Christmas Break & Open Day

With the year drawing to a close, the Centre will be closing for a break over the Christmas period. We hope you have enjoyed our receiving our enews each week during what has been a challenging year for our community and for all across the globe. We are looking forward to returning in January and resuming face to face events and activities. 

The Centre will re-open 10am to 3pm Monday to Friday from Monday 11 January. If you're passing by, pop in and say 'Hello'.
On Thursday 28 January we will be celebrating the return of Centre classes and activities after the summer break. The coffee (& tea) will be brewing all day and we invite you in for a cuppa and a chat. Our term program will be available and you can check out what's new in the garden. 

Over the Christmas period, there are a number of organisations that are remaining open and can offer support with a range of issues.  This information is available on our WEBSITE

Art, Craft and Other Things to Keep You Busy

NGV Triennial

NGV Triennial is a large-scale exhibition of international contemporary art, design and architecture. Featuring 86 projects by more than 100 artists, designers and collectives from more than 30 countries, admission is free and you can book tickets online.

Exhibition runs Saturday 19 Dec 2020 to Sunday 18 Apr 2021


Nature & Day Trips 

We're so lucky in Melbourne that there are so many gorgeous places to explore that are relatively close to home. If you're looking for a change of scene over the holidays, check out these spots as a starting point:  

Organ Pipes National Park - Located at the eastern-most edge of one of the world’s largest ancient volcanic lava flows, this park features the iconic Organ Pipes, impressive basalt columns that resemble organ pipes and were formed a million years ago.

Lederberg State Park - Situated around the Lederberg River, this state park has lots of walking trails and picnic spots, it's also a great place for spotting Koalas in their natural habitat.

K Road Cliffs - These are the impressive red cliffs along the Werribee River (pictured above) are particularly worth a visit in the morning when the bird life is most active or when the sun goes down causing the colours to shift.

Christmas Projections

Melbourne’s famous Christmas projections have returned, with light shows at three sites in the CBD: State Library of Victoria, Melbourne Town Hall and Princes Bridge.

The 2020 projections will extend into the New Year with a new look across all sites from 26 December to 3 January 2021.

Projections run every night 9pm to 11pm.


Free Access to Ancestry

If you’re looking for a summer project, consider researching your family history using free access to Ancestry Library Edition. This online site provides access to over 4000 sources worldwide including passenger lists, UK censuses, convict records, British Army WWI pension records and more.  Ancestry is free to access for members of the State Library of Victoria until 31 March 2021. 

If you're not a member join online at Library members.

Myer Christmas Windows


The Myer Windows have been part of many family Christmas traditions and it is exciting that they are able to go ahead in 2020. This year the Windows reflect upon 2020 and the impact of COVID-19 restrictions; they feature a collection of characters from Myer Windows over the past 25 years.

Mon 14 Nov – Thu 24 Dec
Myer Melbourne, Bourke Street Mall

History of Christmas Pudding

Altona-Laverton Historical Society

Christmas pudding originated in England. The traditional pudding is dark in colour and usually soaked with brandy or other alcohols. The very first version of the pudding originated in the 14th century.

The British made porridge called ‘frumenty’ made of beef and mutton with raisins, wines, currants, and spices – quite a collection of tastes!

At that time pudding tended to be more like soup and was eaten in the time of Christmas preparation.
By the end of the 14th century, frumenty had gone through several names including plum pudding, Christmas pudding, or just Pud! After the 16th century, dried fruit became more available, and the pudding slowly shifted from savoury to sweet. Plum pudding became the customary Christmas dessert around 1650, but in 1664 the Puritans in England attempted to ban it. It is said that the Puritans thought Christmas puddings to be 'sinfully rich' and 'unfit for God-fearing people'.

In 1714, King George I re-established it as part of the Christmas meal, having tasted and enjoyed Plum Pudding. Christmas pudding once again became the customary dessert of a Christmas meal by the middle of the 17th century. The interesting thing is that the plum pudding does not contain any plum! This goes back to the Victorian practice of substituting dried plums with other dried fruits, such as raisins. Dried plums or prunes were so popular that any goods which contained dried fruits were referred to 'plum cakes' or 'plum puddings'.

The other tradition associated with the Christmas Pudding is the ‘pudding coin’ which was always a tradition in my family. Adding silver coins into plum pudding is a fun Christmas tradition. The notion being that whoever finds the coin will have good luck. Sometimes a small silver ring was baked into a Twelfth Night Cake. The person who finds the token was said to be king or queen for that night and is believed to have good fortune and wealth in the upcoming year.

For a time, a single silver coin was added to puddings, and only one of the guests at the Christmas feast would be granted good luck. Over time, however the Aussie tradition was to add several coins (a sixpence or a threepence) so to spread the luck around.

Garden Gurus Tips

Summer Gardening Tips

Edible Gardens by Craig Castree - If you aren't already following this page check it out, Craig Castree has a big following and his posts are more blog-like than the short sharp text bites you generally find on FaceBook. 

A prolific poster, his page contains a huge amount of useful posts looking at different species and gardening techniques.

My Smart Garden Newsletter - There's also some great info in the December edition of the My Smart Garden newsletter. It arrived in my inbox not 10 minutes after I had noticed the bottom leaves on some of my tomato plants were yellowing. Joyfully the newsletter contains info on both the diagnosis and the cure. You can subscribe to future editions by clicking through to view the newsletter in your browser.


Christmas Gifts 

Continuing our theme of a homemade Christmas, I’d like to present another idea. Whilst this is incredibly simple, it is something special and again, something I would use if it was a gift I received. 

Think about the recipients of a gift like this – do they like a lot of barbeques (spice rubs), do they cook a lot (herb blends) or do they have a sweet tooth (spice blends for cakes or biscuits). 

There are many recipes and ideas available. To keep the cost down, pick only one or two that use ingredients you might generally use. And shop locally at some of the Middle Eastern grocers – they have very reasonably priced packet of spices. Or look up Amira Foods in South Kingsville (72 New Street), they sell spices and dried herbs in bulk – again, at very reasonable prices (while you are there, get the nuts and dried fruits you like for Christmas).  

I have included one recipe – just to get you started. 

Barbecue Rub 


  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons hot smoked Spanish paprika 
  • 1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika 
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 tablespoon fine-ground white pepper (if you have it) 
  • 1 tablespoon salt  
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic 
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder 
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt (if you have it) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 

Whisk all the ingredients together and put into a jar. Label and add a note on how to use the mix (rub into the barbeque meat of your choice).  Put the date on the jar somewhere – it will keep up to 6 months if the jar is tightly sealed. 

Cinnamon Spiced Walnuts

I started making these a few years ago and I have a following of friends who hope I am making them again this year! Another recipe in the line of ‘homemade with love’ for you to add to your list. I do extend the cooking by at least double what the recipe says – it dries the walnuts out even more, making them crispier and lighter. You can make these up to a week ahead of time and store in sealed bags or in a container.

My apologies if you can’t stop eating them, they taste delicious and your kitchen will smell beautiful.

Cinnamon spiced roasted walnuts

Wellbeing & Selfcare

Wellbeing Resources

While life is beginning to resemble something a little more close to normal, many of us are still dealing with the repercussions of the pandemic and restrictions put in place.

If you or someone you know could benefit from some help with their mental health, take a look at this list of resources. There are services for adults and kids, and include a range of contact options.  


Support Services Hobsons Bay and Surrounding Suburbs

If you, or someone you know, has been impacted financially by the pandemic or is facing issues to do with housing or family violence, there is a list of organisations that can provide support on our website.


Hobsons Bay City Council is also providing a range of support for individuals and community groups experiencing financial hardship. There is also a range of emergency relif and support available through Hobsons Bay Has Heart. See this flyer for details.



The Extreme Hardship Support Program is providing support to Victorians who:
  • are unable to access Commonwealth income support (including JobKeeper and JobSeeker) or the International Student Emergency Relief Fund
  • have very limited income, savings or community support.
  • and are a temporary or provisional visa holder, or undocumented migrant

Financial Counselling is a free service that can people assist in dealing with a range of financial issues including debts and fines, early release of superannuation, No Interest Loans, emergency relief and Utility Relief Grants. 


If you need support with something not covered in here, please get in touch with us and we can refer you to the appropriate service.
We acknowledge that we are on traditional lands of the Kulin Nation and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded, and we pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and, through them, to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Copyright © 2020 Louis Joel Arts & Community Centre, All rights reserved.

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