Open and here to stay

Corio Library staff want everyone to know they’re back and keen to welcome the community for a visit, to borrow or to join an activity.

Information Services Librarian Leanne Reinke has been in her role since December and is gradually introducing new activities, as well as continuing already-popular sessions.

They include:

  • Book Club – held on the first Monday of the month, 2pm-3pm. There are some places available and another group will be formed if there is demand.
  • Book Chat – Monday evening sessions. A facilitated group for members to talk about the books they are reading.
  • Themed Information Sessions to discuss different genres of books, for example crime, then take home ideas of more books to read.
  • Purl Jam Knitting Circle – Thursday from 2pm-4pm.
  • Practice Your English – Tuesday from 11am-11.45am. Resources are available to help participants.
  • Create and Make sessions- book an induction session to learn about the 3D printer, sewing machine or overlocker.
  • Technology and library help sessions – book a librarian for a 30-minute appointment to get help with the library, computers, myGov.
  • Children’s activities – Baby Time, Toddler Time, Story Time and after school activities.

“We are also able to help parents with use of the apps used by the schools to communicate,” Leanne said. “We have amazing staff and can usually help with immediate issues too.”

Leanne said the library won’t be moving as part of the Northern Aquatic and Community Hub, which is being constructed nearby.

“We’re here to stay and we just want to encourage everyone to come back to the library,” Leanne said. “Come and see us.”

The library is open seven days a week. Monday 9am-8pm; Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 9am-6pm; Thursday 9am-8pm; Saturday 9am-5pm; Sunday 2pm-5pm. It is on the corner of Cox Road and Moa Street.

Free legal advice

Deakin Law School Clinical Solicitor and lecturer Michele Tucker leads a team that provides access to free legal help, and she’ll feel right at home when she brings them to Corio to help the community during Law Week in May.

Michele grew up in Department of Housing homes in Norlane and Corio. She is the eldest of five girls raised by their mother.

“Many of my family still live in Norlane and Corio and my grandparents lived in Norlane for more than 60 years,” she said. “Nan is in aged care in Norlane.”

After attending Norlane and North Shore primary schools, then Norlane High, Michele left school in Year 10 and worked as a legal junior in a Geelong law firm.

“I never considered university as an option as no one I knew went to university,” she said. “I worked for law firms in Geelong and Melbourne as a law clerk and eventually in management roles. In 2002 I applied to Deakin to study law, but didn’t get in. I was pretty disappointed.”

A lawyer working with Michele explained different pathways to study. She commenced a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2003 and was then able to transfer to a double degree: Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws. 

“While juggling full-time study I continued to work part-time in law firms and was also a single mother during this time. I completed my degrees in 2007 and was admitted to practise law in 2008. To say my family was proud is an understatement.”

Michele practises in different areas of law. She also started teaching in the Law School at Deakin University in 2012 and is Clinical Solicitor and Co-ordinator at Deakin Law Clinic, as well as teaching.

Deakin University is a sponsor of Law Week, from May 16-22, which is run by the Victorian Law Foundation. Michele will be at Cloverdale on Wednesday, May 18 with students from the Deakin Law Clinic. 

“I will do a presentation on Family Law and Family Violence Intervention Orders and the students will assist me with a pop-up clinic for the community, to provide information about different areas of law,” Michele said.

“I love my job. I’m very passionate about the law and enjoy helping people solve their legal problems. The legal system and processes can be overwhelming for some people, so I try and break down the issues for clients. 

“I believe it’s only fair that we should all have access to legal assistance and justice, regardless of our background or financial situation.

“I also love teaching, so I have the best of both worlds with my job. It’s amazing to watch our students grow and gain such invaluable practical legal skills during their time in the clinic.”

Deakin Law Clinic is a free, community legal service with five practice areas: Family Law, Criminal Law, Civil and Commercial Law, Employment Law and Policy Advocacy Law. 

The clinic opened in 2017 in Melbourne CBD and a new Geelong office, at Deakin Waterfront campus, in March this year.

Students work on real life client matters under lawyers’ supervision to gain practical and communication skills for their careers in legal practice.

Time is right to step away

The following was provided by the Member for Lara, John Eren …

It’s so hard to believe that 2022 is already upon us. I hope that everyone had a safe, happy and healthy holiday season and that 2022 is your best year yet.

For almost 20 years I have represented the great people of Geelong both as the Member for Geelong Province and then as the Member for Lara. 

It has been two years since I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. This diagnosis, along with challenges brought about by the COVID pandemic, has made me place a greater focus on my health and wellbeing and that of my family and friends, to value the ability to spend quality time with them. 

After thinking about my future as time moves on and following discussions with my family, it was with sadness that I decided to not contest the 2022 State Election. 

When we come to the end of this term of Parliament, in about November this year, I feel that will be the time for me to step away and spend my time pursuing other things. 

Until the November State election next year I will continue to strongly represent the Lara electorate and I will be working hard each day to ensure we continue to achieve great things for our community.

In the meantime, my office is still here to help. Many people do not know the assistance they can receive from their local State Member of Parliament’s office.

As your state representative, I’m here to assist you with any State Government matter including education, health, public housing, main roads and public transport to name a few.

Applications for commemorative letters such as 100th birthday and 60th wedding anniversary letters from the Queen, or 90th birthday and 50th wedding anniversary letters from the Prime Minister can also be requested from my office.

CALD Community Connect project

Early last year, the Barwon Adolescent Taskforce (BATForce) approached the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing Community Partnerships team to see if it could support a project to increase employment outcomes, reduce social isolation and support connection to school for a group of CALD youth in 3214. This community-driven project supported young people attending Northern Bay College and their families.

Part of the project was a co-design piece where a small group of women from across community were trained to facilitate conversations in their communities to investigate any additional resources and information that may build the capacity of their communities. Topics such as health and nutrition have been discussed so far and the project looks forward to continuing these great conversations in the future. 

The COVID-19 pandemic continued to interrupt planned activities, however BATForce delivered two sessions within the school and continued to advocate for the young people and their families.  Connections were made with the Gordon TAFE and Deakin University to develop language courses and integrate work skills conversations; have students on placement at Northern Bay to assist with work readiness skills; and COVIDSafe catch ups were facilitated with community groups.  

The flexibility of this funding has been critical in enabling the project to continue to adapt to changes in rules and requirements associated with COVID. Face to face sessions became phone sessions became online meet ups with morning tea delivered.  Whilst the project has slowed down, the flexibility has enabled BATForce to continue working alongside the CALD community to develop opportunities that has set some wheels in motion that will provide ongoing support into 2022. If you would like to find out more, email admin@batforce.org.au

Vegan café in Corio

There’s a new vegan dining option in Corio, with Happily Ever Vegan operating at the rear of Corio Central Dental in Bacchus Marsh Road.

Owner James Blackman is an experienced chef whose diverse career includes fine dining restaurants and working as a private chef overseas, where he cooked for the ‘rich and famous’ including actor Will Smith and past US-presidents.

James said he had been operating his vegan café business from a food van for the past eight years, most recently in Torquay. He had been looking for a space in Geelong for “a couple of years” when the owner of the dental clinic offered space.

The business opened in early November offering fresh, wholesome food that can be eaten onsite or take away. There is also an option to buy take-home meals to re-heat. 

“Everything is organic, so the menu changes to feature what’s available at any time,” James said. “It includes salads, pasta, pies, soup and toasted sandwiches. I can also do catering and cakes.”

James said the new food option had been well-received. The dental clinic staff are customers and a growing number of local residents are also becoming regular diners.

Menus are promoted on the Happily Ever Vegan Facebook page and updated regularly. For orders or more information, phone 0487-001-434.

Happily Ever Vegan is at the rear of Corio Central Dental at 68 Bacchus Marsh Road, Corio and is open Monday to Friday from 10am until 4.30pm.

Exhibition success for Andrew

Corio artist Andrew Woodman-Gadsby is enjoying the success of years of work following his first exhibition in Geelong. He is a member of the Geelong Art Society and in late 2021 was invited to exhibit at the group’s Shearers Arms Gallery.

Andrew works in several mediums. As a sculptor he works with limestone to create unique pieces in different sizes and themes. He also paints in acrylic and pastels, with a focus on landscapes and animals. 

Andrew is also a sketch artist and print-maker. He has been drawing since he was a child and took up painting in his early twenties.

“When I was a child, I was mostly drawing cartoons, but I remember one day in primary school and we had to draw faces,” he said. “The other kids were drawing big round eyes etc and I was sketching a face. I think the teach and other kids were surprised.”

Andrew said his exhibition was satisfying and he sold a lot of his work. “I was surprised to be asked to exhibit and happy with how it went,” he said. “It’s given me something to think about for the next one.”

Learning from others is also important to Andrew, who attends regular classes in print-making and pastels. He also recently completed an introduction to metalwork program at Cloverdale Community Centre to see how those techniques could be incorporated into his sculpture work. 

“I enjoy being able to keep learning new things and help other people with their art,” Andrew said.

Key projects for the community

The following was provided by the Member for Lara, John Eren ….

As we near the end of the year, I thought it would be a great time to update everyone on some significant State Government projects that are underway in our community. There is so much happening in our wonderful northern suburbs at the moment.

As I mentioned last edition, the State Labor Government has provided $8.5 million toward the Northern Aquatic and Community Hub (NACH), a state-of-the-art facility which will bring health and wellness benefits – as well as local jobs during construction.

Construction of the new multimillion-dollar 30-bed drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in Corio, aimed at helping locals recover from substance use, is well underway. The service should become operational by the end of this year.

Construction has also begun on the $3.6 million state-of-the-art Kids Rehabilitation Centre at the McKellar Centre. The build, funded by the Barwon Health Foundation Kids Appeal, will take approximately six months to complete and will provide a purpose-built space for children and adolescents to undergo rehabilitation.

Recently, I was able to officially announce additional funding for local not-for-profit organisation Northern Futures.

I am proud to have been involved with Northern Futures since 2007, when it was founded by myself and Richard Marles, the Federal Member for Corio.

As part of the Jobs Victoria program, our government is investing in education and support for about 150 jobseekers, through training in Geelong led by Northern Futures, thanks to this funding.

Northern Futures is an important Jobs Victoria partner in our local community and works closely with local employers, with its ‘Skills for Success’ project equipping jobseekers with tailor-made training and personal support.

The Government has invested $619 million into Jobs Victoria to support people looking for work and connect employers with the staff they need. A massive thank you and congratulations to the whole Northern Futures team for their tireless work and commitment to this fantastic program.

I was also pleased to recently announce funding to two local schools in my electorate of Lara. These two local projects are part of 34 projects across Victoria that will share in $70million under Round 3 of the Non-Government Schools Capital Fund, which is delivering new schools, increasing capacity and providing modern facilities, as well as supporting the removal of asbestos and cladding.

Holy Family School (Bell Park) will receive $2million for the next phase of its masterplan, including refurbishment and replacement of existing facilities.

Covenant College will receive $2.8million to go towards construction of general purpose learning areas (GPLAs) providing generalist and specialist learning spaces with associated student and staff amenities.

Our local sporting clubs are also beneficiaries of State Government funding.

Soccer has been given a boost in Geelong’s northern suburbs, with $250,000 towards a pavilion upgrade at Hume Reserve from the government’s 2020-21 World Game Facilities Fund. The reserve is home to the Corio Soccer Club, which has seen growing interest in recent years, however the outdated facilities have stopped the club reaching its potential.

Shell Reserve Corio, home to Corio Sporting Club, has scored $500,000 towards a female friendly change facility redevelopment. This boost will go a long way to support the growing number of people in Geelong’s north keen to get involved in local sport and recreation.

The Victorian Government has invested more than $1.1billion in community sport and recreation infrastructure since 2014 to help make sport and recreation more accessible, welcoming and inclusive for more Victorians.

Friends of Cowies Creek

The following was provided by the Friends of Cowies Creek …

Spring is here and there’s so much to pay attention to at Cowies Creek.

Wattles are in full bloom; reptiles are coming out from hiding to bask in the warm sun. Birds are busy finding nesting materials and singing different songs in the hope of attracting a mate.

And during lockdowns there are lots of people getting down to the creek to take a break from life’s stresses and be amongst the happenings of nature.

Friends of Cowies Creek have been busy too, and were really lucky to avoid the lockdowns and host three public tree plantings this winter. More than 50 local community members showed up to give back to the creek and the creatures who call it home.

Together they planted more than 1500 plants, enhancing native biodiversity and connecting with like-minded neighbours who care deeply for our place. There will be many more future opportunities for folks to get involved in caring for the creek. 

They include:

  • Sunday, October 10, 10am-noon, when there will be a beach clean-up hosted at North Shore, Moorpanyal Park. 
  • Sunday, November 7, 10am-noon, when there will be a clean-up at The Fountain of Friendship Park. 

There are also the Weekly Creekly Walks, every Friday morning, meeting at the Peacock Avenue Bridge at 9.30am (when restrictions allow). 

All are welcome to Friends’ events, even if you just want to come down for a chat.

Do you have any stories to share about the creek or what you’ve been observing lately? Feel free to contact us via our Facebook page or email address: friendsofcowiescreek@gmail.com 

Safe Seats, Safe Kids program

Are you a parent or carer with child car restraints in your car? Do you know if they are correctly fitted?

The Safe Seats, Safe Kids program is available in Corio to check and put your mind at rest. It delivers a state-wide series of events where parents and carers can book in for a child car restraint safety check.

Correctly fitted child car restraints and booster seats play a crucial part in protecting children from serious injury and death in the event of an accident.  Alarmingly, 70 per cent of them are not correctly fitted or used, making injury around seven times more likely.


Professional fitters are engaged to perform the checks to ensure child car restraints are installed and are being used correctly, as well as to educate families so they are equipped to check that their child is safe in the car every trip.

The next session at Cloverdale Community Centre, in Purnell Road, Corio is on November 18. A session will also be held at SpringDale Neighbourhood House in Drysdale on November 26.

To book and appointment or to pre-register your interest in future dates, go to: https://safeseatssafekids.com.au/venues-mec/

These events are hosted by Kidsafe Victoria in partnership with Neighbourhood Houses Victoria, with support by the Victorian State Government.

Miniature railway plan for Corio

Corio Norlane Lions Club is asking for community and business support for a proposal to build a passenger carrying miniature railway at Sutcliffe Reserve, in Plantation Road, Corio.

The club is a driving force behind Geelong Miniature Railway Club’s plans to gain City of Greater Geelong approval to develop an adventure playground and attraction at the Reserve.

Secretary Richard Walter said the project will also include construction of a fabrication workshop providing opportunities to teach trade-based skills including welding, metal fabrication, electronics, spray painting and small engine repairs.

“Both the Lions and railway clubs have a great interest in our youth and want to engage with local youth and teach them trade skills that will give them an advantage when applying for trade-based apprenticeships and employment,” he said.

“The project will also bring together older members of the community with an interest in trains and the above skills. We also want to support mental health by providing an interest or hobby for all ages.”

Richard said the time is right for the northern suburbs to have its own tourist attraction.

“We want to create something special for the area that will be a tourist attraction and much more,” he said.

“We believe the project has the capacity to earn an income that can be directed back into community projects every year. For now, we need help to build interest, secure access to the land and raise money to build the project.”

As a first step, community members are asked to sign a petition asking the council to lease the land to the group. It is available online at:

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/299/819/677/allow-geelong-miniature-railway-to-build-on-sutcliffe-reserve-corio/ or at the following organisations:

Cloverdale Community Centre, Rosewall Community Centre, Northside Salvation Army in Cox Road, Corio Lions Op Shop (55 Alkira Avenue, Norlane), or Corio Roadhouse (385 Princess Highway, Corio).

Business support will also be needed to bring the project to fruition. Any business interested in learning more can contact Richard Walter, phone 0408-409-895 or email coriolions@gmail.com.

“This is a long-term project and will cost a lot to set up, but we believe there are many community benefits,” Richard said. “Please sign the petition and help us get it started.”