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The promenade

Making connections on the Beacon Cove promendade

Every morning and in every season* Lenny, Ruby and Fred meet on the Beacon Cove Promenade.

Lenny Williams, Ruby and Fred Nicholson

Ruby is the star attraction. We vie for her favours: a raised paw, a cuddle behind the ears.  

Lenny got Ruby after Tiger, also a Jack Russell, died.

They are very close. They’re inseparable. There’s LennyandRuby, not Lenny and Ruby.

Passersby become friends stop to chat. Football results, the weather, health matters, fishing and Ruby – these are the main topics of conversation.

Others greet them warmly on the way to the tram stop. ‘Gdday boys’ says the fisherman.

Fred used to read the electricity meters for the Port Melbourne Council when it had its own electricity supply so he knows every house, every business in Port from that time. Now he keeps an eye on the cruise shipping schedule on his phone – always knowing which ship is is coming and going. His meticulous memory yields an inexhaustible source of stories about the past. He is a dictionary of the names Port people go by. We learn that Lenny is actually Bomber to family and friends.

Lenny used to fish with Dugga Beazley. He can interpret the fishing and the fishing boats, what’s in season and his weather forecasting is more reliable than the BoM.

Lenny Williams with Ruby, or Rubes, as one of her admirers calls her

They are a bridge between Port now and Port then.

Jane M says: “I welcome our daily chats.  Lenny has educated me in all things Port – history, weather, shipping. Lenny and Fred are true Port Melbourne characters and I am all the wiser for knowing them.”

Jane H agrees.  “l feel that Lenny and Fred have given me a glimpse of how things were back then. A tangible connection to times past. A gift.”

Ruby supports us all, especially Fred who is a full time carer for his wife.

They look out for us, and we look out for them

* Ok, perhaps not every single day. The winter cold has kept them away a bit recently.

with Jane Mepham and Jane Hayton

This piece was prepared for PORTogether, an initiative of SHIP (Social Health and Inclusion Port) in May 2019. Other stories from the project are on the PORTogether blog.


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