Thomastown Neighbourhood House project officer Dean Marando is proud of Thomastown and its history.


What is your connection to Thomastown?

My connection goes way back. I lived in Thomastown for 30 years and attended primary school in the 1980s at St Clares. I have worked here for a few years now.


What do you like about Thomastown?

Thomastown has a lot to offer. Someone recently said to me you can find just about anything here. It’s true. It is a town rich in culture and history. Everyone is friendly, people want to say hello and have a chat. Now there is a great mix of young families, along with older residents.


What, if anything, would you change?

I would try to expose it more. I want people to have more of a sense of pride. Thomastown is ever changing and it seems it has been that way since middle of the 19th century. I think with any community that continually changes, it is sometimes hard to pinpoint, that history … but if you ask around and research, like my job allows me to do, you’ll find a town full of a rich history, but one that needs a voice and from that, pride in where you come from resonates.


What is something that people might not know about the area?

Westgarthtown … without the first German settlers, Thomastown wouldn’t be what it is now. You should really get down there and soak it all in – migrants making their homes in Thomastown – the cycle continues today. Personally, I’ve photographed and made a short film that has a scene set there. I love it, and it is right here. As a proud supporter of the Roos, I was happy to find out that Jack Ziebell, captain of North Melbourne, has family from Westgarthtown.


How long have you worked at Thomastown Neighbourhood House? What does your job involve?

I started out on the committee of management helping to oversee a new coffee cart venture and fell into working as a barista, subsequently landing the gig of producing a podcast entitled:

This Thomo Life in the role of project officer. The role is multifaceted – planning, editing, interviewing, researching – and I still make coffee. Above all, it is the community engagement that I really enjoy.


What programs and services does TNH provide?

TNH does a monthly market at the Thomastown library, the aforementioned podcast

This Thomo Life … the mobile coffee cart from Monday to Thursday, classes in English as an additional language, introduction to social media and meditation, as well as barista training, sewing skills, volunteer training and community events planning.


How do you like to spend your spare time?

I am a huge film buff, so I like to watch anything when I get the chance.

Writing screenplays and short stories is always something I do whilst listening to music.

Learning, I love learning, this is done best whilst reading. Sport, I’m a football nerd.