Mount Eliza nurtures oodles of notable achievers

It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living.
— David Attenborough

If David Attenborough wanted to validate this reflection on how the visual beauty of nature inspires intellect and ignites passion, our idyllic village lifestyle would be a perfect case study.

Set in undulating bush land framed by Port Phillip Bay beaches and outlooks, our community has humbly but consistently turned out generations of passionate achievers.

The Daddo family is just one of many examples of notable people that drew inspiration from their Mount Eliza upbringing. In an interview a few years ago that was published in The Age Cameron Daddo reflected fondly on growing up in the village.

We had acres to play in and we used it all.
— Cameron Daddo quoted in The Age

To pay tribute to the incredible people that our wonderful village has raised, Toorak College published a stunning book in 2014 to celebrate 140 years of turning out many wonderful people and inspiring life stories. All of Mount Eliza’s local schools have fabulous stories to tell and we couldn’t possibly squeeze them all in to one article.

Here is just a sprinkling of some of our more publicly acclaimed Mount Eliza raised talent that have captivated a broader audience beyond Melbourne.

Literary talent

Joanna Murray-Smith: Novelist / author, screenwriter and playwright and Toorak College Alumni.

Joanna Murray-Smith. Image from

Joanna Murray-Smith. Image from

It was at Toorak College that Joanna’s passion for storytelling was nurtured; she credits her teachers with ‘making me feel excited about exploring my abilities.’
— Toorak College 2014 publication 'Tradition Belonging Spirit'

 Kate Forster: Novelist / author (‘Brit Chick Lit’ genre). Alumni unknown.

Actors, entertainers, film makers and performers

Alex Nation: Chosen love of Bachelor Richie Strahan from The Bachelor Australia 2016 series. 

Brooke Satchwell: Actress and Toorak College Alumni.

Daddo brothers - Cameron, Andrew and Lachie: Actors, television presenters, voice artists and authors and The Peninsula School Alumni.

The laidback childhood he (Cameron Daddo) enjoyed in Mount Eliza - ‘In summer we were just told, ‘be home by sundown’, we’d ride our skateboards on the road, no helmets, no gloves… maybe it’s an illusion but it still feels safer here to us than LA.’
— Sydney Morning Herald journalist, Kylie Northover

Emilie De Ravin: Actress, best known by Australians for her role playing ‘Claire’ in Lost (2004). Local Alumni unknown.

James Rees aka Jimmy Giggles: Actor who played Giggle in ABC Kids Giggle and Hoot and The Peninsula School Alumni.

Jimmy Giggles aka James Rees. Image from

Jimmy Giggles aka James Rees. Image from

Before landing the Jimmy Giggle gig in 2009, Rees was pulling beers and waiting tables full time at the Canadian Bay Hotel in Mount Eliza with a view to earning money to move out of home and pursue a career in showbiz.
— Herald Sun

Jean Kittson: Actress, writer, performer, comedian; and Toorak College Alumni.

Toorak College has always been good on attitude – a measure of confidence, self-esteem, consideration for others, resilience, optimism – a sort of Swiss Army knife of useful attitudes, to assist with the years ahead.
— Jean Kittson as quoted in Toorak College 2014 publication ‘Tradition Belonging Spirit’

Melissa Clarke: ABC political journalist and reporter; and Toorak College Alumni.

Mick Molloy: D-Gen comedian, writer, producer, radio host and actor; and The Peninsula School Alumni.

Odette Joannidis: Actress, public speaker on important community issues and Mount Eliza Secondary College Alumni.

Sally McLean: Actress, producer and writer; and Toorak College Alumni.

Sandra Sdraulig AM: Film maker, executive coach and motivational speaker; and Toorak College Alumni.

Summer de Roche:  Film maker and Mount Eliza Secondary College Alumni.

Tim Ross (aka ‘Rosso’): Stand up comic, writer, actor, performer and radio host. Alumni undiscovered.

Tim Ross ('Rosso'). Image from The Age. 

Tim Ross ('Rosso'). Image from The Age. 

As a kid growing up in Mount Eliza I noticed all the brilliant houses designed & built by Roy Grounds, Chancellor and Patrick, Robin Boyd, Kevin Borland and a host of others who followed a similar style. These Architects believed they could build a better world through great design and they certainly built a better suburb.
— Tim Ross, firstangle.squarespace / manaboutthehouse


James Reyne and his brother David: Musicians and both Alumni of The Peninsula School.

My father didn’t want to be living in the city and the beach was a good place for kids to grow up. It know, seemed happy and we didn’t seem to have too much to complain about.
— ABC1 Talking Heads interview by Peter Thompson, 31 May 2010.

 The Weeping Willows - Andrew Wrigglesworth and Laura Coates: Acoustic / folk musicians.

Policy makers, activists and politicians

Nick Warner PSM AO: Australian Diplomat and Director General of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) and Alumni of The Peninsula School.

Peter Mitchell: Journalist, newsreader and Alumni of The Peninsula School.

Rob Hulls: Director, Centre for Innovative Justice at RMIT University, political observer and former Victorian Attorney General: and The Peninsula School Alumni.

The Honorary Greg Hunt: MP and Alumni of The Peninsula School.

Tim Wilson: Human Rights Commissioner and Alumni of The Peninsula School.


Alec Potts: Young Archer Alec and his team won a Bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics for outstanding competition in archery.

David Andersen: An impressive basketball record including four Olympic gigs including the 2016 Rio Olympics with the Boomers! 

Rikki Johnston: Minor League Pitcher (Baseball) and Mount Eliza Secondary College Alumni.


Mete Erdogan: Award winning Art Director and Designer, and published author; and The Peninsula School Alumni.

And many, many more inspiring Mount Eliza people

We know that this list is far from extensive but boy did it take some creative search engine searching beyond local knowledge – such is the humility of this fabulous community. We also know that there are many well known villagers that enjoy living a lifestyle where they’re part of the community and not paparazzi fodder.

We welcome your comments, and stories and any filling of the gaps on Alumni but at the same time, please join us in respecting the privacy of our wonderful, all embracing community.

Article funded by Vicki Sayers, Live Love Mount Eliza | Written by Julie Pearce, Content Services Melbourne

References Listing

The Age on Cameron Daddo 

Sydney Morning Herald on Cameron Daddo

Herald Sun on James Rees 

IMDB on Emilie de Ravin 

Sydney Morning Herald on The Weeping Willows 

Sydney Morning Herald on Kate Forster

ABC on James Reyne 

Tim Ross Man About the House

Old boys and girls hall of famers