Janet Bolitho

Janet Bolitho

Board Director

AKA: Port Places (#PortPlaces)

Likes: Yarra River, parks, riding a bike, urban nature, local history, participatory planning, working together

Dislikes: plastic litter, rudeness, dog poo on footpaths, impermeable surfaces

Favourite Animal in the Yarra Catchment: Rakali.


A former Councillor and Mayor of the City of Port Phillip, Janet is a true pioneer of connecting people with places and is highly valued by the YRKA for her extensive knowledge and experience in advocacy, governance and strategy.

Immersed in the ever-changing Port Melbourne, Fishermans Bend, Yarra River and the Port of Melbourne, she curates the Port Places project, documenting, observing and exploring the highlights of Port Phillip Bay and the Lower Yarra through weekly posts and walking tours. Through Port Places, Janet has been able to educate and engage the local community as well as international visitors and students. These areas are key to Melbourne’s waterways and urban development future.

Holding a Master of Social Science in Policy and Planning, Janet oversaw the implementation and amendment of many influential strategic plans. As acting chair of the Victorian Coastal Council in 2011, she managed the revision of the Victorian Coastal Strategy (2008) and the studies that underpinned the 2014 Victorian Coastal Strategy which has a strong focus on the health of catchments, and catchment to coast management. Janet also chaired the Victorian Local Sustainable Accord between 2008 and 2012; which supported collaborative council projects and policies advancing sustainability, including the much-awarded Growing Green Guide.

Since 2012, Janet has continued her involvement with community groups, serving as a board member for the likes of the Port Melbourne Historical and Preservation Society, Bili Nursery & Landcare, 3207 Beach Patrol and Friends of Westgate Park (Biodiversity). She is also a community representative on the Ministerial Advisory Committee for Fishermans Bend.

Janet loves to share what she has learned through leading guided walking tours, contributing to big-topic conversations, and making presentations to help better engage the community and enhance education and inclusion.

In her spare time, Janet enjoys cycling, engaging in working bees, research archives and history and promoting biodiversity. If you are curious and would like to know more about the wonders of Port Melbourne and the lower Yarra do check out www.portplaces.com


“My favourite Yarra place is under the Westgate Bridge at Westgate Park. I long to see more nature incorporated in the City reach of the River and for more people to be involved in its care.”