My Wyndham: Peter and Sue Jones are extensively involved with the Little River community. They chat with Alesha Capone.
How long have you lived in Little River?
Peter: Twelve years this September.
Sue: We moved here from Williamstown. Our two daughters are settled with their own families and we needed a smaller house and bigger garden. We ended up being half-way between them, with one in Yarraville and the other in Ocean Grove.
Has the area changed much?
Peter: Well it’s still the same welcoming small community. The biggest change has been new buildings around the town and out in the farmlands. I’m a painter, photographer and historian, and the contrast between some of the landscape views I photographed in 2007, and the disappearance of old-timers with their stories today, is significant.
The sweeping views of the grasslands and the You Yangs and Anakies, whatever way you come into Little River, is one of our strongest reasons for moving here.
Sue: The amount of building has been a big change and we’re also thinking about the changes ahead. Avalon Airport is one of the best things happening … it is going to make it really important that we plan ahead for this whole district, for things like low housing density and keeping open spaces for farming and natural countryside between Geelong and Melbourne.
What do you like most about the area?
Sue: We love this grassy, dry country, we spend as much time as we can walking with our dog and friends.
Peter: Little River’s history is close to the surface, this goes for the ancient Aboriginal history and important Wadawurrung sites in the You Yangs and along the river, and for all the layers of settlement since then. There are still families in the district who are descended from the earliest settlers and our History Society keeps learning more about those days.
Sue: We’re fascinated with the Travellers Rest chimneys and ovens overlooking the Little River, Old Melbourne Road crossing. It was up and running before Superintendent La Trobe and his family sailed into Port Phillip in October 1839.
Peter: Little River’s railway history is another reason we moved here. It’s great to be six minutes’ walk from the train and we hope to see our heritage bluestone railway station come back to life … before too long.
Tell me about your involvement in community organisations.
Peter: I’m a member of the congregation of one of our two active churches and, through this, I also heard about our Historical Society. We are also members of our You Yangs Walking Group Landcare, Railway Station Revival and are proud to go to a seniors lunch at our wonderful country pub each month.
I designed and painted the History float for the ‘150 years – a township celebrations’ parade and painted the centenary backdrop in the Mechanics Institute Library Hall. I write a regular monthly piece on heritage for the Little River News Review.
Sue: I go along to Little River Share one Sunday a month, a sort of money-free community sustainability event where we exchange surplus fruit, vegetables and seedlings. We also share all sorts of community information and gardening ideas.
Peter: Our major commitment is to the Mechanics Institute Library. We run this with Lynne Morse and with the help of Tallis, a young volunteer from Tarneit.
About a year after we arrived we heard that the LRMI (Little River Mechanics Institute) was looking for a new librarian and offered ourselves. With Sue’s background in community services and mine in architectural history and landscape, we were certainly not librarians but that doesn’t seem to be a problem.
Both the hall and library are wonderful heritage for Little River. The library collection includes a wide range of old and twentieth century books and a complete collection of the Little River News Review from 1959.