Lisa Walton is a local success story. Her family, her history and her career are intertwined with the fabric of the Mornington Peninsula community.
"My mother worked for Prentice Peninsula Properties in Collins St, Melbourne as a teenager," explains Lisa. "She married my father who was a carpenter and stopped working for a while when she had my sister Sharon. Life changed when Bill Prentice contacted her and offered her an opportunity to run the new Prentice office in Rye - a move to the Mornington Peninsula took the family in a whole new direction."
Lisa Walton (nee Duncan) was born in Dromana Hospital. Growing up in Rye, Lisa was a student at St Joseph’s Primary School in Sorrento before attending Padua College in Mornington (in the days when it was in Tanti Avenue). There were only 82 students in the whole school, with exactly 18 boys – just enough for a football team.
Some years later Lisa’s parents opened their own real estate business - Duncan & Powell Real Estate - with offices in Rye, Sorrento and Portsea. After leaving school, Lisa joined the family business, working in real estate for a few years before she and her husband decided to head off on an adventure, travelling around Australia for 12 months.
The trip was cut short due to the cyclone season in northern Queensland so they found themselves living in Melbourne where Lisa was offered a job in the media industry at the age of 22. Growing up on the Mornington Peninsula, Lisa had been concerned that she wouldn’t like ‘the big smoke’ but Albert Park in the 1980s was becoming gentrified and still had a village atmosphere which Lisa loved. Media and sales came naturally to Lisa, bringing together her organisational skills and her love of local communities.
As a sales person working for South Melbourne/Port Melbourne’s local newspaper, Lisa’s life changed forever. She fell in love with media. Within 18 months she became Publisher of the print group, eventually running three weekly newspapers and one monthly newspaper. Over a ten year period Lisa was absorbed by the local publishing world, culminating in a role of Chairman of Australian Suburban Newspapers for Victoria.
Whilst raising two children as a single mum, Lisa learnt to manage a large team, work to strict tight deadlines, form strong relationships and understand what consumers wanted to read. “It was a fabulous time of my life, but I lost faith in community newspapers and suburban press when Rupert Murdoch took control of 85% of the industry. The whole landscape changed dramatically.”
Lisa left Melbourne and took her girls to live closer to their father in north Queensland where they stayed for nine years. “I loved the tropics, and decided to establish a publication called Barfly – a lifestyle, music, entertainment and art magazine that we interspersed with issues that would make people think – domestic violence, AIDS and social issues that were relevant to the area.”
Eventually the isolation of north Queensland got to Lisa, so she sold the publication to her business partner and moved to Sydney to join ‘On The Street’. The fit wasn’t right though, so she found her way back to the Mornington Peninsula working with an advertising agency in graphic design before founding her local magazine empire.
Her first local publishing endeavour was ‘Mt Eliza Village Magazine’, a quarterly publication that she developed in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce. It was immediately embrace by the local community. ‘Mornington Life’ evolved in conjunction with the Mornington Chamber of Commerce, and within three editions there was widespread demand for an avenue for local advertising and articles.
A few years later the quarterly publication model didn’t satisfy demand, and the result was a monthly format of ‘Mornington Peninsula Magazine’, which is one of the foremost, most loved, and most widespread publications on the Peninsula. As a result, Lisa and her partner Archie (who manages the distribution) now head up a full time team to satisfy business and consumer demand, and the portfolio now includes ‘Frankly Frankston’. Her own fully automated publishing business is now a family concern that includes Archie’s daughter Molly. After such a successful media journey. Lisa may just start travelling again.
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