Creative peopleInventorsMusic

Local writers and other creative people

By 15 August 2023March 11th, 2024No Comments

Eastsider News is fortunate to have amongst its readers and supporters many creative people in a variety of fields.  Some of this material has been published and is available for purchase.  Some have been published for the first time in an edition of Eastsider News.

The featured image is of Surrey Dive at sunset by Jane Gray.

Hector’s first day at work

Gillian Bell

It is a bright Monday morning on 3rd January 1938, and sixteen-year-old Hector Craig is preparing for his first day at work at Challingsworth steelworks in Richmond. He is a slender but muscular lad, good at sports, winning a silver cup for running at the school sports the previous year. He has wavy brown hair and a shy smile. Hec is nervous, but his father Walter who will accompany him this morning is calm. He is already a veteran of almost twenty-seven years at Challingsworth as boilermaker and foreman.

To read all of Gillian’s piece on Hector’s first day, please click here.

The Craig family outside their Surrey hills home, 1930s. Mary and Walter centre; Hector on right.

Let’s get musical with the recorder and the mandolin. The Don Cowell Memorial Trust

Kon Wong

Don Cowell was a member of the Victorian Recorder Guild, a talented recorder player, a teacher and a recorder soloist for the Melbourne Mandolin Orchestra. Don was tragically killed by a vehicle while crossing a road in Belgrave in 1979.

A trust was established in 1980 with funds donated in memory of Don. The aim of the trust was to support young recorder and mandolin playing and musicianship.

Over the years, the trust has conducted three Australian and Australasian Solo Recorder Competitions and provided financial support to recorder playing students. A number of these students have gone on to become successful professional musicians.

The trust was a sponsor of the Australasian Recorder Competition as part of the Recorder Festival held in Armidale, NSW in 2023 and will be a sponsor again in 2025. It is also a regular sponsor of the Boroondara Eisteddfod and the Waverley Eisteddfod, now known as the Monash Youth Music Festival.

To learn more about the work of the Don Cowell Memorial trust, go to their website at The trust’s work is funded is from bequest but there is always more that we would like to do to ensure we can continue into the future.

We would welcome donations to help us with the trust’s work. Please consider donating by making a deposit to our account at BSB 063000 Account 11226421.

Don Cowell on the right performing a duet with Dr Euan MacLean, Vice President of the Victorian Recorder Guild in the 1970s

Elegy for an era

Gillian Bell

The magpies are warbling their delicious song as I step out of the shade of the trees lining Windsor Crescent into the joyful brightness of a summer morning. It is my last year at school, and this place and I are on the cusp of change.

In the small park the oak leaves are still a soft green, and the tender grass has not yet been dried by summer heat. The air is fresh, but there is the heady hint of warmth to come.

I settle on to a seat and the morning wraps me round. I hear the distant breath of the city, which sounds like a giant mother hushing her baby to sleep.

‘Husssh,’ she says.

This park by the station is a magic place. This is the beating heart of Surrey Hills……

This is an extract of an evocative mediation by Gillian Bell about the changes to her neighbourhood caused by the Surrey Hills Level Crossing Removal Project.  Gillian has lived all her life in Surrey Hills, and like most Surrey Hills residents, has been affected by recent changes to the railway line. She said ‘On my travels along the new section of the line I felt a real sense of sadness at the changing of an era, and began to write some of my recollections of the station in the past.’

Please click here to read the complete essay.

Gill and the old Surrey Hills station ca 1971

Poems for a Pandemic by Barry Horn and illustrated by Ian Horn

This anthology of nonsensical poems was written by Barry Horn and illustrated by Ian Horn to lighten the mood a little during Melbourne’s periods of lockdowns and restrictions in response to the COVID 19 panademic.

If you would like a copy or several, contact Barry at  Cost is $5.00 plus postage.  Proceeds support a village in Tonga that is trying to recover from the devastating January 2022 undersea volcano and consequent flooding.

What Came Out of the Box. A biography of AGM Michell by Stephen Phillip

What Came Out of the Box. A biography of AGM Michell tells the story of Anthony George Maldon Michell, a Camberwell based engineer and one of Australia’s most prolific inventors.

His impact on modern world ship design remains immeasurable. His most significant other invention (of which there were many) was the crankless engine, which came close to becoming the standard form of automotive engine through the twentieth century.

George’s story is told in the book, by Stephen Phillip, and in the video, “The Humble Inventor” by local filmmaker, Richard Balsillie.  The book was published in October 2020 by Tellwell Talent and is available from on-line bookshops.

Stephen has also written a longer article about this remarkable man that is available on our Eastsider Extra blog here.

Is This Forever   A film by Charlie Di Stefano

Charlie Di Stefano, a young filmmaker who lives locally has sought our help to raise awareness of his short film Is This Forever and to encourage you to donate to his fundraising campaign.

Is This Forever tells the story of Charlie’s brother Lucca, the pain of mental illness and grief. Charlie hopes the film will allow young men struggling with mental health issues to realise that they can be vulnerable, there being no point in suffering in silence.

Charlie has set up a fundraising campaign to finance his film. We encourage you to follow the links below to find out more about Charlie’s project and to donate.

Go fund Me Link           Instagram Page         YouTube

Charlie Di Stefano lives in Hawthorn and graduated from Trinity Grammar School in 2021. He is currently in Los Angeles making use of his film making and acting skills. To read more, go here.