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Docklander - October 2014

02 Oct 2014

Docklander - October 2014 Image

Kirsten keeps contributing

Kirsten Howe is in the unique position of having watched Docklands develop from both a personal and professional perspective.

She and her husband Peter were some of the first residents of Yarra’s Edge, moving into Tower 1 in 2002.

Kirsten was the first vice-president of the Docklands Community Association and was part of the original volunteer committee that helped to produce Docklands News.

She has fond recollections of those early days and said the people who got involved were like her, in that they saw the great vision there was for the area.

“Particularly those people who were heavily involved came in with a real passion for the area and a real view that we wanted to do what we could to ensure the community got what it needed as soon as possible in the planning process,” she said.

After living in the area for a few years Kirsten went on to work with VicUrban (now Places Victoria) as the Docklands events manager, overseeing some of the first major events hosted in Docklands.

She oversaw the International Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006, the commissioning of the HMAS Ballarat in 2004 and the Commonwealth Games in 2006.

“I feel like I know every nail on the boardwalk,” Kirsten said of the preparations for the games. “We had to look at the way everything was laid out to prepare for a walking event.”

She also organised the first fly-over of the RAAF Roulettes and brought the first dragon boat championships and wakeboarding championships to Victoria Harbour.

Kirsten also had a hand in the first major community events in Docklands including Winter Wonderland, which saw an ice-skating rink set up in one of the sheds and Santa by the Sea, a Christmas event which saw Santa arrive by boat.

“Those were some real highlights for me from a work perspective, being apart of some of those firsts,” Kirsten said.

“I guess I’ve lived and breathed Docklands in being a resident as well as having a say and a stake in how the area grows,” she said. “I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to do that.”

Having lived in the area since the early days of development, Kirsten remembers a time when Tower 1 was the only building around and curtains didn’t even seem necessary.

At least until a certain incident occurred that reminded her she wasn’t quite as alone as she thought.

“We’d just moved in and we didn’t have blinds but we didn’t really need them,” Kirsten recalled.

“It was a Saturday and I went to have a shower, I had stripped off and was about to get into the shower when the phone rang in the kitchen.”

Kirsten said she ran to the kitchen to answer the phone call, which was from her mother, and as they were talking away began to hear a “ch ch ch” sound in the background.

“I slowly realised that the sound was of a helicopter and as I turned around there was the Channel 9 helicopter,” she laughed. “It was so close that I could see the guy salute me.”

“Suffice to say we got blinds after that and I was careful about what I wore around the apartment.”

“And I didn’t watch Channel 9 news that night, just in case.”

Nowadays, Yarra’s Edge is much more heavily populated and Kirsten says it has developed a “village” atmosphere.

“It has got to that stage now where it’s a real neighbourhood and there’s a real sense of connectedness.”

She says here favourite part of the day is walking her two dogs along the promenade at Yarra’s Edge each evening.

“It’s peaceful, it’s calm and you’re right on the doorstep of the city and you see these magnificent lights and calm water. That’s my favourite time of day. It’s pristine.”

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