Jason King and Sandra Onus at the tent embassy on Portland’s Market Square. AN Aboriginal tent embassy protest on Portland’s Market Square has been blamed for an ugly eruption of racial tension in the district.

As the small protest led by activist Sandra Onus drags on beyond 50 days, other members of the Koorie community have copped criticism, taunts and insults.

Glenelg Shire Council mayor Cr Gilbert Wilson has been told of a woman who was spat on and children who have been teased at school.

“It’s set our community harmony back at least 20 years,” he said.

Respected Aboriginal elder and fellow shire councillor Ken Saunders said unfortunately some people assumed all local Koories were associated with the protest.

“She’s a damn pest,” he said, referring to Ms Onus.

“Her protest is real stupidity and does not have our widespread support.

“The tent is driving everyone crazy and stirring up racism.

“Her issue has to be directed to the federal government, not us.”

The protestors continued to stand firm yesterday, telling The Standard they would remain steadfast in their bid to maintain a campsite at Market Square.

Ms Onus claimed specific indigenous groups received preferential treatment over others and said her activist organisation represented tribes including the Yigar, Gilga, Kerrup-Jmara, Kilcarer, Cart Gundidj and Euroite peoples.

“We plan to keep on representing the native people of this region through the tent embassy, even if it means being arrested,” Ms Onus said.

“This is an arm of the original Canberra tent embassy.

“Certain groups both inside and outside the indigenous community want to silence us.”

Several conical tents have been erected in the square, placards adorn the sides of the shelters and a small fire burns around the clock. In the 1980s Ms Onus protested alongside the late Auntie Betty King and others ahead of the Portland aluminium smelter opening by then premier John Cain.

The group set up an on-again off-again camp near Portland’s Uniting Church during the 1980s.

She was also involved in the Lake Condah land rights push.

Cr Wilson said the issue would probably end in a forced eviction, but he hoped for a peaceful resolution.

“We want to consult, not confront,” he said.

“The council has been moving forward in racial harmony, but this tent protest has brought it undone.”

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Linda Flook and Alan Flowers are preparing to pedal more than 10,000 kilometres in four months. WHILE most south-west residents are preparing to rug up for winter, two intrepid cyclists will spend the next five months in shorts and T-shirts.

Linda Flook and Alan Flowers will leave Warrnambool on Sunday on an epic road trip holiday and probably won’t return until August.

They’ll drive 3000 kilometres to Cairns, unload their bikes and then ride more than 10,000 kilometres across the north, west and south of the continent back to Warrnambool.

“It’s now or never,” 57-year-old Mr Flowers said as he saddled up on his mountain bike, towing a laden 50-kilogram trailer.

The idea gelled from a conversation last year when Mr Flowers called at Ms Flook’s balloon shop on his milk delivery rounds.

He had previously been a casual short-distance cyclist between work commitments, while Ms Flook had been coaxed onto a bike by her teenage son about five years ago and gradually progressed to longer multi-day events in Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia.

They decided to enter the 250-kilometre event around Port Phillip Bay in October, which whet their appetites for a longer challenge after their businesses were sold.

“I’d been around Australia 23 years ago in a vehicle with my family, now it’s time to see it on a bike,” Ms Flook said.

“I thought if we can do the bay ride easily why not have a crack at a big ride around Australia.”

Mr Flowers has been dragging the trailer around district roads in training for the past few months with up to six hours on weekends.

“We aim to do up to 200 kilometres a day. My legs are holding up well and I feel fit,” he said.

“When I said to my wife I wanted to do the Cairns to Perth trip she said ‘go for it’.

“If the winds are OK we’ll just continue onto Warrnambool.”

Ms Flook, 49, chipped in: “We will definitely be riding through all the way back to Warrnambool by August 1.

“The freedom and the wind in the face will be just awesome,” she said.

“On the weekend I rode on the Great Ocean Road from Warrnambool to Geelong.”

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ONE of the largest parcels of CBD property in Warrnambool — featuring a former funeral parlour and butchery dating back to the 1800s — has been put on the market.

The Guyett family property fronting Timor Street covers more than 3000 square metres, including a large section of vacant land suitable for development.

It is believed to be the largest parcel of Warrnambool CBD property offered for sale in recent memory.

Expressions of interest close on April 27 through Northeast Stockdale and Leggo.

Agent Matt Northeast said there was early interest from business investors and the sale would have international exposure.

“A myriad of uses is possible,” he said. “For the CBD this is massive.”

It is being offered in two sections or as a whole.

The largest parcel on 2024 square metres includes the former funeral parlour, which has capabilities for seven bedrooms plus a three-car garage.

Adjacent is a laundromat under a four-bedroom residence, plus a six-car garage.

Spokeswoman for the owners, Helen Bayne, said the properties had great emotional value to the family.

“We have not made this decision lightly, but we believe such a large site offers great potential for redevelopment,” she said.

“Many people are surprised when they see how big the blocks are and that there are substantial gardens behind the buildings.”

Titles for the properties were created in the 1870s and the laundromat building started its life about 1888 as a two-storey residence and workplace for G. A. Wiggs.

It continued to be occupied by butchers until being purchased by Jack and Marg Guyett in the early 1970s.

The larger adjacent building was constructed in the 1930s. It operated as a boarding house until bought by the late Jack Guyett’s parents in 1946 and transformed into a funeral parlour.

Jack bought the funeral business and building from his family in 1956 and it was the home where he and Marg raised seven children.

Mr Guyett installed a gymnasium in one of the garages in the 1970s when he was a stalwart of Merrivale Football Club and it operated as a community facility for about two decades. He died in 1986 and his wife in 2007.

Guyett’s Funeral Home relocated to east Warrnambool in 2010.

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Deakin University Graduation at Lady Bay Resort. PhD graduates L-R: Marine Ecology Agnes Lautenschlager, Marine Ecology Jacquomo Monk, Fisheries Science Daniel Grixti, Marine Ecology Jess Mc Kenzie, Environmental Chemistry Karen Hermon. 120329LP08PICTURE:LEANNE PICKETT Mandi Poustie: support network.

MOST university students will tell you full-time study is hard enough.

But Mandi Poustie took on the challenge while working, raising three children and driving two hours each day to attend Deakin University classes.

Yesterday the Cooriemungle mother graduated with a Bachelor of Education (Primary), which has already landed her a full-time job.

With support from her family and Deakin lecturers, Ms Poustie has successfully emerged with a job at Timboon P-12 and is encouraging others to follow her example.

“It was a challenge but I had great support,” she said. “I’m passionate and determined so if I want to do something I make sure I can get there.

“I knew it was going to be difficult with all the travel but I wanted to meet and develop a relationship and support network with my lecturers.

“They realised I had three different roles and they were always there for me and checking that I was going all right. My husband Jason backs me 100 per cent with any crazy idea I might have and the kids have been great.

“They came in on the holidays to help me set up and they help out with cooking dinner.”

Ms Poustie, 31, had previously started a forensic psychology course but left to raise her family.

She was inspired to return to study after volunteering at school with her children.

“I enjoyed the atmosphere of the school and helping the children,” she said.

“Teaching at Timboon P-12 now is amazing, challenging and lots of fun.”

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David Roach with his granddaughter Chloe Rooth, who graduated yesterday.TEACHING graduate Chloe Rooth has given David Roach another reason to feel proud about Deakin University.

Mr Roach was the first permanent principal of Warrnambool Institute of Advanced Education (WIAE), which later became the Deakin University Warrnambool campus.

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The Ocean Grove resident was principal and later director at the institute from 1970 to 1990, but yesterday returned to Warrnambool to help his granddaughter celebrate achieving her Bachelor of Education (Primary).

Ms Rooth is already enjoying work in the field, having just returned to Warrnambool after seven weeks as a governess teaching three young children on a remote New South Wales station.

“We were two hours north of Broken Hill,” she said.

“It was very peaceful but also an exciting opportunity. I’d like to go back there.”

As part of her course, Ms Rooth secured placements at Katherine in the Northern Territory for three weeks and spent a semester studying on Vancouver Island in Canada.

While the advantages of studying locally influenced her decision to choose Warrnambool, Ms Rooth appreciated the travel and study opportunities.

“I had never been overseas so going to Canada on my own was a real challenge,” she said.

“I could travel and study abroad and still earn credits for my course, which was fantastic.”

Ms Rooth said she was now looking to secure a local teaching job a bit closer to home.

Mr Roach’s daughter Kathie Rooth also graduated from the Warrnambool campus in 1979 with teaching qualifications, making Chloe’s graduation yesterday a third-generation link to the campus.

“I am proud of Chloe and proud to be there for her,” Mr Roach said.

“I was glad that she chose Deakin Warrnambool and pleased that it worked out so well for her.” He said he looked back at the merger with Deakin University in 1990 as a key decision in securing the future of the campus.

“The introduction of teaching education was also one of the most vital advances in Warrnambool and it wasn’t easy. Lots of people were fighting against it.”

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