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Monday 2nd July 2018

Faces of Woodlea

Within the Woodlea community, a gathering of many different countries of origin and backgrounds are represented.

Embedded within diverse residential communities such as ours, there are also many cultural gifts to discover, and once shared, these gifts can add immeasurably to the quality of life and social opportunity for residents. 

Woodlea embraces this cultural diversity and the “Faces of Woodlea” video series is an early step to celebrate the range of perspectives within our growing community. Such a celebration builds understanding, tolerance, friendships and shared joy in a new life together. First and foremost, our “Faces” participants are deeply committed to the new life that they have chosen for their families, as Woodlea/Aintree pioneers!

As our community continues to grow, we intend to build on the “Faces” catalogue, representing the many different families that make up the Woodlea community. Please ask us how you can become involved by emailing our Community Development Manager Claire:

Meet the faces of Woodlea 

In the coming weeks, we will be introducing you to some of the families and people that have contributed to this project and shared their story with us. Keep an eye out and watch as the faces library continues to grow to give a true sense of the residents that make up Woodlea.  

Episode 1 - Boyce

New Zealand born and bred but with a strong Cook Islands heritage, Boyce tells us of the central role that dance plays in his family life and cultural traditions. He is committed to continuing the cultural tradition throughout his immediate family. Without too much prompting, Boyce provided us with a demonstration of his dance skills. Bubbly by nature, we suspect that Boyce may also put on such an impromptu demonstration for his neighbours, without being asked twice!

Episode 2 - Chris

Chris was one of the very first Woodlea residents, with a passion for engagement with those around him and the Woodlea community in general. Chris was selected as being representative of “traditional” Australian caucasian background, but learning of his Maltese descent reminded us that it is only the indigenous Australians who aren’t derived from somewhere else! When we also found out that he was born to the West of the Victorian border, we chuckled about South Australia’s reputation as a place that is foreign to civilization as we know it!

Chris has a passion for speedboating and water-skiing.

Gustavao - Episode 3

Gustavao’s young family is a mix of Latin European and Latin American blood, and from his account of their lives at home they have found a wonderful blend. Gustavao (“Gus”) is from El Salvador and his wife is from Italy. A Latin home would not be complete without a love of joyous, uplifting music and wonderful food, designed to share with neighbours, friends and family.

Gus may be the only South American within the area who is proficient in the time-honoured Italian food tradition of salami making? Then again, the further we dig, the more cultural surprises we uncover! Naturally, red-wine making is also now part of Gustavao’s skill-set!

Manny - Episode 4

Emmanuel “Manny” was born in Malta and came to Australia as a child in the post-war migrant intake of 1954. He tells of an era of simplicity and joy amongst the challenges of life in a new land.

Manny loves being around young people and is frequently seen chatting to residents and visitors alike. He still drives buses, which has no doubt helped hone that larger than life persona over the years! Woodlea recognizes that a balanced community has representation across the ages and Manny shows us that living in a new community with many young families helps to keep a spring in one’s step.

So be sure to stop and say hello to Manny if you should see him walking his beloved little dog….however, chances are he will say “g’day” first!

Raj and Melod - Episode 5

Raj and Melody went all out to wear clothing that denotes their cultural heritage, from Mumbai India.

Their Indian experience is of a glorious and multi-tiered society, where food culture is king. Raj and Melody have helped build our understanding of traditional festivals and celebrations that are important to their original community, that now cut across religious and cultural divisions. This philosophy is aligned closely with the Woodlea inter-cultural approach.

Melody has helped connect us with a local resource for one of her favourite pastimes – yoga – and Raj tells us proudly of his time as a Chef on a major cruise ship. We can’t wait to sample some of his fine fare.

Petr (and Laetitia) - Episode 6

Petr is from Vladivostok Russia, where the famous Trans-Siberian railway starts its 7-day journey to Moscow. Petr is married to Leticia, who was born in Belgium. They live in Woodlea with their two young daughters, who by their parents definition reflect both Eastern and Western culture.

Petr tells us of a Russian tradition that is handed down from generation to generation when moving into a new house. With so many doing just that at Woodlea, we recommend new residents watching Petr tell us about the Russian symbolic cat “house keeper”, that watches over the new residence and helps to maintain household happiness. Perhaps as a reflection of his own childhood experience in communist Russia where his family shared a modest state-built apartment, he recognises the golden opportunity that exists for residents to further enhance their Woodlea existence though reaching out and embracing their immediate community.

Bernadette - Episode 7

Bernadette loves taking her four kids to the wonderful Woodlea parks and therefore it is appropriate that we spoke to her in the Stage 1 park.

Hers is a mixed-nationality household and their favourite family culinary experience reflects her husband’s Filipino culture. Banana leafs for plates and fingers, not forks has their kids in messy food heaven!

Bernadette may be our only resident who was born in Laos - or maybe not? – but given that the Philippines is the place of origin for a significant number of Woodlea residents, the style of her family feasts will no doubt resonate with many residents. A community feast beckons!

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