Gratitude competition winners revealed!
In our October edition, the Southbank Residents’ Association (SRA) in partnership with Southbank News, asked locals what they were grateful for about living in Southbank during the pandemic. This month, we reveal the five lucky winners of the Gratitude Competition, who each receive a a $50 Visa cash card for sharing their experiences and joys of being a Southbanker …
A caterpillar became a beautiful butterfly
When I purchased my Southbank apartment in 2006 my friends questioned why I wanted to live in a “glass box” in a “concrete jungle”.
At the time, they were correct. That was what Southbank was like 15 years ago. There was no greenery, not many public spaces or recreation facilities and nonexistent community activity.
This was the time the Southbank Residents’ Association (SRA) was fighting to convert the old Boyd school site into a Community Hub. It won the battle, and I cannot describe the difference it made in my life and the lives of hundreds of others, not only in Southbank but also in the neighbouring suburbs.
With the Community Hub, came a branch of Melbourne’s world-class library, art spaces, a coffee shop, meeting rooms, a children’s playground, a community garden, recreational spaces and many opportunities to meet fellow residents. Thanks to the clever landscape designers, Southbank residents now have flowers in every season, butterflies hovering over lavender, bees bustling on the kangaroo paws, orange jasmines filling the air with the perfume and the maple leaves changing colour with the seasons. What else could anyone ask for?
While every open space inside our residential building has now been obstructed in the name of improvement, my “glass box” is more confined than ever. Yet, as I step outside to the Community Hub, I have another world to enjoy, breathing fresh air, smelling the flowers, and absorbing the beauty of my surroundings. I am eternally grateful to the Melbourne City Council, the SRA and all those involved in this metamorphosis.
As a proud Southbank resident, I frequently promote my beautiful suburb on Facebook sharing photos with friends in nine countries. This is how I repay the change makers for their hard work.
Gratitude for the other “Click and Collect”
Thanks to supermarkets and other stores for providing Click and Collect, but this service innovation made necessary by COVID also supplied me with a steady flow of reading from City of Melbourne’s Southbank Library.
I bought my apartment on City Rd because it was only a short walk to get to Boyd Community Hub. In the eight years since then, I’ve frequently popped in to browse and borrow. Working as a freelance writer, editor and reviewer of children’s books, the collection of the city’s libraries has been invaluable for research and wider reading. I also plugged into BorrowBox, the library’s free talking and e-book collection, for non-screen time.
Since the pandemic began, the wider book world, at home and overseas, has rolled on – new books kept coming. I was finding about them online through magazines like Australian Book Review (which also has an office at Boyd) and needed to see and read them.
The wonderful staff at Southbank Library implemented Click and Collect so, with the aid of the City of Melbourne Libraries app, I could ask for what I wanted.
It was a bonus to have a quick chat with the team when I picked up the books. My permitted two hours of exercise each day were also enlivened by listening to talking books.
At the beginning of 2020, the extensions to the children’s library had begun. When I picked up my latest reserves this week, a stack of plastic tubs full of new books were being moved into the building in preparation for reopening, with this additional space. What a treasure for the families of Southbank – and for me. I’m grateful and very happy to swap click and collect for in-person browsing and borrowing.
Margaret Robson Kett
Endorphins from animals
Something I have been very grateful for about living in Southbank during lockdown has been the steep increase in animals, particularly puppies, joining our community.
Our close proximity of living spaces has meant getting to see these tiny exuberant balls of fluff on a regular basis and they have never failed to put a smile on my face on days when lockdown has felt its most difficult.
Honourable mentions also must also go the more grown up four-legged Southbank residents such as Simba the gentle giant, those cats who get around in the pram (you must have seen them!) or the that overly-excited bulldog with “Moira” on its pinafore.
Getting a regular dose of endorphin-lifting cuteness has definitely made being a Southbanker an easier task over lockdown.
Highlights of Southbank
There were many things I was personally grateful for, but here are my highlights in relation to Southbank living …
Quality food: The variety of cuisine and quality of food we have at our disposal is simply enviable, in fact, we’re still playing the “what can we try next?” game. Easy food delivery was also a blessing when I was physically weak for weeks after major surgery.
Luxe views: Southbank allowed for access to a variety of beautiful views when exercising. You could easily swap between the many water views to the many gardens, or park views.
Cleanliness: I think the average Southbanker cares about having a clean community space, which makes living here that much more pleasurable. Councils can only do so much.
Liveliness: While I was able to appreciate the opportunity to experience this place as a hauntingly beautiful ghost town on some days, I really appreciated having people around me on most days, with proper social distancing attainable by simply choosing the right exercise times.
Balcony access: It’s amazing how much the fresh air and views of people movement below helped me refresh mentally, even if I had to have four jumpers on for some days!
Access to essentials: Having important services all within walking distance is extremely convenient especially in the weeks that I couldn’t drive.
South Melbourne Market : They have just about anything I needed, from acquiring specialty produce for my short-lived let’s-cook-everything-from-scratch phase, to quality take-away, to dessert cravings, you name it!
New Year’s informal party: Being locked in with no fireworks didn’t stop us from having a collective countdown, pot banging and concert like phone torches out to celebrate and welcome the new year in from our balconies. May we celebrate the coming new year with continued hope!
Creative awakening in Southbank
Lockdown in Southbank has given me many rare gifts but first, the back-story.
I have lived in Sunraysia in rural Victoria for 35 years and only returned to Melbourne this year. The keys to my apartment were available in June of 2020 but for many reasons I was unable to occupy the apartment until July 2021.
In the 12 weeks I have resided in Southbank I have delighted in walking in every direction, taking photographs and turning them into digital art, photobooks, and postcards. I have created one photobook for every week I’ve been here – a woman obsessed and obsessive!
Before leaving Melbourne in 1987 I was working in the photographic industry and continued my passion for photography and visual art in Sunraysia. These passions were somewhat sidelined while I finished building a house and worked as a full-time secondary teacher of Italian.
This current burst of creativity I am enjoying has been enabled by belonging to, and being part of, a vibrant community; there is also, for me at least, a sense of safety and care.
I meet beautiful people on my walks and in the shops. I have freedom to explore and re-discover the haunts of my childhood growing up in Melbourne.
How incredible it was for me to be the only person in the Royal Arcade for an hour one Sunday. The afternoon light was mellow, and the shop displays were rich and colourful.
Lockdown has given us quieter streets and sometimes eerie vacant spaces. There is a tranquillity not normally associated with city living. The Boyd Hub and Park are the jewels in the crown. This is a happy place.
I feel part of a family here in Southbank and my gratitude is boundless.
Jocelyn Rawlins •