College in new land bid
COVENANT College wants to acquire more land to prepare for expansion and to ward off encroaching residential development in Geelong’s northwest.
The Christian school in Bell Post Hill has grown quickly in recent years. After starting with 33 pupils in 1983, it now hosts 650 students in P-12 and 50 children in kindergarten.
The college bought 3.2ha (8 acres) of land in 2015.
It is now seeking to purchase a similar sized block of vacant farm land which fronts Creamery Rd and the unconstructed Goodman Rd to the west.
The college has secured federal funding for the purchase but is in a race against time to get the sale done.
A sunset clause on the land sale requires that a permit be issued for subdivision by December.
In a planning application, the proponent notes the need to secure the site to futureproof the college and guard against urbanisation of the surrounding area.
“The school land is limited, and the future growth of Geelong has the potential to allocate land for other purposes … that could constrain the potential for the school to exist and function,” the application says.
“A small parcel of rural zoned land is lost by the proposal, however this is earmarked for future residential growth already.”
The community is said to be in favour of the proposal, with the applicant providing letters of support from adjoining and surrounding landowners. A PET monkey, an arrest in Malaysia and profound sorrow littered Fran Griffiths’ eventful time travelling the hippy trail solo as a young woman in the 1970s.
Griffiths’ colourful tale is chronicled in her debut memoir, Suspected Hippy — Travelling on a Wire.
Griffiths, who grew up in Queensland and has lived in Jan Juc for about 14 years, left Australia on her two-year adventure when she was just 19.
It was in a “beautiful little place by the ocean” staying with local villagers in Malaysia that she was unexpectedly arrested and thrown into jail.
But her lifeline came in the form of a top bureaucrat, who she said had picked her up when she was hitchhiking from the airport and was able to help have her released.
When Griffiths received her passport, police had stamped “suspected hippy” throughout.
“It was actually an offence to stay in an unregistered hotel … that was my crime,” she said.
Griffiths had many more colourful experiences but also faced great tragedy during her journey of self-discovery.
“When I got to Kathmandu I received really bad news that my Dad had died,” she said.
“I went into meltdown and then I got really, really sick and … nearly died in hospital.
“I was there for about three months.”
An unlikely friend helped Griffiths heal — a pet monkey.
“Nepal was really a beautiful time even though it was terribly sad,” she said.
“I was grieving so much and I saw this monkey that these kids were abusing.
“I just had to save it. I rented a little house and my monkey and I just stayed there and I just got love from her.” Suspected Hippy — Travelling on a Wire is available now. A launch will be held at Front Beach Cafe on The Esplanade, Torquay, at 4pm today.
WELL TRAVELLED: Jan Juc’s Fran Griffiths recalls her colourful past in her new book.