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Docklander - September 2017

31 Aug 2017

Docklander - September 2017 Image

The joy and freedom of being a Docklander

Professor Brian Oldfield first became a Docklands resident when he brought his yacht to Victoria Harbour and lived on it for eight months.

It was during a period of a personal transition and a change in lifestyle in 2010 when he decided to sail to Docklands and stay on the boat.

During the period in Victoria Harbour he had a chance to reflect, spend time by himself but also soak up the sense of community that existed in the marina at the time.

But before sailing and staying in Docklands, he lived in a more typical family home in Kew and never imagined what life in this harbour-side suburb would entail.

“Before I came here I had no idea of what life would be like in Docklands,” he said. “It was a foreign environment to me.”

But soon he started appreciating the unique lifestyle and blended into the local community.

“I really enjoyed my time on the boat. It was a small but close knit community who stayed on their boats there. There was a lot of comradery but also an opportunity for solitude on the water at the edge of the bustling Docklands precinct,” he said.

After the eight months, Prof Oldfield decided to make his stay in Docklands more permanent and bought a Yarra’s Edge apartment.

“I decided to get my land legs and get an apartment here. Yarra’s Edge is very residential and yet very close to city life,” he said.

Although he is now living off the water with his partner Heather and his boat has been moved to St Kilda, Prof Oldfield said he remained very connected to the boat and the water.

“Even though it’s no longer in Victoria Harbour, the boat is very central to me,” he said.

“It’s a traditional style 50 foot ketch designed by the famous US boat designer John Alden so it requires a lot of attention and effort. But I love it.”

“The ocean has always attracted to me. I plan to sail the boat to Whitsundays and beyond some day in the future.”

When he is not sailing or spending time with Heather and his family, Prof Oldfield is working.

He is a physiology professor at Monash University, a neuroscientist and a National Health and Medical Research Council fellow.

He has his own research group at Monash where his research focus had been on the relationship between the brain and appetite, which impact directly on obesity and ways to treat it.

He is the president of the Australia and New Zealand Obesity Society, a scientific organisation of health care professionals who facilitate obesity research, prevention, treatment, and public health initiatives.

Prof Oldfield said he had always tried his best to maintain a work and life balance, and living in Docklands had helped with this delicate balance.

“It can be difficult to have that balance. I have competing interests. I love my work but, like other people, have to balance that against family time and there’s always that commitment to the boat. So, I make extra effort to maintain that balance,” he said. He likes to start early so he can spend more time with loved ones, including his boat Nilubon.

“It’s about finding time to be productive at work and at home,” he said. “And being this close to everything in Docklands has really helped me to save that time, especially in commuting.”

He also said he would not want to live anywhere but Docklands at the moment.

“There’s a certain level of comfort in living here. It’s a very easy lifestyle and it’s a luxury to have a home in Docklands, so close to the city but, with a frontage to the water, no sense of being landlocked, it suits me,” he said.

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