The Best Doughnuts in Melbourne’s West

Although I shouldn’t eat wheat, I make a few exceptions. For desserts. Of course. The humble doughnut, probably one of the wheatiest of all desserts, would have to be number one on my list of favourite desserts. My love for doughnuts dates back to my childhood and growing up in an outer south eastern suburb that couldn’t boast for much at the time. But inexplicably it had one of those silver and purple doughnut vans and sometimes my parents would buy me and my brother and even half dozen. Three hot, sugary, jam dripping goodnesses each. Times were different then. No one cared about `too much sugar’.

Anyway, enough about me. Let me recommend two places in Melbourne’s west where you can get a doughnut. I’m generous like that.

1. Olympic Doughnuts.
No doughnut list in Melbourne is complete without a mention of Olympic doughnuts at Footscray station. No one ever talks about Olympic Doughnuts without moaning gutturally in deep pleasure. Doughnut van owner and doughnut maker Nikos Tsigliris makes about 500 doughnuts a day. He and his little van have been in the same place for 33 years. That’s a lot of doughnuts.

Nikos Tsiglaris
Nikos Tsiglaris, Dude.
So revered is Nick, his doughnuts and his van, the Regional Rail Link has taken the unusual step of allowing Nick to remain in business throughout the Regional Rail links Demolition works. In a notice they created and pasted onto the front window of his van, the Regional Rail Link Team says they worked closely with Mr Tsigliris and his family to `allow the doughnut van to remain in place while the work is undertaken thus minimising the impact of the demolition on the business.’
While every other business at the train station was demolished and the area fenced off and under scaffolding, the little van continues to operate in the same spot it has been in since 1981. Now that’s respect.
Doughnuts Olympic

Olympic Doughnuts Eat me.

Nick is quite the charmer too. He can still make a woman swoon. When I told him my parents were from Larissa, central Greece, he recited some lines from a Greek song about fair skinned, fair haired Greek women like myself, being the most beautiful in Greece, before handing over a couple of free doughnuts. Smooth.

Where: Footscray Station, 51 Irvine St, Footscray.
Hours: Mon- Sat. 9a – 5p
9689 4819
80c a doughnut or $4.80 for six.

2. Papa Bear Bakehouse.
Actually in the heart of the middle of nowhere is this tiny gem of a bakery that specialises in Filipino bread and delicacies.  The friendly owners are too shy to reveal much about themselves. All you need to know is that the Filipino doughnuts are very good.  They come in a plait, and are dusted with sugar and/or cinnamon. And they are 50 cents each, very much worth the trek out to Braybrook. Fifty cents people. Fifty cents. And while you are out there, pop into here. That will make for a lovely afternoon tea.

Papa Bear Doughnuts

Plaits never looked this good. Papa Bear.

3012 Exhibition by Sarah Watt @ Post Industrial Design


When film maker and photographer Sarah Watt and her husband, the actor William McInnes, moved to West Footscray in 1990, they did so because it was “the cheapest place to live”.

“The skies are really wide. So, you get a great feel for space,” she says.

We are speaking at the launch of her latest exhibition titled simply 3012. This is West Footscray’s postcode. The exhibition is at West Footscray’s stylish Post industrial Design.

On this perfect Melbourne spring day, where the sky is as blue as it is wide, local residents and friends’ of the couple have crammed in to celebrate one of their own, a talented and favourite sister.

Watt has secondary stages breast cancer. She looks beautiful and radiant. Her wide smile never leaves her face as she greets friends and fans of her work, her husband never far from her side.

Watt is probably best known for her feature films. In 2005, she won the Australian Film Institute Best Director award for her film Look Both Ways. In 2009, she released her second film, My Year Without Sex.

“Films take so long to make. I like being able to take photos,” she says.

Anyone familiar with West Footscray would instantly recognise her images. There is a photo of the op shop on Barkly street; the skeletal brick remains of the old Dunlop tyre factory on Rupert street; the Uncle Toby’s silo on Sunshine Road; the unused train carriages resting at Tottenham station that look bleak by day but come alive at night when rows of lights – like thousands of fairy lights illuminate the tracks; the airplane at Central West; Indian saris on mannequins from the Indian shops on Barkly street – classic images of West Footscray.

“They (the images) open your eyes to the everyday that is around you. And the beauty of light and how it works on buildings”, says local resident Andrew.

Watt paints over her photos with acrylic paint. Sometimes she uses crayons or coloured pencils. It gives the photos greater texture and depth and the illusion of a painting or a sketch rather than a photo.

All around me people are reacting with delight at images they recognise from their home. One woman, standing next to an image of 501 Receptions on Barkly Street, is laughing at the centre’s slogan, A Touch Of Class.”

“It’s funny. Could you imagine getting married here?” she asks. Many have.

Sarah exhibited another series of images at Post Industrial Design several months ago as part of this year’s Victoria’s State of Design Festival. It is not surprising that Watt would choose a new gallery close to her beloved home to exhibit her work.

I ask Watt if she has any final words she would like to share for this story. Unsurprisingly, she generously credits gallery owner Mary Long for opening the little gallery and shop, and for her contribution to West Footscray.

“Mary, has achieved a bit of a breakthrough with this place. She’s showing that art and design can have a function. She’s gathered a little gang of people from the area, a collective of people who work on all the exhibitions together.”

The gallery is also selling her calendar, 3012/2012, which features images from her exhibition.

I leave Watt sitting with her mother, Anna. Her husband strides towards her, a tender look on his face. On one perfect day, everything she loved merged; family, community and art.

Sarah Watt

Sarah Watt, with husband William McInnes and artist Trish Holleley
Uncle Tobys

Art by Sarah Watt Uncle Tobys and Dunlop
Sitting Around

Sitting Around by Sarah Watt
A Touch Of Class

A Touch of Class by Sarah Watt

Dunlop by Sarah Watt
Sarah Watt’s brave battle with cancer ended with her death on 4th November 2011. Her attendance at the launch of her exhibition was to be her last public appearance.Her photographic tribute to her home is made more poignant because she knew she was leaving it behind.Update: 3012 Exhibition by Sarah Watt has been extended to the end of November.

Story originally printed on

18th Greek Film Festival 2011

“I think it’s interesting in a country like Greece, that’s really struggling these days, that films as exciting and innovative as this can be made.”
David Stratten, At The Movies, ABC.


The Greek film industry is undergoing an incredible transformation at the moment that some people have called the`Greek Weird Wave’. Anyone who has seen the brilliant, Oscar nominated film, Dogtooth, by director/writer Giorgos Lanthimos, would have to agree.

Anyone unfamiliar with Greek films will have the chance to become better acquainted in the coming days as the18th Greek Film Festival begins its Melbourne season, running from the 12th to 30th October at the Palace cinemas.

Need for Lies

Need for Lies, Opening night film. Image courtesy of 18th Greek Film Festival.

The festival will open with the lightweight political satire `Need For Lies’ (Dir. Ieroklis Michaelidis), an adaptation of one of Greece’s best-loved stage comedies.

The festival program includes a range of feature films and documentaries.

M. Cacoyiannis

Dir. Michael Cacoyiannis. Image courtesy of 18th Greek Film Festival.

The festival will also screen several films by director Michael Cacoyiannis, best known for his film Zorba the Greek. He died earlier this year.

Apple strudel

The Acland Cake Shop in Melbourne’s famous Acland Street, St Kilda, remains staunchly unchanged in a street that in the last 15 years has moved away from gentle Jewish European ambiance, black wearing student share house grunginess, little boutique shops, cafes and seedy little bars, to that of a flashy seaside resort with big apartment developments and big chain shops.

It is a little bit of old St Kilda and hallelujah for that. While the rest of St Kilda may look chi chi and pumped, the Acland Cake Shop still looks like your European mum’s old style kitchen with plastic doilies, fake flowerpots, menus slid under glass tops, pine tables and a courtyard out the back. The owner still wanders around in black and white, serving, and making sure everyone is alright.

And let’s not forget the desserts: giant bouncy meringues, goopy custard strawberry tarts, French vanilla slices, chunky marshmallow rocky roads, baked cheese cakes, chocolates …

For many years it has been the tradition between myself and a friend to meet at the Acland Cake Shop for what we call a cheryl – a cherry strudel. She always orders the cherry strudel and I always order the apple strudel. Occasionally my eyes are seduced by something else but I’m quite faithful to my apple strudel. Sure, it is not as flashy as some of the other desserts on offer but the serve is generous, the apple filling chunky and it’s nestled on a sweet spongy cake layer then wrapped in a delicious pastry. Served warm with a serve of Chantilly cream and a strong coffee, it is a nice way to enjoy St Kilda.

Apple Strudel: $5.50
Chantilly cream: $1.00
Coffee: $3.50


Apple strudel, Chantilly cream and coffee
Acland Cake shop
The Acland Cake Shop

Original story on WeekendNotes.

One Hundredth Gallery

Deborah Zibah

art by Deborah Zibah
large image

Charles Hardman

Illustration by gallery owner Charles Hardman, photo by writer.



Rachel Buse artwork
When Charles Hardman was a teenager he took his paintings to various galleries and all of them asked him three things:
1. Where have you exhibited before?
2. What percentage sold?
3. What was the average selling price?He found it impossible as an emerging artist to get gallery space to exhibit his work, to sell, to gain exposure and develop a reputation. He vowed to one day set up his own gallery to help emerging artists.

That was 18 years ago. In the meantime, Charles concentrated on pursuing a corporate career.

It was my Plan A and art became my Plan B. When I had the means, I would jump back into the arts,” he says from his cosy gallery space around the corner from Melbourne’s super groovy Greville Street in Prahran.

In May this year, he opened the One Hundredth Gallery dedicated to the exhibition and sale of artwork by aspiring and emerging artists. Artists rent space to exhibit their work for a two week run.

Charles finds the exhibiting artists are usually motivated by a desire to sell their work, to build their C.V. and achieve a life goal.

Since opening, 33 artists have exhibited their work in the gallery, whilst another 25 have exhibited in the online gallery on his website.

The gallery is trying to “breakdown the perception that art galleries can be snooty. We want everyone to walk through the gallery and enjoy the experience,” says Charles.

The gallery is for everyone new to art, whether they are an artist or a visitor.

Price for artworks range from $200- $2000.

Original story on WeekendNotes.

Hip Hop Academy

Youths living in Melbourne’s western suburbs will once again have a chance to participate in a series of workshops presented by the Hip Hop Academyat Footscray Community Arts Centre (FCAC).

Following a successful program last year, and as part of their three year residency at FCAC, Comedy Festival stars Aamer Rahman and Nazeem Hussain (aka Fear of a Brown Planet) will again curate the program. Hip Hop Academy offers young people from Melbourne’s West an opportunity to work with some of Australia’s most dynamic hip hop artists.

Over a series of weekend workshops, kids and teenagers will explore hip hop culture while investigating issues of social discrimination and race relations. Participants will express their identities through the creation of new words, beats, fashion and moves. Participants also gain an understanding of the history of hip hop culture

The workshops will cover MCing, beat making, breaking, graffiti, rap and DJing, as well as hip hop fashion, film and documentaries.

Best of all, the workshops are free and participants will have the chance to put on a super jam concert at the end of the sessions.

Originally published on WeekendNotes.

Melbourne Fine Art Gallery

I was in the city earlier this week, walking along Bourke Street towards my bus stop when I came across an open doorway and a little sign saying `Melbourne Fine Art Gallery‘ come inside.

Looking into the doorway, I could see paintings on a wall alongside a staircase leading to a room upstairs. Timidly I climbed up the stairs. Once upstairs I felt I must immediately turn around and leave.

This did not look like a gallery. Instead, I felt like I had accidentally walked into someone’s studio or private space. There were paintings on the wall, placed on the floor, and on tables. In the corner was a man talking on the phone by a desk.

As I turned to go, the man beckoned and I stayed, captivated by the simple beauty of the room built sometime at the turn of the last century.

It had maple coloured floorboards, an intricate and ornate wooden skylight and a sloping ceiling. The golden afternoon sunlight was staining the walls, all of which were adorned with some exquisite paintings, with a strong feminine theme. Intrigued, I waited till he got off the phone.

The man was Jon Dwyer, one of the gallery owners, the other being Bryan Collie. Google later informed me Dwyer comes from a prominent art family with both his father and grandfather being well-known and well regarded in the Australian art scene.

All I knew was that he was a friendly, welcoming and congenial host, showing me around the room and talking to me about the paintings. He explained the style of the gallery is inspired by European galleries, which are designed to look informal, as if one has stepped into an artist’s studio.

The gallery exhibits work from a stable crew of artists including Howard Arkley, Sid Cross and Bill Coleman.

Notably, the gallery has a good collection of the exquisite work by Melbourne artist Judy Drew. She creates delightfully feminine, richly colourful, and textured works with pastels.

The gallery is open to anyone but the hours are irregular. It is best to ring first as the owners are often traveling.

Sid Cross

Painting by Sid Cross
Sky light

Skylight in gallery
Judy Drew

Judy Drew pastel, image via
Story originally published on WeekendNotes.

Free Offers from Rush Crowds

When Fiona Boyd and David Eadle decide to start an e-business venture, you can be certain it will be a knockout success in no time at all, with their latest venture RushCrowds proving they have the midas touch.

The entrepreneurial duo are the creators and original owners of the very successful ArtsHub and ScreenHub online subscription websites.

RushCrowds connects members to events and events to members. Event promoters use RushCrowds to inform members about their venues, shows and events. In exchange, RushCrowd members gain free admission or discounted ticket entry by promoting the event they wish to attend by sharing a link to their friends or followers through Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare.

Membership to RushCrowds is free. You sign up on their website and choose whether to connect your Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare account to the site.

This approach allows promoters to reach an art hungry audience. It gets bums on seats and helps make a night out more affordable for many people.

“A night out can be an expensive exercise, when you take into account taxis, babysitters, drinks, entry fees, and can discourage people from going out, ” says Fiona.

Tickets are limited so members must act fast if they wish to attend an event. Perhaps you have already seen the links on your Facebook wall or Twitter account.

RushCrowds has grown so fast the team are planning to open a site in Sydney later this month or early September before taking on the rest of Australia and the world. They are planning to add retail and real estate to their platform.

“We initially had the idea for RushCrowds back in 1999 when we wrote the business plan for a similar concept called Arts Rush. However at that time we could not see how to get a big enough market share quickly enough. Not everyone had an email address for example,” says Fiona.

It would take another ten years before they began realising their dream, along with co-founders Michelle Nicol and Ed Dowling.

David and Fiona are featured in the book 50 Great e-Businesses and the Minds Behind Them by Emily Ross and Angus Holland published in 2007.

Currently RushCrowds has special or free offers available for the following: the dance performance I Left My Shoes On Warm Concrete and Danced In The Rain, at the Arts House; a comedy show by Hung Le (violinist, comedian, actor, novelist and playwright); Krakouer, a play about two brothers who played AFL in the 1980s, at the Frankston Performing Arts Centre.

Check the RushCrowds website for details.


Original story on WeekendNotes.