DoncasterLocal heroes

Local Heroes

By August 6, 2022August 9th, 2022No Comments

Local Heroes

We all know people who make valuable and substantial contributions to our community.  If you have a story you want to tell about somebody who you think should be recognised, please email us at But, don’t forget to ask them first – it is important that we respect the person’s desire for privacy.

Westfield Doncaster Local Heroes 2022

Each year, Westfield conducts an Australia wide Local Heroes community recognition and grants program. The three local finalists chosen to represent Westfield Doncaster are people whose work makes a positive impact to their local community or environment.

If successful, the hero for each centre will be awarded a $20,000 grant for the group or organisation they represent, and each finalist will receive a $5,000 grant for their group or organisation.

This year’s Westfield Local Heroes finalists for Westfield Doncaster are:

  • Caroline Eshak-Liuzzi, the founder of Creative Art Therapy Australia.

For 13 years, Caroline has been advocating and supporting marginalised, disadvantaged, and vulnerable people through creative arts therapies. CATA supports at-risk youth, migrants, refugees, domestic violence survivors, terminally ill children, the elderly, disability groups and neuro and gender-diverse people.

  • Daphne Proietto, Keys of Life

Daphne Proietto is helping children with physical or learning disabilities defy expectations by teaching them to play the piano. She is an ambassador for Keys of Life, a charity that trains other music teachers in her method, which she uses to teach children of all abilities the joy of playing music.

  • Nat Alessio, Hohnes Road Playhouse

Tireless Nat Alessio has spent hundreds of volunteer hours rejuvenating the cherished Hohnes Road Playhouse and keeping it operating amid COVID and funding challenges. As President of the 52-year-old volunteer-run facility, Nat is doing everything she can to ensure its survival for the children of today and future generations.

Westfield Doncaster Centre Manager, Karla Quinn said: “Through the Westfield Local Heroes program, we continue to recognise and acknowledge people who have made a lasting impact on the future of our local community”.

The voting period for Westfield Local Heroes opens on Tuesday 2 August and closes on Monday 22 August. Each Westfield centre’s successful hero will be announced on Tuesday 13 September 2022.

To view your Westfield Local Heroes finalists, visit or your local Westfield centre’s website to read about the finalists and cast your vote.

William (Bill) Chandler, OAM

The Eastsider News team is deeply saddened by the death of our founder, Bill Chandler on the morning of Sunday 24 July 2022.

Without Bill, there would not have been an Eastsider News. Being the gregarious and approachable person that he was, Bill spoke with people who told him of the loss they felt with the closure of the local newspaper. Never one to be daunted by a challenge, Bill set out to establish an alternative. His clear vision of the role a community newspaper can play in bringing people together was matched by his faith in the capacities of local people to make this happen.

In mid 2020, Bill used his charm and persuasive powers to convince a small group of local people that they could and should develop an online community newspaper. He brought extensive experience in many fields, including as editor of an industry journal and a neighbourhood newsletter to the venture. His leadership, intellect, humour and enormous energy guided us through our early tentative steps. It was his belief that we could do it which helped us navigate the inevitable hurdles and enabled us to grow. The principles on which Eastsider News is based were articulated by him. We continue to channel Bill’s insights and advice, especially in challenging situations where we ask ourselves ‘What would Bill say or do here?’

We will miss him immensely in many ways, especially his wonderful story telling, his keen but gentle sense of humour and his ability to bring people together to achieve more than they ever expected to. Thank you, Bill your presence will remain strong within Eastsider News and many other areas.

There is much more that we want to say about Bill. But most of all, we want to thank Bill’s family especially his wife Ros for the love and support they gave him as the base from which he was able to do so much.

Tributes and condolences are continuing to flow from individuals and community groups, highlighting how broad was Bill’s reach. The ‘Event’ as Bill nicknamed the Celebration of his life was held at the Habitat Uniting Church in Canterbury. The building was full with people from all parts of his life. His family and close friends gave moving tributes sprinkled with the humour and warmth that typified his approach to life. And we got to sing one of his many songs, Travelling well.

Tributes have also come from those who did not know him personally but had heard of him through his advocacy, his writing and his community and climate activism.

Bill lived in Surrey Hills with his wife Ros for 50 years, a proud father of four children and six grandchildren. He valued the 20-minute neighbourhood around him (local shops and services, a train station, bus routes and tram options). When the local shopping strip was under threat in the 1970’s from a proposed overpass over the train line he was part of the community action that stopped that happening.

One outcome of this community galvanising was the establishment of the Surrey Hills Neighbourhood Centre where this community could continue to meet. The main gathering space at the centre was designed by Bill and named the Chandler Room in recognition of his initiative in bringing it to being. The Surrey Hills Neighbourhood News was also born around this time and Bill continued as editor for 40 years, handing over the reins just this year.

With other local citizens concerned about climate change, Bill helped set up Lighter Footprints, in 2006. Within this local climate action group, Bill was well known for his readiness to stand strong for what he believed was right, as well as his wit and stand-up comedy routines and his prodigious letter writing to the mainstream press. Bill cared passionately about the earth and leaving a safe, healthy environment for following generations. Spurred on by accountability to his grandchildren for the lack of action to address the climate crisis, Bill stood as an Independent for Kooyong in 2019.

This was all in addition to the work he did as an architect and town planner including as editor of the Planning Institute of Australia journal. Bill was awarded the OAM (Medal of the Order of Australia) in 2014 for ‘service to urban design and planning’. He advocated tirelessly to improve the design of our cities for liveability.

Bill died peacefully at home, surrounded by his family on Sunday 24th July. He had been ill for some time but his spirit was so strong that we kept expecting him to turn up and brighten our world with his gentle humour and story-telling This quote from an interview with Bill in the Lighter Footprints Community pages captures Bill’s approach to acting on what you believe in.

“Change can happen but you have got to keep persistently and sometimes noisily working at it. We need to be looking forwards not backwards. So just turn up, get involved and be front foot positive to progress the actions needed to provide a better future for our children and grandchildren.”

Glen Waverley nurse, Alecx Quillope, named among top in Australia 

Glen Waverley’s own Alecx Quillope was recently recognised in Australia’s leading nursing agency’s Inaugural Caring for You Core Values Awards.  The virtual event was attended by the Caring for You Board and staff members, carers and the family and friends of the 2021 finalists who gathered online to celebrate the people who lead Australia’s healthcare industry.

An award was dedicated to each core value to celebrate six nurses and carers from across Australia who have demonstrated exceptional care, warmth and compassion over the past 12 months.  Given the incredible sacrifices made by the Australian nursing community during the past 18 months, it was an honour for the Caring for You Co-CEOs to give back to those who go above and beyond for others.

Alecx was honoured as the recipient of the ‘Supportive’ award which recognised her inclusive nature and team player attitude.  “I feel incredibly appreciated, valued and honoured to have won the Supportive Award,” Quillope said.  “Being granted with this prestigious award is a special acknowledgment of my hard work, not only in caring for the community but for my fellow colleagues.”

Alecx initially began working for Caring for You in Aged Care facilities during the pandemic around August 2020, working 12-hour shifts in full PPE up to five days a week.  Playing a vital role on the frontline for the fight against COVID-19, Alecx knew the risks involved but that did not hinder her from offering her service so valiantly.  “The demand on nurses these past 18 months has been exhausting to say the least, but for me it was critical I continued to use my skills as a frontline worker to save lives and prevent the spread of the virus,” she said.

In recent months, Alecx has extended her service and care to the Victorian community administering COVID-19 vaccinations initially to high-risk individuals at Frankston Hospital and now at Monash Health’s Sandown Racecourse vaccination centre where approximately 5,000 people pass through daily.

Nominated by her supervising manager at Caring for You, Alecx was commended for her continuous efforts to offer help when other nurses struggled to navigate the newly introduced COVID-19 Vaccine Management System (CVMS) or were simply having a hard time.

Alecx embodies the dedication to care displayed by all healthcare workers during this pandemic and has pledged to continue safeguarding the safety of the Glen Waverley community.  “I feel so lucky to be working in a community that has made me feel so safe and welcome,” Quillope said. “It makes these tiring shifts so worthwhile when I can give back to the people of Glen Waverley and beyond.”

Alecx was recognised for her selfless support with a beautiful glass trophy and a $500 cash prize.  Congratulations and thanks Alecx.