Williamstown’s Maralyn Bezzant finds volunteering at the Williamstown Hospital Opportunity Shop rewarding. She speaks with Goya Dmytryshchak.


What’s your connection to Hobsons Bay?


I am a resident. I was born at Altona Hospital in 1950. I lived in Williamstown until 1969 and then I came back to live in Williamstown in 1987. Had my children in Altona. Worked in Williamstown for years in Coles and Bourkes. Bourkes was a drapery store; it’s been an icon. It was there – I think, just off the bat I’d say – 90 years or so. Nearly everyone in Willy knows Bourkes.


What do you like about Williamstown?


Everything. The people are friendly. The country feel of it. Because I live here, I’m always wandering around. I love the [Williamstown Botanic] Gardens, I love the beach. When I had my dogs, I used to walk on the trail. I just love it. I love it all really.


What would you change?


The new dwellings. Too high and too many. In our little street, there’s about four old houses left there and the rest are great big huge houses or townhouses on every block – two townhouses. But it’s everywhere now, they’re putting up apartments everywhere. It’s not that I’m against it, it’s the parking that’s a problem because most places are allotted one car park. I just think they should have more parking.


What’s your favourite local cafe or eatery and why?


Lion Dance Chinese restaurant on Ferguson Street in Williamstown. I like Chinese food.


Can you tell me about your volunteering at Williamstown Hospital Opportunity Shop?


I was in here shopping and one of my neighbours was working and she said, ‘Oh, what are you doing now’, and I said, ‘Nothing at the moment’.” She said, ‘Why don’t you come and volunteer here?’ The guy that was running [the shop] said, ‘You can start on Thursday if you like’ and that was it. I think it’s either eight years now, or nine.

Some of the characters you meet in here, it’s incredible. And the people on the whole are really, really friendly. I’ve always been in retail and I just find this has got a different approach. It’s more relaxed. I enjoy it.


What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?


Never had a car licence and I like a beer or two with friends at The Rose of Australia.


Anyone interested in volunteering at the Williamstown Hospital Opportunity Shop can contact Fiona Halse via 0401 684 977 or fionahalse@wh.org.au