Col­lege in new land bid

Geelong Advertiser - - NEWS - SHANE FOWLES TAMARA McDON­ALD

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.

Pic­ture: MARK WIL­SON

WELL TRAV­ELLED: Jan Juc’s Fran Griffiths re­calls her colour­ful past in her new book.

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