From the Manager’s Desk

I am going out on a limb with this message to you – I am going to talk about Christmas, and I am ready to hear some of you groan! I’m sure many of you will be saying it’s too early – and yes, it is early, but this Christmas is going to be a special one for us and I wanted to tell you why.

This Christmas is going to be a special one because it is closer to next year! I am not one to wish away time, but I will be pleased to see this year over. Christmas will be special because we appreciate what we have so much more than last year. This year has been a difficult one and we have had our share of ups and downs too, so we are looking for things to celebrate and Christmas is it for us. And it will be special because we want to share some of our gratitude with those who have made our time in isolation a little easier.

Given this year’s lockdown and feeling like I’ve missed out on so many celebrations, I’m putting my eggs (and energy) into the Christmas basket and I’m going to start preparing early and going big this year – big in terms of making, creating and gifting. And if Christmas is not for you – this could translate into another occasion or time.

For us, in the Reilly household, it is Christmas. So, in the hope of inspiring you, I am putting some ideas together to get us started on our countdown to Christmas (and the hope of a better year in 2021).

1. Research the things to make.

This year, our family is making it a homemade Christmas. It feels cost effective, it will be personal, it will be delicious, and it will give us so much joy to make, bake, create and then to bag up, decorate and give. It will be a family project that everyone can contribute to. We will choose just a few things to make – I’ve learned in the past not to try to make too many things, it created too much stress and wasn’t enjoyable in the end. This year, of all years, we need less stress and more joy, and I hope you will find that in the ideas I’ll put to you over the next few weeks.

The first step is research - find the ideas for things to make that are within your skill set and those of your family members and things that everyone can contribute towards. For instance, younger children can be the ones to colour in the decorations to go on the packaging. They can be the ones to measure, bag, wrap or hold. No matter what age, they too can have their part in this process.

2. The next step (and one I enjoy immensely) is to start making lists.

Lists that include the things we are making or creating and a list of names of those to include in our Christmas cheer circle. Our family tries to include as many as we can on this list but I have to admit that unless we have made something to gift, we don’t buy loads of small presents – I’d rather not give anything than give something that is not meaningful or useful (or delicious). This list will have categories – from something small to have in a basket by the door to hand to the delivery people (who have kept the deliveries to our door going for the past months) to something a little more substantial for others.

To help you start this journey towards Christmas, over the next few weeks we will be sharing some links to help you.

Wishing you all the best as we move towards a safer time for us all to be together again.


Art, Craft and Other Things to Keep You Busy

Seniors Tea & Talk 

Register for our Senior's Tea & Talk and we'll deliver a morning/afternoon tea in a box to your address. Enjoy your morning tea with us virtually by zoom or if you'd prefer,  we'll phone you for a chat sometime during the day.

Wednesday 28 October at 11am 

To register email us at or phone 9398 2511 with your name and address. 

Yip Yips: Crochet Alien

Make tidying up fun by challenging the kids to feed their toys to this crocheted alien! This is a good project to practice your pattern reading skills; it's easy to read and follow, but I recommend looking at the video when you get to row 31  (Part 2 15:48 minutes). 

If you don't have any super thick wool, do what I did and use 2 strands of 8ply wool. I've included a link to the written pattern, which is free on the Ravelry site. Ravelry is free to join and has lots of crochet & knitting patterns.



Abstract Art - Finger Painting

Rediscover the joy of finger painting in this online tutorial from PaintWithEase to create a lovely abstract painting. The list of acylic paint colours needed are listed in the description.

If you enjoy this tutorial, there are a range of other sessions from PaintWithEase to choose from (with and without fingers).  


Food Waste Free October

During the month of October, 1 Million Women are running a free program challenging households to reduce food waste. Each week a different professional chef will share three of their favourite waste-free recipes.

Sign up for the challenge to receive e-books and links containing the weekly recipes. 


Get Writing: Online

Get writing with the Society of Women Writers Victoria. Held via Zoom, these sessions are suitable for writers at all stages of the writing process, whether you are working on an idea or you are polishing a manuscript. Attending weekly workshops can help overcome writer's block and assist in developing a daily writing practice.

Sessions are free and run each Saturday morning until November 14.


Day by the Bay Festival

Discover the wonders of Port Phillip Bay and its waterways in this online program of stories, science, art and music to celebrate our connections to our local environment.

Meet some of the wildlife of Port Phillip Bay including the weedy sea dragons and sharks, go virtual beachcombing, or make a clay sea slug. 

Runs until Sunday 11 October.


The HobArchies Hobsons Bay Arts Society

Our friends at Hobsons Bay Arts Society have been busy capturing the important people and pets in their lives for Hobsons Bay's local version of the renowned Archibald Prize. 

The entries and the winners are available to view on HBAS's website.


Hobsons Bay Seniors Festival


There is a fantastic collection of activities and events happening in October as part  of Hobsons Bay Seniors Festival. The program includes a look at local history, music, movies, tips for bird spotting and  an online dating for seniors session.

The festival runs from 5 to 28 October, download the full program below.


Ferguson & Urie - St John’s Church, Williamstown

Altona-Laverton Historical Society

St John’s Uniting Church (formerly Methodist) is located in Electra Street, Williamstown. This large bluestone church with yellow brick quoining and cement details was built in 1876 to the design of prominent Melbourne architects Crouch & Wilson at a cost of £5,800.

The building consists of a central nave separated from the aisles by tall cast iron columns, taking the form of a hall church. The main facade incorporates twin doorways with unusual hood mouldings. There is a gallery at the rear and a choir loft at the front, both with cast iron balustrading.
What is significant is the two small stained-glass quatrefoils and the trefoil that were produced and installed by Ferguson & Urie in the west and east ends.  At first glance the two quatrefoils above the main west windows look to be the typical Alpha and Omega symbols in rich purple, blue, ruby and yellow but on closer inspection the text symbols are actually “AD” and “1876” which is the year the church was constructed by Crouch & Wilson. There is also a trefoil-window above a single light near the stairs that lead to the organ loft at the east end.
The Williamstown Chronicle (Saturday 8 March 1879, page 2) notes – ‘The stained glass window to the memory of the late Mr J Reid has been placed just opposite the family pew in St John’s Church. It is from the works of Messrs Ferguson & Urie and is a very handsome specimen of the art. We have been requested to state that donations promised and to be made can be paid to the Town Clerk, the Mayor, or the Rev. Mr. Scott.’
Unfortunately, the window described in the newspaper article no longer exists, it is hoped that the family holds it and it has not been lost. There are a lot of original windows with plain yellow/amber diamond quarries and single colour borders also produced by Ferguson & Urie.

A visit to either of the two churches we have mentioned in this series of stories about Ferguson & Urie is certainly worth the time. As you look around and admire the architecture and the stained glass windows, just remember the work and artistical design these artisans put into these pieces over 140 years ago from their small factory in North Melbourne.

Garden Gurus Tips

Indoor Plant Survival Guide

Join Hobsons Bay Libraries and Zoran from ZZ Botanical and Home in Williamstown to learn the basics of indoor gardening so you can help your indoor plant babies thrive. The session includes a Q&A for those who have specific questions about their indoor plants. 

Wednesday 4 November, 6.15pm to 7.45pm | Online Event


Oma’s Apfelkuchen (Grandma’s Apple Cake)

  • 5 large egg yolks (freeze the egg whites to use in another recipe)
  • 2 medium tart apples, peeled, cored and halved
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 & 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Icing sugar to serve


  • Preheat oven to 180°C. Let egg yolks stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Cut apple halves lengthwise into 1/4-in. slices, leaving them attached at the top so they fan out slightly (or simply slice apples). Set aside.
  • Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. In another bowl, sift flour, cornflour, cream of tartar, baking powder and salt twice. Gradually mix into creamed mixture. Add milk; mix well (batter will be thick).
  • Spread batter into a greased 9-in. springform pan wrapped in a sheet of heavy-duty foil. Gently press apples or apple slices into batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs, 45-55 minutes. Cool on a wire rack 10 minutes. Loosen sides from pan with a knife; remove foil. Cool 1 hour longer. Remove rim from pan. Dust with icing sugar to serve.
Recipe from

Stuff to Keep the Kids Busy

String Art for Teens

String Art is a simple way to create a striking artwork for yourself or as a gift. It just requires a steady hammering hand.

Anything with a recognisable silhouette is fair game, the image to the right is actually the state of Texas, but it shows the diverse range of subjects that could be used in this activity. More ideas below!

Or for those that are really keen!

NGV Kids - Ink Blob Art

There are lots of free activities to download on NGV's website that will occupy young minds, including a selection of art-based activities and games to play with a dice. Here's a couple we'd recommend:

JUST IMAGINE - turn squiggles and blobs into imaginative art.

MONSTER MANIA - use die to determine the features of your monster.

All the activities can be found at:

Edgar's Mission Virtual Tour

Take a virtual tour of Edgar’s Mission hosted by the Pam and her loyal kelpie, Vet Nurse Ruby. Pam introduces inquisitive lambs, friendly chickens and cheeky goats, and our special favourite Leon Trosky the pig whose floppy ears are so big you can't see his eyes.

You also get to see the animals eating the dry weetbix that are collected in the organisation's annual fundraising drive. Have a glass of water handy, it could make you thirsty!


Origami Fortune Tellers

This centuries old origami form, also known as a 'cootie catcher', is loads of fun for kids and only requires a piece of paper. Once you have the folded form, there are lots of different ways kids can personalise and play with these. My daughter made a unique birthday card for one of our friends with lovely messages inside. Or check out some of the printable versions; if you know a Harry Potter fan this printable Sorting Hat is available for a small fee.

As an aside,  we often fall down intriguing rabbit holes when compiling this newsletter and these origami fortune tellers are a good example. Intrigued by why they are called 'cootie catchers' we googled 'cootie' and 'cootie catcher', you can find an explanation of why the name may have come about HERE.

Create a Dreamcatcher

Create your own dream catcher using an old CD or DVD, some wool, and some found nature items. Dream catchers are thought to capture good dreams and are usually hung over a place you would sleep where the morning light can hit it.

Follow the link for an instruction sheet and a video with some tips on how to do the weaving.


Kids Art & Activity Packs

It's been lovely getting feedback from those that received art packs for their kids and grandkids. We hope the packs brought some joy to all the children we delivered to this week. 

We still have a few packs left that we can deliver next week. If you haven't yet registered your children or grandchildren, use the link below.


Wellbeing & Selfcare

Get Active @ Home

Get active at home with this fabulous selection of online fitness activities from This Girl Can. The sessions are free to access and have been produced in a variety of lengths so you can choose a session for even a small window of time in your day. 

The list includes Bollywood dance, running drills, circus, yoga and strength training. Follow the link to see the full list of activites available.


Hobsons Bay has Heart

Hobsons Bay City Council has put together a list of organisations providing a range of supports and services available to those living in Hobsons Bay. 

Most are free services. Many have interpreters, translated resources and culturally appropriate supports. Please share these with your family, friends and neighbours


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 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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