.”
Resident Sophie Dutertre, who initiated the vigil and silent protest, said she didn’t want Ms Warzywoda’s death to only be a news item for a day and then disappear from consciousness after her killer was found.
“I care about community, and I care about Sunshine because it’s a place with a strong, vibrant and passionate community,” Ms Dutertre said.
“I wanted to show that the community can get together and getting together as a community is very powerful,” she said.
Craig McDermott, from Sunshine North, handed himself in to police last Thursday and appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court later that night. He was charged with murder and was remanded until August 7.
“Grief is grief, there’s not a day when it’s better or when it’s worse, the loss doesn’t change. But I spoke to members of her family and having hundreds of people there showing solidarity, I know the family took some strength from that,” Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.
“This is the way Sunshine responds, because Sunshine is a good place. It is a good place to live and when something bad happens this is the way people respond; people stand together,” Greens MP Colleen Hartland.
“We are very good at coming together after these tragedies; we are less good at stopping them from happening in the first place. There were 29 domestic homicides in Victoria last year, so unfortunately this is the latest in a long list of tragedies,” Federal Labor Member for Gellibrand Tim Watts.
“This turn-out is an indication that the community has had enough. Our legal system has to be responsive and take violence against women seriously, we need a royal commission into violence against women which would actually look into where the problems lie and why women are dying, one a week, at the hands of men,” Victoria University lecturer and Sexual assaults Counsellor Margherita Windisch.
“I’m 100 per cent against violence against women and I want to send a message that Sunshine is safe,” Sunshine resident Saliah Ali.
“How many more women and children have to die at the hands of an abuser? How many more women and children have to live in fear every day of their lives?” Women’s Domestic Violence Crisis Service CEO Annette Gillespie.
FOR Altona Meadows resident Karin Zeller, creating extraordinary works of art is a way of life.
The Canadian-born abstract artist is well-known for her vibrant paintings – which have even made their way onto the side of a Czech fighter jet last year.
Working as a professional artist for over two decades, Karin began pencil portrait commissions in her homeland then moved to Australia with her husband and children in 1993 where she has made a name for herself.
She now specialises in water-colour, acrylics and mixed media and is offering her wisdom to budding artists throughout Hobsons Bay.
“I am mostly self-taught, but learned a lot from various art classes, workshops and courses over the years,” Karin told Star.
“I work in many styles, but my major influences are Picasso, Paul Klee, Laurel Burch.
“My favourite subjects are animals, but I paint them in my own way, as I love bright, happy colours, and love to paint from imagination.”
Karin is now offering weekly classes for art enthusiasts and said she enjoys passing on her knowledge to keen onlookers.
She will also be hosting an exhibition, along with fellow artists Ivana Pinaffo, Shirley Fisher, Felicity Nicholls and Virginia Coghill next month.
The Lasting Impressions 2014 exhibition will be held at the Louis Joel Gallery, 5 Sargood St, Altona from Friday, 16 May to Sunday, 25 May.
Stuart Hames will be exhibiting his latest exhibition in Altona. 119194 Picture: DAMJAN JANEVSKI
ONE hundred years after Australian soldiers landed in Gallipoli, a Werribee artist is taking a different approach to commemorate the occasion.
Brought to Light, an exhibition hosted by Stuart James, will begin at the Louis Joel Arts and Community Centre from this Friday evening, and will give audiences the opportunity to view paintings and lens-based images that evoke a less familiar Gallipoli than what they are used to.
Interested in aircraft landings, relics and photography, Stuart’s work looks at the time between when aircraft vessels landed on Gallipoli and soldiers were transported ashore.
His pieces, involving built stick constructions which are then photographed and transferred to a computer to become manipulated prints, offer a grim look at the ocean that carries the bodies of fallen soldiers.
“The imagery is skeletal and a little bit ghostly,” Stuart told Star.
“There is the stillness of the seas evoking the waste of war.
“The dark colours are a homage to the lives lost and the black stillness of the sea.”
A professional artist, Stuart is interested in the effect Gallipoli has had on Australian culture.
“When I was younger, I grew up with these men, the diggers … we knew them. But now there is a real nostalgia surrounding that era.”
THE latest data from the Victorian Health Services Performance Report has shown significant improvement in ambulance transfer times at Williamstown Hospital, according to Health Minister David Davis.
Mr Davis said the data for the Williamstown Hospital showed the recommendations of the Ambulance Transfer Taskforce were being successfully implemented, with 100 per cent of transfers completed within 40 minutes.
This is up on its 97.9 per cent transfer rate in the December 2012 quarter and better than the state-wide benchmark of 90 per cent.
The report shows the Williamstown Hospital was part of the improvement in transfer times, and in a range of other key hospital performance measures.
The improvements include an increase in hospital admission to 2848 patients in the three months to the end of December – up from 2697 admissions in the same period in 2012; treatment of 100 per cent of category one emergency patients immediately on arrival at the hospital; completed the transfer of 100 per cent of patients who arrived in an ambulance in the December quarter within the target of 40 minutes and provided operations within the benchmark 30 days for 100 per cent of the hospital’s 188 category one urgent elective surgery patients in the December quarter.
Overall Victoria’s hospitals spent just 1.2 per cent of time on bypass, well down on the 2.8 per cent bypass rate in the previous quarter and well below the benchmark of three per cent.
“They are treating emergency patients more quickly, with a median time-to-treatment of 19 minutes, down from 21 minutes in the previous three months and 20 minutes a year earlier,” Mr Davis said.
He says more than half of Category 1, 2 and 3 patients are treated within 11 minutes, an improvement on the 12-minute median in the previous three months.
FOLLOWING two successful Once Upon a Time in Sunshine promotions within the past year, Taylors Hill promoter and undefeated professional fighter Jake Ellis is at it again.
Ellis has gathered some of the best fighters from across Melbourne’s West for the 30 May show at Sunshine’s Italia Club, where three titles will be put on the line.
The main events will include Altona’s Anthony Buttigieg’s battle with Franco Valenzuela for the light middleweight Victorian belt.
Footscray’s Sylvia Scharper will also be in action against Queenslander Kori Farr for the Australian bantamweight title, while Werribee’s Marc Pante will vie for the light heavyweight Victorian title against Joe D’Angelo.
“The card speaks for itself,” Ellis said.
“I went from basically not having any titles on any of my shows to having three on the same show and an Australian title being one of them.
“With my main events both boys are undefeated and the vibe in the crowd is going to be electric.
“Pante versus D’Angelo is a fight I’ve been trying to get for about two years now. I just could never seem to get it together.”
Pante, 33, is undefeated with three knockouts since going professional and is feeling good a month out from his upcoming bout with D’Angelo.
“I’m pretty happy with the way I’m going at the moment,” Pante said.
“Training’s going well, so hopefully I can get another victory under my belt and stay undefeated.
“I’m confident going into every fight. I do all the hard yards and it’s the one per cent things I do in the gym that I think will get me over the line against anyone, really.”
Ellis talked up the bout as Pante’s toughest yet.
“I think undeniably it will be Marc’s hardest fight,” Ellis said.
“On paper and in reality it is his hardest fight. It’s a fight for the championship of the state so it goes without saying.
“Size-wise and even overall frame-wise (D’Angelo’s) very similar to Marc, short and broad and he has a very extensive kickboxing career and Marc’s also got a kickboxing background as well.
“It’s the longest fight he’s ever had. He’s in for an eight-rounder.”
Many of the fighters that will take the ring at the Italia Club train under Dave Hegarty out of the Tarneit Boxing Gym, including Dwight ‘The Cowboy’ Ritchie.
FOOTSCRAY fighter Sylvia Scharper is busy preparing for her upcoming Australian bantamweight title bout against Queensland’s Kori Farr at a time women’s boxing has taken great strides.
The 31-year-old turned professional two years ago after establishing herself in Thai boxing and has since remained undefeated in three fights, winning two and drawing one.
The proud step-mother has to juggle looking after her two step-kids with six days of training a week and once you’ve thrown in her three dogs, two cats, bird and freelance writing gig – Scharper knows a national title would be worth all the effort.
“It’s pretty hard,” she admitted.
“I started in Thai boxing and then I found Dave Hegarty down at Tarneit Boxing to help with my hand-work.
“I never thought I would get to the stage to actually box, let alone pro box and Dave thought I had what it took to jump into pro boxing so I had a very short amateur career of one fight and then went to pro boxing.
“I’ve had quite a few Thai fights and been in the ring a long time but in terms of boxing, this is just the start.”
Scharper takes on Farr as part of Jake Ellis’ third Once Upon a Time in Sunshine promotion at the Italia Club on 30 May.
“She’s got an extensive amateur career and represented Australia in many countries,” Ellis said of Farr.
“She hasn’t got an extensive professional career because I know for a fact she was just planning to stay in the amateurs and she’s pretty much come out of retirement for this fight due to her national title being on the line.”
Scharper is well aware she’s relatively new to the professional circuit but does feel she has improved enough to contend for the belt.
“In the first fights I think just being in the ring and being tough got me through but in the last fight I wanted to show that I could actually box and put combos together and I think I did that so I look forward to stepping it up another level again,” she said.
“I’m always looking to improve and obviously with that belt on the line it makes you that little bit hungrier.”
THE strong, athletic, attacking half-back flanker has become an essential cog in just about every footy team in the country, no matter the standard or even age group.
Down at the Western Jets, Connor Menadue has made the position his own.
The 17-year-old has enjoyed a dream start to his top-age year in the TAC Cup, opening the season with back-to-back best-on-ground performances against the Calder Cannons and Sandringham Dragons.
In his first four appearances for the season Menadue averaged more than 24 disposals a game and has consistently drawn praise from coach Torin Baker week in, week out.
“We’ve mainly played him off the half-back line, that’s where we think he plays his best footy but he’ll be given opportunities to play through the midfield and even up forward,” Baker said.
“He’s got some tremendous attributes in that he’s extremely quick, he’s also got very good endurance and the other thing is he’s a very good contested mark so when you add all that in it’s a really nice package that he has.”
Menadue himself is happy with how he’s progressed after playing 15 bottom-age games for the Jets in 2013, and hopes his form will warrant selection for Vic Metro later in the year.
“I think I’ve had a pretty good, consistent year so far,” Menadue told Star.
“I’ve been able to beat my man off the half-back flank every week so far, which has been good and I’ve been able to get the ball which has been good as well.”
As a junior down at the Spotswood Football Club Menadue made a name for himself and was plucked from the Woodsmen as a forward, but has since developed into one of the standout running defenders currently going around in the TAC Cup.
Like his coaching staff, Menadue now believes his talents are best suited in the back half of the ground, but naturally, he still fancies himself as a dangerous forward option, too.
“I think that off the half-back flank so far this year I have been able to show my run and carry and run off half-back, and also I’ve been able to find the ball,” he said.
“But I also think if I did start to play more regularly in the midfield I could start to find the ball even more and then hopefully become a bit more dangerous up forward as well and use my speed there.
“And in the forward line, I played there during my junior career so I sort of know my way around the goal.”
AN INJURY depleted VU Western Lightning was handed a 20-goal loss in the Victorian Netball League last week.
The Lightning fell behind early in the first term against Peninsula Waves and could not recover throughout the match.
VU trailed by seven goals at quarter time before the Waves extended the margin to 12 at the main break.
The young Lightning squad fought hard in the second half and was able to remain competitive but failed to eat into the margin.
Wednesday’s 58-38 win is the sixth of the season for Waves and sees them move to outright third spot on the VNL ladder.
“We have obviously been decimated by injury and we are finding it very hard to rebuild,” VU coach Matt Hills said.
“We are basically playing 18-year-olds to cover for senior and experienced players. The last two weeks has demonstrated that.
“When you take Brooke Thompson and Fiona Themann out of our defensive end, who were arguably the best defensive combination in the league the last couple of years, that is always going to be tough.
“Then we were without Sophie Barr in goals while Sophie Gunn is returning from illness and injury, it is a tough road.”
The Lightning now occupy ninth place on the VNL ladder, only ahead of the winless Fed Uni Ballarat Pride.
However, the damage isn’t as bad as it appears with VU part of a logjam of teams with only one game separating fourth and ninth.
Despite the uphill battle, Hills is still confident in his team’s ability and pinpointed the club’s next two games against the Sothern Saints and DC North East Blaze as season defining.
When VU was closer to full strength earlier in the season, the Lightning won three of its first four games which included a victory against the Saints by three goals.
“We still want to make finals,” Hills said.
“We are still working very hard at training and continue to set ourselves high standards. Certainly there is plenty of work to do on the track and there is a lot discussion from the playing group about what we want to do and what we can achieve.
“The next two games are critical. We really need to win both to give ourselves the opportunity to play finals. I think that after those two games we will re-asses. If we can win those two games and get back to 6-6 we are still in the fight.”