Over the winter break, I was able to spend some time in my electorate of Aston, where I volunteer down at the Knox and District Toy Library with the state member for Bayswater, Jackson Taylor. The Knox and District Toy Library has been an integral service for the families of Knox for the past 40 years. The Knox toy library provides a variety of fun, educational, and age-appropriate toys for loan at an affordable rate to promote children's learning and development through play. The toy library is also an informal meeting point for parents of varying cultural and socioeconomic groups and caters for children from six months to six years of age. A toy library membership gives children the opportunity to experience a wider range of toys that they wouldn't normally have access to and allows children to make decisions and learn from their decision-making as well. Thank you to Chris and the team at the Knox and District Toy Library for providing such a fantastic service to the local community of Aston.
I also attended the Hut Gallery in Ferntree Gully, home to the Ferntree Gully Arts Society and where I officially opened their print and drawing open exhibition. The Ferntree Gully Arts Society continues provide a warm and welcoming environment for artists of all abilities and ages. It has been active since its inception in 1944. The Hut was an old Army hut that was purchased in 1947 and moved from Darley, near Bacchus March, north-west of Melbourne, to the present site in Ferntree Gully—hence the name of the Hut Gallery. Some of the fantastic artworks that were displayed utilised printing techniques such as linocut. I remember having a crack at this myself back in year 11 art class back in the late eighties. There was a piece using a technique called drypoint etching or engraving for three tiny dollhouses, and these three different houses each had their own tiny little features. The detail in the etching work was just exquisite. The artwork, entitled Dollhouses, picked up first prize in this category, and congratulations goes to the very talented artist, Kathleen Formoso. It was a great delight to attend this year's Ferntree Gully Arts Society print and drawing exhibition, and I thank Shirley Dougan, from the Hut Gallery, for always making me feel so welcome.
Lastly, I was thrilled to attend this year's Chinese Association of Victoria's Mid Year Dinner in Wantirna. The theme was 'Glitter Night', and it was wonderful to see a dazzling crowd bursting with community spirit. The dinner was held in conjunction with the School Building Trust Fund's fundraising pledge, and a grand sum of $77,000 was raised. I thank the Chinese Association of Victoria and the Chinese community of Aston for all their warmth.