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Docklander - October 2017

03 Oct 2017

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Life among the runaways

By Kate Mani

Moving to Docklands blended social, community, yachting and artistic life for one of Melbourne’s most creative figures.

Marc Newman calls his neighbours the runaways.

“I get the impression a lot of people have almost run away from where they’ve been rooted, or brought their kids up, or lived with parents and have come to Docklands because it’s vibrant, it’s on the edge of the city,” he said.

“You get that sort of energy that permeates from a metropolis.”

It’s seven years since Mr Newman, creative director of cabaret theatre restaurant Draculas, moved to Docklands with his wife, Jayne, and two sons.

The family-run Newman entertainment business has been a Melbourne institution since 1964 and also runs venues on the Gold Coast and in Singapore.

The walls of his Yarra’s Edge townhouse showcase his own paintings, an interest he feels inspired to pursue as he looks out to the marina.

Mr Newman relishes the sense of community and social interaction along Docklands’ waterfront landscape.

He describes it as a family-friendly environment that has also allowed his children to become more urbanised and independent.

“We lived in North Carlton for 20 years and could count on one hand the amount of people we knew,” he said.

“Here, there are social events and parties and we’re invited to dinner all the time with people who live along the waterfront, so it’s far more social. There are lots of families and lots of kids.”

A passionate sailor, Mr Newman sees Docklands as a way of bringing together his connection to Melbourne and his love of boats.

“I have always had this life-long dilemma that I love Melbourne, I love the art and the culture of Melbourne. But I love yachts. They’ve always been my number one passion. So how do you equate the two? How do you live in Melbourne and enjoy having a boat?”

“I saw an image, it was an artist’s impression of this area with a boat outside the front and I said to Jayne, ‘we’ll go and have a look’.”

Mr Newman’s work takes him interstate and overseas regularly, to the other Draculas bases. The ease of living in a “lock up and leave” townhouse was a big drawcard.

“A lot of people here have international businesses. It’s high security, lock it up and bam, you’re off! You don’t have to worry about the front lawn overgrowing. You drive from Tullamarine and the freeway virtually drops you at Lorimer St.”

This international vibe frees Docklands from suburban stereotypes and provides an interesting mix of neighbours and visitors to the area.

“There are people from all nationalities and all walks of life and different interests. It’s not like we’re all out of the same mould.”

He believes that Melbourne’s conservatism tends to cast Docklands in a bad light and feels it is a shame that more Melburnians haven’t embraced his suburb.

“I think Docklands suffers the scourge of being a new area in a traditionalist city that adores its tradition and its conservative suburbs,” he said.

“Docklands doesn’t fit into that equation. There’s no past generation. We are the first generation of Docklanders.”

“People say ‘oh Docklands, I don’t get it,’ but they will get it,” he said.

“It’s almost sort of a bit of a secret among people who live here, we just smile and say ‘we love it’.”

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