Genevieve Mercieca has spent her life opening up her heart and her home to foster children. The Little River resident and her partner John have six kids in their care. She tells the full story to Charlene Macaulay.
What’s your connection to Wyndham?
About seven years ago we moved from Williamstown to Little River, because of space. We had a tiny little cottage in Williamstown … and too many kids, because we foster.
We just love it, the community out here is beautiful, they’re so inclusive and wonderful. The four youngest of the six kids are Indigenous, and the community has really embraced them. We haven’t looked back.
How did you get into foster caring?
I’ve got three biological kids who are independent, and when they were babies a friend of mine fostered a little baby. I don’t even think I knew of fostering before then, and I thought it was a great thing. That’s what got me started.
As John said, he would’ve run a mile if he knew he was going to be the father of six when we first met! But they’re amazing children. I’d like to encourage other people to think about fostering.
Do you have a favourite local haunt?
There’s not much around here! We don’t go out that often, but if we do, it would be dinner at the Little River Hotel, which is always good fun.
What are some of your hobbies?
I’m on the committee to revive the Little River railway station, which is a beautiful bluestone building. A group of us have got together and are hoping to get VicTrack funding. The train still stops at Little River, but the buildings are never open – it’s just the platforms. We’re hoping to revive that into a bit of a community hub and hopefully incorporate a little coffee shop there.
I’m also president of the primary school parents and friends group.
What was it like being a baton bearer in the Queen’s Baton Relay?
I had mixed feelings to begin with, because I’m a republican, but I loved it.
I felt really honoured, I thought it was a great thing and it was a great way of promoting the games.
If there was something you could change about the area, what would it be?
There’s a stretch of road, Rothwell Road, it’s not even a kilometre but it takes a lot of traffic these days. There’s a little bit of bitumen in the middle and all this dirt on the side, and every time you meet [another car], you have to go off the road. Widening the sealed part of the road would be top of my hit list.