Jonnine Standish, musician
Jonnine Standish’s music has been categorised as “ambient/country/experimental”, which suggests she’s really hard to fit in a box. The singer-songwriter was born in the UK, but moved to Melbourne (Naarm) at the age of three. Since 2016, she’s called the Dandenong Ranges home, writing dreamy, genre-busting songs from her little house among the gumtrees of Sherbrooke forest.
Standish made a name for herself as the co-founder of HTRK (pronounced “hate rock”), and her vocals have featured on songs by Dreamcrusher, Rowland S. Howard, Loraine James and heaps more. If you haven’t explored her solo back catalogue, start with the 2019 EP, Supernatural. It’s a collection of stripped, spectral dub, both spoken and sung, at the same time weird and hauntingly cool. Which is a pretty good description of Standish’s whole musical vibe.
As a long-time Dandenongs local, Standish has plenty of favourite spots. We caught up with her to get some tips.
1. Epoche, Kallista
There’s a magical shop in Kallista village named Epoche. Filled to the brim with toy animals that could come to life at any moment. It also holds whimsical books, diaries, skincare, ceramics and plenty of fairies. It's a warm embrace just to walk around the rooms, and I always find something meaningful. I look forward to seeing what the mice are up to in the wonderful window displays, which change with the seasons.
2. Mad Raven, Kallista
A local pizza spot, surrounded by spring lilac wisteria, that has quite a mysterious Twin Peaks-y feel about it. The name is a tribute to a real nutty and talkative village raven. When Conrad and I were thinking of moving to the hills from Carlton, we would stop here for pizza and drive around the back streets wondering what our life might be like. The classic margarita (with added black olives) is my Friyay favourite.
3. Bullen Bullen Cultural Tours
A guided walk in the forest while learning more about Aboriginal history. It’s an inspiring and fascinating insight into the traditional lifestyle of Wurundjeri Ancestors. I loved finding out about some traditional Wurundjeri medicinal uses of plants and berries. I did this walk with my bandmate Nigel, and we learnt so much about the healing history of the forest where we make our music.
4. Truffaux, Olinda
A romantic Panama hat shop in Olinda village, whose beautiful windows run around a glass corner block. It’s run by the charming Oska. He makes you feel so comfortable playing dress-ups. This place is filled with Panamas, fedoras, berets and the cutest mushroom and baby animal glowing floor lamps. It’s also dog friendly!
5. Hounds Olinda
A very stylish dog outfitters in Olinda. It’s kind of like Harrods for dogs. There are designer puffer jackets and tartan harnesses. There are even woollen high-neck skivvies, if you’re taking your dog to a gallery opening later. It also stocks chic French dog toys, chunky gold chains, and organic treats like freeze-dried sardines with capers, plus ridiculously luxe beds, blankets and dog pools. After you get your pooch kitted up you can go off-lead at Olinda golf course and sashay away.
6. Proserpina Bakehouse, Ferny Creek
Proserpina Bakehouse is a crazy, delicious organic bakery in Ferny Creek. On early frosty mornings, it’s a short drive to the most incredible chocolatines. The counter alone is like a ‘Charlie and The Chocolate Factory’ explosion of croissants, cheesecakes and pavlovas. On the weekend, I get here about 7:30am to beat the tourists, stock up on sweet bakery goods, eat them in the car, and get back into bed.