Hollie Joyce, musician
Hailing from the south coast of Victoria, Hollie has always had one foot in and out between her home on the Bellarine Peninsula (Bellawiyn) and Melbourne (Naarm). After moving to Ocean Grove from the western suburbs of Melbourne at a young age, Hollie found herself not only immersed in the coastal community, but also in the region's rich musical culture too.
“The older musicians supported us kids. They gave us support slots, prepared us for the industry and connected us too. The first year I started playing, when I was around 16 years old, I gigged so much. I had already got a spot at Queenscliff Music Festival and then a few months later I was on RockWiz. I was lucky, and I’m still lucky to have the same older musicians continuously supporting me. That’s why I’m back working in the community supporting the younger generation.”
In between her raucous rock ‘n roll performances around Melbourne, Hollie is working on new releases for 2023, including a much-anticipated album produced with the support of the Queenscliff Music Festival and an ‘Emerging Artist Grant’.
We caught up with Hollie to chat all things Geelong and the Bellarine, including her top music tips for the region.
1. Point Lonsdale Coast
Point Lonsdale has the best hidden snorkel spots. I once went snorkelling as a kid through caves surrounded by schools of colourful fish. I’d love to tell you where it is, but I haven’t been able to find it again. The whole of Point Lonsdale is full of snorkel spots, you just have to ask a local. If you wanted to venture out closer to Pope's Eye, you can get a boat from Queenscliff and if you’re lucky you might see some dolphins and seals. All kinds of sea life have been spotted around this area including recently an orca.
2. Barwon River/Beach
Barwon Heads is a pretty special place, with the river going out to sea making the water flat most of the time and inviting a lot of sea life to pass through. There is a track that leads you up to the bluff where you can sit and overlook Ocean Grove and Barwon Heads. When you’re up there it’s quite peaceful. Down at the shore you will find people swimming, canoeing and fishing. The water most of the time is crystal clear, and over the years I have seen seals and dolphins pass through.
3. Piping Hot Chicken Shop – Ocean Grove
Don’t be fooled by the name. There’s chicken alright, but this place is also a music venue. The walls are covered in 50s and 60s memorabilia, gig posters with faces you might recognise, and the smell of fried chicken. Back in the day, the owner John happened to hear me across the road and asked me to play at his chook shop. He'd run the place as if it was a speakeasy, packing it with music goers like sardines. The music was loud, but good loud, and the drinks were flowing. At the end of it he always paid you. John retired years ago, but the new owners are keeping the joint alive and kicking. I haven’t been to a chook gig for years now but if you have the time, go in and check it out.
4. Ocean Grove Nature Reserve
The reserve is massive and perfect for photographers wanting to capture wildlife. This is the largest patch of non-coastal Indigenous vegetation left on the Bellarine Peninsula. It’s a sanctuary for wildlife, endangered flora (like the Bellarine Yellow Gum) and a place to learn about Wadawurrung people and Wadawurrung country. Check the Parks Victoria website before you go, the weather can prevent it from being accessible.
I love this cinema in Geelong (Djilong). It’s in an inconspicuous spot, but once you walk in you immediately smell the popcorn. The design has 70s cocktail bar vibes with only one screen and limited spots, so it's intimate. You can choose to sit on chairs or on a bean bag up the front, drinking a whiskey neat. The film choices are also excellent and are a treat for independent film lovers. This venue has a lift for accessibility too.