Great gain for stupa - VIDEO
Sharon Kemp
A STATE government funding commitment for the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion at Myers Flat will take the 15 year-long project close to completion in time for the 2018 installation of the Jade Buddha. At the Great Stupa to announce the $2.5 million in funding yesterday, regional developm..
24-Mar-2017
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Alert halts drug deaths
Sharon Kemp
THERE has been no further overdoses caused by a suspected bad batch of heroin following warnings last Friday from Bendigo emergency and community health services. The batch is believed to have claimed the lives of three Bendigo people this month and caused other non-fatal overdoses. Ben..
24-Mar-2017
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$2.5 million boost for stupa - VIDEO
Sharon Kemp
THE Great Stupa of Universal Compassion’s status as a major international tourist attraction will be increased, with $2.5 million in funding to be announced today. The funding will be delivered through a regional tourism infrastructure fund to ensure its structural completion. The ..
24-Mar-2017
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Bank to close Pall Mall branch
Sharon Kemp
BENDIGO Bank will close its Pall Mall branch on April 21, almost 13 years after it moved to the prominent city corner, but the ATMs will remain in the window facing the main street. The bank has written to customers notifying them of the branch closure. A bank spokesperson said a recent..
24-Mar-2017
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Stadium bids for pokies
Peter Kennedy
BENDIGO Stadium Limited has lodged an application for a major redevelopment of The Wellington at Botanical Gardens Hotel in White Hills which would include 44 poker machines. Plans for the multi-million dollar project were lodged with the City of Greater Bendigo on Wednesday, and include con..
24-Mar-2017
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Restoring the past
Bendigo Weekly
TWO iconic Bendigo buildings will undergo conservation work following a state government grant. There will be extensive conservation works at the mortuary chapel at Bendigo Cemetery and urgent works at Bendigo Trades Hall. The repairs are possible due to the Living Heritage Grants Progr..
24-Mar-2017
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Property Guide
VCAT finds Elise Chapman guilty of misconduct
Sharon Kemp
FORMER City of Greater Bendigo councillor Elise Chapman was guilty of misconduct in giving voice to ugly and unjustified stereotyping of Muslims in Bendigo when she tweeted a picture depicting genital mutilation, according to a VCAT vice president. In a 22-page finding handed down yesterday,..
24-Mar-2017
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Police warning after drug deaths
Bendigo Weekly
BENDIGO Police are investigating three separate deaths in the past fortnight they suspect are heroin overdoses and not coincidental. Superintendent Darren Franks yesterday issued a warning to be careful about using illicit drugs given the user may not know what is mixed with the drug. ..
17-Mar-2017
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A healthy future for BDAC
Sharon Kemp
IT is set out to look after the health of indigenous Bendigonians, and is deliberately set in the city’s forest. Bendigo and District Aboriginal Cooperative opened its $5.7 million health and community centre on Prouses Road on Wednesday, and celebrated by remembering the origins of th..
16-Mar-2017
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Discount for dog de-sexing
Bendigo Weekly
Discount dog de-sexing vouchers will be available from council offices from Tuesday. There are 150 vouchers available which will save a dog owner $40 on the normal cost of having their pet de-sexed. The vouchers will be available on a first come, first served basis from the City of Great..
10-Mar-2017
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Algae is back
Bendigo Weekly
high levels of potentially toxic blue-green algae have been discovered at Lake Weeroona and Lake Tom Thumb. Blue-green algae also remain present in other lakes across greater Bendigo. Blue-green algae occur naturally and can be dangerous to humans and animals. Contact with algae ca..
10-Mar-2017
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Annaliese says yes to proposal
Joel Peterson
IT’S fair to say that when Annaliese Barty picked up the Bendigo Weekly last Friday, she got quite the surprise. Her boyfriend of almost four years, and now fiancé, Alex Kharoofa, handed the paper to her just before she left for work on Friday morning. Low and behold there ..
09-Mar-2017
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Festival of cultures
Sharon Kemp
THE Bendigo Fesitval of Cultures has expanded from one day a year to more than a week of the multicultural events suggesting, as it states, diversity is becoming mainstream. Or at least interest in diversity has become the norm. The Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services drives the even..
23-Mar-2017
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Muslim workshop attracts protest
Sharon Kemp
The first community workshop offering a 90-minute insight into lives of local Muslims drew more than a dozen anti-mosque protestors in Bendigo, and after them and in smaller numbers, a group of young women advocating tolerance. On McCrae Street, opposite Bendigo TAFE, protestors claiming ..
20-Mar-2017
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Alissa jumps into new role at Discovery
Bendigo Weekly
The Discovery Science and Technology Centre has a new science communicator. Alissa Van Soest has joined the team and her skills and abilities will help Discovery meet its key objective of inspiring scientific curiosity. The role also helps guide students onto a path towards science, tec..
16-Mar-2017
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Nine gears up for news service
Bendigo Weekly
FAMILIAR and fresh faces will combine in a new TV news service in Victoria. Nine Local News bulletins will hit the screens on March 14, as the national broadcaster steps back into local news following its alignment with Southern Cross Austereo. Well-known Bendigo journalist Sarah Lawren..
03-Mar-2017
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O Week a winner for new students
Bendigo Weekly
LA TROBE University had a packed week of events to see in the academic year and welcome its new students. Orientation Week was a chance for students to get to know the campus, their lecturers and each other ahead of hitting the books. Head of campus Rob Stephenson said with almost 60 pe..
23-Feb-2017
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Marong Cup riders saddle up
Bendigo Weekly
THE Bendigo Jockey Club will host its first major race day of 2017 this weekend when the annual Marong Cup takes over the track tomorrow. The popular event doubles as a fundraiser for local catholic primary schools and is billed as one of the best family days out in central Victoria. Th..
16-Feb-2017
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Egg hunt makes a difference
Bendigo Weekly
Oden and Zander Goudie can’t wait to get among the fun and the sweet treats at the Vision Australia Easter Egg Hunt at the Bendigo Easter Festival on Good Friday. They already have tickets – and you can get yours now before they sell out, and support the work to enable people wit..
23-Mar-2017
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Students ready for a gala Carnivale
Bendigo Weekly
Lightning Reef Primary School has entered the Eaglehawk Gala Parade on Saturday as part of the annual Eaglehawk Dahlia and Arts Festival. The school hasn’t entered the festival for several years but this year will have more than 90 students and 13 staff members participating in the co..
16-Mar-2017
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Bright spark in industry
Joel Peterson
Apprentice electrician Alecia Allaway is doing her bit for International Women’s Day. She’s making her mark in the industry and is now employed by Laser Electrical Bendigo. With her family’s support, 18-year-old Miss Allaway spent a week handing out resumes to local ele..
10-Mar-2017
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Care for a pup
Sharon Kemp
SEEING eye dog Clayton returned to his puppyhood home of Vision Australia in Bendigo, and revelled in company of his first carer Carlia Rix for the first time since he completed formal training. In unusual circumstances, Clayton’s handler Kate Watkins also works for Vision Australia, m..
09-Mar-2017
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Aaron bowls a winner
Bendigo Weekly
LAWN bowler Aaron Wilson wants to represent Australia at next year’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games as the next milestone in his already illustrious career. The 25-year-old was a popular winner of the 52nd Cloud Copy Click Bendigo Sports Star of the Year Award announced last Friday, fol..
06-Mar-2017
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Be bold for women on international day
Bendigo Weekly
THE ANZ Bank pays its full time female employees $500 extra in superannuation per year in an attempt to close the financial gap between men and women. Launching the announcement of this year’s International Women’s Day breakfast in Bendigo, ANZ business bank manager Kylie Ovenden..
02-Mar-2017
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Current Issue
Classy House Ad

A comic opera
Joel Peterson
COMBINING comedy, opera and football seems like a recipe for grand final day entertainment so strange that not even the AFL could dream it up. In actual fact, it provides the genesis for Colin Lane and David Hobson’s new show, In Tails, which they will present at the Capital theatre ne..
23-Mar-2017
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Jagger plays three city gigs
Simon Wooldridge
The name Jagger will no doubt ring a bell for music fans of all ages. This weekend sees Chris Jagger, Mick’s younger brother, visit Bendigo to play three gigs. Remarkably, these gigs are Jagger’s only Australian dates. He plays at the Handle Bar in Mitchell Street toni..
23-Mar-2017
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Vine return for Lang
Simon Wooldridge
Jeff Lang has fond memories of the Golden Vine. “I used to come and play in the corner of the front bar at the Golden Vine in the early days, before the back room was set up as a venue,” he said “They were fun shows, everyone pretty close to you. I wrote the song Raven..
16-Mar-2017
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MusicSlam at the Musicman
Simon Wooldridge
Bendigo’s Musicman has for many years catered for the more alternative, edgier, fringier, less commercial acts on the live music circuit. But the CBD venue mixes it up from time to time. In recent weeks, a disco covers act, Brooklyn’s Finest, has graced the stage and just t..
10-Mar-2017
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Waifs mark 25 years with Bendigo visit
Sharon Kemp
THE fans of enduring folk rock band The Waifs have a reputation, according to vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Vikki Thorn, of being among the most loyal in the music industry. So, last year and ahead of their upcoming 25th anniversary tour, the trio of Thorn, sister Donna Simpson and Josh..
02-Mar-2017
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Music mix for March
Simon Wooldridge
MARCH is going to be another exciting month for live music in Bendigo. Scanning the online what’s on and events pages, it’s shaping up to be pretty busy, with many highlights. Tomorrow, Saturday, March 4, sees two regular musical visitors to Bendigo join forces for a doubl..
02-Mar-2017
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Long-time foes meet again
Joel Peterson
IF the recent form of Eaglehawk and Bendigo United is anything to go by, this weekend’s Bendigo District Cricket Association grand final will be a high-octane affair. Both clubs ripped through their semi final adversaries – BUCCs rolling Kangaroo Flat in less than a day while Eag..
24-Mar-2017
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Braves back for more
Joel Peterson
SATURDAY hails the arrival of a new season for the Bendigo Braves, but the team’s goal has not changed. Following a drought-breaking SEABL title in 2016, the Braves have reloaded for another run. They, and the Bendigo Lady Braves, kick start their season on Saturday against Dandeno..
24-Mar-2017
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Lady Braves banking on youth
Joel Peterson
AN underprepared Bendigo Lady Braves side will be thrown straight into the SEABL’s deep end when it faces reigning champion Dandenong on Saturday. The Lady Braves do not have an import on their roster and were embarrassingly thumped to the tune of 20 points in a practice match a fortni..
24-Mar-2017
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Epic event in the Gully
Joel Peterson
THE Bendigo Mountain Bike Club’s signature event for 2017 will hail the start of a new era for one of the fastest growing organisations in local sport. Spring Gully’s Muldoon Reserve will host the Golden Triangle Epic event for the first time this weekend. The reserve is set..
24-Mar-2017
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Pioneers ready for TAC Cup kick off
Joel Peterson
MORE depth and a focus on contested football will be key in the Bendigo Pioneers campaign for 2017 according to first-year coach Rick Coburn. Coburn has spent the summer settling into the role after starting in December and has hit the ground running getting to know his group and forming bon..
24-Mar-2017
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Cobras, Goers bask in flag glory
Joel Peterson
GOLDEN Gully broke through for its first Emu Valley Cricket Association division one premiership yesterday. It was not the only premiership decided on a big weekend in sport, with Bendigo claiming the spoils in a thrilling Bendigo pennant bowls grand final against Bendigo East. A grand f..
20-Mar-2017
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Relay for Life on to a winner
Bendigo Weekly
THE Bendigo Relay for Life steps out again this weekend, and the fundraising is already off to a good start. The event runs from this evening until Saturday afternoon. Relay For Life’s Ayden Shaw said the committee has done a remarkable job for the 18th relay. “The supp..
23-Mar-2017
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School top at health
Bendigo Weekly
SPECIMEN Hill Primary School’s win in the Bendigo Health-backed Healthiest Schools award makes its motto, “our children’s future in the very best of hands”, all the more fitting. A range of health promotion activities and a focus on families, not just students, saw..
16-Mar-2017
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Growing on success
Bendigo Weekly
GROWING interest and two especially talented local gardeners are helping Long Gully’s community garden thrive. The garden has been tucked away in Energetic Street for 14 years, and run in conjunction with the Long Gully Neighbourhood Centre. Recent times have seen the project go f..
02-Mar-2017
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Riding for a good cause
Bendigo Weekly
LOCAL real estate agent Paul Dalton plans to ride his bike for 24 hours around the Tom Flood Sports Centre velodrome next weekend in support of the McGrath Foundation Mr Dalton will be raising money to fund McGrath breast care nurses in communities right across Australia and increase breast ..
24-Feb-2017
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A haven for success
Sharon Kemp
MICHELLE Marschall has a long-term plan to become a maternal health nurse, raise her three-year-old son in her own home, without help from support agencies. The 25-year-old didn’t always have a plan, not when she was couch surfing with a baby or living in her car for a two-week stretch..
16-Feb-2017
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Winning ways of Winefride
Dianne Dempsey
The first thing people want to ask centenarian Winefride Lucy King is what is the secret to her long life? Mrs King’s response is that she has always walked everywhere (having never driven a car) has never had a drink or smoked but as for swearing, well that’s another story. ..
09-Feb-2017
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Trivia night a winner
Bendigo Weekly
One of the most fun and rewarding quiz nights of the year will be held on Good Friday in aid of the Royal Children’s Hospital Appeal. Bendigo Real Estate staff are selling tickets for this year’s quiz night which includes a charity auction to be conducted by BRE principal, Damien..
24-Mar-2017
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Tender out for design
Bendigo Weekly
THE first step in the design process for the new-look Bendigo and Eaglehawk railway stations has been completed. The projects, worth a combined $15.8 million, have gone out to tender. Upgrades to Bendigo station will include lifts and an improved overpass between platforms one and two t..
16-Mar-2017
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Bold for change
Bendigo Weekly
Celebrations to mark International Women’s Day will continue today in Bendigo. On Wednesday, the actual day of recognition, it was at breakfast at Women’s Health Loddon Mallee in Mundy Street that women and men shared stories about the achievements of Bendigo women. Executive..
10-Mar-2017
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Shop fix from retail doctor
Sharon Kemp
RETAIL doctor Brian Walker won’t formulate a complete cure for Bendigo’s inner city retail ailments, but he has some prescriptions for traders. Create a retail environment that encapsulates the uniqueness of Bendigo, he advises, and do it as a team. Think about shopping precin..
02-Mar-2017
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The story of a family business
Bendigo Weekly
A NEW book charts the history of one of Bendigo’s oldest stores. Written by Mike Butcher, The Hume and Iser Story puts together the nuts and bolts of an important community tale that covers five generations. Chairman Chris Iser said the book has been researched and written to pre..
23-Feb-2017
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Backing for cycling series
Bendigo Weekly
CYCLING ace Brendan Schultz is the raging favourite to take out the Bendigo and District Cycling Club aggregate series next Thursday night. Schultz is in career best form in the lead up to next month’s Bendigo International Madison track event, and the popular TASR rider has been train..
23-Feb-2017
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Radio winners
Bendigo Weekly
LOCAL radio station Bendigo’s Fresh FM has added another award to its impressive sporting history, taking out the Women’s National Basketball League award for Best Radio Coverage. The station has covered the Spirit since its inception into the league, and broadcast all of the clu..
23-Mar-2017
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Bollywood in Bendigo
Bendigo Weekly
Ever wanted to see real live Bollywood dance in action? Here’s your opportunity. The Singh Sisters are bringing Bollywood dance to Bendigo Library in celebration of Cultural Diversity Week. The Singh Sisters have travelled around the world performing Bollywood dance, which..
16-Mar-2017
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Tourism the focus of new guide
Bendigo Weekly
THIS year’s Bendigo and Heathcote Region Official Visitor Guides were launched on Monday. City of Greater Bendigo council’s tourism manager Kathryn Mackenzie said the two handy sized guides are a fantastic resource designed to showcase the best local attractions, shopping and din..
02-Mar-2017
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Goods galore at the recycle store
Bendigo Weekly
SAVINGS in fees and care for the environment motivate people to use the Eaglehawk Recycle Shop’s recovery centre rather than the Eaglehawk landfill. The centre, which has been operating for 23 years at the entrance of the landfill, also provides jobs and a cheap location for second ha..
23-Feb-2017
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No comical event
Bendigo Weekly
The next Bendigo Record Comic and Toy Fair is coming up on March 12. The event will be at the Bendigo Expo Centre, at the Bendigo Showgrounds and promises to be a mix for fans of the comic world. Organiser Peter Pascoe said attendees attempted a world record at the last event for the..
16-Feb-2017
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Club lights up a new home
Bendigo Weekly
TECHNOLOGY is all around us, but have you ever wondered just how it works? Well, the Bendigo Amateur Radio and Electronics Club is giving you the chance to find out, and the club has a brand new location stocked full of technological marvels. From electronic dice to solar-powered creepy..
09-Feb-2017
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Family torn apart
Rosalea Ryan
Berlin, 1939: With her blue eyes, blonde hair and smooth creamy skin, Hannah Rosenthal is the physical epitome of all that is truly German – in every way but one. Hannah’s parents, Max and Alma, are German Jews. Even as an image of Hannah circulates on the cover of a Nazi propaga..
23-Mar-2017
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Supportive sisterhood
Rosalea Ryan
Three women, one sadness: an apparently terminal prognosis delivered to an ovarian cancer patient whose mother died years earlier of the same disease. When 40-year-old Alice is first told of her condition she is paralysed by shock, unable to contemplate the effect her likely death will have ..
16-Mar-2017
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Three-way tussle
Rosalea Ryan
IN the midst of a tug-of-war for possession, a portrait goes missing, spirited away in the heat of a bitter custody battle between the subject’s husband and her painter-turned-lover in 1970s Frankfurt. The situation is complex: enchanting Irene Adler is the wife of powerful industriali..
02-Mar-2017
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Survival against the odds
Rosalea Ryan
Shanghai, in the early decades of the 20th century, is a city very much divided, if not strictly along geographic lines then socially at least – Chinese, British, French, with further divisions within each ethnic group. Jialing is barely seven years old when her mother leaves their sma..
23-Feb-2017
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Island intrigue
Rosalea Ryan
Inheriting property on a previously unfamiliar North Sea island has never been part of Englishwoman Emma’s grand life plan. When great-aunt Freda bequeaths her estate to Emma, the 30-something insurance clerk’s unremarkable day-to-day existence in Newcastle is unexpectedly disrup..
17-Feb-2017
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Living the boyhood dream
Rosalea Ryan
Some athletes have a fascinating story to tell but aren’t natural storytellers. Others can communicate beautifully but don’t necessarily have much out of the ordinary to share. And then there’s Cadel Evans: son, father, friend, idol and almost certainly Australia’s gr..
09-Feb-2017
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Property Guide

The man and the monster

| Bendigo Weekly | 25-Mar-2011 2.45

«
LIFE HAPPENS: Chris Kennett and friends.
»
Sometimes, as John Lennon said, life is what happens while you’re making other plans.
In Chris Kennett’s case, life is what happens even if you don’t make plans.
This affable young Bendigo dad has built a career in design through simply being pleasant to people, and making sure he is easy to get on with.
It’s the kind of philosophy that might make a nice children’s picture book. Now he’s in the business, that may well come to pass.
Chris’s first picture book, Alpha Monsters, is published this week by Scholastic.
A bright and busy learn-your-letters book, it was conceived when Chris’s first child, Sam, now seven, was learning to read at kindergarten.
“They used the letter cards, and most of the girls were into it, but I noticed a lot of the boys were restless,” Chris says.
“Sam was having trouble, so I decided to create ABC flashcards for him –using monsters.”
Sam enjoyed his dad’s monsters, which are daggy and sweet rather than scary and mean.
At this point, we need to wind back and find out how Chris from Canterbury came to be living with his podiatrist wife Sooze and a couple of kids (Rose, now five) in Bendigo, contemplating his monster flashcards and thinking, maybe there’s a book in this.
Chris is the youngest of five, born and bred in the cathedral town south-east of London.
With no formal training in graphics, his obvious skill landed him a job when he was 18 and just out of school at the Canterbury council offices.
He was given the rather grand title of reprographics officer. “It was basically doing all the photocopying,” Chris says.
Accepted into that system, you were guaranteed a good job for life, and that’s what Chris thought was in store for him.
But along came a couple of Australian lasses whose presence changed his destiny.
Chris remembers it well, the hockey tournament in Canterbury to which Nicole Murphy (Bendigo Weekly’s original Food Fossicker) had dragged her friend Susan Morrison (Sooze), so they could watch Nicole’s then-beau compete.
Chris wasn’t a player: he was at the tournament for the social side, and he met the Australians. A year or so later, Sooze had moved in with him at his parents’ house, and they were tentatively looking at a life together.
A year later again, and they were in Australia, he on a working visa, living this time with Sue’s parents in Queanbeyan, helping out in their newsagency.
“It wasn’t quite what everyone expects,” he says of that time living in a town just outside Canberra. “None of my family had been to Australia, and we tended to associate it with barbies on the beach.”
The couple travelled around, up to far north Queensland and down to Gippsland. He describes himself at this part of his life as “a bit aimless”.
Meanwhile, back at the newsagency, word was getting round that he was a dab hand at caricatures, and slowly but regularly, orders rolled in.
“I didn’t like doing them,” he says, “because you couldn’t please everyone all the time.” They also took a lot of work, and so Chris would end up undercharging for his caricatures, but he was developing useful skills in cartooning through the process.
By 2000, the young couple was living in Castlemaine, where Sooze and her friend Nic were working as podiatrists at the hospital. Once again, gradually, Chris found work as a designer and caricaturist, but at the same time he began training himself in what was then fairly new software for computer graphics.
“It was the very early stages of quick animation software that is very well developed now,” he says.
“At that stage, we didn’t know how it would manifest itself as potential for work, and I did have to start helping to pay some bills.”
Self-taught, and enterprising, Chris eventually built both his skills and his networks sufficiently to land a regular job with an e-card company, based in the United States.
When that bubble burst (as software became easy enough to use on rapidly developing home devices as well as more sophisticated systems used by design companies), he went back to freelancing design here in Bendigo, and developed his blogspot, crikeyboy, where a steadily growing friends and fanbase can keep up with his animation projects.
He also revived a long-held desire to create a children’s picture book.
This brings us back to Sam, on the floor of the Kennett’s lounge room, playing with monster alphabet cards.
With the same quiet confidence that had landed him the e-card job, Chris began to send off proposals to publishers. The rest is history.
“It ended up on the desk of someone who liked it (editor Angie Masters),” Chris says, “and I came up with the narrative about a monster who lost his teddy bear.
“There are a lot of ABC books, and the monster idea has certainly been done for a long time by Sesame Street, but there was something out of the ordinary about my monsters that appealed to them.”
It took over two years, but this week, Alpha Monsters is on the shelves. Next month, it will be officially launched at Dymocks in Bendigo.
“I’ve always wanted to do this, so now I’ve come full circle,” Chris says.
“Everything up to here has been about getting the experience and knowledge. I hope this will be the stepping stone to another book.”
Alpha Monsters is published by Scholastic. The launch will be at Dymocks Bendigo, on Saturday April 9, at 11am.


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