PMBA Committee Members
One of the founding members of the Port Melbourne Business Association, Tony Hill is passionate about the Port Melbourne community.
A solicitor in Port Melbourne’s oldest law practice, Tony joined McClusky’s Lawyers in the 1980’s with a desire to work in a community-based legal service. With a community-focused ethos, McClusky’s Lawyers has been providing legal services in Bay Street now since 1950.
With a desire to lobby council on the needs of local businesses in an organised way, Tony and four other business owners established the Business Association in 1990. As Tony explained, “back in 1990 the area was largely industrial, so 90% of the council’s rate contributions were paid by businesses, for this reason, it was important that we have a voice.”
Evidence of some of the early achievements of the Association can be seen in the Bay Street pavement between Liardet and Graham Streets. In 1997 the Association successfully lobbied the council and Vic Roads to widen the footpath to make al fresco dining possible. A metal strip delineating the original width of the footpath can still be seen today.
The association was also integral in the development of the commercial and retail space between Graham and Rouse Streets. Part of the original plan for Port Melbourne’s Bay Street, the retail precinct now inches ever closer to the bay.
And while Port Melbourne Town Hall is no longer the “centre” of Bay Street it remains an important part of Port’s trading history. Tony’s offices are filled with historical records of the area and the evidence of ambitious plans to put Port Melbourne on the map.
It’s this passion and drive that saw Tony join the board of Claremont Aged Care Home in 1992. Now championing new service models for aged care, alongside his Business Association contributions, Tony remains very invested in the local community. While clichéd, Tony acknowledged, “You get out of life what you put into it.”
After 25 years in the advertising and marketing industry, former director of the Carlton Football Club, Paul Littmann, took a somewhat unusual career detour. Ten years ago, Paul returned to the place of his youth to establish the world’s first and only carbon neutral dry cleaner – Daisy’s in Rouse Street.
Paul has spent the better part of his life in the area. His parents ran a snack bar on the corner of Lorimer and Normanby Roads. Paul remembers fondly the days of driving to the docks in the back of his parents Holden station wagon loaded with rolls and sandwiches for the hungry wharfies. As Paul acknowledges, “today, you’d need a food license and a certified vehicle to serve food – and probably more than just simple rolls and sandwiches!”
The President of the Port Melbourne Business association for four years now, Paul was encouraged to join the association by then Port Philip Mayor, Janet Bolitho.
And whilst it’s a role few could envy, Paul is passionate about engaging communities and growing businesses. As Paul explained; “the influence we have been able to forge at a local council level has ensured that we are a significant part of the redevelopment of our foreshore areas.”
Paul also holds a strong interest in capitalising and harnessing the potential of our Spirit of Tasmania and cruise ship passengers.
But it’s the Bay Street Christmas windows and associated events that make Paul particularly proud.“I feel incredibly privileged to be part of this voluntary organization. When I see people old and young, rough and refined, singing and enjoying our main street, I realise that it’s the little things that make community”.
George Tsingos has seen a lot of changes on Bay Street. The manager of Port Melbourne’s oldest retail store, Elegant Slax, George holds a rare insight into the changing face of Port Melbourne.
A member of the Business Association since 2000, George gave up a career in teaching when the family business beckoned. Trading much as they have for 40 years now, Elegant Slax still has a strong and loyal band of clients who come for their timeless taste in trousers, jackets, shirts, and other accessories.
‘Born and bred’ in Port Melbourne, George has seen the shifting tides of Port’s retail environment first hand. George long reminisces about the days of five, five-anda-half days of trading. As George explained, Bay Street used to be deserted come midday Saturday, but now, an alfresco, café culture sees the street vibrant well into the night.
Also a member of The Port Melbourne Historical and Preservation Society, George’s passion for Port’s history is as strong as his hopes for the future. “I still love being involved in the community and watching the changing dynamics and demographic that