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Docklander - September 2012

28 Aug 2012

Docklander - September 2012 Image

The de-facto Docklander

Profile by Bethany Williams

Although he doesn’t live or work in Docklands Peter Crowley still feels part of Docklands.

It’s no surprise considering he was one of the founders of the Docklands community.

Peter worked for the Docklands Authority, which later became VicUrban and has now evolved into Places Victoria.

His role was to lead the community activation for the newly-developing area.

At the time Peter started working in Docklands, there were only a small number of residents.

Peter was instrumental in starting many of the committees and groups, which are now deeply ingrained in the community, including the Docklands Chamber of Commerce and the Docklands Residents Association.

Peter also set up some of the early playgroups, along with community events such as Dockfest, Carols by the Cow and the Parade of Paws.

Most significantly, Peter started Docklands News itself and was the original editor of the paper for three and a half years (Docklands News has been privately owned since 2007).

Peter stopped working in Docklands in 2010 yet has retained a strong connection to the suburb.

“I still get frustrated when I read or hear criticisms of Docklands which are often unfounded and made without any local knowledge,” Peter said.

“You frequently read about the lack of community here but that’s just not the case at all.”

Peter returned to Docklands this year to assist with some current community building activities.

He helped with the activation of the community garden and has assisted Lend Lease with an oral history project.

The oral history project involved speaking with a wide range of people who have had some connection with the area throughout Docklands history.

This experience reminded Peter of everything that makes Docklands unique and the rich history the area has.

“It’s not just that this is a development site that was a former port, it was a development because it was a former port. It’s like that is part of the story and part of the journey and it’s not a different story, it’s episodic,” Peter said.

Peter said this history should have more representation in contemporary Docklands.

Likewise, he feels there are opportunities in Docklands to enliven the waterfront and make use of the much-maligned wind.

“We’ve never done much with the wind except complain about it, with the exception of the blowhole,” Peter said.

“Australia has a history of pumping water with the wind, it would be so easy to have wind-powered art along the waterfront and it would draw people in,” he said.

It’s clear the development of Docklands community and the way the area grows is still of importance to Peter.

“I’m a de facto Docklander. I don’t live here but I feel very connected to the area,” Peter said.

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