Marina News


Weather lights up docklands

The 58,000 lights on the outside of the new Docklands apartment building where Collins and Bourke streets now meet are hard to see during the day.

Visit the 15-storey tower at night from Wednesday, though, and it will be a different story.

At dusk, developer Lendlease will switch on a new light artwork by Bruce Ramus.

The lighting designer, who worked for years for musicians including U2, REM and David Bowie, moved here to live nine years ago. He was immediately taken by Melburnians' consuming interest in the weather.

So when Lendlease approached him two years ago about a possible artwork on the facade of their new apartments, he had a light bulb moment.

His new light work, he says,  "interprets how the weather feels".

The lights on the building's exterior are fed data from the Bureau of Meteorology and a weather station on the building's roof to reflect the weather, constantly but gently changing.

Every hour, on the hour a forecast of the next day's weather will play.

The lights, which power down from midnight until dawn depicting the moon and projecting no more than a standard street light, run on solar power with panels on the roof charging batteries. The solar panels are expected to provide double the power needed to run the lights, with the remaining power fed back into the apartment building.

Ramus is conscious of the impact the lights could have had on both residents who move in next week, and on their neighbours, and has been at pains to ensure they do not cause problems.

"In practical terms, the light output is diffused and far below the city's guidelines," he says, adding that the light show's content "is very gentle and not like a flashing light".

He says the piece is about reflection and, simultaneously, local connection. "I wanted to be able to reflect something that Melburnians can connect with and something hasn't been done anywhere else in the world. I've seen building facades lit up across Asia and the Middle East, but I imagine this is the only one that connects to a fluid, chaotic element like the weather."

Melbourne families retreat to their holiday home on water

It's “ridiculously expensive”, but life afloat makes it worthwhile.

Grant Storey, 62, and wife Sue, 61, live on their boat berthed at Marina Yarra’s Edge four days a week. They make the hour-long drive to Docklands every Wednesday night before returning to their home at the Heritage Golf and Country Club in Chirnside Park.

The semi-retired couple run their agricultural machinery business in Lilydale during their three-day work week, and spend the other days on their vessel Early Out, meaning early retirement. Like a city apartment,  the boat has two bedrooms with en suites, a lounge room, kitchen with a dishwasher, surround sound system and TV units. It is their home on the water, he says, which their children and grandchildren sometimes visit on weekends.

​”We’ve always had a love for the water and the beach, so we feel that living on the water is extremely relaxing,” Mr Storey says. “The boat is like a little sanctuary for us, where we can get away from everything, forget about all the worries of the working world and sit back, relax and enjoy ourselves.”

The boat offered all the conveniences of a low-maintenance home, he said, and needed only an occasional wash down and a polish once a year. Living on the edge of the CBD means the couple often walk to the South Melbourne market and the city. “You get other boat owners who you get acquainted with over the years, and it’s quite a social scene,” he adds.

Marina Yarra’s Edge manager Alan Cayzer​ says the marina draws local visitors from Geelong, Williamstown and Queenscliff and interstate boats from Tasmania and Queensland.

Last year, a boat cruising the world from Seattle stayed for more than a month. Mr Cayzer says no one is allowed to use their boat as a permanent residence, but some owners keep their vessel in the marina for the full length of the 25-year lease. “We have lots of people who consider their boat as their holiday house, and they’ll come down for a weekend or a week or Christmas and New Year and the school holidays,” Mr Cayzer said.

“It gives them the opportunity to take their boats out … [so they] aren’t just tied up here like a holiday house is on a concrete slab or the stumps.” It costs $50 for an overnight stay or $300 a week and the annual fee depends on the size of the berth. A mid-size berth could set an owner back $11,450 a year.

Boats sail to different marinas around Port Phillip Bay, Mr Cayzer says, but most never leave the bay.

Mornington resident Anthony Hansen, 44, and his brother, Marcus, have kept their boat “Coco” at the Melbourne City Marina berth since January. The brothers often use the boat as a way of catching up, to entertain and as a family holiday home. Mr Hansen said the boat was “ridiculously expensive” to keep, and likened it to a wedding. Costs include fuel, servicing motors, applying antifouling paint to the bottom, yacht management and berthing fees.

“It tends to get a lot more expensive the bigger the boat gets,” the diamond merchant says.

“So it’s a real luxury to have one, but we can justify the price because we get so much enjoyment out of it with family and friends on board.“It is awesome to wake up in Docklands, making a meal and having a shower on board a boat.”

Waterways manager at the City of Melbourne Doug Jarvis says more people are exploring and voyaging on their boats, and find it an attractive alternative to travelling on land.

At sea, he says, technology, advertisements, restrictions and rules don’t intrude as much. “All of us are more focused on the environment, we’re more in tune with nature and we want to have an experience that’s not a bitumen road,” he says.

Boutique Boats at Marina YE

The Boutique Boat Company hosted the Melbourne Boat Show at YE in October. It highlighted some of the finest luxury boats for sale Australia wide, with an exclusive range of super yachts, sports yachts, flybridge and high speed cruisers, from some of the worlds most prestigious and innovative luxury boat manufacturers.


On display, luxury boats from Princess Yachts and De Antonio, are crafted from the finest quality materials to the highest standards with sophisticated design and styling. The boats demonstrated precision engineering and powerful performance and reflected the quality of craft unique in their class and among the most desirable luxury boating brands.

Australia Day 2015 at Docklands

Tram link idea from Greens

Story from Docklands News: A new public transport policy proposed by the Greens would see a regular tram service link Docklands with Footscray.

According to Western Metropolitan Greens MP Colleen Hartland, the connection is a “fairly logical” one and would provide a much-needed link. The proposal, to extend the 82 tram 5km along Footscray Rd, would cost an estimated $80 - $100 million, according to Ms Hartland.

The Greens believe a tram running every 10 minutes along Footscray Rd would take 1800 cars off the road each hour.

She said there had been a good response to the policy and said it would allow opportunities for people living in Footscray and Docklands to visit their neighbouring suburbs for dining and entertainment.

“As long as I’ve lived in Footscray it’s something people have talked about,” Ms Hartland said.

“In my mind the best part of this is that it will provide an easier way for people to get to work.”

She said it would be a quick service, with only few stops along Footscray Rd and would probably be a 10-minute journey. The Docklands to Footscray tram is part of a wider public transport policy developed by the Greens, which targets “17 missing links” in the tram network, according to Ms Hartland.

Maribyrnong Council has also been pursuing the Footscray to Docklands tram idea and was responsible for costing the plan, according to Ms Hartland. At a council meeting on July 22 Maribyrnong’s councillors agreed to write letters to the State Government requesting a feasibility study and to the City of Melbourne seeking the council’s support.

A spokesperson from the City of Melbourne said council supported the creation of a tram connection with Footscray along Dynon Rd.

“Council’s Transport Strategy 2012 and Access Docklands Strategy both propose a tram connection along Dynon Road to directly connect Footscray into Melbourne’s north to south tram network.”

Minister for Transport Terry Mulder did not respond to a request for comment.






Swanning around at Docklands

Australia’s Black Swans are among our most graceful birds. With a wingspan around two metres and standing around a metre tall, they’re also one of our largest. But even casual observers of the swans around Melbourne couldn’t help but notice something different about them - many of the local Black Swans sport plastic collars.

It’s all part of a research project by zoologist Raoul Mulder, of the University of Melbourne. In order to study the movements and breeding of Melbourne’s Black Swans, he began fitting collars to Albert Park swans in 2006 and continues to this day, with around 300 wearing collars so far.

Females are fitted with white collars and a black number-and-letter combination while males wear the reverse - black collars with white codes.

But if you want to follow where these birds fly - and who they mate with - why not track them or microchip them? The problem with these methods is you have to re-catch the birds in order to examine the data.

That’s where YOU come in. A recent trend in nature studies is to enlist the help of ‘citizen scientists’ - people who are interested in the research project and voluntarily contribute data to the experts.

Thus the Melbourne swan research. It’s one of the longest-running bird studies in the world, and it’s absolutely dependent on input from the public.

For instance, if you’re at a beach or lake and you see a collared swan, read the number/letter combination and write it down. Then go to the website and you’ll be able to see where your swan was last time it was recorded.

It may have been at a park right next door, but it might have flown clear across Port Phillip Bay. Recording a swan at is a fascinating insight into the lives of these birds - almost as interesting as watching them fly, feed, mate and raise their young.

Since commencing, Mulder and his team have already uncovered new insights. For example, perhaps you believed the folk wisdom of swans ‘mating for life’? It turns out they mate for life, but they also have affairs with other swans. By testing the DNA of cygnets and their parents, it was revealed some young were not the offspring of both their parents at all.

But is the collar cruel? Does it pinch or hurt the swan? Many people see swans when their neck feathers are puffed up, the collar appearing to pinch.

Not so. Swans’ necks are slender and only a couple of centimetres thick, with the ‘bulk’ consisting of feathers. If you watch a swan upend to feed, often its collar will slide towards its head then slip back down the neck when it rights itself.

Like all animal research, use of the collars follows strict welfare guidelines. Long-term monitoring is demonstrably important for the swans’ continued management in such matters as how they’re affected at Albert Park Lake by the Formula One Grand Prix.

Plenty of information awaits the website reader, with academic papers, popular media links and beautiful photos. But you might just want to get outside right away and start monitoring swans, especially the ones with the collars!





Copyright 2014 MARINA YE  84A River Esplanade Docklands 3008  T: 03 9658 8738