Gina’s life among the gum trees is a constant delight

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Gina’s life among the gum trees is a constant delight

February 24, 2021

Living in her “bushland’ home at Leith Park has been a short 15 years for Gina Louis who moved from Blackwood to the retirement village.

“I moved in June 2006 and I have never regretted a moment,” June said.

She chose Leith Park because its old gum trees reminded her of the hamlet of Blackwood, although in a more structured way and because she has her own garden.

“Living in a retirement village was strange at first, but it has allowed me privacy when I wish, as well as the ability to see neighbours.  To be in a safe environment and to be able to call on staff has been a wonderful comfort, as my health became a little less robust,” she said.

Gina is the fourth daughter of successful Italian migrant parents.  Her father arrived here in 1927 after spending seven years in the USA.  He started a wholesale business at the Victoria Market which is now in Epping, and will celebrate its centenary in 2030!  His file is held at the Italian Museum in Carlton.

When Gina is not exploring the local suburbs of Eltham and Warrandyte or touching base with her neighbours at Leith Park, she writes.

Last year she won the inaugural Leith Park short story prize, which she found a wonderful distraction from lockdown.

Gina has been writing since 1976 and more seriously while studying at Monash for an Arts Degree Majoring in Western Music.  Her study led her to work as an administrator in the Music Department at LaTrobe University, before moving onto become an agent and publicist for musicians and dancers.

More recently, Gina has had poetry based on the Japanese Haiku published and performed.   Suzuki’s Pillow was performed on the first night of the Melbourne International Arts Festival in 1996, and Fleeting Moments at the Athenaeum Theatre in 1998.

For many people, 2020 was a ghastly year for many reasons, for Gina it was a blessing, allowing her to be pleasantly selfish.

“I ordered everything I need on line.  I had more quiet time to read, to sew, to update my family biography and correspond with friends and family,” she said.

And, of course, the chance to garden quietly in her home among the gum trees.

“Our home has always been a place where family and friends are welcome.  Our cottage at Rushall Park is no different and the community of friends here is important to us and that’s why their work is part of my art box,” Jennifer Barden said.

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