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Docklander

31 May 2016

Docklander Image

Lyn Kelly could be considered a ‘Docklands Pioneer’. With her husband Peter and her father, Len the trio were the first residents to move into Docklands on December 21, 2001.

She recalls there was only one other family who moved into the Arkley building on that same day. The only other residents who lived in Docklands were at the Grand Hotel on Spencer St, at that time not classified as Docklands

Prior to this, Lyn and Peter raised their children in Sandringham. After her children had grown up and her mother passed away, Lyn decided to move to Docklands to signify a new chapter of her life.

“We bought a two bedroom apartment off the plan, with a view to living here and then just a little while after that, my father bought one in the same building so we all moved in on that day,” Lyn said.

But it wasn’t the simplest move.

“Dad was on the 12th floor and Peter and I were on the 8th floor and the lifts broke down so we got the furniture up to the 8th floor and we had to walk between the 8th and the 12th until the lifts got fixed,” she said.

It was very early days for Docklands. The Nolan building was a year away from construction and many apartment buildings were not yet occupied. It was around this time that Lyn and Peter started a concierge business called Club NewQuay.

“It was arranging cleaning and to generally help people with the services we provided. If residents were working they would leave their key with us,” she said. “We were also the unofficial information centre.”

“We didn’t have the IGA at that time so Peter used to go out on behalf of the developer and buy orange juice, bread, papers and milk and deliver it to the people that lived there in the three months before the shop came.”

Lyn and Peter also used to host regular drinks nights at their office. Every Friday night it was an open invite to other Docklanders to come and meet their neighbours and it quickly grew into a very popular community activity.

One day some of the people Lyn and Peter had met through the concierge business asked if they could put a sign advertising their apartment for rent in the office window.

“We were being inundated with people wanting to stay in Docklands so we sent a message out to people who had apartments saying would you be interested in us renting out your apartment on a short term basis and we got so many people that wanted to, so that was the start of our business.”

At the end of November 2005, the business was sold. Lyn and Peter opened another business in Docklands but when Peter fell ill, they closed that business and took four years off work.

Now Lyn and Peter manage 32 apartments in Digital Harbour and 70 in NewQuay and live locally at Yarra’s Edge.

“I loved the view. The minute I came here and looked out at the water, I never wanted to look after a garden again,” Lyn said. “I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”

Lyn was involved in the Docklands Community Association and has worked hard during her 14 years as a Docklands resident. Now she is ready to slow the pace and spend some time pursuing her hobbies.

“I still want to be active in our business but I would like to relax a little and do some travel and play some sport. That’s what I want to do,” she said.

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