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Docklander - May 2018

03 May 2018

Docklander - May 2018 Image

Vertical living imitates life

By Meg Hill

Linda Dugan has lived in Docklands for four years. She says the community here trumps her old suburb by far.

“I came from South Yarra and it was so different here. There’s an incredible sense of community here, people who really care,” Linda said.

Docklands News isn’t out to defame South Yarra – where residents might be regular readers of our sister publication Southbank Local News – but the general consensus among Linda’s friends at the time makes it worth mentioning.

“I was telling all my friends I want to move to Docklands and all my friends said ‘that’s the most stupid decision you’ve ever made’. They all thought I’d regret it.”

Not one to give in to peer pressure, Linda made a common sense decision. She decided she’d move to Docklands by renting an apartment first and seeing if she wanted to stay.

“Within six months I knew it was perfect for me,” she said.

Linda thinks that most assumptions about vertical living are wrong: in her view, the system facilitates community.

“In the suburbs, people drive into their garage, close the door, go into their houses and don’t come back out until they go back through the garage and into their car again.”

“When you live in an apartment building, you have to see your neighbours. In the lift or the corridors or whatever, it happens every day.”

One of her favourite stories of community is how she got involved with Victoria Point’s walking group.

“I saw a notice in the mailroom for walking group and I thought ‘I can do that’.”

“I went down and waited in the lobby and saw all these young lycra-clad bodies and thought ‘I can’t do this’ and left.”

“Got to the lift and thought Linda, it’s just a walking group – you can do it. So I went back and the lyrca-clad people weren’t the walking group. The real walking group came down later and since then I feel like I’ve been in one of the best communities I’ve ever been in.”

Linda has her own business, Petal Back Clothing, with an emotional origin.

“Approximately 20 years ago my grandmother went from being very active to totally inactive. She was very independent, and then she was put into a high care facility, with all functions done for her,” Linda said.

Linda’s experience as a designer meant that her family turned to her to figure out what her grandmother could wear. Not only was it hard getting her into clothing, it was also extremely painful for her.

“I designed what’s now known as a petal back nightie, and the nurses said ‘Linda that’s the easiest nightie I’ve dressed someone in, can you make one for the woman opposite your grandmother’.”

Linda did some research and found that there was nothing like what she’d designed available. She started carrying the nightie around to nursing homes and collecting orders.

“And then nurses were saying ‘but what are we going to put on these ladies in the day time?’ Now we’ve got a dress, and blouses, and polos, and special assistive trousers.”

Twenty years later and Linda is still providing specially-made clothing.

Bringing the story full circle is the fact that, although Linda’s orders are usually for anonymous customers, she knows through the regular contact she has with her neighbours in Victoria Point that her clothing has been ordered by residents in the building.

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