Local business owner Melinda Williams tells Ash Bolt about her generational connection to the Bellarine and her love for Greater Geelong.
What’s your connection to the region?
My connection to Geelong and the Bellarine is generational. My grandparents and parents always visited Geelong and had a caravan in Ocean Grove. My parents used to come to Ocean Grove and Geelong when they were dating. I have photos of my parents sitting on the Barwon Heads river and at Eastern Beach when they were teenagers. As a young child I remember staying at my grandparents’ caravan when Ocean Grove was bush and mainly farming land. My parents then bought a caravan in Ocean Grove and I spent many amazing summers here as a teenager, back when you could light bonfires on the beach and see 80’s bands like the Hoodoo Gurus at the Collendina Pub.
What do you like about where you live?
I decided to move back to Geelong and the Bellarine just before my kids started school as I wanted them to experience the same relaxed, safe atmosphere I had when I was a child. We moved to Bellarine in 2005, and although it has grown in size and population the essence of why it is a great place to live is still here. The community of Geelong and the Bellarine is like a big country town where people support each other. It is comforting to go to the shops and see familiar faces and know people’s names. I also wanted to change my career pathway and was given the opportunity to take on a new position as a project manager at Barwon Health to help improve cancer services across the region. Previously I had worked in haematology/oncology in Melbourne as a registered nurse.
What, if anything, would you change about where you live?
When I first shifted to the Bellarine all I wanted was a good coffee, however that is no longer an issue in Geelong and the Bellarine. Over the years Geelong and the Bellarine have grown and it is now a very desirable food and wine destination. The amount of growth Geelong has been seen particularly through COVID has however impacted business. Staff shortages are one of the key reasons businesses are closing down around Geelong and the Bellarine. I think we need to offer incentives to get international students back to regional areas to fill all of the vacant jobs available.
Where is your favorite local place to spend time?
My favorite place to spend time would be at home with my family or out with friends at the Geelong Cellar door or The Piano Bar.
Tell us something people would be surprised to know about you…
I am completing a diploma in meditation.
Tell us a little bit about what you’ve got going on?
After working at Barwon Health for 12 years I resigned to take on the role of business owner and practice manager of Adaptive Integrated Health Center in Leopold. My husband, who is a podiatrist, and I bought the clinic and have set it up as an allied health clinic.